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In the Proud Tradition of Murrow, Cronkite, Rather, Etc.

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On the left is Nike designer Todd Van Horne; on the right, CBS News correspondent Mo Rocca. That’s a screen shot from a uni-centric segment that will be running tomorrow on CBS Sunday Morning. Rocca interviewed me for this piece a few weeks ago, and I’m told he also spoke with Maryland head coach Randy Edsall and with Barney’s Creative Director Simon Doonan (ugh — that does not bode well). The program airs tomorrow from 9am to 10:30am Eastern. Sorry, I’m not sure which part of the show the segment will appear in, so you’ll just have to watch Charles Osgood as his bow tie for the full 90 minutes. Or, you know, just wait for the video to show up on the web later in the day. ”” Paul

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Cage match: Yesterday I mentioned the room up in Bristol where ESPN keeps all the football helmets, uniforms, and so on that get used on the set. That prompted two interesting responses, the first of which came from Jay Francis, Senior Coordinating Director at ESPN:

I’ve never understood why people are fascinated with our prop cage, but they are. It is a highlight of ESPN tours. It is simply a 6’ x 25’ caged area full of helmets and jerseys. We have an arrangement with Schutt to provide all the helmets. We do not have 12 different Oregon helmets, but receive the correct helmet week-of. The inventory is managed by the directors of the different sports/shows — the Baseball Tonight director manages baseball props, College GameDay director manages the college football props, etc. All manufacturers (Nike, Rawlings, Louisville Slugger, etc.) are very cooperative in working with us for our prop/jersey needs.

I also heard from someone in the PR world, who prefers to remain anonymous:

Back in the late ’90s I was doing PR at an agency for Schutt Sports and we started offering networks the opportunity to use Schutt helmets on set for bowl game match-ups (pre BCS days). We would have to send a bunch ”“- maybe 20 possible helmets, and then when the match-ups were announced they would scramble to get the right helmets. ESPN started stockpiling helmets, eventually having most of the teams. At the time it was hard for networks and even conferences to get all the helmets ”“- we used to send all the SEC helmets to the PR staff for their media day, as they made for great set props. We also commissioned ESPN and CBS helmets that they would use coming in and out of commercials.

Years later I checked in with the Schutt guys and they said ESPN would send them a list of all the games before the season and then Schutt would send them the missing helmets. By now they probably have all they need. Not sure how they keep up on the special-edition helmets. We used to send with a Schutt or AiR chinstrap for extra branding.

This was before the licensed helmet and collectible days, so some helmet stickers were tough to get, as the school would sticker the helmets for the season ”“- not Schutt. I remember trying to get Florida State stickers for ESPN or CBS and the equipment manager saying he could send the main sticker but not the tomahawk merit stickers.

One thing we tried but that never took off was a split helmet — one side ’Bama and the other LSU, or whatever. I loved it, but you couldn’t shoot it correctly unless you had one of those flying cameras — it looked awkward when you tried to photograph it. I have a Nebraska/Tennessee helmet in my office from the 2000 Fiesta Bow. A little lame because both helmets were white.

All very interesting, no? And as if to reinforce the point about the split helmets, reader Eric Stangel just found a Jets/Giants hybrid helmet on eBay.

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50 Years Ago This Week

50 Years Ago…This Weekend

Rick Pearson is once again here to bring us his look at the featured television college football matchup from 50 years ago. As always, Rick documented the game via his “kid cards”.

Two bowls were played on the weekend following the “Big” games … one on the Saturday and one on the Sunday after. Here’s Rick with Saturday’s game:


Jan. 6, 1962: The SENIOR BOWL (NBC)

The last weekend of football–pro or college–on January 6 & 7. … Seems odd now, doesn’t it. … What we have here today are stars n’ stripes on display in Mobile. …Helmets spray painted so teammates matched. … I assumed navy blue for the North, figuring they were taking their cue from Old Glory (and because the announcers likely just said, “Blue”), which meant I’d ask myself if in black and white it looked more like the Colts, say, or the Bears. … Bill Miller was briefly with the Texans, then became a quality WR with the Bills, before moving on the Raiders, for whom he caught a TD pass in Super Bowl II. … Larry Vargo was in the NFL for awhile, his first team being the Lions.

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Benchies Header


by Rick Pearson


’Bout time to show that sucker who’s boss…

1-7-12 d-tenpin

And here’s the full-size.

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Uni Watch News Ticker: A heavily recruited high school football player verbally committed to Alabama on live television and also strapped on a set of Alabama gloves (from Tyler Haslam). ”¦ Chris Fraterrigo notes that Sergei Bobrovsky didn’t have the orange stripe on his pants during the Winter Classic. ”¦ Here’s something you don’t often see: a minor league baseball player with handwritten initials on his undershirt collar. “The Newark Co-Pilots played as an independent that year, so maybe they needed to keep every undershirt under control to save money,” says Matthew Glidden. … Check it out — a hat featuring a hat (from Caleb James). … The Brits have minted some new coins to coincide with the London Olympics — including a 50p piece that explains the soccer offside rule! Very cool (from Chris Cruz). ”¦ Remember that Under Armour shoe that’s supposed to eliminate the need for spatting? They used that shoe as the trophy for the recent high school all-star game (from Chris Fox). ”¦ “I found these mini-hockey jerseys this morning from a trip to Vancouver a few years ago,” writes Dave Sizer. “They were the toy giveaways with a McDonald’s meal. Much cooler than anything I have seen in U.S. McDonald’s. If I recall, they came with a stand to display them that had the players’ stats, photos, etc.” ”¦ Ilya Bryzgalov didn’t appear in the Winter Classic, so he didn’t get to wear his old-school brown pads. But he wore them against the Blackhawks on Thursday night (from A.J. Frey). ”¦ It’s looking more and more like Wisconsin will cut ties with Adidas due to sweatshop issues (from Bryan Justman). ”¦ Biggest Converse collection ever? Could be (from Gary Brackle). ”¦ Jay Sandora has been reading a book called Born to Run, which is about the barefoot running craze and serious ultra-runners in Mexico. “About midway through the book, it starts to touch upon Nike and the advent of the running shoe (and how it marks the downfall of running as a sport and near single-handedly created numerous running-related injuries),” he says. “It reveals some of Nike’s tactics, such as their calculated marketing ploy of discontinuing popular shoe models in an effort to get people to stock up on 3, 4, 5+ pairs of shoes they like in case the model becomes extinct.” Such lovely people they are. ”¦ Here’s a time-lapse video of Temple’s arena being converted from a concert stage to a wrestling match to a basketball court over a span of four days.” ”¦ Lots of beautiful old signage in this Flickr photostream. I’m particularly partial to this one, but the entire collection is worth checking out (big thanks to Gordon Blau). ”¦ Brian McKennna reports that his friend Michael Weinstein has been creating new NBA team logo concepts. Some interesting stuff here — take a look. ”¦ Mike Monaghan notes that SI’s NFL playoff bracket featured several outdated helmet designs. ”¦ The Blackfoot High Broncos in Idaho wear the Ferrari logo — or something extremely similar to it — on their basketball uniform (from Andrew Seagraves). ”¦ New logo for the Orlando Solar Bears (from Robert Anthony).

Comments (84)

    I just got around to reading about that jersey “collector” in Archie Bunker’s borough. I noticed a yellow tabby in the first photo. I wonder what its name is.

    If you read about the guy, or look at his hat, you can pretty well tell what the cat’s name must be. The question was rhetorical.

    Those Team Canada McDonald’s mini jerseys also came in NHL flavors, mostly Canadian teams. They came out in the early 2000’s.

    In the late 90’s McD’s gave out plastic goalie helmet replicas, about 5″ tall. Very cool. Belfour and Potvin and McLean to name a few.

    Several years ago mini hockey sticks in canisters with player pictures. Exact same sticks as NHL McFarlane figures.

    Last I saw, they had player and goalie helmets that folded up to reveal a mini hockey player underneath, standing on a large puck. This was a few years ago.

    Oh Canada!

    Whoever buys that Giants/Jets hybrid helmet needs to paint the facemask white. Neither of those logos were ever worn with a gray mask.

    Gray *was* neutral. Regardless, both of those helmet designs used white facemasks, so white is both neutral and accurate.

    Gray is technically neutral, yeah. But so is black. Which means that BFBS becomes justified because “black is just a neutral color”. We really don’t want that, do we?

    When the only facemasks available were gray, it was neutral. With colored masks as an option and with teams actually using gray as a team color, gray is no longer neutral in football.

    …and again, the GIANTS logo and JETS logo were both worn with white masks, not gray.

    No, I typically despise gray masks because it’s not a neutral color anymore and I feel that the facemask should match a team’s uniform. The Colts mask should be white or blue, the 49ers red, white or gold, etc.

    If everyone wore gray masks, they’re acceptable because it’s actually neutral then (and the same goes for the white masks that the old gumball helmets used) – and I’m ok with using them on throwback uniforms for accuracy. But a gray mask is NOT accurate for either side of that Jets/Giants hybrid.

    Funny, but the fact that they couldn’t be bothered to get the names of the Chancellor of Germany and the Chairman of the Federal Reserve correct says something about their priorities as well.

    I saw that coin a few days ago and still haven’t figured out how exactly it explains offsides.

    Speaking of, there is nothing harder on the planet than trying to explain it to someone who doesn’t follow soccer.

    It sure appears to be a stupid rule, that’s for sure.

    Based on the coin and a few comments from the other day, it seems as though the rule is designed to *intentionally* stop a team from actually gaining momentum. The closest parallel I can come up with would be the NBA not allowing fast breaks.

    I’ll relate it to normal terms for those who are uninitiated in the footy world.

    The last defender is essentially the offside marker in soccer. Think of him, if you will, as the blueline in hockey. Offensive players can’t cherry-pick past him until the ball has been played forward where both the defender and offensive player have an opportunity to play it.

    Another way? Pretend the defensive back in football sets the offside depending on where he is. The receiver can’t speed past him until the quarterback has released the football. Then it becomes a game of who can get to the ball first.

    In soccer, you’ll see defenders timing their “jumps” in order to put speedy players offside. If they think they’ll be beaten by a player, they simply move the line up before the ball is passed to the speedy player. The offside can negate a great offensive player if you have an excellent defender who is aware of what is happening around him.

    …and that’s totally bullshit.

    Imagine the NFL if a speedy WR wasn’t allowed to run past a safety before the ball was thrown. It’d ruin the sport.

    I understand that you don’t want to have players simply camping by the goal, but the offsides rule is NOT the correct answer. Why don’t Americans care about soccer? I don’t know, but the offsides rule sure doesn’t help any.

    I know one thing that’s evident to me whenever I watch soccer, including the involving World Cup (or even when I played the game back when it was available only as a grade school phy. ed. class activity)…

    For most casual American viewers, it’s a likely a huge negative that the game appears to legislate against a home run/long bomb/fast break component.

    We love the “quick strike” element.

    Sorry Ricko but I don’t think you can claim “quick strike” element for a game that has so many stops built into the game that an hour long of actual play translates to a few days in the stadium ;)

    Jeff, the long bomb still occurs. You clearly don’t know the rule.

    The offensive player cannot range past the defensive player while his team has possession of the ball. Once that ball is kicked into the air, the offensive player can go as far as he wants.

    My example wasn’t to illustrate how American football’s rules make it “better”. It was to illustrate how offside works. If the DB can prevent the deep route, it becomes an athletic competition in the race for the thrown football. In a sense, accuracy, timing, and speed become that much more important.

    You may hate it because you don’t understand it, but billions (yes, with a B) love the game more than any other.

    I wasn’t talking about ME.
    I was talking about casual Americans observers tend to perceive it.

    George, I like soccer, don’t get me wrong.

    But soccer has a fair amount of “down time” or lulls in the transition game, too, when the ball is around midfield and the chances of anyone scoring are slim. It just isn’t as, I dunno, “prescribed” a regrouping as a football huddle, or the time between pitches in baseball, or a line change in hockey.

    But most Americans, looking at soccer only about an inch deep, don’t have the patience to wait for the “moments.” Or they think there aren’t enough of them.

    (Don’t shoot the messenger here)


    No prob – we will agree to disagree. I know what you’re saying, and while I quite enjoy “American Football” the vast population of the UK – even quite avid sports fans – think it’s akin to watching paint dry.

    When people say they are staying up to watch the Super Bowl (it usually starts after midnight here) others give symapthetic looks.

    As an American who has been living in the UK for a little over a year, I have to say you can’t really judge soccer (or as I now call it, football) until you have watch a league like the Barclays Premier League. The speed, skill and excitement of the game (teams basically play flat out all the time, particularly once a team takes a lead), really makes the game exciting. I will say that watching the game on TV isn’t the same as watching in the stadium – like hockey its a sport in which much of the excitement relates to the overall positioning of all the players so a good tackle or check leading to a turnover can be all the more exciting because you know the advantage it is about to create. That’s often lost on TV where you only see some but not all of the players. The offside rule actually makes the game more exciting, not less. It demands precise teamwork between the player passing the ball and the one making his run to get open. Once you understand what it takes to really get open to score, you can start to appreciate the game. But if you think describing offsides to Americans is hard, try explaining the infield fly rule to Europeans…

    There is also great skill (risky) in setting offside traps whereby (great word) defenders step upfield together to catch an attacker in an offside position just before the ball is played.

    Brilliantly explained here:

    I repeat a post I made a few days ago, which (completely non-PC) expalins the offside rule “for the ladies”:

    You’re in a shoe shop, second in the queue for the till. Behind the shop assistant on the till is a pair of shoes which you have seen and which you must have.

    The female shopper in front of you has seen them also and is eyeing them with desire. Both of you have forgotten your purses.

    It would be rude to push in front of the first woman if you had no money to pay for the shoes.

    The shop assistant remains at the till waiting.

    Your friend is trying on another pair of shoes at the back of the shop and sees your dilemma.

    She prepares to throw her purse to you.

    If she does so, you can catch the purse, then walk round the other shopper and buy the shoes!

    At a pinch she could throw the purse ahead of the other shopper and “whilst it is in flight” you could nip around the other shopper, catch the purse and buy the shoes!

    BUT, you must always remember that until the purse has “actually been thrown”, it would be plain wrong for you to be in front of the other shopper and you would be OFFSIDE!

    As far as the correctness of the coin stands, the furthermost player is in an offside position, but only becomes “offside” if he becomes “active”, ie moves to the ball, touches the ball or impedes a defender/goalkeeper or in some other way interferes with play. If he’s just there, then he is not offside, just standing in an offside position

    Sometimes you will see a couple of players standing in offside positions, but another attacker nips in (from an onside position) and scores. That’s a perfectly good goal.

    Again, from what I said the other day, Bill Shankly, an irascible former manager of Liverpool, once said “if they’re not interfering with play then what the hell are they doing there?”

    While I’m on a roll you may as well have cricket explained to you:

    You have two sides, one out in the field and one in. Each man that’s in the side that’s in goes out, and when he’s out he comes in and the next man goes in until he’s out. When they are all out, the side that’s out comes in and the side thats been in goes out and tries to get those coming in, out. Sometimes you get men still in and not out.

    When a man goes out to go in, the men who are out try to get him out, and when he is out he goes in and the next man in goes out and goes in. There are two men called umpires who stay all out all the time and they decide when the men who are in are out. When both sides have been in and all the men have out, and both sides have been out twice after all the men have been in, including those who are not out, that is the end of the game!

    Right, this is exactly why soccer is not going anywhere in the Home of the Brave. It reminds us of women,s shoes.

    What needs to be explained, Rob?


    You can kick it oat whenever you want, but you’ve gotta give the guy five yards apparently.

    Offsides was invented to take the fans mind off the fact the goalies uniform rarely resembles those worn by either side. Although, if more goals were scored, they might end up making the keeper dress in street clothes.

    I thought it was more interesting that he was able to pull it off using Nike gloves at the UA All-America game.

    Watching NDSU and Sam Houston State right now – and the leg stripes for both teams look like inversions of each other. NDSU going big at top to small then piping at the bottom and SHSU going piping at top to large at the bottom.

    Free ESPN Full Court preview! Today through the 13th.

    The downside to that is, I’m watching a rather horrid-looking matchup between Missouri and Kansas State. The uniform designs aren’t bad, but I can barely see who’s who. Mizzou’s in all black with gold numbers. The white outline helps, but only a little. KSU is in a dark DARK gray. It’s more like charcoal. And the purple numbers are numbered in black. I think. When they get inside the 3-point line (where the hardwood is as dark as I’ve ever seen it on a court), they practically disappear. Two guys wearing white socks and shoes REALLY stand out. Gotta find me another game fast.

    Toby, what is your name?” The whip marks are bleeding, etched in his back, sweat drips from his forehead and he replies, “Kunta… Kunta Kinte,” Excerpted from the novel, “Roots” by Alex Haley,

    McDonald’s gave away miniature NBA jerseys a few years back (slightly smaller thanvthe hockey ones). I have a Kirk Hinrich Chicago Bulls one. It is currently worn by a Homer Simpson action figure that sits on my desk. It fits perfectly.

    I like the Texans with the red jerseys and white pants slightly better than the ones they are wearing, though the ones they are wearing are nice also.

    The Bengals are such a mess I’m not sure it matters, but these are definitely NOT my favorite. I’m not a fam of any footballs unis that are baseball style (ie, white over white with a dark hat.

    Here’s a great sign that I took a photo of in North County, San Diego:


    I just noticed that the iconic “Home Run Derby” of the late 50’s, early 60’s is out on dvd.

    Has anyone else noticed that some of the Bengals players TV numbers are on top of the top stripe and some are not?

    Thats probably the bengals being the bengals. There isnt much uniformity in the details of the jersey. Some nameplates are wonky, some players have white pit stains, some have black…

    Well, no two tigers have the same stripes, so it makes some sense that there isn’t much uniformity with the Bengals’ uniforms. Think of the little inconsistencies as happy accidents. However, that doesn’t excuse the fact that the overall uniform is a fracking train wreck.

    Sounds like Penn State is staying with the ugliest unis in college football.

    New coach press conference today. He brought up the plain helmets, no names, black shoes blah blah blah.

    ESPN just had a headline that said “Titans extend lead over Bengals” – Pretty funny considering the Houston Oilers-Tennessee Titans non-connection

    Damn, how great does that Flyers-Blackhawks picture look with both teams in their classic unis and the goalie rockin’ those faux-leather leg pads and gloves??!?!

    Man, why can’t hockey look like that EVERY day??!?!


    I am really surprised there hasn’t been a renewal of the outrage that (among not just UniWatchers but the public in general) came up when the NFL announced the Super Bowl logo would be the same from year-to-year beginning with last year’s Super Bowl. I thought that this January, now that the playoffs are starting and we are beginning to see the Super Bowl XLVI logo all over the place, that maybe the casual fan who doesn’t really pay that much attention to “logo news”, would notice and we’d start to see a lot of “hey, that looks just like last year’s logo”

    But no, I guess no one really cares that much.

    Actually, my best friend and I were having a conversation about that once we fond out that the NFL will be going to generic NFL-factory Super Bowl logos and wondered, why? My guess is they didn’t wanna commission someone to make a new SB logo every year OR since it’s now a brand (more so than before) there needed to be a more consistent look. NO LIKE. one of those logos looks like a vag.

    Tony Corrente going specs-less tonight. He was noted on this here website the other day as one of a handful of refs that wear glasses. Perhaps he’s wearing contacts tonight or he got the laser surgery.

    In the earlier game, anyone notice Arian Foster’s logo head? Awesome!

    Weinstein’s alternate logo looks a lot like the Potomac Nationals (Class A Carolina League) logo that’s used on their hats:


    Rutgers went BFBS on Saturday vs Uconn…forcing Uconn to break out its grey alts for the first time in this uniform style I believe. The uniforms looked whitish on tv but were good enough to provide some contrast. Chalk Uconn up as another school going grey.

    Raiders receiver Bill Miller is a great trivia answer … famed “gonzo” journalist Hunter Thompson scored an interview with President Richard Nixon in 1972 … Thompson loved football and famously so did Nixon – When Thompson mentioned Miller’s name to Nixon – Nixon went on about Miller’s background, mentioning that he went to the University of Miami, among other things. Not as great as Nixon giving Redskins coach George Allen plays, but you see my point.

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