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Monday Morning Uni Watch

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I’m happy to report that I’ve regained a bit of typing ability in my right hand, so let’s pose this not-very-hypothetical question: How can you make one of the worst uniforms in the league look even worse? Easy: Render it in solid black. That was the situation yesterday in Carolina, as the Panthers wore black pants for the first time in their history (additional photos here). “But wait,” I hear you say, “panthers are black, so doesn’t this look make sense?” It might have if they’d gone with it at the team’s inception, but now it just feels like a gimmick. Plus it doesn’t help that the light blue and the black create a vibrating effect.

Those pants, incidentally, are not listed in the NFL Style Guide, which I mention mainly as a way of reminding everyone (including myself) that style guides aren’t always accurate.

In other notes from yesterday’s NFL action:

• No blue pants for the Bills this week, as they went back to wearing white over white.

Moon over Philly! That’s Eric Frampton of the Cowboys.

• In that same game, several readers noticed that Rob Ryan’s play-calling card was sponsored by one of Philadelphia’s leading cheesesteak emporia.

• Meanwhile, Ryan’s brother Rex wore a cap in support of Hurricane Sandy victims.

• The 49ers didn’t play last week, so they didn’t wear the G.I. Joe helmet decals until yesterday. Here’s a piece explaining which players wore which decals, and why.

Turning to Saturday’s college action, you should start with Terry Duroncelet’s report from yesterday. Once you’re done with that, here are a few additional items:

• In yesterday’s entry, Terry mentioned that Troy’s helmet logo was rendered in black-and-white. But it was actually G.I. Joe.

• In a development that I can certainly relate to, Kyle Carter of Penn State injured his hand or wrist on Saturday and had it iced down with a PSU logo ice bag.

• Looks like there’s an inconsistency in Michigan’s 5s.

• Not sure exactly what happened to Ciante Evans’s helmet, but it looks like it had some quality-control issues.

(My thanks to all contributors, including Ryan Bohannon, Gerry Dincher, Dane Drutis, Brian Hansen, Jon Solomonson, Mako Mameli, Brendan Slattery, Britton Thomas, Doug Waddington, Brenton Wallace, and Rob Wheeler.)

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A few good men ”¦ and one jackass: In an embarrassing display that everyone involved should be ashamed of, UVA coach Mike London made a fool of himself on Saturday by dressing up in full camo fatigues. I was going to say something about this, but then I got a thoughtful note from reader Jason Christie, so I’ll surrender the floor to him:

I’m active duty military, so I have always been torn when you discuss the G.I. Joe uniform phenomenon. While I try to separate the two, it can be difficult because of my obvious closeness to the subject matter. ”¦

I had previously seen the current crop of [camouflage] uniforms as honest attempts at honoring service and trying to express support, though some may have been very aesthetically displeasing. But what I hadn’t yet seen — and now recognize as the logical endgame to the camouflage phenomenon — was a coach wearing (or attempting to wear) an actual, complete military uniform.

Mike London was wearing what can only be described as a bastardized set of Marine Corps “cammies.” He had the top, pants and eight-point hat, which was rotated with hats from different services and the ROTC detachment at UVA (more on that later). But he was also wearing a navy blue shirt and sneakers. He also had gold chains hanging out — although those weren’t visible when he had his top buttoned up completely (which itself is wrong unless there’s a specific reason to do it). UVA assistants and staff also wore the pants of the various services, all in the name of “military appreciation.”

I can’t imagine that Coach London was trying to portray himself as a crazed person, dressed in a quasi-military uniform, flailing about and screaming at authority figures (i.e., the officials) — but that’s sure how it came across. If someone was flipping through channels and saw him, they might have thought there was a crazy “soldier” on the field and assumed it was someone who actually had the right to wear the uniform. ”¦ Is it too much to ask to show a little decorum while wearing a uniform (incorrectly, mind you) in which you’re trying to “appreciate” those who wear it for a living? ”¦ I see it as a little insulting.

I think what bothered me the most, though, is that there’s an ROTC detachment on most college campuses headed by a senior officer and with non-commissioned officer staff. These officers not only gave tacit approval to this farce, they seemingly endorsed it by allowing Coach London to wear their hat. Who thought it would be okay to let this coach go galavanting around the sidelines in a half-assed uniform in the name of “military appreciation”?

After seeing today’s display, I’ve changed my opinion on the issue of camouflage uniforms. If you want to appreciate the military, give out some free tickets, send some care packages, hook up with the USO and go overseas, even give a locker room tour or something. But leave the uniforms on those who should wear them.

In case you’re wondering, no, Mike London never served in the military. But I bet he likes to fantasize about it. Most football coaches seem to fancy themselves as a mix of drill sergeant and four-star general. But that comparison isn’t really fair to drill sergeants (who are strict but don’t routinely throw tantrums on national television) or four-star generals (who don’t make embarrassing self-referential beer commercials).

Bottom line: The whole dress-up soldier routine was misguided and inappropriate from the start, and now it’s metastasized into a bad joke — bad for players, bad for coaches, bad for military personnel, bad for all of us. It’s time to pull the plug on the whole thing and leave the soldiering to the soldiers. Now.

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Show & Tell update: The next installment of my Show & Tell storytelling series will take place this Wednesday, Nov. 14, 8pm, in the back room of Freddy’s. Admission is free. Hope to see you there.

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Shamelessly manipulative plea for help: Whenever I host a Show & Tell event, I have a photographer on hand to take photos that end up on the Show & Tell web site. But due to a series of unfortunate circumstances, I don’t have a photographer on board for this Wednesday’s Show & Tell event (see above). I’d take the photos myself, but there’s the slight problem of my wrist being broken and my finger not even being strong enough to press the shutter-release button (seriously!).

So: If anyone out there is (a) NYC-based, (b) reasonably handy with a camera, and (c) available on Wednesday night, I would be so totally grateful if you could volunteer to be the official Show & Tell shutterbug-for-a-night. There’s no pay, alas (I don’t get paid for hosting the event either), but you can have all the free drinks you want. Interested? Please let me know. Thanks.

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PermaRec update: An iconic photo is the basis for a new documentary film that sounds very Permanent Record-ish. Details here.

And speaking of Permanent Record, I’ll be giving a live presentation on the project, complete with a slideshow and other visual aids, on Wednesday, Dec. 5, 7pm, at the Housing Works Bookstore in Manhattan. Admission will be free.

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Uni Watch News Ticker: The folks at Under Armour invited me to join them at their suite on Friday night for the Maryland/Kentucky basketball game at the new Brooklyn arena. Highlight of the evening was meeting Adam Clement, who designed the faux-flannel uniforms that Maryland was wearing that night. I can’t say I love all of his work (he’s also the guy who designed the flag-based Maryland football design, e.g.), but I can definitely say I enjoyed meeting him — a great guy, and definitely one of us. We had a really good meeting of the minds, and I hope to interview him at length in the near-ish future. … Incidentally, the court for that college basketball featured a conventional plank floor pattern — not the herringbone pattern that the Nets are using. I guess that’s a team exclusive. ”¦ Jerry Kulig was watching an ESPN special on Darrell Royal’s death and noticed an interesting three-bar facemask. … Check this out: officially MLB-licensed slings! I’m gonna order one today (big thanks to Sean Kane). … Tagg Romney — Mitt’s oldest son — used to work for Reebok. According to this article, “his primary responsibility was to watch NFL and NBA games, counting how many times Reebok was mentioned or its logo caught on camera” (from Sam Coren). … Pretty cool striped design for Florida women’s soccer (from Mark Kaplowitz). … I think we may have Tickerized this before, but once more definitely won’t hurt: Check out this awesome booklet showing this history of the Arkansas Razorbacks logo (from MJ Kurs-Lasky). … Ryan Robey bumped into Ohio State WR Evan Spencer at an airport and said Spencer hinted that OSU will have new uniforms for the Michigan game on Nov. 24. “He also said chrome helmets might be a reality for the Michigan game but that Ohio State will never wear black jerseys ‘because of the alumni,'” says Ryan. … Who’s that in the tequila sunrise jacket? None other than keyboardist Ian Stewart, the “sixth Stone.” Here he is wearing it onstage (great find by Steve Mandich). … Easton Hockey has used some Riddell technology to create a new hockey helmet (from Matthew Austin). … Poultry convention? Nope — it’s an exhibit of South Carolina mascots at a campus museum (from Gordon Cromer). … I didn’t realize Lipscomb University used subscript NOBs (until Matthew Blinco told me, that is). … Tyler Kepner sent along some stills from the upcoming film The Silver Linings Playbook, which is about, among other things, an Eagles fan. Interestingly, the Eagles logo and NFL logo have been scrubbed from the fan’s jersey. “I can think of a ton of instances in which a movie shows official team apparel — not just in sports movies, but even in movies not about sports, like Tom Hanks wearing that NY Giants sweatshirt in Big,” says Tyler. “So I wonder why the NFL apparently would not allow the Eagles logos in this movie. It’s really bugging me.” … Even the more cynical among us can probably agree that the NFL’s “Play 60” initiative, which encourages kids to run around and get some exercise instead of spending all day playing video games, is a good thing. Or at least we could have agreed on that, until the Lions announced their new Play 60 sponsor: a video game brand. Can’t make it up, people (from Daniel Secord). … Here’s a good shot of Charles Barkley wearing a mask (from James Ashby). ”¦ Sunderland soccer player James McClean caused some controversy over the weekend by refusing to wear the Remembrance Day poppy that everyone else was wearing (from Joe Hollomon). ”¦ Oregon State hoops player Ricardo Nelson suffered a torn collar last night (from Jeremy Brahm).

Comments (196)

    Paul, really disagree with you on the Panthers. I actually think that of all teams that have done all solids this may actually be one of the better Uni combinations. The light blue on the pants and socks breaks up the solid black to create a great look IMO.

    I didn’t think I’d like it, but I thought the Panthers pulled off the monochrome look pretty well.

    Gotta go with Izzy on this. I don’t usually like any one-color approach in football (unless it’s white), but I thought the Panthers pulled it off quite nicely. They managed to avoid the unitard look and don’t look like giant walking boogers, the way the Jets do when they wear all green.

    I liked the Panthers in black pants – the fairly wide stripe and blue socks make it work. They’re definitely a step up from the Saints, Ravens & Jaguars in all black.

    I also find it kind of amusing that they actually wore them. If you recall, both the Bears orange and Panthers black pants were leaked before the season in early Madden screenshots. Now the reason it’s amusing: the black pants were removed from the game before release – they’re not in the game. The orange pants, which won’t be worn, are actually the DEFAULT road uniform for Chicago. Nice jorb, EA.

    Exactly. The Panthers are probably the least objectionable all-black uniform in sports. It’s a team color, and the design is actually pretty good, as far as these things go. And I’m not seeing the vibration thing with these. This isn’t scarlet and royal, or flashing Pokemon lights. It’s a vivid blue, and to the extent that it vibrates, it would vibrate regardless of the amount of black around it.

    The problem here is the monochrome. You either like monochrome unis or you don’t. I don’t, so on the whole I don’t like the Panthers in all black. But I can’t say that I like them less than any other monochrome uni. But the black pants and blue socks look fantastic, so pair this with a blue jersey at home and white jersey on the road and the Panthers would look great. But that’s just, like, my opinion, man.

    I would like to see the Panthers in their electric blue tops over white pants & ditch the black jerseys & pants permanently; basically the Houston Oilers but with red replaced by black. Tho the silver helmet & pants would make it look too Cowboy & Lionish.

    They’re already too Lion/Cowboy/Raider-ish. Black pants with the blue & white jerseys would actually give them their own look.

    If you want someone to look like the old Oilers, go tell the Titans to stop wearing navy pants.

    I’m pretty much in agreement with Messrs Provo & Rogers here. I’m not a fan of the monochrome in general (particularly in the NFL), but this is definitely one of the better efforts.

    Really, the worst part about those Panthers unis is that the silver helmet looks completely out of place. Obviously, NFL rules won’t allow it but a black helmet would make that combo look so much better.

    i remember seeing photos prior to the Panthers first season back in 1995 in which a player was wearing black pants with the white jersey. i think initially they were planning that as their standard uni, but someone liked the white jersey/white pants combo better. nice job on the photoshop The Jeff. could you also show us the Panthers with white jersey/silver pants? i imagine the alternate blue jersey and black pants is also in the Panthers future.

    Ronnie: white jersey, silver/gray pants: link

    JTH: I sorta agree that the silver helmet seems a bit out of place, but I’m not really sure how to fix that and stay within NFL rules (black helmet being the obvious fix). Make the shoulder loops silver & blue instead of black & blue? Silver numbers outlined in black instead of the black/blue?

    The Panthers in White jerseys and Black pants has a “high school” ring to it. Something just doesn’t look right.

    thanks The Jeff. i like the white over silver combo. and since the Panther can do full wraparound should loops, why can’t the Colts?

    Consider this another vote for “bad but not in the same universe of bad as the Saints and Ravens.” I’ve seen some almost-acceptable college monochrome uniforms, but this is clearly the best attempt by an NFL team (not saying much). They all look stupid (The easy rule of thumb is that dark pants are usually a downgrade and are almost always a bad idea when not topped by a white jersey.), but when you add some striping or piping, it makes the look intentional. And the wide striping on the Panthers’ pants breaks up the black enough to border on watchability.

    What makes the Ravens and Saints look so high-school is that they’re just wearing solid pants that A) weren’t meant to be worn with the dark jerseys and B) look like they were whatever the local sporting-goods store had left over after all the people with any sense had bought up the non-hideous pants. Adding black socks adds to the whatever-we-could-find look. The Panthers’ blue socks are a nice contrast. I don’t mind the black pants with the white jerseys and would welcome that as an alternate road look. The blue-over-black look would be an absolute disaster, though not on the level of the Titans’ light-blue-dark-blue or Ravens’ purple-over-black combos. I agree that the Panthers’ silver helmet doesn’t jibe with the all-black unis, but I think it’s fine with white-over-black.

    As for other teams, the Jaguars, if memory serves, try to break up their monochrome look with some piping, but it’s so thin that they end up looking more like the clueless Saints and Ravens than their expansion classmates. The Bengals had the sense to not wear solid black pants but lacked the sense to burn the batch when they came out so unbelievably ugly.

    When the panthers were awarded a franchise and anounced their logo and colors, they modeled blue over black pants, black over blue pants and white over black pants. It looked horrendous! Very USFL’ish or Arena’ish. The backlash here in North Carolina was pretty much unanimous. Ownership listened. Wasn’t long after that, silver pants were shown and everyone pretended that the black and blue pants never existed. This also happened with the Hornets when they were awarded, not with uniforms, but with team name. The Hornets were announced as the “Spirit” going with the trend to name teams as a singular entity (I think the “Magic” were awarded to Orlando the same year)and the fans hated it, so voila…Hornets. I think it’s ironic that the Hornets are now considering a switch to “spirit”. I have been dreading the inevitable black over black ever since Carolina began play in 1995. Took 18 seasons but it finally reared it’s ugly head. That said, not as bad as I feared but still not good. Ditch the white and the black pants and go with silver full time.

    No photos…and I searched all day yesterday. I also was unable to locate a photo of the one time they wore white over silver and was hoping someone could come up with that (1998 vs Indy).

    Charlotte Observer archives makes no mention of black over blue stating:

    “Flanked on both sides by men modeling the snazzy new Carolina Panthers uniforms – white jersey and black pants to his right, blue jersey and black pants to his left – Jerry Richardson was asked if he’d considered hiring Alexander Julian to design them, like the Charlotte Hornets did six years ago.
    “To be honest,” Richardson said, “I fail to see a connection between Alexander Julian and GRRRRRRR!”

    Observer archives doesn’t provide photos, but there seems to be no indication of black over blue ever being modeled. Guess my memory is slipping. Either way, the reaction to the blue jersey over black pants was such that it has never seen the field (and hopefully never will).

    Don’t worry – the end of this is inevitable. Historically, every republic goes through a period of cultural and political militarization, followed by a trend toward charismatic dictatorship and the eventual consolidation of legislative power in the hands of the executive, at which point the military becomes the chief instrument and thus arbiter of state power. Eventually, the militarized dictatorship becomes brittle and either ruins itself and the state with disastrous foreign adventurism or runs the domestic economy into the ground, leading in either case to revolution, territorial fragmentation, and the popular rejection of the military as an institution.

    So the the fad for GI Joe uniforms will definitely pass. Give it maybe two to seven centuries, and Americans will reject the very notion of athletes dressing up like soldiers.

    Even the more cynical among us can probably agree that the NFL’s “Play 60″ initiative, which encourages kids to run around and get some exercise instead of spending all day playing video games, is a good thing. Or at least we could have agreed on that, until the Lions announced their new Play 60 sponsor: a video game brand.

    The Kinect is a motion-based control system. It does require a little more effort than just sitting on your ass pushing buttons.

    Yeah, this struck me as a comment that might come from an ignorance of how that system works. I’ve seen kids play some of those games, and they are doing as much exercise as anyone doing an aerobics class or jazsercise or Pilates or whatever would be doing. Its not running a marathon, but their technology could make them a helpful sponsor at events.

    Hell, my younger nephew jumps up and down like a maniac playing video games, even WITH a regular (non-motion sensitive) controller!

    Of course, in my observation he’s the exception to the rule. Just sayin’.

    Thought the same. Besides in the Kinect Sports Season 2 game, you can play Football. Not Madden like, but throw passes run and catch. Not the worst sponsor.

    Not to mention that they have full exercise training programs that use the Kinect from Zumba, UFC, Nike and Adidas, among others.

    pretty sure you guys are all missing the point of, you know, getting outside and playing…

    if you think you can “throw passes run and catch” in your living room, with a video game, then that’s exactly why this program is in place.

    and besides, no great youth story ever started with “hey remember that time you, me, and so-and-so were jazzercising in the living romm and…”

    But there are times when you can’t go outside or are you going to play flag football at -20?

    The program is aimed for kids or adults? Because for kids to play you sometimes need the parents to drive them to the field and not all kids have parents who will take the time to do, specially in families where both work.

    and besides, no great youth story ever started with “hey remember that time you, me, and so-and-so were jazzercising in the living romm and…”

    Not to our generation, but how can you tell your kids won’t start theirs like that?

    Yeah, there shouldn’t be a sponsor in this program and yes, Kinect is a videogame, but not every kid (no matter how much TV bombs him with “go out and play” messages) can do that.

    The aim of the program, by the way, is to to be active for 60 minutes (says so on its website). Does Kinect keeps you active? Yes therefore it is in line with the program.

    Hate to point out a typo under the circumstances, but the “poultry conventopm” appears to be one.

    In reference to the Eagles jersey being scrubbed clean… I thought the 1st couple of times i saw it, it was a JAGUARS jersey and thought, who would wear that in a movie… And as for the BIG Reference, Tom Hanks wearing the Giants sweatshirt, things were different 24 years ago, no one was suing anyone over stupid things like this.

    Yes, Phil from the Hangover is wearing a Jacksonville jersey. Notice the gold outline on the numerals. So I could certainly understand why he wouldn’t want a leaping jaguar on his sleeve. Yet the Reebok Vector Logo remains.

    Apparently, according to the write-ups on IMDb and Wikipedia, the character in question recently came out of a mental institution, and is rebuilding his life, and his parents are the ones trying to convert him into an Eagles fan…

    Don’t know if that has any relevance to the jersey being the way it is. For all we know, there might be an in-story explanation… still, the initial thought is that the costuming department couldn’t be bothered to get the correct $200 polyester shirt.

    In link, the jersey behind him at the beginning looks like it could be an old Jaguars jersey. (It looks like there could be a layer of gold on the sleeve numbers, but I actually think it’s just an link at an angle where the light-colored layer of fabric is particularly visible.) The jersey he’s actually wearing appears to indeed be an Eagles jersey with the logos removed. The most jarring thing about it is the whited-out NFL Equipment logo triangle. It would be much less noticeable with just a plain black collar or at least a blacked-out NFL box. There’s a scene at a game where other folks in the background are wearing non-scrubbed Eagles jerseys.

    Another thought: Maybe Nike made a stink about wearing an NFL jersey with Reebok logos. Of course, if that were the case, why not just scrub the Reebok logos and keep the rest? Maybe it had something to do with associating the Eagles and NFL brands with fan violence. (There seems to be a parking-lot fight in the movie.)

    The NFL’s new deal with Nike was my first thought as well of why any NFL/Eagles logos are removed.

    Also, during the trailer, there’s a point where you can briefly see Bradley Cooper’s back when he’s got the jersey on and it looks like it says “ACKSON” which would mean they also covered/ripped off the J in Jackson (#10 for the Eagles)

    I wonder if those MLB arm-slings are REALLY “officially licensed”. It doesn’t state anywhere that they are.

    Did you by chance suggest to Adam Clement the obvious way to fix that Maryland Flag Football uni? (By staggering.) Would be great to hear what the designer thinks of such a tweak.

    It was one of the first things I brought up with him. He had an answer (which I found unsatisfying), but I’ll save it until I conduct a formal interview w/ him.

    Can’t wait for your (hopeful) interview with Adam Clement, I’d love to hear from the guy who re-energized my alma mater with PRIDE! Go terps

    What happens to all the special one time uniform stuff that these schools like Rutgers or Boston College, etc. wear? I know that they will auction off the jerseys for those games where they are doing a wounded warrior project campaign-although I think they probably have trouble selling all of them. But what about the other stuff? Is that just thrown away? What about the helmets in particular? I imagine that if you do something like BC did and just change a few stripes you can recycle those. But what about when you go to a whole new color for the helmet? Seems like there a ton of money being wasted on all of this.

    I know that whenever Virginia Tech wears special one-time helmets they auction them off separately from the uniforms.

    Some of the helmets (Orange Bowl, 2011) I would actually like to have and considered bidding for one, but ultimately I don’t want to give any money, no matter how insignificant it is to the bottom line, to promote these gimmick uniforms.

    With every school now doing this just about all the time, surely we’re nearing market saturation for auctioning the one-time uniforms. So AKT’s excellent question stands, and I’m now very curious if any schools really thought through the economics of wearing so many one-off uniforms.

    Maybe the answer to this is as simple as Nike/Adidas/UA paying the bill for all this stuff. Although I’d be curious about whether that extends to stuff like the helmets which they don’t make. For some schools (like Rutgers), I’d think that is a real issue since they are a state school.

    Plus, even if they are footing the bill for all of this, what happens to all that stuff after it is worn once? I’d hope (perhaps naively) that they are put to some good use if the teams themselves can’t use them again somehow.

    Paul, although I can appreciate and respect the criticism of Mike London wearing a near-complete camo uni as slightly disrespectful to members of the armed forces, I think you take it a bit far with your pious commentary about him being a “jackass” and that “I bet he likes to fantasize about” being in the military.

    How about a little respect for somebody who served as a police officer for the city of Richmond for several years, only to quit after a near death experience after having a gun pointed to his head that misfired. Or the fact that he has a daughter with a rare bone marrow condition which he has been a donor and advocate for marrow drives and awareness for years.

    I’m sorry, if I were in the military I might not care much for somebody attempting to wear my uniform correctly and misrepresenting something I’m proud of, but I wouldn’t take cheap shots at diminishing someone without knowing who they are or what they stand for.

    Well said. Zeroing in on coach London in such personal way (while he is only one example of an unfortunate but broad trend) is unnecessary and classless. For all the talk of decorum around here, it is often overtaken by snark.

    he is only one example of an unfortunate but broad trend

    Actually, he is the *only* example of a coach who’s dressed like he dressed on Saturday (which means he took the trend to a whole new level).

    We are all of us virtuous people in many ways, and contemptible people in some instances. Our virtues do not justify our faults, nor should they shield us from criticism. London may be a good dad, but he dressed like a jackass on Saturday. London may be a good citizen, but he acted like a jackass on Saturday. These statements are not mutually exclusive.

    Also, Paul’s criticism was not “personal.” London is a public figure who pulled his little dress-up stunt in public, while performing a public job, knowing that he would be broadcast across the nation on live television. London invited the scrutiny. If you don’t want people speculating about why you’re playing soldier dress-up, then don’t play soldier dress-up.

    Dress up stunt? His father suffers from agent orange poisoning. His father served, his grandfather served, his son served. You don’t know what the fuck you are talking about.

    Dide HE serve? No? Then it’s still a dress up stunt. If you didn’t PERSONALLY earn the rights and privileges to wear the given uniform of a branch of the military, then don’t put it on. Its great to hear that many of his family members served. Put them next to you on the sideline in the uniform they EARNED.

    Five consecutive generations of my family served in the British military, including my great-grandfather, who was actually born on HMS Himalaya, a troop transport ship.

    If I decided to honor my ancestors by showing up at work in the uniform of the Royal Canadian Rifles, or Royal Mounted Artillery, well, that would be nuts.

    Coach is either nuts, or he had a duck hunt scheduled for right after the game.

    Kevin, if family military service gives one special consideration here, then I win, because the ancestor I’m named for fought for America in the French and Indian War. Fortunately, there’s a reason argument from authority like this is considered a logical fallacy.

    Look, the bottom line here is that playing soldier dress-up is disrespectful to our veterans and servicemen. Think of it this way: When you attended your local Veterans Day parade yesterday – and you did, right? – and you saw the old men in WWII uniforms, or the middle aged men in Vietnam-era jackets, or the young men in desert camo pants, did you say to yourself, “Gee, I wonder if those guys are veterans, or if they’re just honoring their fathers by wearing dad’s uniform?” No! You assumed that the guys in uniform were veterans.

    I don’t see how his advocacy for a bone marrow condition equates to his actions on Saturday in any way.

    Regardless, good people can and do make bad decisions in the interest of trying to help or honor something or someone. His history as a police officer doesn’t make him infallible nor should it insulate him from criticism.

    I attended the UVA-Miami game, and one of the first things I noticed was Mike London wearing full fatigues. I agree that this display is completely overboard and doesn’t honor the military. Jason Christie articulates the reasons why in the note above much better than I could.

    One thing I would put forth though is the fact that while London has never served in the military, he was a police detective in Richmond for a number years. This doesn’t in any way defend London for wearing full camo fatigues, and maybe it won’t (or shouldn’t) change your opinion that most coaches fancy themselves as decorated military personnel. I’m just saying that I wouldn’t casually lump him in with coaches who potentially fantasize about serving in the military, given that he has at least somewhat of a public service record.


    Fine, fine. He’s a swell guy and a pillar of society — who happened to behave like a jackass and make a fool of himself on Saturday.

    My gripe isn’t with him in particular, but with the unacceptable uniform trend that he exemplified and took to an extreme. If it hadn’t been him, it would’ve been someone else. And it will certainly be someone else next time, and the time after that, and it won’t matter one little bit if the coaches who do it next time are wonderful citizens, because it will still be unacceptable. Unless we stop it now. Which is what I’m advocating.

    The Camo look may not be your cup of tea, but I am all for doing everything that can be done to honor and support our Vets – including wearing a little (or a lot) of Camo.

    How the hell does anyone wearing camo actually benefit a veteran? They get nothing from it other than a reminder of what death and tragedy are.

    Wanna support them? Donate your money, time, energy, and resources to making their lives better in the same way that they sacrificed their time, energy, resources, and – in some cases – lives to make your life better.

    Wearing camo is nothing more than a bullshit reason to claim you support the troops. If you really wanna wear, grab a gun and stand a post like they did.

    I’m getting tired of this elitist attitude of & towards the military that’s implied as mandatory. I know they teach cadets to have all this confidence & honor, but the superiority trip is exhausting. It’s enough to drive a person from being supportive to general apathy to downright being against the military.

    My dad served in the Army but he doesn’t make it the most redeeming attribute to his entire life. He served & he got over it. Camo unis is just another special interest group trying to nose & pester their ways in our lives. In other words: get that shit off the sports fields where it doesn’t belong.

    Those Florida women’s soccer uniforms are nice. Both Nike and adidas had striped templates this year, used to mixed effect.

    Duke men had blue/black, SMU men had red/blue in Nike which both worked.

    On the other hand, you had Tulsa men in adidas (the same template as these Florida uniforms) in blue/fabric gold – with red numbers. Possibly the worst soccer uniforms I have ever seen.

    If I were a Lions fan, I’d probably rather sit on the couch playing video games than either watch the Lions play or show my face in public.

    I *am* a Lions fan, so yeah… any optimism carrying over from last year’s return to the playoffs is looooooong gone.

    Mr. Lukas,
    Once again, someone with a computer and keyboard can type whatever they like in their little blogosphere and not face any real recrimination for it, just the occasional comments from a few folks like myself.
    Let me tell you a little about Coach London. He was born at West Point. Yes, THAT West Point. His father was serving in the military there at the time. His father is currently hospitalized with complications from Agent Orange during his time in Vietnam. As stated by commenter Jeremy, above, Mike went on after college to serve in law enforcement in one of the most dangerous cities in the US at the time, Richmond. He left the service and has been in coaching ever since. He was hired at UVA not only because of his success during his brief tenure at Richmond, but also because of his strong commitment to his players (and his players’ parents) that he will work to ensure they are students and good people first, then good football players. He is an inspiration to those he has met and will continue to be so. So please, at least do a Google search on someone before you type. That’s the LEAST you could do before you put together this “Pulitzer”-worthy column.
    As an aside, I served in the military myself and didn’t find his uniform decision offensive in the least. What does offend me is when columnists/journalists/media and the players and coaches they cover refer to the game with words like “warrior” and “hero”.

    That’s all well and good, but he simply doesn’t rate wearing the uniform. Leave the uniform to those of us who served please.

    If having a father in the military gave you the right to butcher a military uniform, then I’m wearing Air Force pants to the next wedding/funeral I have to go to.

    Its not offensive that he wore military garb. Its offensive he couldn’t be decent to do it all the way.

    My father served. My mother served. My grandfathers served. The vast majority of my family served. Here’s the thing, though–I gave up wearing the uniform to be like them around halloween when I was 12. I realized that I needed to honor them in a different way–join the military myself or DO something instead of, yes, playing “dress-up.”

    I find it interesting how people don’t equate a military uniform to a police uniform. Mike London was a police officer, correct? I wonder how he’d react to, say, on the 9/11 anniversary there was a coach who ran around the sidelines wearing a police uniform incorrectly yelling at people? Would he be for it? I can’t begin to answer for him and wouldn’t want to, but the comparison remains valid.

    My Dad was a sheet metal worker, doesn’t mean I wear a hard-hat into the office.

    It’s the man’s opinion. You need to relax and learn how to write a comment that isn’t dripping with insults.

    “…I wonder why the NFL apparently would not allow the Eagles logos in this movie…”

    CAN the NFL even do this? I just heard something the other day about the movie “Flight” and its conspicuous placement of Bud and Stoli. Apparently the manufacturers/distributors of those brands are none too happy about this but can’t really do anything but ask that their products be removed from the film as the usage of everyday brands in movies is considered free speech.

    Maybe the filmmakers wanted the NFL to pay for product placement but the League refused, so the logos were removed.

    That’s very possible.

    Going back to my prop-assistant days, we were told by Legal that we could use brand name items so long as they were in context with other brand names. So kitchens full of groceries could display brand names, but one lone item by itself needs to be link.

    I haven’t seen the film (nor is it likely I ever will), but my understanding is that other beverage logos were also prominently featured, which might give Paramount ample legal cover.

    As an Active Duty Gunny, the coach does look silly wearing an incomplete set of cammies/utilities. Paul, I agree with your point about the whole concept of “honoring” the services being taken too far, and it does look ridiculous. However, some of the commentary you provided came off as amateur and unnecessary. LOVE the blog and keep doing what you do, thank you.

    Two things. One; I love the Panthers black pants. Watching the contrast of black and light blue is perfect. Also there was no leotard look. Two; the video game sponsoring the Lions Play60 is Xbox Kinect. While still, its a video game, its probably the most active video game system out there.

    the video game sponsoring the Lions Play60 is Xbox Kinect. While still, its a video game, its probably the most active video game system out there.

    Oh, please — this is what our culture of rationalization has come to?

    Here’s another question worth asking: Why exactly does the NFL’s Play 60 initiative need *any* sponsor?

    Why does the NFL even have the Play 60 initiative in the first place? That’s the sad thing – that a freakin sports league needs to make an actual point of saying “hey, go outside and play for a while”.

    All Kyle (and myself further up the page) are pointing out is that Kinect isn’t your typical video game system. Sure, it’s not exactly running around playing dodgeball or something, but it *is* more active than what most people think of when you mention video games. It’s certainly not a bad option for keeping kids active when it’s cold and rainy outside.

    Why does the NFL even have the Play 60 initiative in the first place? That’s the sad thing — that a freakin sports league needs to make an actual point of saying “hey, go outside and play for a while”.

    Sure, but that’s more of an indictment of our couch potato culture than of the NFL. I say good for them for encouraging kids to run around outside — but not so good for partnering with a video game (or for using any corporate sponsor at all for this program — it’s sponsored by the NFL, that should be enough).

    Paul, I agree with you on most of the stuff on sponsorship. I think you miss one part of sponsorship: providing services that a team actually NEEDS. A simple example would be the local family diner that gives its little league team a post-game meal. That’s a reasonable service that a sponsor provides to an organization it is in partnership with. This strikes me as something similar. From the release, it strikes me that XBox will be providing some technology for events. My guess is that we will see Matt Stafford playing some sort of aerobics Kinect game with first graders at some point. Is it that BIG of a deal for XBox and the Lions to team up to do those events? Isn’t that a natural form of business partnership? Isn’t this like the clothing companies who get their name listed at the end of a game show because they gave the clothing for the host? Why does EVERYTHING have to be this crusade? I get that we don’t want Xbox plastered on the Lions’ jerseys, but what is so bad about XBox getting some name recognition for providing XBox technology at a public event? Sure, the Lions could just BUY the technology, but why is it so bad for them instead to work with a company that can provide it in a cost efficient way?

    For one thing, kids should be exposed to as little advertising as possible.

    For another, the idea that a gazillion-dollar league “needs” someone to underwrite its do-gooder proposal is laughable.

    … the idea that a gazillion-dollar league “needs” someone to underwrite its do-gooder proposal is laughable.

    Definitely concur on that point.

    Paul: I ask this not to be snarky, but in all seriousness: do you find it difficult to balance your firm stance on profit-engineering plans made by Big Corporations, but then do work for ESPN?

    I actually went on here specifically to say those two things. I’m normally not a fan of black-on-black, but I was a big fan of the appropriately placed large splashes of bright blue with the Panthers get up…great way to break up the monochrome.

    I agree the Kinect sponsorship isn’t bad. The press release encourages kids to use (i.e. have their parents buy it for them) their video game system to get exercise when it’s too cold or too hot to play outside. Makes sense from both a marketing and a practical angle for parents.

    I have a friend who lost more than 75 pounds by playing intense games of DDR every night…was a great way for him to get exercise and he actually enjoyed doing it.

    The mask (and suspension helmet) in the Darryl Royal photo is a Marietta. Marietta made a wide variety of masks some made from a clear plastic similar to the masks wore by athletes with facial injuries.

    Somewhere on the “Helmet Hut” website there is a pretty long explanation about the Marietta facemasks and how they were popular in Texas and he Southwest back in the 1960s. You can even find a few early Dallas Cowboys photos of a very few Cowboys wearing them. Into the mid 1970s you’d see many of the SWC teams wearing them. Those and the White MacGregor facemasks.

    Also, Silver Linings Playbook might have been the movie filmed at the Norristown State Hospital (a mental asylum) They had to build a fake gate for the entrance, and seeing the movie has a Philly background , I actually wanna watch it.

    Paul, ordinarily I agree with you about teams paying “tribute” to the military. I have to disagree when you say something like it “bad for military personnel, bad for all of us.” A got a text on saturday from my friend (a UVA grad and former NROTC member who’s now in current active duty) and he could not have been more excited about Mike London. Sure I thought London looked silly, but if the people he’s actually representing like it, then that’s all that matters really. It was clearly not disrespectful to him. Granted, he is the only memember of the military I’ve ever talked to about this, so he could be in the minority.

    if the people he’s actually representing like it, then that’s all that matters really.

    No, that’s not all that matters. As I wrote last Monday, this entire camo crusade has elevated the military to a privileged “speak no evil” status that’s wholly inappropriate. That’s what it’s bad for all of us, as a society.

    As for the opinion within the military, it appears to be mixed, as you can see here:

    But while those responses are interesting and help provide background context for the discussion, they should not guide the discussion. The larger question is whether it’s appropriate for the uni-verse to function as a de facto military celebration machine (and, by extension, a de facto propaganda operation), which is what it’s become. That’s what I find inappropriate, and that’s why I found the sight of a coach in full uniform to be so offensive.

    Hey Paul,

    I just want to send congratulations your way. Before this post, you had a website that no one gave a shit about. Yeah sure occasionally ESPN throws you a bone on a slow news day and gives you a slot on the homepage roughly the same size as the recent column on the International Women’s Foosball Championships. So what do you do to get your name out there? Call a guy like Mike London a “jackass”. I don’t want to to to deeply into the argument of whether his attire was appropriate or not. I’ll leave that debate to guys like Mr. Christie (and just to be fair here, obviously plenty of servicemen thought Coach London’s fatigues well a respectful tribute, considering the number of military personnel involved in setting up that day). But, seriously. You are a guy who blogs about uniforms. You couldn’t even cut it in the vicious world of real sports blogging. How are you in any position to call a guy like Mike London a “jackass”? Anyways, I basically contradicted my whole point by even bothering to comment. You’re a waste of my time. Good luck on this whole life you got going on here.

    I’ve been giving a shit about this website and Paul’s columns for quite a few years.

    Just because you don’t agree with his opinions does not mean you should hurl misguided and uneducated insults.

    “Vicious world of real sports blogging”….you are hilarious.

    Paul Lukas is one of the most thoughtful and intelligent writers I’ve read in the world of sports. Disagreeing with his opinions is fine, but the bitter personal attacks and really un-clever sarcasm offend me. So go do something anatomically impossible to yourself.

    I got a big laugh when I looked at the picture following the words “panthers are black” in todays post. Very clever. Funny too. Well done.
    For the record I’m generally not a fan of black but the Panthers black pants actually looked decent paired with the jerseys they wear. Face it. We’ve seen much worse. I could live with this combo.

    I think camo should be worn by actual people in the military who need it for their job. Not on sports fields or athletes.

    Coach Camo Jackass looks like he just came from a Halloween party.

    Spot on concealed78. I am going to go out on a limb here and say everyone that reads this supports our troops, loves our military, and loves our country. With that being said, camo should not appear anywhere on a sports field. It has been said before, but please leave the camo gear to the men and women who are serving this country. Otherwise it’s just another “look at me” stunt.

    coach Mike London: “Hey! I’m Coach Camo Jackass! Respect my au-thor-i-tah!”

    He looks like a [giant] 8-year old kid who is playing G.I. Joe in his treehouse with his headset after riding his 1-speed bicycle to the local gas station. If these football players had any shame whatsoever, they would be embarrassed.

    This camo thing has gone too far & needs to stop.

    Those are… interesting. I wouldn’t call any of them an improvement, though I wouldn’t mind his Steelers S being expanded into a complete STEELERS and used as endzone art.

    I like most of them and regard a few of them as NFL-worthy, but there’s an odd literalism here and way too much use of footballs as a symbol. Maybe the best thing about NFL logo design is how little the league relies on showing us its ball, compared with the NBA and MLB. Making a visual pun out of the shape of a football in a logo is something that can be fun if one or two teams do it. But if you design a whole league where almost every team does so, my only conclusion is that the designer in question Doesn’t Get It.

    The only one I really like is the alternate Texans logo. It screams Houston to me, it’s clever but not too clever. Couldn’t imagine it anywhere on the uniform, but would be a cool promotional logo.

    I don’t obviously know his entire life history, but Mike London was born in West Point. Could it be his father was in the military and it was his way to honor him? I still don’t necessarily agree with it, but maybe there is more to it.

    I think Rob Ryan has done that before (putting an iconic image of the city they are visiting on his playsheet). What bugs me (with my roots in the Del Val) is picking a steak shop that isn’t all that close to the best.

    Please, please, please do not link to the Daily Mail. Now I’ll calmly step away before someone berates me about what a swell guy Mike London is.

    When i posted about mcclean in yesterdays comments, i used a guardian link. :)

    And as i mentioned, mcclean is from derry in northern ireland, where the Bloody Sunday incident took place and that could (no proof) be why he didnt want to honour the british army.

    I understand why McClean might have not wanted to wear the poppy but frankly it’s a childish and also ignorant reason. The poppy is a tribute to those who fell fighting in WW1, of which there were many Catholics not just from Derry but from all around Ireland. Indeed, many were avowed Irish nationalists and many more were in it for the same apolitical reasons most young people join the military.

    What McClean is doing is continuing a despicable tradition within Irish society of institutional neglect for the 200,000 Irish who fought — 30,000 of whom died — in WW1.

    I thoroughly believe that the poppy (quite unlike the overt jingoism of military dress up which occurs in the U.S.) is an appropriate symbol of the tragedy and horror of war which avoids glorification or nationalistic chest pumping.

    That said, people like James McClean and also a certain sector of British society bastardize it and make it political and in turn make it into everything it is supposed to be against.

    From this side of the pond, it feels like the poppy has become less about honoring WWI and become an all purpose support the troops symbol. Certainly feels that way in canadian media.

    Just my perception

    Those who follow F1 know Vettel changes helmet quite often. Well, every race really. Did you know you can see every helmet design in his website?

    Hey Paul, I’m pretty handy with a camera and I’m free Wednesday night, but sadly I’m about 4 hours away in Hershey, Pennsylvania. Wish I could help you out!

    Would the Mike London defenders think it’s ok if Al Roker or a local weatherman who never served wore full camo? How about the employees at a McDonalds? Or a politician presenting a bill? What about a comedian on stage(doing his job)? Pat Sajak and Vanna White? Ellen?

    The point is that a lot of people will give London a pass because he’s a football coach and somehow it’s more acceptable for him to do than non-veterans in other occupations. It’s pretty ridiculous.

    Hey now, leave Vanna White and Pat Sajak out of this… you don’t mess with the Wheel of Fortune. Pat Sajak can wear whatever he wants to, whether it’s an improper military uniform or something out of Zardoz.

    Pat Sajak volunteered for the Army and served in Vietnam. The way he tells it, he was hoping that by volunteering instead of waiting to be drafted, he could avoid being sent to Vietnam, which didn’t work out, but it kept him out of the infantry.

    Are we still supposed to submit ticker items via the comments? Kent State men’s basketball changed its gold alt and wore it Friday; not sure if there will be new home/road/gray-alt unis to follow. With sweatback, unfortunately, though I haven’t found a good picture of that.

    Old: link
    New: link

    Dear NFL,

    Re: NFL Play60

    If Kinect is just like exercise, then a Roomba is a real vacuum. Stay wasted.



    I turned 50 last week. My kids bought me one of the new Astros caps. In person, it’s really quite lovely.

    “Pretty cool striped design for Florida women’s soccer”

    As a “kit” pedant I would normally comment that “horizontal stripes” are hoops… but that’s canceled out by the *even more pedantic* note — hoops must go all the way around the shirt. Florida’s do not, so they are in the no man’s land of not proper stripes and not proper hoops.

    Generally prefer full hoops on a soccer shirt, something Celtic-like, but considering how dull soccer uniforms tend to be a the collegiate level, I’ll take anything I can get.

    I think they would have looked better with silver socks rather than blue socks. It would match the helmet that way.

    Re: MLB slings…

    I think you should DIY yourself a sling that resembles a certain t-shirt that one could, hypothetically, purchase were one to…etc etc.

    Notre Dame billing their 11/29 basketball game against Kentucky as a blackout game; this YouTube video hints that they’ll wear black uniforms with green lettering and trim:


    Something you missed from Thursday:

    Jags wore their black alts for the third time. You can’t do that, guys. I expect a fine coming.

    You are, in fact, the one who is incorrect. By rule, the alternate jersey can be worn a maximum of twice in the regular season and once in the preseason.

    If the teal is the alternate, it was worn three times in the preseason, which is two over the limit.

    If the black is the alternate, it has been worn three times in the regular season, which is one over the limit.

    In addition, the redesignation would have had to be done one year ahead of time, which it apparently was not. This rule is the reason the Denver uniform switch wasn’t until this year when it was announced last year. Same with Atlanta in 2003-2004.

    Dude, stop yammering long enough to google “Jaguars black jersey primary” and see what you come up with. Then get back to us, OK?

    Yes, the in-season switch of jersey designations is unprecedented — but they did it anyway, with the league’s approval. Yes, this means they technically wore the teal jersey “too many times” in the preseason — but they did it anyway, with the league’s approval. I realize they should have consulted you before doing all of this, but somehow it slipped their minds.

    Having now confirmed that 2 plus 2 still equals 4, let’s please move on. Thanks.

    If anything involves being a Jackass on this whole post, it’s Phil making fun of somebody by utilizing a mental disorder. Come on

    A sad day for Southern Miss, wearing flag desecration decals for Saturday. As if the season weren’t bad enough on it’s own.

    From Chris Creamer:


    I really don’t understand this because Brooklyn and Boston play on Christmas Day and they are both wearing green? What????

    I’m fairly certain those are black, perhaps black with a green tint (not uncommon for black clothing to have a tint to it), or maybe the pic is just off so it seems to have that greenish hue.

    I didn’t see it as green until I read this comment and followed the link, had you not put that thought in my head I doubt I ever would have come to that conclusion (I certainly though it was black when I followed the link they put up on Twitter earlier today).

    23 NFL teams have white pants, 7 teams have navy, and 7 have gray/silver. Carolina is the 5th team to wear black, so it’s not like there is an overabundance of black pants in the league. If anything, there is way too much white. (I may be off by a team on the counts, but you get my point.)

    um…it’s not like they just added white pants or something…and the red pants look like shit, could you imagine if they ONLY had red pants?

    there are plenty enough teams who DON’T ever wear white pants–lets see if i can count them all: pats, stillers, titans(?), raiders, giants, cowboys, packers, lions, saints, and niners…yes?

    did i get that right?

    and the red pants look like shit

    Obviously, you’re looking at the wrong red pants. We’re talking about the Chiefs, not the Cardinals.

    Anyway… I’m fine with KC wearing white pants with the red jerseys, but the red pants are FAR superior to the all-white look.


    maybe if THE wants to doctor that up, you can see what it would look like, but the chiefs stripes are red-gold-red

    …even on the red pants, which look stupid with the white border

    well, it’s not that i don’t want to — but i haven’t photoshopped (actually gimped) since i moved to my mac 2 years ago, and im not even sure i remember how

    used to be soooooo good at it.

    don’t know if you saw this one, but waaaaaaayyy back in 2010, THE and i teamed up to do a whole mess of ‘shoppin’ for a color vs. color post

    I posted Sunday regarding Mike London and said “WTF?”

    Does anyone have pictures of Ken Niumatalolo (Navy), Rich Ellerson (Army) and/or Troy Calhoun (Air Force) wearing full-on battle fatigues? I’ve seen Ellerson on a cammo hat but nothing else.

    Surely I’m not the only one who immediately though of this while reading about James McClean’s refusal to wear the poppy…



    looks like the chrome helmets and alt jerseys for the Buckeyes vs UM is a actually a thing link (look at the promo banner in the middle of the site)

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