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Uni Watch DIY Project: Building a Better Helmet

[Editor’s Note: Today we have a guest-written DIY piece from longtime reader/contributor Ryan Connelly. Enjoy. ”” PL]

By Ryan Connelly

I always use the same name for fantasy sports and whatnot: the Swisshelm Express. Same name as the bus line that ran down the street I grew up on. It was also the subject of my very first two DIY projects, one of which was featured here on Uni Watch.

shp 1

I’ve wanted to work on a DIY football helmet for a while now, so I got to designing a Swisshelm Express helmet logo. I played around with ideas of a simple version of the logo that had appeared on one of my DIY jerseys — something I could possibly paint myself:

Then I totally played around with other ideas just to reset my thoughts:
shp try

But then I started to focus on a train/express theme:

shp trains

Once I was comfortable with a train engine that I liked and could work with, I started to explore a design with a shield motif, because I’ve always loved logos with shields:

shp logos

Eventually I settled on this stripey beauty:

shp logo


So now I had my logo, but I still had to turn it into a helmet decal. After a bit of research and phone haggling, I settled on a company that specializes in decals. They really treated me great, and let’s just say they were willing to work with me a bit here and there. Here are the finished decals, plus a flag and number sheet:


I also designed a fat helmet stripe to go along with the logo. I basically just pulled the stripes from the front of the train engine and copy/pasted to the appropriate dimensions:


Next, it was time for helmet research. Couldn’t find helmets anywhere around the Pittsburgh area. Couldn’t find a good vendor online. Didn’t want to pay the money for an authentic. Didn’t want a used, dirty, scuffed helmet. All I really knew was that I wanted a dark-colored helmet with a gray facemask. I finally found a Steelers replica throwback helmet and won it on eBay auction at a really great price:


The added bonus of using a Steelers helmet was that I had a clean, logoless left side. So I threw a decal on that side immediately, just to get a hint of how it would look:


Then I choose two numerals for the back helmet numbers, lined them up with the center stripe, applied them, and then carefully peeled off the stripe off:



Then I added my center stripe. It looks really cool, especially with the raised center ridge on the helmet:


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Next step: I carefully peeled off the Steelers logo from the right side of the helmet and used Scotch tape and extra decal pieces to make sure the my logo decal on that side was aligned with the one on the left side:


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Perfect! If you want to see more photos of the finished helmet, check out the last few photos in this set. I couldn’t be more happy with the way it all came together and how it finally turned out! Hope you enjoyed the write-up!


Big thanks to RyCo, who’s truly the king of the Uni Watch DIYers.

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PermaRec update: The latest entry on the Permanent Record blog is about tens of thousands of photos — many of them badly damaged, like the one shown at right — that were lost in a tornado and are now being returned to their rightful owners. It’s a powerful story. Check it out here.

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Uni Watch News Ticker: A new poll shows that an overwhelming majority of Americans have no problem with the Redskins’ name. … New logo and uniforms for San Diego State, plus there’s a new style guide. … A little birdie tells me that St. John’s may (a) switch from Nike to Under Armour, (b) bring back blue, (c) go back to “SJU” instead of “STJ,” and (d) swap “Johnny Thunderbird” for a cartoon caricature of Lou Carnesecca with an “LC” on the chest. … Although most of the article is behind a paywall, it appears that Memphis is leading its conference in hitting after switching to those ax-handled bats (from my ESPN editor Dave Wilson). … Doug Murray of the Penguins was wearing some interesting skate guards on Wednesday night. … Speaking of the Penguins, they have a fun strength/conditioning logo (from Matthew Walthert). … The A’s promotional schedule lists a “1969 Turn Back the Clock” game for July 29, so they’ll presumably be wearing throwbacks that day (from Richard Paloma). … Here’s what the Jags’ new practice jerseys look like (from Jason Cimon). … Latest bogus attempt to connect sports with the military: The Bruins are choosing a player of the game, who gets to wear an Army Rangers camouflage jacket. Boys with toys (from Bobby Pinkham). … I think I may have listed this in the Ticker years ago, but once more won’t hurt: There are some amazing old San Francisco semi-pro baseball photos here (from Mark Chiarucci). … Shame on the Philadelphia City Council, which has approved a plan to sell advertising on city buildings and vehicles (thanks, Phil). … Robinson Cano made a community appearance yesterday and was wearing a 2011 Yankees cap with the All-Star Game patch (from Matt Harris). … The Birmingham Barons are a White Sox affiliate, which presumably explains why they’re selling this very cool cap. “I don’t think they use it on the field, but I did see several ushers and other stadium employees wearing it,” says Dan O’Hara. … Reprinted from yesterday’s comments: Mark in Shiga was poking around on eBay and found a bunch of nameplates that had been removed from old Pirates jerseys, including three different styles for Larry McWilliams’s NOB: small, base-aligned “c”; all caps with a space; and superscript “c” with an underscore. … USC, Baylor, and Notre Dame are getting new facemasks that color-shift from gray to gold. … Coleman Mullins spotted a pulled-over car with a “Nike” vanity plate. … Ever seen these NFL “Forest Face” kits before? I hadn’t, until Brice Wallace showed me this merch page. The whole thing feels very Mr. Potato Head, no? … Possible stadium renovations in the work for Notre Dame (from Tom Murphy). … In a related item, here’s what a modernized Wrigley Field might look like (from Adam Herbst). … Looks like the Vikings use numberless jerseys for their player head shots (from Matt Snyder). … The Rolling Stones are playing at the Staples Center in L.A. tonight, and Steve Mandich notes that they’ve created several team-themed T-shirts for the occasion — one each for the Lakers, Clippers, and Kings. … One more from yesterday’s comments: Someone has come up with a really clever John Buck jersey. … New uni number assignments for the Ravens (from Andrew Cosentino). … The teams for Madras High School in Oregon are called the White Buffaloes. A student designed their new logo, which was supposed to look like this. But then they let a corporate branding firm redesign it, so now it looks like this. “My disappointment is through the roof,” says Madras alum Kenny Ocker. ”¦ Here’s the new logo for the 2018 Winter Olympics. Further details here (from Dan Kurtz).

Comments (159)

    Seconding the praise – amazing work. Outstanding as design, beautiful as art, and insanely well executed. I expect a lot of quality from a RyCo40 DIY report, and somehow you always manage to exceed my expectations!

    Couple of questions about design choices. First, the shield decals seem to sit very high on the helmet sides. Was that a choice, and if so what went into it, or was it a practical matter of keeping a certain distance from the earholes? Also, I was surprised to see the center stripe terminate on the back. Again, I’d love to know more of your thinking with the choice not to extend the center stripe all the way to the bottom.

    you guys are too kind

    “the shield decals seem to sit very high on the helmet sides. Was that a choice, and if so what went into it, or was it a practical matter of keeping a certain distance from the earholes?”

    i think it’s the angle that the picture was taken. i actually tried to space equal distance between the center stripe, and the part around the earhole that starts to angle out, or no longer stays flat (know what i mean?).

    “Also, I was surprised to see the center stripe terminate on the back”

    i ordered, what i think, is a slightly larger number size that would usually be placed on the back of the helmet. i wanted the rear numbers to be more important to the overall design of the helmet, like train numbers/designations. i finished the center stripe right above the numbers because a) the stripe is so wide, that a 2 digit uniform number seems a bit disconnected, and b) just to totally be different. looks cool, that sort of thing.

    i also bought the flag stickers, which i know a lot of you disapprove of, but i’m a big fan. however, there is no space on the helmet to place the sticker that doesnt seem forced or clunky, or too busy.

    also, in case anybody is wondering, “412” in the logo is the area code for pittsburgh.

    great questions R., sharp eye!

    Thanks for the response! On the decal, I think my impression may be a slightly different optical illusion than camera angle. I think it’s just that the shield has a bit more visual presence at the top than the bottom, so its “weight” floats a bit higher than its actual linear center. Not a critique! The little bit of “top-heaviness” that I’m seeing actually gives the helmet a nice sense of heft.

    Ryan, how did you get the decal to sit right on the spherical surface of the helmet, with no bunched-up oarts? (I’m not explaining this well, but imagine putting a square sticker on a round ball.)

    mark, i know exactly what you’re asking. the thick sticker/decal material they use is VERY forgiving. almost rubbery. in fact, it’s so forgiving, you can peel those stickers off, realign them, and stick them back down a few times. just like we see in equipment managers youtube videos that are posted here from time to time

    Ryan, I love this project. If you have never decaled a helmet before, it is not easy. Hell, even after the few thousand I went through in my 12 years in the Equipment Room, I still messed up a placement. If this was your first one, you did a great job with the center stripe and numbers.

    I do have to say that the main decals are a bit to high. The decal should be overall centered on the sides.

    I would suggest to first look at how you have it placed now, but hold it at the angle that would be placed on a body. The decal should be level at that position. To reposition the decal, start by placing the bottom point where the ear-hole starts; that’s as low as you need to go. Position the decal based on how it would look while being worn, and don’t worry about it being equa-distant form the center stripe.

    Over all, you created an awesome looking design. That center stripe is just the bees knees! I would love to see what a Jersey for this team woudl look like!

    thanks, really great advice! that was my first time throwing stickers on a football helmet.

    you know, for all the work i put into this helmet design, you’d think i would have an idea of what the matching uniforms would look like. but i’ve honestly put very little thought into it. i think though it’s because i just couldnt DIY it like i could a hockey jersey.

    now that i think of it, the only “jersey design” contest i’ve ever designed for was the “rebrand/rename the redskins” contest. and even then all i did was design a new helmet logo. hockey is more my speed. maybe i’ll tinker in the future

    I assume it’s related to the College Football Playoff adopting a tweetable emoticon as its logo. So just like we can type (=) for the gridiron championships, we can type II* for the 2018 Winter Olympiad.

    Loved the helmet project. And loved the link to the decal supplier. Not stickers…but true helmet decals! I shall patronize them when my team orders more.

    The people at sportsdecals are awesome! I use them for my baseball team. Quality stuff and easy to work with.

    Hrm, that does look like a quality outfit. Some leaguemates and I had mini helmets made for our fake teams a number of years ago, and I was disappointed with the quality of the decals used. Bright colors/whites were a problem, and one of my designs (I had two teams done) which absolutely required white came out more as a sticker with a clear decal applied on top of it.

    The results here look fantastic – great job!

    Regarding the Redkins…

    An interesting observation from a trip to Santa Fe, NM last week: Native American merchants sell their art, jewelry, etc outside everyday in the main plaza in town. My wife and I were walking through checking out the scene, and one of the sellers had metal carrying cases (presumably that they use to cart their merchandise to and from the plaza) had a Washington Redskins bumper sticker affixed to the side. I noticed it right away, and it struck me as an odd thing to have there.

    I think it’s always a complicated relationship. On the one hand, the “savages” is uninformed and hurtful. On the other hand, there’s so little representation of Indians in mainstream culture, sports nicknames are about all they get.

    “…there’s so little representation of Indians in mainstream culture, sports nicknames are about all they get.”

    Then why the constant push to take those away from American Indians as well?

    Clearly there are American Indians who feel connected to the Redskins (moreso than anything else in or near Washington DC?).

    I live in Albuquerque, and in New Mexico we have a pretty large population of both Pueblo Indians and Navajo Indians. It is very common to see vehicles with “Native Pride” decals. Even the local Wal-Marts carry this type of apparel. What is interesting is that I have also seen vehicles with both the Native Pride slogan or logos and those of the Redskins, Braves, and Cleveland Indians. It seems to be a strange embrace of imagery that is considered offensive.

    I think you’re always going to have a mixed response on these types of issues. I apologize in advance for bringing up the Fighting Irish example again, but I do recall a small movement afoot years ago, by some Irish-American organization, calling for the leprechaun to be mothballed. That’s clearly not the majority view; most people seem to embrace the logo/nickname and don’t find it offensive, but some do.

    Your example is sort of the reverse of that. I could see why someone would take pride in those symbols, for the reasons mentioned above. I personally still think they’re wrong (at least the Redskins name). It’s just such a callous word.

    That helmet is fantastic. Great job!

    On the line of designing things for FF teams, anyone have any suggestions for how someone with no design skills (me) could go about getting a logo for my teams? I don’t want to be that guy who asks for free, but at the same time, FF logos aren’t a big project for anyone, either.

    As Yoda said, “Do, or do not. There is no get.”* Find yourself a free or cheap vector drawing program – I’ve heard good things about Inkscape for PC (link), and there are several excellent options for Mac, and a number of $10 apps for various tablet platforms – and start fiddling around! It’s fun and easy to learn. And these days, you can always go to YouTube and search for the name of the app you’re using and the thing you want to learn how to do to find tutorials. A place to start can be importing a piece of existing art, like a team logo or something that you find online, and then converting it to vector art, and then adding stuff or modifying it. If the phrase “converting to vector” doesn’t make perfect sense to you, that would be a great first tutorial to seek out! Once you get a few basic concepts down, creating your own digital art really is easy and fun.

    *Not actually what Yoda said.

    What’s the old saying, 10% inspiration, 90% perspiration? True fact: Most arts, like almost every human activity, are mostly craft. It doesn’t take genius to be good at anything. It takes practice. If you want to design a fun helmet logo for your fantasy football team, you can probably do an entirely pleasing job in a couple of weeks in your spare time, even if you’re a total newb.

    “I don’t want to be that guy who asks for free, but at the same time, FF logos aren’t a big project for anyone, either.”

    That’s ridiculous. That’s like asking a plumber or handyman to fix something for free because it “won’t take too long.”

    If you want it to look decent, it’s a big project.

    I think I phrased that poorly. I will pay for a design. I won’t pay $1000 for a design.

    I don’t pay a plumber who comes over to unstop a drain as much as I pay a plumber who replaces all of the pipes in my house. Some jobs are bigger than others.

    For free you could use MSPaint on your computer or download to design your logo. Won’t suck up a lot of hard drive space and are relatively simple to use.

    Vector Magic will let you convert 2 images to vector for free.

    I am “The Entomologists”. No specific colors. Theme is, obviously, bugs and science.

    Thanks, if you decide to come up with something! No need to do so, of course.

    79 percent out of 1,004 people polled? That’s 793 people. So, 0.0002526% of the United States population (based on a 2012 estimate) think the Redskins name shouldn’t be changed.

    NICE SAMPLE SIZE, AP! Come back when you have a sample size that actually means anything.

    Actually, that’s a fairly typical sample size for most national polls. If the sample is selected in a way that mirrors national demographics, it’s a fairly accurate polling method.

    YOu can be as skeptical as you like. But back here in the real world, polling generally tends to be accurate. Is it exact? No. But it is a highly sophisticated science — much more sophisticated than simply gauging the sample size against the the size of the national population.

    Re-reading that article, it does specify 1,004 phone interviews were included, which could be read to imply additional data was gathered by other means, but the article doesn’t specify that there was any other means of data-gathering.

    Don’t want to get into a Statistics 101 class here, but a poll with a sample size of 1000 has a 3% margin of error and provides a 95% confidence level. You don’t have to actually flip a coin ten million times to determine the probablity, within 3%, of how many times it’s going to come up heads.

    I recall one of my business professors many moons ago telling us not to trust a poll that had a margin of error greater than 3.0%. I’m not sure if that opinion has changed with less people having land line phones, people screening calls through the answering machine, etc.

    Assuming a random sample, with over 1000 you can get pretty accurate read on 300,000,000 Americans. I’d bet they’re better than 90 percent confident within a 6 percentage point spread. The bigger question is how to read the results. If 1 out of 5 people think your mascot is racist you might want to consider changing it.

    So 79% of the people polled don’t think the name should be changed? Then I hope this puts the issue to rest for a little while.

    Or does it just mean that even if a position has a clear majority of the public’s opinion, that it can still be “wrong”? Or is there really no such thing as right vs wrong — just whatever is is. Whoever’s in charge decides what’s what, whether it be a monarch, a democratic society, a whatever.

    Guess the 21% that are still outnumbered are going to have to work a little harder to try and sway the general consensus. Keep on banging that drum! (Oops, I guess that’s a poor metaphor to use) Maybe 10 years down the road they’ll make some more headway, and can get that 79% down into the mid-60s.

    I guess since Snyder owns the team, we’ll have to leave it up to him as to if and when he wants to change the team’s name. But if you’re in that 21% that think it’s an offensive team name, don’t cheering for the team, don’t buy their jerseys, and write to your congressman and see what he can do.

    In the meantime, I sure the 79% will be glad to keep shelling out the money to root, root, root for the ‘Skins! HTTR!

    Apparently 90% of the population thinks background checks for gun sales is a good idea.

    And yet, here we are.

    Let’s make a deal, shall we? We get background, watered-down background checks like 90% of the population wants and shut up about the name…

    Bet that 10% minority isn’t going to shut up or take that deal.

    So why should the “issue” be put to rest if 79% don’t think the name should be changed? The concerns of the 21% don’t mean shit?

    I’m not saying the concerns of the 21% don’t matter, just that they’re out-numbered. I don’t mean put it to rest permanently, just that at this snapshot of a moment in time, when 79% of the people feel a certain way, then yes, for a little while let’s maintain the status quo.

    But maybe in a similar poll a week from now, it’s only 78.7% that feel that way, and maybe someday when the sun is shining bright, the flowers are in bloom and all is right with the world, we’re all arm-in-arm singing Cum-bay-a around the campfire, a majority of the people will agree with the current 21% that yes, the term “red-skins”, even though it may be being used totally innocently, only in reference to a football team, is derogatory to Native Americans and Daniel Snyder, (or his sons or grandsons who may at that point own the team) in his infinite wisdom may decide that it makes economic sense to change the teams name, what with all the picketers outside and nobody cheering for his team or buying tickets anymore.

    Nah, more than likely Snyder will never change the name himself, but he’ll someday sell the team, and the new owner will change the name because he himself thinks it’s offensive, not because he was cajoled into changing it by the liberal progressive elite. (Or he’s one of them.)

    In the mean time, I encourage the 21% to keep telling the other 79% how they should think.

    Or it could be that you’re wrong on both fronts. “Savage” refers to the name of the founder of the company, not to Native Americans. The company history also shows the use of the logo with the full support and endorsement of the tribe and Native American which it depicts.

    “The Savage Arms Company was organized in 1894 by Arthur Savage in Utica, New York. A native of Jamaica, Arthur led a romantic life, having been schooled in England and the United States. In his thirties, he explored the interior of Australia and was held captive for a year by Aborigines. Later, he became the owner of the largest cattle ranch in Australia.

    After moving to Utica, New York, he developed the Savage Halpine torpedo, became the Superintendent of the Utica Belt Line Railroad, and invented the first “hammerless” lever action rifle with the entire mechanism enclosed in a steel receiver. This remarkable rifle featured a rotary magazine with a unique counter that visually displayed the number of bullets remaining in the receiver. The Model 99, as it became known, advanced firearm technology, offered the average person an affordable rifle, and started a business that has stood the test of time. In 1919, Chief Lame Deer (above) approached Arthur to purchase lever-action rifles for the Indian reservation and the two men struck a deal. The tribe would get discounted rifles and Savage would get their support and endorsement. It was at this time in the company’s history, that Arthur Savage added the Indian head logo–a direct gift from the Chief–to the company name. By 1919, Savage Arms was manufacturing high power rifles, 22 caliber rifles, pistols and ammunition.”

    Not directly related, but on that theme: During the Indian Wars of the post-Civil War era, it was quite common for native fighters to have lever-action repeating rifles, whereas U.S. soldiers were usually issued bolt-action rifles. In a brief encounter, a native fighter could thus fire perhaps 5 shots to a soldier’s 2. In the long run, the Army’s bolt-action guns could sustain a more consistent rate of fire and achieve better accuracy at longer distance, but in the common hit-and-run engagements of the Indian Wars, native fighters often outgunned the Army. Native armed resistance to U.S. aggression and abuses depended in large part on Eastern gun-makers’ eagerness to sell their products to anyone who would pay, even domestic insurgents fighting the U.S. government.

    The lifting Penguins logo was about the only thing I really latched onto from that photoset when I saw it yesterday.

    I wish they’d gotten into Dana Heinze’s vault, though.

    Too bad they didn’t actually redraw the penguin; they just rotated him and replaced his stick with the barbell. It’s actually pretty awkward-looking.

    I only saw the photo from above but my takeaway is that the Consol Energy Center apparently spared no expense in providing space for strength and conditioning.

    Those skate guards worn by Douglas (“don’t call me Doug”) Murray of the Penguins appear to be link. I believ I had told you about these in Minneapolis when we were down for the pond hockey championships a couple of years ago when the creator, Frank McClelland, was embroiled in a cease-and-desist with Under Armour over the name “Ankle Armor”.

    Frank has provided a number of teams – Detroit, Toronto, Pittsburgh – with these skate guards.

    Ironically, I do, James! :o)

    Nye’s Polonaise Room!

    Had a sweet looking bowling shirt that was available to buy with their name on it posted on the wall. I thought Paul may have liked it.

    San Diego State’s new football uniforms look pretty sharp, from what I can tell.

    And I think I’m a fan of the gray-gold color shift facemasks.

    I have to agree that the new SDSU uniforms are pretty sweet except for that typeface. That typeface is fuckin’ terrible.

    Michael Waltrip is running a Crimson Tide BCS championship-themed Toyota for this weekend’s race in Talladega:


    Reports also state that his headgear will be painted to resemble a ‘Bama football helmet (haven’t seen a pic of it though).

    The interesting thing about the ND stadium sketch isn’t the change to the structure it’s the actual field. Not sure if it means anything but they have a clover/ND logo at midfield. I had heard that Brian Kelly was pushing for field turf and that they were going to do it this coming year. If they are going field turf I think it’s nice to put a logo at midfield but I could see them still getting all bent about “tradition” and leaving midfield blank – boring!

    It’s merely a concept sketch. The final outcome is not necessarily what you see.

    As for field turf, not for next year. They are presently re-sodding the field with natural grass.

    Well, he was correct when he pointed out that the grass in 2010 was awful. But the administration wanted to make every effort to have a good grass field before they gave up and went to a completely artificial surface. The field was much better in his next two seasons. All that said, they might revisit the issue in the next decade or so, depending on how much use they want to get out of the stadium.

    Swisshelm Express FTW!

    As to the Redskins – it amazes me the level of offense that certain types can take on behalf of others with whom they have no connection.

    It must amaze about 80% of the US population as well, if those polling numbers are accurate.

    I wouldn’t name a club the “Redskins” as I myself find the term demeaning and offensive. And, as such, I wouldn’t be a fan of the club even if I lived in DC. I wouldn’t buy their stuff. And that’s really about as far as it needs to go, IMO.

    So, rather than trot out the 897,434,910th iteration of “oh, the HORROR, there are Native American nicknames,” perhaps the sensitivity crusaders among us should just realize that:
    1) nobody really cares
    2) those who do care always have the option of not doing business with those whom they find objectionable.

    Bigger fish to fry in the world, folks. If you care so much for the plight of Native Americans then do something other than whine about meaningless sports names. Lots of scholarship funds and whatnot. Rather than buy that new RG3 jersey just throw the hundred bucks that way.

    1. Tell us the issues you feel are most important to you. I guarantee I can list at least a dozen that are, objectively speaking, bigger fish to fry than anything you actually care about. “Bigger fish to fry in the world” is never a valid argument against concern or action on behalf of any cause one feels to be right. It is, rather, an expression of nihilism that logically leads to inaction in the face of all wrong. It’s a statement of defeatism and active surrender to evil.

    2. “Taking offense” on behalf of others with which one has no direct connection is the basis of basically all human morality. Plus, your assumptions are flat-out wrong. First, one can judge something to be offensive without taking offense at it. If someone calls my Italian friend a “dago,” I would take no personal offense. But I would nonetheless find the expression to be an offensive thing to say, and I would hope that I would call it out as such and object. Second, “have no connection”? I’ll be generous and assume that you’re not a U.S. citizen. I am, and as such, I feel a connection to all of my fellow citizens, including the 5.2 million Americans of native descent. To the extent that one is OK with belittling any group of one’s fellow citizens, to exactly that extent one is not a patriot.

    Look, your basic idea of shunning the team is more or less my own approach, and I am a DC-area resident who would otherwise love to root for the home gridiron club. I don’t object to your prescription, but your arguments against doing more are actually arguments against doing anything, ever, about all problems and injustices.

    The “bigger fish to fry” argument is always bullshit. It’s like saying that there’s no point in being a dermatologist until we cure cancer. That’s a logical fallacy, because it erroneously assumes that the two things are mutually exclusive.

    There’s enough oil to fry ALL the fish — the Redskins’ name included.

    Interesting since fried foods like fish, could lead to the need for a visit to a dermatologist. On the other hand Omega 3 fatty acids (contained in fish) have been found to work against cancerous cell types. The more you know.

    it amazes me the level of offense that certain types can take on behalf of others with whom they have no connection.

    I guess slavery and Jim Crow never bothered you, since you have “no connection” to blacks, right? And women’s rights are no concern of yours, since you have “no connection” to women.

    And so on.

    So the argument is, basically, “This doesn’t concern you, look away.” That’s mildly disturbing.

    And everyone is missing the bad joke here – a poll shows the majority is not offended by an epithet directed at a minority group. No kidding.

    I’m like Arr Scott – I live in the DC area and I’d never be comfortable following the Redskins because of the nickname and the imagery.

    I echo the above praises of this DIY project. I sure hope that when the UWFFL opens up competition for expansion teams later this year, the Swisshelm Express throw their hat into the ring.

    On the strength of just this helmet alone, without even seeing the uniforms that could go with it, I’m inclined to declare them a very early odds-on favorite to win the 2014 championship.

    Of course I’m sure many of you’ll agree — judging by a few comments we got that the 12 existing franchises’ concepts sucked so much – regardless of how great the submissions for them were (and they are) – I fully expect that when we do open the league up to original expansion teams to compete, that the original concepts you all can come up with will be that much better than the twelve existing teams, and will come to dominate the league in no time.

    If many concepts come along that are anywhere near as good as RyCo’s then yes, I’d say the existing teams better watch out!

    Bravo, Ryan.

    “you all can come up with will be that much better than the twelve existing teams”

    Just to clarify, I am not in any way bashing any of the submitters concepts for the twelve teams, I am saying that the limitations of the original concepts for the teams is sure to be surpassed by the originality and creativity (as exemplfied by RyCo here with this concept) that the Uni Watchers as a whole can possibly generate.

    thanks Rob! i only recently caught onto the UWFFL. fun project though. i actually submitted this DIY entry i think a little over a month ago. there was just a bunch of good UW content between then and today.

    I think the Redskins Poll shows what most of the pro name change group knew all along–most Americans don’t care. It’s also proof that if the name change is forced or done too quickly, few people will choose to support it. On the flip side, however, there are going to be groups of people who are opposed to the name change regardless of when it’s done–I’m guessing just like when the Civil Rights bill was passed or when respective states legalize gay marriage.

    I feel as though if you poll people post name change, you might find that there will be much less supporters than before, but this AP poll should be no reason why the wheels can’t keep turning on this issue.

    May I? I don’t give a shit if 80% of a representative sample of the US population thinks that “Redskins” is an OK name. 80% of Americans have, at various times, regarded many awful things as OK. It’s a great country, but not because of majority opinions…

    Right. But nobody is saying the poll is a basis for action or policy; the poll is simply a snapshot of how people feel, which is a useful thing to know.

    For those of us who favor a name change, it’s good to know just how much more work we still need to do in order to persuade people to our side of the argument.

    So, if a majority of Americans held the opinion that the Redskins name should be changed, would not changing it as a reaction to/reflection of that singular viewpoint then be an “awful thing” too?

    Of course. Like Paul says, a poll is a snapshot of public opinion, not a mandate.

    Support for change isn’t the reason it should change. Support for change would make it easier to make the change.

    It’s not a given yet. The city councilman quoted in the article, Clarke, really sounds like a bullying douche. As someone who loves the city, perhaps more revenue isn’t needed in terms of whoring out city vehicles and buildings, but trimming some of the excess within the city government. And I give mayor Nutter a nod for saying he wants to check the legality of it first. The county where I live gave teachers and early retirement option recently that some took the county up on. Now the county has found out that what they did was illegal and they are stopping the program which screws over the former employees. What if a hasty move was made in Philly and later found illegal? I could just see the lawsuits coming down from the corporations.

    I have a great idea to resolve the Washington NFL team name controversy… We’ll just vote. If most people don’t think it’s racist, then it isn’t racist. That’s how it works right? We should’ve done this in the 1960s. If most people were okay with segregation, then it wasn’t racist. Right?

    The analogies of the Civil Rights Act, Segragation, and even slavery are wildly inappropriate. We’re talking about what a private citizen chooses to name his private business, not legal acceptance of involuntary servitude or the denying of rights of persons based on sex or race. If you don’t like ChickFilA, Walmart, ATT, the Washington Redskins, or any other business then don’t buy or patronize their product, but sorry, you don’t get to cast a ballot to force them to do their business in a way that you feel is “non-offensive.”

    At ease, Reggie. He was making a sarcastic point. Nobody is suggesting that Redskins issue be put up to a vote, and nobody is saying that Daniel Snyder doesn’t have the right to name his team whatever he likes. Some of us are just trying to persuade people that it’s a bad thing, that’s all.

    Is anyone actually surprised that most people aren’t opposed to the Redskins name? The mere fact that a professional sports team has been using it for 85 years does quite a bit to reduce the level of racism in the word. We have multiple generations that, thanks to pro sports, grew up with an assumption of Redskins & Indians being essentially interchangeable, if obsolete, terms. Despite its racist origin, “Redskins” isn’t used that way by the vast majority of society.

    For that matter, anything can be racist and derogatory if it’s the intent of the speaker. You can point to the example of a Native being offended at being called a “dirty redskin” – but you can also point to a Hispanic person offended at being called a “filthy mexican” – it doesn’t make “Mexicans” a racist slur, it simply means that the person using it that way is a racist asshole.

    Certainly, racial slurs can lose their venom over time – “gypped” and “Paddy wagon” are obvious examples.

    But I’m not sure that people actually use “redskin” outside the context of sports or describing potatoes. So I don’t think the “Redskins & Indians being essentially interchangeable” argument holds water. I just don’t see “So and so is a redskin” used in polite society.

    And the issue with the Washington NFL team isn’t just the nickname – it’s also the imagery that’s coupled with the “Redskins” name.

    Plus, the rationales Redskins apologists have given are incredibly dumb, which are basically:
    1. A lot of people support it!
    2. Tradition!
    3. There are high schools that use it! And old people who went those high schools like it!
    4. Why do you care? You’re not Indian!

    5. Dan Snyder, individual private citizen, paid a ton of money for his NFL franchise and it’s his decision to either change or keep the name Redskins and the helmet logo as is.
    6. No one person speaks for everyone.
    7. Life is full of complexity and disappointment; we can have our say but that does not always equate to getting our way.
    8. “Sclemeel, schlemazel, hasenfeffer incorporated. We’re gonna do it! Give us any chance, we’ll take it. Give us any rule, we’ll break it. We’re gonna make OUR dreams come true…Doin’ it OUR way.”…should only happen on TV.

    The, it is also a true statement to say that, despite its origin, “nigger” isn’t used that way by the vast majority of society today. Therefore, if you really mean your argument, you will agree that it’d be OK for the Cubs to become the Chicago Niggers. Yes?

    The objection you raise isn’t trivial; meaning and usage do evolve. But your argument is essentially a question of fact. “Is the word ‘redskin’ used as a racial epithet today?” And as a question of fact, I win and you lose, because I have personally witnessed white men shout “redskin” as a racial epithet against American Indians. (Once by a beloved football hero, no less.) And maybe it’s one of those you-have-to-be-there kinds of things, but really, you only have to see a person shout “redskin” as an insult once or twice to be persuaded that maybe a team in our nation’s capital should have a different name.

    I have to agree to extent with The Jeff and terriblehuman on this one. Arr, I have unfortunately heard the N-word used as a derogatory term toward black people several times in my life. Not once in my life have I heard the term redskins in any context other than the name of the Washington football team. I think that is why the majority of people are not opposed to the Redskins name – most of us have never heard it in any other context, so we don’t associate it anywhere near as negatively as the n-word, which even in this day and age is used as a slur all too often. So in that regard, TH is right about Redskins and Indians being “interchangeable”. It’s not that people use both terms when referring to native Americans, it’s that people don’t think one or the other is more offensive in the context of a name of a sports team. And the poll appears to indicate that most people don’t have a problem with Indians/Redskins as a team name. With all of that said, I agree with the point many commenters have made that the fact that the majority of people are OK with it doesn’t make it right.

    FWIW, I’m saying “redskin” and “Indian” *aren’t* interchangeable. You don’t hear “redskin” except when it’s about football or as an insult.

    curious, terriblehuman, do you know a lot of people to whom it would be directed? I’m thinking the demographics in the DC area are somewhat higher for African Americans than they are for Native Americans.

    I’ve heard the term used, mostly in the areas around where Plains tribes live.

    I don’t interact with Native Americans on a daily basis (as far as I’m aware).

    So I take it back – I don’t hear the term “redskins” used as an epithet. What I should’ve said was that I have never heard the term “redskin” used as a polite company substitute for “Indian”.

    I think the difference is the word “redskin” is used by people all the time referring purely to a football team, not aware or cognizant that it is a racial epithet that is offensive to a vast majority (or at least 21%) of the populous.

    Everyone knows the n-word is offensive, even those that aren’t offended themselves by it.

    But one doesn’t have to intend to slur to end up slurring someone. Just because you don’t know that something is offensive doesn’t mean it isn’t.

    More to the point, the “Redskins” nickname doesn’t exist in a vacuum. It’s coupled with imagery that’s an uninformed caricature of a minority group. Isn’t the association pretty obvious?

    Those pictures of Wrigley are all very misleading. All of the new signage you see there, including the ones that say seemingly innocuous stuff like “Wrigley Field” and “Cubs vs. Cardinals,” are going to be ads. And if you think any of the ads are going to look like those nice tasteful discreet “Chicago Charities” ads they show on the scoreboard, I don’t know what to tell you.

    Just think of how the Red Sox use their various video screens at Fenway. The game information is displayed with an old-school feel matching the Green Monster (I’d bet the Cubs would match theirs to the center-field scoreboard). But when it’s time for an ad, and there will always be time for an ad, it’ll be very contemporary, and in full color.

    right, but what andrew is saying is that if he situation were transposed to fenway, the big 24’x 68′ John Hancock signature above the right field scoreboard would actually be a 24′ x 68′ matrix board.

    so it’s less that the matrix boards permit the presentation of information and advertising in a flexible fashion, it’s that the renderings of wrigley field show airy, transparent wordmarks where there will actually be martrix boards.

    (thx, andrew. was debating pointing that out myself)

    Right. I agree that the ads on the Wrigley matrix boards will be garish and ill-suited to the ballpark; I think we’re all in agreement in that score (even if I may have not made it clear earlier).

    great site, and I’m usually on board with your view on things. Not sure if this comment is from the editor or the submitter, but I take issue with the comment regarding the Bruins “(l)atest bogus attempt to connect sports with the military”. This isn’t some PR or media grabbing stunt by the powers that be to get the spotlight on the team. A few of the guys, particularly Andrew Ferrence, have forged pretty good bonds with veterans and active military through the years.

    For reference:

    I think this difference was important: the jacket was a gift to Ferrence from a US Army Ranger. So, while it’s a piece of military clothing, it’s also a memento from a friend of the team.

    All of this Reskins discussion is very interesting and informative – and I for one am in favor of a name change.

    But to switch gears, those color changing facemasks are awful. This helmet stuff has gotten way out of hand!It seems everyone is trying to be trendy – I will be glad when this runs itself into the ground.

    But wouldn’t it be an improvement if the Jags had gone with color-shifting facemasks instead of two-tone helmets?

    I’m not prepared to say that the color-shifting facemasks are awful until I see them on the field, or at least see some video of them instead of a still photo.

    I agree that it sounds like a stupid gimmick. But so did the Jags’ color-shifting helmet, and I actually liked that one.

    I wish the jags had just switched the teal with gold on their previous color shifting helmets, then the whole Jags coming out of the shadows concept would actually make sense.

    If you want to see the effect in action, watch last year’s Notre Dame-USC game. Most of the time, both teams’ masks appeared gray. But in the right light, and especially with the Notre Dame helmet and it’s very bright metallic look, the color seems to “bleed” into the mask and make it look gold.

    Or, just wait until October, when they play again. It will be a night game, so the artificial lighting should make it apparent.

    This is correct.

    The football unis are a nice nod to the classic past Aztecs uniform, and away from last year’s misguided Nike uniform.


    Nike had to screw it up the truncated shoulder stripes, naturally. The all-white roadie is a new look from the previous white top/black pants.

    That new Olympics logo is garbage. I’ve stared at it for a good 10 minutes and I still can’t figure out which cartoon character is supposed to be felating whom.

    I know comparing a nickname that belittles an entire race of people is apples and oranges compared to nicknames that are oxymoronic(i.e. Flames,Lakers,Grizzlies,etc.), but the Utah Jazz has always been a bee in my bonnet as a fan of jazz music. When I think of Utah, the first thing that pops into my head is John Coltrane and Thelonious Monk..right? The offensive and racist nicknames need to go, but while we’re doing that lets also kill two birds with one stone and get rid of some of these ridiculously nonsensical nicknames as well

    The 2018 Olympics logo is fine I suppose, but it seems like they missed an opportunity to make a variation of Pyeongchang’s county logo. (on right side of page)


    those gold-shifting facemasks look pretty ugly in those photos. usc already switched to that (or something like it) last year. i’m not a fan.

    Paul makes brutal analogy comparing support of the Redskin name to supporting Slavery. Paul, tgink harder.

    Nope, YOU think harder, because I made no such analogy.

    I was responding to a commenter’s notion that having “no connection” to a group of people means you shouldn’t have to care about them. If that notion is true, then it should stand up to intellectual scrutiny. And one of the ways of submitting an idea to intellectual scrutiny is to take it to its logical extreme. If it still holds up, then it’s a sound idea. So that’s what I did: I took his notion to its logical extreme, and I think it’s fairly obvious that his notion failed. I was not suggesting a moral equivalence between slavery and the Redskins’ name; I was suggesting that having “no connection” to certain people doesn’t automatically mean that they’re no concern of yours.

    You see a word like “slavery” and you leap to certain assumptions. That’s your intellectual failing, not mine.

    RGIII had some interesting tweets the other day. “Tyranny of political correctness” I can only assume he meant this in regards to the Redskins name.


    and if so I would think an African-American would understand how a racial slur could be offensive to a minority group.

    You know, all the use of the word “tyranny” in America lately makes me think that perhaps winning the Cold War wasn’t such a good thing. Maybe if Red Dawn had happened, and a Soviet puppet government had been established, and hundreds of thousands of Americans sent to prison camps or just plain executed for expressing the wrong political opinion or having been born into the wrong ethnic group or social class, and American football and baseball outlawed and only gymnastics, weightlifting, and soccer permitted, then maybe today everyone wouldn’t be so quick to make an ass of himself by calling everything “tyranny.”

    Expressing one’s opinion that a private company ought to adopt a different name is not tyranny. It’s liberty – a little thing Americans call “freedom of speech.” It’s not even tyranny if an elected legislature expresses the opinion without the force of law, as may happen in DC. Hell, it wouldn’t even be tyranny if the DC Council passed an actual law requiring the Redskins to change their name, since the Redskins operate entirely beyond the jurisdiction of DC city statute. Here’s the logic behind RG3, or anyone, calling this “tyranny”:

    Redskins Player: “Hey, somebody somewhere just did not force us to do anything.”

    RG3: “Tyranny! It’s exactly like the gulags! Just like chattel slavery! Worse than the Holocaust!”

    “You know, all the use of the word “tyranny” in America lately makes me think that perhaps winning the Cold War wasn’t such a good thing.”

    To coin a phrase popular around these parts . . . think harder.

    I wonder if the anti-“PC run amok” folks realize that they sound whinier than the people they mock.

    Someone says, “Hi, that term you used isn’t very nice, and in fact, offensive to some people”, and the anti-PC crowd says “Waaaaah! Freedom of speech! Tyranny!”

    They did. The company that reconditions their masks has modified their formula to make the color shift a bit more noticeable.

    The ESPN article gives a description of some of the questions asked on the Redskins telephone survey, but not enough details for me.

    What exactly did they ask, and what was the exact wording of the questions?

    I’m not saying the poll is invalid; I just find it hard to believe you can educate the respondent’s over the telephone, on a subject with such a long history.

    I suspect that if the respondent’s knew the detailed history of why the Washington football team is called the Redskins, and what this word really means to Native Americans, perhaps the poll numbers would change.

    “…knew the detailed history of why the Washington football team is called the Redskins, and what this word really means…”

    There you go. I think if the people polled understood the topic at hand better, there would be a different response.

    Unfortunately, if they polled a random collection of folks and gave them no history of the subject, just came out and said “do you think the redskins name is racist, etc?” the poll would come out pretty much where it is.

    I think if every got educated on the issue, the numbers would be far different. Unfortunately, most people simply don’t care, which isn’t a big deal, they focus their energies elsewhere. Many people, including myself (unfortunately) aren’t that interested in history or didn’t take the time to understand it when they had the chance. If you asked me a year ago if I thought the name was offensive, I’d say no. If they asked me what I thought it meant, I’d have to say it has to do with a native American indian tribe or something. Redskins, is that a certain type of inidian or something?

    But I’ve gotten a beginning of an education on this subject through this site, so I understand the argument now. But like I said, there are plenty of people who simply don’t know history (probably a majority of Americans), and I think that is a big part of where the apparent lopsidedness of this survey comes from.

    If people don’t know the full back-story, that’s not the poll’s fault. It means those of us who want to make progressive change have to do a better job of getting our message out.

    By the way RyCo, I like the way you tried to incorporate the railroad crossing sign into the eXp logo near the top there. Took me a second to realize you were using the sign as an X, very original!

    The NBC Sports coverage of the Kentucky Oaks just showed a close-up of Rosie applying a Jockey Guild logo (looked like a press-on sticker) to her riding pants. Don’t know the back story of the logo/ad/sticker.

    At the risk of sounding like a shill I would encourage every reader to check out the Permanent Record entry that Paul posted. It’s a great story. As one who lived through a terrible tornado twenty years ago I could relate to it. Having personal pictures returned to you might not sound momentous, until it happens to you.

    Nice work by all involved.

    Since nobody else has mentioned it:

    The article on Memphis using axe-handled bats is available without a paywall on the Columbus (Indiana) Republic’s site: link

    I LOVE that helmet project! The stripe reminds me of the old Canadian National Pac Man design. Being a low grade train nerd I’ve designed football uniforms for the major train companies in North America (Norfolk Southern, CSX, Union Pacific, BNSF, Canadian Pacific, CN, I think I did one for Kansas City Southern) and in my design for CN I used the Chevrons down the helmet in a way that you did. FANTASTIC and it’s an inspiration, RyCo! Also, on our move East this summer, I would love to try and find that BHAM hat!

    That Jags practice jersey isn’t new. They just printed some for the rookie training camp this week. The new ones are suppose to come out in a few more weeks.

    I lived in Lincoln, NE for over 15 years and have been through Indianola quite a bit on my out towards the Rockies. You’ve got a great looking website and the music compliments it nicely. Keep up the great work!

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