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Throwbacks Are Thrown for a Loss

Surprising news yesterday afternoon out of Tampa, where the Bucs had been planning to wear their creamsicle throwbacks on Sept. 29. Turns out they won’t be wearing them after all, because of a new rule regarding alternate helmets. Quoting from the post on the Bucs’ site:

The league-wide guideline, which requires players to use the same helmet for all games during the season, was recently implemented based on the strong recommendation by the NFL’s Head, Neck and Spine Committee as well as the Player Safety Advisory Panel. … Due to the new regulations, Buccaneer players will wear their standard pewter, red and white uniforms in place of the classic Florida orange, red and white throwback attire that had previously been scheduled.

A few hours later, this piece was posted on It says the new rule “forbid[s] teams from switching helmets during the season.” It also includes some clarifying quotes from NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy:

“This offseason, we communicated a recommendation from the Head, Neck and Spine Committee and the Player Safety Advisory Panel to those teams planning to wear throwback uniforms for at least one game this season. They recommended that players no longer wear different helmets as part of a ‘throwback’ or ‘third’ uniform. … Teams may continue to wear throwback uniforms under league guidelines, but players must wear their regular helmets. The outside of the helmet can be modified by removing or replacing decals, as long as it does not affect the integrity of the helmet.”

Wow. To my knowledge, this rule had not been reported or disclosed prior to yesterday. Lots of thoughts and implications here:

•  As you can see from the preceding quotes, there seems to be some confusion and conflicting language about whether this is a “recommendation” or a “rule.” Semantics aside, I’m pretty sure it is indeed being treated as a rule, not as an optional advisory.

• The rule — assuming that’s what it is — will affect some throwback designs but not others. The Bills and Bears, for example, both wore throwbacks this past Sunday, but they were both able to use their existing helmet shells. The Bears simply removed their decals and the Bills swapped out their charging buffalo for the standing buffalo. If the Lions wanted to wear their Thanksgiving throwbacks with the plain silver helmets, that would presumably be okay too. But this puts the kibosh on the throwback designs recently used by lots of other teams, including the Falcons, Patriots, Cowboys, ’Skins, and others. It may also explain why the Steelers are wearing their bumblebee throwbacks again this season, instead of this throwback design.

• One thing I don’t understand: The Packers are slated to wear their bullseye throwbacks, which include brown helmets, on Oct. 20. Maybe they’ll be issuing a statement similar to the Bucs’ announcement shortly..? Or maybe they’ll wear their regular helmets with the throwback uni? (By coincidence, a few years ago Phil had Photoshopped a photo to show how that might look — not bad!) Also, the Rams are planning to wear their royal/yellow throwbacks twice this season, on Nov. 3 and Dec. 22, although I suppose they could stick with their existing helmets for that, or at re-decal them with yellow horns. (Update: The Packers have announced that they’ll still wear their throwback unis, but with plain gold helmets.)

• Related to the above: If the rule was enacted during the offseason, why are the Bucs just learning about it (or at least reacting to it) now? Were the Packers and Rams also unaware of it? Seems like something has gone wrong here, communication-wise.

• Aside from throwbacks, the NFL has never allowed alternate helmets. This has been for branding purposes, not for safety reasons. But with the explosion of alternate helmets on the college level, I’ve been saying for some time now that the NFL is bound to allow alternate headwear soon. (I predicted this during two different radio interviews just last week, in fact.) But with this new rule in place, it appears that teams will stick with — indeed, are stuck with — one helmet design apiece. Or at least one helmet color apiece.

I received a lot of email about this as the story unfolded yesterday, and almost all of it was negative — “Stupid NFL!” or “The No Fun League strikes again,” that kind of thing. Hmmmmm. Now, you’d be hard-pressed to find a bigger throwback fan than me. But if this move actually increases player safety, it’s hard to argue against it. I’m not a doctor (and neither are most of you), so I’m in no position to judge the risks of wearing multiple helmets in a season as opposed to wearing one. And I wouldn’t mind hearing more specifics about why it’s dangerous to change headgear. Like, I assume it has something to do with breaking in a new helmet, but I’d like to hear more, just to understand the issue better.

And yeah, maybe this is all just case of the league covering its butt from a liability standpoint. But still, if this move helps prevent a few concussions (or worse), then it’s worth it.

Meanwhile, consider this: If it truly is riskier to switch lids during the season, it kinda makes you wonder about all those colleges that play musical chairs with their headgear each week, no?

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Membership update: Yesterday I mailed out a new batch of membership cards (including Andrew J. Garner’s Wisconsin Rose Bowl-themed card, shown at right), so all recent enrollees should watch their mailboxes. Some of you may notice that I used a very purple stamp on the envelope — unfortunately, it was unavoidable, as it was all that was available the last time I bought stamps. Grrrrrr.

As always, you can sign up for your own custom-designed membership card here, you can see all the cards we’ve done so far here, and you can see the step-by-step process of how we make the cards here.

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’Skins Watch: Washington Post sports columnist Mike Wise, who’s long been one of the most eloquent voices in the ’Skins controversy, recently spent a week at the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota, where he had lots of discussions with Native Americans about the team’s name. You can hear how that went at the 50:15 mark of this podcast. Highly recommended (from Adam Brodsky). … “On Monday morning I was watching the Today show on NBC,” says Nelson Warwick. “During the beginning of the show, the hosts were exploring their new ‘Orange Room,’ where they’ll monitor trending stories. As an example, they cited the Redskins name controversy, and they posted this graphic. Note that they used the ‘tucked feathers’ logo, which was worn by some players during the 1982 season. Not sure how NBC didn’t have a current logo. You can see the whole segment here. The logo comes up at about the 2:16 mark.” … Breaking Bad actor Jonathan Banks, who’s a DC native and a ’Skins fan, thinks the team should change its name. ”¦ Here’s a good post that shows how the use of Native American imagery in sports is part of a larger branding problem that creates stereotypes (from Matthew Busch). ”¦ Meanwhile, a British version of the ’Skins situation, sort of, has emerged around the Tottenham Hotspur soccer team (from Cort McMurray).

Baseball News: The Nats responded to Monday’s shootings at the Washington Navy Yard by wearing Navy caps prior to the game. They switched to their regular caps once the game started. In addition, many fans wore blue and gold (thanks, Phil). … The Orioles have announced the winner of a T-shirt design contest. Pretty good design, although the apostrophe catastrophe still rankles (from Stephen Murphy). … There’s an app that will frame your iPhone photos with a baseball card-esque template (from Chris LaHaye). … The 1974 All-Star Game is now available on YouTube. Frank Mercogliano was checking it out and immediately noticed that Gaylord Perry’s NOB was badly off-center, almost like they’d added the first initial as an afterthought. Perry’s brother Jim was also on the Indians that year (but not on the All-Star team), and they were both on the Indians roster from the start of the season, so it’s not clear why the initial would have been added after the fact. Anyway, feel free to look through the game for other uni anomalies. … Check out these 1963 photos of a travel agency that was using spring training to attract customers (nice find by Ronnie Poore). … No surprise that Blue Jays catcher Josh Thole uses a special glove to catch knuckleballer R.A. Dickey. But it’s surprising to find that the glove is inscribed with Dickey’s name and number (good spot by Justin Foley). ”¦ No photo, but a good observation from Oliver Kodner, who writes: “We’ve seen players wear other players’ batting helmets and such, but something I hadn’t seen before happened this past Sunday, when Cardinals backup catcher Audry Perez replaced Yadier Molina but wore Yadi’s chest protector. It had the gold Rawlings tag on the front [because Molina is a Gold Glove winner] and the ‘#4 Yadi’ on the collar.” ”¦ Nearly three years ago I ran a photo of elephants “playing baseball.” Now Hall of Fame curator Tom Shieber has written a great piece about the story behind that photo. ”¦ Shane Victorino is the latest player to wear a mouthguard. “With all the wall crashing this year for him, it makes sense,” says Andy Chalifour. ”¦ The Pirates wore their 1971 throwbacks, which they usually wear only on Sundays, last night. “It was because it was Roberto Clemente Day, where Clemente’s family presented Andrew McCutchen with a framed 1971 Clemente jersey and named him as the Pirates’ nominee for the annual Roberto Clemente Award,” explains Joseph Gerard. ”¦ Remember these Dodgers BP jerseys? Here’s a shot of pitcher Kevin Brown wearing that jersey, and Michael Gallarza swears that it’s from a regular season game. “I remember seeing Brown pitch in that jersey, I think at Three Rivers Stadium against the Pirates.” The fact that Brown is wearing batting gloves bolsters Michael’s case that it’s a game shot, although it could be from spring training. Anyone know more? ”¦ The powder blue trend was big in the 1970s, but St. Bernard High School in Los Angeles was doing it in 1995 (from Bryan Phillips). ”¦

NFL News: Here’s a gallery of regrettable NFL logo tattoos (from William Yurasko). … Good article on the 49ers’ equipment manager (from Roger Faso). … I recently attended a Raiders fan event in Oakland,” says Willie Gabel. “One display station had one of the Raiders’ original sideline coats, from the pre-Davis black-and-gold days.” ”¦ “I was watching a Bill Belichick documentary from 2009,” says Chris Flinn. “In this shot, Bill is telling the refs, ‘You guys are looking sharp,’ and they respond saying that they only had to suffer through one more game. Then they looked at the Broncos’ striped socks and the ref said he was feeling better about himself after seeing those. Belichick finished with
‘Those look hideous. You should’ve seen the shit they tried to make me wear.'” Insert obvious wisecrack about Belichick’s usual gameday attire here.

College Football News: Several readers — and, I gather, the larger uni-verse — have been freaking out over this Alabama blackout jersey. The page says, “Designed in the same styling as the gear your favorite players will wear on the field in the 2013 Blackout Game,” but that’s clearly just boilerplate text that’s been copied and pasted. The Tide couldn’t wear that jersey even if they wanted to (and I’m pretty sure they don’t want to), because the numeral doesn’t contrast sufficiently with the jersey fabric. So everyone relax already Never mind, link has been taken down, which just confirms what I thought all along. … Louisville switched to white facemasks this year, but the studio for ESPN’s halftime report last Saturday used a helmet with a red facemask (from Eric Wright). … Speaking of facemasks, Utah switched theirs from white to black last weekend. “Not sure if this was a one-time thing or if it will be long-term, but with all the black the Utes are wearing now days it would seem to make sense,” says Nate Hurst. … I think we’ve run this before, but once more can’t hurt: Here’s a good rundown of UVa uniform history (thanks, Phil). … Good article on this history of Michigan’s winged helmet (from Jeremy Segall). … Yesterday I mentioned that Ohio State is usually credited with being the first college to use merit decals, in 1968. That prompted the following from Jim Parks: “I know that our high school, Steubenville High School in Ohio, and I’m assuming others, had helmet merit decals prior to 1968 — maybe as far back as 1963. We had stars and lightening bolts for merit awards. You can see the stars in this photo from 1966. I even spoke with the coach at the time, Abe Bryan, about the lightening bolts in 2008, and he told me they were only given for ‘exceptional plays,’ whatever that entailed.” ”¦ The Coast Guard is marking the 50th anniversary of its undefeated 1963 team — coached by Otto Graham! — by wearing no-nonsense throwbacks this week (big thanks to Joe Kelly).

Hockey News: Yesterday I linked to this mock-up of the Sabres’ new alternate uni. What I hadn’t noticed, until Charles Pritt pointed it out, is that it shows the captaincy designation on the shoulder. That would appear to violate NHL Rule 6.1, which states that the “C” must appear “on the front” of the captain’s sweater. … Here’s more about the NHL’s new uni/equipment rules. Interestingly, if a goalie is caught with illegal equipment, his team’s equipment manager will be fined $1,000 (in addition to the goalie himself being suspended and the team being fined $25,000). “Seems a bit harsh to punish an employee who is now in the almost impossible position of being the league’s enforcer and the player’s equipment guy,” says Chris Bisbee.

Soccer News: The U.S. World Cup team may be using the centennial crest after all (thanks, Phil). … Napoli wore camouflage uniforms the other day. “Should that be ‘G.I. Giuseppe’?” asks Yusuke Toyoda. … Also from Yusuke: Professional soccer players in England and Scotland are being invited to wear anti-homophobia shoelaces for matches this coming Saturday and Sunday.

College Hoops News: New uniforms for St. John’s (thanks, Phil). … Remember those color-on-color jerseys that some schools (and some NBA teams) wore last season? Penn State was doing that way back in 1974! “They were known as ‘ghost jerseys,'” says Jeff Flynn, Jr.

Grab Bag: St. John’s has announced its partnership with Under Armour. … In a related item, Under Armour founder Kevin Plank is very, very wealthy (from Tommy Turner). … New logo and page design for Bing (thanks, Brinke). … Also from Brinke: Google is experimenting with some design tweaks. … The teams at Wheat Ridge High School in Colorado are called the Farmers. Here’s a mural showing the evolution of their logo (from John Romero). … A pro sports team in Sunrise, Florida, is looking for a creative design intern (if you get the gig, send a muffin basket to Anthony Giaccone). ”¦ “One of the great traditions of the Australian Football League is the large banners created by a team’s cheer squad, which the team runs through as they make their way onto to the field prior to a game,” says Graham Clayton. “That link shows the Richmond Tigers banner prior to their recent playoff game against the Carlton Blues.”

Comments (299)

    So,…. are NFL teams incapable of making dupicate helmets for players? One white–one pewter with identical padding, air bladders, chin straps, etc.?? Of course they are capable!

    This is a true WTFNFL moment.

    Oh, it makes perfect sense. NFL gets to put out a press release so everyone can see that We Are Taking This Matter Very Seriously and We Are Doing Something About it.

    Exactly. So what happens if a player’s helmet is compromised during the season and they have to switch into a new one? That would be unsafe, according to what the NFL is saying. And if it’s a matter of “breaking it in”, throwback helmets could be “broken in” during practices, just like a regular helmet. Terriblehuman, you’re right on the money.

    Yeah, this is much ado about nothing. The myth of “breaking in” a helmet is just that, a myth. I along with a few of my teammates in high school had to switch out helmets because of cracks along the earhole line. There was absolutely ZERO change in feel of the helmet after the fact.

    I’m all for player safety, just continue to stop players from using the crown of the helmet as a weapon and we’re good no matter how many helmets a team uses.

    What about players that get traded? Do they have to sit out because they have to wear a new helmet otherwise?

    Actually it says they have to use the same helmet, can remove or apply decals, and maintain the integrity of the helmet.

    Does the NFL specifically say only one helmet design, which now includes removing/reapplying decals?

    I’m just wondering if painting the original helmet is an option.

    Secondly, major pet peeve/typo in the college sports section, the word “lightening”. Nothing more annoying than when the TB hockey fans spell the name out like that.

    This rule would suggest that each player only wears one helmet for the entirety of the season?!? If the helmet is damaged, would the player have to sit the rest of the season? I seriously doubt it. They’d simply put him in another (identically sized and designed) helmet. I’m not sure I understand why hey, likewise, couldn’t wear identically sized and designed helmet with throwback art. Just a thought.

    This looks like a PR ploy to me by the NFL. If they were truely invested in the integrity of NFL helmets, they would require players to wear helmets that received the higher ratings in the latest Virginia Tech or equivalent safety studies. Instead they let players wear helmets that are so antiquated that they are no longer available for sale (Tom Brady, Matt Forte, and Drew Brees are a few of the NFL players still wearing the Riddell VSR4).

    I’m sure they didn’t think of that.

    I’m sure YOU could figure that out, but they couldn’t.

    Of COURSE if a helmet is damaged, you replace it. Wearing a damaged helmet would be even more dangerous. But they’re erring on the side of caution.

    (Note the rule/guideline/whatever was communicated before the settling of the lawsuit. Maybe that had something to do with it, maybe it didn’t. But it’s silly to say “Well, they’d replace a helmet if it got damaged, so surely they can take a brand new helmet out any time they want, what’s the harm?”)

    Back in 1994, when the NFL had their &5th anniversary throwbacks, the Bills did NOT use white helmets. They put a white standing bison on the red shell. Their logic: the players did not want to switch to a different helmet with different padding and a different feel. I think the Jets also wore their 60s logo on a green helmet.

    I really, really don’t understand the ban on switching helmets. Wouldn’t wearing the same helmet actually be worse as the padding would wear down a bit from continued use?

    Well, at least we can still use a few throwback uniforms in Madden.

    That’s kind of my thinking…

    … unless the committee’s reasoning is along the lines of “if the player has a new helmet, they might think they’re safer than in their well-worn helmet, and might take more unneccessary chances”?

    I’m guessing it’s the opposite. A new helmet might not be worn in enough to fit as well as an older helmet.

    After enough wear and hitting, the padding will form better around the head, and then a little tightening of the chinstrap makes it snug as hell all around.

    It’s surprising because you would think that a company like Nike would push back on this as they stand to lose money. The throwback jersey sales should start to taper off now that the team isn’t wearing them. Right?

    So, the Red Storm will be wearing Under Armour “sweatfronts” this year (my version of the Evil Swoosh’s “sweatbacks”).

    Searched Kevin Brown starts with Dodgers at 3 Rivers, only got one date back: July 20, 1999

    Getty Image results for that game revealed they wore BPs in game.


    Any more information about this game and why the Dodgers would wear BP jerseys? The Dodgers have been as traditional as the Yankees in their attire and the “think blue” promotions they did at Dodger Stadium, in which they wore blue jerseys, were somewhat controversial.

    Just looking at their sched/box scores from that year, it wasn’t a terribly hot day so that can’t be a reason. It was a getaway game with LA playing at home the next night. Maybe showing the equipment manager some mercy with packing for the flight?

    This was from a period where the Dodgers wore alternate uniforms with more frequency; they used to have a blue cap with a silver bill (interlocking LA outlined in blue and silver too) along with a blue jersey to match. They’ve since returned to more traditional looks.

    If I remember correctly, Brown pushed to wear the Dodger alts and was lit up badly that game. The team then had a ceremonial bonfire in the bullpen, torching the jerseys and the Dodgers haven’t worn alts since. Couldn’t confirm that via Google, BTW.

    I don’t think the Dodgers ever wore alt jerseys with “more frequency.” Perhaps three or four games total?

    In 1998, the Dodgers wore the blue alts (and silver brimmed hats) for Think Blue week, auctioning them off for charity after the homestand. the only proof I could find in my hasty searching was a reference to them in a letter to the editor in the L.A. Times (at the very bottom of the page).


    Florida, 1963: No Walt Disney World yet. They had to promote *something*! All there was was HEAT and Spring Training baseball.

    btw….60’s mannequinns are the best!

    As an athletic trainer I’m not 100% convinced of the negative effects of wearing multiple helmets. I know the NFL equipment staff takes their job very seriously when fitting each player for a helmet, I’m sure they would be able to properly fit 2 helmets for each player a season. Also new helmets are safer as they have not taken any damage throughout the season so less likely to fail. Plus teams generally wear the helmet all week prior to the throwback game. I know the NFL takes this seriously, but I would like to see the average of concussions on NFL teams vs the average of concussions on college teams that wear multiple helmets!! I know some schools wear a practice helmet all week and then a game helmet on Saturday.

    “Trainer Dave” is a good moniker. I’m picturing a very caring guy, who always wears turf shoes with his khakis.

    That “less likely to fail” line is interesting. I know it’s a different construction, but the rule with bike helmets is one bump and you toss ’em out. By the end of the season, some of those helmets have sustained hundreds of impacts. Don’t they break, or weaken, or something?

    Based upon my experience, I agree with Dave. For the past six years I’ve been handling helmets for a youth football club. A properly fitted new helmet IS safer than a used helmet because it has sustained no damage.

    We do periodic checks for helmets during the season. It is always startling to find a helmet that is cracked. After the season, we send helmets back to the manufacturer (Riddell for us) for reconditioning. Each helmet is tested, with any that fail not being returned to us.

    I assume NFL players switch helmets during the season. How could they not? There is just too much contact & damage to the helmet to to do so. Offensive linemen would have all the paint off of their helmet at the end of the season if they didn’t switch.

    There is no breaking-in needed for today’s helmets. Each player gets a custom fit to their helmet with adjustments to the interior padding. (Through inflation, for example.) If you would like to learn how to fit a helmet, go to: link Click on the “Riddell 360 Helmet” for a pdf guide.

    Bottom line is that I see no reason for the Safety committee to be making the call on throwback helmets. If a player has 3 helmets, and they are all the same make & model, the color doesn’t make a difference. It’s an odd ruling.

    Dodgers looked great wearing that BP jersey, they should have adopted that design all along. Furthermore, I would have added the sharp alternate hat LA wore years ago with the silver brim. Having “LA” on the front on an alternate only reinforces the logo. Folks, the Brooklyn Dodgers expired more than a half century ago, along with that logo.

    Don’t understand the notion some teams shouldn’t wear an occasional alternate, or how that would somehow be damaging to the brand. Where was the outrage over the red Boston Red Sox jersey they’ve been wearing for years now?

    No teams should be wearing dark-colored alternative jerseys, especially traditional teams like the Dodgers, Yankees, Tigers and Red Sox. Baseball is white at home, gray on the road.

    Doesn’t look like they are in the middle of a game, otherwise Grudazlalanick is in a terrible fielding position.

    Could be warming up. I was there, and they did wear the BP jerseys in the game. I’ve never seen an explanation.

    Would people, esp uniwatch readers, complain loudly if teams wore throwback uniforms but their regular helmet?

    That would depend on the team/uniform. I mean, Tampa Bay wearing the pewter helmet on top of the creamsicle uniforms would look like absolute shit, but the Falcons could probably wear their black helmet with the throwback logo without too much complaining. The Packers or Redskins would actually be improvements if they wore normal shells instead of the brown/fake leather options.

    Remember, Falcons wore black helmets with the 70s-era logo in the Dirty Birds era. 1990 to 2002 IIRC.

    Flashbacks to the 1994 season, and the Bills wearing a white standing buffalo on their red helmets… the Jets throwing stripes and the old football logo on their green helmets…

    … and the Cowboys not changing a thing on their silver helmets as they hosted the plain-helmeted Lions on Monday Night Football.

    Yeah, I should left the face orange. Wonder why they couldn’t cover almost all of the helmet with a decal to decal on some white background, too:


    Or get guys that can do things like this:


    I’m sure they could make a whole helmet decal that could make the same helmet look like it has different base colors….

    … I mean in the 1970s they used to spray paint the helmets for the Pro Bowl — I’m sure there’s a way they could make the same look like it’s a different color.

    Assuming the safety angle is legit and it’s not just a matter of a league conspiracy to get all teams to only wear their primary uniforms. I tend to think if that was the true reason, they’d just get more draconian with the uniform guidelines and just outlaw throwback and alts and/or throwback helmets… think about it if their ulterior motive really was that they wanted teams to “protect their brand” by only wearing one uni set, why would they allow the Bills and the Bears throwback decals (or lack of decals) then? Whether it’s Bucco Bruce on a different color helmet or Standing Buffalo on the same helmet, the net effect to protecting the teams’ identity is the same. No I’d tend to believe their safety explanation at face value…

    “Would people, esp uniwatch readers, complain loudly if teams wore throwback uniforms but their regular helmet?”

    Haven’t been here long, have ya? ;)

    That picture of St. Bernard High School wearing powder blue in the not-at-all-powder-blue-loving mid-90s reminds me of Shiga prefecture’s link, a baseball powerhouse that often goes to the championships in Koshien, and has link to symbolize Lake Biwa (which Shiga prefecture surrounds). They had the blue back in the ’80s when everyone was doing it, they kept it when no one else was, and they still have it now when it’s making a comeback.

    This gets me to thinking about other teams that have held on to uniform elements even when all the other teams have abandoned them, and waiting patiently for those other teams to re-discover what they once had.

    Shadowed numerals were commonplace decades ago and then went totally out of favor in the 1990s. The New York Rangers, however, link. Rutgers put those shadows on their football jerseys in 1996, and when the Mets put a slightly different shadow on their jerseys in 1998, it didn’t look too unusual, thanks to the Rangers. Now lots of teams do it.

    The Chicago Bears were for a long time (I could be wrong) link, in their own custom font (which is a cousin to that of the Cubs; who had it first?). Now the Bears’ font looks downright pedestrian compared to what some teams do.

    Can anyone think of other things like this? I thought the Braves’ vertically-arched NOBs would be, and were just waiting to be rediscovered by some of the teams that once used this technique, until Majestic somehow lost the ability to produce them. Barcelona’s lack of advertising on a soccer jersey could be one, if other teams would ever give up that aesthetics-defying cash spigot. The Yankees’ insistence on never having NOBs on any uniform?

    I’m going to guess that the Cubs had it first, considering that the Bears took their name as a cousin or take-off of the Cubs. (Based on what I know. I could be wrong.)

    Jason, that’s my guess too. The Cubs used varsity block and McAuliffe in the ’30s but seem to have permanently setlted on their distinctive rounded block in about 1940 or so. They also had the un-serifed “1”, just like the Bears, for a very brief period in the early ’40s, but I’m not sure of the exact years. I’ve seen jerseys from the 1945 World Series that have today’s “1”, but the infamous (and by “infamous”, I mean “awesome”) powder blue vests of 1941-43 had an un-serifed “1”.

    I don’t see why the team could not have the same helmets repainted. I suppose it’s because in order to repaint the helmet, all of the padding would be removed and replaced, essentially being a new helmet. Either way, the rule seems silly. What if a player were to get a concussion and wanted to switch to a different brand of helmet that has been shown to provide better protection. Would he not be allowed? I seem to remember James Harrison switching to a big funny lid after he broke his eye socket a few years ago.

    Or what if a helmet gets cracked? You’d have to replace it with a second helmet that would have to be as safe as the first, right?

    To say using two different helmets in a season is, in and of itself is more dangerous than wearing a particular helmet doesn’t seem to make sense. Like Paul said, we’re not doctors, but if there is a legitimate reason that they can’t make a second helmet worn in a season as safe as the first, then by all means, we’d love to hear the logic.

    That’s disappointing about the throwbacks and helmet rule. While I understand about safety, I would think that teams could simply make a helmet that was just as safe with a different design.

    This gets me wondering…With the 100th anniversary of the league about six years away, I hope they settle this thing by then. I’m hoping for some major throwback action that season.

    Well, the argument is that each player is fitted with his helmet to perfectly conform to his head shape, and introducing a new helmet would compromise the fit. I don’t think it’s a particularly strong argument, but helmet safety goes beyond the manufacturing stage.

    Perhaps I am missing some info on the throwback helmet issue. Aren’t the secondary helmets produced by the same manufacturer, using the same specs for each player as with the primary helmet? And if so, how would the throwback be any different? It isn’t like they are knock-off helmets made in some sweatshop in Singapore. Are they?

    I’m actually tired of throwbacks. Teams have “thrown-back” to almost every possible uniform already. Honestly, who wants to see the Lions Thanksgiving throwbacks every year? Who wants to see Pat the Patriot era uniforms yet again? I don’t! Let’s stop bringing back the past and bring ourselves into the future! The 100th season of the NFL will be in the year 2020 and it’s about time we start getting futuristic. I’m predicting right now that the NFL will have a throw-forward season just like baseball did in 1999. At least that’s what I’m hoping for.

    I’m also suspicious of this new NFL rule. It seems to be along the lines of other “safety” rules that have been implemented, which is to say that the NFL is probably throwing darts, picking a rule that sounds like it will improve safety, and hoping that’s how it turns out.

    There have been numerous examples in recent years about dubious claims with regards to helmets and the safety they provide from the effects of concussions, and this sounds like one of those.

    If the NFL has real scientific research to back up this rule, then I have no problem with it. If not, I think it’s just crap.

    And I may be the cynical sort, but I think the latter is much more likely.

    You know, many people (myself included, many of you included) routinely knock the NFL for doing things that are just merch-driven.

    Here they’re doing something that will HURT merch sales (no creamsicle game means no creamsicle jersey sales), but everyone’s still complaining or looking for some sort of cynical angle.

    Shouldn’t we give them some credit for putting safety over merch?

    Without knowing the sales figures (and I don’t think NFL releases numbers for individual items), I don’t know that throwback sales do a whole lot for the league’s bottom line as a whole.

    I’m thinking that their long-term sales numbers benefit more from everyone in Philadelphia wearing green jerseys, not some green mixed in with powder blue and gold. The league’s success in branding has been based a lot in uniformity, and I think that’s true for merchandising too.

    Are they really putting safety over merch? Nixing the throwback game doesn’t mean they’ll stop selling creamsicle jerseys and merch does it?

    It’s the best of both worlds for the NFL. They can throw something out their to make it look like they’re taking steps to increase safety and fans will continue to buy creamsicle uniforms even though the team doesn’t wear them on the field.


    “Shouldn’t we give them some credit for putting safety over merch?”



    We’re just doubtful that prohibiting the wearing of an alternate helmet will actually improve player safety.

    Yes, tis best to err on the side of caution, but this seems like an overreaction to a non-problem. If college teams can wear a *new* helmet every week without (any apparent) increase in concussions (or decrease in player safety), then this seems to make no sense.

    NO helmet is concussion-proof, and such a beast will never likely be invented. The NFL has encouraged speed, size and offense, with lighter and lighter equipment on larger and faster players. And they’re *shocked* that more players are getting injured.

    You want to lessen injuries, you need to slow the game, and the players down, not police alternate helmets, imho.

    Be careful Phil, you’ve got me agreeing with everything you’ve just said, and that’s almost never a good thing. One of us is in the wrong universe again.

    It’s really Brand over Merch, not safety. They want to keep their teams tied to their brands and not muddy them as Universities are. Since it is the brand it is really trying to stick with Long Term Merch over Short Term Merch.

    Normally I would but given the NFL’s history regarding brain injuries until I see the science I remain skeptical.

    This is of particular concern given that the science teaches that concussions are only a small part of what causes CTE. The real danger involves repeated, sub-concussive blows to the head not the big knockouts. Its why symptoms of CTE appear most frequently in linemen and linebackers. This has more to do with the kinetics of the hit which causes the brains momentum to bang against the inside of the skull.

    Given that the NFL not only kept this information from the players for decades but actively campaigned against it, I am unwilling to trust the NFL intentions until I see the science to support it.

    The NFL also just settled a lawsuit brought by former players suffering from head trauma/related ailments to the tune of something like 3/4 of a billion bucks.
    Since current players will not be eligible to file compensation claims under this plan, the NFL must be overly-cautious so not to face possible future litigation?

    “This is of particular concern given that the science teaches that concussions are only a small part of what causes CTE. The real danger involves repeated, sub-concussive blows to the head not the big knockouts. Its why symptoms of CTE appear most frequently in linemen and linebackers. This has more to do with the kinetics of the hit which causes the brains momentum to bang against the inside of the skull.”

    Yes, yes, a thousand times yes.

    Every time you hear people talking about concussions, you know they’re avoiding the real issue.

    Concussions are easy to talk about, because there’s a theoretical high-tech “fix”. Better helmets can maybe reduce the risk of concussion. But until they make helmets that fit under the skull, no helmet can possibly prevent the small cumulative head injuries that are just part of the way the game is played today.

    And that’s the bottom line: talking endlessly about concussions helps avoid the real problem, that today’s game is inherently dangerous in ways we cannot prevent. The NFL will have to make significant changes to the game itself; no wonder they’d rather talk about concussions.

    Well, that ends the discussion right there.

    You don’t get to be entertained. You aren’t entitled to a comfortable seat, either. They’re a perk.

    The reason RA Dickey’s name is inscribed on the glove is because he owns it; he gives it to all the catchers that catch him to use. I remember hearing about it during the WBC I believe.

    ^This. I’m pretty sure we’ve discussed this before on the site. I know they talked about it during the All-Star game two or three years ago. Baseball Network did a whole segment about Dickey bringing his own mitts wherever he goes and how Joe Mauer was going to use one of Dickey’s mitts in the ASG.

    this has been standard practice for knuckleball pitchers. here’s an article about steven wright bringing his own when pitching for the red sox from earlier this summer.

    A few other thoughts:

    With the NFL PR machine being the way it is regarding concussions and player safety, if it were to be made public that someone recommended they limit players to one helmet and they chose not to apply the practice…
    That could lead to more legal issues down the road for them.

    Another possible motive is to prevent further alternate helmets. The rule currently state that trans can only wear alternate helmets with throwback uniforms. However, teams like the Packers and the Southern Maryland Football Club have taken some liberties using helmets that weren’t actually worn. While I think the faux leather helmets are great touch, the league may just be trying to nip it in the butt before more creative alternate helmets arrive.

    The league may also have hopes that this trickles down to college like other “player safety” rules have. If college teams stopped wearing alternate helmets, pressure from fans for NFL teams to do the same may decrease over time instead of increase.

    I do worry about alternate helmets in college football. Can equipment managers be really expected to properly fit helmets on 100+ players college teams typically carry?

    The one helmet rule sounds a bit ridiculous and IMO strategic from a legal standpoint for a number of reasons already mentioned beginning with the fact that many players already have/use more than one helmet. (QB’s always have at least one back up as do other players like RB’s and defensive signal callers. Ocho Cinco used/rotated three or four different helmets when he was with the Bengals, etc.). Secondly, players often switch the interior out of their ‘regular’ helmet and put it into their alternate as they prefer the broken in feel. Also, the alternate helmets are worn during the week preceding the throwback game (as well as in training camp sometimes).
    IMO, this is a legal ploy by the NFL to cover themselves from some sort of further litigation.

    Alabama blackout jersey link is going to a more generic page — I think the original link may have been taken down

    Didn’t know that NHL Rule 6.1 was in the books, but since it is, the Detroit Red Wings’ upcoming Winter Classic jerseys violate the rule in the same way. That captaincy designation is on the left arm, in the stripe pattern.

    This could also discourage teams from changing their helmet colors when they get new uniforms in the future for fear of not being able to wear their throwbacks.

    Paul, the NFL has always preferred their single uniform images to massive amounts of alternate jersey sales. Restrictions on alternate uniforms were extreme before the new helmet rule.

    This makes sense – in the NFL, the helmets are the de facto team logos. Helmet designs are how teams are identified in the media and on merchandise. Alternate helmets would dilute the branding.

    This is less of an issue in college ball, where universities usually have more prominent logos as their primary identities (Michigan being a notable exception).

    This makes sense — in the NFL, the helmets are the de facto team logos. Helmet designs are how teams are identified in the media and on merchandise. Alternate helmets would dilute the branding.

    I think that’s bullshit. With the exception of Cleveland, every NFL team has a distinctive logo which isn’t a helmet. While it isn’t uncommon for TV broadcasts to start a game with a pair of helmets clashing or exploding or whatever, the teams’ regular logos are used far more often – both on scorebugs and on consumer items. I work in retail in Ohio and I can honestly say that around 90% of the Bengals items we sell have that stupid-ass striped B on them instead of the helmet. I can sort of see a potential branding issue with throwback uniforms (Bucco Bruce vs the pirate flag is a good example), but you can’t seriously tell me that the Chargers’ brand would be hurt by them wearing a navy helmet with a yellow bolt for away games.

    Degrees vary, but the most identifiable image for most teams is the helmet, or the logo in combination with the helmet. For the Browns, the lack of a feature is the feature. For the Cowboys, it’s not just the star – it’s the star on the silver helmet. And you’re probably not wrong about the Chargers, but that’s mostly because they have a pretty weak brand.

    Restrictions on alternate uniforms were extreme before the new helmet rule.

    “Extreme”? Teams are allowed to wear an alternate or throwback for two games. Given that the NFL has a 16-game schedule, that’s the equivalent of 20 MLB games, or 10 NBA/NHL games. And since alts/throwbacks are always worn at home, two games amount to 25% of the home schedule.

    Doesn’t sound so “extreme” to me.

    What we need is some entrepreneurial little company to come up with some kind of shell (or whatever) that can fit over the existing helmet itself, allowing the team to customize the look of the helmets they already have. Is that even possible? I have no idea, but seems like it would.

    Put me down as somebody that’s pretty surprised by this move, concussions or not.

    There those helmet sock thingys (used primarily by high schools during inter-squad parctices/scrimmages) which could be customized with a design and modified to prevent tearing and ease of removal?

    Very frustrating! Just spent a considerable amount of time typing out a well thought out comment on the NFL’s helmet rule, and then had the window crash…very sad.

    The cliff’s notes version is that the longer a helmet is worn, the more likely the padding will need to be replaced and the shell will start to take damage. Players have mroe than one helmet, or access to them, in cases of the helmet breaking or needing repair during practace and during games. The NFL cannot tell teams that the player gets only one helmet for the season and still expect to look strong on reducing head injuries. This is probably more about marketing and less about safety.

    This is probably more about marketing and less about safety.

    How, exactly, is it about marketing? Teams love their throwbacks, and so do fans. Seems like an anti-marketing move to me.

    They are just trying to prevent what is happening in college from happening in the NFL. Like someone said, it’s all about branding (I know… not a favorite term of yours). And they are using safety in the wake of the settlement as a tag. I find it kind of a slap in the face – almost like, “you want safety, I’ll give you safety. Here, no alternate helmets. Happy?”

    Chance, they already do when they only allow the throwback to be worn a limited number of games and the League has to approve of the throwback uniform well in advance of the season it is to be worn.

    I believe (yes, just a belief – obviously I have no insider knowledge here) that this is about marketing because with the NFL, seemingly *everything* is about marketing. (Marketing the image of the NFL, that is, – “protecting the shield” as they like to say – not marketing the sale of merch.)

    The NFL has received a deluge of bad publicity related to head trauma & player safety. There aren’t many things that the league can do to change this perception in a news-worthy way. (Yes, on-field rules changes & statements from the commish help, but these are longer-term, less dramatic methods.) With this issue, the NFL gets to appear to be extremely active on the issue of player safety via a rule change whose announcement will cause considerable discussion among fans & non-fans.

    In addition to the NFL’s predilection for self-aggrandizement, the fact that the issue of alternate helmets has received virtually ZERO attention in the past few years (when head trauma itself has received more attention than ever, at least as it relates to the NFL) also prompts skepticism as to the effectiveness of this rule.

    Thought experiment: Fourth quarter, 1:57 left, Pats have the ball on their own 25, trailing by 5. Suddenly the communication system in Brady’s helmet fails. What’s more likely to happen:

    1. Tom grabs a lid from a backup QB & play continues.
    2. Tom keeps his lid, Pats lose ability to communicate via headset.
    2. Tom is removed from the game due to safety concerns.

    Yeah, should have have clearer on that point. You are correct that this is a anti-marketing move.

    If it was easier to sell helmets, you would see the NFL moving along the lines of MLB does with NewEra and we would probably see Pre-game, Game, Alt-, Alt-2, and Post-Game helmets.

    It is possible, though unlikely, that the reports may be wrong. Remember those reports in 2010(?) of the NFL banning the use of alternate jerseys in nationally-televised or potentially nationally-televised games? Turned out to be completely fake.

    Plus requiring players to stick with the same helmet all season long is blatantly anti-safety, so I doubt the Player Safety Advisory Panel would approve this.

    Oh, and there would have been no reason to not tell the Bucs/Packers/Rams of the rule until after Week 2.

    Lastly, Paul used the name “Redskins” near the end of the second bullet point. Admitting your defeat already?

    Plus requiring players to stick with the same helmet all season long is blatantly anti-safety…

    I see. So you are an expert about “blatant” anti-safety moves.

    You and a lot of other people here, apparently.

    My personal basis is this: if my bike helmet tells me to get a new one after I crashed and use my helmet, would it not be the same for football helmets? I don’t mean “hit once and replace,” I mean if you keep using it, wouldn’t it be beneficial to use two helmets, or to replace?

    if my bike helmet tells me to get a new one after I crashed and use my helmet, would it not be the same for football helmets?

    Uh, no, since bike helmets have very little structural similarity to football helmets. Bike helmets are designed to protect you for one impact, the end.

    Apples and oranges.

    Bike helmets might be dissimilar to football helmets, but motorcycle helmets are much closer in design. While they are one-and-done like bike helmets, they also have a limited shelf life even when accident-free. The components just break down over time and it doesn’t seem logical that football helmets would be that different. A helmet needs to have structural integrity and fit properly, neither of which stays constant over time.

    Regarding the little blurb on Louisville’s helmets – ESPN using the red facemask helmet is worse than you think. The Cardinals changed from red facemasks back to white ones when Charlie Strong arrived in 2010, so that helmet was at best from 2009. I didn’t see the halftime show so I don’t know if it had the old 1999-2009 striping, the 2010-2012 striping, or the current 2013 striping.

    Extreme may have been a poor choice of words as everything is relevant. The point I was trying to make is that compared to what teams could do (see Oregon, OSU, etc.), the NFL has limited them to a single alternate uniform that is either throwback or limited to a color change of their current uniform and no alternate helmet other than throwbacks. Whether or not the chargers wearing a blue helmet on the road would hurt their image long-term is debatable. The fact is that the NFL believes that it will and this rule is potentially another way to protect that image.

    Well, this is going to be a busy day…..

    I agree with Paul in that I’m neither a doctor nor an engineer so I can’t speak to the question of whether it is demonstrably or measurably safer to wear the same helmet in every game than to switch helmets for a game or two. And, I am a lawyer so I understand the liability angle.

    But I don’t know; NFL teams have been wearing throwback helmets in select games for 20 years. Is there evidence that one of them caused, or contributed to, a head injury? I don’t know, I’m just asking.

    When I played football (25+ years ago), all the padding inside the helmet (at least, the Bike and Riddell models) was removable and easily transferable from shell to shell. I don’t know if that’s still true. If the concern is that fresh padding is less safe than broken-in padding, one would think the broken-in padding could be installed in the alternate shell.

    It just seems to me that this is something that NFL clubs and players are more than capable of handling. I realize the NFL is especially sensitive to the issue of head injuries but I’m not sure this is a reasonable approach, viz., that it accomplishes anything more than alerting the public to that sensitivity.

    Looks like we won’t be seeing those 1982 “Sack Exchange” throwbacks we’ve all been clamoring for…..

    Looks like we won’t be seeing those 1982 “Sack Exchange” throwbacks we’ve all been clamoring for…..

    Well, it is the Jets… they wore a green helmet with the ’68 logo in both ’93 and ’94, so a white helmet with a green ’82 JETS logo would almost be traditional.

    “Looks like we won’t be seeing those 1982 “Sack Exchange” throwbacks we’ve all been clamoring for…”


    Not everyone has been clamoring for those.

    That’s true. I haven’t. I don’t think there’s anything special about them, and I’m the only one who likes the Titans throwbacks.

    What I really don’t get is people who want to see the 1990’s Coslet/Kotite-era uniform with the black trim. Really? They want to be reminded of Browning Nagle, Blair Thomas, the Fake Spike and the Shovel Pass?

    Plus, with today’s almost-sleeveless jerseys, those fat stripes won’t show and they’ll look like plain green shirts.

    I always wondered how these college teams are able to use the multiple helmets during the course of the season. When I played football in high school, possibly the worst thing about the start of the season (besides the heat of summer practices) was that the padding on the helmets was stiff and it kind of hurt taking off the helmet. That helmet just didn’t feel right until the padding had formed to your head and it was comfortable then.

    Although I don’t really like the helmet rule for the NFL I’d love to see it adapted by the NCAA. College football is getting ridiculous with the number of helmets some teams have.

    Yeah, it’d be nice to flip on the tv and recognize your own team, huh? I totally agree with you.
    The powers that be at the college level don’t seem to care, though.

    “But most of us think the college approach is ridiculous and out of control.”

    This is exactly the reason the NFL has made efforts to limit alternate uniforms and helmets in the past. I’m not saying this rule was designed to do that, but it definitely does not hurt their cause.

    1) Tony, it would be helpful if you replied to things by using the “Reply” button, instead of starting a new thread each time.

    2) The NFL’s rule on alternate unis was in place long before the explosion of alt helmets in the NCAA.

    What a sham of an excuse. This has absolutely NOTHING to do with safety, as each and every helmet carriers the same NOCSAE certification, and technically offers no more or no less in the form of protection.

    If this was a safety issue, players would be required to sit out each and every time a helmet needed servicing, but that is certainly not the case. QB’s swap out their radio enabled helmets if the radio malfunctions. Players have also been known to have a standby helmet to accommodate a visor with a different tint/gradient. Auto racing helmets require inspection/recertification after a wreck… regardless of whether any head impact was made. How is it safe that the same football helmet be used play after play, week after week?

    Now for the speculation part… my guess this has everything to do with vendor relations. A little squeezing and subsequent sand pounding.

    ” … Nearly three years ago I ran a photo of elephants ‘playing baseball.’ Now Hall of Fame curator Tom Shieber has written a great piece about the story behind that photo. …”

    Thank you, thank you. Tom Shieber is such a great asset.

    I gotta confess. One of my guilty pleasures — I have a collection — is the reflexive delight I feel whenever I see certain animals wearing human clothes and (appearing to be) pursuing human activities. This is especially true of elephants and dogs. You know those one-reel movie comedy shorts in which dogs hop around on their hind legs and re-enact Gone With The Wind or something? I can’t help it, I start laughing uncontrollably. Elephants playing baseball? Haw Haw! I’ve taught myself NOT to laugh at chimpanzees or other primates dressed up like H sapiens, and I don’t like dolphin/orca shows. Maybe it’s because dogs and elephants — Indian Elephants especially — have been living with humans for so many centuries. I dunno. But damn, those baseball pachyderms…

    This is the oddest, yet most edifying thing I’ve read all morning. Thank you, Connie DC. I can go to lunch now.

    I feel the same way. I can’t help it. I know it’s kind of cruel but it’s SOOOO funny and it’s not hurting them.

    I would guess another angle could be insurance related issues. (No I’m not a doctor or insurance salesman.)

    But, is there a chance the NFL’s insurance company really frowns upon the entire team changing to untested helmets for a couple of games? I see the arguments above for replacing damaged helmets, and obviously replacing a damaged helmet is unavoidable. But I could see where putting new helmets on the team for a game or two could concern them.

    Putting on a helmet for a throwback game should be fine. The helmet should already meet specifications and safety measures. Everyone’s point is that the alternate helmet should be as safe as putting on the regular helmet. The regular helmet would actually be less safe due to the beating is has already taken.

    Insurance issues run far and wide. I wouldn’t be surprised if player X is insured to wear a specific helmet with a unique serial number, and then the team wants to voluntarily outfit him with a different helmet? Why wouldn’t an insurance company charge more for that? Now would they charge so much as to make wearing an alternate helmet no viable? Don’t know. But it’s probably somewhere in the mix.

    I don’t have enough time to read through all the comments, so I don’t know if this has been said already.

    The 1-helmet rule doesn’t make much sense from a player safety standpoint since most players just use the same model helmet with their throwback. It would make sense, however, if the league was trying to gather data on a season’s worth of hits to the various helmets the players are using. It might not seem like much (missing one game) but from a scientific standpoint, you need to compare apples with apples. That can only be done if every player uses only one helmet for the whole year.

    I dunno, just my thought, as an Engineer.

    Interesting take on it… but there are already a few teams (Raiders, Chiefs, Giants, etc) who don’t wear alternate helmets, so gathering data for a 16-game used helmet is already possible without any rule changes.

    I guess that number is too small:

    Da Bears,
    Vikings (if they just painted the face mask last year)

    I don’t know if I missed anyone, but that’s almost the whole league right there.

    ““Somebody’s offended by it, then change it,” Banks said. “It’s not that big a deal.””

    I believe in changing the name, but that’s the worst reason I’ve ever heard. If we changed everything that offended anyone anywhere that’s all we’d be doing.

    Wearing multiple helmets sounds like a non-issue to me. I feel like this is a dual knee-jerk reaction to a) Player safety and b) having alternate helmets.

    If the case is safety, then someone call up the CFL’s link and check if they have had more concussions than year’s past and/or the CFL average, since they wear two different helmets all season.

    I agree with player safety first, but it shouldn’t be unnecessary. I honestly don’t see how two helmets may be worse than one, since most players would wear the same model of helmet on throwback days. This could have been implemented better.

    The cynic in me feels like Nike is pushing for the NFL to loosen up on certain uni-based rules, like the NFL did for RNOB’s and the like. Maybe Nike wants to see more alternate designs, and the NFL could be recoiling. Or this helmet thing could be a co-wink-e-dink to all that.

    I love the clean, classic look…but its just a little weird for me to see something USCG related in yellow instead of orange.

    If the league really gave a flip about player safety, they’d get rid of helmets altogether. That this option hasn’t even been mentioned (at least not that I recall), shows having any helmets at all (let alone two, three..) is money-related. Branding, liscensing, contracts..there’s too much at stake for the NFL to simply get rid of helmets when, in actuality, that’s probably the most effective way they can reduce traumatic brain injuries.


    Helmets have gone from “in case you get hit in the head” to “BECAUSE you will be hit in the head (or hit someone with YOUR head).

    Yes, getting rid of helmets is demonstrably safer. The number and severity of head injuries will obviously decrease if helmets are not used. If only the NFL cared about safety, helmets would be banned. And personal injury lawyers would have little to complain about. In the off-chance someone could get seriously hurt playing football without a helmet, who could possibly sue and win? Come on NFL!


    Here’s a Washington DC football story for ya. Looks as if Apple has banned the nickname in their Canadian iTunes store.


    Apples/oranges. Also, the developers behind the R*****ns app can (and do) still use the naughty word within the app. They’re just not allowed to use it in the app name.

    The term “apple” is also a slur to ‘Native Americans’ as well.
    Henceforth, should that business be referred to as “The American multinational corporation headquartered in Cupertino, California that designs, develops, and sells consumer electronics, computer software and personal computers”?

    If apple is truly a Native American slur, it’s news to me, but I’ll take your word for it.

    You’re way off the mark, though. If they used a logo that looked link, rather than link, I’d say you have a point.

    link is Apple’s original logo, so I think we can confidently conclude that the name of the company is a reference to Newton’s apple, and not the indigenous peoples of North America.

    The Redskins are embroiled in a naming controversy, not a logo controversy…has that changed?

    Context matters. Words have multiple connotations. The logo offers us evidence that the R-word doesn’t refer to potatoes, which would’ve been a perfectly fine use of the word.

    I get the sense that you’re being intentionally obtuse here.

    Paul you couldn’t be more wrong on the helmet issue. Most D1 college players that I have been around wear multiple helmets in the same year because they damage them (go into an equipment room and often you will see piles of discarded helmets). I’m sure the NFL is the same way. Also, if the league really cared about the integrity of the helmets why are some players still wearing older, unsafe models (Tom Brady, Charles Woodson, etc.)?


    I can’t be “wrong,” because I don’t have an unconditional position yet.

    My conditional position is that I’m in favor of this move if it improves player safety. But I’m not yet convinced that it improves safety. I’m trying to get more info.

    A whole bunch of you seem to be self-appointed experts on this, though.

    I’m not an expert but did present a couple of facts that fly in the face of this decision that you didn’t address. Namely, it’s common for players to use multiple helmets within a season and individual game due to damage (first hand knowledge), and players are allowed to continue to use unsafe helmets with the NFL’s consent. So why draw the line here?

    Obviously, a cracked or damaged helmet should be replaced. But maybe there’s evidence that shows it’s best to stick with one non-damaged helmet as much as possible, instead of switching them out all the time.

    I don’t know if such evidence exists, but the NFL’s statements imply that it exists. I’m trying to find out more, because I don’t know enough to make grand, sweeping statements on this topic.

    But I guess you already have it all figured out.

    I noticed this on my own child’s ultrasound prints over the last few months. (She was born last Tuesday, pardon my self-congratulatory moment. Safe and healthy!) Well, to be honest, I noticed the larger logo, not the smaller more intrusive one on the image field itself. Good find, Marty!

    Per Jason Wilde (Packers beat writer) on Twitter:

    PR man for the Packers, “We will still wear our third jersey but we will utilize our regular gold helmet without a logo and stripe.”

    So there you have it. I’m glad they are still having the Acme throwbacks, and I’m glad they won’t look that bad with the gold helmet. Some may argue it is better than the shiny brown one they wore in the past.

    Well that’s something. Note to Green Bay: please, for the love of Celestia, find a way to switch from green facemasks to either blue or gray, because a green mask would just look wrong.

    since the link, I would bet that they’ll use those on the gold helmets.

    But even if they don’t, they kept the green ones in 1994 and it wasn’t a great look, but it really link. Of course, that was before HD broadcasts…

    With the whole helmet thing in Tampa, it sounds like typical NFL micromanagement to me. When the Steelers had the old throwbacks, they would wear both helmets in practice. (On a related note, the team retiring the old throwbacks in favor of the bumblebee unis had nothing to do with this rule. The Steelers only intended the original throwbacks to be one-offs, but kept them due to fan popularity.) And from a marketing standpoint, the Bucs are one of the least popular teams in the NFL. How much money do you want to bet that the NFL will still allow the Patriots to wear the Pat Patriot helmets, or the Cowboys wearing the white star helmets, or the Rams wearing their throwback helmet? (Not sure about the Packers and the Washington football team, but the Falcons have no plans to wear their throwbacks this year.) Just saying…

    A couple of other things to point out: my favorite NFL tattoo of the bunch has to be the O.J. Simpson mugshot. And when I emailed Paul late last night about the Pirates game, I forgot to mention that after the 2nd inning, they were playing Sweet Caroline–totally ripping off the Red Sox. (Who are scheduled to come to PNC Park next September.) The Red Sox must’ve known about it, because the Padres proceeded to hit a 3-run homer in the 3rd inning and never relinquished the lead after that.

    How much money do you want to bet that the NFL will still allow the Patriots to wear the Pat Patriot helmets, or the Cowboys wearing the white star helmets, or the Rams wearing their throwback helmet?

    I’ll take that bet.

    Also too Paul, and I just thought of this, the Bucs have been known to use throwback material for their throwbacks, such as mesh jerseys. Every other NFL team uses the current Nike template for their jerseys. That could be a reason, too.

    Let me get this straight: You think the NFL made up a story about a fictitious helmet rule as a way of punishing the Bucs for not using a certain fabric on their throwback jerseys.

    Sounds reasonable to me!

    I’d love to discuss that idea with you, but I have to go back to reading this book about how the moon landings were faked by a Kenyan-born President who’s also responsible for the rise in autism.

    When I drop my son off at football practice tonight, I’ll make sure his helmet is properly covered with foil.

    Not that we really need to debunk this, but:

    Every other NFL team uses the current Nike template for their jerseys.

    Demonstrably untrue. The Packers, Raiders, Eagles and Falcons (is there one more?) all use exactly the same uniform construction they did under the Reebok contract. Templates, materials, everything.

    While I am not an expert by any mean, I am a former college player who incurred a concussion while playing and also a lawyer and I will say that this is purely a handjob to be able to say “Look, we’re doing something!” There is zero reason for this rule, particularly since it is IMPOSSIBLE for it to truly be enforced league-wide. Two simple examples are that any player who has a radio in their helmet, must have a backup helmet in case their transmitter goes out. Or if a helmet becomes damaged during a game, it must be changed. Also, players who are on one team during camp, then get cut and sign with another and practice/play, get cut, sign with another, etc. This player is not required to wear the very same helmet all year long, is he? No. Are we really expected to believe that trainers who fit hundreds of helmets a year for players are incapable of getting the proper fit for an alternate helmet? This is just the No Fun League overreacting once again.

    There is zero reason for this rule, particularly since it is IMPOSSIBLE for it to truly be enforced league-wide.

    Too many people here are reverting to “gotcha” mindsets. Like, “Ha, what if a helmet is damaged? Try enforcing your ‘only one helmet’ rule then!”

    Duh — if a helmet is damaged it’ll be replaced. And yes, there’s the situation with radio-equipped helmets. ANd here’s one nobody else has mentioned yet: What if a player is traded mid-season (which almost never happens in the NFL, but still…)? Or if a player is released and then picked up by another team?

    So yes, those would all be exceptions to the “only one helmet” rule. But that misses the point. The idea isn’t to require every single player to wear only one helmet all season long; the idea is to reduce the amount of helmet-switching as much as possible.

    We can debate whether that’s a worthwhile goal or not. But let’s not mischaracterize what the goal actually is.

    I agree 100%. The NFL knows that this decision will get media attention because it limits teams from wearing throwbacks. However, they will continue to let players wear outdated helmets that have been proven to be insufficient in protecting against concussions.

    Right. They purposely failed to announce a new rule until it came out after the fact, as a way to “get media attention.”

    That makes a lot of sense.

    Normally I’d say, “Think harder.” But in this case, I’ll just say, “Think!”

    I should reply the same to you. Did the rule garner media attention? Yes. The NFL doesn’t care about the players one bit until it starts affecting their bottom line. There are dozens of reasons listed above as to why this rule is ridiculous and just another way for them to save face in the public eye.

    No offense, Dustin, but get a clue. If you’re looking for PR, you don’t announce something months after the fact in a way that confuses and pisses off fans.

    The fact that the media covered something does not ipso facto mean that the something in question was a PR move. By that “logic,” every single thing in the newspaper is, by definition, a PR move.

    link because Nationals players wanted to keep wearing the US Navy hats they wore for BP, but the team didn’t ask MLB for permission to wear them in the game.

    I think it’s a non-issue, but it would’ve been a nice gesture.

    What irritated him was the money grab involved. His contention was that MLB is perfectly fine with wearing special caps on Memorial/Victoria Day, Independence/Canada Day, and 9/11, but only because those special caps are available for sale at (You can even purchase an authentic Cardinals jersey complete with Stan Musial memorial patch) As MLB couldn’t make money off of the caps the Nationals wanted to wear, they weren’t allowed to wear them.

    Thanks, terriblehuman. I was going to post about this.

    I had forgotten that the Nationals wore Virginia Tech caps in the game back in Apr 2007. Obviously, MLB has not allowed any teams to wear a non-MLB cap in recent years. I’m guessing MLB made a rule regarding this, right?

    I’m just ticked at Olbermann for blaming the Nationals. If he wants to blame MLB, that’s fine. But don’t blame the Nationals for not asking to wear it when they know that they aren’t going to be granted permission.

    He subsequently tweeted that even though it would be in vain, the Nationals should have made the effort to ask. That’s as may be.

    The helmet thing seems, as many have noted, more PR and butt coverage than anything else. Businesses do this sort of thing all the time.

    As an unintended consequence, will the ban on throwbacks that require a new helmet result in an bunch of new alternate uniforms? The fans seem to like the variety. I assume there’s a market for replica jerseys, and that the teams enjoy that revenue stream. Would it be possible that teams who can’t used their throwback designs will fill that spot on their jersey schedule with something completely different?

    It may be a butt cover.

    But it’s not PR. They never publicly announced the rule, and the apparently didn’t communicate it very well to the teams (or at least to one team), either.

    If anything, it’s a PR stumble, not a calculated PR move.

    I guess it depends on which public you’re talking about.

    Head injuries are a big deal right now. The Players’ Association has argued that the league doesn’t care about the players. The league comes out with a new rule, that essentially says, “This is how much we care about the players: We aren’t going to let the teams mess with your helmets, even if it means they can’t do their throwback days, which we all know everyone loves.”

    It doesn’t strike me that the typical NFL fan cares all that much about player safety; they just want to be entertained. The players are all worried they’ll end up with serious head trauma. The league was aiming this message at the people it was meant for.

    Nobody said they can’t do their throwbacks. All they said was one helmet.

    Who knows, maybe it’s a safety issue with “inadvertant” marketing in mind…now the Bucs will have to come up with an alternate uniform based on their current helmet. (Well, not “have to” but…) And Jets and anyone else whose throwbacks don’t match their standard helmet.

    Well considering the Bucs have only had two uniform choices… 1976-96 with a white helmet or 1997-present with the pewter, I guess any throwbacks are out. If they really want to do a Bucco Bruce throwback, they could do a full re-design with white, red and pewter featuring a white helmet, but then we’d still be in the same boat someday when we want to do a 2002 Super Bowl throwback.

    This whole thing is so stupid. If they can print vinyl wraparounds for cars, they can do a football helmet wraparound.

    Watched the first few moments of the 1974 All Star Game. Interesting to note that Bert Campaneris and Reggie Jackson wore different Oakland uniforms.

    As with Paul said, very common for teams at the time, but it fell out of favor by the 1980s. Since 1998, teams wear either their standard home uniforms or their road grays, depending on the site of the game. I don’t think there’s an official MLB rule about it, but for most teams, they’re more recognizable in their traditional uniform ensemble than a softball top and, like the NFL, doing it for marketing reasons. This basically makes sure that next season when the All-Star Game is played in Minneapolis, whoever is the sole Marlins all-star (Giancarlo Stanton?) has to wear the road gray Marlins uniform that was mothballed this season.

    There is indeed an official “white vs. gray” rule for the ASG, to prevent scenarios like a Braves player and a Rays player both wearing navy.

    Oh OK, wasn’t real sure if there was an official rule about that or not. That explains it.

    Personally, I like seeing white vs. gray in the Midsummer Classic.

    And MLB enforces it via Majestic. The players’ uniforms, caps, undershirts, etc. are made specifically for the All-Star Game, and are waiting for the players when they arrive at the stadium. This way, you also don’t get the spectacle of Lou Whitaker forgetting his jersey, and having to buy one at a souvenir stand and draw his number on it with a permanent marker.

    Absolutely love those Pirates Clemente-era throwbacks. Only thing that would make them better is if even one player would rock the ‘rups. Not a single one this past Sunday, and I didn’t notice any last night either.

    Last night was the first time I got to see the throwbacks live in person. With the team adopting a new logo next season, I wouldn’t mind them switching to them next season–save for the gold cap, which should be an alternate while the black hat remains the primary hat. Wasn’t expecting to see them last night, but once I saw the Pirate Parrot (of all people) decked out in throwback gear, I knew we would see them. Then once they had the Roberto Clemente Day stuff before the game, I knew why they were wearing them.

    I had to work Sunday, last night’s game was my finale for the season. I’m not sure I’ll be able to go to a playoff game (if there is one at home–the Buccos haven’t officially clinched yet), so I was expecting last night to be it for me.

    So this year, I was able to knock off four more teams I’ve never seen in person: Cubs, A’s, Tigers, and Padres, although I should probably put an asterik by the Tigers game, as it was link on a day I attended both the Pirates game at PNC Park against the Marlins (who I had seen in person before this season) and the Indians game at Progressive Field against the Tigers. And before anyone asks, it was the night AFTER link

    I saw the Negro League throwbacks live in person in 2011. THOSE were beauties. But MLB teams shouldn’t be wearing Negro League uniforms, so I don’t know how I’d rate them on a 1-10 scale.

    Seems to me this is a phenomenal opportunity for a company like link. They could make a run of a few hundred helmet covers per participating team, the team hires a few temps to cover the helmets before the game and do in-game touch-ups. NFL gets to tout its focus on safety, aesthetic geeks get to see the throwback goodness and collecters could buy unused helmet covers. Win-win-win.

    When it comes to the helmets, if a player uses the same size of the same brand and model helmet it should fit the same and provide the same level of protection. For example, if your hat size is 7 3/8ths then any 7 3/8ths hat will properly fit your head. With the air pressure inflation helmets of the modern era, the chambers will conform to your head with a new helmet as it would with the one you have been using. Breaking in the padding offers no more protection than not breaking it in. From a medical perspective, a concussion isn’t caused by the padding. A concussion is caused by the brain moving in the head. You can wear a different helmet every play or the same helmet every play and your brain will still slosh about in your skull with a same hit that would cause a concussion. The padding only helps with external head injuries and a concussion is an internal head injury. Given that, the NFL rule, if it is a rule, is pretty asinine because the risk of concussion would remain exactly the same whether you wore an older helmet in proper operating condition vs. a new helmet in proper operating condition. The concussion is not caused by the impact itself, which the padding protects, but the movement of the brain within in the skull and old helmet or new helmet does not prevent this.

    Small note, not to be rude or anything, but the “hat size” thing just ain’t right.

    I’m a 7 3/4 in a standard baseball New Era 5950. But for the fashion 5950’s I’m a 7 7/8.

    For a non-baseball 5950 I’ve fit in anything from a 7 3/4 to a full 8. In a 3930, I’m an 8 across the board.

    As for helmets, when I last wore them I was a 7 5/8 hat size, but a 7 3/8 helmet from Ridell and a 7 1/2 from Bike. I found this out after my first practice when the 7 5/8 Ridell was shaking all over, and I popped the bladder trying to get it pumped up to fit.

    I meant to add this. Football concussions are usually Closed Head Injuries and here is a medical definition. Note that the brain injury is on the opposite side from the impact as the brain slams against that part of the skull. The external injuries are minimal due to the protection of the helmet and padding.


    “Closed head injury refers to brain injury without any penetrating injury to the brain. It may be the result of a direct blow to the head; of the moving head being rapidly stopped, such as when a person’s head hits a windshield in a car accident; or by the sudden deceleration of the head without its striking another object. The kind of injury the brain receives in a closed head injury is determined by whether or not the head was unrestrained upon impact and the direction, force, and velocity of the blow. If the head is resting on impact, the maximum damage will be found at the impact site. A moving head will cause a “contrecoup injury” where the brain damage occurs on the side opposite the point of impact, as a result of the brain slamming into that side of the skull. A closed head injury also may occur without the head being struck, such as when a person experiences whiplash. This type of injury occurs because the brain is of a different density than the skull, and can be injured when delicate brain tissues hit against the rough, jagged inner surface of the skull.”

    I might be wrong, but one of the Colorado high school farmer logos looks a lot like an old Nebraska Cornhusker logo.

    I went to WR’s rival school, Lakewood High School, and trust me, we gave them crap for that every game.

    At the time, the CU/NU rivalry was huge, and to have a Colorado school even THINK of copying the damn Huskers was sacrilegious.

    Since the Packers will be going “blank yellow” on their Acme Packer throwback game, and since they are playing the Browns, the matchup will be blank helmet versus blank helmet. How many times has that happened in the NFL? (in modern times, of course)

    The only other game I remember would be the Packers/Lions Thanksgiving game in 2001. I suppose there may have been a game or 2 during the 1994 season, but I can’t recall anything.

    there were many such games in 1994. Lots of teams went logo-free and played each other in throwback games.

    Bears, Packers, Lions, Cardinals, Eagles, Steelers, Washington…

    Regarding Paul’s comments “But if this move actually increases player safety, it’s hard to argue against it. I’m not a doctor (and neither are most of you), so I’m in no position to judge the risks of wearing multiple helmets in a season as opposed to wearing one.” I agree with him 100%. Like him, I would also like to learn more about the specifics on why it is dangerous two wear two different helmets in football. Yes, I am disappointed that I will not be able to see Tampa Bay wear their alternative uniforms this season and possibly the Dallas Cowboys on Thanksgiving Day but the league has to put the player’s safety above everything else.

    What’s interesting to me is that Tom Brady probably has probably had the same Pat Patriot helmet for years now, but he wouldn’t be allowed to wear it under these rules.

    (Of course that doesn’t acknowledge the fact that most of his teammates haven’t been wearing one for nearly as long.)

    If a goalie ever gets caught for illegal equipment, I would certainly hope he pays the $1000 fine levied against his equipment manager.


    Interesting how the Michigan-branded article about the winged helmet neglects to mention that Michigan State was wearing a variation of the winged helmet before it ever got to Michigan:


    It’s like McAuliffe font. Plenty of baseball teams wore it, including the Yankees. But it became the Red Sox font because they kept it when everyone else moved to something else.

    A lot of gotcha type arguments in the comment section and not enough contained celebration that the US Soccer Teams may finally be forever replacing the awful clip art logo they’ve been using for almost two decades with a beautiful shield that will look great on any design and is instantly recognizable.

    The only time anyone cares about the US soccer team is during the World Cup, and even then, no one really cares. Sure it’d be great if they won, but, meh, whatever.

    The Jeff that’s not true, the men’s national team has been playing in sold out stadiums throughout this qualifying cycle. I’d even go as far to say that they draw better than any collection of individual players that are not the “local team”. Sure the USMNT and soccer in general in this country is not the NFL, but really no other sport can compare to that jugernaut. Baseball has it’s tradition and summer weather and the NBA has a massive TV contract with ESPN pumping out highlights of games in mostly empty arenas outside of the 5 marque teams because they have a financial interest in it.

    And as for your comment that the only time anyone cares about the USMNT is during the World Cup, I’d like to remind you that the qualifying cycle for the next WC begins essentially right after the previous one finishes. So by that logic that means people only care about the USMNT all the time.

    Trying to decide how I feel about the polo-style (not to be confused with Polo-style) sash jersey. I’m guessing that’ll go over well with the polled collar crowd.

    Loooove the all blue on the right. For some reason I can’t say I like the sash one as much, probably because the sash is screwed with by that damn swoosh.

    I thought FIFA required teams to wear their federation logo, not a national flag or other political symbol. Anyway, that’s been US Soccer’s story for years whenever asked about why they wear that ugly crest with its bizarro-world inversion of Old Glory’s colors.

    Personally, I won’t be happy until link becomes our federation logo, or something darn close to it.

    As to the jerseys, man I hope not. US Soccer has been wearing red and white hoops almost long enough to have established it as a core US identity. Switching to solid royal blue (emulating the pillar of soccer greatness that is Japan: brilliant!) and white-with-blue-sash set basically means resetting US Soccer back to zero. Greenland’s national team would have a stronger, more consistent visual identity than USA if these are the 2014 shirts. I mean that literally: Greenland, which isn’t even a FIFA member, will have uniforms with a longer record and deeper historical roots than the freakin’ United States of America. Good job, Nike! Way to go, USA!

    arrScott I agree with most of what you are saying. I think the red hoops with the Centenial crest would be a great look for this team to maintain and FINALLY develop a bit of an identity. The beauty of soccer is that teams typically have 1-2 change kits where a manufactuer can experiment with design. I wouldn’t mind Nike, who’s done a pretty good job with soccer designs keeping the hoops kit and rolling out other designs every cycle to profit of off.

    Keep the Hoops! And use the good shield (1930s vintage as recently sported by Jurgen), not that dumb USSA shield. Follow Arr Scott in every particular save his egregious error in advocating the rattlesnake motif. IF the snake and “Don’t Tread on Me” had not been hijacked by a certain political reactionary element of Frightened Old White People (FOWPs), then it would be super cool. But that hijacking has occurred. Alas.

    Funny you say that, Connie. Here in Virginia, they now offer “Don’t Tread on Me” license plates designed to mimic the Gadsden flag – bright gold background, black rattlesnake. If you don’t personalize your plate (which everyone does in Virginia, since it’s only ten bucks extra), your “Don’t Tread on Me” plate will come with the number 0000TP. One guess what the TP stands for. Screw that, says I, so as soon as they were available, I replaced my Parrothead plate with a “Don’t Tread on Me” plate, above which I rotate from among my collection of Democratic candidate magnets. I’m reclaiming – nay, I’m liberating – a proud American symbol from its recent narrow partisan kidnapping. And it’s working! I’ve turned some heads, provoked some double-takes, and gotten into a number of interesting conversations as a result.

    US Soccer adopting the Gadsden snake could help return that symbol to national rather than partisan use and make it once again a unifying rather than a dividing emblem. Plus it’s becoming pretty huge with Team USA fans anyway, so might as well embrace it.

    I thought FIFA required teams to wear their federation logo, not a national flag or other political symbol

    A few teams – Turkey, Japan and China come to mind – wear their national flags along with the federation logos. And some teams, like Italy and Argentina, have flag-themed federation logos, so I don’t think that’s true.

    It’s not. It’s perfectly permissible to use a flag on a national team kit. South Africa also uses it.

    Arr, I agree with everything you’re saying, except your take on the crest.

    The current crest is bad, but there is so much political and cultural baggage attached to the rattlesnake and “Don’t Tread On Me” motif that it’s unusable.

    It’s great imagery, with deep roots in US history, but it is so closely associated with a certain ideology, that its use would be polarizing and misinterpreted.

    Lots of hockey teams, pre-1930’s, used the swastika as a club logo. It’s a great symbol, but if, say, the Vancouver Canucks wore the sweaters of the Fernie Swastikas as part of a British Columbia Hockey Heritage Night, people would be upset.

    (I am not comparing the Tea Party to the Nazis. I am simply trying to illustrate the pitfalls of employing emblems that are strongly associated with controversial movements.)

    Well, despite my deep misgivings about pretty much everything the Tea Party stands for, you’re right that they’re not Nazis. And so the Gadsden snake is not tainted in any way comparable to the swastika. I mean, look, after Reagan the flag itself and the concept of “flag, comma, wrapping oneself in,” had come to be seen by many as a partisan symbol, to the point that it was A Very Big Deal and an Event Worthy of Note in our republic’s Important Papers and Networks of Record when the Democratic candidate for president adopted Old Glory as his link. “You can’t do that!” some gasped, and some of those so gasping were Democrats. Today, most would think that whole thing pretty ridiculous.

    Plus, and on a slightly more serious note, there’s a difference between a rattlesnake on red and white stripes, and a rattlesnake on yellow. Per my comment above, I believe in liberating both patriotic serpents from any partisan prison, but seeing as how link flies from the mast of every ship in the U.S. Navy, I think the public can be trusted to see a rattlesnake on red and white as a national symbol even if they see a rattlesnake on yellow as a narrow ideological device.

    It was a rough-hewn analogy. I certainly meant no malice: some of my craziest relatives are Tea Partiers.

    Here’s one I just thought of: When I say “Jamie Farr”, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? His appearances on The Red Skelton Show? His LPGA golf tournament? His gig as The Gong Show panelist? Nope. I guarantee you that when he replaced Nathan Lane in the Broadway revival of Guys and Dolls, theatergoers said, “Hey! It’s Klinger!”

    I think you overestimate the American Public. These are the people who play “Feelin’ Stronger Everyday”, a song about divorce, at wedding receptions and 50th wedding anniversary parties. I don’t care what color it’s on: ‘Muricans see a rattlesnake and the legend “DON’T TREAD ON ME!” and they’re looking for Sarah Palin.

    As a former Navy man myself, I fully support the Gadsden flag idea. It should represent America, not a specific political party who jacked it for their personal use.

    The hoops are fine, and I’d have no problem with keeping them. But to say we’ve worn them long enough to make them the default US identity is just wrong. We’ve worn a white jersey much longer.

    I think the blue would be Nike’s “obsidian”, a dark blue shade.

    If those shirts turn out to be what we wear in Brazil, I wonder what the numbers would look like. There doesn’t seem to be much room underneath the crest for numbers, so they’d probably have to be superimposed over the sash. Red with white trim, perhaps? On both primary and change shirts? That’d get the red in…

    Let’s look at the teams with different helmet colors to see if using the same shell would be feasible.

    Falcons – Yes. Existing throwback + black helmet = Dirty Birds.
    Patriots – Probably. Pat Patriot still looks good on silver.
    Cowboys – Yes, and there’s no worry of mismatched silvers because the throwbacks use white.
    Redskins – Yes. And that’s all I’ll say about it.
    Packers – Already announced they’re using a decal-stripped normal helmet.
    Bucs – Already announced they’re mothballing the throwbacks.

    Probably. Pat Patriot still looks good on silver.


    Falcons — Yes. Existing throwback + black helmet = Dirty Birds.

    No, existing throwback + black helmet = inaccurate throwback, the “Dirty Birds” never wore white pants.

    How about-

    Falcons — Not with currently used 1966-70 throwback. Only if they switch to 1990-2002 throwback.
    Patriots — Not with currently used 1961-92 throwback. Only if they switch to 1993-99 throwback.
    Cowboys — Not with currently used 1960-63 throwbacks.
    Redskins — For the current 2012 throwback (leather helmet era) – see my Packers answer. Not with the 2007 throwback (1970-71 era), or 2002-03 throwback (1965-69 era). Only if they switch to the 1969 throwbacks which is essentially the same spear from the 1965-69 ‘skins on the same colored helmet as current.
    Packers — Throwing back to leather helmet era, accuracy is already compromised.
    Bucs — Not with currently used 1976-96 throwbacks.

    Unless of course you don’t care if they use inaccurate throwbacks, in which case your answers are fine, but you’re probably on the wrong website.

    I wanted to say so much about this helmet BS, but deleted it all because I don’t have proof.

    I will say, just use the vinyl overlays and stop messing with the fans. We want the throwbacks. We don’t want your shitty nike colour fades with penis-faced jaguars.

    Hypothetical: If the NCAA continues to wear multiple helmets, how does that effect future litigation? Does the NFL shirk responsibility to the NCAA? They are separate entities, so how do they facilitate uniformity from questionable medical studies? This is going to get ugly, and the litigation continues…

    It does seem like if the NFL is clearly stating that they believe wearing multiple helmets is not the safest course of action, then that could open the NCAA up to getting sued if someone wearing multiple helmets gets hurt.

    Re: Penn State ghost uniforms…

    Southland Athletic produced a number of ghost basketball uniforms back in the late ’60s and early ’70s (Terry probably remembers others as well.) I know Tulane used one back in the day. Southland had the contract for the Dallas schools then and schools whose colors were something and white often had ghost white unis (If you had, say, red and blue, those were the colors on the numbers.) I remember watching Dallas Roosevelt High, the state champs that year, in ghost white with COLUMBIA BLUE outlines. Completely indecipherable from more than three feet away.

    This is *NOT MINE*, but some guy on reddit did a graphical redesign of all 32 NFL team logos.

    Some of them are good, some of them are great, and some are AMAZING.


    Seriously, this guy should be PRAISED for the amount of work he put in to these.

    His Titans logo is a clever reworking (the less charitable would say “ripoff”) of the old Rutgers logo.

    I had never heard of the Falcons logo being an “F” until a year or so ago.

    I’ve always been stumped as to why the talons are forward and not back. ????

    I’m just a dummy though.

    Don’t feel too bad. I didn’t know until I got to college (when I was informed by a dorm-mate from Philadelphia) that the Flyers logo was a flying “P.” I thought it was a spaceship or something.

    My wife could never crack the code on the Lions silhouette logo. She gets it now with the detail added!

    Applying a full vinyl adhesive overlay (like what used on wraparound bus advertisement) could change the base color of the helmet to a throwback style.

    Here’s how it’s done:

    Also, I’m told Napoli has “platinum” trims on its jerseys instead of the standard white, and Dortmund is wearing glow-in-the-dark accents on its jerseys, but neither is apparent from photographs.

    I just spoke with someone at the NFL. Quick takeaways:

    1) The new rule is indeed a rule — not a recommendation or advisory.

    2) Although it may seem intuitive that a new helmet is safer than one that’s already been worn for a bunch of games, the two advisory committees who came up with this initiative felt that, on balance, it’s better to stick with one helmet.

    3) I asked to speak to members of the two committees (Head/Neck/Spine and Players Safety Advisory). That request was turned down. I also asked for any underlying data on which the committees’ recommendations were based — again, no dice.

    4) Teams were advised of the new rule during the offseason. It’s not clear why the Bucs didn’t get the memo (literally and figuratively). I’ve asked the team for comment. No response yet.

    In short: I think the NFL could have handled this much better. Like, a LOT better. Given how tight a ship they usually run, they’ve been really sloppy on this. But that doesn’t mean anything nefarious is afoot — it may simply be what they claim it to be: a straightforward safety initiative (albeit one that’s suffered from very bad messaging). More transparency would help.

    I’ll keep digging.

    I always assumed that players go through several helmets during practices and the regular season but this assumption is based on nothing but thin air. On teams that use only a single helmet style, is it typical for a player to go through the entire pre-, regular, and post-season with practices with a single lid?

    So… we’re stuck with the new Jags helmets for every game until they change? That’s… depressing.

    Let’s hope the paint erodes the plastic in some sort of atomic/molecular disfusion so they have to replace them all–and soon!

    Hard to fathom Oakland once having colors like the coat pictured. Especially the font on the coat. Black and Gold? Just so anti-Raider.

    More on your Redskins watch. By the way, my Grandmother is a Choctaw and this is why she never had much trouble with Redskins since she lives in that area of Oklahoma.


    I would pay good money to watch an hour long OTL debate, hosted by Bob Ley, with Rick Reilly and Paul Lukas debating this R******s issue.

    Please please please please make this happen ESPN higher-ups!!!!!

    Jim Y…

    Round of applause on that suggestion. Would love to see Paul mop the floor with Rick Reilly’s own words.

    Rick Reilly perfectly epitomizes the mindset of even though being on the wrong side of history, still holds out for the stupidest of reasons.

    It’s not only tacky… but even Deadspin saw the irony of this.

    Reilly is a hack way past his prime. I submit he jumped the shark when he was dissed by Rebecca Romijin in that commercial.

    For the best argument, you need the best advocates. That ain’t Reilly.

    Just came over to post the ESPN link that Jim Gregg already has…..But I add this – Paul: please get one your ESPN folks to get you on air to discuss this with Reilly….

    Have we done all the conspiracy theories, or are there still some that haven’t been posited?

    Could it possibly be that some people whose livelihoods depend on this and not on opining on blogs got together and said “What we did in 1994 is immaterial, what Oregon does is immaterial, what do we think makes the most sense for us right at this moment?” Is that possible?

    Is it also possible they said, “Yes, we KNOW there are going to be helmets that break or whose radio receivers malfunction. We know it will be impossible for 1,700+ NFL players to go from late July to December and potentially longer wearing one and only one helmet. But if we can make a rule that will cut down – even by 10 or 12% – the potential risks of a secondary helmet, we are going to do it?”

    Is that possible?

    Also, if you think the NFL is clever enough to protect its brands/supplier relations through a faux helmet safety rule yet NOT clever enough to figure out they’ll get some flack if they let the Cowboys wear white helmets, I don’t know what you’re on.

    I guess the NFL could have been real d***s about it and said that since the Bucs had previously told the league they were going to wear the throwbacks on Sept. 29 they were stuck wearing the creamsicles with the pewter helmets.

    I guess they really do care.

    I’m usually not for BFBS, butI would ditch the purple road uniforms and white alternates and make these the permanent road uniforms.

    the gold uniforms should be worn both at home and on the road. Keep the whites as a home alt. Keep the purple as a road alt.

    I remember attending a Dodger home game vs. the Angels on June 4, 1999. It was the famous Chan Ho Park karate kicking Tim Belcher game. The Dodgers wore their blue alternates.


    So I kind of remember them using the blue road alternates once or twice.

    Also, I have heard that the knuckleball pitcher (regarding the Dickey glove) usually has a knuckleball catcher’s mitt with him that he provides to his catcher, because catchers don’t usually have knuckeball gloves. So the glove worn by the Blue Jay catcher is actually Dickey’s.

    I was a huge heavyweight boxing fan in the ’70’s. I was 13 when Ken Norton, a virtual unknown, surprised the sports world and beat Muhammed Ali. I became a fan and actually saw him fight in Bloomington, Minnesota (he and Scott LeDoux fought to a draw).

    RIP Mr. Norton.

    In response to the No Fun League (hereafter called the NFL) rule on helmets, the Kronik would like to say that each player helmet is personalize to the specific needs of each player. No one’s helmet is cookie cutter, everyone is fitted for their own and each helmet they wear is in perfect condition and in compliance with safety standard. It’s not like they use only one helmet all season anyway. Way to go NFL.

    Markus Sawyer
    Carolina Kronik Owner and Lead Design Manager

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