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The Latest Development in Football Helmet Technology

On Wednesday evening I attended a media event organized by Riddell, to promote their latest helmet safety product, which is called InSite. Didn’t have enough time to write about it for yesterday’s post, so I wanted to bring you up to speed today.

The InSite system is a series of sensors connected by a coating of plastic, all of which overlays into a helmet’s liner (for all of these photos, you can click to enlarge):

InSite Player Unit with Overliner.jpg

The sensors measure the linear and rotational force of each impact sustained by the player. If a given impact is above a certain predetermined threshold (the threshold is adjusted for the level of play, the player’s position, etc.), and/or if a player sustains a higher-than-average number of total impacts, the system sends an alert to a device being held by the team’s trainer or some other member of the sideline staff:


The staff can then pull the player off the field and examine him to see if he shows any signs of a concussion or other trauma (the InSite system itself is not diagnostic). The system also allows the team staff to review impact data by game, by month, or whatever:


You can see additional info on all of this here and here.

Riddell organized a panel of experts to discuss the InSite system, including Dr. Scott Blatt, who’s the trainer for Westlake High School in California, one of several schools that have been part of an InSite pilot program. He explained how he’d used the system, how alerts from the system had occasionally prompted him to keep a player off the field after a big hit (more often, he said, he examined the player and approved him to return to the game), and so on. He also pointed out two big advantages of the system:

• Nobody can see every single hit that takes place on the field, and that goes double for trainers, who are often tending to a player on the sidelines and are therefore unable to watch every play. But the InSite system notifies the trainer of potential trouble even if he didn’t see the hit take place. That’s a big plus.

• In some cases, a player might be racking up significantly more head impacts than his teammates at a similar position. That could be a sign of poor tackling or blocking technique, so the InSite system serves as a red flag, allowing the coaches to sit down with the player, review film of his performance, and identify and correct faulty technique. Blatt said his team had done this with one player, who then improved his technique and lowered his number of head impacts.

For now, the InSite system is being pitched to high schools and colleges, and it may also end up being used by youth-rec programs. No plans for the NFL, at least for now. It doesn’t come cheap — each sensor insert costs $150 (this basically increases the cost of each helmet by 50%), and each handheld alert device runs another $200 — but it looks like a worthwhile system. At present, about a dozen schools are using it; Riddell is expecting widespread use for the 2014 football season.

There were a few other themes that were hit upon repeatedly by the various panelists:

• The InSite system is part of a larger trend toward football safety systems based on “actionable data” that is likely to become more and more prevalent.

• One kind of data everyone is working on involves biomarkers in players’ blood (in fact, I think “biomarkers” was probably the most frequently used word at the event). For example, let’s say you can identify that certain hormone or antigen levels tend to shift in a certain way after a concussion. Then you can take a player’s baseline readings during training camp and, if you think he might be concussed during a game, do a pinprick blood test to check his levels.

• Football, several panelists agreed, “is going to have to make changes.” The most obvious change, which has been discussed for several years now, is to do away with kickoffs, because kick returns tend to result in the most violent collisions. Nobody suggested what any other specific changes might be, but there seemed to be broad agreement that changes were both necessary and inevitable.

Now, this was a company event, designed to promote the company’s new product, so it’s natural to be a bit skeptical. But from what I could see, InSite is a good, intelligently designed system. I was impressed by it and hope it catches on.


There were a few bad moments, though. The worst one was when former NFL player and current ESPN analyst Merril Hoge, who was hosting the event, veered off-script (I’m assuming) and said, “Quite honestly, I believe football has been targeted.” As evidence, he pointed out that “wheeled sports” — cycling, roller blading, skateboarding, etc. — result in twice as many head injuries as football, and yet nobody complains about those activities, nobody produces a Frontline documentary about them, and so on.

During the Q&A segment of the event, I asked Hoge who he thought was “targeting” football, and why. He basically just repeated the line about wheeled sports and added that a kid is at greater risk “sitting on the sofa playing X-Box and eating a donut” than from playing football.

I get Hoge’s underlying point — exercise and physical activity are better than a sedentary lifestyle. But this isn’t a binary world where the only two choices are football and video games. And his point about wheeled sports — even if we accept his assertion about the numbers — is a classic example of apples vs. oranges. Head impacts resulting from cycling and roller blading are, by definition, accidents; head impacts in football, on the other hand, are endemic to the game. And while we don’t yet have enough data, it’s starting to look like chronic brain disease may be endemic to the game as well, in which case the game will essentially qualify as a public health hazard. That’s why the sport is under increasing scrutiny. That’s not “targeting”; that’s understanding the reality and gravity of the situation.

One of the other panelists — UNC sports science professor Jason Mihalik — went down a similar path. At one point he said, “Sometimes a kid will get his first concussion and the parents will be very upset and want him to stop playing. And so you say, ‘Okay, you can turn in Johnny’s helmet. But while you’re at it, turn in your car keys, because driving is a riskier activity than playing football.'”

After the event, I approached Mihalik and asked if he was just making a rhetorical point or if he had actually said that to a parent. He told me he’d actually said it (and that the parent then agreed to let the concussed kid keep playing after all). I asked if he believed that was a fair equivalence — driving vs. football — and he said yes. Again, that’s terribly poor logic, because head impacts (and maybe chronic brain disease) are endemic to the game of football, while they’re not endemic to driving. A driver — or cyclist, or roller blader — can go through his or her entire life without a head impact. A football player can’t even go through one game without a head impact.

Do I believe Riddell truly cares about improving player safety? Yes, I do. The company has a long history of safety-driven innovation. But they’re not doing themselves any favors by using spokespeople who employ faulty premises and voice conspiracy theories about football being “targeted.” That’s just going to make the football industrial complex look more and more like the tobacco lobby, or climate change deniers, or the crackpots who think there’s a “war on Christmas.” Speaking as a lifelong football fan (and a former youth league player for five years), I’m hoping everyone involved will be smarter than that moving forward.

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Cookie monster: Uni Watch reader Nate Hurst works for Mrs. Fields — you know, the cookie company. He recently asked if I’d like to have some free cookies, and of course I said, “Sure.” What I didn’t know what that the huge basket of junk food baked goods he sent me would include a few custom-designed cookies — including four Uni Watch cookies!

Nate has also set up a Mrs. Fields 15% discount code for Uni Watch readers. To use it, go to the company’s site, try to ignore all the photos with purple backgrounds, and enter “UNIW” at checkout.

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Friendly Reminders: Here’s some stuff that was probably already in the back of your mind, but let’s see if we can bring it up to the front:

Party reminder: The next Uni Watch party will be next Saturday, Nov. 2, 2:30pm, at Sheep Station. I’m happy to report that one of the two new Uni Watch interns (more info on them next week) will be in attendance. Hope to see lots of you there.

Membership reminder: If you’ve been meaning to sign up for the Uni Watch Membership Program, there’s no time like the present. We’re close to filling up a batch, which means the next few people to enroll will have a very short wait for their cards — just sayin’.

Theoretical T-shirt reminder: With the NBA season about to start and New York experiencing a knish crisis, wouldn’t this be — hypothetically speaking — an ideal time for a T-shirt like this (if, you know, such a shirt actually existed)? If you want to discuss that, or these other fine T-shirt concepts, you know what to do.

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’Skins Watch: The Cowboys’ radio broadcaster avoided using the ’Skins name during last weekend Dallas/Washington game. “It was a conscious, personal independent decision,” he said. “I had been trying to do it for a couple of years. I probably made a more determined effort this time” (from Mark Rybczyk). ”¦ Excellent story on how FSU and the Seminole tribe have worked together. … No, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with the casual misappropriation of Native American imagery, do you? (From Douglas Ford.)

Baseball News: The “beloved” overload has spread to the Red Sox’s World Series press pin (from Joe Giza). … There’s a conspiracy theory about Red Sox pitcher Jon Lester having Vaseline on his glove (from Catherine Ryan). … Speaking of Lester, looks like his cap didn’t have a squatchee in Game One (good observation by Brian Codagnone). … Chris Pirrone spotted this Tigers soda display before the team was eliminated in the ALCS. … Brandon Barnes of the Astros is going with custom bat knob decals. “The Astros are looking at doing them for the whole team,” says decal supplier David Sulecki. … Hate the sentiment, love the high-cuffery. That’s from this week’s New Yorker. … Bryan Molloy has created his own World Series program cover designs, and they’re really nice. … As the sports world and the nation dive ever deeper into knee-jerk celebration of all things military, it turns out that the “retired Marine” who sang “God Bless America” during Game One of the World Series wasn’t exactly a retired Marine after all. Pretty disgraceful. ”¦ New logos for the triple-A Charlotte Knights (thanks, Phil). … Today’s New York Times includes an op-ed piece with an illustration showing an umpire wearing an inflatable “outside” chest protector, which no MLB ump has worn since 1985.

NFL News: Speaking of Riddell, everyone’s making a big fuss over this story about Riddell no longer being the NFL’s official helmet after this season. But that’s not news — it’s been known for about two years that the NFL was planning to let that deal expire, because they didn’t want to give the impression that they were implying that one helmet brand was safer than another. ”¦ This is so totally great: Ryan Becerra was watching video of a Bears/Eagles game from 1993 and discovered that Bears kicker Kevin Butler had “Butthead” written on his neck bumper! … If you go to the 1:25 mark of this video from last Sunday’s Packers/Browns game, you’ll hear Packers LB A.J. Hawk complaining about his pants being “too restrictive.” … Here’s an overview of NFL cheerleader uni history (thanks, Phil). … Kyle Speicher notes that the big photos outside Raymond James Stadium still show the now-outdated neck roll.

College Football News: Mississippi State wore their “Snow Bowl” helmets last night, but the real story is that they had an NOB typo (thanks, Phil). ”¦ Penn State is a Nike school, but strength coach Craig Fitzgerald wears Under Armour apparel (from Craig Stoltz). … A source at Northern Illinois checks in with the following: “I work for the official NIU Athletics Shop, and Adidas was just in here showing us a picture of the ‘blackout’ jerseys NIU will wear for the last game this year. The team will be wearing black jerseys with gray ‘Fruit Stripe’ numbers outlined in red. The pants will be gray ‘Fruit Stripe’ and the helmet will be black matte with a oversized foil logo on the side and ‘NIU’ across the back. In the photo we say, the NOB was ‘The Hard Way’ (the team’s motto), but I’m not sure that it will say that on the actual jerseys. They would not let me take a picture of the jersey because they want it to stay ‘on the down low.'” … Pinktober field adornments for Colorado (thanks, Phil). … Here’s a slideshow of Oregon football fan concepts. … UNLV and Nevada are adding a memorial decal for the recent shooting victims in Reno (thanks, Phil). … Also from Phil: War Eagle Pinktober Eagle. … Tennessee wearing solid white this weekend, and Missouri will be in solid black. ”¦ Very interesting article about how the explosion in college helmets has helped — and the NFL’s new one-helmet rule could hurt — the business prospects of HydroGraphics, which is the company that does the chrome finishes (Phil yet again).

Hockey News: Those recent video game leaks of the Flames’ new third jersey showed a new logo being used as a shoulder patch. Now it’s being reported that the Flames have indeed applied for a trademark on that logo. Any remaining mystery should be cleared up this Sunday, which is when the team is due to formally unveil the new jersey (from James Gordon). … Zac Rinaldo of the Flyers got in a fight last night, resulting in one of his front helmet numerals coming loose (screen shot by Nick LaRosa). ”¦ Canada has released a new series of NHL postage stamps (from Gordon Fall). ”¦ The Kings did the lavender thing during warm-ups last night (from Mike Engle).

Soccer News: Here are some more images from that new book about soccer fonts. I’ll have more to say about this book shortly (from Jeff Mead). … New Unicef-branded jerseys for the Greek team Olympiakos, part of a new sponsorship deal (from Yusuke Toyoda).

NBA News: In the ugliest and stupidest news of the day, the Spurs have revealed their godawful GI Joe uni. Contrary to earlier reports, it doesn’t have sleeves. The good news, relatively speaking, is that it will only be worn twice this season, on Nov. 13 and Feb. 28. … Someone on Chris Creamer’s site has provided us with our best look yet at the Knicks’ new alternate uni, plus there’s a bit of video footage here. … I wrote the captions for this slideshow on the evolution of the NBA uniform.

College Hoops News: Love the satin shorts on this old Nebraska uni. And here’s an earlier Nebraska design that looks more like a track uni (both of these from Warren Junium). … Kent State is letting fans vote on which uni the team will wear on Opening Night (from Mary Lynn Delfino). ”¦ Can’t recall if we’ve seen a red Kansas jersey before, but Joseph Beckerjack spotted one at a shop in Lawrence yesterday.

Grab Bag: Notre Dame lacrosse has a new jersey and new helmets (from Warren Junium and Anthony Nuccio, respectively). … Reprinted from yesterday’s comments: A Pinktober sign in an affluent Indianapolis suburb has provoked a backlash. … There’s a faux-controversy brewing about President Obama supposedly making the Marines change their headwear design, but it’s apparently all bullshit (thanks, Phil). … In a vaguely related item, the U.S. Army is testing a new helmet (from Jarrod Leder). … The White House is currently colored — well, you can probably guess. ”¦ Colo(u)r-on-colo(u)r game in the CFL last night, as Winnipeg wore gold and Toronto wore blue. “Too bad there’s all that magenta fouling up what would otherwise be a very visually appealing game,” says Eric Bangeman. ”¦ How a situation can spin out of control: Back in April a female UConn student claimed that the school’s new husky logo somehow promoted violence against women. She spelled this out in an open letter to the school’s president. Lots of people sent me links to stories about this, but I chose not to Tickerize it because (a) it seemed absurd and (b) I knew it would prompt lots of nasty comments about feminism, which I didn’t feel like seeing on my website. Somewhat predictably, the woman who wrote the open letter was subjected to rape threats and death threats, and now she’s suing the university for not adequately responding to those threats. This in turn has led the Connecticut state legislature to plan hearings on the school’s handling of sexual assaults. Jeez. Now, I consider myself a feminist, and for all I know UConn may have (or may not have) some major issues involving its handling of sexual assault, its culture of sexual violence, and so on. If so, maybe these latest developments are all for the good. But it all started with the notion that the new logo is somehow sexist, and that still seems absurd to me. There had to be a better way.

Comments (153)

    Was anyone from Virginia Tech at the conference? I’ll try to find a link, but they have done major research on this throughout the years (seems to always get promoted during their telecasts and at the stadium). I’m paraphrasing, but at one point in their research of 5 or 6 different types of helmet, they found through all of their data collection that the brand/model that most of their players were wearing offered the worst protection.

    Obviously, they rectified that afterwards.

    The real story was the Blue Bombers wearing gold pants with the gold jersey, rather than their regular blue pants. They looked like the Golden Boy statue on top of the Manitoba Legislative Building. YECCHH!

    I’ve always thought of the Seminole thing as a shining example of the name, and while it’s certainly better than most, it does seem to disregard the opinion of the larger population of Seminole people in Oklahoma.

    That being said, the consent is what I think we all like to see, and I think it’s such a great opportunity to bring the truth of a heritage forward, even if it’s just by a little.

    Did they do any randomized controlled trials on these helmet technologies? From what you have written, they don’t really have any evidence-based data to show that this will actually help identify more concussions than they would otherwise.

    How does a sports logo promote violence against women? This is why certain aspects of feminism are okay and certain aspects border on reverse misogyny.

    The Husky logo woman isn’t the only one suing UConn for failing to adequately respond to sexual assault. There are seven female students and alumni involved in the lawsuit, including one who claimed a police officer told her “women need to stop spreading their legs like peanut butter or rapes are going to happen until the cows come home.” So it’s not like the letter was the only impetus for the lawsuit.

    But obviously, there are reactionary types who jump on the Husky logo woman as a jumping off point to talk about the evils of feminism and trivialize rape, etc etc.

    Sexual assault is a problem on pretty much all campuses, and both the culture and the structure allow incidents to go unreported or ignored by authorities. The focus on the logo, whatever the merits, ends up being a distraction.

    Exactly who are the reactionary types who trivialze rape? I think that’s a bit of strech, no? The simple fact is that the student made a less than compelling argument that the Huskie logo promoted “rape culture.” She got called out for that illogical conclusion, nothing more.

    I’m thinking of reactions to Maryville and Steubenville incidents, and basically dismissing “rape culture” discussions with “stop getting drunk and acting slutty”.

    I’m no expert in USMC uniforms (but am the son of an actual retired Marine) so I was exposed to them for a good many years. The first thing I noticed in the photo was his lack of service ribbons that a retired (20 year) Marine would likely have earned. I’m glad that and the other things were all pointed out in the story.

    One of my biggest peaves in life is liars–and my biggest would have to be those who lie about their military service.

    I know “retired” may have been used incorrectly, but adding hashes, etc. goes too far.

    It is frustrating that Merril Hoge & the UNC professor have a poor understanding of the issue of concussions associated with football. While big hits are an issue, the bigger issue is the repeated pounding that players in certain positions take. So when they compare head injuries in wheeled sports to football they are probably correct, but cyclists aren’t banging their heads against hard surfaces multiple times per day. It is the cumulative effect of the constant ‘normal’ hits that is unique to football.

    Yeah, he introduced himself by explaining that his career ended due to head injuries — I’m sure that’s why he was chosen for this gig, because he has credibility.

    But he overplayed his hand when he started conspiracy-theorizing.

    you say that head impacts are endemic to football, but in my reading that is still implying the big on the ball hits that get the most focus.

    On the whole, for years the coverage has been to pretend that concussions and major impacts are the only problem, where the data suggests that the series of small impacts on nearly every play is actually the culprit.

    Paul’s emphasis on the fact that impacts are endemic to the game actually runs counter to that narrative.

    Of all people, Hoge should know what this issue is about. Just looking at his Wikipedia page, it said that “Hoge had to learn to read again and experienced memory loss, confusion and headaches. He later sued the Bears team doctor and won a $1.55 million judgment.” You can’t have it both ways. Either football caused your issues, or it didn’t. No conspiracy here.

    I’ve been riding a bike all my life, and the last 15 years as a “serious” cyclist doing group rides. I have banged my head hard a total of 3 times in those 15 years, cracking helmets on two of those occasions. I’ve never played in the NFL, but I’m sure this sort of impact would occur in the matter of minutes, not years. What a lousy comparision!

    Not that i agree with Hoge’s angle, but perhaps he was referring to x-game style Biking/skating/skateboarding on vert ramps and skate parks, where you would be at much greater risk of hitting your head, rather than cycling or mountain biking where aren’t getting area or putting yourself in high risk situation?

    It will probably be a while before the NFL uses the Riddell technology. I’m making a major assumption, but I’d bet that they would need to expand the rosters way beyond 53 to “comply” with the sensor analysis. They are taking forever to negotiate the terms of an 18 game schedule; expanding the rosters would be a financial nightmare to figure out right now.

    The other barrier is whether the players will have access to their own health records, and can the NFL be held liable in the future based on declining health supported by this data?

    When this does happen, I see a huge pay cut for players, and a shorter average career length. Lots to negotiate…

    Hey Paul, quick question: as you note several times, concussions and head injuries are “endemic” to football. Considering that point, noting the definition of endemic as “(of a disease or condition) regularly found among particular people or in a certain area”, wouldn’t they also be endemic to roller sports (assuming his statistics were accurate)?

    I see your point that football is perhaps more violent by nature, but since you seem to differentiate roller sports from football by noting that head injuries are accidental, are you suggesting that concussions and serious head injuries are intentional in football? I think the implication that they could be reduced through proper training and technique would validate that head injuries are not inherent to football as much as any other injury. Just as proper training and safety precautions can attempt to stem head injuries in roller sports, where they are also “endemic”.

    Just a few thoughts… Thanks for listening!

    wouldn’t they also be endemic to roller sports (assuming his statistics were accurate)?


    Example: I have been cycling my entire life and have never had a head impact. I may have one eventually, of course. But if so, that will be the result of an accident, an aberration, an anomaly.

    Head impacts in football happen to most players literally on every single play. They are an inherent part of the game.

    What is your take on the equipment causing these problems or the style of play that has become more aggressive because of it?

    I agree with Paul’s assessment above, but I always entertain the idea of putting these guys back in little pads and leather helments and see how they adapt. I am not saying it would work, but it would appear the answer isn’t making equipment safer thus making players feel invincible.

    I agree with Robert. With minimal equipment the player making a hard tackle will think twice that they will be feeling it as much as the opponent. With the equipment now they feel invincible and hit as hard as they can.

    I don’t think that’s even debatable.

    It’s also worth noting that those same objections were raised link. Which is why the NFL link in 1948. They reversed the ban the following year, but the controversy over plastic helmets encouraging injury continued link.

    I guess the closest you could come to a test of that idea is to compare the concussion/CTE statistics for the closest cognate non-padded sport, perhaps rugby or Australian rules football.

    I know there’s been a bit of investigation into the issue in regards to soccer.

    Perhaps I’m reading more into Jon’s post than he intended – in which case…move along, nothing to see here. But he’s asking about head injuries being endemic in roller sports, which I take to mean X-Games cycling, rollerblading or skateboarding. I’ve ridden my bike on the streets of LA for years, and while I have encountered a number of dangerous situations, equating what I do with the risks endemic to BMX cycling is like saying I’ve played flag football with my friends at Griffith Park for 20 years and I’ve never gotten a head injury, so what’s the big fuss about concussions in football?

    You might not be as dumb as your name suggests. Seems to me that a helmet that costs a lot of money and incorporates a lot of technology, alongside biomarker testing, is a heck of a lot of work and money to spend on a game.

    At what point do you just say, “Hey, why don’t we just play baseball instead?” It’s what I did as a kid.

    Why am I hearing the WOPR in my head? “Strange game. The only winning move is not to play.”

    “…Bryan Molloy has created his own World Series program cover designs, and they’re really nice. …”

    Absolutely. The covers are excellent, as is Bryan’s motivation for producing them. Seriously, here’s an example of art for art’s sake. Rock on.

    I’m posting this so my Uni-Watch friends will not waste about two minutes of their lives on a useless and point list web presentation from Yard-barker. I’ll never get those minutes back… “25 Scariest football uniforms.” link

    You have been warned.

    I don’t think it’s fair to say that concussions in football are endemic. The point was made that in wheeled sports head injuries are accidents, which can also be said about football injuries in general. Just by strapping a helmet on does not mean you automatically increase your risk of suffering a life-threatening injury. I work with high school athletes on a daily basis, and we strive to teach correct fundamentals and correct form in all aspects of the game. Kids that aren’t taught early the proper form and technique are likely to get hurt in the end, but not because football is inherently cursed or overly dangerous.

    Yes, I agree, when you put two full-sized men, going at full speed, wearing hard plastic, running at one another, bad things can happen. Most of the people that play the game, though, aren’t full grown men, they’re high school and peewee kids that need to learn the right way to do things instead of the TV way of doing things. I blame the NFL for this. The NFL is the worst fundamental league, and therefore it translates to all levels of the sport. A kid sees a 25-year old man lower his shoulder and spear another guy to the ground, and it looks cool, so they think that the next time they’re in practice or in a game, that’s how they’ll do it, because it’ll fire the crowd up.

    I wholeheartedly believe that proper technique and fundamentals make football a safe and great game, but I also am very biased towards the sport that I coach and make a part of my life on a daily basis. I agree that football has become the target of public scrutiny, but I also believe that the NFL is to blame for their lack of fundamentals and showboating that leads to injuries on all levels of the sport.

    For all it’s worth, if you want to fix the head injury issue, make the NFL guys wrap up and tackle rather than trying to make SportsCenter.

    I don’t think it’s fair to say that concussions in football are endemic.

    I don’t think that’s fair either — which is why I didn’t say it.

    I said head impacts are endemic to the game. Which they are.

    “Head impacts in football happen to most players literally on every single play. They are an inherent part of the game.”

    So, what you mean is that they are an inherent part of football, not endemic? Because by definition, if those statistics are accurate, would head injuries not be “regularly found” among those participants?

    Also, while I appreciate that you’ve never sustained a concussion cycling, could there perhaps be individuals who go through a football career without a concussion? Did you ever have a concussion in your 5 year career?

    while I appreciate that you’ve never sustained a concussion cycling, could there perhaps be individuals who go through a football career without a concussion?

    You’re changing the terms of the discussion. I’m not talking about concussions; I’m talking about head impacts.

    It is entirely possible for cyclist (or roller blader, or car driver) to go thru his/her entire life without a head impact. It is not possible for a football player to go through even one game without a head impact.

    I like Mr. Molloy’s program cover designs, but I’m baffled by the jersey shown in #2. They wear town name on home jersey now?

    Mrs. Fields herself was once an Oakland A’s ballgirl so that’s uni-related.

    The beloved ballpark stuff is also on a sign outside Fenway. Can Tropicana Field be called “America’s Most Beloved Domed Stadium”?

    Paul, thanks for posting the information on Riddell’s “InSite.” I’ve passed along the pdfs to my fellow board members of our youth football club.

    While it sounds promising, the cost is prohibitive for most youth football programs. Over the past six years I’ve been reading as much as I can about football & concussions. I’m not a medical professional nor a hard core football guy, but two years ago I reached two conclusions: 1) Football helmets do not prevent concussions, and 2) our understanding of how the brain works is still in its infancy. Those points are still true.

    Reebok has a product, the “Checklight”, that is similar in it’s advertised goal: link

    One of their spokespersons is Matt Hasselbeck. Speaking about the fact that he doesn’t actually use the Checklight, he said, “I don’t feel like the need is as strong at the NFL because you have so many people looking and watching and observing.” I assume Matt hasn’t read “League of Denial.”

    Both monitors might be good at collecting data on head impact, but they do nothing to address the fact that there are fundamental flaws in football helmet design. The rigid shell, for example, causes even a glancing blow to the head to move the player’s head sharply, which can lead to a concussion.

    Also, because NOCSAE is funded by helmet manufacturers, there’s an obvious conflict of interest when they “rate” helmets. So what are those ratings worth?

    Even though professor Jason Mihalik holds parents who are concerned with their child’s safety in disregard, it is pressure from those parents that has helped football begin to become a safer game. According to USA Football, between 2011 and 2012 there was a drop of more than 200,000 kids playing football. This caused the NFL to take notice. The “Heads Up” program is a good start, but still has a long way to go.

    While I agree that the Riddell contract expiring is not earth-shattering since it wasn’t an exclusive use contract (just an exclusive logo creep contract), it doesn’t sound like it was a case of just letting the deal expire. The NFL had to actively negotiate an end to a contract that otherwise would have continued forever. Was the assertion that severing ties with Riddell has been known for two years a reference to when they first started working towards ending the contract with Riddell or is the in perpetuity designation not entirely accurate?

    I had never heard the perpetuity thing until last week. But the news that the deal would end after this season was first reported — I think by the NY Times, as part of their ongoing concussion coverage — quite a while ago.

    In passing I heard Joe Buck explaining that the B Strong patch was owned by the ’47 brand. Did I hear that right? I saw the group during the “America the Beautiful” song all wearing ’47 brand hats. interesting that someone can own rights to a memorial patch?

    The Bullets were still in Baltimore in the photo quiet seattle mentions. They didn’t move to Landover until 1973 as the Capital Bullets. In ’74-’75 they became the Washington Bullets.

    And the two best uniforms shown in the piece are the Celtics and the original L.A. Lakers Double Blues. Period.

    Yeah, there’s a few errors in the captions, mostly dates & such. I’m willing to give Paul a pass, since the NBA’s not really his thing, and since the photos were so damned good.

    Paul – – I’ve noticed some odd player jacket markings in the World Series. The Cardinals seem to have 2 different logos on their jackets: one has just a single bird on bat on the left side chest, the other has the traditional two birds like the jersey that goes across the whole chest. The Red Sox have variations too: Mgr Farrel looks to have a script “B” on the left side while others have the full chest Red Sox. Any idea why so many different styles would be worn during WS?

    Actually that’s courtesy of Tommy Turner (and it will be in tomorrow’s ticker) — I just forwarded it to Paul as an FYI since I’m getting the uniwatching mail for the weekend.

    Last night during the Louisiana Tech Backetball 2013 Midnight Madness, this beautiful 1971-72 era uniform was worn by Raheem Appleby during the slam dunk competition:


    I asked if these were being worn during the season and was told no, just to honor the opening of the Scotty Robertson Memorial Gymnasium that was the long time home of the basketball program at Louisiana Tech. Coach Robertson’s 71-72 team was considered his best team, and someone was able to find one of the old unis for use in last nights events.

    Here’s a shot of the side stripe: link

    Also, this was the warm-up top from the 71-72 season that was brought out for last night: link

    Picture are all from Tom Morris who apparently found the top in a closet.

    Ah yes, the infamous early-1970s SandMark series of uniforms. We sold a craphouse full of SandMarks back in the day. There was something like 14 different complete uniform packages to choose from. Some, including the La. Tech “Formula 1” style and the Marquette “bumblebee stripes” were outlawed by the NCAA. They were fun days to be a uniform salesman though.

    Just a heads up – Craig Fitzpatrick went to Maryland and was a college teammate of Kevin plank I believe. Hence the under armour allegiance?

    Do people who have a problem with the name Redskins have a problem owning land that was stolen?

    I would like to see one, just one of these bleeding hearts hand over their keys and land back to the people who was initially taken from “here, I am truly sorry, here is something more important than a privately owned NFL team name”…but no, that will never happen…

    While strictly in the sports realm of “Redskins” I do agree with Paul.
    But you do have a point. It’s almost as if to say “here, let’s fight to get a racist name from a widely known professional sports franchise, but let’s ignore everything else we’ve done to you as a collective race, because I am on your side”.

    What Will is suggesting is that people who are opposed to Native American imagery in sports but who don’t actively engage in reparations are hypocrites.

    He’s operating off of a slightly faulty premise, since there are all sorts of reparations one can engage in besides giving back land (especially for those of us who, like myself, don’t own any land). One can donate to Native American charities and foundations, for example. And for all Will knows, many of us do precisely that.

    But the bigger problem with Will’s argument is that it indicts the messengers while not even bothering with the message.

    Let’s say, for the sake of argument, that all of us who want to eliminate Native American imagery in sports are indeed hypocrites. In fact, let’s go further — let’s say all of us, including myself, are jerks, assholes, total fucking pricks.

    Okay. Now that we’ve established that, can we get back to the question of whether it’s right for teams to use Native American imagery? Because that’s all that matters — the idea. Not the person espousing it.

    For those who disagree with all of us hypocrites and assholes on this issue, we look forward to hearing and responding to your counter-arguments. But let’s stick to the issue at hand instead of trying to dodge the issue by engaging in character assassination.

    It’s a convenient logical fallacy – no matter what the cause is, there’s *always* something more important. What’s the point of ever doing anything if we’re not physically saving lives of dying seals?

    I happen to think how we relate to other people on a national platform is kind of important, and link.

    Great job on the site but buddy you think you ate never wrong and so self rightous it gets annoying. Fighting for concussions, womens rights, natives! But really you should stick to uniforms.

    really you should stick to uniforms.

    Right. Because the latest developments in football helmets have nothing to do with uniforms. And the ongoing controversy involving team logos featuring Native Americans has nothing to do with uniforms. And someone complaining about her school’s new logo (however unfounded her complaints may be) has nothing to do with uniforms.

    Got it!

    Thank goodness somebody on here stands up for women’s rights [though that was not Paul’s aim in mentioning the uni-related topic]. Neanderthals abound on sports message boards and women too often decline to take part because of that. Which is sad–our comments are as legitimate as anyone’s.

    You are making sound like this board/community regularly delves into woman-bashing which NEVER happens…and all this over a logo? Over-reactions and ALL sides…

    I find the comments section of UW to be very civil. I have visited comments sections on a few times and found them unreadable: Neanderthal to use your term.

    I don’t know if UW has more thoughtful and mature commenters or if a moderator is diligently scrubbing out garbage. Either way, the Neanderthal factor is pretty low here.

    Uni Watch comments are not moderated (except for a few people who’ve shown themselves to be trolls). They are, however, curated, by which I mean that I’ve made it clear over the years that certain types of behavior will not be tolerated.

    I will somewhat agree with Matt only in that you do come off as a self righteous prick who thinks everything that he thinks is right and the way it should be, but I still love the site and the info/content. Just find myself staying out of the comments section so I don’t have to here you act like that.
    Also the Nevada School shooting was in Sparks not Reno

    “let’s say all of us, including myself, are jerks, assholes, total fucking pricks.”

    I never said, nor implied that…but Paul has taken the power from those words…those are HIS words…

    I was making a rhetorical point, Will. And the point is that it doesn’t matter whether I’m an asshole. All that matters is the issue at hand. Stop trying to make it about me and try engaging the issues at hand, which is whether it’s appropriate for sports teams to use Native American imagery.

    Thought you were smart enough (not hyper-sensitive) to recognize an application of Lenny Bruce:

    “Well, I was just trying to make a point, and that is that it’s the suppression of the word that gives it the power, the violence, the viciousness.”

    tried to invoke a little sarcasm, light-heartiness into this, but since that’s not allowed…I will refrain anymore…

    Now that you’re done calling me hypocritical, humorless, and hyper-sensitive, perhaps you’d like to try — just once, just for kicks — to address the issue at hand?

    You know, just to show that you’re capable of engaging with the message, instead of attacking the messenger?

    Just once.

    Nothing wrong with Neanderthals. I mean those people displaced by Cro Magnons. Maybe not entirely displaced, either. Recent research argues that Cro Magnon – Neanderthal interbreeding was widespread, which would account for those amazing jutting brows on the heads of my cousins on my mother’s side. We have no evidence that Neanderthals would be more prone to write stupid bilious commentary than the Homo sapiens who now render unreadable the Comments sections of many otherwise valuable web sites.

    I could only assume because the airing of the Beavis and Butthead Show in 1993, Kevin Butler started to show off his nickname a little more. Teammates called him that before the show was created and his Twitter account shows “Therealbutthead”.

    I wonder if we should really consider the Knicks’ orange uniforms really as alternate uniforms. Of course, my point can really be addressed to other “alternate” uniforms as well. The only thing “alternate” about these uniforms is the color scheme. The more appropriate term for these uniforms should be “alternately colored.” A true alternate uniform would be one that has a different design associated with it. In the Knicks’ case, for example, what would be so horrible if there alternate uniform said “Knicks” on it and was in a different font. That would at least be a start to really making it an alternate uniform.

    “… In a vaguely related item, the U.S. Army is testing a new helmet (from Jarrod Leder). …”

    Thank you for that, Paul (and Jarrod). One of the reasons I like this site so much is that it will wander a bit into fields beyond the sporting scene… Particularly interesting in the light of the approaching centenary of the First World War. The Battle of the Marne was won by men wearing red trousers and cloth kepis…

    “It’s the culmination of a four-year research project at Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center called Helmet Electronics and Display System-Upgradeable Protection – better known as HEaDS-UP”.

    The story is old-news to me, but I still love that acronym.

    It’s always fun how they come up with the name for a project and/or vehicle and then reverse-engineer the words to match the Acronym.

    Wanted to point out that those are not the original “Snow bowl” helmets that Mississippi State wore last night. I was at the “Snow Bowl” rematch last November between State and A&M and MSU wore a white version of the ones they wore last night. That was also when A&M first wore the black alternate uni

    Last night, when speaking about batters taking a pitch, Tim McCarver said “there are great takes, and there are bad takes – and that was a good one”. How did he get (and keep!) that job?

    I’ve long thought that it would take medical issues with one of the modern media-darling giants of the sport – Tom Brady, a Manning, Favre – for CTE to become a pressing issue for football fans.

    Let’s see if this is enough.

    Redskins spokesman Tony Wyllie, when approached for comment on TMZ story: “Dan Snyder does not even know the man mentioned in the report.”

    Already been done – UC Riverside Highlanders. Their bear mascot, “Scotty,” is depicted as having a half-blue face (a la “Braveheart”).

    Interesting article, but I didn’t care for the political piece at the end (climate change and war on Christmas comment). Truth is you could just as easily said Holocaust and 9/11 deniers but you went out and had to go with the right leaning side of the crazies.

    Linda a typical New Yorker thing to do, like the rest of the country that’s who we view as the “nutty” ones. I’d just as well make fun of the really crazy people who think we staged the moon landing!

    People who think 9/11 was an inside job or who deny the Holocaust are the fringe of the fringe.

    Climate change deniers and people who believe in the War on Christmas are, like the tobacco lobby a generation ago and the NFL’s concussion deniers more recently, people who are clearly counter-factual yet have managed to enter their ideas into a certain level of mainstream discourse and talking points. That’s why they’re a more apt comparison. That’s not “political”; that’s reality.

    It’s no surprise that there’s also a faction that believes, however ludicrously, that there’s a link So the comparison to the “War on Christmas” people is even more apt.

    This forum should be renamed “Howard Zinn’s Uni Watch.” It’d fit nicely with their unrelenting campaign to label innocuous sports logos as racist, insensitive, backwards, or jingoistic. “American flags on the caps on the anniversary of 9/11? How gauche! We’re too sophisticated (read: garden variety Northeastern libs) to fall for such false patriotism!” And anyone who doesn’t think the junk science climate alarmists haven’t suffered some serious, embarrassing setbacks of late hasn’t been following the news. As their motto goes: everything proves man-made global warming, but nothing disproves it.

    Well-reasoned arguments are always welcome here. But you can’t come to my website and spout counter-factual crazy talk.

    For example:

    – You can’t post that two plus two equals five.

    – You can’t post that titanium necklaces improve athletic performance.

    – You can’t post that the Holocaust didn’t happen.

    – You can’t post that 9/11 was an inside job.

    – You can’t post that cigarettes don’t cause cancer.

    – You can’t post that football doesn’t cause brain injury.

    – You can’t post that the President was born in Kenya.

    – You can’t post that child vaccinations cause autism.

    – You can’t post that the Earth is 6,000 years old.

    – You can’t post that the Federal income tax is unconstitutional.

    – You can’t post that the moon landings were faked.

    - You can’t post that flu shots are a racket or a scam.

    And no, you can’t post that global climate change is a hoax. You can believe it if you like — that’s your business — but once you post counter-factual crazy talk on my site, it becomes my business.

    If you’d like to post conspiracy theories and counter-factual crazy talk on other sites, there are many of them out there that should meet your needs. But if you try that here, your post will be removed. If you try it a second time, you will be blocked from posting in the future.

    (One exception: You’re welcome to post the completely false rumor that Keith Richards once had all his blood swapped out for a new batch, since that’s so entertaining.)

    Kansas has been wearing red jerseys for several years. This is the style they’ve used for the past few years. link

    Normally, they wear them during non-con scheduling, often when they play their one game at the Sprint Center here in KC.

    I was at the Knights unveiling last night. Nice event, and the reaction to a re-brand was overwhelmingly positive… the lines to buy the first bits of merch were a great testament to that.

    The metallic threads they are using for the gold and silver really do make the logo “pop” more than a print version, which should be nice.

    Is there a point in the logo process where perhaps someone needs to step outside the box and hire someone other than Brandiose/Plan B to do their design?

    I’ll take your word for it. But my gut reaction is every one of those logos is embarrassingly bad. The “C” is particularly bad, and the crown on the H looks like an afterthought (especially considering they did something “knight-like” to the T right next to it). And why would you want to have a sword going through the heart of your own logo — it doesn’t make sense.

    I like the idea of silver/gold colors. That’s unique and fits a minor league team. But I’m skeptical that they’ll just use that as an excuse to wear as much black as possible.

    Anyway, this is way too much talk for a minor league team. But I live here and I am disappointed.

    Fans would line up for the new merchandise no matter how crappy it is. Has there been any team that has unveiled a new logo that hasn’t been received positively by its target audience? People complained about the Reading Fightin’ Phils and Scranton Railriders last year, and are complaining about the El Paso Chihuahuas this year, yet all these teams are selling tons of merchandise.

    I have to admit that I was a little saddened when I read Paul’s caption for the green Sonics jersey featured on the ESPN slideshow – that visual signature is sorely missed.

    I think this is a great system, and as someone who played football even as an adult (in an amateur league) I certainly hope we assuage concerns and make the game safe so folks feel comfortable playing it.

    However, I do think you’re being a bit harsh on Hoge and Mihalik. Having kept an active lifestyle, I’ve certainly taken more than a few spills playing wheeled/snow sports and have gotten my bell rung while mountain biking/downhill skiing. Pretty much everyone I know who rides regularly has gotten in a tangle – it’s one of the risks associated with the sport that we accept. I also remember reading an article in the Atlantic (I’ll try to find the link after work) saying that the highest incidence of head injury came from women’s ice hockey – where checking is not allowed. I won’t say football is getting “picked on,” but I do think that because it’s a game which is based on violence and hitting, it gets a worse rap than other sports where risks have not been proven to be greater or less yet. Which is a long way of saying we need more data.

    As for driving…yea that was a bit out of left field.

    I do think that because it’s a game which is based on violence and hitting, it gets a worse rap than other sports where risks have not been proven to be greater or less yet.

    The brains of former football players have been shown to have chronic brain disease, and over four million American children play football.

    I think those two facts are why the sport is under increasing scrutiny — not the violence of the game itself.

    That’s a great point – it’s not just that data shows there is a relationship (as it does for other sports), but it’s also a VERY popular sport in this country, especially amongst youths.

    I”m not aware that data shows the same correlation between players in other sports and CTE, but I’d love to read what you have.

    CTE has been found in the brains of high school football players. That’s why it’s getting so much attention.

    “As evidence, he pointed out that “wheeled sports” – cycling, roller blading, skateboarding, etc. – result in twice as many head injuries as football, and yet nobody complains about those activities,”

    If Hoge is going to set up a ridiculous straw man, he should at least be correct. People complain about those activities all the time (especially cycling). Cycling is constantly being targeted by doctors, legislators, safety experts as a very dangerous activity.

    Right – but there aren’t ESPN/Frontline exposes on cycling. As Paul pointed out to me above, that’s probably because cycling as a sport isn’t as popular as football. So I don’t think Hoge is completely off base, but I think it’s less relevant since cycling is just not as big of a deal as football is.

    When you can demonstrate that the cycling organizations engaged in a systemic, decades-long attempt to cover up the risks of engaging in the sports, falsely attacking medical professionals and burying inconvenient evidence, then the comparison will be valid.

    Until then….

    One more note – if Hoge is really unhappy with all the negative attention to his sport, he should level his criticism where it belongs – with the NFL, specifically the men behind the cover-up. Had they come clean back then, this could possibly have been addressed and corrected, and be old news by now.

    The pink sign in the Indianapolis suburb has absolutely nothing to do with Pinktober and breast cancer awareness. It’s just a business’ sign that just happens to be pink and just happened be erected during October. I read the entire article and breast cancer or breast cancer awareness weren’t mentioned a single time.

    can someone post a link to the picture of the redskins logo as a white guy. i remember seeing it a while ago on this site. it was an eye opener on how racist the real logo is. thanks

    With the charolette logos I don’t understand why the C (which doesn’t pop enough and faces the wrong way for a horses tail basically putting the knights face in its rear) is used for the home cap and the road cap doesn’t dawn anything letting you know where the team is from. You would think these caps would be switched.

    And yes please let someone else than brandoise do the next logos. They have the right ideas with using history of teams but just end up seeming like they could have a bit more into the logo itself.

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