Skip to content

Monday Morning Uni Watch

Click to enlarge

Protesters in the Ukrainian city of Kiev clashed with police yesterday and, as you can see above, it looks like one of the policemen — or maybe one of the protesters? — was a Browns fan. When I tweeted that photo last night, lots of people responded with “I’d protest too if my team lost to the Jags,” or words to that effect.

That was arguably the most uni-notable moment of the day yesterday, as it was a fairly uni-unventful day in the NFL. Here’s the very short rundown:

• The Eagles wore their black alts.

• Speaking of the Iggles, f you’re going to put an old player’s name on a contemporary jersey, you could at leastspell his name correctly. (Should be “Bednarik,” don’tcha know.)

• The Chargers wore their powder blues. They also had throwbacks end zones, to mark the 50th anniversary of the 1963 AFL champions.

• The Bills played a “home” game in Toronto. They used this coin for the coin toss but didn’t wear the “Hey, we’re playing this one in Toronto!” patch that they’ve worn in previous seasons. (Rumors that Toronto mayor Rob Ford smoked the patches are almost completely untrue, although he was in attendance.)

• Panthers quarterback Cam Newton warmed up in a pair of Batman cleats, but that’s not what he wore in the game. (He pulled a similarly meaningless stunt last year with Superman cleats.)

Turning to Saturday’s college action, Phil and his contributors had good coverage in Sunday’s post, so start there. In one additional tidbit, Grambling State had its logo plastered all over its uni numbers for the Bayou Classic. Ewwww.

(My thanks to JJ Sledge, and Phil for their contributions.)

+ + + + +

New sponsor shout-out: As you may have noticed in the right sidebar, we have a new ad for Forward Progress Tees, which is run by longtime Uni Watch reader/contributor the Hungry Hungry Hipster. He has the following message for Uni Watch readers:

Forward Progress Tees is now has a ton of new vintage-inspired sports T-shirts. For example, we redesigned a bunch of baseball teams’ cap logos to see what they’d look like if they adopted the old English font that Detroit uses. All the various shirts we offer are organized into different categories on the left-hand side of our main page, and you can go back to seeing all the different shirts by clicking on the “Everything” link at the top. Any design can be put on any color or style of mens/unisex T-shirts, hoodies, and sweatshirts, in addition to T-shirts made to fit women, kids, and babies — click on the “More Styles…” link on each design’s page for the full range of options. Changing the shirt style can sometimes lower the price, so play around with the different options and you may be pleasantly surprised. We’re constantly coming up with new designs, so like us on Facebook to stay updated.

While we’re at it, the onset of the holiday shopping season makes this a good time to remind everyone about our other fine advertisers:

Retro College Cuts sells very cool throwback college basketball shorts and warm-up jackets.

The Qalo ring is the wedding band designed for an active lifestyle, and they’re offering a 15% discount to readers who used the code “UNIWATCH” when checking out. (I recently talked about the Qalo and other wedding ring-related issues with Bears quarterback Jordan Palmer.)

Left Field Cards sells super-cool baseball-themed cards, T-shirts, and prints, all designed by the fabulous Amelie Mancini (who I featured in an ESPN column last year).

ShirtWhiz is the hanger specifically designed to display your jersey collection.

• Longtime Uni Watch partner No Mas sells very smart, very cool sports-related apparel, much of it with a boxing slant.

• And Grey Flannel Auctions is currently in the midst of their latest catalog auction (my favorite selections from which were recently featured in this post).

I’m grateful to all of these advertisers for their support of Uni Watch. Please consider their products when doing your holiday shopping. Thanks.

+ + + + +


Too good for the Ticker: Phil had this in Saturday’s Ticker, but I like it so much that it’s worth repeating: Every year in Massachusetts, Attleboro High and North Attleboro High square off on Thanksgiving. As part of the game, the players are given blank helmets and are free to design them however they want as long as they use the proper school colors (blue and white for Attleboro, red and white for North Attleboro). Some of the results look cool, others are somewhat regrettable, but all of them are interesting. There’s a good backgrounder on this here, and you can see 10 of the best designs from this year’s game here.

+ + + + +

I never quibbled if it was ribald: My friend Ted runs the excellent music blog Boogie Woogie Flu. Each year he marks the eight days of Hanukkah by having Jewish writers write about eight Jewish musicians, and this year he asked me to participate. Most the obvious choices had already been covered in previous years, so I chose the great satirist/pianist Tom Lehrer. You can see the piece I wrote here.

+ + + + +

Blazers contest reminder: In case you missed it last week, I’m soliciting entries for a Blazers redesign contest on ESPN. The deadline is Dec. 9, and the results will be published on ESPN soon after that. I look forward to seeing your designs.

+ + + + +

’Skins Watch: Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker still hasn’t decided whether to sign, veto, or ignore a bill that would make it easier for schools to retain their Native American mascots (thanks, Phil). … The Navajo woman who’s the lead petitioner in the trademark case against the ’Skins isn’t too thrilled with the team’s recent use of Navajo Code Talkers as human shields (Philagain). … “I was watching the broadcast of the Thanksgiving parade in Montgomery County, Maryland, just outside of DC,” says Andrew Hoenig. “The ’Skins marching band came down the street, and neither the announcers nor the graphics ever referred to the band by its official team name.” ”¦ A ’Skins fan was planning to take this sign to last night’s game. I like how the “o” is shaped like a pentagon — a nice DC-related touch, if probably unintentional. Meanwhile, another fan had a pithy comment for Bob Costas (Phil again).

NFL News: Reader Brian Carroll has been doing some digging into wide receiver uni numbers. According to his talles, 137 WRs wear Nos. 10-19, and 78 WRs wear Nos. 80-89. Other tidbits: All Cardinals WRs wear 10-19; the least popular number was 86, worn by only two players (David Nelson of the Jets and Vincent Brown of the Chargers); and the most popular number is 11, worn by 20 players. … Speaking of uni numbers, Paul Kovacs notes that Tom Day wore five different numbers with the Bills. … There’s been a lot of chatter about that famous old Life magazine photo of NFL QBs, but David Feigenbaum noticed a good detail: Y.A. Tittle of the Giants, who’s shown at lower-right, was wearing the team’s home blue jersey but the road red socks. … Here’s something we’re not often privy to: radio-equipped helmets being tested prior to a game (thanks, Phil). Also from Phil: No, I don’t think the sports world has gone off the deep end with this superhero stuff, do you? ”¦ An enterprising Bears fan made this QB jersey, which Joseph LaFerla spotted at the Mall of America. “He said he had two custom-made and is thinking about making more to sell,” says Joseph.

Hockey News: The South Carolina Stingrays of the ECHL will be wearing Clemson-themed jerseys on Dec. 14 (from Gorden Cromer). … . Chris Conner of the Penguins took a puck to the head the other night that knocked one of the logo decals off the helmet (from Brian Skokowski).

Soccer News: Arsenal’s “sleevegate” controversy is over, as Mathieu Flamini wore long sleeves like everyone else on the team (from Yusuke Toyoda).

Basketball News: Michigan’s warm-ups have the players’ Twitter handles on the back. “So much for ‘student-athlete,'” says Drew Arnson. ”¦ Middle Tennessee State will be wearing BFBS jerseys with SOB tomorrow night (thanks, Phil). ”¦ A player in France has the best NOB ever (from Yusuke Toyoda).

Grab Bag: Check out this awesome softball uni with a seam/stitching theme. That’s East Union High School in Blue Springs, Mississippi (big thanks to Dustin Semore). … A rugby website is giving away some really ugly jerseys (from Josh Jacobs). ”¦ West Catholic High in Michigan has an unusual helmet design, tone-on-tone jersey lettering, Polamalu-style crosses at the rear neckline. A modified wishbone-C on the back of the helmet, too. Lots of additional photos here (big thanks to Casey Siereveld). ”¦ Based on yesterday’s installment of Beetle Bailey, you’d think football players still wear single-bar facemasks (from Alex Allen). ”¦ Yusuke Toyoda reports that the latest episode of Parks and Recreation had lots of uni-related stuff: ” First, the gang did a cross-promo with NFL’s Play 60, so there was Colts and Play 60 gear galore. And Rob Lowe’s character appeared in a basketball/football/not-soccer referee jersey but, oddly, wielded red and yellow cards and even had a UEFA Champions League sleeve patch.” … Everyone knows the Yankees aren’t allowed to wear beards, but apparently Santa didn’t get the memo (you made me smile with that, one, Phil).

Comments (85)

    With Christina Lurie mostly out of the picture, and who was responsible for the monstrosity which is the Midnight Green, perhaps Jeff will get with the program and go back to Kelly Green. We can only hope.

    Die-hard iggles fan here – midnight green has run its course. I’ve said it here multiple times – the mock-up that one of our own uni-watchers did a while back with the current font and Kelly green would be a nice change of pace.

    Either way, the BFBS needs to go.

    Glad to see those high school football helmets get some week-day notice. They are too cool to not be seen by the M-F’ers. Wait, that doesn’t look right…

    We’re just a bunch of badass M-F’ers here.

    But yeah, I rarely visit the site on weekends. Way too much college football for my taste, and I’m not huge into uni tweaks and concepts. I basically consider it a different site.

    Different strokes, I guess. The parts you mention as reasons not to visit on the weekends are the ones I wake up excited to see.

    You really are just a terriblehuman ;)

    Cam Newton must be pre-promoting the upcoming Batman v. Superman film (wearing Batman cleats and being know for his stupid Superman chest reveal thing he does when he scores).

    Steve Mason has never played with the Predators either, and from his mask one could easily tell that this was a Flyers goalie from that massive logo on top.

    Also, I’m not sure where this “Walking Dead” tie-in came from either, but Bridgestone Arena, where the Predators play, link on November 24 that featured Rob Zombie and Korn.

    The Predators have yet to offer a Walking Dead/zombie night promotion from what I’ve seen and read regarding their promotional nights.

    i believe the michigan warmup thing was apparently a one-time thing, yet another brainstorm by our nitwit athletic department to “build the brand,” or some such nonsense.

    How is it “So much for ‘student-athlete,’”? As much as I disdain Twitter, it’s not like the players make money for their Twitter handles. I think, subjectively, it’s a bad idea, but I fail to see how it compromises their eligibility.

    I recall watching many games while attending Temple University from 71-75.. Tom Brookshier repeatedly pronounced it that way and he was a former player. Anyway that’s what I recall. Thanks.

    After watching the Michigan vs. OSU game on Saturday I was wondering if it is legal or just unusual for Michigan’s quarterback to use the number “98”? Any ideas?

    Also, was it just me or did every single OSU player seem to have no room left for merit decals?

    “…did every single OSU player seem to have no room left for merit decals?”

    They get one each time they sell NCAA issued items on eBay.

    The thing is, the NCAA threw a big fuss over Ohio State, yet they had much bigger issues within the Big Ten over to the east. I just hope Ohio State wins out just to shut out the SEC from the BCS Championship game.

    Ohio State’s buckeye decals looked larger on their chrome helmets than on their standard but it did seem like more helmets were completely full than usual. It is the end of an undefeated (thus far) season so a lot of decals are to be expected but I think the size of the decals filled up those helmets faster than the standard.

    Who was the last FBS QB to wear a number higher than 19? I’m thinking Gabe Gross for Auburn, but that was over 10 years ago, right?


    “According to NCAA rule book, Rule 1 Section 4 Article 1 recommends numbering as follows for offensive players:

    Backs 1—49
    Snapper 50—59
    Guard 60—69
    Tackle 70—79
    End 80—99

    Otherwise all players must be numbered 1—99; the NCAA makes no stipulation on defensive players. Two players may also share the same number though they may not play during the same down.”

    Michigan’s QB wearing 98 was a special deal. It may have been covered here, but Tom Harmon (Michigan’s first Heisman winner) wore 98 and they honored Devin Gardner (Michigan’s current QB) by giving him the number to wear for the rest of his career at Michigan.


    link requires offensive linemen to wear numbers between 50-79. The rule also recommends (but does not require) numbers between 1-49 for players in the offensive backfield and 80-99 for offensive ends. Therefore, offensive skill position players and defensive players are technically allowed to wear any number they want.

    I was watching some college football over the weekend, and noticed something wrong with the American flag decals on the back of some teams helmets.

    If the flag appears to the left of the stripe (or left of center of the helmet) the stars should be on the left.

    However, if the flag appears on the right side of center of the back of the helmet, the stars should actually be on the leading side of the flag, or the right side (appearing backwards). All the teams I saw with flag decals on the right side of the back of the helmet had the stars to the left which is technically wrong.

    Military uniform regulations and/or US Flag code, presumably.

    The damn flag shouldn’t be on the helmets anyway, so whether or not it’s technically wrong is irrelevant.

    If you go through most official shops & do a custom jersey, a lot of times they won’t let you put “old” players’ names/numbers on new jerseys (I know I tried to do a new Kirby Puckett jersey with “Puckett” & “34” and it wouldn’t let me) – So that guy may have misspelled it as a workaround.

    Speaking of workarounds, have we mentioned the Browns fan who took a RICHARDSON 33 jersey and covered up the “RIC” and “S”?

    Considering Grambling State’s well-documented off-the-field problems, I’m pretty sure their logo being plastered all over the uni numbers are the least of their worries. On a related note, they could afford that but not a new floor for their weight room that is safe for their players?

    As far as the most popular uni numbers for wide receivers go, 86 might be the least popular but it’s kinda-retired here in Pittsburgh. After the Steelers cut Hines Ward they removed 86 from circulation for obvious reasons.

    If that is the case, then maybe they should’ve had Russell provide for a new weight room floor (something that would’ve probably actually have been cheaper than the uniforms themselves), or even–gasp!–have the money go towards academics. Grambling State isn’t Louisiana-LaFayette–let alone LSU–they need to prioritize their money a lot better. There’s even been talk of discontinuing the football program altogether to save money. Grambling State isn’t anywhere near a powerhouse like it used to be under Eddie Robinson, but no college team (even in the NAIA) should have to take bus trips from Louisiana to Kansas City and Indianapolis to cut costs.

    “Based on yesterday’s installment of Beetle Bailey, you’d think football players still wear single-bar facemasks”

    The Army doesn’t wear khaki uniforms or overseas caps anymore, either. It’s one of those “cartoon cliches”, like umpires wearing external chest protectors, nurses or scouts in outdated uniforms, prisoners in horizontal stripes and a ball and chain or those big, floppy chef’s hats. And don’t get me started on pirates…

    ..or just what outsiders think they look like, so to make it recognizable that what’s they draw in the cartoons… Just like making a soccer referee wear a horizontal striped shirt on a TV show because the average non-soccer fan TV viewer is more likely to associate that with being a referee.

    It’s kind-of like The Simpsons. Characters that have been on the show its entire run or close to it have largely kept the same look throughout the show (this is disregarding the show’s origins on The Tracy Ullman Show), but anytime newer characters or guest characters are introduced they have a more contemporary look while “core” Springfield still looks like its from the 1990’s.

    The single-bar helmet works as a visual shorthand for me.

    All the other flaws in Beetle Bailey is not about a cartoonist’s visual shorthand, it’s about the strip very deliberately pretending that it’s still 1963, the last time it had a new idea, or any semblance of relevancy to American life or military service. If you read Beetle Bailey on any given day, you’d think the Army had not been at war for the last 12 years, and you’d think that we still had a draft, and that military personnel were all single men, and that one-star generals command platoons. About the only thing the strip gets even remotely right is that Cookie appears to be a private contractor, not an enlisted man.

    One more college football tidbit. Colorado wore white pants on the road vs Utah on saturday. I can’t tell if it is a new design or not though. The design is very similar to the white pants from the previous uniform set last worn in 2010. It just looked like the thin stripe down the pants yesterday was black and in 2010 it was gold.

    Here’s some photos, can anyone make anything of this?

    New (?)





    The article on Richie Allen’s Wampum jersey refers to his HS team, the Wampum Wallowers. That might be the school’s mud wrestling team, but the real name is the Wallopers. I have a good photo and will send shortly. I grew up in Philly and think he’d be a superstar if he had not played in such a bigoted city.

    My mom grew up in Wampum, PA, and my uncle still lives there in my grandparents old house. I think Dick Allen (or one of his brothers, maybe Ron) was one of the last graduates from Wampum High School, as it was one of the first victims of public school consolidation in the 1960’s in PA–I know my aunt was in Wampum’s last graduating class.

    Strangely enough, the school district lines were divided up. Wampum borough now goes to Ellwood City Area School District (where my dad went to school and graduated from), while the surrounding areas (including New Beaver borough where my grandparents technically lived, but it was still essentially Wampum) now go to Mohawk Area School District, which was formed by the consolidation of at least three other small rural districts in the area.

    I’ll have to ask one of my aunts the next time I see any of them. If my uncle was still alive he would’ve probably known, too. The old high school is still standing, I do believe Wampum Borough uses it as the municipal building now for the borough. The high school gymnasium is still there, too, the borough rents it out to anyone for recreational use. I’ve played basketball there many times.

    Okay, you confused the heck out of me, as there’s nothing in today’s entry regarding Allen or his jersey. Then I stared at the top of the page for a moment and realized, as the ads cycled through their images, that you were referring to link.

    I thought it would’ve been cool for the Chargers to wear helmet numerals with the powder blues to honor the ’63 AFL champs. Especially since they wear that alternate twice a year anyway, that would’ve made it a little different.

    Well there is a difference between wearing powder blue throwbacks and wearing the current uniform’s alt which is merely the powder blue color, but really only a fauxback. They wore the throwbacks for the AFL 50’s anniversary in 2009.

    Throwbacks, these aren’t. Powder blue, they are.

    That was my point. Since that isn’t a throwback uniform, merely their powder blue alts, it would’ve been a nice tip of the cap (helmet) to the ’63 team had they put the numbers on the sides of the helmets.

    The Vancouver Canucks lost a Movember bet with the Montreal Canadiens and had to change their Twitter avatar for a day which was this past Sunday.


    Nothing like getting into an argument over the NFL’s alternate-helmet rule on Twitter…

    Basically, to sum up, on Phil’s tweet about the Chargers’ throwback end zone treatment yesterday, I commented on how it’d be nice if the Chargers had gone with true throwbacks, instead of their modern powder-blues – bolts over the shoulders, and numbers on the helmets.

    Someone else went and pointed out the helmet ban, but I responded that it wouldn’t apply in this case – the 1963 Chargers used white helmets, the 2013 Chargers use white helmets; they’d just have to switch out the decals. This guy tried to tell me I was wrong, and then lamented about the Eagles’ inability to use a kelly green throwback helmet. NOT THE SAME THING.

    Finally, I had to counter back that switching decals is, in fact, within the new rules because the Rams had already done it in week 9! Not to mention the Packers stripping their helmets of decals for their 1929 throwback game this year.

    With respect to HHHipster, I think it’s kind of funny that you would feature a site that sells, among other things, t-shirts that have flag desecration on top of America Fuck Yeah camo prints.

    I’m not sure that’s a Browns helmet. It seems more like an old motorcycle helmet, due to the leather lining along the edge. Also, it seems more red than orange, although that could be a lighting trick.

    The misspelling may be why he bought the jersey. They’re cheaper that way. I got a Rocky Bl(e)ier jersey that was misspelled for about a tenth what I would have paid.

    So happy to discover you as a fellow Lehrerite. He is on my personal songwriting Mount Rushmore. Went out to California years ago to have my Bob and Woody moment with him…It didn’t happen.

Comments are closed.