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Major NickNOB Discovery

Serious historical find today, kids, and it’s a follow-up to something we first discussed back in 2012. In May of that year we addressed the rumor that 49ers running back Doug Cunningham had worn a “Goober” nickNOB in the early 1970s. At the time, the only rear-view photo of Cunningham that anyone could produce was this shot showing a conventional NOB, and at least one longtime Niners fan assured me that the nickNOB rumor was bogus and that the team would never have sent Cunningham onto the field wearing “Goober.” Absent any evidence to the contrary, that appeared to be that.

Five months later, in October of 2012, a 1970 newspaper column turned up indicating that Cunningham had indeed worn the “Goober” nickNOB. But we still didn’t have a photo.

Now, thanks to reader Mike Traverse, we finally do. Dig:

That photo and text appeared in The San Francisco Chronicle on Sept. 29, 1970. Mike found them in an old 49ers-centric scrapbook that he acquired a few years ago.

The Chronicle account indicates that Cunningham wore his nickNOB on Sept. 27, 1970, against the Browns. That was the Niners’ second game of the season (yes, NFL seasons started later back then), and 1970 was the first year that NFL teams wore NOBs, so Cunningham probably wore the first nickNOB in NFL history. His only possible competitor for that distinction, at least that I’m currently aware of, would be Joe “Turkey” Jones. Jones did play in 1970, but I’m not sure which season, much less which week, his nickNOB appeared in. It’s also possible that Jones and Cunningham both debuted their nickNOBs while facing each other in that 1970 Niners/Browns game.

Super-duper thanks to Mike for this major addition to uniform history. It’s a nice coincidence that he sent it my way just a few days after I ran an ESPN column on nickNOBs. (I’ll have a follow-up column tomorrow, incidentally, which will address lots of other NOB variations — FNOB, FIOB, FiNOBs, etc.)

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Collector’s Corner

By Brinke Guthrie

I cannot recommend this item highly enough: A lot of what I learned about the technical side of football came out of this, a 1973 NFL Playbook. Brilliant graphics and solid writing. And this one is signed by Dick LeBeau, too. Fantastic. [Seconded. My own NFL Playbook, given to me by my father when I was eight or nine years old, is among my most prized possessions. Great info, great illustrations, great package all around. Don’t miss. ”” PL]

Other items we have for you this week:

• I wasn’t playing Tudor NFL Football by the time these came out, but Seahawks fans, anxiously awaiting Sunday’s Niners rematch, might want these guys for their collection.

• Did I say Niners? Go vintage in style with this jacket.

This card meant you were an official member of the Great Gretzky fan club.

• Here’s a batch of Minnesota North Stars drinking cups, from their Met Center arena. [Ooooh, I like those a lot! ”” PL]

• Here’s a set of Steelers Russian nesting dolls.

• Here we have a nice set of 1969-1970-era NHL hockey sticks.

• Here’s a rarity: a Chiquita radio pocket radio with the NFL shield. Hurry on this one — the auction closes this afternoon.

• Got a little guy at home who’s an Iggles fan? Suit him up in this vintage varsity jacket from Sears.

• Nice 1970s KC Chiefs sweater on Etsy. Can’t say I’ve ever seen an NFL shield on the cuff of a Starter item before.

• Finally, I am including this 1972 SI cover shot of Joe Torre for one reason: He sure could have lined up a shaver endorsement for those sideburns.

Seen something on eBay or Etsy that you think would make good Collector’s Corner fodder? Send your submissions here.

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If you can’t see the slideshow above, click here

rafflet ticket by ben thoma.jpg

NFL raffle: Ever heard of Ligarius Jennings? Right, me neither. But he played a few games for the Bengals in 2001 and ’02, and now you can own one of his game-used jerseys for free! It’s been generously donated by reader David Sonny, who says it measures about 19 inches from pit to pit, and 29.5 inches from the back of the collar to the hemline.

To enter the raffle for this jersey, send an email with your shipping address to the giveaway address by this 7pm Eastern this Friday, Jan. 17. I’ll announce the winner next Monday.

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PermaRec update: Been nearly two months since I last posted anything on Permanent Record, but now I have a new entry and it’s a doozy: an interview with a guy who found a bunch of 1960s and ’70s grad school application files in the trash (including the photo and assessment shown at left) and used them as the basis for a great little project. Check it out here.

Slate/dentistry update: Last Friday I mentioned that I’d written a new article for Slate, about parents pulling out their kids’ loose teeth by tying one end of a string to the tooth and the other end to a moving object (a door, a baseball, a cat, you name it), and that the link was “coming soon.” As it turnd out, the article didn’t go up on Friday, but it’s up now, and I don’t mind saying that it’s pretty damn entertaining. Enjoy.

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Hypothetically speaking: See that cute little girl over there on the right? Imagine how much cuter she’d look, just hypothetically, if she had the logo from a certain theoretical T-shirt emblazoned on her onesie. Wouldn’t that be something?

Of course, I’m just musing about hypothetical situations here. But sometimes it’s fun to do that. If you want to do it too, give me a shout and we’ll talk about assorted theories and hypotheses.

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Tick-Tock: Today’s Ticker was compiled and written by Garrett McGrath, except for ’Skins Watch, which is by Paul.

’Skins Watch: Last week’s news about the Indians demoting Chief Wahoo to secondary logo status has prompted a good piece arguing that the team should get permission from the Penobscot tribe if it wants to keep using Wahoo in any capacity (from Kevin Whisman).

Baseball News: The Chicago Cubs introduced the internet yesterday to Clark the Cub, their first official mascot franchise history (from Andrew Costentino, Bob Gassel and Ryan Lindemann). Clark — like all modern-day bears — can use Twitter decently well! “Seems like the Cubs ripped off their new mascot from the Disney cartoon TaleSpin,” says Duncan Wilson. … “These look to be Spring Training photos from 1908,” says Mike Powers. “The Cubs are wearing jackets that I have never seen before.” … The Oakland A’s seem to have a new road hat, although they still haven’t officially acknowledged it yet (from Rudy Gutierrez). … A certain washed-up old guy who runs a tea store wears an “old timey” Mets hat (from Terence Kearns).

Football News: Paul neglected to mention yesterday that Broncos WR Wes Welker was wearing a bigger helmet on Sunday to protect against concussions. … Peyton Manning couldn’t keep in that all he wanted was a particular kind of crappy light beer in the postgame press conference on Sunday. Said company rushed out a tweet to captialize on a great marketing ($$$) opportunity and proved they don’t understand football. … Reader John Benson made modern versions of some of the older NFL franchises that are no longer with us. … Even Coach Harbaugh’s (the one whose team is still playing football) postgame locker room speeches have their own logo (from Brinke Guthrie). … The 49ers victory led to a boost in Kapernicking (from Tommy Turner). … On the losing side of the contest, the Panthers posted a picture of Mike Tolbert with a chrome novelty team helmet (from Yusuke Toyoda). … “I just bought a November 1961 Sports Illustrated,” says Chris LaBella. “In the magazine there was this ad for a magnetic football game.” … If Auburn won the 2013 National Championship last week, this is what the merchandise would have looked like.

Soccer News: Soccer Uni leak roundup: World Cup kits for Australia (Home and Away), Bosnia (Home and Away), South Korea (Home and Away), Croatia (Home), and Portugal (Home). Non-World Cup kits for Slovenia (Away) and Zimbabwe (Home and Away). Club kits for Tijuana, Arsenal, and Club America Third (big thanks to Trevor Williams).

Basketball News: Kansas wore road throwbacks last night against Iowa State. … George Washington men’s team will wear D.C.-inspired unis versus VCU. … “This Saturday during the first half of the NCAA Division II women’s basketball game between California (PA) and Pitt-Johnstown.” says Gary Smith, “One of the referees was wearing all black.”

Grab Bag: The Los Angeles Dodgers Kings wore Dodgers inspired warm-ups to promote their upcoming Stadium Series participation. … Taiwan’s special forces uniforms are horrifying (from Kevin Kleinhans). … The FIA released driver numbers for the upcoming season, which they have to keep for the duration of their careers.

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What Paul did last night: So I’m doing the dishes last night and I’m washing this glass, see — a really nice glass with a cool bowling graphic on it. My friend Jessie was drinking from it just the other day and mentioned how much she liked it. I used to have two of them, but somebody broke one of them a few years back, grrrrr.

Anyway, I’m washing the glass and totally doing it the same way I always do, nothing extreme or out of the ordinary, when all of a sudden the glass breaks right there in my hands. Like, out of nowhere! And I’m so stunned by this development — and also bummed over the loss of this cool glass — that at first I don’t even realize I’m bleeding all over the fucking sink. But I kinda figure it out soon enough, you know?

Turns out it was my right index finger, between the knuckle and the first joint. Pretty deep cut — maybe down to the bone — but also very clean. I rinsed it out and then did my best to wrap it in gauze and tape. I figured if blood started oozing out of the wrap, I’d head to the ER to get stitches (which would be a fun early test of the new health insurance policy I just got under the Affordable Care Act). If it seemed under control, I’d leave it alone and hope for the best. That’s what ended up happening. It hurts, but I’ll live.

Looked on eBay and Etsy to see if I could replace the glass(es), but no dice. Dang.

Meanwhile, the real lesson of the story is this: Someone out there really needs to buy me a goddamn dishwasher already.

Comments (85)

    Clark the Bear is a joke. I can’t believe that my Cubs are serious with this nonsense. At least base their bear mascot on one of the bear-face logos that they’ve been putting on the uniforms on and off for over 100 years.

    Somehow the best and brightest, surrounding a conference room table, considered this to be the best idea. Amazing…

    Apparently when Clark sits down he leaves a brown circle in his wake. The Cubs suggest this circle is meant to signify their one time nickname the Chicago “Spuds.”

    Ummm, it’s Clark the CUB (not bear). I know, Clark the Cub doesn’t really roll of my tongue either (I keep saying Clark the Club).

    He is, however, markedly better than the Daytona Cubs’ (Class A) mascot .


    Sure…with Clark’s backward-worn adjustable hat, all you’d have to do is make Addison wear her cap properly — with her ponytail coming out the back in true Trixie style — and the Cubs will have memorialized many of the stereotypes of their modern fan base.

    Snark aside, I’m not too keen on the graphic representation of Clark, but his name is good, and the mascot suit is not bad. If he solely interacts with kids in the way the Cubs have described, I think it’ll be perfectly fine.

    The thought of “Addison” being a girl’s name is almost as repulsive as Clark the Cub.

    If they had created Clark back around 2007-08 when the team was atop their division, this would have gone over much better. This season, with the team down in the dumps, is not the time for something so easy to mock.

    Nonsense. Clark is half Joe Camel and a third Fonzarelli. He’s the Kung-Fu hippie from Gangsta City.

    Clark? From Chicago? All I can think of is Clark Griswold (although I think he was more of a hockey fan).

    The iconic Wrigley Field marquee is at the corner of Clark and Addison.

    Also, the Blues Brothers listed their address at 1060 W. Addison Street. Comedy ensues when cops show up to this location to find this is not truly Jake and Elwood’s house.

    It wasn’t the cops that were shown arriving at 1060 West Addison; it was the Illinois Nazis.

    I hate Illinos Nazis.

    True, but we learn later that the cops also made a visit to Elwood’s address of record, when they show up at his flop house:

    Parole Officer (John Candy): This, gentlemen, is the elegant abode of one Elwood Blues.

    Trooper (Stephen Williams): Thanks for your help.

    PO: You know, I kind of liked the Wrigley Field bit.

    Trooper: Yeah. Real cute.

    The Poochie reference was the best. How long will it be until Clark falls into a deep depression over being the Cubs mascot and hangs himself in the dugout? Not soon enough.

    Poochie was the first thing I thought of when I saw Clark the Cub, too. The similarities are uncanny: the backward hat, the awkward contrivance by out-of-touch executives with ill-conceived notions of what kids think is “cool,” and the immediate and decidedly negative reception from the public. Is it wrong to hope Clark link in the near future?

    Meh, its something kids will enjoy. As an adult I think its lame… but I remember enjoying the White Sox mascots back in the 80’s (Ribbie and Rhubarb) when I was young. It was a big deal when they’d walk through the crowd and greet kids.

    I don’t understand why teams that use Native American imagery don’t work with local tribes more often. We see some cases, and I imagine they’re increasing, but when you have the opportunity to engage with a living people to help determine your team’s identity, why wouldn’t you do that? Especially when the alternative is to use imagery you have no rightful claim to, and in many cases you’re actively antagonizing people?

    It can’t be worse than that Cubs mascot, right? And yes, my first thought upon seeing it was Kit Cloudkicker.

    Because sports team owners tend not to be very good at modern business, and they also tend to be the kind of people who really, really don’t like putting themselves in the position of giving someone else an opportunity to say “no” when their dollars are on the line. Which is the risk you take when you go to a tribe to get their support and buy-in.

    The executive team of any serious company with publicly traded stock in a similar circumstance would be all over the whole outreach thing, and reputation management, and making big stinkin’ public displays of how much they respect and support and include the Native American community and by the way, synergy! Etc. It’s pretty much Crisis Communication 101. But the kind of people who succeed in the modern corporate environment tend not to buy sports teams. Instead, most teams are owned by people who made their fortunes in auto sales, or real estate development, or as partners in professional firms, all environments that are largely sheltered from modern corporate culture or shareholder accountability.

    The beer Manning mentioned has a big marketing deal with the NFL. Manning probably was saying what he thought the NFL brass would appreciate. A local brewery responded by tweaking his ad pitch line to “Better ingredients, better beer.”

    Is it possible Manning actually DOES prefer Bud Light?

    I have no doubt that as the smartest guy going and a guy who understands the advertising/marketing business, he has an understanding, but it’s very possible that he just drink Bud Light.

    It is also possible that he is angling for a Budweiser distributorship to go along with his 20+ pizza franchises.

    Cunningham looks like he’s going to pick his nose in that photo. Maybe the “G” and “B” got transposed?

    Man, same thing happened to me on New Year’s Day while washing a wine glass. Broke out of nowhere. Deep cut right on my right index knuckle. So, I needed stitches due to the position. Just came out yesterday, in fact. The glass was no real loss for me, though. Good luck finding a replacement.

    Knuckle. Hmmmm, I never really thought about it before, but aren’t all the joints on your fingers called knuckles? Or it just the one that is closest/joined to the hand?

    I’m trying to picture where you cut yourself, Paul.

    I might google “knuckle” later. I’m kind of tired so I probably won’t. But I might.

    Haha, I just looked this up, too. I think all joints are knuckles. Some call the ones at the base of the finger the “major knuckle” and the others “minor knuckles.” Nothing consistent, though.

    By “knuckle,” I meant the joint where the finger attaches to the hand.

    My cut is between that spot and the next joint down, top-left side of the finger.

    Made it thru the night without bleeding all over the bed (or the girlfriend), so I think/hope I’ll get away without stitches.

    7 years ago, it was 2 days after I was dumped by my girlfriend of 4 years. I was home alone, depressed, drinking and washing my slob roomate’s dishes that had attracted a swarm of fruit flies, I finally snapped and decided I was going to smash the ceramic plate on the sink just like hollywood. I slam it down and damned thing fractured right where my pinky was, I took out a tendon and I had blood spurting out. It was probably my suavest move ever. That scar serves as my reminder for me being in my worst state.

    Isn’t Welker’s wearing of a new helmet another example of the absurdity of the NFL’s mandate against teams using throwback helmets? Or does this fold into their stance of ‘if it can prevent a concussion it’s good for us’?

    The NFL’s rule was never designed to eliminate the use of multiple helmet shells. It was designed to minimize the use of multiple shells.

    1. I think that KC Starter sweater is likely from the 80s. It doesn’t appear “70s style.” Plus, according to Wikipedia, the bastion of all knowledge, Starter didn’t enter into a licensing agreement with the NFL until ’83.

    2. i like the Kansas throwbacks, and really enjoyed the cream script Jayhawks they wore over the weekend. This is how we do it, folks. Now, if Purdue would just wear their ’69 script jerseys (white), with diamond hip, belted shorts (gold), we’d be onto something.

    3. Dishwashers are $300 to $400 on the low end. Treat yourself, for crying out loud.

    Dishwashers may be cheap, but many apartment buildings forbid them (along with washing machines) because of their excess water usage.

    Ah, good to know. No lawns. No dishwashers. No washing machines. No cars… why do people want to live in NYC? (it’s like the dark ages of American comforts there ;)

    As for the Mag-Powr football add in SI… I bought a complete (dare I say ‘mint’ condition) Mag-Powr Baseball game on eBay about 9 years ago. It’s a cool cross between the Tudor games and foosball. It isn’t the smoothest game to play in the world, but the theory behind it is really cool. I haven’t played it for years, but I do have it on permanent display in my basement. I love old sports related games, like Bas-Ket, foosball, etc.

    Nothing too ‘uni’ centric about it. The defensive players are solid gray and the hitter/runners are solid white.

    Those Taiwanese masks are neat… here is the US version that I got to wear while I was deployed… not me in the picture. link

    … that paired with the ballistic resistant ESS safety goggles make you pretty safe unless you get hit with a .50 caliber shell.

    One could argue that “A’s” is a contraction and that the apostrophe represents the missing “thletic”.

    I’m not saying I agree with that line of thought. I’m just pointing out that it exists.

    Pretty much all prescriptive grammars – style guides – recognize the use of apostrophes with plural initials to avoid confusion. Since the letters As form an actual word, the apostrophe signals that it’s an A, of which there are several, not the word “as.” It has nothing to do with the silly, false idea that “A’s” is a contraction. (If that notion had any validity whatsoever, the people making it would spell the statistic R’sBI, not RBIs, when an A’s player hits a grand slam.)

    The typesetting of the A’s logo, to my eye, makes the apostrophe unnecessary. But when it appears in print, A’s is actually clearer than As, so I have no problem with the apostrophe in the logo too for consistency. The Orioles, though – Os is much less likely to be confused with a word, rather than being a plural O. So that apostrophe needs to go.

    I think “os” is the Portuguese word for “the”. So if you take the apostrophe out, on Brazilian Night the Orioles’ uniforms might well read “Os Os”. We can’t have that.

    Oh, you’re perfectly right about its being a contraction; I don’t think Oakland’s MISUSING the apostrophe. I just think that the old, unadorned blackletter “A”–no apostrophe, no “s”–looks miles and miles nicer, and just more … major league, I guess.

    If I’m not mistaken, Jay Gruden began as the Storm’s QB, retired to become the Head Coach, then un-retired to QB again later. Pretty interesting ….

    That Ligarius Jennings jersey is miles better than what the Bengals wear these days. If there’s one uni that Nike can improve upon, it’s Cincy, because it can’t get much worse.

    It is better. But it’s still hard to look at.

    The black collar stripe, the NFL logo, the truncated shoulder sripe, the makers mark, the leaping tiger, the absence of sleeves…

    They just couldn’t leave well enough alone…


    I always loved the look of those 49’er Starter sideline jackets. The gold “satin” color and the positioning of “FORTY NINERS” on the back made this one, by far, the best looking of that era. Even though I wasn’t a Niners fan (though I found myself rooting for them if they weren’t playing one of my teams),I always wanted one.

    If you liked the NFL Playbook, you’ll also enjoy “Play Football the NFL Way” by Tom Bass. It was published in 1991 and is loaded with over 400 pages of football specifics. It doesn’t have the graphic beauty of the NFL Playbook, but the amount of details, such as proper footwork for offensive lineman or how to run a better route, is amazing. Also, you can pick up a used copy for very little.

    I love the fact that the eBay description for the mini hockey sticks and nets lists the St. Louis Blues (along with the Minnesota North Stars and Oakland Seals) as “teams not around today.” Sorry for your loss, Blues fans.

    I love the fact that someone who swore up and down the 49ers would never have allowed something was actually proven wrong.

    I love the fact that arrScott managed to work the beloved “beloved” into this conversation.

    Also, NFL seasons started later back then because teams played six (or, if you played in the Hall of Fame Game, seven) preseason games. Can you imagine that? A preseason half as long as your regular season? If you’ve only been following pro football since 1978, you have no frame of reference for that. Bizarre.

    Preseasons were so long – 6-7 games, that coaches would actually get FIRED in the pre-season for poor team play, with the Rams’ George Allen (second tour – 1978) and Saints’ J.D. Roberts (1973) coming to mind ….

    Very sad. This shouldn’t be a “Republicans v. Democrats” issue, it should be “basic human decency v. bigotry”.

    Can’t say that I particularly disagree with his analysis, only that I wish it wasn’t so.

    Anytime I hear the name Joe “Turkey” Jones, link immediately comes to mind.

    For those wondering, Jones was in his second stint in Cleveland when he infamously sacked Terry Bradshaw–often called a piledriver, but it actually looks more like a German suplex–and by this point the NFL started enforcing their jersey number requirements that aside from offensive lineman should chuck out the window today.

    Ouch! Great footage. Also shows why the Browns should bring back those orange pants. They look great!

    RE F1 Numbers,
    I would love to hear the reasons the individual drivers used for their numbers. In NASCAR there is a science to it. For example, Tony Stewart uses #14 on his car because his idol AJ Foyt used it. Kurt Busch, Danica Patrick and Kevin Harvick have also gotten into the #14 mess. Kurt Busch will drive #41 because it is 14 backwards, and Patrick and Harvick drive #10 and #4 respectively because they add up to 14.

    Jimmie Johnson runs #48 because Jeff Gordon who runs #24 is half owner of his car. 24+24=48. Dale Jr. runs #88 because #8 was not an option when he moved from Earnhardt Inc to Hendrick, so he went to #88. Supposedly, part of the reason for this is because he wanted to make it easier for fans to change tattoos. He had used #8 because his grandfather Ralph had used it.

    Been looking at old Browns pictures and ticket stubs from 1946 after watching DIY show Garage Gold and the 1946 Browns championship trophy.

    Found this odd looking face mask and guys putting on shoes with cleats while most wore sneakers.


    Oh my Gaash to Brinke’s corner yikes that 80’s vintage niners jacket is hideous, the 70’s Chief sweater however rocks!
    I watched Manning’s post game interview live when he answered the ridiculous question that was followed by his budlight answer, that reporter is an idiot.

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