The Packers held their annual shareholders meeting yesterday. They confirmed the legitimacy of the throwback uniform that we discussed here yesterday (it’ll be worn on Oct. 18 against the Chargers), but the real news came from team CEO Mark Murphy, who revealed that the NFL will begin dabbling with color vs. color for its Thursday-night games. This is apparently what came of the rumors and proposals that I reported on last October, when there was word that the Thursday games might feature throwbacks or new alternates.
Murphy said the color on color initiative will be voluntary in 2015 and become mandatory in 2016. He said the Packers have opted not to participate this season, which means they’ll wear white on the road for their Thursday-night game in Detroit on Dec. 3. It’s not yet clear whether other teams on this season’s Thursday-night schedule will opt in or out. NFL teams normally have to declare which jersey they’ll be wearing for each game in late July (i.e., right about now).
The graphic accompanying Murphy’s speech (see above) didn’t just show color vs. color — it showed mono vs. mono. That’s a bold way to sell the concept, but many NFL teams can’t go mono even if they want to because they don’t have matching jerseys and pants in their wardrobes.
Here’s a look at this season’s Thursday-night schedule. Teams listed in italics have the ability to go mono if they choose to; an asterisk indicates that the team can only go mono by wearing its alternate jersey:
Sept. 17: Broncos* vs. Chiefs
Sept. 24: Washington vs. Giants
Oct. 1: Ravens* vs. Steelers
Oct. 8: Colts vs. Texans
Oct. 15: Falcons vs. Saints
Oct. 22: Seahawks vs. 49ers*
Oct. 29: Dolphins vs. Patriots
Nov. 5: Browns vs. Bengals
Nov. 12: Bills vs. Jets
Nov. 19: Titans vs. Jaguars
Dec. 3: Packers vs. Lions
Dec. 10: Vikings vs. Cardinals
Dec. 17: Buccaneers vs. Rams
Dec. 24: Chargers vs. Raiders
So out of 14 games, seven of them could conceivably be mono vs. mono, although that would require some unusual moves, like the Ravens wearing their black alts on the road and the Pats going mono-blue, both of which seem unlikely.
A few additional notes:
• The very first Thursday-night game of the season, Broncos/Chiefs on Sept. 17, could be messy. Orange vs. red — ugh. Kinda figuring Denver, the road team, will exercise its 2015 option to wear white for that game. (Of course, the Broncos could also wear their blue alts, although that seems unlikely for a road game.)
• What happens if the Colts and Texans want to go color vs. color on Oct. 8? They can’t both wear blue, so the Texans would have to wear their red alts.
• I’m assuming the Chargers/Raiders game on Dec. 24 will not be color vs. color, since that would set up a navy vs. black game. (I suppose the Chargers could wear their powder blues, but they’re the road team, so that would be an unusual move.)
• The Vikes/Cards game on Dec. 10 has the potential to be one of the more unsightly NFL games in recent memory. Grape Ape vs. blood clot — woof.
• Interesting to see that the Cowboys aren’t on the Thursday-night schedule this season. If they play on Thursday night in 2016, and the if the color vs. color program truly does become mandatory, they might be forced to wear blue at home!
• Lots of people emailed and tweeted at me yesterday to say things like, “What do they do when the Giants play the Bills?” I’m figuring they just won’t schedule a game like that for Thursday night, although I suppose a more conspiracy-minded observer might assume that teams will suddenly unveil “clash jerseys” for such occasions.
• A few years ago Phil had a good assessment of how color vs. color could work in the NFL. Check that out here.
And what do I think of all this? I have three main thoughts:
1. I’ve long been on record as being in favor of color vs. color. I don’t think white jerseys should be eliminated, mind you, but I think they can just be part of the mix without any requirement for one team to be wearing white in a given game. So I like the idea of more color vs. color in the NFL.
2. That said, I don’t like the idea of creating a separate category of games with their own uniform protocol. Feels too calculated, too gimmicky, and it gives the Thursday games something of a sideshow feel, like they’re not as official as Sunday games. Just allow color vs. color games throughout the league and be done with it.
3. I hate the mono-color look, which invariably feels more like a costume than a uniform. If this Thursday initiative leads to more mono — and it probably will — I’m not gonna be a happy camper. On the other hand, maybe mono will disappear from Sunday games and be ghetto-ized into the Thursday-night program. I’d be more okay with that.
It’s that time of year again: August is fast approaching, which means it’s almost time for my annual summer break.
For those of you who are new to the site, it works like this: I will basically disappear from the site for the month of August. Phil will be in charge and will handle the weekday content. Webmaster John Ekdahl will handle the weekends (beginning this Saturday). Brinke will still be doing Collector’s Corner on Tuesdays, and Mike will still be doing the Ticker several days a week and will also still do the Question of the Week. He might also contribute a lede entry or two.
As for me, I’ll be taking a short vacation from Aug. 5-11, but for the most part I’ll be around. I’ll still be working on ESPN stuff, including a big, fun project that should drop in mid-August (more on that later) and the annual college football season preview. Phil will link to my ESPN work while I’m away from the site, of course.
I’ll also make cameo appearances to preview and launch the next Uni Watch T-Shirt Club design (which should be a doozy), and I might also drop in here or there if circumstances warrant. Mostly, though, I’ll be keeping my distance from the site. Mega-plus-thanks to Phil, John, Mike, and Brinke for picking up the slack while I recharge my batteries.
Baseball News: Reader Jesse Gavin is covering the Iowa State Baseball Tournament and has noticed a few things, including an increasing number of players with their top jersey buttons unbuttoned; a school with white lettering on a white jersey; a school with three different logos on its cap, sleeve, and back; and a school with gorgeous Northwestsern-striped stirrups. ”¦ Horrific pink camouflage last night for the Morehead City Marlins. ”¦ The Nationals will have an ’80s Night promotion on Aug. 29, featuring a giveaway Rubik’s Cube (from Andrew Hoenig). ”¦ The old story about Hawk Harrelson being the first player to wear a batting glove, which I used to believe myself, has now been debunked many times over. Case in point: Here’s an old Boston Bees photo showing a player — not sure who — wearing an early batting glove. Anyone know who that is? (Photo from David Fitzgerald.) ”¦ After I tweeted that photo last night, Todd Radom responded with a this shot of another Bees player, Tony Cuccinello, also wearing a glove. Must’ve been a team thing. ”¦ Pirates P Charlie Morton is the latest MLBer to wear mismatched shades of grey. Just FYI, yes, I realize it’s caused by sweat, especially when CoolBase jerseys are involved. But it’s still noteworthy. ”¦ Marty Buccafusco noticed that new Hall of Fame inductee John Smoltz’s plaque shows him wearing a jersey without a headspoon. By contrast, the headspoon is shown in on the plaques of Tom Glavine and Bobby Cox. Marty suspects that the Smoltz rendering was based on a photo from his brief tenure with the Cardinals (which, frankly, I had completely forgotten about). ”¦ Someone at Camden Yards last night was wearing an Orioles/Braves Frankenjersey. “I actually saw him walking around but didn’t want to be weird and ask for a Uni Watch photo,” says Andrew Cosentino. “Glad to see someone else photographed him — thanks, social media!” ”¦ The new minor league franchise in Columbia, S.C., will announce its name and logo next Tuesday. ”¦ I’m all for high-cuffery (duh), but this type of radical hosiery inconsistency needs to stop. … The Red Sox retired Pedro Martinez’s No. 45 last night.
NFL News: The 49ers will wear a “79” memorial decal this season for Bob St. Clair (from Josh Hill). ”¦ The Lions will wear a Charlie Sanders memorial decal this season (from Justin Barsotta). ”¦ A bunch of seats at FedEx Field have been removed. Here’s what’s taking their place (from Tommy Turner).
College Football News: Jim Harbaugh says Michigan will not have an alternate jersey this season. Also: No more legends jerseys — instead, the legends numbers will be retired (from Jeremy Troia and Phil, respectively). ”¦ New unis for UNLV (from Sage Simmons).
Hockey News: An auto dealer in Chicago uses the old North Stars logo (thanks, Mike). ”¦ New 60th-anniversary logo for the Rochester Americans (from Andrew Schmitt). ”¦ The San Diego Gulls’ new uniforms were leaked via a video game (from Tod Hess).
Soccer News: Many soccer players are now wearing GPS devices. ”¦ The MLS Homegrown Game was last night, and check out all the tribple-digit uni numbers for the Club America U-20 team. Here’s a photo showing one of the numbers (from Phillip Foose and Phil, respectively).
Grab Bag: A corn maze in Indiana has a Purdue theme. ”¦ Cincinnati Enquirer columnist Paul Daugherty has given his take on the new Chuck Taylors (from Patrick O’Neill). ”¦ Can’t recall if we’ve seen this before, but here are 50 state license plates, redesigned (from Andrew Rader). ”¦ Here’s a piece on hidden meanings in well-known brand logos. “I didn’t know that was the Golden Gate Bridge in the Cisco logo, and I live here,” says Brinke. ”¦ New athletics logos for the University of Hartford. Additional info here (from Caleb Mezzy). ”¦ Arnold Palmer enlisted in the Coast Guard in 1950 as a Yeoman and continued to serve until 1953. Here are two shots of him in his Coast Guard uniform (from Douglas Ford). ”¦ There’s a bit of a kerfuffle about the newly released logo for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, which some folks think was plagiarized. ”¦ Whiz kid golfer Jordan Spieth turned 22 the other day, and Under Armour marked the occasion by sending him a bunch of golf balls emblazoned with happy-birthday tweets from his followers.