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Nikegon’s Latest Costume

Does anyone still get excited by the words “new Oregon uniform”? For me it’s more like, “Oh, another one — yeah, whatever.” That’s the problem with (a) constantly changing and (b) constantly trying to outdo yourself — at some point everyone’s eyes kinda glaze over because it all becomes routine. If you keep selling the message that everything you do is remarkable, at some point none of it is remarkable, because there’s no baseline of “normal” to compare it to.

That said, sometimes the Ducks still manage to get my attention, and they got it yesterday with their latest uni, which will be worn this weekend against Washington State. The design salutes various aspects of Oregon history (the state, not the school or the team), and I’m a history buff, so I’m intrigued by what they’ve attempted here.

I should acknowledge from the outset that I’m particularly interested in the Oregon Trail. One of the most powerful moments of my life came in 1997, when I saw wagon wheel ruts along the Trail carved into the sandstone near Guernsey, Wyoming. It made a huge impression on me — it’s one thing to read about the Oregon Trail, but it’s another (or at least it was for me) to see physical evidence of the Trail’s travelers.

I’m also very interested in Lewis and Clark, whose Corps of Discovery expedition finally found the Pacific Ocean in what is now Oregon (although I tend to associate L&C more with Missouri [their starting point] and North Dakota [where Sacagawea joined their group, and also the present-day state in which they spent the most time]).

L&C and the Trail are both represented on the Ducks’ new uniforms. Here are some details:

1. Each jersey features a topographic map of the Oregon Trail (for all of these, you click to enlarge):

I like the idea, although I don’t think most of us would even recognize that as a map unless we’d told beforehand that that’s what it is.

According to Nike, “Each uniform is unique and showcases a different area of the map, ensuring each player’s uniform features a different pattern, maximizing the fabric and producing less cutting-floor waste.” But it’s not clear what was the motivating factor there — did they want to minimize waste (in which case good for them), or did they want to make sure each player had a unique jersey and just happened to be able to say, “Look, less waste!” as a result? Hmmmmm.

2. The helmet logos show three figures pointing westward — Lewis, Clark, and ”¦ wait for it ”¦ Puddles the Duck:

This isn’t just absurd, it’s absurdist, which is why I’m tempted to love it. In its way, it displays more wit and playfulness than almost anything Nike and Oregon have ever done together. Ultimately, though, it just looks ridiculous, and it cheapens the history. Think what a great gesture it would’ve been if they’d incorporated Sacagawea into the design instead of Puddles.

3. If you look again at the helmet photo above, you’ll see that it includes an American flag patch. What you can’t see is that the flag has only 33 stars. That was the flag that was used after Oregon’s admission to the union in 1859. (It was superceded two years later after Kansas gained statehood, leading to a 34th star.) Edumacational!

4. Another thing that’s hard to see — the nose bumper depicts a handshake:

That’s taken from the Peace Medals that President Jefferson gave to L&C upon their return from their mission.

There’s more, but those are the biggies. Here’s some additional info and a photo gallery. Oh, and let’s give them some points for not calling it a “pride” uni. (They’re calling it something else that’s almost as silly, but still.)

At this point many of you are probably thinking, “Okay, so that’s all interesting — but the uniform still looks like shite.” And yeah, it does. Too grey, too dreary, too disjointed, no team colors. You can load your design with as many “stories” as you want, but it doesn’t mean jack if those story elements don’t harmonize visually, or if the overall effect is of a steady drizzle. That’s the difference between an interesting idea and a good design. Too bad.

Want to see what our own Ducktracker, Dennis Bolt, had to say about this uniform? Look here.

One final thought: Let’s please see if we can discuss this uniform without invoking a certain phrase about leaping over a ferocious fish. Because if there’s anything that captures the spirit of that phrase, it’s the phrase itself. Thanks.

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Click to enlarge

Collector’s Corner
By Brinke Guthrie

Notice the unique helmet treatment on this sheet music for the Brian’s Song theme song. True Story: I checked out a paperback copy of Brian’s Song at the local branch of the Dallas Public Library in like the fall of 1971, never returned it, and discovered it many years later. Guess my mug shot is probably on a “Wanted” photo throughout the Dallas library system now.

Here are the rest of this week’s picks:

• Here’s a children’s Houston Oilers bathrobe from the 1970s. Does anyone wear bathrobes anymore?

• Get your 1970s game-worn Pittsburgh Penguins socks right here.

• To celebrate the Cubbies making the playoffs, how about this great-looking 1960s bobblehead?

• Seems only natural that the Buffalo Sabres would give away sabres at their home games, right? This foam sabre brought to you by the fine folks at Frito Lay.

• Never seen this one before: a Wilson/NFL football radio from the 1970s. And you get a kicking tee, too!

• Never seen this one either: a St. Louis (football) Cardinals poster from the 1960s.

• The Braves marketing department must have gotten stuck for a slogan, so they just put “BUMPER STICKER” on this bumper sticker.

• This is an interesting Miami Dolphins poster from the 1960s. Note that the opponent is all-white, no trim or logos.

• I like the design of this Winnipeg Jets Hockey Club patch.

• Here’s former Broncos great Tom Jackson on a can of Orange Crush. True story: In high school I was a Bengals and Cowboys fan. Boy, did I ever take abuse the Monday after a Cowboys loss. Just endless. So the Monday after the Cowboys beat the Broncos in the 1978 Super Bowl, I casually walked into my Senior Accounting class with a case of Orange Crush, and nonchalantly passed the cans around to everyone. It was an all-guy class for some reason, so we usually just sat around talking about football anyway, the teacher included.

Follow Brinke on Twitter: @brinkeguthrie

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The Ticker
By Mike Chamernik

Baseball News: Astros P Dallas Keuchel, who hails from Oklahoma, has “Okie Doke” stitched into his glove (from Houston sports fan Correa Harden Watt). ”¦ Speaking of Keuchel, his lengthy beard came about as the result of a dare. ”¦ The Onion wrote a good piece that satirizes the MLB logo and Jerry West, complete with a mention of the graphic designer Jerry Dior (from Jay Roddy). … Adidas’s new line of baseball cleats features artsy depections of ferocious bulldogs, cheetahs, eagles, lions and other animals. … The Dodgers have a tradition where a veteran player serves as the manager for the last game of the season. Jimmy Rollins skippered the team on Sunday, and he dressed up as Tommy Lasorda for the occasion (from Chris Cruz). … Good infographics on the several teams that had three or more players wearing the same jersey number this season. ”¦ MLB is selling postseason team gear that shows the skylines of the teams’ cities. The one for the Rangers showed the Dallas skyline, but then people got all bent out of shape because the Rangers play in Arlington, not Dallas, so now the Rangers merch has been pulled. Of course, this problem could have been avoided if MLB hadn’t been so lazy about imposing the same skyline template on every team. ”¦ The statues of Cubs greats outside of Wrigley Field have been decked out in new Cubs jerseys ahead of tomorrow’s play-in game (thanks, Phil).

NFL News: Lions coach Jim Caldwell wore two wristwatches for last night’s game against the Seahawks. Some quick photo research shows that he typically wears one watch — anyone know why he doubled up last night? (From Scott B.) … Aaron Richards spotted a Colin Kaepernick camo jersey at the Mall of America. He saw a Russell Wilson one, too, but no photos. “I was going to take more pictures but a store associate told me I couldn’t photograph the merchandise,” he says. ”¦ Tyler Lockett of the Seahawks suffered a torn glove last night.

College & High School Football News: Tennessee will wear grey uniforms on Saturday (from Phil). … Navy and Notre Dame will wear the same base-layer gear when they face off on Saturday (from Phil). … As for cleats, Notre Dame will wear these (from Warren Junium). … Troy wore black-over-black with chrome helmets over the weekend. Full gallery here (from Ryan Bohannon). … San Diego State now wears Aztec-patterned helmets, but the old red helmets are still painted on the field (from Clint Glaze). … Those weird patch/pockets on the sleeves of the coaches’ windbreakers are meant for cell phones. Problem is, many phones don’t fit into the pocket (from Alex Hider). … “Archbishop Mitty (San Jose) wore all-white at home against Archbishop Riordan (San Francisco) on Saturday afternoon,” says Ethan Kassel. “Mitty wore white in tribute to Loukas Angelo, a freshman who passed away last month after being hit by a car.” … A mouthguard that has sensors in it which tracks athletes’ vital signs is in its prototype stages (from Tommy Turner).

Hockey News: Panthers RW Jaromir Jagr, still playing at the age of 43, is growing out a mullet again. He wore the hairstyle back in the early 1990s when with the Penguins (from Alan Kreit). … The WHA’s San Diego Mariners and Phoenix Roadrunners played a color-versus-color preseason game on this date in 1975. San Diego wore orange, Phoenix wore dark blue (from Dane Drutis).

Basketball News: The Trail Blazers wore Umpqua Community College tribute shirts during warm-ups for last night’s preseason game. … It’s a shame that Starbury, the affordable sneaker and clothing brand from former NBAer Stephon Marbury, never caught on. Marbury recently defended his line, saying his products were made in the same factory as Jordans (from Phil). … The Nets will have cool subway station-inspired lettering on their baseline this season. … New unis for BYU. … New blue uniforms for Duke, and here’s a glimpse at the team’s black set.

Grab Bag: Here are what the USA and international golf teams will wear for this weekend’s Presidents Cup (from Phil). … For its Windows icon, Apple made a plain gray window (from Brinke). … North Queensland Cowboys captain Johnathan Thurston wore a mouthguard in the Aboriginal colors of red, yellow, and black during the 2015 National Rugby League Grand Final this past weekend (from Graham Clayton). … Adidas now makes MMA and jiu-jitsu apparel (from Rick Friedel).

Comments (75)

    When the helmets came out yesterday, I thought it was a joke. Not sure this is the best time for Oregon to come out with these helmets considering there was a school shooting in Portland, Ore., last week. Can’t believe the anti-gun people haven’t had a field day with this yet.

    The helmet design does not include a gun.

    Perhaps you are referring to the telescope, which is what is depicted in the silhouette.

    I think that mistake (which is easy to make) points up how busy the helmet is.

    If a fan sees it for the first time at even 10 yards away, can they discern the spyglass?

    Or is it designed to look good on the proverbial runway, and that’s it?

    It’s similar to the ubiquitous Lewis & Clark Trail signs that run from St Louis all the way to the PNW.

    The figure pointing westward is there, while the figure on the right is holding a musket. Replace that (non-aimed) musket with a telescope looking west, and there you go. Oh yeah, add a duck.


    I think he’s referring to the vertical line over the left shoulder of the person pointing westward?

    Tyler Lockett’s glove is ADIDAS. Isn’t all field apparel supposed to be nike?

    PL, I forget if I asked you this- Adidas must also be approved for shoe wear in the NFL- why is Rodger’s shoes blacked out? I know JJ Watt (Reebok) and J. Clowney (Puma) have to wear blank shoes- and I think there’s another Adidas player with all black. Curious.

    Beats me. Honestly, I can’t take any of that shit seriously — just corporate machinations that I’d prefer to know as little about as possible.

    I think the duck on the helmet is awesome.

    It reminds me of mascots getting in pictures during number retirement ceremonies and the like.

    Bob, what does the Oregon helmet have to do with a school shooting? It’s a duck and Lewis ( or Clark) pointing west and Clark(or Lewis) lookingt through an eye glass


    “I’m also very interested in Lewis ad Clark”
    “Speaking of Keuchel, his length beard”

    Would a fan who watches the Oregon game without reading about the Lewis and Clark unis have ANY clue about what’s going on?

    Brinke, I’d buy that Oilers bathrobe in a heart beat, but I’d have to grow a mustache and get all kinds of lotions and I’d need a new bedspread and new curtains I’d have to get thick carpeting and weirdo lighting. I’d have to get new friends. I’d have to get orgy friends. … Naw, I’m not ready for it.

    If anything, wearing that is probably going to guarantee you a night of onesome-ness.

    And yes, Brinke, people still wear bathrobes. This person does, at least. Toweling off isn’t enough…I need a little updraft to help me air dry.

    Assuming the robe is made from the same 70s flame-retardant material as kids’ pajamas, you can also be guaranteed a night of static electricity.

    ….aaannnnnd I can *almost* make out the feature of the ferocious animals on those adidas cleats for two feet away. They’ll be dynamite on the field!

    You’re concerned that these Oregon Trail uniforms are going to inspire people to say “jump the shark,” while all I can think about is “you have died of dysentery.”

    I had guessed the over/under at 12 of posts until the oregon trail/dysentery joke.

    Thumbs up

    The watch on his right hand looks distinctly like a Motorola Moto 360, an android smart watch.

    But that begs the question: We learned from the Browns problems last year that you’re not allowed to text things to the coach while he’s on the sideline. But if he’s reading them on his watch, who’s ever going to know it’s happening?

    The picture from last season was when the Lions played in Arizona. Perhaps one watch is eastern time for Detroit and the other the local time where the game is being played. Seems silly but there were both road games with time zone differences.

    I should have said his right hand on the ticker photo looks like a Moto 360. Not the twitter photo from last year.

    I’m not sure if anyone has discussed this before, and if its repetitive I apologize.

    It appears that Oregon has moved away from Hydrographics. The helmet painter. According to @UOPintens the new painter is Gemini.

    What I think merits mention is that Nike now seems to be following the trail Under Armour blazed last season with its UMD Star-Spangled Banner uniforms.

    Also gotta wonder, if Nike had included Sacagewea on the helmet would that have marked the first instance of a female being depicted on one? If so, talk about missing a golden marketing opportunity.

    Anyway, there was a football helmet (I can’t remember which) discussed a few weeks back that some complained the logo was too small/cluttered to be visible from the stands. This one doubles down on that one, bigtime.

    When I read the comments on Facebook about these, I was none too surprised by the 500 or so Oregon Trail jokes (Your offense has died of dysentery. Continue hunting?) Clearly the fan base doesn’t care anymore about the pretty unis and just wants Oregon to get it together. Still, I like the unis. And my theory on why they put Puddles instead of Sacajawea. Either they felt it would be cooler to have Puddles there, or they didn’t want to look offensive by featuring a Native American on the helmet. You know, because it’s gone over so well lately.

    “Does anyone wear bathrobes anymore?”

    When I was growing up, I didn’t know what function they actually served. I thought they were a luxury item, something only rich people on TV had. Apparently, I watched a lot of Hart to Hart as a kid.

    I wear my No Mas Muhammad Ali bathrobe almost daily (except in the summer, when it’s too hot). My only regret is that I bought it before they came out with the Smokin’ Joe Frazier one, since I rooted for Frazier against him every time.

    Enough with beards already. Can we put them on the scrap pile of bad looks (like the mullet)?

    Brinke’s item about the Pittsburgh Penguins game used socks shows a picture of the Penguins having light blue panels on their skates. Interesting – I thought that it was just Oakland / California Seals that deviated from the pure black skates with their yellow, green, white creations.

    Yeah those were amazing. Might have even been dark blue skates with light blue panels to go with the uniforms – not sure.

    I agree the Oregon thing is getting kind of tired, but I did absolutely love those holographic sparkle helmets they wore a couple of weeks back. So, for me, they are still capable of a nice surprise.

    Does anyone buy/wear this “Take October” stuff MLB makes the teams wear? Or is it just part of “The Postseason” branding? The whole thing is awful.

    Puddles was the name of Oregon’s live duck mascot in the 1920s. The current mascot is known as “The Oregon Duck”

    Since their uniforms are based on the Oregon Trail, I hope none of their players dies of dysentery.

    Living in Nebraska we are very familiar with the Oregon Trail. It ran about a mile from my house. That said, my wife is a Oregon Trail wheel-rutt truther. She thinks they are fake; that nothing in dirt lasts that long. I believe though!

    Had to google all the “dies of dysentery” references. Seems I fall into that age group (or tech group) that knows not the reference.

    It’s a shame that Starbury, the affordable sneaker and clothing brand from former NBAer Stephon Marbury, never caught on.


    I can *almost* understand the desire to buy a $200 jersey. They’re pretty much going to last forever. $200 shoes? Pffffffft.

    It kind of sees to me that the whole reason the Starbury shoes never caught on is because they’re cheap.

    Air Jordans are a status symbol. Like a lot of fashion items, they are popular because they’re expensive.

    Not quite sure how the National Women’s Hockey League qualifies as “minor-league,” care to explain? Because as far as I can tell, it’s the only professional league for women’s hockey.

    As for the jersey, damn good work.

    Baseball playoffs start today. Going strictly by uniform design and link, here are my choices:

    Yankees over Astros. Blue Jays over Rangers. Royals over Yankees. Blue Jays over Royals.

    Cubs over Pirates in extra innings. Dodgers over Mets. Cardinals over Cubs. Dodgers over Cardinals in seven games.

    Dodgers over Blue Jays in five games.

    Almost none of those are who I want to win the respective games/series, but them’s my uni preferences.

    Only one I might dispute is Dodgers over Cards, but the Cards get a demerit from me because I think they should always wear the dark caps on the road.

    Dodgers over Cards is tough for me. But I think there are just enough flaws in the Cards’ execution that the more perfectly realized Dodgers get the edge. Barely.

    Personally, I prefer the Cardinals in red caps. As soon as the Cards put the link on their road script to match their gray unis, I’ll be in favor of the navy caps.

    600 other MLB teams wear blue caps. Why would a team whose mascot is a RED bird want to wear navy blue caps?

    Sometimes I wish the Cards would’ve moved to Baltimore to become the Orioles instead of the Browns. We need more allies in the fight against the near duopoly of red & blue.

    It actually would have been more appropriate for Lewis & Clark College in Portland to adopt an Oregon Trail style of football uniform. The Pioneers are a Division 3 program in the Northwest Conference, and in the 1990s, had black and silver as their color scheme. Also, they wore the Portland Breaker style helmet back then.

    As a Native New Yorker, I dont think the Nets new Baseline Design is authentic enough.

    Sure, the lettering LOOKS like a mosiac tile design youd see in any number of NYC Subway Stations, but its missing all the filth and grime that youd normally see.

    Does anyone else think the postseason shirts for MLB are a bit asinine? Two wildcard teams are only gonna play one game. Then what? Maybe an Astros fan since they rarely make the playoffs,but who buys these? I have shirts and gear from when my teams have won it all. That I get.

    I was given as a gift a presidents trophy shirt by my girlfriend at the time. And at the time I didn’t want to wear it. It was not the shirt I wanted. She’d get all bent that I wouldn’t wear it. And wouldn’t you know it, we ran into the Red Wing buzz saw. She just didn’t get it.

    Is it just me? Do people actually covet the NFC east champ shirt? Western Conference champ shirts?

    My guess is that because the profit margin on such t-shirts is so high, there is no reason not to make them for any reason you can think of.

    A plain t-shirt might sell at Walmart for $4. Print a team logo on it, suddenly it sells for $20 or more.

    I’ve seen that “Brian’s Song” art a zillion times but never noticed the tear before.

    Worth noting: The Indian Peace Medals were given to Lewis and Clark before their departure to the Louisiana Territory for them to give to native tribes they encountered, a practice which was started by European authorities during the colonial period and continued after Jefferson. (per Wikipedia: link)

    Anyone ever wonder how much $$$ Oregon must dole out for all these different uniforms/helmets? Some teams dress 90 players for home games. Do the math….it can’t be cheap.

    I had the Wilson football radio and kicking tee stand. It was an AM radio and worked terrible. I also had a Vikings helmet radio too, also AM and barely worked. I wasn’t a Vikings fan but it was a gift for Christmas in 77 or 78.

    “Think what a great gesture it would’ve been if they’d incorporated Sacagawea into the design instead of Puddles.”

    No can do. Sacagawea, being female, has anatomy named for the mascot of Oregon’s PAC-12 in-state rival.

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