A Very Close Look at NFL Captaincy Patches

As we all know, Uni Watch readers like to “go deep” on certain uni-related topics. But some readers go deeper than others. A good example of that is this missive I recently received from reader Ryan Poulx:

Verizon is currently running a commercial with J.J. Watt chopping wood in the forest [shown at right, click to enlarge], and if you look closely, you can see the captain’s patch on his jersey is fake.

Meanwhile, Xbox also has a commercial with players in a classroom. In that one, Drew Brees is wearing a fake captain’s patch.

How do I know this? I’ve owned real captaincy patches used on both Reebok and Nike jerseys. I’ve measured and studied them, posting pictures online. Among my findings:

• Captain’s patches on Reebok jerseys measured 2.50″ high and 2.34″ across [click to enlarge]:

• Captain’s patches on Nike jerseys measure 2.43″ high and 2.47″ across [click to enlarge]:

• As you can see in those two previous photos, the stitching on the “C” in captain’s patches is all vertical with a clear border around the letter, and the background stitching all all horizontal. Fakes usually have stitching in the “C” that angles around as the letter turns.

The thing that makes the patches in these commercials stand out as fakes is that the border is way too thick. They have the same look as all of the fakes on eBay. The Brees patch is also a totally different color when compared side-by-side to a real one (that’s a game shot on the left, Xbox commercial on the right).

Granted, the coloring can sometimes change. The Panthers, for example, have used metallic gold and plain gold in the past. Still, it’s the borders that really shows that the patches being used in these commercials these aren’t genuine or authentic.

Okay, so there are possible holes in this argument (especially the different lighting conditions for the two Brees images). Still, I love that a Uni Watch reader has taken such a deep dive on something as specific as NFL captaincy patches. And the bit about the direction of the stitching is such a great little detail! Nice job, Ryan — don’t ever stop obsessing.

•  •  •  •  •

Tequila sunrise update: The tequila sunrise T-shirts are arriving this week, and it looks like Teespring didn’t do such a great job for some of you. The biggest problem — and this one is a real head-scratcher — is that several people who ordered 2XL instead received a Medium, which makes no sense. I’ve heard other complaints about sizing (the tagged size doesn’t match up with the measurements on the sizing chart) and the quality of the printing.

Obviously, this is disappointing — not just for you, but for me. We’re going to do our best to make all of these right (and if we can’t make it right, obviously, you’ll get a refund, but our goal is to make that a last resort). If you have a problem with your shirt, (a) please accept my apologies, and (b) contact me. Thanks for your patience.

• • • • •
Party reminder: Uni Watch party this Saturday, 2pm, at Sheep Station in Brooklyn. Hope to see lots of you there.

• • • • •
The Ticker
By Paul

Baseball News: Latest completely awesome DIY project from Wafflebored: this completely awesome Brooklyn Dodgers satin-uni necktie. ”¦ What’s the point of having matching FIOBs on the same team? That’s Tanner Vavra and Trey Vavra of the Melbourne Aces, an Australian team. ”¦ The Cardinals Museum has published a book called Redbird Relics, which looks like it has some great uni-related imagery. ”¦ Interesting article on the end of organ music at Dodger Stadium (from Kenny Ocker). ”¦ With the entire city of KC wearing blue yesterday to celebrate the Royals’ championship, Brady Graham wore his powder blue Uni Watch T-shirt.

NFL/CFL News: The Lions’ helmets were delayed on their return trip from London, so the players had to practice in blank shells yesterday (thanks, Phil). ”¦ A Hamilton Tiger Cats helmet, which went missing more than 40 years ago, is being reunited with the player who wore it (from Aaron Husul). ”¦ Joe Montana was on The Late Late Show last week wearing a 49ers jersey with full sleeve stripes (from Seth Shaw).

College Football News: The eight-lateral play that gave Miami a win over Duke has already been turned into a T-shirt (from Douglas Ford). ”¦ As had been rumored, Toledo went mono-gold last night. ”¦ Tulsa will wear purple socks and towels this weekend to support the fight against Alzheimer’s Disease (thanks, Phil). ”¦ SMU is going with a patriotic pony pandering pony helmet logo on Friday, and AppState is also desecrating the flag on Thursday (both from Phil).

Hockey News: G.I. Joke warm-up jeseys next Tuesday for the Blue Jackets. I’ll say this much for the NHL: At least they restrict this nonsense to pregame activities (from Phil). ”¦ G.I. Joke warm-ups for the AHL’s Rochester Amerks, too. ”¦ New mask for Bruins backup goalie Jonas Gustavsson (from Steve in Florida). ”¦ The Sharks wore their new throwbacks last night. ”¦ Something that might or might not be the Wild’s new Stadium Series has shown up on eBay. ”¦ Purple anti-cancer warm-up tops last night for the Blackhawks. ”¦ Gorgeous Seattle Metropolitans throwbacks upcoming next month for he Seattle Thunderbirds (from Markus Kamp). ”¦ The Islanders wore their black alts last night.

NBA News: Department of “Anything worth doing is worth overdoing, and anything that wasn’t worth doing in the first place is worth overdoing even more”: I had previously reported that NBA teams would be wearing these godawful “wave the bloody flag” socks for Veterans Day. Now it turns out that they may be worn all week long, and they’ve already started appearing in games. To all you veterans out there: I’m sorry that this is the NBA’s way of “honoring” you. You deserve better.

College and Foreign Hoops News: New court for Georgetown. ”¦ New uniforms for Grand Canyon (from Travis McGuire). ”¦ Oregon and Northwest Christian went white vs. grey for an exhibition game last night. Additional photos here. ”¦ Here’s a look at the uniform history of GlobalPort Batang Pier, a pro team in the Philippine Basketball Association.

Soccer News: New home jersey for Belgium. ”¦ New away kit for Spain. ”¦ New home kit for Denmark. … And now I’m gonna just add a sentence here so the soccer section is long enough to stand by itself. Done!

Grab Bag: Packaging quirk: A roll of Smarties depicts a roll of Smarties (although it does so inaccurately, because it should really have an infinite regression). Very meta. How many other packages include a depiction of the package? I posed that question on Facebook the other day and got some interesting responses. ”¦ Kids who participate in the PGA Junior League National Championships wear uniforms. ”¦ The University of Missouri has told the campaign of a GOP gubernatorial candidate in the state to stop using the school’s logo. ”¦ Here’s more about the debate over curling helmets. ”¦ Someone riding the NYC subway yesterday had a Nike logo tattoo, which brings to mind the third post ever to appear on this website. Or maybe she’s just an Ekin. ”¦ Will Scheibler found some very cool late-1940s photos of old curling sweaters — look here and here. ”¦ Mexican Formula 1 driver Sergio Perez has a personal logo that’s a hybrid of part of the ESPN logo and the colors of the Mexican flag (from David Firestone). ”¦ More controversy about teams and leagues charging the American military for “heartfelt” tributes (from David Sonny).

• • • • •

What Paul did last night: It was unusually warm here in NYC yesterday, with temperatures peaking in the lower 70s, so the Tugboat Captain and I decided it’d be fun to fire up the grill one more time. We got some provisions, invited a few friends, and bingo — my first-ever November cookout.

I got a big ol’ slab of top slirloin, and the captain brought a bunch of vegetables from her CSA, including cauliflower that had been soaking in a chipotle-lime marinade (for all of these, you can click to enlarge):

When the beef came off the grill, we added some sausages and oil/herb-rubbed potato slices:

All very delicious. But the best part was that my upstairs neighbor, Sam, and his girlfriend, Jess, had recently whipped up a batch of homemade Pop-Tarts (the filling was made with dried apples, dried pears, and dried blueberries), which they contributed to the proceedings (there were more of them, but we’d already eaten a bunch of them before I took this shot):

We were enjoying the Pop-Tarts but lamenting the fact that we didn’t have a toaster to toast them in. And that’s when I realized that we should have been putting them on the grill all along. So we tried that:

What happened next was a blur of excitement, eating, “That’s SOOOO good!,” more Pop-Tart grilling, “No, really, that’s SOOO good!,” and so on. Sorry, no photos. But take my word for it: Grilled homemade Pop-Tarts are the bomb.

62 comments to A Very Close Look at NFL Captaincy Patches

  • John | November 4, 2015 at 8:19 am |

    I prefer Fizzers over Smarties. The zing of the Fizzers makes the Smarties taste bland.

  • matty blue | November 4, 2015 at 8:29 am |

    insert “lions helmets didn’t really show up in london, either” joke here.

    • ThresherK | November 4, 2015 at 10:28 am |

      Maybe the Lions can leave their jerseys behind somewhere next weekend.

      It’d be a start.

  • DJjd | November 4, 2015 at 8:34 am |

    Not going to go through the trouble of a refund, but the TS shirt was just God awful. Fabric is almost plastic, and the sleeve patch was ghosted (obviously bled through the reverse) and printed almost in the armpit. Not to mention, for a large (was being generous due to autumn lethargy), it is incredibly small, barely makes it to the waist. Consider it a donation to the UW experiment, moving on.

  • BurghFan | November 4, 2015 at 8:45 am |

    “Grilled homemade Pop-Tarts are the bomb.”

    I’m guessing this sentence has never been uttered before.

  • Anon | November 4, 2015 at 8:50 am |

    the smarties packets in the UK are so so so different.


    UK smarties are like chocolate M&M’s, US look more like refreshers, a sherbet hard candy


    • marc | November 4, 2015 at 8:54 am |

      Yeah, entirely different product altogether. US Smarties are chalky and sweet/sour. We gave out a couple bags worth on Halloween!

    • Ryan M. | November 4, 2015 at 9:21 am |

      What I’m more surprised about is how different those packages are from Canadian Smarties, which are the same candy with the same graphics, but on a standard rectangular box.

  • Michael Churchill | November 4, 2015 at 8:53 am |

    A little late, I know, but something I’ve just noticed.

    Last year’s London NFL game between the Jaguars and the Cowboys was on Remembrance Sunday and both teams wore poppy patches on their uniforms.

    This year, the last two London games have been since the Royal British Legion’s poppy appeal launched and it was featured at both games. The teams didn’t wear poppies (Remembrance Sunday is coming this weekend), but I’ve noticed that both the Jaguars and the Chiefs cheerleaders did.

    • John | November 4, 2015 at 9:05 am |

      I saw Sam Rosen & John Lynch sported the poppies.

  • icecreammang | November 4, 2015 at 8:59 am |

    Anybody want to trade their L tequila sunrise shirt for my XL?

    Even if I’m stuck with the XL, I’ll still wear it, it’s way too awesome to let it sit in a drawer. The world needs to see as many of these as possible.

  • willard kovacs | November 4, 2015 at 9:06 am |

    “stitching all all horizontal”


  • walter | November 4, 2015 at 9:13 am |

    I will vouch for the visual appeal of last night’s Toledo/NIU football tilt. Easy on the eyes, and it involved a team called the Rockets (one of the better underused nicknames, IMO).

  • Michael McGivern | November 4, 2015 at 9:18 am |

    A little nugget on the odd Tanner and Trey Vavra’s FIOB issue; their dad,Twins Bench Coach Joe Vavra, is the manager of that team down in Melbourne.

  • willard kovacs | November 4, 2015 at 9:19 am |

    So what really happened that day these ads were made with the fake captaincy patches? Let’s just for a moment speculate shall we? We have the stitching on the “C” in captain’s patches is all vertical with a clear border around the letter, and the background stitching all horizontal around 12:15, p.m. distracting the police making it easier for the camera men to move into their places.

    The seamstress later vanished, never checking into a hospital. The A-Team gets on the sixth floor of the Reebok Studio. They were refurbishing the floors that week, which allowed unknown workmen access to the building. They move quickly into position just minutes before the shooting of this commercial. The spotter on the radio talking to the other two teams has the best overall view, the God spot. The third team, the C-Team moves into the picket fence behind the Grassy Knoll, where the seamstress and the camera man are first spotted by the late George Lois in the watch tower of the rail yard. They have the best position of all. Drew Brees is close and on a flat low trajectory. Part of this team is a coordinator who has flashed security credentials at people chasing them out of the parking lot.

    It’s gonna be a turkey shoot. They don’t shoot the commercials coming up Houston, which is the easiest shot for a single shot from the Book Depository. They Wait. They wait until he gets puts on captaincy patch, between three cameras.

    The first camera rings out, sounding like a backfire it misses the patch completely. Frame 161, JJ Watt stops waving as he hears something. Watt’s head turns slightly to the right. Frame 193, the second camera man gets a pic of Drew’s throat from the front. Frame 225, JJ Watt emerging from behind the road sign, you can see that he’s obviously unaware the patch is fake, raising his arms to his throat. The third shot, frame 232, takes Brees in the back pulling him downward and forward. Watt you’ll notice shows no signs at all of knowing the patch is a fake. He is visibly holding his axe, which is impossible if his wrist has been shattered. Watt is turning here now, frame 238 the fourth picture taken. This is the frame that proves there were two fake patches. Brees yells out “My God! They are going to kill us for this on Uni-Watch!”

    So what happens then? Pandemonium.

    • KC | November 4, 2015 at 12:25 pm |

      Back and to the left.
      Back and to the left.
      Back and to the left.
      Back and to the left.
      Back and to the left.
      Back and to the left.

  • Ryan M. | November 4, 2015 at 9:20 am |

    This might be the hungriest a post on Uni Watch has ever made me. All of that food, homemade Pop Tarts included, looks absolutely delicious. When did I ever think cauliflower would look so good?

    • Paul Lukas | November 4, 2015 at 9:26 am |

      Cauliflower — I hear ya. Was never a fan, but the Captain (who has a ton of it from her CSA) has been doing all sorts of delicious things with it that have made me something of a convert.

      (Shhhhh, don’t tell anyone I just complimented a vegetable.)

      • Johnny | November 4, 2015 at 9:51 am |

        Veggies transform when they’re thrown on a grill. Except carrots, cooked carrots are always terrible.

        • Rob S | November 4, 2015 at 11:20 am |

          The only thing a cooked carrot is good for is a stew.

    • JTH | November 4, 2015 at 11:06 am |

      Honestly, the cauliflower is the best-looking food in that photo montage above.

      Just what color is that frosting on those homemade pop-tarts, anyway?

      • Paul Lukas | November 4, 2015 at 11:13 am |

        Purple, sadly.

        Still tasted good.

  • arrScott | November 4, 2015 at 9:36 am |

    Waffleboard’s Dodgers tie is fantastic. The format of it is exactly what a jersey-themed tie should be: It should look like the tie itself is a slice of the center of the uniform.

    I went into the October UW tee-shirt knowing it was a bit of an experiment. Mine is actually fine in general, though the front and back striping are off by nearly an inch. I don’t mind,but Teespring still has a little work to do before their full-shirt printing is ready for prime time.

  • arrScott | November 4, 2015 at 9:43 am |

    Columbus is one of the few teams I don’t mind wearing camo. The team is not just named after soldiers, it’s named after an article of soldier clothing. So, you know, no objection from me if the Blue Jackets decide to wear the modern equivalent of a blue jacket.

  • Kevin B. | November 4, 2015 at 9:46 am |

    To all you veterans out there: I’m sorry that this is the NBA’s way of “honoring” you. You deserve better.

    Even those of us who aren’t heroes?

    • Kevin B. | November 4, 2015 at 9:54 am |

      Before anyone gets all upset… I kid.

  • RJ | November 4, 2015 at 10:07 am |

    The unis that NIU write against Toledo last night were pretty sharp. No tread marks, clean shoulder stripes, and a unique pant stripe.


  • RJ | November 4, 2015 at 10:08 am |


  • JessMan | November 4, 2015 at 10:08 am |

    The Islanders thirds are “impossibly black” to borrow a quote from Hot Tub Time Machine: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s74diFECmlw

  • andyharry | November 4, 2015 at 10:12 am |

    You can see the red and blue are very dark and the white is a bit blown out in the frame of Watt (look at the “Texans” lettering). I think that’s the reason the edge of the patch looks thicker than the “actual” one.

    On the two Brees images, the dimensions of the patch in the right image seem to be taller/thinner than the one in the left image. I’m guessing he equipment staff used up the old stock of captain patches before digging into the new stock.

  • Wafflebored | November 4, 2015 at 10:24 am |

    I’m hoping someone repurposes their tequila sunrise UW t-shirt into some kind of awesome DIY project. So much to work with, with all of the excellent design elements.

    • tomservaux96 | November 4, 2015 at 10:31 am |

      With the 70s look and Medium-shirt-on-a-2XL-body fit (thanks for working on that, Paul), thinking of being Zombie Earl Weaver for Halloween next year…

  • ThresherK | November 4, 2015 at 10:30 am |

    Those NBA socks remind me of the original, unloved Revs jersey we’ve been seeing as part of MLS’ 20th season.

    Amazing how the NBA could take everything on that jersey, reduce it greatly, adnd make it worse.

  • Bryan | November 4, 2015 at 11:04 am |

    That Dodgers satin tie is brilliant. The actual tie is beautiful, but I love the concept even more: “The tie acts like a window . . . with the jersey only represented by the width of the tie.” Any team with team or city name across the chest would be a fine candidate.

    The boom in third/alternate jerseys may not be great on the field but it’s ideal for something like this because it wouldn’t just be a bunch of white or gray ties with a little segment of wordmark color. I’d happily wear a navy tie with a bit of red lettering/underline from the Indians’ alternate, or a red tie with a little bit of the bat and lettering from the Cardinals’ BP jersey.

    • arrScott | November 4, 2015 at 2:29 pm |

      I think it would work really well for hockey jerseys too. Just a narrow central slice of the crest and jersey background.

  • dmuir | November 4, 2015 at 11:11 am |

    “SMU’s got only the 2nd best pandering pony.” -Ginuwine

  • William | November 4, 2015 at 11:17 am |

    That Montana photo makes me miss the full striping even more. I wonder if Nike is hesitant to bring it back because Adidas’ use of the motif?

  • James G | November 4, 2015 at 11:29 am |

    Veteran’s Day used to be known as Armistice Day celebrating the end of WW1. In most other nations, this is a time to remember those who fought in this horrific war and especially those who died. It is NOT a time to be wearing damned Stars and Stripes basketball socks or bloody flag stickers on a helmet. The England and commonwealth nations wear the poppy that is a remembrance of the dead. As a veteran myself, I much prefer patriotism with a more solemn reverence and not the in your face displays. Love your nation, cherish your nation, be proud of your nation even fly the flag properly but don’t put on displays with the intent of being showy and making money from merchandising. It’s damned insulting. /endrant

    • Chance Michaels | November 4, 2015 at 12:17 pm |

      Good rant.

    • arrScott | November 4, 2015 at 12:23 pm |

      When I was a kid in the late 1970s, they used to have Veterans Day parades and ceremonies, at which many of the veterans would wear their old uniforms. This was long enough ago that there were still a fair number of WWI vets around, and lots of guys who served in WWII. There was something really powerful about seeing those old men – my grandfather’s generation and older – proudly wearing our country’s uniform and being honored for their service.

      It just strikes me as unseemly for anyone who hasn’t earned the right to wear the uniform by his own service to dress up in soldier clothes on Veterans Day. That’s a privilege for actual veterans. It seems like a mild, but actually more corrosive of traditional standards, version of stolen valor.

  • Brian C | November 4, 2015 at 11:39 am |

    I wish the Sharks would go back to those uniforms. A classic look!

    • Wafflebored | November 4, 2015 at 11:44 am |

      I agree, but it looked better with the original lighter shade of teal.

    • SWC Susan | November 4, 2015 at 12:16 pm |

      Question is though… was the logo fixed on the throwback?

  • Elliott | November 4, 2015 at 12:24 pm |

    I wonder if the NFL will fine the Lions since their blank helmet shells violate the one helmet shell per player per season rule. That seems like something Goodell would do.

    • Paul Lukas | November 4, 2015 at 12:46 pm |

      No, actually, it doesn’t.

    • Phil Hecken | November 4, 2015 at 4:30 pm |

      Someone on Twitter asked me about this.

      I’m guessing the team was doing no-contact drills anyway, so the “one helmet” rule wouldn’t apply.

  • Elliott | November 4, 2015 at 12:27 pm |

    @SWC Susan: Nope. The stick tape error is still there in all of its imperfect glory.

    Also the Sharks really should go back to these beauties. I’d even be ok if they added the newer logo to them. The current plain look has to go.

  • Drew | November 4, 2015 at 12:39 pm |

    But do the Islanders have an alternate black SUV to replace the white one down in the corner on alternate jersey night? That is the question.

    What a baffling setup they’ve got going on at the Barclays Center.

  • alex35332 | November 4, 2015 at 12:43 pm |

    The NFL should allow teams to do their own custom captain patches. The ones they have right now look terrible on some teams.

    • The Jeff | November 4, 2015 at 1:14 pm |

      They look terrible on every team.

  • Adam N. | November 4, 2015 at 2:55 pm |

    “grilled” and “homemade” two words that are guaranteed to improve whatever food item they are applied to.

  • Dumb Guy | November 4, 2015 at 4:05 pm |

    Seems odd that if a player is going have a captaincy patch on his jersey that it wouldn’t just be the same one that is on all his jerseys.

    Verizon probably doesn’t know if someone is or isn’t a captain, so i cant imagine they demanded it–thus making it necessary for someone one to whip one up on the spot to be sure the player didn’t go without!

    The authentic jerseys in the NFL shop don’t have patches.

  • David Firestone | November 4, 2015 at 4:31 pm |

    Just out of curiosity, with the t-shirt thing, are you going to do the same thing next year with football or hockey or basketball motifs?

    • Paul Lukas | November 4, 2015 at 5:16 pm |

      Still under discussion.

  • mtjaws | November 5, 2015 at 12:15 am |

    I wish the NFL captaincy patches had a consistent coloring theme with the stars and C. Years 1-5 should fill up each star and the C in bronze. Then year 6 is back to just one star filled in silver, filling until year 10. Then finally things are gold for the next five years, should anyone last that long as captain.

    I know bronze and gold are similar, but maybe it could be a different color. Either way, it is better than the current system that oddly filled the C in year 4. I like logic and consistency!

  • Brian C. | November 5, 2015 at 1:41 am |

    Anyone know of where one can purchase authentic captaincy patches? I’ve looked on ebay and elsewhere and the only ones I can find are clearly fakes.

  • Ryan Proulx | November 5, 2015 at 3:34 am |

    I’m the one that wrote about the captain patches.

    @Brian C. The NFL Licensed Patch Program was discontinued at the beginning of 2008. Even though the captain patch program started before then, they were never sold. National Emblem is the company that made the NFL patches then, and they might still make the embroidered patches for NFL teams, but they no longer sell them to the public. They’re the same company that currently makes and sells patches for the NBA and NHL.

    Occasionally, a team will sell their patches themselves (ex. Patriots sold their MHK memorial patch online, Steelers sold their 75th and 80th anniversary patches online, Texans sold their 10th anniversary patch at their stadium).

    Willabee & Ward still makes anniversary patches, but they’re replicas of the real ones. I have a real Steelers 75th patch and a Willabee & Ward one, and they’re slightly different.

    Ever since the licensed patch program ended, the only way to get the real NFL anniversary/memorial patches is to get them directly from the team, or by getting game issued/game used jerseys. And that’s always how it’s been for captain patches.

    The metal-looking patches are ChromaFlex by Fiberlok. They don’t sell directly to the public either, only NFL licensees. New Era buys the small Super Bowl patches from Fiberlok and puts them on their caps, but Nike doesn’t get the real player versions for jerseys or any other product.

    @willard kovacs The comparison to the Kennedy assassination is ironic because I was just watching the Zapruder film the other day. I find it hard to watch, not because someone is getting shot in the head, but because the quality is so bad. At least that’s to be expected on an early 1960s home video camera. I saw clips from the 2001 World Series on TV a few days ago, and the quality wasn’t much better.

  • J Clayton Davis | November 5, 2015 at 8:09 am |

    Probably going to be addressed tomorrow, but LeBron tearing out the sleeve seams from the Cavs’ (dreadful) shirt tops during the Knicks game was truly a laugh out loud/emperor’s new clothes moment.

    Have the people who came up with the idea for sleeved basketball jerseys ever played the game? Rhetorical question, I know, but FFS…..

  • JessMan | November 5, 2015 at 9:08 am |

    Re: NFL Captaincy Patches, it bugs the shit out of me that they’re purposely sewn on tilted. Anyone else?

  • TedC53 | November 5, 2015 at 11:36 am |

    Color Rash!