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Gridiron Teams on the Hardcourt

Yesterday’s Ticker included a shot of the 1981 Browns playing basketball. That prompted the submission of additional photos (some of which we may have seen before, not sure) showing NFL players suiting up in basketball uniforms for charity events. Good stuff.

(My thanks to Jonathon Hancin and Eric Szczesny for these photos.)

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Friday Flashback: With the Rams moving back to Los Angeles, my weekly Friday Flashback piece takes a look at what they wore during their first stint in L.A. (including their brief experiment wearing red in 1949, shown above). Check it out here.

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Reminder No. 1: I’m currently accepting entries for a “Redesign the Rams!” contest over on ESPN. Full details here.

Reminder No. 2: In case you missed it yesterday, all of the Uni Watch T-Shirt Club’s 2015 designs are available from now through Jan. 27 at our Second Chance Shop. Further details here.

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Click to enlarge

Gromm•It update: Grommeted marshmallows — the ultimate contrast between squishy and solid. Lots of additional pics, including a toasted marshmallow, here.

Also, I can’t recall if I posted the link to my grommeted Dunkin Munchkins — donut holes with holes!

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The Ticker
By Paul

’Skins Watch: The teams at Parkersburg High in West Virginia are called the Big Reds, and they have a teepee sitting on their gymnasium floor. Classy (from @cDubya242). ”¦ Remember the upstate New York town of Whitesboro, which voted earlier this week to keep its town logo, which appears to show a white man strangling a Native American? Their local high school’s hockey team wears a jersey featuring an Indian’s head (from Justin Howland). ”¦ The directors of the South Dakota High School Activities Association — the ruling body of the state’s high school sports — has advanced a resolution recommending that schools drop Native American team names and mascots (from Denny Majeske).

Baseball News: Oh baby, check this out: a box of unused striped stirrups in Uni Watch colors. The same seller also has another box of stirrups in navy/gold, along with some green/gold striped tube socks and some royal/gold NFL-style socks (although both of those sets seem absurdly overpriced). You know what to do. ”¦ In a vaguely related item, the A’s are using Sonny Gray’s striped socks to promote their sock giveaway on April 17. Plus they also have an elephant sock giveaway on their promo calendar (from Zach Stone). ”¦ Great shot of the Orioles’ costumed mascot in 1983 (from Andrew Cosentino). ”¦ New uniforms for Lander.

NFL News: The Dolphins had six different end zone designs this past season. “They share Sun Life Stadium, with the University of Miami, so that explains some of the additional paint schemes,” says Cris Routh. ”¦ Key passage from this article about Panthers QB Cam Newton: “There is a Panthers staffer who occasionally comes to the sideline between drives and takes off Newton’s skullcap, replacing it with a towel. Cam sits on the bench, paying no attention as the guy goes about his business like a waiter refilling a glass. Hall of Fame quarterback Warren Moon, a friend and mentor of Newton’s, says, ‘When people get upset about the towel, I tell them, “Relax, he’s only wearing it because it says Gatorade on it”‘” (from Stu Taylor). ”¦ Hmmm, Jethro Pugh was wearing a mystery patch. Anyone..? ”¦ Good story on the photographer who took the famous shot of “The Catch” (from Ben Fortney). ”¦ Marky Rypien’s first Super Bowl ring is up for auction (from Tommy Turner). ”¦ With Chip Kelly now coaching the 49ers, Colin Kaepernick merch has been taken off clearance, perhaps an indication that Kelly plans to move Kaepernick off of the bench and back into the starting QB role (thanks, Mike).

Hockey News: “Selfie Jersey Night” (somehow the quote marks seem necessary in this case) upcoming for the Flint Firebirds. ”¦ Claude Giroux’s All-Star gloves feature a mix of Flyers and All-Star colors. ”¦ The Ducks award an Anaheim firefighter’s helmet to their player of the game (from Chris Cruz). ”¦ New Royal Newfoundland Regiment commemorative jersey for the St. John’s Icecaps (from Jeff Pollock). ”¦ Pink-themed jerseys tonight for Northeastern (from Matt Houde). ”¦ Completely awesome all-star jerseys for the AHL (from Steven Schapansky). ”¦ A 1980s mail-order company sold T-shirt with hilariously bad puns on NHL team names (blame Mike). ”¦ Seattle Thunderbirds goalie Logan Flodell has a new Starbucks-themed mask (from Ryan Wetstein). ”¦ Someone created a set of WCHA uniform rankings (from Jerry Nitzh). ”¦ At last night’s Blues game in St. Louis, the puck was dropped by Cardinals prexy Bill DeWitt III in a Blues jacket and Blues owner Tom Stillman in a Cardinals jacket. “Crowd chanting ‘Kroenke sucks!’ the whole time,” says Marty Hick. ”¦ The Wild held an alumni practice session ahead of the old-timer’s match connected to next month’s Stadium Series weekend, and Neal Broten was wearing an interesting jersey with an upside-down NHL-ish crest, only the letters read “WNH.” Anyone know what that’s about? (From R. Scott Rogers.)

NBA News: Here’s a cool gallery of cartoons for each NBA franchise that has won an NBA title (thanks, Mike). ”¦ Raptors and Magic went color on color yesterday — or maybe that should be colour on colour, since the game was in London. ”¦ The 76ers made a FNOB jersey for singer Montell Jordan (Mike again). ”¦ Someone has posted a very in-depth rebrand redesign for the Thunder (from Dylan Hays). ”¦ Love this old shot of the SuperSonics posing in a Seattle streetcar (from Nathan Brian).

College and High School Hoops News: Basketball sneaker maker Ektio is shutting down. ”¦ “UC Irvine has an ‘official spirit group’ called the Antourage,” says Chris Cruz. “UCI students who attend 15 basketball games are awarded membership in Club 15 and a UCI basketball jersey featuring the number 15 and ‘Antourage’ as the NOB.” ”¦ New Andrew Smith memorial patch for Butler (from Charles Weiss). ”¦ The Wisconsin High School Interscholastic Athletic Association is trying to cut down on unsportsmanlike taunting chants by fans, but the move has become controversial among those with their mouths taped shut.

Soccer News: Real Madrid’s new pre-match shirt has leaked (from David Haberman). ”¦ Here’s something to be proud of: Kettering Town is marking the 40th anniversary of being the first UK club with jersey advertising (from Vassilis Dalakas). ”¦ New Carly Lloyd cleats (from Tim Cross). ”¦ New uniforms for Hiroshima Sanfrecce (from Jeremy Brahm).

Grab Bag: Ohio State has inked a huge new deal with Nike. “Interesting that they included club sports,” says Kevin Mueller. “I rowed at OSU (men’s team is club) and it was anything goes, apparel-wise. Then a couple years ago they started cracking down on all the clubs with mandatory logos (and very boring ones), but no funding. Teams who used apparel as a fundraiser took big hits. It will be interesting to see if the inclusion of club sports in the new deal counteracts that at all.” ”¦ Adidas’s next big thing is space gear for Virgin Atlantic (from Tommy Turner). ”¦ Tennis player Jack Sock lived up to his name by tossing one of his socks into the crowd after a recent match (thanks, Mike). ”¦ New logo for Bing. … The Air Jordan XXX will be released on Feb. 12 (Mike again). ”¦ Interesting blue/red necktie divide at last night’s GOP presidential candidate debate.

Comments (58)

    Paul, Northants is short for “Northamptonshire,” and the team in question is called Kettering Town, not Northants.

    No photo, but I saw the Buffalo Bills play basketball against a Kodak team here in Rochester in the early 90s. The only players I remember vividly for the Bills was Bruce Smith and Gale Gilbert (3rd string QB behind Jim Kelly).

    Similarly, I remember going to see the Chicago Bears play a couple basketball games when I was a kid (must’ve been the late 70’s). No pictures handy, but I vividly remember them being billed as the “Good News Bears”.

    Post-games involved a meet-and-greet autograph line. If you were EXCEEDINGLY lucky, Walter Payton would be one of the players, although that was apparently rare (and the tickets cost a ton more). Somehwere, my parents have a picture of a very giddy me (wearing my park district soccer jersey) sitting with the late Revie Sorey.

    I got to see the Steelers play a basketball game at my high school back around 1990 or 91. No pictures, but I still have the ticket stub, as well as autographed football cards from a very young Dermontti Dawson and Greg Lloyd.

    PS: Matt, I now live in Rochester, NY, and my neighbor is also a Uni-Watch reader. We should all try and connect, and maybe even do a Uni-Watch meet-up here in the Flower City.

    Ralphie, Bevo, and Mike the Tiger are live mascots. The Bird is a costumed mascot or just a mascot.

    While it’s valid to debate the success of Brandon Moore’s Thunder project (I happen to like it quite a bit), it’s unfairly dismissive to strike through “re-brand” and replace it with “redesign” because it’s one of Uni-Watch’s current pet peeves. In this case, the project was intended to be a re-branding, and not just a series of newly-designed marks, and in fact even made specific mention of this in the write-up. While many seem to incorrectly use branding and design interchangeably, in this case it seems to have been used appropriately.

    Identity program is the phrase you are looking for.

    I know it’s bland and inoffensive, and not at all close to what it really should be called – a REDESIGN. A good creative director would point this out before you got laughed out a client presentation for actually calling your project a “re-branding”.

    Now before you get your artsy fartsy panties in a bunch consider this, companies invest time and treasure to create identity programs for their operations. Some good, some heinous, all in an attempt to create awareness which leads (in theory) to an increased bottom line. This is what is loosely called marketing, BUT this is only a small part of what makes a company’s BRAND.

    A BRAND is what makes a product unique in the consumer’s mindset. It is the way a product is made. The entire process – from concept to production to consumer. The decisions made to create and manage this complex operation are determined and driven by Management.

    You know, the same people you just insulted by saying that you are “RE-BRANDING” the OKC Thunder logo because you “know” a better way of doing business – all you gots to do is use your handy dandy wordtype clip-arty logo and that will make the BRAND all kinds of awesome and cash, just like that.

    Yeah that is going to go over like Seinfeld singing the National Anthem at Yankee Stadium on ice. The OKC Thunder are managing to make boatloads of cash with a Dorito as a logo OK? They don’t need you to tell them that the logo sucks, they don’t care and cry themselves to sleep every night on mattresses stuffed with cash.

    Try telling a story about improving an identity program or connecting with the twitterverse to create a positive vibe , i.e. INCREASED SALES – by the way that is why you are in the room Picasso!

    As for your logotype… it looks like KISS and Oregon State had a love child. Not that it’s a bad thing.

    what do you do with the food after? Is any of it eaten? Do you handle the grommet like a pit or a seed and just spit it into a bowl? Do they get cleaned and reused?

    That Rypien SB ring looks like it has a LOT of wear on it.
    I guess since it actually looks like a wearable size (in comparison to the “gold-knuckles” they make nowadays), he must’ve worn it a lot. I guess I would too!!

    RE: Sonny Gray’s socks: I have a pair of those socks in the Braves stirrup colors, and they’re great. The only problem is the elastic. When they’re worn, the white elastic shows to the point it changes the look of the sock. And you can see the same problem with Sonny Gray’s socks. A small flaw, but a flaw nonetheless.

    A 1980s mail-order company sold T-shirt with hilariously bad puns on NHL team names (blame Mike).

    Have we ever done a survey of favorite bad puns? I have to add Toronto Make-Believes to my list, but I’ve always loved the Detroit Dead Things and Minnesota No Stars. When the Detroit Pistons were struggling, I recall a local sports anchor calling them the “Edsels”.

    I remember seeing some of those (some of the Canadian teams) in a retail store back around that time period; the sweatshirts only, not the t-shirts.

    Steve Harvey of the LA Times used to do a Bottom 10 column featuring teams like the LA/St. Louis Lambs, the Pitts, Grampa Bay, and Minnehaha. For college football the one I recall the most is Purdon’t.

    Here’s an example link

    Here in Michigan, people I know use the following bad puns for our Detroit teams:
    Detroit Lie-Downs
    Detroit Dead-Things
    Detroit Pissed-ons

    No good pun for the Tigers, they are just the Kitties when they suck.

    Any word on if the Seahawks are going with the Scuba outfits in Carolina or will surprise us with the grey pants?

    Have they ever been on the road in the playoffs in dark jerseys before?

    Guess I am just a pessimist. I love the blue jerseys and the grey pants, but being the team wears all blue for every home game, it seems they like that combo best, and may opt for it in a playoff environment.

    As Spanks points out, when they wear dark jerseys on the road, they almost (always?) always wear the gray or white pants, saving the monoblue for home games.

    So we are very likely to see the blue/gray (hopefully) or the blue/white combo in Carolina.

    link is absurdly overpriced? It’s not exactly a steal, but I think that’s a bit of an overstatement.

    I do find it hilarious that they’re described as “roller skating” socks.

    It is well known in San Diego that our (seemingly former) football team spends the offseason playing rec softball. They often do so in costume.

    If you’re interested in stuff about NFL players doing charity basketball, the below link is to a program for the 1988 version of the “Good News Bears” team where Chicago Bears players would do basketball games in the mid-late 1980s.

    I find if funny that you didn’t make a comment about Flint’s water to go along with the “Uniform Selfie Night” as they have been getting tons of press about that.

    I enjoyed the piece about Walter Iooss Jr. A few years ago he was featured on a segment of NFL Films Presents. In that segment, he mentioned that he had plans to attend college at Rochester Institute of Technology (My alma mater) until he got his first picture published in SI, and then decided to forgo college. This was one of two times that I know of that my alma mater (which no longer fields a football team) was mentioned on NFL Network. The other was during Tom Coughlin’s episode of A Football Life, as Tom’s first head coaching job was at RIT back in the early 70’s.

    I got to see the KC Royals play the KC Chiefs in a charity bball game. Pretty sure it was color vs color and occurred in the early 90s. Searching the web for pics.

    NCHC now has home team in dark sweaters for rest of year, do not know if entire NCAA has followed suit. Colorado College did wear their gorgeous gold alts at St. Cloud last week.


    I saw the Rams play basketball against the USC Trojans football team in a charity game. It must have been in the mid-70s and I was around 10 years old. They had an autograph session where I got the autographs of Merlin Olsen, Lawrence McCutcheon, Ron Jessie, Jim Bertelson, James Harris, Pat Haden, one of the Youngbloods, Jackie Slater and Harold Jackson of the Rams, and Ricky Bell, Pat Haden, Vince Evans, Charles White, and John Robinson (among others) of USC. Awesome experience!

    Actually McCutcheon was not the friendliest. I went up to his car (a red Cadillac as I recall it) to ask for his and Ron Jessie’s autographs; they were riding together. McCutcheon gave his grudgingly because he was in a hurry to go, but Jessie was very gracious about it, even though McCutcheon was itching to take off. I remember him saying “Come on, Jess!!” as Jessie was signing my autograph because he wanted to get going.

    Looking back on it I can understand it, he probably wanted to get going before they got mobbed by more autograph-seekers, let alone stuck in traffic. But still, I never forgot how kind and patient Ron Jessie was.

    I realize that I’m probably in the minority here, but when I saw the OKC Thunder redesign, all I could think of was “Gatorade”. And a pet peeve: the bison is facing left – which always seems to me, to almost subliminally suggest the team is going backwards.

    Probably facing west, just as the state always points to the west.

    I liked everything about that Thunder redesign except for the “BOOM” on the cheerleader’s skirt. Lose that (the lettering, not the skirt) and you get a 100% grade.

    The “BOOM” would have made more sense if it was on the back of the skirt – still tacky, but funnier.

    Has anyone noticed that there is a potential for both LA NFL teams having blue and yellow team colors?


    Those bad-pun NHL shirts… back in the 70’s a Hockey News writer had an article in which he called the 5 teams in the Smythe Division by 4 of the names on those shirts (back when all the teams in the division had losing records). I never forgot those names -Vancouver Cannots, Toronto Make-Beliefs, Detroit Dead Wings, Minnesota No-Stars… and the only one that is different from the shirt is Chicago, which he called the Blank Hawks. Now I’m wondering if those shirts were inspired by that writer’s article. Had to be…


    The Eagles and Lions look so much better on the hardwood than they do on the gridiron. Maybe they should replace the perpetually tanking Sixers and the Bad Boy Pistons in the Association.

    Packers great Jerry Kramer is auctioning off a lot of stuff from his personal collection including some of his rings. But to keep on subject with the post today, Kramer is also auctioning off his basketball jersey he wore in “the 60’s” during charity basketball games.


    No idea why but infatuated by the grommeting.

    Please, oh please, grommet a De Grom item and create a DEGROMMET.

    I’m looking forward to a few items: fettuccini al grommet, grommet gravlax (with capers), grommet bubble gum, grommet licorice sticks and, most of all, grommi bears.

Comments are closed.