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Monday Morning Uni Watch

It’s become a standard thing in recent years for the Bears’ helmet decals to get torn and chipped during cold weather. But that’s nothing compared to what happened to Chicago running back Ka’Deem Carey’s decal after he took a second-quarter hit yesterday from Green Bay linebacker Joe Thomas. Carey’s wishbone-C was knocked clean off his helmet and went flying.

This isn’t the first time we’ve seen something like this. One classic came during a Vanderbilt/Alabama game in 2007, when ’Bama linebacker Rashad Johnson had one of his helmet numerals go airborne — a moment that was captured by an AP photographer:

And of course there was Giants running back Ahmad Bradshaw during the 2008 NFC Championship Game:

I know there have been other instances — feel free to post additional examples in today’s comments if you have photos or video. In any case, though, I don’t think we’ve ever seen a dislodged decal documented at such close range as yesterday’s incident was. An instant classic!

As you might imagine, just a few people let me know about the flying decal (kudos to our own Alex Hider for posting this):

And the Bears weren’t the only team having helmet issues at Soldier Field yesterday. Check out Packers linebacker Jake Ryan — a game shot, followed by a postgame photo of his helmet (click to enlarge):

In that same game, it was so cold that Bears quarterback Matt Barkley was wearing a wetsuit under his uniform.

In other news from around the league yesterday:

•  Lots of teams wore alternate jerseys, including the Texans, who made history by going red over blue for the first time ever. (They had previously worn their red alternate jerseys with white pants and red pants, but never with blue.) People seemed to like it, and I did too — the blue helmet never seemed right with the red jersey, but yesterday the helmet matched the pants, so the whole package felt more balanced. Plenty of photos here.

•  The Ravens went mono-black. I’ve always been okay with them doing this, because (a) ravens are black, and (b) it cuts down on the purple.

•  The Broncos wore their blue alternates. I prefer this look to their orange primaries, which don’t work in this template. Of course, the template itself is a disaster and needs to go, but that’s a separate issue.

•  The Falcons wore their black fauxbacks.

•  The Chargers wore their powder blue alternates.

•  Brutal-looking game in Buffalo, as the Bills went mono-blue (such a mistake — their standard blue-over-white look is among the game’s best) and the Browns were, well, the Browns.

•  Here’s a look at how the neutral end zones looked at the Giants/Lions game. That same design was used for the Jets/Dolphins game the previous night.

•  Broncos linebacker Von Miller’s latest “wacky” pregame cleats were these:

It's going to be a cold one! I'll be ready.. Reppin for my hat buddies @teamcoco @jno24 @adidasfballus

A photo posted by Von Miller (@vonmiller) on

The cleats are apparently a reference to an appearance Miller had on Conan O’Brien’s show back in February. You can see some of yesterday’s other notable pregame cleats here.

• Only one team wore white at home: the Cowboys. And as you can see in that photo, Dez Bryant wore black cleats. Looks really weird to see a Dallas player in black footwear, right?

•  Players participating in postgame jersey swaps included Mehdi Abdesmad (Titans) and Laurent Duvernay-Tardif (Chiefs), both of whom are Québécois; Robert Griffin III (Browns) and Marquise Goodwin (Bills); and Calais Campbell (Cardinals) and Tim Hightower (Saints).

•  Here’s a list of players who protested during the national anthem.

(My thanks to all contributors, including @LosRealAli, Trevor Johnson, Nick Maibroda, Matthew VandeVoort, and our own Alex Hider and Phil Hecken.)

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Important T-Shirt Club reminder: If you collected all six of this year’s Uni Watch T-Shirt Club designs, you qualify for the year-end prize — a patch based on the jock tag graphic that appeared on this year’s shirts. In order to claim your prize, you must send me proof that you purchased all six shirts by the end of this week. The proof can be photos of the shirts or screen shots of your “Thank you for your order” emails from Teespring and Represent. Send your proof to me here. Thanks.

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Raffle reminder: In case you missed it last week, the annual Uni Watch year-end reader-appreciation raffle is now underway. Enjoy.

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Culinary Corner: Most people don’t like to deep-fry at home. It can be messy, and you end up with all that used oil, which can be a pain to dispose of. I went through a period about a dozen years ago when I said, “Fuck it, I’m gonna deep-fry anyway,” and for a while there I was making my own french fries (not really worth it), my own beer-battered onion rings (totally worth it), even my own potato chips (if you make them yourself, you can cook them as dark and roasty-toasty as you want, and I assure you I want). And of course my own fried chicken.

At some point I fell out of the habit, and in recent years I’ve stopped frying altogether. But a few nights ago I found myself with a package of chicken thighs and the urge to cook something special, so I said, “Fuck it, I’ll make fried chicken.”

The thing about chicken is that you don’t have to deep-fry it. Sure, you can pour 4 inches’ worth of oil into the skillet if you want (that’s what I used to do), but you can also make perfectly good fried chicken with just a quarter-inch of oil. It’s less messy, you don’t end up with as much spent oil to dispose of, and it tastes just as good. Here’s how I did it the other night:

1. I used a metal bowl to prepare a brine consisting of a pint of buttermilk, 2 teaspoons of salt, 1 teaspoon of fresh-ground black pepper, and a few shakes of hot sauce. Then I took four chicken thighs (arguably the only part of the bird worth eating — if those scientists could please bio-engineer a thighs-only chicken already, I’d be very happy), plunged them into the brine, and put the bowl in the fridge. The longer you can brine your chicken, up to 24 hours, the better. In my case, I only had five hours to work with. That’s what happens when you don’t plan ahead.

2. While the chicken was brining, I prepared a simple flour dredge mixture: a cup of flour and a few tablespoons of the spice rub that I usually use for barbecuing (a mix of paprika, cayenne, chili power, mustard powder, garlic powder, sage, salt, pepper, cumin, a few other things). Really, you can use anything here, as long as you have the flour and some salt and pepper. The rest is up to you. Whisk it all together in a small bowl.

3. I took the chicken out of the fridge. One at a time, I removed each piece from the brine, dredged it to coat in the flour mixture, and set it aside on a plate so it could come up to room temperature. (If you cook the chicken while it’s still cold, it will lower the temperature of your cooking oil too much, and then the chicken won’t cook evenly.) I let the chicken sit there for an hour, and didn’t discard the brine or the dredge.

4. While the chicken was warming up, I poured some corn oil into a heavy skillet up to a depth of a quarter-inch. When the hour was up, I put the skillet over medium-high heat. Then I dipped each piece of chicken back in the brine and dredged it back through the flour one more time.

5. When the oil seemed hot enough, I put each piece of chicken in the skillet, skin side down, and let it cook for 10 minutes. Then I turned each piece over, turned the heat down to low, and cooked for another 15ish minutes, until the second side was golden brown. Green beans and pilaf completed the meal:

It was all, frankly, a lot easier than I had remembered. I’ll definitely be doing this a lot more in the future. And now, if you’ll excuse me, there’s a leftover thigh that I’m going to enjoy.

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Click to enlarge

Curling update: Our team was divided between the sweaters and the suits last night at the Brooklyn Lakeside Curling Club, as Doug and I wore classic curling sweaters and Phil and Omoy wore — well, see for yourself.

More importantly, we won, 6-4. I didn’t throw that well — none of us did, really — but the other team did their best to hand this one to us. Hey, we’ll take it. Our record is now 5-2.

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The Ticker
By Alex Hider

Baseball News: Awesome Cubs-themed Christmas tree at Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry (from @MBDChicago). … Lots of good stuff in this Woodie’s World video about Earl Weaver and the Baltimore Orioles of the 1970s (from Kevin Walsh).

College Football News: ICYMI ”” Appalachian State wore special helmet decals with a sublimated Camelia Bowl logo on Saturday (from William Staley). … The FCS Championship game is going to give us a pretty great logo matchup (from Paul Friedmann). … We finally have an explanation for the upside-down “Y” decal that Youngstown State wore earlier this year. Have we ever seen another memorial decal/patch like this? (From Chris.) … Arthur Savokinas was watching the “Convicts v. Catholics” 30 for 30 and noticed Miami QB Steve Walsh’s nameplate was off-center.

Hockey News: Is this retail shirt a sneak peak as to what the Golden Knights sweater will look like? (From PJ Kuzdal). … Spotted at the Leafs/Pens game this weekend: a guy in a Leafs-inspired Pearl Jam sweater (from Michael Friedmann). … Check out this suit worn by Don Nochbaur, coach of the Spokane Chiefs (from Kenny Ocker).

NBA News:The Spurs retired Tim Duncan’s number last night, and a number of San Antonio players marked the occasion by wearing “21” socks yesterday on the night of his jersey retirement (thanks, Phil). … Singer Sevyn Streeter wore a jersey with the words “We Matter” while singing the National Anthem at a Sixers game this weekend. In October, the Sixers told her she couldn’t sing the anthem and wear the jersey.

College Hoops News: You may have seen Syracuse’s Pearl Washington tribute at half court this weekend in a loss against Georgetown, but Rick DiRubbo points out that it wasn’t the only on-court tribute. The court at the Carrier Dome is named after Jim Boeheim. The day Syracuse named the court after Boeheim, they also lost to Georgetown.

Grab Bag: Some high school wrestling programs are moving away from singlets and towards compression T-shirts and shorts because they feel the traditional uniform is keeping participation numbers down.

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What Paul did last night on Saturday: More and more indie musicians are doing shows in people’s houses and apartments instead of at clubs — sometimes as one-off appearances and sometimes as full-fledged house-party tours.

On Saturday afternoon I went to see the great Jon Langford (frontman of the Mekons, the Waco Brothers, Skull Orchard, and others, and a favorite of mine since 1985) perform in a Brooklyn apartment. He was accompanied by violinist Jean Cook and, on some songs, by singer/songwriter Walter Salas-Humara (frontman of the Silos), who also did a short set of his own. Langford and Salas-Humara were also selling their artwork, which was displayed around the apartment.

It was a great time. About 30 people showed up, which was enough to fill the apartment. Tickets had been sold online on a pay-what-you-wish basis (I paid $20, because that’s what I had been prepared to pay to see Langford and Salas-Humara play at a club in New Jersey the night before, and then I skipped that show when I became aware of the Brooklyn apartment show). It was BYOB, plus the host had plenty of additional drinks available, gratis. The musicians mingled and yakked with everyone for an hour or so before they played. The whole thing was a swell way to spend an afternoon. Here are some photos and video clips I shot:

Comments (69)

    That chicken seriously looks amazing. I’m sure that it’s on your radar since it seems to be the new craze, but the Nashville hot method really is worth a try. I’m surprised you don’t have a cast iron skillet though. Holds the heat and you get that amazing browning on the bottom.

    I always look forward to the culinary corner stuff.

    I’m surprised you don’t have a cast iron skillet…

    You’re making a big leap. Simply because I didn’t use a cast iron skillet for this meal doesn’t mean I don’t have one. I do indeed have one! And I wanted to use it for this, but I wasn’t sure all four pieces would have fit in one batch (it’s important not to crowd them in the pan, don’tcha know). I guess it would be nice if I had a *larger* cast iron skillet. (And there, now you know what to get me for Xmas.)

    However: The skillet I did use has a thick, heavy bottom. Not quite as good as cast iron, but still really good for this type of thing. Trust me.

    a much better idea than the leotard look Nike has been going for with Color Rush. Are there mockups for other teams who have color over color combinations like this?

    Sadly there aren’t very many teams able to mimic what the Texans wore.

    The closest previous NFL examples would be the Ravens in black/purple/black and the Browns going orange/brown/orange.

    I thought that I had seen the Falcons in black/red/black. Trusty Gridiron Database confirms was done in 2005.


    Holy Crap, the Texans finally wore their best uni combo. I’ve been waiting for this moment ever since they introduced the red jerseys so long ago.

    Yesterday’s Texan combo was as good looking as anything they could wear with their existing uniform elements.

    But I’m still amazed that the newest NFL franchise would pick red, white and blue for colors in the 21st century. That has as much creativity as a white sheet.

    “but that’s a seprate issue”
    “(My thanks to call contributors, including (” ‘all’, and that second paren is superfluous
    “worn by Don Nochbaur” The tweet confirms that it’s Nachbaur.
    Jim Boeheim’s name is misspelled twice.

    Thanks for sharing pix and video from the Saturday event! I just love Jon Langford’s music and art. His “All the Fame of Lofty Deeds” might be my favorite combination of music and album art by a single artist.

    Walter Salas-Humara also fronted the excellent Vulgar Boatmen. That placemat, by the way, is totally boss.

    Agree on the placemat. We have the same one. Available from street vendors all over Manhattan along with many other styles. In addition to the solar system, we have: Presidents; Rocks and Minerals; Marine life; US map; World map; US state flags; World flags; and others.

    So was there a flag on that dangerous helmet to helmet hit, or just a couple of “Wow!”s from the announcers before going on to the next play?

    Helmet-to-helmet hits happen in the middle of the line scrum all the time. One thing we’ve learned over the years is that it doesn’t take a particularly hard hit to dislodge a decal in extremely cold weather. These same hits happen all season long, but we only see torn/dislodged decals late in the season, when the decal adhesive tends to break down in cold weather. You can enjoy the novelty of these decal malfunctions without celebrating anyone getting “jacked up.”

    Quite possibly. But that’s not an objection to looking at helmet decal malfunctions; that’s an objection to the game of football itself.

    And that may indeed be a valid objection. But if we’re going to discuss football (as opposed to boycotting discussion of it because we think it’s a public health hazard), I see nothing wrong with discussing helmet decal malfunctions, which are almost always a function of cold weather, not a function of atypical impact.

    I believe a player tackling a runner inside the tackle box is within his right to hit like that (just as a runner is within his right to initiate contact with a defender like that) so long as the hit doesn’t qualify as unnecessary roughness or any other sort of egregiously dangerous action. Outside the tackle box or if the ball carrier was deemed to be in a “defenseless” position, that would likely be a foul.

    Some of the most egregious helmet to helmet hits I’ve seen are typically DB’s flying in, leading with their heads, late into a pile. But that’s a discussion for another day/time.

    I noticed something interesting about Tim Duncan’s jersey retirement ceremony: the “jersey” that the Spurs raised up into the rafters doesn’t use the same number font as any jersey Duncan has worn.

    The “2” on the retired jersey has a diagonal stroke: link

    But the Spurs’ actual jerseys have a “2” with a horizontal stroke: link

    This was true even going back to Duncan’s rookie year, when the jerseys were different: link

    I noticed that, too, and it really bothers me. The Devils did the same thing with Scott Neidermayer’s retired number banner (using the incorrect font). It’s especially egregious in the case of franchises like the Spurs and Devils who haven’t had a ton of jersey/font variation through the years. I mean, c’mon, if you’re going to honor a player in such a manner, can’t someone pay a little attention to the details?

    ICYMI – Appalachian State wore special helmet decals with a sublimated Camelia Bowl logo on Saturday (from William Staley).

    Those look like cheap knock-offs of the link in the Rose Bowl a few years back. I thought it was cool when the Badgers did it because making it to the Rose Bowl has always felt like an accomplishment worth acknowledging in a special way. But the Camelia Bowl? Come on! That’s like getting commemorative t-shirts printed for perfect home room attendance.

    chicken thighs (arguably the only part of the bird worth eating – if those scientists could please bio-engineer a thighs-only chicken already, I’d be very happy)
    It’s all worth eating. That being said, the other parts of the chicken make you appreciate the greatness of the thighs even more.

    Thanks, Anthony, but I cannot accept that compliment. The fried chicken I shared with you at a ballgame earlier this year was store-bought, not home-cooked.

    Love Walter Salas-Humara’s work witb the Silos. He also was involved somewhat with the Vulgar Boatmen. Definitely an overlooked band and one worth exploring. Great read here-


    Jimmy Lonetti

    The Atlanta Falcons looked extra-nice in their fauxbacks. And I can’t place the date, but there have been black-red-black games in their history, possibly with Michael Vick behind center. A good look for them.

    I found a photographed instance of black helmets on red jerseys on black pants with the current look. 11/06/2005 at Miami.

    Pearl Jam sold those leafs jerseys during their last tour. Also sold Red Wing themed jerseys for the Detroit show. Wish I could get my hands on one!!

    PJ also made Ottawa and Quebec inspired jerseys. The Toronto (blue and white versions), Ottawa, and Quebec jerseys can be had for under 200 dollars. 500 is too much for the Detroit jersey, though it seems to be the rarest/most sought-after jersey. 300-350 seems to be more the going rate.

    They did baseball jerseys for the Fenway and Wrigley shows this past summer.


    The Detroit jersey was actually a one-off from the 2013 US tour. Eddie Vedder, being a friend of Chris Chelios, seems to have an affinity for Detroit in that regard. The other jerseys were from a swing through Canada in 2016. I guess they figured the hockey jerseys would appeal especially to Canadians.

    Man, I sure hope the Falcons return to that look with the red helmets. I am not sure if this is uni-watch worthy but I have noticed that all of the Cowboys offensive linemen wear the exact same cleats every game (by that I mean they are all wearing the same style cleat AND wear it every game), regardless of what uniform the Cowboys are wearing. They are navy blue and white basic Nike cleats. I am guessing it’s an o-line unit thing but I thought it was interesting they didn’t even change them for color rush or for the my cause my cleats campaign (starting center Travis Frederick was the only Cowboy who only wore his cause cleats during warm-ups and not in the game) so I am guessing it is a pretty conscious choice/tradition/o-line ritual. They always stand out when the Cowboys wear their white uniforms because the cleats are navy and the blue used for the white uni’s is royal.

    Does anyone else but me have a problem with the years numbering on Duncan’s retired jersey. It says “1997-16”. That’s just wrong. It should be “1997-2016” since it spans centuries.

    I too noticed it and I also do NOT like the look of it. 1997-16 does not compute. Looks more like an index number in local small claims court than a span of years.

    That chicken looks amazing; not sure what I’m doing wrong, but I can never get the batter to stick to the chicken that well. I will try this recipe (and yes, I do have both a cast iron regular skillet and a 10″ deep fryer).

    Agreed, the thigh is the only part really worth eating. Too bad my wife will only buy skinless, boneless (and tasteless) breast, promptly turning them into sawdust (at least, that what it’s like in your mouth).

    When you say “batter,” do you mean literally a liquid batter? Or are you just using that term as a catch-all for whatever kind of coating you’re using?

    As noted in today’s text, I didn’t use a batter. Just a two-stage flour dredge with a dip of buttermilk in between.

    Matt Barkley has been the starter the past few weeks, not just a backup on the sideline trying to stay warm.

    Apropos of nothing, has anyone suggested the Colorado Avalanche adopt the uniforms and insignias of the NHL Rockies? It would be an improvement. It might be historically revisionist, but since the Thrashers became the Jets that horse has left the barn.

    Don’t know why Paul has distain for the Broncos orange jerseys. Orange is the primary color of the Broncos through history, tradition and fan preference. The orange jersey is vastly preferred in Bronco fan surveys even though they are unlucky in Bronco Super Bowls. The blue jersey is now worn as a nod to the 1997-2011 period it was the primary. They wore it to recognize their first Super Bowl win in 1998 (Green Bay) and their only playoff win of the 2000’s (2006 vs. New England).

    As far as they overall uniform design, the template was massively copied after it was invented by the Broncos, then mostly abandoned by copiers. It is a design that everyone knows was invented by and truly belongs to the Broncos.

    Like the Patriots current uniform, Pat Patriot will never come back because the Pats never won anything wearing it. The Broncos have won all their Super Bowls in the current design and will not get rid of it.

    Orange is my preferred color for the Broncos as well. But not in this template. It’s too loud, too garish. The blue is more subdued — which is the only subdued aspect of this otherwise awful template.

    If they went with a more traditional template, I’d be all in favor of going with orange. But with this template, the blue helps to turn down the volume on the over-flashy design.

    Thanks for replying, but your description seems contradictory. You prefer orange but not in this template. But the blue is better in this template. What is so flashy? The curving stripes up the chest and down the leg?

    You also didn’t mention the Broncos road uniform which is one of the most boring (not flashy) in the NFL. I hate the all white road uni because it it’s has almost no orange. I do believe orange pants with the white jersey would be spectacular however.

    I presume the “neutral” end zones at Giants Stadium were due to the super short turnaround from the Jets game on Saturday to the Giants game on Sunday? I was always under the impression that they could turn the end zones over from one team to the other in fairly short order, along with all the padding and everything else that has the teams’ logos on it.

    There were a couple of issues with the end zone turn-around, not the least of which was the time it would take to actually do it.

    First – it was frigging cold out, and worker safety has to be a consideration. They’d be doing it in the middle of the night.

    Also, in the event of any error, (think of the Buffalo pellet problem) there would be a really short time to recover.

    In order to assure the proper game starting time, they came up with a reasonable solution.

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