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Monday Morning Uni Watch

The Panthers changed things up for three of their preseason games, wearing blue over black, white over black, and blue over white for the first time in team history. They made another change, albeit a more subtle one, for their regular-season opener yesterday, as they wore mono-white at home with black socks, instead of their usual blue socks. To my knowledge, this is another Panthers first.

Speaking of the Panthers: As had long been expected, they put their team logo at midfield, replacing the NFL logo that had been there in previous seasons.

In other news from around the league yesterday:

• The Bengals opened the season by wearing their Color Rash mono-whites:

• In that same game, Colts kicker Adam Vinatieri didn’t have the team’s 35th-season-in-Indy patch:

Interestingly, he did have the patch during the preseason.

• We all know the Browns have been emphasizing Brownie the Elf in a lot of their graphics this year, so it’s disappointing that their hand-warmer pouches feature the “our helmet is a logo” logo. Come on, put Brownie on there!

• Steelers offensive lineman Alejandro Villanueva suffered a slightly torn jersey, and linebacker TJ Watt lost one of his front helmet numerals:

• Speaking of missing helmet numerals, Giants running back Saquon Barkley was similarly victimized:

• The 49ers are now going with raised neck bumper lettering.

• The Chargers, as per their annual habit, went mono-white for their home opener:

• Aside from the aforementioned Chargers and Panthers, three other teams wore white at home: the Dolphins, Browns, and Ravens.

• Only two players, both on the Dolphins, protested during the national anthem. (Update: An additional player — Broncos linebacker Brandon Marshall — opted to stay in the tunnel during the anthem. More on that here.)

That wraps up our first MMUW of the 2018 season. All in all, a pretty uni-uneventful Sunday.

(My thanks to all contributors, including Matt Barnett, Gabe Cornwall, Brinke Guthrie, Hank Lee, and Ian McWilliams.)

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The more things change…: Here’s something that fell through the cracks while I was on my August break, but I wanted to address it now.

So: The recent kerfuffle over Serena Williams’s catsuit being banned from the 2019 French Open, and Nike’s response to the ban, echoed something that ran in the very first post ever to appear on this website. In that post, which was published on May 17, 2006, I wrote:

It seems to me that the big trend in sports design these days — furthered, of course, by Nike — is toward superhero costumes. Those injection-molded batting helmets and dot-sleeved undershirts are good examples of this. So are Nike’s asymmetrical football sleeves, those gonzo Oregon football designs, the NFL’s increasing use of dark-on-dark outfits, and the rise of tights in the NBA. All these looks show a heavy comic book influence.

And I’m not the only one who thinks so. When Serena Williams wore one of her outlandish getups at Key Biscayne in 2004, an AP story said she “looked like a costumed superhero.” A few days later she switched to a different design and then said, “This is my Wonder Woman outfit. I feel real powerful in this suit, like a superhero.”

Why am I reprinting all of that? Because when the French Open put the kibosh on Williams’s catsuit last month, Nike responded like so (click to enlarge):

I’ve been saying for over a decade now that the uni-verse is moving away from athletes wearing uniforms and more toward superheroes wearing costumes. Pretty funny — and depressing (but not surprising) — to see Nike using that language. Meanwhile, most of the trends I identified in that first blog post have just intensified.

Also, pretty amazing to see Williams still at the center of this discussion, which is a tribute to her longevity. Maybe she really is a superhero!

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Jets-redesign reminder: In case you missed it on Thursday, I’m running a Jets-redesign contest. Full details here.

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The Ticker
By Jamie Rathjen

Baseball News: The Athletics wore Atléticos jerseys yesterday. However, OF Matt Joyce wore the team’s normal white jersey (from Terry Mark and Aaron Cameron). … Oddly, Joyce may have done the exact opposite thing — i.e., accidentally wearing the Atléticos jersey instead of his regular jersey, last season (from Kyle Jennison). … Diamondbacks P Archie Bradley wore Cardinals-themed cleats yesterday (from Josh Claywell). … Red Sox manager Alex Cora was seen wearing an LSU jersey before yesterday’s game against the Astros, which was the outcome of a bet on last week’s football game between Cora’s Miami (Fla.) and Astros 3B Alex Bregman’s LSU (from Ignacio Salazar). … Red Sox INF Tzu-Wei Lin’s uni number appeared to be riding a bit low last night (from Paul Gerard).

Football News: The first CFL team in Ottawa, the Rough Riders, had forward-facing TV numbers way before Louisville, in the mid-’60s or so (from Johnny Garfield). … The NBA’s Indiana Pacers marked the start of the NFL season by posting a Pacers-themed football uniform concept (from Josh Billman). … The elevators at the Browns’ stadium are patterned after their helmets (from Jerry Wolper). … Also posted in baseball: Diamondbacks pitcher Archie Bradley wore Cardinals-themed cleats yesterday (from Josh Claywell). … “Look closely at Lynn Bowden’s receiver gloves and you’ll see that they have the ‘old’ Kentucky interlocking logo (the current one has a darker shade of royal blue and a cleaner K),” says Josh Hinton. … Left over from Saturday: minor helmet changes for Florida Atlantic, Louisiana Tech, and New Mexico State (all from Blaise D’Sylva).

Hockey News: New Canucks G Michael DiPietro got his first NHL mask (from Wade Heidt). … Someone, I assume submitter Martin Hick, used the whiteboards at the Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis to draw a uniform concept featuring the garden’s logo. … It’s time for pre-preseason rookie tournaments and the like, which means we can already see the Ducks’ 25th anniversary patch on their white uniforms (from @Louisx209). … Another such tournament featured color-vs.-color between the Predators and Lightning (from Darian Somers). … New goalie mask for Georgia’s club team.

Basketball News: Also posted in football: The Pacers came up with a football uniform concept (from Josh Billman). … Three new jerseys for Wichita State (from Charles Adams V). … Here’s the logo for the 2018 Women’s Basketball World Cup, to be held in Spain. Also, the tournament has its own ball, made by Japanese company Molten, which seems to have been making competition-specific balls for FIBA for a few years now in the vein of what Adidas does for FIFA and UEFA (both from Jeremy Brahm).

Soccer News: New national team kits for Armenia (red) and Liechtenstein (blue), as well as Bulgaria, Cyprus, and Ireland. … On the third kit front, Chelsea and Inter Milan both got the Nike aerial-imagery treatment, while Scottish team Queen’s Park’s 150th anniversary kit has now appeared in a third straight season. … English League Two team Morecambe switched from their red first to their blue second shirt at halftime Saturday, with the referee switching as well, to better contrast with opponents Swindon Town’s black/red/red second kit. … Here’s some new sleeve patches: frankly giant ones for England’s Women’s Super League and second-tier Championship, and one for CONCACAF’s Nations League. … Until 2005-06, French teams had to wear Adidas kits when playing in the Coupe de France – or, at the end of that period, Adidas-ized versions of their normal kits – as well as replace their shirt ads with ones for the competition’s advertisers.

Grab Bag: Not sure who sent this in, but it’s good: England cricketer Joe Root appears to have been wearing teammate Ben Stokes’s shirt in yesterday’s portion of their Test against India. The shirts carry a permanent ID number of sorts below the crest — Root’s is 655, while Stokes’s is 658 — representing that Root, for example, on his debut became the 655th player to appear for England in a Test. … New grey helmets for Johns Hopkins men’s lacrosse (from Griffin Smith). … For reasons unclear to me, Virginia field hockey wore white at home against Syracuse. The NCAA has field hockey as a dark-at-home sport.

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Happy Rosh Hashanah to all who are observing. — Paul

Comments (58)

    I know it was tough to tell with all the Pittsburgh fans in the stands, but the Browns were wearing white at home as well.

    The Panthers had also worn the previously unused combination of blue jerseys and white pants in their preseason game against the Dolphins. It seems odd to mention two of their new uniform combinations worn in the preseason without mentioning the third.

    “Red Sox manager Alex Cora was seen wearing an LSU jersey before yesterday’s game against the Astros, which was the outcome of a bet on last week’s football game between Cora’s Miami (Fla.) and Astros 3B Alex Bregman’s LSU”

    There’s actually more to Cora’s jersey. The number and name on the LSU jersey were those of Warren Morris, who hit a game-winning, two-run home run with two out in the bottom of the ninth inning to win the 1996 College World Series for LSU against Cora’s Miami Hurricanes. And Cora was seen laying down on the infield with his head buried in his hands immediately after the home run (see Cora in the upper right photo of the link below). So this was more than just your “hey, my team beat your team, wear this jersey” bet. This had an added twist to it.


    To follow up, if Miami had won the game, Bregman would have had to have worn a Turnover Chain replica during BP of the same game.

    Agreed on the Pacers football unis. Sadly, I like them better than 80% of the current NFL offerings.

    Just wondering if anyone else has noticed (or please let me know if you’ve already discussed this) that with the ‘socks’ being used in gridiron games these days that there are two separate styles. Take the first picture today – the Dallas DB (Kavon Frazier) has the old fashioned pull up socks; while Greg Olsen has black tights UNDER his pants and UNDER his white socks. So his ‘socks’ really are just the white bit at the bottom. I’ve noticed it in college games as well.

    There are actually more than two styles:

    1) Standard one-piece socks. This is what the rulebook requires.

    2) Colored tights with white crew socks worn over them.

    3) “Leg warmers,” or calf sleeves (i.e., socks without feet).

    In short, it’s a free-for-all out there. In the NFL (as in many other sports), hosiery is now treated more like equipment than as a team-issued uniform element. The NFL long ago stopped trying to police it.

    Those “leg warmers” are more often than not sock extensions, which are just the colored part of the sock(with stripes when applicable). Some players wear them to extend the sock color and cover their knees, others wear them with midcalf socks or to cover part of a taller all-white sock or tights, and others just wear them alone on their calves(which is not their purpose).

    Interesting. TJ Watt helmet’s stripe (is iy the Schutt helmet) is not cut over the gap like the Steelers Speedflex users.

    The Dolphins all whites were spectacular [for a modern design] still not as good as their throwbacks, but major improvement.

    Pacers concept is better than a 1/3 of the NFL’s real football uniforms.

    Amazing how two little changes (removing the marine blue and making the orange darker and bolder) improved Miami’s unis. Although still not as great as their throwbacks and I would still prefer any of the previous logos, it’s such a better look than what they’ve worn since 2013.

    Probably in reference to this:

    “Someone, I assume submitter Martin Hick, used the whiteboards at the Missouri Botanical Garden…”

    He didn’t say he was the one that drew it in the tweet, therefore I said “I assume.”

    Anybody else getting “A web page is slowing down your browser” using Firefox when reading Uni Watch?

    I’m only getting part of the page loading up with Firefox (bottom of screen blank – or unsuccessfully loading or loading very, very, very slow).

    Been like that at least a few days. No problems with other sites.

    Have started using Edge (no problems) for loading up this site.

    Same issue with me. Started last week, maybe Thursday? I found that if I ignore the warning it goes away without issue on my desktop but on my phone and iPad it doesn’t load the whole page as noted. Switching to a different browser just for one site is not ideal. And when using the ‘kill it’ or ‘stop it’ (I forget what it says) option the warning comes back in a few seconds.

    Adam Vinatieri’s jersey did not have the Colts 35 Seasons patch yesterday when I was looking at the coin toss photos.

    Titans wore sky blue alternates at Miami yesterday.

    Also, am I the only one who thinks the Bengals Color Rush uniforms are the best set we have? Other than mono-black, which looks very good on a non-sunny day (something about the overcast clouds or night game makes them better), the color rush unis are very good!

    I say the black jersey/white pants combo is the best look of a very, very bad lot. Still love that helmet.
    The Color Rush uniforms could improve with a touch of orange, maybe on the shoulders and pants stripe?

    The Color Rush Whites on the Bengals were excellent. If they could only do something with that helmet…

    Orange jersey, white pants, orange socks.

    The rash uniforms need contrasting socks,but with the proper number font of the color rash, I think you are right.

    I heard during the broadcast either the announcer in the Titans game, or, Andrew Siciliano on Red Zone covering it, that the Titans blue uniform numbers were nearly impossible to read. I can’t disagree, it was particularly difficult to tell who was who on TV.

    The Titan’s numbers weren’t thick enough. Looks like the jolly green giant drew them on the uniforms with a fine tipped pen.

    I’d also appreciate an 8 that doesn’t look like a computer 0.

    I think it’s important to note that while Nike choose to use the superhero/costume language for Serena, she wore that suit for medical reasons deriving from her pregnancy. It’s not her fault that people — from snobby Roland Garros officials to Nike advertisers — decided to make a big deal of it.

    To be fair, tennis tournaments have held long standing dress code restrictions and have loosened up on them recently. If it was purely a medical reason, and I am by no means an expert on this, then why is this a problem going forward? She wore it, but isn’t allowed to next year, but, assuming she’s healthy and fully recovered from her pregnancy, to my knowledge, she shouldn’t need it. (Correct me if I’m wrong, though)

    Theoretical question for any of the NFL uni-redesign contests… Is it an explicit requirement in the contest rules that alternate uniforms stay consistent with the NFL’s one shell rule, or is it one of those things that would fall under the category of “probably a good idea”, since that’s the rule in real life? The reason I say “theoretical” is because I have no intent to enter (I lack both the creativity and graphic design skills required for a legitimate entry), I just wondered if these contests allow for more creativity than the actual league rules. Although, one could also make the argument that a great deal of creativity is required to come up with multiple good designs on the same color shell. Thank you!

    Yes…someone who can smash a tennis racket in a single swing! Someone can take a ball and shove it down your … throat! Someone who can spot a thief from feet away!!

    She’s my hero!!

    *Not the cool, calm, collected woman who kept her made history…but th

    FYI — Brandon Marshall of the Broncos stayed in the tunnel during the anthem. Short article on Marshall’s reasons and what he is raising awareness for: link

    Great read for my Monday after NFL football. After reading the comments I have even more respect for this site. I like the fact that you are not too good to add things you may have missed when a reader makes you aware. Looking forward to next week!

    I for one was pleasantly surprised that the Saints pulled out the gold pants in their opener, and I was also surprised that they did not wear white at home, which they tend to do during the first half of the season. Does anyone know the reason for this?

    That habit of wearing white at home changed last year. Was just black jersey at home in 2017:


    I am utterly surprised that the Saints wear the black pants with the black jersey so much, considering it looks like crap compared to wearing black over the gold pants. Should be gold pants all the time like it used to be.

    Panthers look much better with black socks than blue with the white pants. I’ve been a fan of the team from day one and I believe Paul is correct that they’ve never gone with this combo.

    I am thinking that new owner David Tepper might be a bit more of a guy who Gets It than Jerry Richardson was.

    The NFL season preview didn’t work for me when I checked it out via uniwatch through the ESPN website, and one of the guys from NFL network said “Jets are sporting their new helmet logo”
    I can’t tell the difference from the clips they’ve shown.
    I’ll just old school it and wait for the television broadcast.
    Has this site experienced some delays lately?
    It doesn’t keep up with my typing and browsing…? As bad as ESPN I must say kind of like dial up days

    Constant advertising on the bottom of the page too, my laptop won’t even allow UNIWATCH to load for this reason. I know this probably has nothing to do with UNIWATCH because the ads are google sponsored

    I don’t know if anyone else has seen this, but it appears okc’s new alternate has been leaked (via @redearthinc on twitter). I don’t know how reliable this source is so it’s definitely not 100% certain.

    From the pics I saw, they look much better than last season’s grey jersey, looking forward to more insight!

    Why is the anthem stuff being reported here?

    I’m not one of those anti-knee people who gets all red-faced and furious about it – personally I don’t think it’s a particularly big deal whether someone does or not – but at this point, I’m just sick of hearing about it. It doesn’t make someone a saint for doing it, and it doesn’t make them some sort of horrible demon either. It’s just whatever at this point. More than anything, it has absolutely nothing to do with uniforms whatsoever.

    As I’ve explained many times, a player kneeling (or raising his fist, or whatever) is a change to the standard visual culture of the game, so I report on it.

    Similar example: On Opening Day, the Orioles always line up link instead of along the baselines. I report on that too, because it’s a change to the visual culture of the game.

    If you don’t care about this particular visual element, feel free to ignore it. But I’ve reported on it since it started and will continue to do so.

    After a two year, Color Rush mandated absence, the greatest uniform match up in football was finally put back on display.


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