Interesting development during the NFL’s Wild Card weekend, as all four winners wore white jerseys. In fact, three of them wore mono-white. Would anyone care to research the last time the winners of four NFL playoff games in a given weekend all wore the same color jerseys?
Looking ahead to the Divisional Playoffs, here are the matchups for this weekend:
• Saturday early game: Colts at Chiefs. A classicist’s delight, with the Chiefs in red and Colts in white.
• Saturday late game: Cowboys at Rams. Looks like the Rams will be wearing their blue throwbacks (not a surprise, since that’s what they’ve worn for most home games this season), so Dallas will wear white — at the L.A. Coliseum. That means we could see a recreation, or at least a reasonable approximation, of the 1976 NFC Championship Game:
If, on the other hand, the Rams wear their white jerseys for this game, Dallas would have to wear blue. It would be their fourth time wearing the blues this season. According the Gridiron Uniform Database, the last time they wore blue jerseys that many times in a single season was 2009, although two of four instances that year were blue throwbacks.
• Sunday early game: Chargers at Patriots. The Pats will wear their standard home uniform and the Chargers will either go white-over-blue or mono-white — I’m guessing the latter.
• Sunday late game: Eagles at Saints. There’s the very real possibility of this game being mono-white vs. mono-black — woof. In addition, there’s something about the lighting and the turf in the Superdome that I can’t stand — football just doesn’t look good in that building.
A Close Look at FA Cup Sleeve Patches
By Jamie Rathjen
Almost every team playing in the third round of England’s FA Cup wore the competition’s sleeve patch on the right sleeve. This is a substantial increase from last year’s third round, when only a handful of teams, mostly corresponding to the six games on TV in the UK, did so. However, this year all 32 games were available to international viewers, which may explain the increase.
The left sleeve was given over to sleeve ads. Most Premier League teams already have sleeve ads, but perhaps 15 or so lower-league teams trotted out new ones. For teams that didn’t have a sleeve ad, the left sleeve was usually blank.
Since at least 2009-10, the competition’s rules have had an interesting provision that allows teams to skip wearing the sleeve patch if their shirt advertiser is a competitor of the FA Cup’s main advertiser, which is currently a Middle Eastern airline. This provision now specifically applies to Manchester City, whose advertiser is a different Middle Eastern airline.
The rule is supposed to apply starting in the semifinals, at which stage the patch is mandatory, but guess which Premier League team didn’t wear the sleeve patch in the third round:
An ad-free version of the sleeve patch, last seen in 2014-15, was apparently not possible. Teams are required to have the FA Cup’s logo — advertiser included, of course — on other places in the stadium, on social media, etc., and City did so.
City also didn’t wear the sleeve patch last season, the season before, or in 2015-16, the first season with the current FA Cup advertiser. The last time they did wear the sleeve patch was in the 2013 final, when there was a different Cup advertiser.
Returning to this weekend, the other teams not to wear the sleeve patch, likely for logistical reasons, were the two teams remaining from outside the top four tiers: fifth-tier Barnet, who wore their league patch on both sleeves, and sixth-tier Woking, who wore one league patch and one ad.
Three other lower-league teams — Accrington Stanley, AFC Wimbledon, and Newport County — wore on the left sleeve mixtures of either the FA Cup sleeve patch or the left-sleeve English Football League patch, which is yellow and contains a gambling-addiction message, instead of an ad.
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Pin-nacle: Got a nice package in the mail from longtime reader/pal Jim Vilk, who sent me this trio of very nice enamel pins. The two curling pins are nice, but the real prize is the Green Bay bowling pin, which shows an ersatz Packers helmet being worn by a bowling ball! The green striping on the neck of the bowling pin, instead of the usual red, is another nice touch.
Jim explains the story behind like so:
The bowling pin was given to me by a member of the Wisconsin Women’s Bowling Association (or at least I assume that’s what the “WWBA” lettering stands for). I was covering Akron Zips basketball and staying in the same hotel as the WWBA members. A Zips assistant and I met two of them in the lobby and we had a nice chat. Anyway, this pin just seems to be made for you, doesn’t it?
Indeed. Thanks so much, Jim!
By coincidence, there was some lapel pin news in the NFL yesterday, as CBS studio analyst Bill Cowher’s American flag lapel pin was upside-down at one point (click to enlarge):
All “distress signal” jokes aside (let’s please not go down that road, thanks), anyone who’s ever worn a lapel pin can tell you that they sometimes pivot or rotate. Reader Dan Pfeifer says, “Buddy of mine gave me a tip once: You cut off the end of a pencil eraser and put the pin through that, then put the pin on. The rubber keeps it from moving around.” Nice.
(My thanks to Mark Johnson for the Cowher screen shot.)
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New year, new ’do: The Tugboat Captain got a haircut shortly after I met her in 2015 — and didn’t get another one until a few days ago, when she went and got herself a very nice bob. She had them save the cut hair so she can donate it to a wig-making charity.
It’s a little weird for my girlfriend with long hair to suddenly become my girlfriend with short hair (although not as weird as it is for her, I gather), but I really like the new cut. On the Uni Watch good-to-stupid scale, this redesign is very, very good. (And no, that doesn’t mean the old cut was stupid. Just means the redesign was a success.)
By Jamie Rathjen
Baseball News: Longtime Reds broadcaster Marty Brennaman posted a photo of this Reds wristwatch, which says was given to the team’s pitchers in the 1970s. Instead of the standard 1 through 12 numbers, it features the pitchers’ uniform numbers — a clever design (from our own Brinke Guthrie).
Football News: Clemson’s combo for tonight’s national championship game is white jerseys and orange pants, which means Alabama’s in red/white. Also mentioned in that article is that Clemson has added captaincy patches (from Dan Gheesling). … The College Football Playoff people made a collage of Levi’s Stadium using 5,000 photos from social media (from James Gilbert). … Reader Michael Tomassi was watching a 1978 Oilers/Steelers game and noticed some numbering-style inconsistencies, especially on the Oilers, but also the Steelers.
Hockey News: The Penguins gave members of their 2009 Stanley Cup team period-correct jerseys, including what looks like a special patch (from Noah Kastroll). … The Sharks’ black jerseys have a very hidden “SJ” in the sleeve stripes (from Justin Wiltron). … New Utica Comets (AHL) goalie Alex Sakellaropoulos has a very long NOB (from multiple readers). … The Sabres held a skills challenge yesterday and had the players wear special uniforms. Here’s what they look like from the back (also from multiple readers). … The ECHL’s Greenville Swamp Rabbits wore autism-awareness jerseys.
Basketball News: The Marquette retired number banners in Milwaukee’s new arena are in the style of uniform the player wore (from Ray Barrington). … Illinois-Chicago became the latest Chicago team to wear city flag-themed alternates, though we’ve seen the corresponding court before. … Michigan and Indiana went color-vs.-color (from Blaine Williams). … The concept of city-themed jerseys has spread to the NBL, the eight-team pro league in Australia and New Zealand. Here’s a closer look at the one for the Perth Wildcats (from Adam Rylewski and James Bingaman).
Soccer News: The Asian Cup got a new trophy for the 2019 edition in the United Arab Emirates, meaning holders Australia wore two different versions of the trophy on their patches: the new one on the sleeve patch, and the old one on their center-of-shirt 2015 champions patch (from Chris Hockman). … The MLS ball for next season appeared at the league’s rookie combine this weekend. … NPSL team Ozark FC is letting fans vote on their shirt (from Ed Żelaski). … Other items from the FA Cup: West Bromwich Albion center-back Mason Holgate debuted in his team’s match wearing No. 68, something which I’m not sure is intentional or a coincidence, as the team pointed out it’s the year they last won the FA Cup. … The competition has a new match ball which features the trophy. … Some Premier League teams wear a different number font for cup games than the league’s standard font, and the Championship’s Brentford did so as well Saturday.
Grab Bag: The Perham (Minn.) High Yellow Jackets use Georgia Tech’s logo, but pay them a nominal fee which apparently recently doubled to $2 (from @prpdad). … Last night’s Golden Globe awards featured a redesigned GG trophy that has a “cylindrical base, rather than cuboid, therefore improving ergonomics to ensure that winners do not obstruct the Golden Globe when holding the award” (from Kristopher Terrell). … Speaking of the Golden Globes, many performers wore “Times Up” wristbands and ribbons last night.