By now you probably know that there are three NFL teams — the Chiefs, Saints, and Washington — that have blank nose bumpers.
But of the remaining 29 teams, how many put a wordmark on the bumper? How many put their primary logo? And how many have blank rear bumpers?
Longtime Uni Watch reader/contributor Omar Jalife recently decided to investigate the answers to those questions. He summarized his findings like so:
The most common format, by far, is to have the team name on both the front and back bumpers. Fifteen teams use that format: the Cardinals, Falcons, Ravens, Panthers, Bears, Cowboys, Broncos, Packers, Texans, Colts, Vikings, Patriots, Raiders, Eagles and Buccaneers (who have “Bucs” on the front and “Buccaneers” on the back).
The other formats, in descending order of frequency, are:
• Team name on front, city name on back (six teams): Lions, Chargers, Rams (yellow-horned helmet), Jets, Seahawks and Titans
• Logo on front, team name on back (3): Bills, Bengals, and 49ers
• Blank on front and back (3): Chiefs, Saints, and Washington
• Team name on front, blank on back (2): Browns and Steelers
• City name on front, team name on the back (2): Jaguars (they use “Jax,” rather than “Jacksonville”) and Dolphins
• Logo on front, blank on back (1): Giants
• Logo on front, city name on back (1): Rams (white-horned helmet)
Interesting, right? And I didn’t realize that the Rams had different bumper formats for their two horn colors!
Omar has created a chart with photo links to every team’s front and back bumper. Unfortunately, I can’t figure out how to embed it, but you can see it here. (The chart refers only to the teams’ primary helmets. The Bears and Dolphins, for example, go with blank bumpers for their throwback helmets, but that’s not shown on the chart. For the purposes of the chart, we’re treating both of the Rams’ horn colors as “primary,” since their throwbacks, with which they wear the yellow-horned helmets, are actually their primary colored-jersey uniform.) I’m pretty sure all of the chart’s linked photos are from this season, so the chart is up to date.
And using up-to-date graphics is important, because bumpers are often in flux. All three of the teams that currently have blank front bumpers, for example, used team wordmarks or logos at various points in their respective histories.
The front bumper used to be a prime spot for maker’s marks, too. At one point any brand’s logo could appear there; later, only the Riddell logo was allowed, thanks to a promotional deal between the company and the league. Following the expiration of that deal at the end of the 2013 season, no maker’s mark has been permitted on NFL nose bumpers (or anywhere else on the helmet). The prohibition gave rise to the current mishmash of logos, wordmarks, and so on.
But sometimes a maker’s mark is still visible. You can see a hint of the Vicis wordmark peeking through the back bumper on this Washington helmet, for example (click to enlarge):
And the Schutt mark is obviously much more apparent in this 2017 photo:
Meanwhile: If you look again at Omar’s bumper chart, you’ll see that it also indicates which bumper graphics are raised or 3D. That’s an addition I made to the chart while editing it, because I was curious to see the current state of that trend. Leaving aside the three teams with blank bumpers fore and aft, the remaining 30 helmets (including both of the Rams’) break down like so:
• Raised front and back (12 helmets from 11 teams): Bills, Panthers, Bengals, Lions, Jaguars, Chargers, Rams (both horn colors), Dolphins, Patriots, Jets, and 49ers
• Flat front and back (11 teams): Cardinals, Falcons, Bears, Cowboys, Packers, Texans, Colts, Vikings, Raiders, Eagles, Titans
• Raised front, flat back (3): Ravens, Broncos, and Seahawks
• Flat front, raised back: Buccaneers
• Raised front, blank back (3): Browns, Giants, and Steelers
• Flat front, blank back: None
So 19 of the league’s 32 teams — or, if you prefer, 19 of the 29 teams that have graphics on at least one of their helmet bumpers — use at least some 3D graphics. Frankly, I would have guessed that the number was higher.
Such a fun topic! Now we just need someone to do the same thing for all 130 FBS schools and their many, many helmets.
(Big thanks to Omar Jalife for sending us down this very enjoyable rabbit hole. Thanks also to @SteveBCreations and @HelmetStalker for the Washington maker’s mark close-ups.)
Hypothetical reminder: In case you missed it on Monday, I’m wondering — just hypothetically, of course — how many people would have been interested in a T-shirt based on that Uni Watch ransom note design that I showed on the site last week.
There are trademark issues, natch, so this mock-up is just for “What if?” illustrative purposes. Still, it would be fun to know how many people would have been interested — you know, just hypothetically — if such a shirt were possible in real life.
So: If you would have been hypothetically interested in this shirt, shoot me a note. Thanks.
Click to enlarge
Going, going…: If you want a Uni Watch Cycling Jersey, you must get your order in today or tomorrow. After that, the window for this batch will close. As always, you can customize the back of the jersey with your choice of number and NOB.
Culinary Corner: As many of you know, one of my Very Favorite Things is meat. What you might not know, because I don’t talk about it so much, is that one of my Least Favorite Things is mayonnaise. Just the thought of it makes me gag. Seriously, I’d rather wear purple than eat mayonnaise. As much as possible, I try to make my life a mayo-free zone.
So you can imagine how conflicted I felt when the great J. Kenji López-Alt — probably the greatest cooking writer of this century — published a piece on Monday in which he claimed that adding mayonnaise to marinades, or just slathering it on the meat before cooking, is a surefire flavor enhancer (NYT link). He says it leaves behind “no distinct [mayo] flavor” once the meat has been cooked but serves to amplify the other flavorings and also produces a better seared crust.
The thought of mayonnaise on, say, a beautiful raw steak or pork chop is upsetting enough. But the thought of me applying said mayo to said meats is, well, unthinkable! Still, J. Kenji has never steered me wrong, so I may have to try this (although I might have to put on a hazmat suit before opening the mayo jar). Will advise.
Footnote: Yesterday — one day after the meat/mayo piece ran — J. Kenji’s NYT colleague Pete Wells published a brutal zero-stars review of the fabled Brooklyn steakhouse Peter Luger, saying it’s gone badly downhill and has become an overpriced scam (an assessment with which I agree). As I read the review, I thought to myself, “Hmmm — maybe they need to start cooking the steaks with mayonnaise.” In short, I have met the enemy, and it is me.
By Lloyd Alaban
Baseball News: Astros 3B Alex Bregman and Nationals OF Juan Soto both carried their bats all the way to first base during their respective home run trots in last night’s World Series game. Bregman later apologized for it. … Houston Rockets legends Hakeem Olajuwon and Clyde Drexler wore Astros jerseys at the game and threw out the first pitch (from Mark Berman). … Green Bay Packers TE Jimmy Graham and a Packers team trainer dressed up as Yankees OF Aaron Judge and Astros 2B Jose Altuve, and got everything almost spot on, from the heights of the players down to their gestures (from Andrew Cosentino).
Football News: The Cards are going mono-black for Halloween (from our own Phil Hecken). … Cross-listed from the baseball section: Packers TE Jimmy Graham and a Packers team trainer dressed up as New York Yankees OF Aaron Judge and Houston Astros 2B Jose Altuve, and got everything almost spot on, from the heights of the players down to their gestures (from Andrew Cosentino). … Cap store Lids is selling a “legacy” Bears cap with a logo that apparently has never been used in franchise history (from @chicago19921). … A Chiefs superfan finally got to see the team play in the flesh for the first time for her 100th birthday, and the team gave her a No. 100 jersey to boot (from Kary Klismet). … Utah is going mono-white this weekend (from Chad Lehman). … Blaise D’Sylva is giving us Liberty’s helmet collection for today.
Basketball News: The Suns’ Latin Nights jersey — or maybe it’s their new City jersey — has leaked (from Jay Cosign). … The Blazers are releasing an album of their “greatest hits,” whatever that means (from Jeremy Brahm). … New unis for UMBC men’s (from multiple readers). … Cross-listed from the baseball section: Rockets legends Hakeem Olajuwon and Clyde Drexler wore Houston Astros jerseys at last night’s World Series game, where they also threw out the first pitch (from Mark Berman). … Here’s a good article about how shooting from the center court logo became a thing (from @bryanwdc).
Soccer News: From Josh Hinton: Looks like Bayern wore an Audi sleeve ad in yesterday’s German Cup match. The club wears Qatar Airways on their sleeve during Bundesliga matches. … A few Manchester City fans protested the club’s new deal with Puma because the outfitter also makes Israel’s kits. … As always, you can keep up with the latest on kit news by following Josh’s Twitter feed.
Grab Bag: A young fan of the Redwoods Lacrosse Club, which plays in the Premier Lacrosse League, has the team’s logo on his retainer. … If you’re really good at puffing clouds, then you might want to try your hand (or two fingers) at the Cigar Smoking World Championship (NYT link). … Star Trek’s Jean-Luc Picard is getting a new uniform. … Port Adelaide Power FC — that’s an Aussie rules football team — recently got a redesign, and the new crest looks eerily similar to a fan concept made in 2015 (from James Gilbert).