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Bolt from the Blue: Chargers Unveil Sharp New Uni Set

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The sixth of this spring’s seven NFL uniform unveilings arrived yesterday, as the Chargers revealed their new uni set. As you can see above, they’re projecting six possible combinations.

Here’s another shot, which provides a more frontal view and also provides a better sense of the new number font:

Speaking of that number font, I saw a few people yesterday saying that it’s an italic version of the Browns’ new font. But that’s not quite right — it’s similar, for sure, but not the same. Here are some comparisons, with the Browns on the left, Chargers on the right:

Personally, I like both of them. They both present as block, or at least block-esque, but with some modern sleekness.

Another thing you’ve no doubt noticed by now is that these jerseys don’t have TV numbers. Since the Pats have also eschewed TV numbers on their new jerseys, that has led some people to say that this is clearly a new trend, or that we’re seeing the beginning of the end of TV numbers.

I think that’s an overreaction. Consider: There have been six new uni sets unveiled so far this spring, and four of them (Bucs, Browns, Falcons, Colts) included TV numbers. Of the two that didn’t, the Chargers have numbers on the helmet, which achieves the same side-view functionality as TV numbers on the jersey (the Crimson Tide do the same thing), and the Pats are basically using a carryover design from a Color Rash uni that didn’t have TV numbers to begin with.

In short: While this could be the start of a trend, I’m not ready to declare that yet. Let’s see what the Rams do, especially since scotching the TV numbers would presumably give them more space to restore the ram horns to their shoulder/sleeve region.

But wait — doesn’t the NFL have a rule requiring TV numbers? I’ve always thought so. The pertinent language can be found in Rule 5, Section 4, Article 3, Item 3 of the NFL rulebook (yes, that’s a lot of rules, sections, articles, and items), which states (emphasis mine):

Numerals [must be] on the back and front of jerseys as specified under NFL rules for the player’s specific position. Such numerals must be a minimum of 8 inches high and 4 inches wide, and their color must be in sharp contrast with the color of the jersey. Smaller numerals should be worn on the tops of the shoulders or upper arms of the jersey. Small numerals on the back of the helmet or on the uniform pants are optional.

In an attempt to help clarify the situation, I contacted NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy yesterday and asked about the Pats, the Chargers, the rule, and so on. He responded:

The relevant language [in the rule] is that there “should” be numbers on the shoulders or upper arms. No special waiver or rule change was necessary for the Pats or Chargers.


Lions [throwback] and Packers [throwback] also fall into this category with no such numbers. There’s been no negative feedback from our network partners.

Interesting! So McCarthy is essentially saying that TV numbers are, and have always been, optional. But that doesn’t quite wash, because the rule actually uses the word “optional” when referring to rear-helmet and pant numbers, while TV numbers are treated as a near-imperative — “should.” Hmmmmm.

In any case, with at least 29 of the NFL’s 32 teams still wearing TV numbers (plus the Chargers having them on their helmets), I’m not ready to classify them as an endangered species just yet, but it’s definitely something to keep an eye on.

Okay, enough preliminaries — what do I think of this new set? Here we go:

The New Home Uniforms

So much to like here! I’ve been wanting them to bring back the yellow pants for decades and had basically given up on that ever happening. Here’s hoping they wear those more than the white. And hey, no more chest logo — addition by subtraction!

So what don’t I like? These are all minor quibbles, not dealbreakers:

• While the positioning of the lightning bolts on the shoulders is clearly better than the sideways orientation they’ve been using in recent years, it kinda looks like maybe the bolts are a little too far to the outside edges of the shoulders, which makes it feel like they might slide right off the jersey. Maybe it’s because they’ve enlarged the bolts, and/or because the bolts are no longer anchored in a UCLA-style white panel and are instead applied directly to the primary color fabric. Not sure yet if I think that’s a plus or a minus — I’ll need to see it on the field.

• I wish the bolt on the pants had one or two more barbs, or points, or whatever you’d like to call them.

• I’m tickled to see the numbers restored to the helmet, but I’m not sure how I feel about them being in powder blue. Back in the day, of course, the numbers were black (and in a completely anomalous font, but that’s another matter). I realize it would make no sense to use black numbers now (or even navy, since they’ve eliminated navy accents from the rest of the uniform), but something about the powder blue numbers seems a little lightweight. Maybe add yellow outlining..?

• As you’ve probably noticed by now, the Chargers didn’t provide any rear-view images. But you can see the back of the jersey here:

Oh man — I do not like that italic NOB lettering.

Those quibbles are real but they’re also just quibbles. Everything else looks great. Which leads us to…

The New Road Uniforms

Very, very nice. The jersey is basically a color-swapped duplicate of the home design. Again, I love the yellow pants and hope they get the lion’s share of the on-field action. My same small quibbles from the home set apply here, but overall this is a big win.

One thing about these home and road designations: In recent years the Chargers have made a point of going mono-white for their home opener and, like many warm-weather teams, they’ve also worn white jerseys for other early-season home games. (In 2019, for example, they wore white at home in Weeks 1 and 3.) So yesterday I asked a team official if the new home/road uni designations were set in stone, or if they might still wear white at home from time to time. He said the designations are “flexible.”

Moving on:

The New Rashes

Look, I accept the sad reality that every team has to have a mono-colored bodysuit costume these days — but nobody should have two of them. And frankly, I’m surprised they didn’t go mono-powder, which would’ve been really interesting!

Anyway: The mono-royal design is essentially an updated version of the Rash uni they’ve already been wearing for the past few seasons. It’s a very nice shade of royal blue, but it makes no sense because they don’t use that shade anywhere else in their visual program. (I do like the royal helmet numbers, though — better than powder!)

The mono-navy makes even less sense, because they just made a big point of eliminating navy from their identity, but someone probably got the bright idea of doing this uniform just so they can call it “midnight lightning” or something similarly cringeworthy. The outlined bolts would actually look pretty cool on a superhero costume but don’t belong on an NFL field — pfeh. At least these won’t be worn very often.


Two final thoughts:

1. It’s unusual for a team to unveil with nothing but Photoshopped images instead of real photography. I don’t mean that as a criticism (we all know the world is complicated right now), but I do mean that there could be certain aspects to these designs, and to how they function in real life, that aren’t yet apparent to us. I always say, “Let’s see how it looks on the field,” but that goes double for this set. I’m sure it’ll still look good, but let’s keep in mind that what we’ve seen so far is a simulation, not the real thing.

2. The Chargers are using the phrase “The Best Just Got Better” in their marketing of the new designs — an explicit boast about their perceived (or at least self-perceived) status atop the NFL’s uniform mountain. Lots of teams say self-congratulatory things about their uniforms, of course, but I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a team just come out and say, “We’re the best.”

I don’t know that I’d necessarily agree with that (or that the Packers, Raiders, or Steelers would agree either), but the Chargers are certainly in the conversation. Not only that, but this new set continues a remarkable streak: For their six decades of existence, the Chargers have been through several different uniform eras but have never had a bad uniform set. Not many teams in any sport can say that — well done.

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Meanwhile, in Korea: South Korea is far enough down the road to pandemic recovery that the Korean Baseball Organization began preseason games yesterday, although fans were not allowed to attend. The photo above shows the LG Twins playing the Doosan Bears, with second base umpire Park Gi-tack wearing a white mask and white gloves.

First base ump Lee Ge-sung also wore a white mask and gloves, but plate umpire Oh Hoon-gyu had a black mask (I couldn’t find a photo of the third base ump):

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It’s a little hard to see, but this next shot shows Oh wearing his mask under his mask:

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According to this story, some players had “Corona 19 Out” written on their caps, but I couldn’t find a photo of that.

The KBO’s regular season, which was originally scheduled to begin on March 28, is now slated to start on May 5.

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rafflet ticket by ben thoma.jpg

LAST CALL for this week’s raffle: In case you missed it on Monday, an anonymous reader has purchased 10 memberships for me to raffle off, with the proviso that this raffle is only open to people are currently working outside of their homes — health care workers, truck drivers, first responders, grocery clerks, pharmacists, food deliverers, postal workers, sanitation workers, transit workers, kitchen workers, and so on.

Obviously, there’s no way for me to enforce that restriction, but I have enough faith in the Uni Watch comm-uni-ty to believe that we can do this on the honor system. I mean, really, who would cheat on something like this, especially when we have so many other membership raffles that are open to everyone?

To enter, send an email to the raffle address by 8pm Eastern tonight. One entry per person. I’ll announce the 10 winners on Thursday. Big thanks to the anonymous reader who sponsored this raffle.

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The Ticker
By Lloyd Alaban

Baseball News: Reader Jon Vieira has a baseball from the canceled 1994 World Series. “My brother acquired it while working at a sports memorabilia place,probably four years ago. We used it to play catch so it wore out quite a bit,” Jon said. … From Kary Klismet: Fascinating story about how Thetford Mines, a small town in Quebec, converted three modular seating sections from Montreal’s dismantled Autostade into a municipal baseball and softball stadium. Lots more photos here. … Bidding groups from as many as three different baseball leagues are vying to become the primary tenant of Loeb Stadium in Lafayette, Ind. … MLB has updated its proposal for its 2020 season. The latest plan would have teams play in Arizona, Florida, and Texas inside domed and retractable-roofed stadiums. … Look closely in the lead photo of this Bloomberg article about grounded planes and you’ll find the plane Delta dedicated to now-retired Yankees P Mariano Rivera. It’s the second plane among the left column of planes, noted by Rivera’s No. 42 (from Chris Flinn). … Check out this shot of future Hall of Famers Gary Carter and George Brett at the 1983 MLB All-Star Game. Brett is wearing a Nike shoe on one foot and Spot-Bilt on the other! (From Mark Galus.) … Topps has a new program that allows artists to put their own visual spin on classic baseball cards (from Jason Hillyer).

Football News: New advertised name for the Independence Bowl. … The NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel recently approved a bunch of new rules, including the introduction of No. 0 as a legal jersey number (from multiple readers). … WisePreps Wisconsin launched a contest for the best high school helmet in the state (from Don Schauf). … Alan Martinez has performed what is likely the first logo-ectomy on a cap with the Rams’ new logo. Insert “He removed the wrong logo” jokes here.

Hockey News: Back in the 1980s, the Red Wings briefly had a costumed bird mascot called Red Winger (from Ron Wade). … Bing uses the old Hartford Whalers logo as an icon when searching for Connecticut (from Alex Tidd). … Avangard Omsk of the KHL has released images of its proposed new arena, scheduled to open in 2022 (from Kary Klismet). … The Regina Pats of the WHL have signed 14-year-old Conor Bedard. Bedard announced he’ll be wearing No. 98 for his entire career (from Dan Ukrainetz).

Basketball News: In this photo of newly-hired coach Billy Gillispie, he is seen at a preseason activity at Kentucky while still wearing a Texas A&M belt, where he previously worked (from Daniel Barrera).

Soccer News: From Josh Hinton: FC Barcelona will sell the naming rights to Camp Nou, their stadium, to help raise funds for coronavirus relief. The change will only last one season. … All four of Paris Saint-Germain’s upcoming shirts have leaked. … Inter’s pre-match shirt has leaked. … For the latest on kit-related news from around the world, check out Josh’s Twitter feed. … Pescara has adopted an Italian boy’s shirt design. … New Amsterdam FC, of the third-tier National Independent Soccer Association, has unveiled its inaugural logos (from Kary Klismet). … Cleveland SC of the NPSL released a teaser for their new uniforms (from Ed Zelaski). … Crystal Palace has presented evidence to support their claim that they’re the world’s oldest professional club: Here’s their first kit from 1861, based on the exterior of the actual Crystal Palace building (from Brad P).

Grab Bag: Ross Bendik’s Twitter account is a must-follow for college and freestyle wrestling fans who Get It™. Among the topics Ross (whose Lego artwork has previously been featured on Uni Watch) has covered recently are the top 25 wrestling warmups of all time and a comparison of Olympic wrestling referee uniforms (from Kary Klismet). … Here’s the shirt evolution of UYBA Volley, an Italian women’s volleyball team (from Jeremy Brahm). … UNC wrestling is letting fans submit singlet designs to be featured next season (from James Gilbert). … From reader Timmy Donahue: The 25th Infantry Division of the U.S. Army has put together a March Madness-style bracket tournament for unit patches. The finals pit the 101st Airborne (Air Assault) vs. the 82nd Airborne. “Can’t say I agree with how the matches in this bracket came out,” says Timmy (who, as you may recall, has a lot to say about military uniforms).

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What Paul did last night: I laid down for a little nap yesterday at 4:30pm. Uni Watch girl mascot President Caitlin came up and snuggled next to me, and then the Tugboat Captain joined us to make it a full-on group snuggle. And then next thing I knew it was 6:15pm and we were like, “We gotta go hit the porch or else we won’t be done when the Racket starts!”

So we were still logy and sluggish as we cocktailed yesterday, which was a little odd. We did meet two new excellent dogs — a huge bruiser named Prince and a wiener dog named Judy (Prince and Judy, ha!) — but our conversation was a bit more muted than usual. (As always, you can see all the Pandemic Porch Cocktails photos here.)

Afterward, we had excellent chicken tacos that the Captain made for us — including homemade tortillas! I’m so lucky to live with such an awesome cook:

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Yesterday brought an end to one of the busiest, craziest periods in Uni Watch history. The Rams still have their unveiling coming up in May, but the rapid-fire barrage of NFL unveilings is now over. It’s been an exciting sequence to cover, and it’s given me plenty to write about despite the sports world’s shutdown. I assure you, though, that I have lots of other great content in the pipeline — Uni Watch will still be here for you, come hell or high drama. Stay safe, and I’ll see you back here tomorrow. — Paul

Comments (154)

    Hey Paul, question on the Royal Navy Chargers uniforms, do you think they’ll wear them with yellow pants similar to the Dan Fouts era? Or are they strictly color rash?

    Style guide shows mix/match for the home/road elements but not for anything else.

    They could go rogue, of course. But those are the current guidelines.

    All in all a HUGE improvement for the Chargers (joining the Browns & Bucs). I agree that the powder blue helmet number looks a bit weak; similar to how UCLA has replaced the dark blue helmet script “UCLA” with powder blue. I also think the jersey looks too NCAA without TV numbers. However the addition of gold pants is a big win. I kind of like the royal blue alternative mono look, but the navy blue version is the sh*ts. I’m not loving the number fonts, but they are improvements over the recent ones.

    I hope they do introduce yellow pants with royal trim at some point, if only because the mono-royal set doesn’t really have a reason to exist. If Color Rush must be A Thing, might as well go for the gusto with the outlined-bolts-on-navy set. If they intend to use mono-royal as a “Fouts-era-inspired” set, they’ve missed the mark with the blue pants.

    Also, put me down for the mono-navy set’s helmet getting a navy shell/mask with the yellow-outlined bolt and white numbers to match the jersey within three days of the NFL lifting the one-shell rule.

    The royal tops with the yellow pants would be such a winner. Yes, the navy is overkill, but still not a terrible-looking costume.

    Has there been a comparison of powder blue color tones between the Allworth era and these new powders? This one seems darker?

    Have they changed the tone of blue for the new jerseys? It seems that way. Or maybe it’s just how the color appears in the new scheme.

    I think Paul checked on that after the new logo reveal and a team official said that it was the same shade of blue that was already in use.

    This could go either way for me. HD has made everything so clear that TV numbers are no longer a necessity. Or HD has made everything so sharp that TV numbers are easier to read now than they were on old TV sets.

    Flip a coin.

    Absolutely. Today’s broadcast technology provides closeup views of a player’s eyeball. TV numbers. are obsolete and no longer serve any useful purpose.

    As Paul notes in the Uni Watch Glossary, TV numbers were created to assist TV broadcasters and spotters identify players from the booth. HD technology has no impact on that.

    I just want people to call them “sleeve numbers” because it’s much more logical to name them based on where they appear (the jersey sleeves), not the medium they are designed to be seen through (television).

    Even the NFL rule book doesn’t call them “TV numbers”. Where did that uninformative and confusing name come from?

    Actually, it’s not uninformative at all, since it refers to their function and origin. I don’t know when the term originated, though, or who first coined it.

    Chargers generally nailed it. As much as I prefer the Fouts Era (royal blue, yellow facemasks, numbers and pants), these look really good. Except the midnight lightning color rash or whatever you want to call it. Hoping the yellow pants are the first choice, they look great with the white or blue tops. (Same could be said for the Steelers, Redskins, Packers and throwback Rams). Since pants are the one part of the uniform generally not sold to the public and worn, you wonder why teams make more than one pair of pants? A color like yellow works great with both jerseys. Teams could do the same with silver (Raiders, Lions… and I am looking at you, Patriots, and Eagles, when they finally go back to kelly green).
    With so many teams getting it right so far this offseason (Browns and Chargers come up with modern uniforms that reflect the past nicely, Bucs went almost directly back to the past, Pats made some nice upgrades), do you think the Falcons are having buyer’s remorse for the crap that they wound up with? It looks like the trend has been a shift toward “updating the classic look” and “de-Nikefying” uniforms, but the Falcons almost leaned into the look other teams are running from (gradients, clunky bespoke fonts).

    I agree with you 100% on the abomination that is the Falcons new uni’s. Expect a change in about 3 years when they realize they look like an Arena League team scrimmaging an actual NFL team.

    Huh, the wording of the TV numbers rule for sure is surprising.

    But, near-imperative or not, “should” definitely doesn’t constitute a mandatory rule. Just a (strong) non-binding recommendation. As such it can’t be enforced or teams get penalized if they don’t conform. I’m actually surprised that more teams didn’t “break the rule” in the past.

    It’s just odd that a rule would be worded that way. The whole point of a rule is that it’s, you know, a *rule,* not a suggestion. Can anyone think of any other “should but not must” provisions in any major sport’s rulebook?

    Haha, agreed. No reason to put a recommendation into the “rule”book.

    Unless, and that’s what I’m thinking here, non-binding wording or not, that it DID get enforced in the past and now the league has just softened its stance there and lets teams do what they want.

    Prehaps it was worded as “should” to not require changes to existing uniforms when the rule was written. Or the Patriots read the rule and decided not to follow it and the NFL just shrugged and went along with it. In either event, it’s kinda of refreshing to see the league treat something that really isn’t a big deal like it isn’t a big deal.

    Soccer: UEFA’s equipment regulations say both teams “should” wear first-choice colors in the finals of its competitions, unless of course there’s a clash, but like TV numbers most teams do so anyway.

    I can’t speak to or for any sport’s rule book, but if I were interpreting a contract (or a statute) I would read “should” as permissive, whereas “shall” or “must” would be mandatory.

    Right. But while contracts may use both of those terms, rulebooks usually don’t. I can’t think of another instance of a sports rulebook provision that “should” be followed.

    Well, there would have to be a rule first, before there could be a declaration that the rule “should” be followed. E.g.:

    1. Every jersey must have TV numerals.
    2. TV numerals should be at least 6 inches high.
    3. TV numerals should be on the sleeves, or shoulders.

    Without (1), (2) and (3) are conditional on the jersey having TV numerals in the first place; the implication is, “If you have TV numerals, they should be” so big and in either of two places. It could even be read to mean that if you have TV numerals, they must be at least 6 inches high and must be on the sleeves or shoulders. However, unless there’s some adverse consequence for making them smaller or putting them somewhere else, the language is permissive; more of a suggestion or recommendation than a rule.

    Alternatively, if you have:

    1. Every jersey should have TV numerals.
    2. TV numerals should be at least 6 inches high.
    3. TV numerals should be on the sleeves, or shoulders.

    I think the same thing applies; the implication may be that they’re required, and is stronger with (1) than without it, but again, as Capt. Barbossa said (and I once won a mock trial with in closing argument), “They’re more like guidelines than actual rules.”

    The numbers on the helmet – Paul is definitely right. They look wrong in powder blue. And the italicized numbers don’t help. It looks very collegiate. As much as I clamored for their return, now that I see it, I think this may be a case where the past was best left behind, with the numbered helmets only being used for throwback sets.

    That UNC wrestling item was ‘singlet’ design that might be seen on the mat. Thanks. #StaySafe

    I personally think the fewer barbs on the pantleg lightning will read better at a distance, but of course we will see them on the field. All in all I agree with your thoughts, what an excellent set.

    Removal of TV numbers has been a trend in the pro football league north of the border that started a few years back.

    In 2015, all CFL teams had TV numbers and had for decades. This started to change in 2016, with the switch to Adidas uniforms.

    In 2019, wearing New Era uniforms now, 5 of the 9 CFL teams have TV numbers.

    It is pretty clear that a white mask on the home plate umpire’s face would be very visually distracting for the pitcher and the home viewer. As for why the other umpires don’t wear the same black. I am guessing that the white masks are either cheaper/easier to obtain or are cheaper/easier to clean better (ie with bleach). Are the base coaches wearing masks?
    I wonder about holding the runner at first. They are probably not having any players wear masks (like with the catcher and batter next to each other and next to the umpire). But the first baseman could probably wear a mask when a runner reaches first without much disruption. It isn’t as demanding as catching, batting or baserunning.

    Not sure if I missed this, but with three different styles of helmet, are they the first since the Rams a few years ago when they first wore the white horns (with at the time the current gold and throwback ones)? How many times has this happened?

    As a Charger fan, I know I’m being irrationally picky, but for me the perfect uniforms would have been to go back to the true powder blue throwbacks…kind of like they did in 2009. Alas, it seems like the new uniforms are a big hit with the majority so I will digress. I guess I’m just a big traditionalist when it comes to uniform design.

    Anyways here are my own personal thoughts/observations as a Charger fan:

    – I’m glad they removed the Chargers name logo off the chest, it just looks cleaner and less amateurish

    – I’m glad they moved the lighting bolt back to over the shoulder, but I miss the white shoulder panels. I never thought I would say this, but they oversimplified in my opinion.

    – I can see the appeal of gold pants (especially since we’re rocking the gold facemask now), but I’ve always just preferred the white pants….and a grey facemask for that matter. It’s just my personal taste.

    – I wish they had just gone back to traditional block numbering for the font

    – I can understand they probably had six color combinations so they can appeal to as much of the fanbase as possible, but I think there’s beauty in keeping it simple if they just designated one home, one away, and a possible alternate.

    – Wish the helmet numbers were black

    – Now this is purely my OCD kicking in, but I always hated how sometimes the Chargers powder blues can come off looking like they were in different shades of blue depending on the photo. Now I realize that can generally be an issue for any uniform depending on lighting and other factors, but I always felt it definitely looked more apparent with the Chargers powder blues. Hopefully these new uniforms will have a more consistent shade

    Good observations…I also would’ve preferred the white or powder blue panel under the bolt and it’s one of the things I’m saving final judgement on when I see the real deals and not just a photoshop. It’s worth noting that one of the praises that Bosa gave the new jersey was that there was less stitching, which would make them more comfortable. The loss of that panel could be a reaction to player input? I was worried after hearing the player reactions (the word simplified, and cleaner kept coming up) that they had removed the bolt from the jersey entirely and gone all “Atlanta Falcons” with these. I also think that removing the Navy will make the blue seem a little more consistent and stronger. There were certain photos in the outgoing set where the powder blue against the navy looked VERY pastel. I’m with you, hopefully these will look a little more consistent.

    I don’t think this is a total fail because it isn’t much of a change from an already distinct and decent look, but for me the changes were almost all for the worse. The helmet logo looks bulkier, which makes less room for the number, and in turn makes the helmet design look cramped. The removal of the color blocking on the sleeves was necessary because they also bulked up the sleeve bolt and gave it more of a curve so the color block would have become unwieldy and oddly shaped, but I prefer the previous set up (thin, straight bolt over color block stripe) however this element more than most can redeem itself to me when I see it in action. I’ve never been a fan of the pants bolt having two terminal ends. It looks childish to me. I’d prefer if the bolt started at the actual top of the pants in “mid-bolt” and only had a point at the bottom. Removing the color blocking emphasizes the part of the uni design that I already didn’t like. Also the blue they are using recently (at least as it looks in promotional shots) is not powder blue (even though they keep calling it that) it’s more electric blue, which is a more appropriate name for a chargers blue anyway, but also feels more like a novelty color than a less saturated powder blue. Maybe the color will read better on tv. And the final nail in the coffin for these (aside from “midnight lightning”) is the italic font. I’ve never met an italic jersey number font I liked.

    As a Charger fan, I was anxiously awaiting these and hoped that they were right in saying, “We got this”. Like an earlier comment here, my ultimate wish would’ve been a straight up return to the Fouts-era uniforms, but I knew that wasn’t happening with the obvious emphasis on the Powder Blue the last couple years. I did get the gold pants I’ve wanted (like Paul) for decades, an helmet numbers which I’ve always thought would be a good call-back to the past and would make them unique among NFL teams. My quibbles are much the same as those stated in the writeup. I’d like to see the Bolt a little higher on the shoulder, the pants stripe is a little “weak”, and I’m not a fan of the Italicized NOB. I also hope, but doubt, that the gold pants are primary (especially with the “stormtrooper” trend we’e seen lately). As for the color rash, the royal is “meh” and the navy is God-awful. You’ve come out with a gorgeous set of primary uniforms and are going to wear these superhero halloween costumes twice a year instead? That is one thing that really irked me last year…the Chargers made a big deal out of returning to the powder blue as primary set, and then proceeded to only wear them 4 times at home. I’m a little bummed, but totally understand why, the entire presentation was photoshopped and not the real deal. Hopefully they look as good in person. I don’t get to say this very often but, Chargers…Good job outta’ you!

    I am surprised you guys didn’t applaud the Chargers for mocking the “story” behind the design that get produced and pushed with most new uniform redesigns.

    That was pretty sweet actually. Brought a smile to my face.

    In general I liked the attitude with which they presented the new uniforms (The best just got better). They’ll need that kind of moxie if they don’t want to be second fiddle in LA forever (still an uphill battle though).

    In regulatory law, there is a vast difference between ‘should’ and ‘shall,’ and I suspect the type of lawyers who draft regulations are the same type who draft NFL rules.

    The new Charger uniforms are a breath of fresh air. Especially with all the Nike-ness that has been applied to their “new” designs. I didn’t think they could have screwed up a uniform worse than they did the Browns/Bucs. But, I was proved wrong when the Falcons introduced theirs.

    Really anxious to see these Charger unis on the field. The yellow pants are going to be awesome!!!!!

    Crystal Palace:

    The shirt isn’t the evidence they’re using to claim a connection to the first Crystal Palace, which is what the Ticker item is saying. Their claim is that the club didn’t go out of existence but just stopped playing soccer for about 20 years.

    For what it’s worth, the description they cite just mentions that the shirt is “blue and white,” with no pattern described (other sources depict hoops, not halves) and no crest mentioned.

    For anyone who’s interested in it, their presentation is here:


    My own reaction is that the claim is fairly silly, trying to claim a connection where none exists. They make a lot of assertions without providing evidence to support them, which is usually an indication that they don’t actually have any evidence.

    The inclusion of Zero as a legal number will probably affect mascots. I know that Sebastian the Ibis (Miami Hurricanes) wears 0 as part of his outfit.

    If this means that mascots wearing the number 0 are now eligible to play, I am 100% in favor of this rule change.

    Good stuff, Paul. I had the same thought on the royal and navy options for the Chargers. Why go to the trouble of simplifying colors on the logo (powder blue, yellow) only to make two other shades of blue uniform options.

    The royal version at a glance looks a lot like something the Rams would wear. As part of its role in uniform issues, does the league do anything to ensure teams don’t get to close to each other in uni designs? Or do the teams give other teams a look? Some similarities with the Falcons-Bucs too.

    Overall great, I agree with Paul that the powder blue numbers don’t present as well on the helmet, and italic NOB is rough. Both with this set and the Pats the lack of TV numbers just make them seem off, like they aren’t real NFL jerseys. Something I’ll just have to get used to. Aside from that (and ignoring mono alternates) I think they got everything else right.
    I think the yellow pants are ok with the white jerseys, and a bit clunky with the powder blue. But in general I always think pants color should be the same as or lighter than the helmet, just looks off, darker pants draw attention to the pants and not the helmet or jersey, which to me makes them seem out of place. I prefer mono-white for teams with white helmets.

    Yes…Although, my guess is the Eagles are simply holding out for the removal of the one shell rule and hope that Kelly Green a couple times a year will satisfy the clamoring. For some reason, ownership really likes that “Midnight Green”.

    I’d even be ok with midnight green sticking around but that number font is awful. Oh and I forgot the Bengals are on the clock too!

    The midnight green just looks so dated. I know it’s not teal, but I’ve always just associated it with the teal fad in the 90s. But since they won a Super Bowl in it, I fear the kelly green is never coming back.

    I feel like I remember reading somewhere that Midnight Green is actually the more popular color among polled Eagles fans.
    We all know the *true* Eagles shade, but I’d be surprised to see Kelly come back any time.

    Been out there for a while that they originally switch to “midnight green” because the owners then-wife hated kelly green. He has since divorced and remarried, though his ex wife retained a minority ownership stake in the divorce, not sure how much her voice comes into play now on the uniform front.
    Fans definitely prefer the kelly green, as you’ll see loads of people wearing throwback gear. I think it comes down to people generally like the current uniform, even if they like the kelly green better, and post Superbowl win the “midnight” green has some strong memories tied to it. I think Eagles fan would happily welcome back kelly green, but aren’t necessarily yelling for it as loud as say Chargers fans wanted the powder blues back. Personally I think the should just recolor the existing set with kelly green, change the number font, and go silver pants / silver wing on the helmet.

    Greg’s idea would work, though I have never been too crazy about the number font. A little too refined for a football team (not making an argument about the fetishization of the working class, but it is a font that doesn’t scream “blood and guts”). And @ Anthony in TX – kelly green has been the people’s choice since they made the change, though a Super Bowl win does tip the scales a bit.

    Never understood why – it was a favorite of the owner’s then-wife, now ex-wife. If I were the current Mrs Lurie, I would strongly lobby for a return to kelly green. Give the people what they want and fulfill the “happy wife, happy life” trope.

    The Chargers also changed the orientation of the shoulder bolts, but interestingly, the did not change it on the pants. It always bothered me that the bolts on the helmet and the shoulders appeared to be ”facing” in opposite directions. Now the ”barbs” on top point to the left on both, so the shoulder bolts no longer appear to be pointing backwards. Big improvement IMHO. However, notice on the legs, when the keg is in the up position (i.e., thigh is horizontal), the upper barbs point to the right, same as the old uniform. It gives the appearance that the bolt is facing backwards. Weird oversight on their part.

    Same. Overall, this is a good set, and an improvement over their last. But those “backwards” bolts on the pants are maddening.

    think the rule has the should because of the implementation of shoulder stripes? if they can fit both on then, then put the numbers on but, if the stripes are too large than they dont have to have the numbers at all. notice how both the teams that are sans shoulder numbers are teams that have large shoulder stripes

    also could this have been something that was recently, the Browns wanted to go without tv numbers on their new alternate jersey but were denied by the NFL.

    also has anyone thought about how confusing it is now that the two teams that play in that stadium will have a royal blue and yellow uniform?

    Actually, that may be a feature, not a bug. I know Arthur Blank has spoken about not wanting Atlanta United to seem like they were playing the Falcon’s stadium, or vice-versa, and they did a very good job of executing that with the new stadium in Atlanta. I’m sure it’s no coincidence that Atlanta United got a very similar color scheme to the Falcons, which made that feat a lot easier. Obviously it’s not quite the same when dealing with two different owners, but you never know.

    Difference is that Arthur Blank owns both of those teams, and wants them to viewed as equally as possible.

    The Chargers are tenants in somebody else’s home, and have started to dress like the host in the hopes that they might be mistaken for family members.

    “the Browns wanted to go without tv numbers on their new alternate jersey but were denied by the NFL”

    There’s a story here. I would love to know why the Browns were denied but two other clubs were granted permission. Maybe the Chargers could argue that helmet numbers fulfill the same purpose, but how did the Patriots get away with it?

    I’m wondering if it has to do with another part of the rule that addressed uniform numbers being in an easily readable contrast color. Maybe they felt the Orange on Brown wasn’t contrasting enough and that the TV numbers were necessary.

    “For their six decades of existence, the Chargers have been through several different uniform eras but have never had a bad uniform set.”

    So true. I’m not a Chargers fan, but I have always like their uniforms. While “best” uniform is subjective, you can make a pretty strong case for the bolt being the best single uniform element ever.

    One question: Is this the first time the shoulder bolt has not been “anchored” in another color panel (white on the blue jersey, blue on the white jersey) on BOTH the home and road jerseys?

    Based on my review of the mighty Gridiron Uniform Database, the Chargers shoulder bolt has always been anchored in another color panel, with one exception.
    From 1988-2006, the bolt was placed directly on the Navy jerseys. However, during that same era, the bolt was anchored in a navy blue panel on the white jerseys.

    The chin strap intersects the helmet numbers. In the leading picture, it looks like #20 is wearing #29 on his helmet. Made me do a double take. It was clearer what was going on when I scrolled down to the larger pics. I don’t think the helmets ‘back in the day’ had this feature. Not a complaint, just something that jumped out as something I don’t recall from the older days of helmet numbers.

    Chinstrap positioning/anchoring is very different now that it was in the 1960s. Many, many helmet graphics are now partially obscured by chinstraps.

    I like the chargers new uniforms though 2 altnernate sets is a bit much. Choose either blue alt or navy alt and have that.

    Also while TV numbers aren’t a requirement, it seems like having a corny slogan or logo on the inside neckline is. Even the colts new jerseys have that new C logo on it Who was the last team to unveil new jerseys that didn’t have that?

    Eh, who cares about the inner-collar nonsense. That’s just bullshit to entice retail customers. Has nothing to do with what we’ll see on-field, so ignore it.

    They should have skipped the royal color rush which isn’t in their new color palette and either gone with all power blue or just the navy. Seems odd that they rebrand everything but bring back a previous color rush, makes me wonder of Nike wanted that continuity.

    I like the navy, shakes up things a bit and the alternate navy helmet is excellent.

    I love the new Chargers set (especially the helmet numbers – been hoping an NFL team would go back to using those regularly for a long time!). But, I just wanted to comment that using the “best just go better” slogan is really lame and smacks of insecurity. Hard not to think of the mindset that led to the exact same slogan being used to promote New Coke:


    I just wanted to comment that using the “best just go better” slogan is really lame and smacks of insecurity.

    Amen. The real “best” don’t have to brag.

    Today’s favourite item by far for me was the Thetford Mines/Autostade stadium article.

    Thanks, Will! I obviously can’t take credit for anything other than sharing the story, but I definitely thought it was interesting and worth passing along to the rest of the Uni Watch community. I love threads that tie the past and present together like that, especially when there’s a sports connection.

    I may be in the minority, but I really like the all navy blue design.

    I like the way the blue bolts evoke the original LA Chargers of 1960, who also had blue bolt on the helmet, jersey, and pants.

    Would I prefer white pants with that look? Of course. However, I still think its a good idea.

    In a vacuum, I would really like the navy look so long as the numbers matched the pants. Either go all-navy, with navy numbers outlined in gold to match the bolts, or add white pants.

    But for a powder blue and gold team? The navy is indefensible.

    I agree with both Thomas and Chance – to a point. I do think the navy and yellow color combo works well (in a vacuum, as Chance notes). I’m not sure the addition of a navy alternate is “indefensible,” but it is a head-scratcher for a team that so intentionally removed the navy from the rest of its uniform program.

    But if you switch up the pants from navy to white, while leaving the navy lightning bolt outlined in yellow? That could be a sharp look. I might even be able to tolerate the navy lightning bolts on the jersey in that instance! The white pants would make all the difference in the uniform being a much more fitting homage to the team’s Los Angeles origins. Of course, that defeats Nike’s purpose in creating the Color Rash superhero bodysuits/costumes, so I’m sure will never see it.

    if you switch up the pants from navy to white, while leaving the navy lightning bolt outlined in yellow? That could be a sharp look.

    Might even be their best look, although I vastly prefer the powder blue. But that would look very sharp, and the bolts would be consistent throughout, navy outlined in gold no matter where they appear.

    The 1994 World Series baseballs were big sellers. I have one in a case on my wall with other balls that I deemed noteworthy.

    The WisPreps bracket will be in interesting sartorial battle, but may bring to light some stolen logos. I know that Arizona State is very hesitant to allow others to use Sparky, and I see him on helmet there.

    Does anyone see any other logos that may be in trouble with other organizations?

    Really enjoy the uniforms but I wish they would have kept the yellow stripe on the socks that separated the blue and the white.

    Also, the navy blue set reminds me of the Lakers’ “Hollywood Nights/Black Mamba” uniforms.

    George Brett was sponsered by Spot-bilt in the 1980s; link

    He’s wearing Spot-bilt on his uninjured foot. The Nike shoe Brett is wearing in the photo may have provided him more comfort as he had broke the little toe on his left foot earlier that year. link

    Looking at the use of lightning bolts across the Chargers’s uniforms and logos, they all have two points or barbs on each side. It appears that they’re depicted that way on the pants for the sake of continuity, and because, you know, that’s their logo.
    As for the disappearance of tv numbers; to the layperson (ie: one who doesn’t get it) they’re commonly referred to as sleeve numbers. As sleeves have disappeared from NFL jerseys, it’s the logical next step that “sleeve numbers” would disappear along with them.

    Not sure if I missed this, but with three different styles of helmet, are they the first since the Rams a few years ago when they first wore the white horns (with at the time the current gold and throwback ones)? How many times has this happened?

    Chargers with the best of the lot so far. Nice. Between them and the Padres, some decent looking unis in San Diego!

    Ouch. Really feel for San Diego fans, they wanted this set for years and Spanos finally goes to it after he moves out of town. Though I wouldn’t be surprised to see them back in SD with new ownership in about 10 years.

    I like almost everything the Chargers have done, and love a fair bit of it, but the italic numbers and NOB are dealbreakers for me. Italic is for emphasis, or to set some text apart from other text. If everything is italic, then nothing is emphasize or set apart; all that accomplishes is slightly reducing the legibility of the characters. Italic doesn’t make numbers look like they’re in motion; the player wearing the numbers moving around on the field makes numbers look like they’re in motion. Because of the way italic skews the horizontal dimensions of paired digits, italic uniform numbers must either be smaller than they otherwise would be, or if left the same size, the edges of the numbers will tend to wrap out of view. Either way, the italic numbers are less legible to spectators than non-italic equivalents would be. That’s a design crime, and should never happen.

    Agreed completely. Italic numbers are a deal-breaker for me, one of the little things that totally spoils what should be a great uniform.

    Still feel that way about the Steelers, too, couple of decades later.

    I agree, although it’s not a deal-breaker in this case because the uniform overall looks so good (the Chargers and Steelers can get away with it; the 1995-99 Patriots could not). Italic numerals just look skewed against the lines and contours of the jersey, making it (and the player wearing it) look unbalanced. This idea of making the player look like he’s in motion even when he’s not seems silly to me.

    I’ll pile on the italic numbers, too! I’ve always thought that italic numbers create an imbalanced feel to a uniform.

    I guess I understand why teams might try to use italics numbers to create a sense of forward motion (which is what I suspect the Chargers are doing here). However, that doesn’t change the sense I get that I need to tilt my head whenever I look at them!

    Surprised no mention of the lack of striped socks for the Chargers. Unis would be PERFECT with the right sock striping in place of the bland monochrome tights.
    Also, I like the two color rush sets. I take them as an homage to the team’s collective uniform past.
    The color rush gimmick is silly for sure but it offers a chance to go a little crazy with a uniform.

    Surprised no mention of the lack of striped socks for the Chargers.

    Lack of striped socks is not noteworthy, since most teams don’t have them. It’s dog bites man.

    *Inclusion* of striped socks would be noteworthy (and praiseworthy).

    ESPN’s Scott Van Pelt made the uniforms his one big thing last night, of course he loved them. He then went on to criticize the Bucs, Falcons and Patriots for their changes. He showed the creamsicles and a Bucco Bruce helmet in the GM’s office. For the Falcons he put up the Bartkowski era uniforms and the Patriots he showed the Pat Patriot look from the 80s. He then took aim at the Rams and basically told them not to screw it up and go with the classic look that everyone is accustomed to. To make his point he showed picture of the Rams playing the Patriots with 1992.

    His take on the uniform changes was pretty good; basically calling out teams for listening to the their marketing departments and then in classic SVP going “I’d love to be able to ask the first question of ‘what in the world were you thinking’ with this change?” So we know where he stands on all the changes. Pretty much don’t screw up something that’s classic and looks nice that the fans loved.

    He went to call for the Broncos to go back to their orange crush look and pined for the return of the classic Oilers look by either the Texans or Titans as a throwback. But as we know the Titans own the the rights to it so that’s probably wishful thinking. The Titans did wear the AFL look during the 2009 season, but it wasn’t the look SVP liked and I think a lot of us miss-the late 70s through the 90s before the team rebranded.

    With the Chargers in powder blue, the Oilers set would seem repetitive; white helmet, light blue jersey.
    Since the Oilers exist now as the Titans, I think Tennessee really should have embraced the Oilers old design keeping the white helmet, but going navy jersey, with the red/white/light blue stripe pattern that the Oilers wore. Navy with light blue and red as accent colors is a really nice color set, not sure why the Titans went down the awful road they did. The Titans could have easily created a beautiful update to their Oilers past while still maintaining navy as their primary color. Hopefully they do the same as Tampa and Cleveland and ditch the nike design as soon as possible.

    Glad you brought up the Oilers. They wore a great uniform when they left for Tennessee, and it is missed.

    Don’t understand why they didn’t try to get back the nickname, logo and the Columbia Blue and Red uniforms when Houston was awarded an expansion franchise. This was obviously possible, since the situation was the same as the Browns leaving for Baltimore, then the expansion team became the Browns again.

    The Texans name, colors and uniform was the most unoriginal, uninspired concept in NFL history. As a result, it’s arguable they still play second fiddle to the Cowboys in their own city. Even though the Cowboys basically act like they are the team of the 1990s or 1970s with no success for about 24 seasons now.

    Important to point out that the navy bolts on the all-navy set mimic the original 1960 Charger helmet…

    Homemade tortillas tonight for sure!

    Any chance that we can get Uni-Watch related merchandise with a small “PPC” on it? Not to capitalize on this pandemic or in bad taste, but rather for us to subtly remember this era of Pandemic Porch Cocktails that we all are doing in isolation yet together.

    I would love to have a Uni Watch pint glass! Doesn’t necessarily have to commemorate Pandemic Porch Cocktails, but given the fact that so many of us enjoy a good beer every now and then, I think that is a long-missing piece of Uni Watch merchandise!

    I just got my membership card in the mail and I am itching to use it in the shop. I see a coffee mug in my future!! Hopefully you will also consider a shout glass too while you ponder a pint glass :-)

    If you create uni-watch themed pint glasses, I’ll but one. If you create uni-watch themed glasses like these, I’ll buy a set: link

    I’d also buy uni-watch beer coozies (which are cheap).


    What is the origin of that plate you served your dinner on (“The Dining Car”)? Is/was that a restaurant? One of my other hobbies besides Uni Watching is railfanning (which I’ve long believed is a specialized form of Uni Watching, when one considers all the paint schemes and variations of rail equipment), so that plate immediately caught my attention.

    I do remember the Red Wings’ mascot, but details are sketchy, and not quite what was listed in the article. First, I believe it was just “The Winger” (no “Red”), in big letters on two lines across the back. The writer, Helene St. James, has been a Red Wing beat writer for years, so she should have good evidence on this; it was a while ago, and she claims it lasted for four seasons. I could have sworn it was two at the most.

    One thing that was mentioned in the comments that should have been part of the article: Mike Ilitch was a native of Detroit, graduated in 1947 from Cooley High School…. whose sports teams use the Cardinals as their nickname.

    Love the new Chargers uniforms, except of course the color rash. I prefer the white pants since I like matching white helmets & pants. However with the yellow face masks these yellow pants look great. Not sure why a team with light blue uniforms would need to wear white at home early when it’s hot, except maybe to have the visiting team wear their dark, hot, uniforms. Also I don’t see why there couldn’t be a lot of color v color games with these light blue jerseys.

    Color vs color… Can you imagine the Chargers in powder/yellow hosting the Chiefs in their red/white, or the Raiders in black/silver?



    I’m not a Chargers fan, but I love these uniforms and look forward to seeing them in action. I never liked the previous set – the white panels behind the bolts always looked cheap and unfinished to me.

    Not a Chargers fan either, but they do have great uniforms. There should be credit given to Air Force who originated the lightning bolt logo concept when the Air Force Academy was founded with their football team in the 1950s. Whether the Chargers stole the idea from Air Force or not, they weren’t the first football team to wear it.

    Anyway, the bolt is the thread that makes this uniform consistent in the helmet logo, shoulder stripes and pant stripes. They were very good uniforms last year when they changed the facemask to yellow. It was obvious that yellow pants were the missing element and now they are there. The yellow just pops when you see it and looks great. I would argue the white pants should never be worn now, there is plenty of white with the helmet and road jersey or home jersey numerals. The home and road uniforms with yellow pants are easily the best in the NFL.

    Minor complaints. I liked the minor Navy Blue accents in the old Powder Blue uniform. The Royal and Navy uniforms are throwbacks in a sense, but all these mono color uniforms look horrible for every team.

    I also liked the little bit of navy trim. Didn’t see the need to get rid of it, and would have looked good using navy numbers on the helmet.

    “Uni Watch will still be here for you, come hell or high drama.”
    Very much appreciate this site and all the time you put into it. I recently bought the Uni Watch cap and was on a Zoom call with friends last night. One asked “What’s the logo on your hat?” It was fun to explain…and a little wild to tell them I’ve been reading Uni Watch for over 10 years!

    The Browns,Bucs & Chargers “get it”, the Patriots screwed up with the unitard look,The Falcons listened to what the nike kids in the marketing dept. wanted,now for my team (RAMS) I just heard on local radio here in L.A.they are going to delay the new uni’s past May so either they are going to be really kick -ass or real shitty(I’m thinking the latter)at this point the Chargers have definitely upstaged them,a lot of Rams fans are speculating they are going the Falcons route with shitty gradient pattern on the jerseys/pants as well as( probably) a new updated horn on the helmets much like the shitty logo forced on us I hope I’m very wrong

    No one is expected to care, but I spent a very nice night getting drunk in Thetford Mines a few years ago. Charming town.
    I live in San Francisco.


    Did you see the stadium while you were there (before or after the drinking binge)?

    I did not… I was only there for a (very wet) day.
    And it wasn’t a binge, it was just another Tuesday night! ;-)


    “The mono-navy makes even less sense, because they just made a big point of eliminating navy from their identity, but someone probably got the bright idea of doing this uniform just so they can call it “midnight lightning” or something similarly cringeworthy.

    This gave me a good laugh this morning, Paul! Thanks for that! I have to admit, I’m still kind of expecting some Nike-speak copy on this to show up when these uniforms hit the field for the first time…

    Paul – Regarding the usage of the word “should” in professional sports, I took a quick look at the 2018 official MLB rules online (that’s the year that came up for me), and the word “should” appears 71 times. Most of the time, it appears in a comment to a rule, such as the comment to Rule 5.10(b) – Substitutions. The comment notes that when making a substitution, “the manager SHOULD give the name of the substitute, his position in the batting order and his position on the field.” [Emphasis added.] Makes sense. It’s a courtesy.

    But, then I got down to a recent rule–about breaking up double plays, and surprisingly, “should” is in the rule. The rule is 6.01(j): “If a runner does not engage in a bona fide slide, and initiates (or attempts to make) contact with the fielder for the purpose of breaking up a double play, he SHOULD be called for interference under this Rule 6.01.” [Again, emphasis added.] It may be worded that way to make it subject to the umpire’s judgment, but it’s usually obvious if the slide is “bona fide.” If it isn’t, it should read “the runner shall be called for interference.”

    Of course, “should” is used in other ways, such as “should umpires disagree,” which is a natural use of the word.

    As a long time umpire, the rules-book usage of words like should, shall, must, and will has driven me crazy. In some cases, they all mean the same — they should all say must. But there’s typically a case play or case book that clarifies the usage. Also, I remember what someone once told me — rules books are typically not written by people who are professional writers – people who are really precise with the English language.

    Your examples are good. The substitute one is a place where should is actually a good choice. The manager doesn’t need to provide that information, technically — the rules book says when a substitute is legally in the game after all. But it behooves the manager to report as there can be unintended consequences if the umpire changes his card in a way the manager didn’t intend.

    On the other hand, the bona fide slide rule should say shall. Hard to argue otherwise.

    Rich – Nice to hear from an umpire.

    I should mention that I’m a lawyer, and laws, contracts, etc. are supposedly written by professional people, but you’ll find the same examples where should should mean shall. I’ve heard arguments that shall doesn’t even mean must because if it did, why would they use must in other places? Reason–people make mistakes. That’s what the books we read in law school are full of–especially when you take Contracts. Basically, you’re reading about other people’s mistakes or use of loose/ambiguous language.

    I love love love these! Great job! They’re right – as was the case with the Saints’ color rashes, the Chargers took a classic idea and improved on it. Yeah, there are gonna be some nitpicks based on personal tastes (I actually thought the outlne bolts on the dark blues were a great addition). As for the TV numbers: Where are you gonna put them now? The newer-gen jerseys are damn near sleeveless. But one thing I really liked about the Chargers’ new set, aside from powder blue and the numbers on the helmets, is that the different unis draw together elements from throughout their history: the powders; the yellow pants, the royal blue of Fouts, Don Woods and Winslow; the dark blues of LT and Seau (I didn’t like the old ones, but this is a better use of them), and the blue helmet bolts from 1960. Great job.

    Ads, if they happen, will likely be on the chest, not the shoulder (not particularly visible) or sleeve (ever shrinking).

    I have chased the TV numbers issue for a few hours, and I believe Paul’s suspicion is correct here. I tried to find old copies of the numeral rule, and the oldest I could find was from 2007. The wording is identical to that in the current rulebook. 2007 is also when the Steelers throwback sans TV numbers appeared followed by that of the Lions in 2008.

    I firmly believe that the original intent of “should” was prescriptive. As TV numbers were worn by all teams since 1980, “should” related to the option of putting the numbers on the shoulders or the sleeves. Its presence was assumed. This is buttressed by the use of “optional” with respect to helmet and pants numbers.

    Before we get all crazy about the canons of statutory or regulatory interpretation, be assured I am a lawyer with a few decades of experience in this area.

    My take is that the NFL had been rolling along with this language and a status quo of over 25 years in which all teams had TV numbers. It simply wasn’t a big deal. And then one day there was an “uh-oh” when someone realized that the throwbacks were noncompliant. In the alternative, perhaps it was flagged in advance and decided that the language didn’t have to be interpreted as prescriptive. A little sloppy, but not fatal. Without access to older rulebooks, I can’t go further. But either way, this tracks with what Paul was told by the league office.

    As a side note,the last team to add TV numbers was Cincinnati in 1980, a year prior to the tiger stripe revamp. Perhaps the 1980 change was a transition to the revamp; I certainly don’t know what lead time or other requirements the NFL had back then on uniform changes. Another potential driver was Forrest Gregg, the new head coach in 1980. Gregg was a Lombardi disciple and stickler for discipline (he made the team wear coats and ties when traveling.) Perhaps he thought TV numbers were more professional looking. But that’s pure speculation on my part.

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