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Monday Morning Uni Watch, Divisional Playoffs Edition

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Good morning, and greetings from Uni Watch HQ, where all three inhabitants continue to be safe and well. Hope the same is true at your home.

Gorgeous playoff game yesterday between KC and the Browns. I was rooting for the Browns for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is that a Bills/Browns AFC championship game would essentially have been the Lake Erie Bowl (or, if we were lucky, the Lake Effect Bowl), which would’ve been fun. Too bad.

A few other notes from yesterday’s games:

• Browns kicker Cody Parkey was showcasing some serious biker shorts action:

• The wordmark on Browns tight end Austin Hooper’s nose bumper was crooked:

• Because the Bucs and Saints are both in the NFC South, they played each other twice during this regular season, making yesterday their third time facing each other in a little over four months. The Bucs wore three different uni combos for those three games:

• Multiple reports indicate that yesterday may have been Saints quarterback Drew Brees’s last game. If he does indeed retire, that would remove one of the rare Walter Payton Man of the Year jersey patches from circulation.

Looking ahead: If the two home teams win next week — Green Bay and KC — we’d have a rematch of Super Bowl I. And their uniforms have barely changed since 1967:

The NFC is the designated home team this year, so we’d once again have the Packers in green and KC in white. The big difference, of course, is that KC’s red pants, which they typically wear with their white jerseys these days, didn’t yet exist in 1967 — they were introduced two seasons later.

KC rarely goes mono-white anymore. According to the Gridiron Uniform Database, the last time they did so was Week 9 of 2018, and the time before that was Week 6 of 2016. But if we do get a KC/Packers matchup, wouldn’t it be cool if KC went with the white pants to recreate that Super Bowl I vibe?

Then again, they lost that game, so maybe that’s the last thing they’d want to do. Still, a fella can hope.

(My thanks to Moe Khan, @NFL_Journal, and @keginaring for their contributions to this section.)

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MLK Day: Today is Martin Luther King Jr. Day — the day when we honor the life of history’s greatest American. The Hawks, who play in King’s native city of Atlanta, will mark the holiday by debuting their “MLK” alternate uniforms (one of which was recently blessed by Pope Francis), along with their matching court, for this afternoon’s game against the Timberwolves. Additional info on the designs is available here.

The Hawks are not the first NBA team to wear a King-themed uniform (although they’re the first to wear his initials). The Grizzlies collaborated with the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis to create a King-centric alternate uni for the 2016-17 season, and they had another King-based uni in 2017-18.

King would have turned 92 this year. It’s incredible to think he was only 39 when he was assassinated in 1968 (or to put it another way, paraphrasing the great Tom Lehrer, when King was my age, he’d been dead for 17 years). Think how much more he could have accomplished, and how different the world might be. What a waste. R.I.P.

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Cavs correction/update: Many of you told me how much you enjoyed last Wednesday’s interview with Spencer Heffernan, who told the story of how how his now-deceased father, Cavaliers game-day entertainment director Mark Heffernan, designed the Cavs’ 1999-2003 uniforms. It now turns out that some of the information in that piece needs to be updated.

First, while Mark Heffernan does appear to have had a role in creating the Cavs’ 1999-2003 uni set, he was not the sole creator. Correspondence between the league and the team indicates that there were likely several Cavs people involved (including Heffernan), and that the final design was executed by NBA Properties.

Second, toward the end of the piece there were several concept designs for other NBA teams — the Hawks, Bucks, Suns, Knicks, etc. — that Spencer Heffernan told me were created by his father. It turns out that those designs were actually created by longtime uniform designer Tom O’Grady, who at the time was the NBA’s creative director. Those designs were sent out to various teams, which is apparently how they ended up in Mark Heffernan’s files. When Spencer found them after Mark’s death, he mistakenly thought Mark had created them.

I’m happy to set the record straight, and I’ve added a correction to the end of the original entry.

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Chatty catty: Uni Watch girl mascot President Caitlin was test-driving the new fancy-shmancy microphone that I’ll be using for an upcoming podcast project (more on that soon). She usually has at least as much to say around here as I do, but she doesn’t need a mic — trust me on that.

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Pin Club update: Reader Blake Pass, who designed the display template for our 2020 pins, has now created one for 2021 (shown above). You can download it here.

While we’re at it: If you somehow haven’t yet seen the January 2021 pin, it features a curling theme. As of this writing, there are about 50 of them remaining. You can get yours here while supplies last.

Also: All of our remaining 2020 pins have now been marked down from $13.99 to $9.99 (plus card-carrying Uni Watch members can save even more by using their 15% membership discount). Those are all available in the Uni Watch Shop.

As always, my thanks for your support and consideration.

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Way to represent: Who was that going full-Uni Watch the other day (including our first sighting of a Uni Watch Pin Club All-Star pin in the wild)? None other than reader Mike Wilson. Looking sharp, Mike!

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The Ticker
By Jamie Rathjen

Baseball News: The Mets have a few uni number updates (from Sam Maxwell). … Taiwan’s Chinese Professional Baseball League’s Uni-Lions have an alternate logo for this season (from Jeremy Brahm).

Football News: Buccaneers QB Tom Brady sent Washington DL Chase Young his jersey from last week’s playoff game after Young asked for it.

Hockey News: The WNBA’s Seattle Storm are one of the latest teams sending cardboard cutouts of players in uniform to the NWHL bubble — to support every team, apparently. Others to join them include the Storm’s WNBA league-mates the Las Vegas Aces, along with the NHL’s Islanders and Bruins. … Cross-posted from the soccer section: The DEL’s Kölner Haie participated in 1. FC Köln’s annual diversity day and wore rainbow numbers yesterday. … Blackhawks broadcaster Pat Foley had some very amusing commentary about Panthers G Chris Driedger’s The Mandalorian-themed mask (from @The_Big_GB).

Basketball News: Northwestern’s men’s team wore grey at home against Iowa. … A boys’ high school team in Oklahoma has been wearing masks during games (from Dan Bewley).

Soccer News: Germany’s 1. FC Köln continued an annual tradition of holding a diversity day and wearing a rainbow captain’s armband and accents this weekend. Ice hockey’s Kölner Haie participated yesterday as well. … In Italy, Inter Milan will apparently have a new logo in a few months (from Trevor Williams). … New kits for Japan’s Tokushima Vortis (from Jeremy Brahm). … Some of the teams at the African Nations Championship debuted new kits, including Burkina Faso and Cameroon. The tournament only allows teams to use players from their country’s own league, as those players rarely make full-strength top-level African men’s national teams (Burkina Faso from Trevor Williams). … MLS’s website picked the league’s best 11 mascots (from Wade Heidt). … Premier League side Southampton has ended its kit deal with Under Armour two years early and is switching to Hummel (from Ed Zelaski and Germán Cabrejo).

Grab Bag: Great Britain’s field hockey teams in the recent past temporarily did not wear ads, but only the women’s team now has a new one, as do the two FIH Pro Leagues for the first time. … Bangladesh’s cricket teams have a new shirt shirt commemorating 50 years of independence — I would guess it’s for the One Day International and/or Twenty20 teams as it’s not white (from Jerry Pemberton). … NASCAR Cup Series driver Davey Allison had the same primary advertiser for most of his career, but the agreement was finished so close to the start of the 1987 season that he went to Daytona without the advertiser’s decals (from Trevor Williams). … A recreational marijuana shop in Maine is facing a fine because the state has ruled that the shop’s mermaid-based logo could encourage underage cannabis use. … Here’s an interesting analysis of how Burger King’s new logo is an example of the “flat design” trend.

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Comments (47)

    If it is the Chiefs and the Packers in the Super Bowl, does that mean that Jake from State Farm gets to be the referee? And if so, does he wear his State Farm polo shirt, only with stripes?

    Thank you, Paul, for stating what should be an obvious fact (but still isn’t to some): that Martin Luther King, Jr is the greatest American who has ever lived. If I may be indulged a bit of self-promotion, I wrote an essay for my old blog almost exactly eight years ago on Dr King.


    I think it is overly simplistic to say the designation of who is the greatest American is an obvious fact. Greatness has a subjective nature to it; which characteristics of greatness are a priority to you compared to others. That being said, MLK most certainly has to top the lists of greatest Americans of the 20th century. Perhaps the only other person I’d consider for the 20th century is Jackie Robinson.
    However, to dismiss the founding fathers out of consideration for greatest American who has ever lived seems a glaring omission. Particularly of note I would say is Washington. This is a man who repeatedly refused kingship, at a point in history where kingship was simply how nations were led. That he not only was the military leader of one of the greatest upsets in world history, but also showed unheard of restraint in refusing power so as to create this beautiful experiment in democracy is worthy of immense consideration.

    I would also consider FDR for the list of 20th greats. Some might disqualify him for the Japanese internment alone but his steering of this country through the Great Depression and WW II and the passing of New Deal, all while afflicted with polio, were major accomplishments. Had he been defeated at the polls, this country and the world would be different places and in my opinion, not for the better.

    I agree that Washington is in the running for the reasons you mention but would not argue with anyone who disqualifies him or any of the founding fathers who were slaveholders. The “they were just a product of their time” argument does not hold water because there were many people of that same time who condemned slavery for the abomination it was.

    I would also consider Lincoln for the overall top spot. The Civil War is arguably the most pivotal time in U.S. history and without him we might be living in a physically divided nation instead of just an ideologically divided one.

    That said, MLK definitely belongs in any discussion of this country’s greatest American.

    Plain and simple. If it is a Kansas City vs. Green Bay Super Bowl, the Chiefs must go white over white. There can be no other choice because of historical significance. Would want it to look as close to the first Super Bowl as possible. It is a no-brainer. If they chose otherwise would be a huge uniform mistake by team officials.

    Ok, if PAUL thinks the Chiefs should wear white pants instead of red pants, then it must be the right thing to do.

    I guess they could. They have used grey masks recently. I am fine with white masks as I think a team should not tinker with their primary helmet for a Super Bowl.

    The Chiefs switched out the white for gray last season versus the Vikings to celebrate the 50th anniversary of SB 4 and also painted a gray the facemask on the mid-field helmet logo(which supplanted the arrowhead) for the playoffs.
    The grays look fine when they occasionally throw back to their days as the Texans…keep them in the equipment room until then.

    But if we do get a KC/Packers matchup, wouldn’t it be cool if KC went with the white pants to recreate that Super Bowl I vibe?

    No no no no no.

    If they keep the red pants, the game will replace the Vikings/Chiefs as the Best Looking Super Bowl Ever.

    You want to recreate the inaugural vibe? Put numbers every five yards on the field and bring back this look!

    Chiefs going with white pants would be ideal if your goal for this Superbowl was to make it a throwback or historically significant. And perhaps last year during the 100th season or if it was SB 50 that might take precedence when evaluating the matchup.
    However, if the goal is simply to have the best uniform matchup, the red pants are the clear winner. That is not to say the white pants (with red socks) are bad, but I think the red pants are more visually pleasing. Especially in this matchup; yellow/green/yellow vs red/white/red. There is a beautiful symmetry there.

    I’m not 100% sure but watching yesterday I thought I saw a smaller font, compared to his teammates, used for Packers’ Marquez Valdes-Scantling so that his name would fit on his jersey.

    Interesting piece about ‘flat design’

    Nice that expensive ad agencies can now just recycle old ideas. just like Hollywood writers & movies… ;-0 I’m looking at you “Karate Kid’ reboot…

    However TV broadcasters don’t seem to understand ‘flat design’ concepts in their obsession with on-screen 3D graphics….the Senators new retro 2D logo was converted to 3D on the TV broadcast I saw on the weekend….didn’t really look like any of their logos at all…lol

    Not as bad as what the Pittsburgh Pirates do, but yeah, that’s pretty ugly.

    Actually the Browns’ bizarre mixture of sharp and rounded corners looks almost as bad. Make up your mind!

    The Browns’ uniforms stink of somebody wanting to put “their” stamp on classic uniforms.

    I don’t know if that was the designer, or Nike, or the league, or ownership. But somebody wanted to say they made a difference to the new unis.

    I was thinking while watching the Bucs Saints game that the uniform combo Tampa Bay was wearing is their best look with their current uniforms. The pewter helmets and pants with white jerseys is a better look than the white pants with white jerseys.

    Perhaps Paul’s article about good aesthetic choices leading to good winning karma is true! All four remaining teams have great uniforms (as long as they don’t go mono) and these should be some gorgeous matchups next weekend and in the Super Bowl regardless of who wins. While I do understand wanting to see a recreation of SB 1, I do really love KC’s white over red pants look so I won’t be too sad if we see that in the Super Bowl.

    Also, unless I’m mistaken, I believe every team with striped socks made the playoffs this year (KC, Cleveland, Buffalo, Washington (I’ve never understood why their burgundy socks sometimes do and don’t have stripes), and Chicago). And no, I don’t consider the tiny sliver of an alternate color at the bottom of the NE and Denver hosiery a striped sock. That’s good uni karma if I’ve ever seen it!

    Washington’s burgundy socks had stripes on them when they wore the yellow pants. The burgundy socks no stripes on them when wearing the white pants.

    I did not watch much of the Buffalo playoff game against Baltimore. It did look like the Bills went solid blue socks for that game? Didn’t see socks out there with any striping.

    Talking about Super Bowl I. Three of the four teams who were in the running to play in Super Bowl I are back in the conference finals this year. Bills vs. Chiefs for 1966 AFL title. Packers vs. Cowboys in 1966 for NFL. Only Cowboys are not back this year!

    Is it me, or would the Saints helmets look better without the black and white center stripes? Addition by subtraction?

    Yes, it’s you. All helmets look better with a 3Stripe combo, but some combos are better than others.

    Try it yourself – name one team that might look better with no stripes. Betcha can’t.

    Sure I can – WFT’s helmets looked better this year without stripes than they would’ve with stripes.

    The problem with the Saints unis is most definitely not the helmet. They’d be totally fine if they just wore gold pants that actually match the helmet gold, and had a black/white/black stripe on them. They’ve always had trouble matching the golds, but there was once a time when link. Return to that (and wear those pants home/away) and they’re top 10 or close to it.

    As a born and bred Saints fan, I’d be ecstatic if they simply burned the black pants. They look fine when paired with the white jersey and socks that aren’t solid black, but they simply awful when paired with the black jersey. Just looks high school to me. Somehow we manage to be BFBS with black being a primary team color.

    The white Color Rush pants are nice with the white top, but my overwhelming preference is just to standardize with shiny gold pants with either the current black stripe or the helmet stripe. It’s a sharp look that looks traditional without being too old-school.

    Sadly, we seem bound and determined to wear the all black leotard look in the Dome–probably some idiotic idea that the team looks more “menacing” or some ridiculousness. Or maybe it’s just that Nike can’t develop shiny football pants and ownership prefers the all black look to khaki pants.

    Gold pants are the best option, but I could deal with black ones if they had stripes. The leotard look is just Godawful.

    Where the black pants always Drew Brees’s call? I have not heard this, just a guess. If so, betting the black leotards will go away if he does retire.

    Not to start discourse but “sponsor” should really be used in motorsport (and cycling, for that matter). I thought the convention was to use it in cases where team would be unlikely to exist otherwise?

    I’d love to see the #28 return to NASCAR Cup competition.

    That ’87 scheme was so much better than the BFBS one that followed and stuck around for years post-Allison.

    One thing I noticed with the Chiefs on Sunday – they had captains patches for the first time all year.

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