Jay Braiman’s Insanely Awesome Super Bowl Uni Preview

The graphic shown above notwithstanding, we still don’t know which uniform combos will be worn in the Super Bowl, because the Bucs — the designated home team — haven’t yet announced what they’ll be wearing.

But that doesn’t mean we don’t know anything about the Super Bowl uniforms. In fact, we know quite a bit — or at least Jay Braiman does. As longtime readers may recall, one of our annual Uni Watch rituals is that Jay (who goes by Graf Zeppelin in the comments section) comes up with a batch of insanely and brilliantly detailed uni-related info about the two Super Bowl teams, which he usually sends to me within moments of the second conference championship game ending.

But I didn’t receive the usual email from Jay on Sunday night, which was worrisome — had the virus gotten to him? Fortunately, it turned out to be just a tech glitch (his email somehow ended up in my trash folder), so I’m happy to turn the mic over to him today. Take it away, Jay!

Jay Braiman’s Super Bowl Preview
By the one and only Jay Braiman

The Buccaneers will become the first team ever to play a Super Bowl game in their home stadium (ironic, given that it’s happening at a time when attendance is restricted). Two other teams have come close, playing in their home markets but not at their home buildings: The Rams in Super Bowl XIV played about 15 miles up the 110 from the L.A. Coliseum at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, and the 49ers in Super Bowl XIX played at Stanford Stadium in Palo Alto, which is about 30 miles from Candlestick Park. The Rams, who were the designated road team against the Steelers, lost; the 49ers, as the designated home team, defeated the Dolphins. The Buccaneers will be the designated home team next month in their home stadium.

This is the second year in a row that both teams’ primary jersey color is red; last year was the first time that had ever happened, so this is our “first time ever” thing for this year. Teams wearing red jerseys are 6-5 in Super Bowls; teams whose primary dark jersey is red, irrespective of whether they wore red or white in the big game, are 11-8. Kansas City has lost once in white and won twice in red; the Buccaneers won their only Super Bowl appearance in red.

This is also the second consecutive year that both Super Bowl teams’ jerseys have standard block/varsity numerals (i.e., neither team uses a custom numeral font). That hasn’t happened in back-to-back Super Bowls since XXIX (49ers/Chargers) and XXX (Cowboys/Steelers). Only one of the first 30 Super Bowls had either team wearing a custom numeral font (the Bears in Super Bowl XX); starting with XXXI, only three games have not had at least one team in a custom font (XXXVII, Buccaneers/Raiders; XLIV, Saints/Colts; and LIV, KC/49ers). Custom fonts are 9-6 against standard numerals, with six games having both teams in custom fonts.

This is also the second year in a row that all four starting quarterbacks in the conference championship games wore double-digit numbers: Aaron Rodgers (12), Tom Brady (12), Patrick Mahomes (15), and Josh Allen (17). The last time that happened two years in a row was 1975-76 (Terry Bradshaw, Ken Stabler, Roger Staubach, and James Harris all wore No. 12, the only time all four wore the same number) and 1976-77 (Stabler, Bradshaw, Fran Tarkenton No. 10, and Pat Haden No. 11).

From Super Bowls VI through XIV — that’s nine consecutive games — every winning quarterback wore #12: Bradshaw four times; Staubach and Bob Griese twice each; and Stabler once. In the 40 seasons since then, only Brady and Rodgers have won Super Bowls while wearing No. 12. Meanwhile, five quarterbacks have lost a total of 10 Super Bowls while wearing that number: Jim Kelly (four times), Stan Humphries, Chris Chandler, Rich Gannon, and Brady (three times).

Brady will become the fourth quarterback to start a Super Bowl for two different teams. He’ll be the third to do so after having won at least once with his previous team; the previous two, like Brady, wore the same number for both teams (Kurt Warner No. 13, and Peyton Manning No. 18). The only quarterback to start for two different teams without having won, Craig Morton, wore two different numbers: No. 14 for the Cowboys and No. 7 for the Broncos.

Patrick Mahomes is one of five quarterbacks to start a Super Bowl wearing No. 15. He, Jeff Hostetler (SB XXV, Giants over Bills), and Bart Starr (SBs I and II, Packers over Chiefs and Raiders) were winners. The other No. 15s were Earl Morrall in Super Bowl III, which his Colts lost to the Jets, and Vince Ferragamo of the Rams, who lost Super Bowl XIV to the Steelers.

The Buccaneers are the second franchise, after the 49ers, to overhaul their primary uniform after reaching (and winning) the Super Bowl and then get back to the Super Bowl after reverting to the previous design (or a fair approximation thereof) with a modified helmet logo. The 49ers were 5-0 in Super Bowls before the uniform change; since reverting to the old design, they’re 0-2.

The Buccaneers’ uniforms have five colors, including white; Kansas City’s have a more modest and traditional three (primary, trim, and white). But as we discussed last year, they have a fourth color on their helmets (black) that appears nowhere else on their uniform, and their third/trim color (yellow) appears nowhere on the helmet. Teams with a color in their helmet logo that appears nowhere else on the uniform, are 15-15 in Super Bowls, including both KC and the 49ers last year. Teams with a trim color on the jersey that appears nowhere on the helmet are 7-6.

Teams like the Buccaneers, whose helmet shell color does not appear anywhere on their Super Bowl jersey, are 13-6; the Bucs have one of those wins.

This is the 31st Super Bowl between a team with letters in their helmet logo and one without. Teams with letters in their helmet logos won 16 of the first 20 and are 21-9 overall. Both of this year’s teams won their previous matchups — Kansas City over the Vikings in SB IV and the Buccaneers over the Raiders in SB XXXVII.

This is only the seventh Super Bowl in which neither team’s helmets have any center striping. Kansas City played in the only one of these to occur in the first 35 Super Bowls (SB IV vs. Vikings), and the only one that did not involve the Patriots.

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Paul here. I ask you, where else are you going to find info like that? There is nobody — nobody! — who crunches the Super Bowl uni data like Jay does. He’s not just the preeminent scholar in this field of study — he is this field of study. Please join me in thanking him for once again sharing his singular genius with us.

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Click to enlarge

Capping things off: The Capitals unveiled a third jersey fourth uniform yesterday. As you can see, they’re really leaning into that three-star motif, which they had already added to their pants (and which is based on the District of Columbia flag).

If the crest looks familiar, it’s because that “W” logo originally appeared on the Caps’ 2018 Stadium Series pants. So nothing here is particularly original, but it’s a solid-looking uniform. Odd that they didn’t reveal it prior to the start of the season.

Here’s the rear view:

This uniform will make its debut tonight, when the Caps host the Islanders, and will be worn six additional times through the rest of the season. The dates are listed here.

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Two minutes well spent: In the wake of Henry Aaron’s death, Twitter-er Greg Harvey created animation showing the progression of the top 10 all-time MLB home run leaders since 1900.

The amazing thing is that the list barely changes at all from from 1975 through 2000 — a quarter-century’s worth of record-book stasis (until steroids changed everything, obviously). For people who, like myself, came of age during that period, that’s why it’s so weird for us to see active and recent players like A-Rod or Albert Pujols in the top 10 — we just got used to the list being a certain way for a long time.

I’m a total sucker for this style of animation. I assume there’s a name for it, but I don’t know what it is. Anyone..?

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Click to enlarge

Collector’s Corner
By Brinke Guthrie
    

Let’s start this week by taking a Collector’s Corner trip back to Houston for the 1982 Astros season. This seller is offering up an Astros ticket brochure and this great looking “Astros 82” record, which features the ninth inning radio play-by-play of Nolan Ryan’s fifth no-hitter (Sept 26, 1981.) The Express would go on to toss two more no-hit gems in his Hall of Fame career, in addition to beating up Robin Ventura.

Now for the rest of this week’s picks:

 • I had one of these! Hank Aaron used to have an endorsement deal with Magnavox, which issued these commemorative “715” baseball bats. (Mine hung in my room with similar bats for the 1975 and ’76 Reds championships.)

• I’ve never seen these before! This is a set of plastic NFL trading cards of some type. The 12-card set is for the New York Giants. The seller also has sets for the Bengals and 49ers.

 • This Wilson NFL Football also comes with the logo of Canon cameras.

 • Here’s a pass good for admittance to the (Kansas City) A’s Room for the 1961 season (writers, announcers and MLB officials only, please). You could use it up to an hour and a half before and after the game. Card No. 60 belonged to Ed Rumill.

 • Even if I were a Ken Stabler fan, I’m not sure I’d want to drink a can of Ken Stabler’s Snake Venom Cola, ya know? This auction is for five empty cans from his days as a Houston (Luv Ya Blue!) Oiler.

 • This 1975 San Diego Union-Evening Tribune football schedule has Chargers art on the front but covers several Southern California teams, including USC, UCLA, and San Diego State.

• Some glasses here: Joe DiMaggio from the 1939 World’s Fair, and a set of four celebrating the Baltimore Orioles’ 1966 World Series title.

 • Let’s go Mets! Here’s a 1985 Met Mania Trivia Game that was made for “die-hard Mets fans.”

 • “Every Card’s a Winner!” Maybe that was supposed to be Tony Dorsett on this ad for NFL Action Cards from McDonald’s. 

• I can flat promise you that Collector’s Corner has never ever featured this type of item before: an NFL Pin and Garter set. Eleven teams, 30 pins and garters!

• And from Will Scheibler in our Canadian Bureau, a cooler shaped like the SkyDome roof. Now that’s a nice bit of design, eh?

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Too good for the Ticker: A Redditor has created an absolutely sensational hockey-themed bottle opener. Trust me when I say you should click here and then click on the resulting 49-second video. Best minute you’ll spend all day, I promise.

(Mega-thanks to Tim Johnson for this one.)

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The Ticker
By Alex Hider

Baseball News: With Adam Ottavino’s trade to the Red Sox, the Yankees no longer have a No. 0 on their roster. If Ottavino wears No. 0 for Boston, he’ll be the second Bosox player to do so, following Brandon Phillips in 2018. … Speaking of the Red Sox, Fenway Park will serve as a mass Covid vaccination center (from our own Anthony Emerson). … Several new number assignments for the Tigers (from @vancealot29). … The Wild West League, which formed last year as a summer collegiate wood bat circuit, will be back as a four-team league in 2021. Two of the league’s teams, the Portland Pickles and the Gresham Greywolves, will be joined by the Portland Rosebuds (inspired by a Negro Leagues team of the same name) and the Willamette Wild Bills (from Kary Klismet and @StupidTweetman). … Back in the day (1980s?), the Texas Rangers sold their own Gatorade-style sports drink called Ranger Aid. I guess it’s not as catchy as “Gatorade” (from Mike Barnes). … This Cleveland Scene piece by former Uni Watch team member Vince Grzegorek takes a look at how recent trademark filings may affect the Indians’ impending name change (from @spiders_six). … New uniforms for the University of Texas–Rio Grande Valley (from @SoTxAthletix).

Football News: Back in the mid-2000s, the maker’s mark on Bills’ QB J.P. Losman’s jersey didn’t quite fit on his sleeve, so it was pushed up to the navy shoulder yoke on the team’s road jerseys (from Samuel Lam). … For the first time in decades, Budweiser will not run a Super Bowl ad this year (from Timmy Donahue). … Alabama won this year’s National Championship in Miami, and in a graphic tweeted Monday, they re-colored their commemorative logo to match “Miami Vice” colors (from Dakota Brian Hill). … This is pretty great: The goal line marker at a 1967 Steelers game included an arrow pointing to “Pay Dirt” (from Jerry Wolper).

Hockey News: When the Rangers debuted their “Lady Liberty” uniforms in 1997, they aired a pregame segment that looked at some of the other designs they considered — and some are truly ridiculous (thanks to all who shared). … The Blue Jackets, Lightning and Wild have announced their Reverse Retro and alternate uni schedules (from Sean Thesing). … Flames G Jacob Markstrom has a new mask to match the team’s Reverse Retro uniforms (from Wade Heidt). … Scott Stoddard noticed that in this 1924 photo of the U.S. Olympic Hockey team, team captain Irv Small was wearing a “C” patch on his sleeve. ” I can find other photos of Small, but none that show the captain’s C on his jersey sleeve,” Scott said. Anyone else notice this before? … In this classic Kings/Oilers clip, watch as the board signage gets peeled away after a check — and the refs let the game play on! (From @VintageOilers.) … Here’s some footage from a 1978 WHA game that shows the entire Cincinnati Stingers team wearing first initials on their NOBs (from Jerry Wolper).

Basketball News: Nets PG Kyrie Irving arrived at the arena last night wearing a Kobe Bryant jersey. Today marks the one-year anniversary of Bryant’s death (from Mike Chamernik). … Speaking of Irving, after the game he gave his jersey to Heat F/C Bam Adebayo. Security had stopped those same two players from engaging in a postgame jersey swap on Saturday night (from Mike Chamernik). … Southern Illinois is adding a memorial patch for former coach Rich Herrin, who died in December (from @mrmichael21).

Soccer News: New badge for Belarusian second-division club Belshina Bobruisk (from Ed Żelaski). … Austin FC, slated to begin play in MLS this season, has announced it has sold the naming rights to its future stadium (from Timmy Donahue). … New Swansea ST Jordan Morris will wear No. 11 (from Terry Mark). … We’ve got a couple of submissions from Kary Klismet: The new third kit for Liga MX team Tigres has leaked, and Princeton University has received approval for a new soccer stadium.

Grab Bag: Back in the 1950s, when Dwight D. Eisenhower began running for president, The New York Times ran into trouble trying to fit his long name into a single page column, so they designed some compressed type just for his surname (from Mike Hillman). … This story notes that the camouflage fatigues worn by North Korea and South Korea are remarkably similar (from Greg Franklin). … Hays High School in Texas has chosen “Hawks” as its new team name to replace the recently retired “Rebels” (from Kary Klismet). … Also from Kary: Rugby league club Huddersfield Giants unveiled a new logo a few months ago. … Table tennis pros can now refine their swings with the help of sensors embedded in their paddles (from Jeremy Brahm). … Plans to have Andrew Jackson replaced by Harriet Tubman on the design of the U.S. $20 bill, which were back-burnered several years ago by the Trump administration, are back on track.

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45 comments to Jay Braiman’s Insanely Awesome Super Bowl Uni Preview

  • Greg | January 26, 2021 at 9:11 am |

    Thanks for sharing that HR leaderboard animation. It is interesting how quickly some players move up that leaderboard once they get to the top 10. Seeing Thome on that list makes me chuckle, looking at him he doesn’t strike you as pro athlete, more like your neighbor doing yard work. I’ve always appreciated him for that reason.
    For my money he and Griffey are the only untainted modern guys in there.

  • Memal | January 26, 2021 at 9:12 am |

    Terrific attention to detail Jay!

    • walter | January 26, 2021 at 6:16 pm |

      My hat’s off to you, sir. You are a credit to deep dives, as well as zeppelins!

  • Bernie | January 26, 2021 at 9:31 am |

    I often skip straight to the Grab Bag ticker section, and the story on the Eisenhower compressed type is a prime reason why. A perfect example of something that has nothing to do with uniforms, but everything to do with Uni Watch.

    • maks | January 26, 2021 at 11:34 am |

      seconded.

  • sandman | January 26, 2021 at 9:46 am |

    *love* the hockey/plinko bottle opener…wicked fun!

    also like the ‘Skinny S’, think that’ll be my new nickname…lol

  • Ian K | January 26, 2021 at 9:52 am |

    Brandon Tanev wore 13 for the Jets as recently as the 2018-19 Season. It even says so in the bardown article you link to.

    • Ian K | January 26, 2021 at 9:53 am |

      And Kyle Wellwood before that, forgot all about that guy.

      • Paul Lukas | January 26, 2021 at 9:54 am |

        Thanks, Ian. I’ll remove that item from the Ticker.

  • Rob Z. | January 26, 2021 at 9:56 am |

    Thank goodness the Bucs changed their uni’s this year. If not, the Superbowl would have set a record this year for the ugliest uniform in it’s 55 year history!

    • RICKAZ | January 26, 2021 at 10:23 am |

      Wonder if Uni-Watch has ever rated the worst uniforms in the Super Bowl. Without looking over the list of teams, I’ve got to think the Bucs uniform is in the running. And if they wear the red again, this Bucs uniform is worst then their last Super Bowl because of the larger helmet logo.

      • ChrisH | January 26, 2021 at 10:45 am |

        1-Seahawks in SB 49.
        2-Seahawks in SB 40.
        3-Seahawks in SB 48.
        Dishonorable Mention-Titans in SB 34 (solely on the basis that they re-branded a season too soon and denied these a SB appearance):

        https://www.kronozio.com/card/bbcaa9ab-5544-4c55-81e4-daf90f22c92f/1998-Topps-Eddie-George-150

        • Rob Z. | January 26, 2021 at 11:06 am |

          I have agree with you on your list. Never warmed up to the Seahawks uni’s since they switched from their original royal blue, green and silver Steve Largent era duds. I also loved the old Oiler powder blue, red and white! Damn shame we never got the chance to see those in a Superbowl.

        • ChrisH | January 26, 2021 at 12:34 pm |

          The ’98 Oilers only wore white-over-white; the powder blue jerseys would not have made into that SB :(
          Still, a great look.
          It also would have been a treat to see the Rams blue and yellow combo…had to wait about 20 years to see those.

        • Greg | January 26, 2021 at 1:40 pm |

          Super Bowl XLIII also gets on the list for featuring the current Cardinals debacle, as well as LI for Falcons/Patriots.

          Interesting thing with Seattle is that I think the combo of navy, bright green, and gray work great together, they just horribly executed the uniforms. Swap the gray in the logo for green. Navy helmet is fine, you could just go with a navy jersey that features a stripe pattern with the logo, like their classics, and then gray pants. Seahawks are a classic example of over design. You could have easily modernized the old blue and silver look with the modern colors and ended up with a great looking uniform.

  • Brian | January 26, 2021 at 10:04 am |

    Possible clues/confirmation that the Bucs will wear red. Their online pro shop is selling “Super Bowl LV Bound Game Jersey” in red for youth (with SB patch), and also, “Super Bowl LV Bound Game fashion Jersey” in black for adults (also with SB patch). No white jerseys for sale with SB patch.

    • Paul Lukas | January 26, 2021 at 10:11 am |

      I assume you also checked the Chiefs’ online pro shop to see what they’re selling, since that would be a good way to bolster your theory, right?

      If you haven’t already done that, how about if you do it now and then report back on what you find.

      • Erick | January 26, 2021 at 11:37 am |

        KC is selling Super Bowl patch jerseys in both red and black, with no white.
        TB has black, red, and pewter

        • Paul Lukas | January 26, 2021 at 12:44 pm |

          Which basically disproves Brian’s theory, since obviously we won’t have *both* teams wearing red.

          Moral of the story: Trying to read the retail/merch tea leaves isn’t a very good way of getting good info on something like this. The teams just sell whatever slop they think is gonna sell. As for what will actually be worn, we’ll find out soon enough.

  • Bob A | January 26, 2021 at 10:08 am |

    The Giants item in the Collector’s Corner was issued by Popcicle in boxes of their ice cream treats circa 1976. They (presumably) had cards for every team. I have the Baltimore Colts card and a few others. They are a thin, very flexible plastic about the size of credit cards.

  • Kyle B | January 26, 2021 at 10:24 am |

    On those those new baseball jerseys for the University of Texas Rio Grande (in the ticker) it appears as if only the top buttons actually button. Take a look at the stitching above the letter “R.”

    • Mnemnonic | January 26, 2021 at 10:47 am |

      I like the caps!

      The jersey? I don’t think I’ve ever seen that long of an acronym on a baseball jersey ever. I mean, I’ve seen ABC (Atlanta Black Crackers), OKC (Oklahoma City), and some military baseball teams like AAF (Army Air Force) and Overseas Invasion Service Expedition (OISE). Five letters? Never.

      • walter | January 26, 2021 at 9:25 pm |

        I just checked to see if IUPUI (Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis)has a baseball team; they don’t.

  • Paul Bailey | January 26, 2021 at 10:39 am |

    Jay, thank you so much for sharing your Super Bowl uni knowledge with us. I love that kind of thing so much and can’t wait to share it with friends. You’ve made my day!

    • ChrisH | January 26, 2021 at 10:51 am |

      Seconded! Very comprehensive.
      Thanks, Jay.

  • Puck | January 26, 2021 at 10:41 am |

    Re: the Capitals’ navy jerseys.

    The striping looks very similar to the 1936 Olympic Team’s jersey, though the shoulder yoke for the vintage sweaters are narrower.

    I like it; perhaps USA Hockey could take this template for the next Olympics?

  • Le Cracquere | January 26, 2021 at 12:44 pm |

    Kudos to Mr. Braiman–great number-crunching!

    But the question that haunts my mind is: Does he count the Falcons among the teams with a letter in their helmet logo?

    • Graf Zeppelin | January 26, 2021 at 1:10 pm |

      No.

  • Tim | January 26, 2021 at 12:46 pm |

    Interesting article on SB Logos. Why is the NFL keeping them looking the same year over year, rather than the custom logos they used to do each year.

    https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/football_nfl/bring-back-the-custom-super-bowl-logos/ar-BB1d70Vh

  • Tom V. | January 26, 2021 at 1:30 pm |

    762 homers means Barry Bonds has run nearly 52 miles just rounding the bases after home runs.

    • Tim | January 26, 2021 at 5:19 pm |

      Probably 20-25 of those miles are after “the cream” and “the clear”.

  • Tim P | January 26, 2021 at 1:46 pm |

    To answer the question, that form of animation is called a Bar Chart Race. Here’s a more in-depth look at the positives and negatives of the format: https://builtin.com/data-science/bar-chart-races

    • Paul Lukas | January 26, 2021 at 1:52 pm |

      Excellent — thank you!!

  • Joe | January 26, 2021 at 2:04 pm |

    Not sure if this has been mentioned already (I apologize if it has) but if the Chiefs wear their road uniform (white jersey red pants) in the Super Bowl, it would be their third different uniform combination. In SB I, they wore the all-white uniform as the road team and in SB IV and SB LIV, they wore the normal home look of red jersey white pants.

    • Paul Lukas | January 26, 2021 at 2:04 pm |

      Excellent point!

    • Graf Zeppelin | January 26, 2021 at 2:28 pm |

      The Giants, Seahawks and Rams have also worn three different uni combos in Super Bowl games; the 49ers have too, if you count the throwbacks they wore in SB XXIX.

      The Patriots have worn four uni combos in Super Bowl games; The Broncos have worn five, which is the record.

      • Greg | January 26, 2021 at 7:04 pm |

        However, would this be the first time a team has worn three different combinations of what is essentially the same uniform set? I think the only other team would be the Broncos, who have worn their current look with white, navy, and orange jerseys in the Superbowl. Which would make the Broncos the only team to wear the same design and three different jerseys, while the Chiefs would be the only team to wear three variants of the same design, but with only two different jersey colors.
        All the other teams mentioned have worn different uniform designs, not simply different uniform combos from the same design.

        • Graf Zeppelin | January 26, 2021 at 7:28 pm |

          That’s right.

  • Ron V | January 26, 2021 at 3:09 pm |

    While the three-star design does mimic the DC flag, the Caps say “The Three Stars represent Maryland, Washington, D.C., and Virginia.” They have said that since the release of the current design in 2007. Marketing speak for sure, but at least they have been consistent.

  • Mic | January 26, 2021 at 4:23 pm |

    The hockey bottle opener is amazing, just take my money now.
    Too good for the ticker indeed. I really hope they start selling them.

  • Eddie | January 26, 2021 at 9:13 pm |

    “This is the 31st Super Bowl between a team with letters in their helmet logo and one without. Teams with letters in their helmet logos won 16 of the first 20 and are 21-9 overall. Both of this year’s teams won their previous matchups — Kansas City over the Vikings in SB IV and the Buccaneers over the Raiders in SB XXXVII.”

    The Raiders do have letters in their helmet logo…

    • Graf Zeppelin | January 26, 2021 at 9:58 pm |

      Yes, and the Bucs don’t.

    • Brinke | January 26, 2021 at 11:29 pm |

      I thought once they moved to LV they might change the small ‘Raiders’ to “Las Vegas.” I don’t think they’ll EVER change that set, although I love the silver numbers when they roll those out. And a black helmet with black facemask, well, that is very Ray-duh-ish.

  • Jeff Stark | January 28, 2021 at 8:28 pm |

    Paul,

    In the photo of Brady and Mahomes, Brady is wearing rib pads and Mahomes does not appear to. Any idea how many NFL starting QB’s do wear pads/don’t wear pads?

    • Paul Lukas | January 28, 2021 at 8:45 pm |

      That’s not something I’ve ever tracked — sorry.