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Putting the Foot in Paper Football…Wait, What?

By Phil Hecken, with Jim Vilk

A couple months ago, I featured the ubiquitous Jimmer Vilk’s Paper Football Project, a nifty DIY he based on a different DIY. Since that time, Jim has been promising me he will have a special field to go along with all those paper footballs. Well, the Vilkman has again put his DIY skills to good use and what you’re about to see today is pretty amazing. And it’s definitely not what I was expecting. I better let Jimmer take it from here…

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Putting the Foot in Paper Football
by Jim Vilk

For several weeks I’ve been promising Phil a paper football field. I don’t think he was expecting what he got today, though. Yes, I wanted (and still want) to make a proper field with two end zones. This field, however, serves a very specific purpose. It’s for practicing the most important part of the game, the field goal!

To explain, let me go back to what was supposed to be Pro Bowl week. I shared this photo with Paul…

… and I told him if there wasn’t going to be a real Pro Bowl, I was going to have one paper-style at the Vilk household…or, if I couldn’t get anyone to play with me, I was going to have an AFC vs NFC field goal kicking contest. As it turns out, I couldn’t get anyone to play, and I didn’t have the time or space for the kick-off either. That got me thinking…how can I kick paper footballs solo without worrying about knocking over my goal posts? Yes, they have suction cups at the bottom, but they’re not *that* good. I needed a base of some sort, and since we have lots of cork bulletin boards sitting in our basement, I took one and drilled two holes in it.

By the way, I don’t recommend drilling into cork. It gets sloppy, hence the duct tape to reinforce the holes.

Why two? For those of a certain age who noticed the hole in my goal line, you know it’s because I wanted the option to throw back to that glorious time when the NFL (and the AFL and the AAFC) placed the goal posts on the goal line.

The next thing I needed was to decide what kind of field design I wanted. This was around the same time I discovered this, which took me down a rabbit hole of classic electric football fields. Ultimately I picked an amalgam of the game I wanted…

…and the game I got (which I really liked, so I wasn’t complaining…and I liked the fact that they sold you a combo you’d never see on the field – blue Dallas vs white KC).

The game I wanted had alternating shades of green every five yards. I had plenty of light green poster board on hand, but just enough dark green to give me a field with the reasonable distance for a field goal attempt. So I laid down a base of white poster board and white duct tape, then glued strips of the green poster board over it.

Next, I took “ten yard” strips of blue and red paper and drew the end zone design I wanted on each strip. Then I trimmed them and glued them over the white end zone.

With all the crafting supplies my wife has, I thought for sure she’d have something to let me make circles for the yard-line numbers. Nope…I had to use an old pill bottle to trace circles, then I drew the numbers (harkening back to the old Astrodome font) with a white pencil.

You’d think it would be smooth sailing from there, until I realized the white pencil barely showed up at all on the green poster board. Luckily I had lots of white label stickers, which happened to be exactly the 1/2 inch I wanted for my hashmarks.

From there I began the painstaking task of trimming the labels by hand and placing them in line with the help of a template I made out of white poster board.

Is my field to scale? No. I can make field goals from way past this distance, but it’s all about fun and having something I can easily put away when I’m not using it. I chose to keep the field with these dimensions because, with the goalpost on the goal line, I can only attempt a “67 yard” kick. With the goalpost on the end line…well, maybe someday in my lifetime someone will hit a 77-yarder. I doubt it, but I’m ready just in case.

While building this, I thought back to my idea of making a paper football league. I came up with one, which I’ll reveal next time. Stay tuned…

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Pretty cool, right? Good stuff Jimmer! We’ll take a look at that Paper Football League in another six months whenever you get a chance to complete it!

Readers? What do you think of this DIY effort?

And Now…Jimmer Vilk returns with a College 5 & 1!

Longtime readers will remember back in the early days of Uni Watch, before there was even an official “Sunday Morning Uni Watch,” I used to run Jim Vilk — the ORIGINAL Mr. 5 & 1 — doing weekly rundowns of NCAA football. Although Jimmer retired from his football 5 & 1’s like a decade ago, he will periodically return for non-football specials. But today, for the first time in forever, Jim’s back with a special 5 & 1…

Here’s Jimmer:

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I didn’t realize spring football was still going on until someone in the UW comments mentioned it being (I’m Still Calling It 1-AA) FCS playoff time. With eight games on tap yesterday I thought I’d surprise Phil with a quick and nasty 5&1 just like the old days. Here we go…

#5 Holy Cross/South Dakota State

An AWFUL lot of white, Holy Cross, but I like your font.


4. Monmouth/Sam Houston

A lot of white again…at least there’s a pants stripe.


3. Southern Illinois/Weber State

Paul’s away for the weekend, so purple is allowed.


2. Davidson/Jacksonville State

Nice contrast despite the similar colors.



A little bit of shiny to go with this color palette special.


Sacred Heart/Delaware

Oh no no no no no…the *Blue* Hens took a potentially great matchup and made a real cockup of it.

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Thanks, Jimmer. Just like old times!

Uni Concepts & Tweaks

Time for more Uni Tweaks from the UW readership.

I hope you guys like this feature and will want to continue to submit your concepts and tweaks to me. If you do, Shoot me an E-mail (Phil (dot) Hecken (at) gmail (dot) com).

• • •

Today’s set of concepts comes from Walter Helfer, who has some NFL helmet ideas:

He writes…

Dear Phil,

Here are three NFL helmet concepts:

San Francisco- The one-day 49er helmets might have gone down easier had the decal been an evolution of the “S.F. in the oval” insignia.

Tennessee- Three faceted stars meeting point-to-point on the dark blue helmet is evocative of the rondel in the state flag.

Washington- Yes, please, to the tasty stripes of the antecedent of the WFT, and let’s add an old-school “W”.

All the Best,


And here are his designs:

• • •

Thanks Walt!

OK readers (and concepters). If you have some tweaks or concepts, shoot ’em my way with a brief description of your creation and I’ll run ’em here.

Guess The Game…

from the scoreboard

Today’s scoreboard comes from Haymarket Zecken.

The premise of the game (GTGFTS) is simple: I’ll post a scoreboard and you guys simply identify the game depicted. In the past, I don’t know if I’ve ever completely stumped you (some are easier than others).

Here’s the Scoreboard. In the comments below, try to identify the game (date & location, as well as final score). If anything noteworthy occurred during the game, please add that in (and if you were AT the game, well bonus points for you!):

Please continue sending these in! You’re welcome to send me any scoreboard photos (with answers please), and I’ll keep running them.

Uni Watch News Ticker
By Phil

Baseball News: Reader Timm Dunn noticed the Seattle Mariners were supposed to be wearing the blue hat with the green bill when they wore the navy blue road top, but in the last 3 games with the Red Sox, they have worn their solid navy hats. … Le Creuset has come out with a line of MLB-branded Dutch ovens (because how can all those baseball-loving gourmet home chefs possibly make a decent beef bourguinon without one?). From Kary Klismet. … Also from Kary: National Geographic has a cool story about how the tradition of ballpark organ music started 80 years ago this month. … Looks as though a local Madison landscaping company has been poaching the Dodgers logo (from @bullyday). … Ole Miss Football Coach Lane Kiffin exited the baseball bullpen to ‘Real American’ to throw out the first pitch to John Rhys Plumlee (from Timmy Donahue). … Apparently a Taiwanese baseball team attemped a throwback and it didn’t turn out as well as it could have (from Jeremy Brahm). … Also from Jeremy: “May not hit Paul right, but 29th anniversary of Sanfrecce Hiroshima and their purple gear.” … During yesterday’s game against the Mariners, the Red Sox’ Marwin Gonzalez was batting with a broken C-flap on his helmet (from Sean Robbins). … Looks like one of the Oakland Athletics coaches in the dugout last night was wearing a Majestic dugout jacket from 2 years ago (from Rudy Gutierrez). … In yesterday’s Yankees/Cleveland game, Gerrit Cole’s turtleneck with the interlocking NY was similar to the one the Yankees wore during the championship years under Joe Torre (from Gershon Rabinowitz).

Football News: Centreville (Mich.), Boyle County (Ky.), and Calvary Christian (Columbus, Ga.) High Schools have received their championship rings for winning state titles last fall (from Kary Klismet). … Not a super rarity, but here’s a picture of Carson Palmer holding a jersey (uniform) he never wore on the field (from Coach KT). … Noah Kastroll notes, “Spring game end zones (had) Pitt & Panthers in script & the Panther Head will be at midfield. This is all new. I’d love to see this for a regular season game.” … The “City Section Perpetual Football Trophy” had been lost. A woman found it in the trash (from Paul). … Many NFLers who thought about switching their uni numbers following the NFL’s relaxing of rules have balked at the costs. Tyreek Hill may be an exception. … After “dropping” their smokey gray unis for a spell, the Tennessee Vols were back in them for their spring game, leading to some speculation they may return in the future. … Richard Green saw the Maryland spring game and is wondering if Maryland will have a new helmet option (I don’t think they’ve worn one that looks like that yet, with the flag helmet stripe and TV numbers). I kinda dig it. Update: Apparently it’s their “Spring Game helmet” (worn in 2019 also).

Hockey News: ICYMI: The Tampa Bay Lightning have unveiled their Stanley Cup championship rings (from Kary Klismet). … Here’s a look at Michel Plante, at his legendary father Jacques’ Fibrosport factory in Magog, Quebec, spray-painting a rack of masks bound for retail sale (from Jerry Wolper). … Here’s an interesting look at a variety of headwear worn by Swedish hockey goalies in the past (from Wade Heidt). … Also from Wade: some pretty interesting warm up sweaters for the Winnipeg Jets last evening. … Still more from Wade: The WHL’s Prince Albert Raiders will be wearing some special jerseys on Monday. … Check out this 1994-95 NHL All Star Game cap (lockout season, game never played). From Tony.

NBA/College/Basketball News: Need some gift ideas for a mom who’s a hoops fan this Mother’s Day? Maybe these planters made from upcycled Spalding NBA basketballs will do the trick! (from Kary Klismet). … More from Kary: The Barangay Ginebra Kings of the Philippine Basketball Association have unveiled new uniforms. … Scorebug bug: The Dallas Mavericks were actually 32-26, not 32-36 (from Bobby’s Burner).

Grab Bag: It’s rare (has it ever happened?) that a reader will praise a modern day ad, but Max Weintraub says, “Look how simple and wholesome this ad is, during the UVa v Syracuse lax game. Eat Virginia Peanuts, with a silly elephant: So simple and pleasing.” … Also from Max, a scorebug bug — NCAA doesn’t seem sure what Maryland lacrosse is ranked. “Are they number 1? (Yes) Are they 21? (No) But the NCAA shows them as both on this graphic.” … Tanglewood Elementary School in Fort Worth has a new tiger head logo (from Kary Klismet). … Also from Kary, the University of Texas has decreed that all of the school’s band members will be required to play “The Eyes of Texas,” even as the controversy over the song’s origins and possible ties to racism continues. … Here’s one blog’s rankings of the best rugby jerseys of all time (Kary, again). … And one more from Kary: Two German gymnasts competing at the European championships this week wore full bodysuits to protest the sexualization of women and girls in the sport. … This is pretty cool: a local optometrist has a business card designed as a baseball card (from Jay Jones). … Robert E. Lee HS (Midland, TX) rebranding to cost at least $1.447 million, including $326,596 for uniforms for various programs (from Timmy Donahue). … Due to the pandemic, the Women’s Volleyball Championship for 2020 was played last night, and James Gilbert points out there will be “quite a few of these ‘2020 National Champions’ crowned in April 2021.”

Uni Tweet of the Day

And finally… that’s it for me for this weekend. Big thanks to Jimmer Vilk both for his paper football fields AND for making a return cameo to football 5 & 1. Good stuff buddy.

Everyone have a great week, stay safe and I’ll catch you next Saturday. Till then…



Comments (38)


    I didn’t see this until very late yesterday, so I’ll respond today.

    “Dang, you’re good.”

    Thank you.

    “As far as I know, there was one and only one clue to give this away. How did you come across the correct game?”

    I recognized the Cavs’ lineup, so I looked for a game in Seattle after they acquired Nance with a low-scoring first quarter (17-14). And I made sure the Seattle lineup was plausible. (Sedale Threatt!)

    That works too.

    The only clue that came to my mind was Supersonics C Steve Johnson (number 33). He only played one season in Seattle, and it was quite a few years before or after when a Sonic wore that number.

    If Johnson was the only 33 of the era, that would fit the plausible lineup part of my solution.

    This match was from the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, but it was one of the semi-finals. The final score was 7-1 with Brazil finally scoring at the end of the match.

    ha! that was a grrrrreat match. july 8 2014, 7-1.

    it’s killing me,i can’t remember the stadium, but it wasn’t in são paulo or rio. bonus point for remembering it was a mexican ref?

    i believe it was at the maracana. but yes, world cup semifinal, 7-1 final score. if i recall, Shuerrle came on as a sub and of his two goals, had a pretty ridiculous volley.

    &1…Sacred Heart/Delaware
    Spot on assessment. The Admiral and Tubby must be disgusted. What used to be a classic uniform has become a total mess.

    Re: NFLers going back to their college numbers – is this the first time a pro league is following an amateur level precedent? Just me but it’s surprising to see a linebacker, say, wearing 3 when watching a college game. For that, the NFL numbering system “makes sense”. I don’t rightly care either way (TB being the GOAT/”get off my lawn” can make his point) and I don’t buy merch for the numbers anyway. Just wondering.

    Good question, tough to think of many examples, but the one that does come to mind is the NFL adopting the 2-point conversion after college had been using it for some time.

    Perhaps a uni-related example might be the NFL allowing for a third jersey to be used, it seems like college teams had sometimes used them first?

    But they aren’t. The NFL did this prior to the numbering rule. Paul Hornung, Larry Wilson, Ed Podolak, etc.

    I don’t get the fascination with pointing out typos for onscreen graphics.

    It’s not uniform related. It’s just making fun of someone’s mistake.

    One of these days I’ll nail down the appearance of the face masks and clips. I didn’t notice the inconsistency until I saw my helmets on your site this morning!

    The Winnipeg warm up sweaters link doesn’t quite work. It looks like the single quote at the end of the link should be a double quote mark; I don’t know if any other edits are needed.

    Did want to give Jim props for the creative and unique paper football FG project.

    I did have one question…I’m too young to remember the days when the NFL had the goal posts on the goal line but of course have seen plenty of footage of games from that era. Jim, you referred to that time as “glorious” but I couldn’t tell if you were being tongue-in-cheek as that seems like a terrible place for the goal posts from practical standpoint.

    I meant it, but that’s because the kicking game is my favorite thing about football. I also liked that if you missed a field goal back then, they placed the ball on the 20 instead of the spot of the kick. It was like punting with a chance to score.

    The fact that the goalposts got in the way made the game more interesting to me. I don’t recall anyone being seriously injured by them…if so, then I could understand the move. Otherwise I’d move them back the second I become the commissioner.

    if you missed a field goal back then, they placed the ball on the 20 instead of the spot of the kick



    So, if you *attempted* a field goal from your own 30 (for example) — a 70 yarder — they’d place it at the 20 if you missed? What’s the impetus to punt then? Why not try a 90-yarder, since there’s no *penalty*? Not saying you’re wrong, but that doesn’t seem to make any sense.

    Assuming the ball reached the endzone. I believe if it fell short the ball was in play. That’s why they had a guy back who could return it (same as you see now on a really long kick at the end of a half).

    Recently saw a 1967 video (can’t remember which game) where a defender tried to swat a short field goal back into play instead of letting it go into the end zone.

    3:35 mark of this game (in which Cards K Jim Bakken went 7 of 9 on the day!). It didn’t quite turn out the way the Steeler defender planned…he would have been better off letting it go for a touchback…

    The EFL Cup in England between Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur:

    Man City is wearing their Cup numbers, but Tottenham is wearing their Premier League numbers.
    Tottenham are in their away kits instead of their white (Is there any kit clash between City’s sky blue).
    Both teams – and the referee – are wearing a heart with the National Health Service logo.

    Those Winnipeg warmup sweaters support the Winnipeg Aboriginal Sport Achievement Centre. Cool gesture by the Jets.

    Beautiful and colorful. I’m accustomed to seeing Aboriginal designs for Rugby, Australian Football, and Netball. Why are they such a rarity in North America?

    Nearly a month into the baseball season and the Braves have still not worn their regular home white jersey yet.

    In their first homestand they wore the 1974 throwbacks to honor Henry Aaron & Phil Niekro, in all but the last game, Apr. 15th, when they wore red Jackie Robinson “42” jerseys.

    The second homestead started on Fri against ARZ and they wore the red Friday jerseys. The Saturday game was rained out, so in the Sunday DH, they are starting GM 1 with the Sunday cream jerseys.

    It remains to be seen which jersey they will use in the 2nd game.

    And in the 2nd game of the DH – 20 games into the season – the Braves finally break out the regular home white jersey for the first time.

    i believe it was at the maracana. but yes, world cup semifinal, 7-1 final score. if i recall, Shuerrle came on as a sub and of his two goals, had a pretty ridiculous volley.

    After seeing a quick five minute or so round up on the FCS playoffs, I would say Vilk totally nailed the #1 game of JMU/VMI!

    Not finding my comment… i’ll re-post and add to some other conversation:

    After seeing a five minute or so montage of FCS (I, too, still refer to it as 1-AA) Playoffs, Jim you nailed the best one (JMU/VMI) and the &1!

    The talk about field goals and the goal posts on the goal line (where they belong) is interesting. Basically it’s somewhat the same way in PA high school football. If you have a good placekicker, it’s SUCH a weapon because you can line up for longer than normal field goals and if you know the kicker can reach the goal line, it’s a touch back. I believe it goes back to the days of a field goal really being a “free kick”. And in PA high school ball (not sure of other states) what makes it a HUGE weapon is, a kick/punt returner cannot field the ball in the endzone. It’s automatically blown as a touchback. You cannot bring it out at all. I love Vilk’s description: it’s like a punt with a chance of scoring.

    I guess you’d have to dig into the stats if you had a kicker with a poor percentage. I think this was the college rule back in the day. I remember hearing a story of Jan Stenerud’s college days. The team’s punter was hurt so the coach would just sent Jan out for really long attempts.

    Are female gymnasts actually *forced* into wearing revealing attire? I always assumed it was a matter of personal preference.

    As is probably apparent, I know basically nothing about gymnastics.

    In a way, the two gymnasts who wore bodysuits instead of the standard leotards kind of defeated their own point. Although really a gymnastics leotard is basically a one-piece swimsuit with long sleeves (as far as the amount of flesh covered) and by today’s standards aren’t terribly “revealing”; in fact much less so than what female beach volleyball players and track and field athletes wear.

    a few interesting things from Germany 7 Brazil 1, at Estádio Mineirão, Belo Horizonte, in the 2014 World Cup:
    Germany led 5-0 at HT, scoring 4 goals in just 6 minutes
    Largest margin of victory in a World Cup semifinal
    Miroslav Klose overtook Ronaldo (Brazilian flavor) as all-time top scorer at the World Cup
    Toni Kroos scored twice in 69 seconds, the fastest brace in a World Cup match

    I know this is late, but Carson Palmer did wear that uniform on the field. His rookie year, though he didn’t play a down that season. Bengals changed uniforms the following season.

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