Picking Your 2022 Wild Card Winners by Better Uni

By Phil Hecken

Good Saturday Morning, Uni Watch crew, and welcome to the 2022 Wild Card Weekend. I hope everyone has had a good week and you’re all doing well. It’s been kind of a crazy week for me personally (nothing bad, just something has taken a lot of my time away from the blog, social media and well, life). Anyway, it’s that time of year again when I pick your Wild Card Game winners (against the spread), by choosing the team with the better uniform to win. As with most of these exercises, I usually get about 50% (or slightly higher) correct “betting” against the spread…about the same average as everyone else who bets ATS.

I throw out all the stats, numbers, streaks, COVID-related non-players, and all that other stuff your average gambling man or woman uses, and stick to the basics: better uni always gets the nod. Now, in most cases, the better uniform is an easy call, no matter which uni a team chooses to wear in any particular matchup. In other cases, both unis are good or both unis are bad, which makes it a tougher call. And in some instances, what a team wears for a specific game may be a worse looking uniform than it normally wears (for example, the Saints in gold/black/gold look a bazillion times better than when they go gold/black/black), so that might also influence my choice. Based on the announced uniforms (as of this writing, only two of the 12 teams have not already announced their uniform choice), I will now give you your WC winners for the weekend. I fully expect to get about 1/2 correct, and I’ll probably pick all the games through the Supe, although this will be the only time I lede with my picks. All spreads were as of Friday night.

As always, YMMV.

Here we go…

• • •

SATURDAY, JANUARY 15

LV Raiders at Cincinnati Bengals
Time: 4:35 pm (EST)
Channel: NBC
Spread: Cincy -6

The Bengals definitely upgraded their unis this past season, moving (IMO) from the bottom five of all NFL unis into the middle of the pack. But they also have a couple too many combos, including two different sets of white pants (one set has orange stripes, one has black stripes). They’ll be wearing the set with orange stripes today, which I think looks better than the black stripes, although I prefer the look of the white jersey/white pants with the black stripes overall. The black jersey over white pants with orange stripes is probably their second best look. If they stuck to just those two, they’d have a really solid uni set. But that’s all moot anyway, since the Raiders, even wearing their white road jerseys, have a far superior look. Therefore they get the nod.

The Pick: Raiders, getting two field goals.

_____

NE Patriots at Buffalo Bills
Time: 8:15 pm
Channel: CBS
Spread: Bills -4

This game could have looked brutal, but we lucked out because both teams are wearing their best possible looks — the Bills in royal jerseys and white pants, with blue socks, is far and away their best kit (although their “standing buffalo” throwbacks are also beauties). The Pats, on the other hand, have only two unis: blue jerseys over blue pants at home, and white over blue on the road. Needless to say, the white over blue is a much better look. But it still doesn’t hold a candle to the Bills’ gorgeous duds. This game will be COLD (and I don’t mean the unis) — temps should be around zero and God knows how bad it will be with the wind chill…so we can probably expect a low-scoring game. The Bills are better and so are their unis.

The Pick: Buffalo, giving four

• • •

SUNDAY, JANUARY 16

Philly Eagles at TB Bucs
Time: 1:00 pm
Channel: FOX
Spread: TB 8.5

This could be a close call…or a blowout. You see, as of late Friday, the Eagles still hadn’t announced their uniform combination. Tampa will be wearing white at home (over pewter pants), a look they won last year’s Supe in, so it makes sense they’d like to keep the “uni streak” alive. Philly will obviously wear dark jerseys — and I’d expect they’ll wear midnight green tops over their white britches, but they found late season success in black pants, and wore them for many of their second half games (usually with white jerseys). But that doesn’t preclude them from going black/black or green/black (or even green/green) although they have only worn green jerseys over white pants or black jerseys over black pants this season, according to the GUD. If the Eagles go, as I expect, green/white, it’s a close uni matchup — anything with black pants and it’s a blowout. But either way, I’ve grown rather fond of the Bucs in pewter/white/pewter, so I’m going with them, regardless.

The Pick: Bucs giving eight-and-a-half

_____

SF 49ers at Dallas Cowboys
Time: 4:30 pm
Channel: CBS/Prime/Nickelodeon
Spread: Cowboys -3

This will easily be the weekend’s best looking game, as both teams have classic uniforms. While I’ve always been a fan of the Cowboys white jerseys (the pants, with their different shades of light blue / seafoam green / gray, haven’t always been great), once I read Paul’s “uni quirks” piece over a decade ago, I’ve been less enamored than I once was. Still, what they are wearing Sunday is a great look. But…it’s not a good as the 49ers, who have a top 5 (or close to it) set, and their red jerseys over gold pants are splendorifous. Either way it will be a great looking game, but the edge, and my pick, goes to Santa Clara.

The Pick: Niners getting three points

_____

Pittsburgh Steelers at Kansas City
Time: 8:15 pm
Channel: NBC
Spread: KC -12.5

This will be the second best looking matchup of the weekend. I prefer the Steelers home (black jersey/gold pants) to their road look, but the road look is still solid. Of course, the team looked even better before they got the futura bold italic condensed fonts, but it’s still a good looking uniform. KC, on the other hand, has great uniforms, but they need to change their name and remove the tomahawk arrowhead from their hat. Until that happens, I can’t give an otherwise great uni full props. In what will likely be Big Ben’s final game, I’m picking them to keep it under the spread.

The Pick: Steelers getting 12 and a half

• • •

MONDAY, JANUARY 17

Arizona Cardinals at LA Rams
Time: 8:15 pm
Channel: ESPN/ABC
Spread: Rams -4

Wild Card weekend, for the first time ever, features a Monday Night game, and as of this writing, the Rams still haven’t announced which of their three sets of pants they’ll pair with their royal jerseys. The team lost to the Cardinals earlier in the season going mono-blue, so I would hedge against their doing that again. That leaves royal over “bone” (aka dishwater) or royal over “sol” (aka yellow). Of those three, the royal/sol looks far and away the best, although I have to admit the royal/bone has grown on me of the past couple of seasons. But even if the team were going royal/royal, they still have a better looking set than the white over white Cardinals, who have the worst looking uniforms in the NFL. Granted, the white/white may be their “best” look (either that or red/white), but it’s still a worse look than anything the Rams could trot out there. If that’s not damning with faint praise, I don’t know what is. Too bad we will have the worst uni-matchup for the last, but it is what it is.

The Pick: Rams giving up four

• • •

And there you have it — my uni picks against the spread. Please feel free to disagree.

Guess The Game…

from the scoreboard

Today’s scoreboard comes from Steve Dodell.

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 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 concepts come from Rik:

Hello Phil,

Hope you’re doing well! My name is Rik and I’m a high school senior. I’ve been reading Uni Watch ever since 8th grade and have been mostly a silent reader. In fact, this is my first time ever showing one of my concepts to anyone so hopefully you enjoy it!

For some quick background on what exactly this team is supposed to be:

I always thought it would be funny if a college team stopped trying to hide the fact that they’re a party school with college kids who shotgun beers and completely went headfirst into that identity as their mascot. HMU is also something a frat dude would probably say to a girl to try to pick her up, and so the HMU Shotgunners were born. The team’s colors are a dark blueish purple, which is very close to an indigo, green, and a lighter purple-pink color which is actually just a lighter tone of the purple color.

The home combo (Combo 1) stays simple with white/purple/white with purple socks. You may be wondering why I didn’t go for white numbers, but when I used this lighter purple color it just looked better with the uniform. I also wanted it to be that unchangeable look, much like Alabama, Texas, and USC have, to where when you turn on the TV you know exactly who’s playing, so that is why there is only one possible combination for the home uniform. Now with the away uniform it gets funky with alternate helmets and multiple pants options (Combo 2B is my personal favorite). Combo 3 is an alternate green jersey with the same pants and helmet as the home uniform. Combo 4 is a “retro” uniform, which really isn’t retro, but in fact just a previous mockup of the away uniform with some tweaks and a “retro” style logo.

Sorry if this description ran on a bit too long. I just wanted to give the concept some necessary context. Hope you enjoy it! Also these concepts are obviously hand-drawn/traced, so sorry if there are any inconsistencies in regards to symmetry or any other things.

Sincerely,
Rik

• • • • •

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.

And now a few word from Paul: Hi there. Here are a few items for the past couple of days that you might have missed:

• With the Washington Football Team scheduled to announce its new name in a few weeks, I decided to grade the previous pro sports team renamings. It was a fun exercise, and you can check it out now on Bulletin. (As always, you can also subscribe to receive my Bulletin articles via email.)

• We have a few Uni Watch Classic Caps, size 7-1/8ish, available for the low, low price of $19.99. Full details here. Now sold out!

• I did a live video session on Thursday night, in which I talked about a few items from my vintage jersey collection and also responded to questions posted by some of the viewers. If you missed it, here it is:

That’s it for me. Now back to Phil with the rest of today’s content.

The Ticker
By Anthony Emerson

Baseball News: Here is a rendering of Camden Yards’ new left field fence, brought deeper to make the park friendlier to pitchers (from Andrew Cosentino).
 

NFL News: The Cardinals will wear helmet decals honoring Martin Luther King Jr. on Monday night, the first NFL game ever held on MLK Day (from Josh Goteiner). … We may have shared this clip before, but just in case: here’s John Elway talking about how he didn’t like the Broncos’ 1997 uni change. … Apparently a Cincinnati-area retailer is selling old Carson Palmer jerseys with a Joe Burrow nameplate slapped over Palmer’s. Has anyone ever seen anything like this before from a retailer? (from Joey Inza).

College/High School Football News: Here’s a fascinating video showing how organizers prepared helmets used to promote the Polynesian Bowl (from Moe Khan).
 

Hockey News: Avalanche G Pavel Francouz has some pretty slick new pads to match the team’s alternate jersey (from Wade Heidt). … Also from Wade: The Wild wore Black History warmup jerseys last night.

College/High School Hoops News: Manhattan and Iona went color-vs-color last night, with both teams wearing their away unis to give it an extra Uni Watch flair (from @recruittheboot). … A Jackson, MS., attorney has donated new uniforms to his alma mater, Jim Hill High in Jackson (from Kenneth Traisman).

Soccer News: Controversy is brewing around an English sixth-tier club, Chester FC. Despite being registered in England and representing an English town, the pitch and most of the grandstands at their stadium are situated just over the border in Wales. The Welsh Government has instituted strict COVID regulations while in England there are currently no restrictions on public gatherings, leaving Chester stuck after it had two full-capacity matches over the New Year period. The New York Times has a wonderful piece breaking the whole situation down. … English second tier side Queens Park Rangers will wear 1882 throwbacks today (from @koTenSixtySix).

Grab Bag: Major League Rugby has unveiled the kits for its 14 member clubs in a Twitter thread (from multiple readers). … The Pine Knob Music Theatre has dropped its former corporate name and has reverted to the Pine Knob moniker (from Tod Hess and Brandon Weir). … The Indian Army is introducing new uniforms (from Kenneth Traisman).

Uni Tweet of the Day

They never should have ditched these (either the originals or the throwbacks they reintroduced a few years ago)…sign me up for another return!

And finally… that’s going to do it for today — it’s definitely winter for most of the country! Everyone in the crosshairs of Winter Storm “Izzy” please stay safe, and everyone, no matter where you are, stay warm and enjoy the Wild Card weekend!

I’ll catch you all tomorrow. Till then,

Peace,

PH

39 comments to Picking Your 2022 Wild Card Winners by Better Uni

  • Dave Z | January 15, 2022 at 7:44 am | · Reply

    “but they need to change their name and remove the tomahawk from their hat.”

    Good grief.

  • Dootie Bubble | January 15, 2022 at 7:47 am | · Reply

    KC has an arrowhead on their helmet.

    • Dave Z | January 15, 2022 at 7:49 am | · Reply

      IT IS STILL OFFENSIVE!!!

      – The Professionally Offended

      • olearydave | January 15, 2022 at 8:49 am | · Reply

        Offensive to who? You or the KC Chiefs fans?
        Leave it up to the owners, a few people who feel offended over a minor issue shouldn’t be censoring something that’s of interest o no big deal to others.

        • Andrew L. Berry | January 16, 2022 at 8:35 pm |

          I think the tomahawk chop they do before the start of the game is offensive.

    • RICKAZ | January 15, 2022 at 8:26 am | · Reply

      Yep, not a “tomahawk”.

    • Dootie Bubble | January 16, 2022 at 8:48 am | · Reply

      Just pointing out it’s not a tomahawk. Wasn’t here to defend mocking Native Americans.

  • Dave Z | January 15, 2022 at 7:48 am | · Reply

    Scoreboard: November 21st, 1965. Rookie Joe Namath threw 4 TDs.

  • Jordan | January 15, 2022 at 7:57 am | · Reply

    The Bengals are wearing their orange socks today with that set as a nod to the Boomer Esiason days. Not black socks as pictured

    • Phil Hecken | January 15, 2022 at 8:48 am | · Reply

      Good catch. Pic now swapped to show a player with orange socks.

  • Tenz | January 15, 2022 at 7:57 am | · Reply

    The scoreboard is from Nov. 21, 1965, Jets on their way to a 41-14 win over the Oilers. Love seeing all the out-of-town results on the scoreboard. Not sure, though, what’s going on in the background between #41 Matt Snell and the Oiler defender.

    • Michael | January 15, 2022 at 8:18 am | · Reply

      One thing that’s curious to me. Why are they posting NFL scores if this is before the merger?

      • Tenz | January 15, 2022 at 9:23 am | · Reply

        Yeah, interesting, I guess it shows the overall interest in pro football among all fans back then. But I don’t remember ever seeing AFL scores on an NFL scoreboard before the agreement to merge, though it’s understandable that the NFL would be more reluctant to acknowledge the AFL than the other way around.

      • Graf Zeppelin | January 15, 2022 at 11:08 am | · Reply

        Probably because the Shea Stadium scoreboard already had “AMERICAN” and “NATIONAL” sections/columns (for MLB) and it would have been conspicuous to only use/light up the former while leaving the latter blank/dark. (The two football leagues were still peacefully coexisting in 1965, although that would change the following Spring.) Also, they probably expected that some people in the stands would want to know the score of the Giants game, and if the Giants score was posted they might as well post the other NFL scores.

      • Graf Zeppelin | January 15, 2022 at 11:15 am | · Reply

        OK; I need to retract part of my prior comment because now that I look at the photo I see that what I thought was the “NATIONAL” section is actually labeled “EASTERN”; I attended so many games at Shea in the ’90s and ’00s that I just got used to the scoreboard having “AMERICAN” League scores on one side and “NATIONAL” League scores on the other.

        That said, there was no “EASTERN” (or “WESTERN”) divisions in MLB at that time, so the scoreboard labels must have been changed from “AMERICAN” and “NATIONAL” for the football season. Beyond that, I can’t really explain it.

  • Mark | January 15, 2022 at 8:13 am | · Reply

    Those Twins uni are some of the best in baseball. The hat is top notch and the uni just looks great. No idea why these are not just their normal uni.

    • R. Scott Rogers | January 15, 2022 at 8:26 am | · Reply

      Almost. The overall look is excellent, but the script is terrible. I mean, objectively, it’s a badly executed script. Uneven baseline, and the ascenders are inconsistently angled. In a way, it perfectly represents the cheapness and carelessness of the Griffith ownership era, but it’s a bad script. Either have a professional tweak it, or just use the current jersey script, but otherwise keep the rest of the classic uni as-is. Paired with pins on the road.

    • ChrisH | January 15, 2022 at 4:09 pm | · Reply

      I prefer the ‘70s-‘80s red caps, but never quite got the tri-color helmet that made the T essentially disappear.
      Road pins…why, yes. Yes indeed.

  • Tom | January 15, 2022 at 8:21 am | · Reply

    Since Jalen Hurts began expressing his preference, the Eagles have worn some black every week. I’m figuring on green/black/black. It’s been luckier for them, so maybe it works again.

  • RICKAZ | January 15, 2022 at 8:28 am | · Reply

    There is no link for the “ Manhattan and Iona went color-vs-color” post.

    • Phil Hecken | January 15, 2022 at 8:51 am | · Reply

      Pic now added (apologies).

  • Memal | January 15, 2022 at 8:40 am | · Reply

    re: Rik’s concepts
    Great idea! That could go a lot of fun directions too. Really good job with the mockups too.

  • Tenz | January 15, 2022 at 9:41 am | · Reply

    Looks like the Eagles committed yesterday in a tweet to “midnight green.” The tweet from the Eagles account reads “Back in midnight green for #PHIvsTB @UnibetUS | #FlyEaglesFly” and it’s accompanied by a picture of Jalen Hurts in the green jersey and white pants.

    https://twitter.com/Eagles/status/1482107506776236033

    • Phil Hecken | January 15, 2022 at 10:01 am | · Reply

      I hadn’t seen that and the GUD (upon whom I rely for such things) didn’t have it. But like I said in my writeup, I expected the green/white (especially on the road), so at least the game will look pretty good. Even in green/white (a much better look for Philly), I’d still take the Bucs.

  • Nathan | January 15, 2022 at 10:01 am | · Reply

    Not a fan of the Orioles outfield fence move, at least not the part where the fence meets the bullpen and it abruptly juts back out into left-centerfield.

  • Dave Holland | January 15, 2022 at 10:02 am | · Reply

    Not the same as slapping a another nameplate on, but the Bullets continued to sell #30 Rasheed Wallace jerseys after he left and sold them as Ben Wallace jerseys with the same #30.

  • Jerg | January 15, 2022 at 12:31 pm | · Reply

    It would have been great if there was a “Palmer” nameplate underneath when Burrow had his plate torn off a couple weeks ago.

  • Mike Wissman | January 15, 2022 at 12:57 pm | · Reply

    @Phil or anyone who might know:

    Why are some NFL teams (Detroit, Atlanta and Seattle are three examples) permitted four jerseys? I thought the limit was three.

    • Phil Hecken | January 15, 2022 at 1:28 pm | · Reply

      I believe the changes all started occurring during the (ill-fated) Color Rash days. Basically Nike created (in many cases) brand new uniforms for most of the teams (some were fauxbacks), which negated the home/road/alternate *rule* that had been in existence. Once the NFL saw how lucrative the “fourth” jersey sales were, I believe they abandoned any pretense of sticking to their regulations. I’m pretty sure (I would have to check) teams can get away with four jerseys without having a color rash jersey (see: Dolphins & 49ers color and white throwbacks), so even if the rules stipulated 3 jerseys maximum PLUS one CR (as I believe it was explained when CR was first introduced).

      I could be wrong, but I *believe* this is how it’s all come down. If anyone knows differently and would like to correct me, I’ll happily be wrong.

  • Tim | January 15, 2022 at 2:08 pm | · Reply

    Major League Rugby…

    The LA Giltini’s? Seriously?

  • daegan | January 15, 2022 at 2:25 pm | · Reply

    I agree with writer on 5 of the uniforms, but the Chiefs are FAR SUPERIOR to the Steelers away uniforms. Time to not be offended by everything in life, and enjoy life. Chiefs will win this game as well.

    • Greg Lamm | January 16, 2022 at 7:31 am | · Reply

      The Steelers have one of the best uniforms in all of sports. The Chiefs are red over white. *yawn*

      If Native Americans find their iconography offensive and if they go to a game and are subjected to racism by idiots, that’s enough to convince me that it needs to go. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kansas_City_Chiefs_name_controversy

  • JayChucksFrank | January 15, 2022 at 2:36 pm | · Reply

    Good for the AZ Cardinals wearing the Dr. MLK Jr. sticker. Their state does not recognize that day of remembrance.

    • JayChucksFrank | January 15, 2022 at 2:39 pm | · Reply

      I stand corrected. AZ were holdouts to celebrate Dr. MLK Jr. Day. It is recognized.

  • Patrick_in_MI | January 15, 2022 at 5:14 pm | · Reply

    A college football uniform celebrating binge drinking? Cool.

  • StevenF | January 15, 2022 at 6:29 pm | · Reply

    Not exactly sure why, but calling helmets “hats” and “lids” and pants “britches” is annoying to me for some reason

    • Phil Hecken | January 15, 2022 at 6:39 pm | · Reply

      There aren’t enough good synonyms for helmets and pants. Typing those words over and over is annoying to me, so I try to vary it. Sorry that this offends you.

      • StevenF | January 15, 2022 at 9:32 pm | · Reply

        I didn’t mean to imply that it offended me, definitely more of a “me problem”/quirk – enjoy this blog and was putting it out there to see if it was just me. I certainly wouldn’t stop reading or be offended because of something so trivial, thanks for your work!

  • Dan B | January 15, 2022 at 11:54 pm | · Reply

    GTSFTG – no clue, but football looks so much better at Shea than baseball. I couldn’t care less about the Jets, but I will never tire of seeing photos of Shea in football config.

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