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Friday Morning Uni Watch

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Good morning, and happy post-Thanksgiving! Hope everyone had a good holiday yesterday. Or if you had a difficult holiday (I know that’s the case for some folks), I hope you’re relieved that it’s over and done with.

Yes, I’m aware that the site still has its Thanksgiving colors this morning. Web developer John Ekdahl will change us back to the usual colors when he wakes up.

Now then: Really enjoyed seeing those Cowboys throwbacks yesterday (lots of additional photos here). It was their first time wearing this uniform in 10 years (almost to the day!), thanks to the lifting of the one-shell rule this season.

Of course, one big difference from 10 years ago is that the socks are now much less uniform, as seen in this shot of three Dallas players wearing three different hosiery styles:

Earlier in the day, the Lions somehow decided that a major holiday was a good time to wear the league’s worst uniform. Woof!

Fortunately, I was busy with my family when that game was played and didn’t have to see any of it.

The final game of the day was in Minnesota, where the Vikings wore their purple bodysuits — ugh:

Also: As part of a new Thanksgiving initiative that will become an annual thing going forward, all teams yesterday wore a John Madden commemorative rear-helmet decal.

It’s a nice idea to salute Madden, but I’m hoping they come up with a different decal design next year, because this one didn’t work. For starters, it needed more contrast and a dark border, but the bigger issue is that photo-based image (as opposed to a logo or typography, or even a graphic illustration) has no chance of looking good when it’s reduced to such a tiny size. It looked like a brown smudge on TV, even during close-ups. (Also, wouldn’t a Madden turducken be more appropriate than an image of Madden himself?)

In addition, it was widely reported that a new logo featuring Madden’s signature would appear on all three fields yesterday. It did indeed appear on the field in Detroit:

And it was also on the field in Minnesota:

But in Dallas, the logo appeared on the sidelines, not on the field itself:

Meanwhile, here’s a thought: If the league was planning to honor Madden yesterday, wouldn’t it have been nice if they’d scheduled the Raiders to play?


Broncos Contest Reminder

In case you missed it earlier this week, our latest Uni Watch design challenge is to give the Broncos a makeover. Full details here.


Call for "Ask Me Anything" Questions

My next quarterly installment of “Ask Me Anything” — the bit where you can ask me anything about uniforms, sports, or anything else, and I do my best to answer — will be coming up next month on Substack. If you’d like to submit a question, feel free to email it here. (Please note that this is not the usual Uni Watch email address.) One question per person, please. I look forward to seeing your queries!

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Sorry, no Ticker today, as the entire Uni Watch team had the day off. Enjoy your Thanksgiving leftovers today! — Paul

Comments (34)

    IMHO, the Lions uni isn’t the NFL’s worst: The Broncos and Cardinals have that dubious distinction.

    …maybe, but the Lions choice of silver body suits with their silver helmets comes off looking like one big grey blob. No contrast blah. Like metal shavings. Maybe that’s the point. There are a lot of metal shavings in the Motor City

    While I may be in the “wear throwbacks on Thanksgiving” camp, I found myself being thankful for a couple of things:
    1) During the Lions game, I had last year’s game in the VCR, so during commercial breaks I’d watch that one. Actually, it was easier to see the white numbers on the gray jerseys than it was to see the shiny silver numbers on the blue jerseys. As long as the Lions restrict the gray jersey to the confines of Ford Field and not subject them to the bright sun, I don’t have a big problem with them.
    2) At least Detroit hasn’t gotten back on the BFBS wagon.

    In short, not what I would have chosen but I enjoyed it anyway. And it looked better than last week’s silver/white/white costume.

    They don’t even *have* to wear throwbacks on Thanksgiving (although why they’re *saving* them for Miami is beyond me), but maybe they could just not wear their absolute WORST uni combo on natty TV? Is it actually too much to ask them to go silver/honolulu/silver-gray with blue socks for Turkey Day? FFS, why do teams think TNF/SNF/MNF/Holiday games are the time to trot out their worst uni? I can see colleges doing it — they’re trying to impress recruits/potential recruits. But this is the En Eff Ell. FFS wear your “sunday best” for national games.

    Why does the NFL allow socks to be a free-for-all? Every player wears the appropriate and uniform helmet, jersey and pants. Because that is what the team wears. Why does the league not care what goes on below the knees (or sometimes above the knees, if a player is wearing biker shorts… which is another issue)? It isn’t like baseball, where a lot of guys choose to wear the pants longer to cover up stirrups or socks. If anything, guys are exposing more calf, not less.

    But why did socks become the battle line? They leave the jerseys, helmets and pants more or less uniform; Jalen Ramsey is wearing the same as his teammates. And he wouldn’t be allowed to take the field in a white helmet if the Rams are wearing blue. So why are socks less important than the rest of the uniform? I guess that is my question.

    1) Actually, NFL players have tinkered with longstanding norms throughout the uniform, not just for socks — sometimes for performance-related reasons, sometimes just to look “swaggy.” For example: Many players like to wear their pants as biker shorts; many players, left to their own devices, would not wear thigh pads or knee pads; many players like to leave their base-layer shirt untucked; many players like to wear custom-colored footwear; and so on.

    2) Moreover, socks/hosiery have been de-emphasized throughout much of the uni-verse. For example: Baseball stirrups used to be a basic uniform element, but now most players wear long pants; basketball over-the-calf socks used to be a standard uniform element, but now most players wear crew socks and/or tights; and so on.

    I’m not defending any of this (on the contrary, I dislike most of it). Just explaining the reality of the situation.

    Is there anything worse than seeing a player that’s wearing a leotard (a/k/a Color Rash mono-uni) and a (usually white) base layer shirt that’s left untucked?

    The fine has to be large enough so it’s painful to pay it. Maybe have a tiered fine system, so by the third offense they lose that game’s pay. College is even worse. My Trojans, who pride themselves on no alternate uniforms, have become a free for all. Bare legs, or high socks (tights) in cardinal red or gold (yellow). One idiot freshman had bare legs with fluorescent yellow socks. it’s all about me instead of team.

    Fining the players does not work. They should fine the owners and coaches big money for allowing them on the field like that or make it a fifteen yard penalty anytime a player on the field is “out of uniform.”

    Cowboys looked good. Vikings and Lions unfortunately did not. Bills, Patriots and Giants looked almost similar in red, white and blue. And I agree, we need a turducken logo on the helmets. Put a black or white NFL shield outline around it and presto.

    Why the Lions have gone away from wearing their throwbacks on Thanksgiving is beyond me. Such a classic and minimalistic look.

    Regarding NFL scheduling and the miss on having the Raiders play on Thanksgiving to honor Madden…I think that would be a good new tradition to start. I like that the Cowboys and Lions always play, it’s “comforting” for those who like tradition. Add the Raiders as the 3rd lock to play at home every year. Would be neat in my opinion.

    Emotionally, I want to agree. But moving the Raiders back to Oakland for a 3rd go-round just becomes a leverage tool owners can use to strongarm taxpayers into building new billion-dollar playhouses to avoid the threat of relocating to Vegas.

    Any chance the Cowboys use these pants with their color rush jersey so the striping matches their new alt helmet?

    Something to keep in mind re: the Madden logo: the NFL has to make the player image nondescript, so the viewer can’t really tell that it’s the Oakland Raiders, because the NFL hates the Raiders.

    Am I the only one who thought there was too much white in the Cowboys-Giants game? Cowboys had white helmets, shoulder yokes, and pants, and the Giants had white jerseys and pants. I wish the Giants had worn their gray pants for some contrast. At least they had red socks.

    Also, the Vikings’ alternates have all yellow numbers and letters with no white trim or outlining. I thought the white horn on the helmet stood out. I wonder about wearing an all yellow horn decal with the color rash alternates.

    Agreed on the Giants’ gray pants, would have looked better, and been era-appropriate, seemed like a no brainer.

    You weren’t the only one. WAY too much white. And Giants – Cowboys looks best when both teams wear their regular home uni. I don’t care for the Cowboys’ throwbacks because of all the white, and the Giants’ road uni is an absolute mess at this point. Not a great looking game yesterday. Of course, the other two games were pretty much visual turds, so I guess this one was still the best looking by default.

    A few observations/thoughts from the Thanksgiving games..

    Man, it sucked that all 3 games were in domes… on fake fields.. really kills the ‘traditional’ aspect of the day.

    Secondly, I know it’s not a popular view from many in the Uniwatch community, but the Giants white pants are horrible..I’ve disliked them from the day they were announced.. I agree with Special K that the grey pants should’ve been worn yesterday.. Overall, when the Giants ditched black cleats and the grey pants (HOME and away) their uniform aesthetics plummeted.

    One last observation.. nice job by Fox using RED for the Giants in their scorebug with Dallas in navy jerseys!

    This might be dumb but i thought the giants ‘ny’ uni had gray pants and its was during the LT era unis they wore white pants? Instead now they wear this combo a lot wtf either of the other two are upgrades. Am i wrong?

    I’m not a huge football fan these days, and not a Dallas fan at all,, but for my money, yesterday’s Cowboys unis are easily the best in the NFL.

    I was honestly fine for the context of the Madden honor. It was honoring his well known association with Thanksgiving day games and giving out the Turkey Legs to his most valuable players after the games. He was also a broadcaster for both CBS and Fox who both air games on Thanksgiving. In that context the Raiders really have nothing to do with it. Therefore, I felt this was appropriate.

    For sure, I can see that argument too. Having the Raiders play would just be a nice bonus.

    But still: The decal design didn’t work.

    The Cowboys looked great, and I truly hate that team. I was surprised at how much I like the Patriots road unis.

    I’ll admit, seeing the footage of Madden and Summerall choked me up a bit…

    The gray in the Lions uniforms don’t even match the gray in the helmet. If you’re going to match the unis to the helmet, the least you can do is match it to the helmet.

    Cowboys unis are great. As are the Giants. But it’s an example of two nice uniforms not providing enough contrast. Wayyyy too much white on that field.

    When I originally commented I clicked the „Notify me when new comments are added” checkbox and now each time a comment is added I getthree emails with the same comment. Is there any way you can remove me from that service?Appreciate it!

    I’m surprised no one mentioned the Saquon Barkley helmet decal malfunction. The tail of the “y” was bumping into the “n” on the side of the helmet facing left.

    Thanksgiving was the first time my Giants have worn white uniforms for a game in Dallas since 1963. That’s approximately 58 or so games in a row that the Giants wore blue & the Cowboys wore white down there. As someone who’s watched games since around 1970, I don’t even recall either team wearing anything other than their usual jerseys for games there either, ever, until this Thursday.

    NFL and NBA are running neck and neck for worst uniforms. Might give the NFL a very slight lead. So many hideous looks. NFL needs a massive makeover—but please, please, please leave Nike out of it.

    Not sure if anyone mentioned it yet, but the Madden Turkey Day logo was drawn in a style that looks an awful lot like the Walter Payton Man of the Year logo. The former didn’t work as well as it could have (as Paul mentions) the latter works because the shape of the player makes it more distinguishable from a distance than the Madden logo. If they do something similar with the Madden logo it can work too. I still think its a great logo for other uses, just maybe not on a helmet.

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