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The Strange Saga of Frankie Luvu’s Jersey Stripes

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Notice anything unusual about Panthers linebacker Frankie Luvu, who’s leaping toward the ballcarrier in the photo shown above? Give yourself a pat on the back if you spotted that his UCLA-style shoulder stripes are very narrow compared to those of his teammates.

Here’s a closer look, with a side-by-side comparison of a conventional Panthers jersey and Luvu’s thinner stripes:

Different players often have differing tailoring cuts, of course, but I’ve never seen a Carolina player with anything quite like what Luvu is wearing there. Here’s one more view:

Does he do something similar with his white jersey? Yup. If anything, the tailoring is even more severe on the white jersey, with the blue portion of the stripe almost completely eliminated:

And here’s another handy side-by-side comparison:

Has Luvu been doing this all season long? Nope — he started doing it in Week 11 (Nov. 20). Prior to that he wore conventional stripes, as seen in these shots from earlier in the season:

(In case you’re wondering, the Panthers haven’t yet worn their blue alternates this season, although they’re scheduled to do so on New Year’s Day. For what it’s worth, Luvu had regular striping on his blue jersey last season.)

I assume Luvu switched to the custom tailoring in order to create a tighter fit — the latest step in the NFL’s skintight-o-rama arms race. I tried to confirm that by asking the Panthers, where a spokesman said he’d try to get more info. I’ll update this post if/when I hear back from him.

(Big thanks to Panthers Uniform Tracker honcho Scott Trembly, who brought this issue to my attention and deserves all the credit for this entry.)

Substack Reminder

In case you missed it on Wednessday, I have an in-depth interview with the radio voice of the Portland Trail Blazers, Travis Demers, who is almost certainly the most uni-obsessed broadcaster out there. Among other things, he’s actually part of the creative group that designs the Blazers’ City Edition uniforms! We talked about how that works, and a whole more. Really illuminating interview, even if you’re not a Blazers fan!

You can read about 40% of the interview over on Substack. To read the entire thing, you’ll need to become a paying subscriber, which I hope you’ll consider doing. Thanks!

Too Good for the Ticker

If you’ve ever wanted to see sumo wrestlers shooting baskets while wearing their mawashi, well, today’s your lucky day. “The next basho (Grand Sumo Tournament) starts on Jan. 8 in that arena, so the dohyo (ring) has not been built yet,” explains Jeremy Brahm.

Ho-Ho-Ho

Let’s hear it for longtime Uni Watch contributor/reader Trevor Williams, who’s a third grade teacher in Texas. In addition to decorating his room with sports paraphernalia and incorporating uniforms and logos into some of his lesson plans, he also has an annual tradition of giving away a bunch of sports stuff to his students right before Christmas. This year’s haul, as you can see above, included a bunch of pennants.

Thanks for the important work you do as a teacher, Trevor, and for spreading the gospel of athletics aesthetics!

And Speaking of Christmas Giveaways...

Today’s the next-to-last day to submit your entry for the 2022 Uni Watch year-end raffle. Full details here.

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Comments (16)

    I noticed this a couple weeks ago (when they wore the white shirts), but couldn’t find a photo at the time, then forgot about it. GREAT WORK by Scott tracking this and Paul for finding all those new pics!

    Yeah, this has been picked up steam. First Panthers player I’ve ever seen do this. Thing is, the shoulder stripes used to be a bit more prominent than they are now. But now they’re smaller … then Luvu comes in and almost eliminates the middle color in the stripe.

    Thing is, sleeve modifications aren’t the newest fad. Roger Staubach and Dan Marino cut their jersey sleeves to the point of affecting the sleeve striping.

    I don’t think I have ever considered the Panthers’ uniform to have UCLA style stripes. I always was under the impression that that the UCLA stripes were what the Colts have, the Pats have, and Vikings once had. Very specific in the design such that each stripe is even in width. The Panthers stripes have always seemed more stylized to me. Does everyone else consider the Panthers to have UCLA stripes?

    Paul, the link in the giveaway reminder is broken, as it keeps trying to go to “4189039930_cf8800953f_o/”. It’s been like that the last couple of days, since switching from the reminder that also included the Vilkmas giveaway.

    There a joke about how he doesn’t “Luv U” Blue in there somewhere, but I haven’t had enough caffeine to figure it out.

    I saw this picture yesterday of Aaron Judge holding a 62 jersey but is it common knowledge that the serifs on 6s and 9s on Yankee uniforms are not straight?

    I never knew this.

    link

    I apologize for the Instagram link. I couldn’t find the same picture on the web.

    That is correct. This is a Wilson font and the Yankees have used it exclusively since 1973. The Braves also used it for years, but I believe they have changed a bit recently. Here is a Braves example:

    link

    That’s one of the all-time greatest examples of athletes in one sport playing another sport.

    To echo a similar post from a few days ago: why is the NFL so stringent in some aspects of a uniform but allow such drastic striping variations? No real rhyme or reason.

    What’s amusing is that the Panthers are no stranger to shoulder stripe variations. Prior to adopting the current Nike template in 2019, they were still using a uniform template carried over from the previous Reebok NFL contract (no Elite-51 “Nikelace” collar nonsense), but still had variations in the shoulder stripes, as shown in the image on this page regarding their 2018 uni schedule: link

    Most players wore the stripe variant that horseshoed around the sleeve number, to the point where the stripes were actually distorted a bit to end at the sleeve “cuff”. But a few players (most notably Cam Newton, as featured in that image) wore the original 1995-spec shoulder loops, with narrow outer stripes, and the center stripe going from extra-wide at the top of the shoulder to narrow in the armpit area. The current striping is an attempt to emulate those original loops, but thinner due to less real estate on the shoulders with the current jersey template.

    So here’s something I don’t understand- if players are so concerned about making their jerseys skin tight, why don’t they tuck them in, and why do they have undershirts sticking out where defenders can grab & slow them down?

    I’ve been asking the same thing for a while. I think it’s a case of being fashionable superseding being practical.

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