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Monday Morning Uni Watch

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Odd moment in yesterday’s Bengals/Bills playoff game, as a close-up view of a challenge flag thrown by Cincy coach Zac Taylor provided some free advertising for Honig’s, an outlet that specializes in officials’ gear (including the red flag, which sells for $12.99). I’ve never seen that before, so I assume the tagging is usually removed.

In that same game, the Bills once again had the blue-outlined “3” on the field for Damar Hamlin:

But the big story of this game was, of course, the snow, which looked so awesome that it almost made up for Buffalo’s accursed mono-blue combo. Here are some good video clips:

That’s why the NFL shouldn’t have any domed stadiums. Play in the elements, whatever they may be!

Meanwhile, yesterday’s other game was a beauty, with the 49ers’ and Cowboys’ classic uniforms showcased on a grass field. The sock inconsistencies were the only flaw in this otherwise gorgeous tableau:

Early in that game, Fox used an odd graphic for 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy:

The odd thing, of course, is the inclusion of the 75th-anniversary patch, which the Niners wore last season — when Purdy was still in college. I’m guessing that the illo is based on a photo of a different quarterback from last season (probably Jimmy Garoppolo), and then they patched in Purdy’s face and changed the uni number. Anyway, someone at Fox must have noticed, because in the fourth quarter they ran the same illo without the patch! Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get a screen shot of that one.

As many of you know, the Niners are my favorite team, so I’m excited about them making it back to the NFC Championship Game. Looking forward to this Sunday — go Niners!

(My thanks to Mike Chamernik, Jeff Sandman, L.J. Sparvero, and Patrick Wieboldt for their contributions to this section.)


Too Good for the Ticker

The photo shown above was taken on Feb. 12, 1965 — almost 58 years ago. The striped-out team is Ellwood City High School from Pennsylvania. Surprisingly, their team name was (and still is) “Wolverines,” not “Zebras.”

Note that the opposing team — the Butler Golden Tornado — was also no slouch in the stripe department, at least down the sides.

Bonus points for including the two stripe-clad refs in the photo.

(Mega-thanks to Gabriel Doman for bringing this one to my attention.)

Comments (71)

    I saw that and thought it was odd to see the tag. Amusingly, it’s half off, so maybe the process of removal was interrupted?

    Bengals might be the only team that looks good in the mono body suit. The helmet is such a bold and bright design that going mono-white works, and helps move them away from wearing a full-on bengal costume. I actually prefer this look over their new white helmet, it’s the right amount of contrast.

    I prefer the orange helmets over the white as well. However, when wearing the white helmets , I think they should be worn with the white jerseys that have the orange elements in them.

    I’ve said it before…
    A good number of teams that can go white-over-white for away games should do so, including the Chiefs and Bears…whose dark color road pants I really don’t care for.
    Also, the “Bengals might be the only team that looks good in the mono body suit”. They are one of a very few that do…they go mono-black.

    I don’t comment here often, but as someone who can’t stand white on white under practically any circumstance (and absolutely abhor mono, like the Bills had), like others here I actually didn’t hate the Bengals’ going full pajamas. That helmet covers a multitude of bland.

    49ers-Cowboys was indeed beautiful, especially since the Cowboys lost, and the Bengals’ helmets looked so great in the snow.

    I was wondering if the Cowboys won, would the Eagles have worn white at home to make the Cowboys wear blue? We will never know.

    They wore white in the 1980 NFC Championship Game, which they won 20-7, so it certainly would’ve been a possibility…

    I would bet on it. The Eagles do wear white at home, especially in the early season when it is still hot and humid around here. But for the Cowboys, if they can be forced to wear blue, the Eagles make it happen.

    I’m sure they would have. They’ve always had that insecurity with Dallas same as Washington. The Giants have been the only division rival that are confident enough to wear their normal home. The few times they haven’t it was to showcase a third jersey.

    I’m a little surprised to see no coverage of Saturday’s games, both of which featured one team looking good and one looking “meh.”

    One thing that I never noticed before, because I rarely watch games, is how Travis Kelce really stood out on the screen with his yellow shoes and gloves. You always knew where he was, even if the defense didn’t seem to. I don’t know if you’ve ever mentioned that before. But YMMV if that’s uni-notable.

    That second game was indeed a real beaut, but it also bugged me that the socks were mismatched. I dont know why the NFL doesnt legislate that the socks in a uniform are to be, uh, uniform. Itd also do away with the dreaded leotard look.

    To me it looks so amateur. I play on an old guy’s baseball team, and we have mismatched pants and undershirts because we are all buying our own. (Though we only have one color – royal blue – so it could be worse. It mostly comes down to gray vs. white pants.) It really shouldn’t be that way when teams are supplying the full uniforms.

    Great looking games yesterday! And the games lived up to the visual standard set!

    I wonder why teams that know they’re going to play in the snow choose to go with white jerseys with their white pants? I know their orange helmet stands out well in bad weather, but I would think the Bengals would choose to wear their orange pants as well to increase visibility against the thick lake effect snow that falls in Buffalo. Maybe on the field the orange/white/orange look messes with how Burrow would see the field?

    Conversely, I’m wondering of the orange-white-white combo had an affect against the Bills’ offense in the snow situation.

    1. The Bengals announced their uni combo very early last week (I think by Monday or Tuesday), well before any forecast for snow would have proven reliable.

    2. The Bengals don’t have orange pants. Perhaps you’re thinking of the Browns.

    Ah, yes! I forgot they do commit earlier to a combo.
    And I know for a fact I didn’t confuse them for the Browns! I have a picture in my phone that was posted before the game Sunday showing Joe Burrow in a black jersey/orange pants combo that is obviously photoshopped, but I thought it was all based on a look they already had!
    Thanks Phil!

    Not uni related, but still kind of interesting, in a minutiae sort of way:
    If the Niners win, we are guaranteed a SB rematch.
    If the Eagles win, we are guaranteed a new SB pairing.

    This is only the fourth time that this has happened:
    1993 (SB XXVII)
    MIA/DAL and MIA/SF would have been rematches
    BUF/SF would have been a new pairing
    BUF/DAL was a new pairing

    1996 (SB XXX)
    PIT/GB and IND/GB would have been new pairings
    DAL/IND would have been a rematch (technically)
    DAL/PIT was a rematch

    2022 (SB LVI)
    CIN/SF and KC/SF would have been rematches
    KC/LAR would have been a new pairing
    CIN/LAR was a new pairing

    Also, if the Niners lose, it will be the 4th consecutive year we were denied a SB rematch because the “wrong” NFC team won:
    2020 & 21: KC/GB was denied (a sartorial disappointment)
    2022: CIN/SF was denied

    I’m sure it’s been discussed here many times before, but the one thing that struck me watching a bit of the CIN/BUF game was how bad it looked when players had contrasting undershirts hanging out at the waist of the otherwise mono-uniforms. I started to think of it as the “Fanny pack” look.

    I love when two teams are clearly meant to play each other. Will always love that red/gold versus blue/silver look.

    So agree Paul with the thought that there should be NO domes in football ! Please end this roof trend ! There is nothing better than football in the elements, even if that means a beautiful blue sky and sun! No more domes ! And I’m a season ticket holder for the eagles who has to sit in those elements, whatever they may be ! ITS FOOTBALL!!!!

    You’re going to get very little support in 20 years when average temperatures are another 2 degrees higher and the (aging, morbidly obese) population keeps moving to the Sunbelt where it’ll be 95 degrees in October.

    Although Florida’s fresh water will be contaminated by salt intrusion and the economy will be ruined, so that eliminates 3 stadiums from being an issue right there.

    Eagles/Niners game next week will be a great uni match up. Good color contrasts, Niners having excellent uniforms (road or home) and the Eagles having pretty good standard home uniforms in spite of the drab green they currently use.
    Chiefs/Bengals will be meh even though KC has great uniforms. The lack of contrast between orange and red helmets hurts, and the overall awfulness of Bengals uniforms brings it down.
    Eagles/Chiefs in the Superbowl would be the best uni outcome. Fairly traditional designs and a good contrast.

    The red NFL challenge flags are also used by Little League umpires. Little League umpires are supposed to drop a red flag on the ground (indicating a violation) when a base runner leaves the base before a pitched ball reaches the batter.

    I’m a high school football official in Florida, so I can tell you that we rarely remove the makers’ tags from our gear. I generally use flags and beanbags produced by two companies: Flags & Bags, USA or Smitty’s, which also makes officials’ uniforms, hats, etc., and is probably Honig’s biggest competitor. (For reference, Smitty’s has a large presence in both high school and college football. Their uniform pieces are easily recognizable by the stylized capital “S” on the shirts and the rear beltloop of the black pants.)

    The Niners also had 2 stripes and the old wordmark last year with the 75th patch, making Purdy’s graphic odder. They made sure it looked like the current unis, yet kept the patch. Stange.

    Also also: the Purdy graphic used the “new” 49ers wordmark: link

    The old one was similar, but different: link

    So yes…VERY odd they put the patch on there.

    Two consecutive playoff losses to the Niners… maybe the Cowboys will stop wearing the white jerseys.
    I know they didn’t have a choice yesterday, but if they meet next year in Arlington, it’s time to go blue!

    For those teams to meet in Arlington, the Cowboys would have to win a division or somehow be a higher seed than the 49ers, who are far and away the class of the NFC West. Unlikely, so if there is a rematch, it would look like this in all likelihood.

    I’ve always wondered if challenge flags were provided to the coaches from the stadium staff before each game, or if coaches kept their flag and used it all season.

    Or maybe the officials keep them and hand them out to the coaching staff on game days? I don’t know the right answer.


    I’ll never understand the hate for mono looks in football. Looks good in baseball, basketball…why not football? I mean, I like non-“mono” looks too, but I don’t think the bills all blue is bad by any means. Just my opinion

    Looks good in baseball, basketball…why not football?

    This is like saying, “I’ll never understand why people don’t like putting ketchup on their corn flakes. Works on french fries and burgers, so why not corn flakes?”

    Different contexts, different histories, different cultures, etc., etc. What works for one sport doesn’t necessarily work for another.

    No, it sometimes works. I prefer the mono look for basketball as well, but some of these old time unforms from the 20s and 30s are really cool. Also in Europe we have a tradition of teams playing in different colored shirts and shorts (although FIBA is trying to put a stop to it), for instance Joventut Badalona of Spain (green shirt, black shorts). We also have pro basketball teams that are part of a multisports club, like FC Barcelona, Fenherbace Istanbul, PAOK Saloniki, Red Star Belgrade and Feyenoord Rotterdam, playing in vertically striped shirts, sometimes with contrasting shorts, like the soccer teams of the same club. Must be gruesome to a lot of people but we in Europe tend to like it. Tradition and such.

    I am not as knee-jerk about it as some… I actually think the best current set for the Seahawks is their all blue, I think the best current set for the Jaguars is their all black. I didn’t hate when the Redskins wore all burgundy a few seasons ago.
    But I do think most teams look generally awful (Bills, Dolphins, Lions)but more often wrong (Bears, Vikings, Chiefs, etc…) in mono.


    One thing about the Seattle mono look is that’s been their home look since they went away from the lighter blue, so we got introduced to it all together and doesn’t feel out of sorts as it does with the Bills going all blue or Arizona going all red. I feel that teams that didn’t traditionally do the mono look can get away with it once a season, but anything more than that feels like too much. Like, I also liked the Commander’s going all red a few seasons ago, but I wouldn’t want to see that too often.

    The Seahawks look better with the gray pants, but I think in mono they look less offensive than others simply because, as you note, that is sort of their default look with the uniform. Aside from mono white, I don’t think any mono looks good. BUT, I think two factors make certain mono uniforms look less bad:
    1) Having full mono, which includes the helmet, probably helps. Whether it is Buffalo, Arizona, Miami, New Orleans, or New England, having a lighter helmet paired with mono dark jersey and pants makes it feel like the uniform doesn’t belong together.
    2) When you do have full mono, I think the ones that look less bad are more subdued colors, be it Seattle in navy, or Baltimore in black. Those certainly work better than if KC is going head to toe red, or Minnesota all purple.

    It’s my belief that every NFL game should be outdoors, and on grass.
    I pretty much just assumed all NFL fans felt the same way, so imagine my shock yesterday as I scrolling Facebook only to see some dude complaining about snow during the game in Buffalo!

    The more I see them, the less I like the Bengals uniform sets. None of them make sense, very little cohesion. Great idea, poorly executed.

    Paul, I’ve known for some time the 49ers are your favorite NFL team… what are your general thoughts on the Giants & Jets?


    I was raised in a Giants household (my father and brothers were rooting for the Giants before the Jets even existed), so the Giants are a close second to the Niners in my heart. Since I’ve always lived in or near NYC, I’ve watched a lot more Giants games over the years, just because their games are always available to me on TV. I root for both teams unless they’re playing each other, in which case I root for the Niners.

    I’ve never really cared one way or the other about the Jets. I don’t hate them, but they don’t mean anything to me.

    How you feel about the Giants is pretty much how I feel about the 49ers.
    I’m a Vikings fan (I was born in Iowa, they and the Chiefs were the “home” teams back then), but moved to the SF Bay Area in 1979. My first friends here were 49er fans (NOT Raiders even though they were much better at the time).
    I root for the 49ers except against the Vikings.

    Just curious, thanks!


    CIN @ BUF: The Bengals going mono-white was set off nicely by the bold orange/black lids. I would like to see more orange in the remainder of the all-white set but it was nice. And may have been decent camouflage for the snow… I don’t like the Bills in monosmurf, but with the contrasting white helmets, it was OK. Plus, with all the snow around, the blue stood out. One thing I did notice was that the accumulated snow at all the black rubber pellets from the fake turf. Looked like poppy seeds, especially when the wet snow clung to the helmets. One more reason games should be played on grass.
    DAL @ SF: One of the best aesthetic games, on real grass. And the Cowboys lost – how ’bout ’em?!?!
    *chef’s kiss*

    I absolutely love the Bengals look they sported yesterday. I don’t need no white helmet. I just wish there was a little orange on the pants. Maybe put the “B” on the hip.

    For the life of me, I can zero reason why the Bengals can’t wear these uniforms:
    (sheesh, I hope that link works!)


    There are many reasons why I don’t like the Chiefs. “The chop” is the number one reason.
    Another reason? Their uniforms. They commit one of the most egregious acts in football. They don’t represent all of their team colors on the helmet. The helmet should have yellow.

    You’re right, but I love those uniform designs that predate corporate designers who have to make sure that identity is expressed consistently and pedantically in every item of (marketable) gear. The way that teams in the ’50s and ’60s would try to save a little money by only having one team color in the jersey, while getting them both in the pants striping. The Giants’ redless blues, the pre-Phoenix Cardinals’ red jersey with no black while the white jersey had both, all those color inconsistencies of the Cowboys. Those odd little quirks that made sense at the time and then got frozen into place.

    Did the Bills screw themselves by not wearing all white? It looked like Josh Allen didn’t see blitzes a couple of times because the Bengals blended into the snow. Why not use the camouflage to your advantage?

    The Bengals at least had bright colored orange helmets, but I wonder if they had played in that snow storm with the white helmet with their all white uniform, if it would have been a problem for the QB picking out his receivers?

    The snow made the Bills look better, but I will never be a mono fan except when in white, especially the way the Bengals looked with the orange helmets. The Chiefs also look good in mono white thanks to the red helmet. Niners always look good, maybe the best uniform in the NFL along with the Bears, the Steelers and the Packers. Cowboys look best in navy and silver or the retro navy with white sleeves with stars on the shoulders (and white helmet). I like the current Bengals, Chiefs, Chargers, Patriots and Giants sets as well. All other teams need improvements. Except for the Raiders who should be renamed now that they are in Las Vegas and both Al Davis and John Madden are gone. Keep the Silver and Black but change the team name to Mall Rats, Crap Tables, Money Launderers, Two Armed Bandits or something.

    Made a mistake, I do like the Bengals with the orange helmet over white on white a lot. Great look. If they make it to the Super Bowl they should play the Niners in red or the Eagles in midnight green.

    I wonder what the NFL would/could have done yesterday, if the Bengals had worn their white helmets?
    Would’ve put put the tv cameras to the test with that white Siberian Tiger camouflage!

    That Honig’s penalty marker looks pretty ancient and weathered. It still displays the tag from when Honig’s was located in Ann Arbor, MI instead of Denver when it changed hands. I think the tag is half off from use/handling and not from someone trying to remove it. Unless that marker has sentimental value for someone, I would think the NFL could do better.

    I grew up and graduated from Ellwood City, I used my high school jersey for my Uni Watch membership card. I’m gonna have to ask my guys at the school to dig up something about these stripes. And yes Wolverines. We wore the Michigan/Delaware wings on our helmets.

    Honig’s Whistle Stop was started by Dick Honig, the NCAA referee who was chased down and caught up to by Penn State legendary coach Joe Paterno after JoPa was upset with a call. The replay of the incident was replayed often as people found it amazing that a man of Paterno’s age could run so fast.

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