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Suiting Up: A Look at a Custom NFL Suit Lining Catalog

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Good morning! The big uni news today will be about the Broncos’ new alternate helmet, which is scheduled to be unveiled at noon Eastern. which has now been released.

But while we’re waiting for that: Over the past few years, we’ve occasionally Ticker-linked to photos of various people, often at a league’s draft or other big event, showing off custom team-themed suit linings. I always thought these were one-of-a-kind creations, but it turns out that the NFL actually created a product line of licensed suit linings in 2019.

Uni Watch reader Mike Monoghan recently saw a swatch catalog for this product line available on Facebook Marketplace and snapped it up — a great find! After he tweeted a few photos of it, I got in touch and asked if he’d be willing to loan it to me, and he generously agreed. Here’s what he sent me:

Pretty cool, right? I mean, I don’t think I’d ever want a team-themed lining for my own suit, but the catalog is still interesting. The team identities are from 2019, and all teams except the Cowboys are represented. (I’m not sure if they declined to participate in the program or if their swatch is just missing.) Here’s the full assortment, alphabetized by city name:


Pretty cool, right? It’s interesting to see the various design templates. A few things that caught my eye:

  • There are three different styles of helmet depictions: illustration (Jags, Saints), photo (Falcons, Bears), and photo with a ridged helmet (Vikings, Dolphins).
  • It makes sense that the Eagles’ helmet is facing to the left, because their logo also faces leftward. But the Seahawks’ lining also shows a left-facing helmet, which I don’t understand at all.
  • There’s something about the Dolphins’ design that makes it feel like the tile for a bathroom wall (which would look pretty cool, actually).
  • I never noticed before that the Broncos’ wordmark has the city name positioned below the team name. At first I thought maybe that was something they created just for the suit lining, but it turns out that it’s always been like that.

The back of each swatch card has this additional info:

According to this article, getting the NFL lining as part of a custom-made suit cost an extra $50, at least in 2019 — not bad if you’re into that kind of thing.

And here’s a great bonus: As I mentioned earlier, this catalog was loaned to me by Mike Monoghan. Here’s how he mailed it to me:

How cool is that? It’s like the old Uni Watch ransom note T-shirt (no longer available, sorry). Mike definitely Gets It™! Please join me in thanking him for sharing this very interesting item with us.



My Next Deep Dive

With the Jets unveiling their throwbacks yesterday, my Uni Watch Premium article on Substack this week will be a deep dive on the uniforms that the throwbacks are based on. Like all the other deep dives I’ve recently done (for the Bucs’ creamsicles, the Eagles’ Kelly greens, the Seahawks’ blue/silver set, the Vikings’ original purple set, and the Oilers’ uniforms), this one will be jam-packed with obscure fun facts and great vintage photos.

You can receive this article in your in-box tomorrow morning by becoming a paid subscriber to my Substack (which will also get you access to my Substack archives). My thanks, as always, for your consideration.



Uni(cycle) Watch

The RAGBRAI — short for the Register‘s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa — is an annual event sponsored by The Des Moines RegisterApparently some folks participate via unicycle, like this guy, who was wearing a Uni Watch bike jersey! Reader Matt Stinn spotted him on the road yesterday.

To the mystery uni-cyclist: If you’re reading this, I’d love to hear from you — feel free to drop me a lineThanks!



Can of the Day

There’s so much going on here, I barely know where to start. “Schmaltz,” “Headless,” the color scheme, the little “Brand” banner. But to get to the best part, you have to rotate the can slightly. Check this out:

Oh man, is that the best or what? Apparently herring are caught in life preservers by little gnomes! I’d give anything to know who the illustrator was for that. So good!

Comments (20)

    I’m not much of an NFL fan, but I do love a funky suit lining. Based on that, I’d have to go with the Jaguars out of the options presented. If it were up to me, I think a powder blue Chargers one would look the best.

    Real Iowans know RAGBRAI actually stands for Register‘s Annual Great Beer Run Across Iowa.

    I have a co-worker whose cousin played part of a season for the Steelers back in the 80s (he suffered a career-ending injury late in the season). About a year ago my co-worker was visiting his cousin for the first time in many years, and told his cousin that he works with a die-hard Steeler fan (me). The cousin said “Here, take a picture of this.”, and held his sport coat open, revealing the Steeler logo-clad lining. I guess now I know where that came from!!!! I find it even more amazing that someone who played part of one season, almost 40 years ago, would maintain such a strong association with the team he played for, to the point that he would be wearing this sport coat for a get-together where he had no idea that his football career would come up in conversation.

    This seems to be highly dependent on the team. I’ve heard of things like that with the Steelers before. The Packers and Chiefs also seem to inspire a lot of loyalty. Never heard about it with the Cardinals, though – go figure.

    Re: Cowboys

    “The Cowboys’ approach to its merchandise and licensing operations has long differed from the rest of the league. In 2002, owner Jerry Jones opted out of the NFL’s new deal with Reebok because he believed an even split of revenue wasn’t fair, and the team has since operated its own licensing business, while paying a set percentage back into the NFL’s revenue sharing pool.”

    That mailing label is genius. Using the A’s logo for the “as” in Lukas is some next-level shit. Dude should be working for NASA…

    I wonder why the Dolphins, Eagles and Seahawks got the bathroom tile treatment but nobody else did. And there seemed to be a wide variety in how densely they picked the logo; look at the Chiefs and 49ers compared to the Vikings or Chargers. (And why black, Vikes?!) the Patriots logo is yuuuuge relative to the others as well.

    Odd that some of the patterns that make use of photographic images of helmets have big reflections that really get in the way of the logo (Broncos, Vikings, Bears). Feels kind of lazy on the part of the designers.

    One thing that’s really weird – the Buccaneers helmet is wrong! That’s clearly the 2000’s version of their helmet, paired with the alarm-clock-era wordmark. If it’s from 2019, the logo should have less black accents, be larger, and the facemask should be silver. Weird for an officially-licensed product to feature a graphic that would’ve been 5+ years out of date…

    The Broncos design is driving me crazy. The helmets and wordmarks do not have an even pattern. It looks terrible.

    Green Bay is the winner of this swatch contest for me. Just the G, no wordmark. You know who we are. As much as I disregard the Cowboys I would have loved to see their star strewn version of this lining. That address sticker is very good indeed.

    The Incor porated with that space inbetween on the front of the can ia also remarkable.

    The 49ers lining makes me dizzy. The Steelers lining is pretty sharp. Would be cool to have a black suit with that lining. My wife used fabric with that exact Texans pattern to make pillow cases for my sons when they went off to college. Still have some around.

    Each swatch is consecutively numbered, and since the numbers don’t skip where Dallas should be, I assume they declined to participate.

    The schmaltz herring looks like something my Bubbie and Zayde would have had in their fridge. Amazing design.

    I have no idea what sugar-cured schmaltz herring tastes like, but I suddenly want to try one.

Comments are closed.