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Monday Morning Uni Watch: 2023, Week 1

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Good morning, and welcome to the first Monday Morning Uni Watch report of the new NFL season!

Let’s start here: Like many folks, I was surprised that the Browns wore a rear-helmet Jim Brown memorial decal — instead of a jersey patch — during the preseason. It turns out that they were planning to add a patch all along, but they waited until a few hours before yesterday’s season opener to announce it. The patch design matches the sideline graphic that had been announced several days earlier. Now that they have the patch, they’ve removed the rear-helmet decal. Lots of game photos here.

In another surprise memorial move, the 49ers have added a “64” rear-helmet decal for Hall of Famer Dave Wilcox, who died earlier this year. To my knowledge, there was no announcement for this one, although maybe I just missed it:

I’ve added this, and the Browns patch, to my NFL Season Preview, which is now final.

In other news from around the league yesterday:

  • The Vikings debuted their throwbacks, including the gigantic Bud Grant memorial patch, which will be repurposed as a rear-helmet decal for their non-throwback games (lots of additional pics here):
  • The Colts debuted their “40th season in Indy” patch (which was announced way back in March but wasn’t worn during the preseason):
  • We got our first look at the Titans’ 25th-season rear-helmet decal (which had been announced last month but wasn’t worn or even photo-previewed during the preseason):
  • The Patriots retired Tom Brady’s No. 12 during halftime. Brady wore an era-appropriate jersey from his time with the team, while his kids wore the team’s current jersey design, which I found odd. At least they used the right number fonts:
  • Notable for its absence: I was wondering if the Cowboys might add a memorial decal for longtime director of player personnel, scouting pioneer, and Hall of Famer Gil Brandt, who died on Aug. 31, but they opted not to.
  • Speaking of Dallas: I heard from a lot of people last night — like, a lot of people — who were convinced that the Cowboys’ pants were a darker-than-usual shade of blue. I was pretty sure nothing had changed (they looked the same to me), but the sheer volume of comments led me to double-check. I looked up their game against the Bucs from last season (a night game, so the lighting conditions would be similar to last night). Yup, same as last year, just like I thought:
  • As you may have noticed in the 49ers and Titans photos higher up on this page, all teams wore a rear-helmet 9/11 decal, although the positioning varied:
  • In addition, Giants coach Brian Daboll and Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy wore first responder caps (I’m assuming we’ll see the same thing for tonight’s Bills/Jets game):
  • Lots of rookies across the league wore the new NFL PREM1ERE patch. This was mostly routine, except that a few rookies are also team captains (something I find surprising, frankly), so they were also wearing captaincy patches, which affected the positioning of their rookie patches:
  • Confirming what we observed in Thursday night’s season opener, visor tabs now match the color of the helmet shell (yay!) and the Oakley wordmark has been added to the maker’s mark (boo!). Here’s how it looked for all 28 teams that played yesterday:
  • Steelers linebacker T.J. Watt had a pretty cool-looking shoe design:
  • Packers defensive back Jaire Alexander appears to be going with longer, roomier sleeves this year:
  • Socks continue to be a shitshow, as captured in this 49ers photo:
  • The best-looking game of the day was the Packers/Bears matchup in Chicago:

  • As for the worst-looking game, it was definitely the Cards taking on the Commies in DC. Blood clots vs. white unitards — woof:

  • Speaking of that game in DC, the Commies were the only home team to wear white. That’s surprising, because we often see a lot of home teams wearing white early in the season, when the weather is still warm.

As for tonight: The Jets are slated to debut their throwbacks while hosting the Bills.

And there you have it — the first MMUW report of the season!

(My thanks to Twitter-er @AjikaOfficial for letting me know about Jaire Alexander’s new sleeve style.)



A Somber Anniversary

Today is Sept. 11 — the 22nd anniversary of the World Trade Center attacks. Like most New Yorkers, I’ll never forget that day. Uni Watch HQ was about three miles from Ground Zero, and the smoke plume wafted directly over my neighborhood. Debris from the plume landed in my backyard.

As the day unfolded, officials put out an urgent call for blood donors, thinking there would be hundreds or even thousands of injured people. As it turned out, of course, there were no injuries — only deaths — but we didn’t yet know that.

I had never donated blood before, but it seemed like a good way to be helpful, to contribute, to do the right thing, so I went and donated. I liked the sense of shared purpose and solidarity I felt with the other donors and the staff, even at such a grim moment (or maybe because it was such a grim moment).

Two months later, I received an emailed reminder that I was once again eligible to donate. I remembered that feeling of solidarity and decided to do it again. And then again, two months after that. And again and again.

I’ve continued donating blood pretty much every two months since then. Each time I do so, I remember that terrible day 22 years ago and think that if my blood helps even one person, then at least something good will have come out of that tragedy.

Thanks for listening. If you’re mourning someone who died on 9/11, please accept my sincere condolences. And if you’re not afraid of needles, please consider donating blood. It’s a really simple way to be helpful, to contribute, to do the right thing.



Can of the Day

Oh, man — how great would it be to get an oil change with this product? So good!

Comments (69)

    The new Oakley mark was not consistent, especially on the Bears. Several wearing the old logo right next to the new one. The Bears QB Fields #1 on the jersey looked especially long.

    maybe people thought the cowboys pants were darker this year because they were wet most of the game

    Yeah that was my immediate thought. Heck the Giants jerseys were practically navy by the end of the game.

    This. I noted that all the colors in Cowboys/Giants looked off because of the rain. It was really coming down.

    Re Cowboys pants:
    Week 6 2022 @ Philadelphia: link
    Week 1 2023 @ NY: link

    Definitely seems different on the NBC TV broadcast at least, even if they technically aren’t different. Maybe it was a combination of lighting and/or the rain soaking up the pants last night?

    Photos from that Week 6 2022 game:

    Looks much bluer in the pics than in the video. A good reminder that cameras, filters, etc. can have a big effect on what we see.

    In a related item, check out this pic from yesterday’s Packers/Bears game:

    The pylon looks more yellow than orange. (It was actually orange, of course.)

    Type of lights, how the cameras are calibrated, are they calibrated correctly, how the cameras actually sync to each other.

    Worked in television for a long time and cameras even shooting the same object with the same lighting with the same settings from similar vantage points can have drastically different coloring.

    I thought the Cowboys’ pants were different, too. More sky blue with no green like the seafoam color they usually are. I wouldn’t say they were darker though.

    They haven’t had the green element for a few years now.

    I think a lot of this is that it was the first game of the season and people remember what they saw for many years, not what they saw last year.

    As someone has already mentioned the fact the pants were wet also contributed, but it was my first reaction as well. (pants looked more blue) But then again, I bought a new TV and the colors really pop. I thought the Packers helmet looked more like a deeper yellow, but probably just the TV. A lot of good looking games this weekend

    Ever since the league got Nikefied, the Cowboys’ “home pants” have been that shade, more Carolina (Columbia, sky) blue. Nike simply cannot make decent metallic football britches and it affects a lot of teams. It’s especially glaring with the Cowboys because that color is nowhere else in their uniform.

    Dallas/Nike needs to figure that out. Until then, my unpopular opinion is that the Cowboys have one of the ugliest primary uniform combinations in the league. I wish they would just wear the away silver-gray pants at home.

    Umm Dallas decided to change the color a few years ago.


    That was in 2020 and nike took over in 2012. So not sure what you’re on about.

    It’s even stranger since Dallas and Nike had an even earlier equipment sponsor partnership (1996-2001) and Nike had no trouble with the shade and sheen of the Cowboys’ pants back then, though I suspect they merely tacked on their “Swoosh” logo, carried on prior team and rival manufacturer (APEX) specifications for the jerseys pants and called it a day (ergo, they didn’t bother with templates and gimmicky names like “Vapour Unlimited”). If I remember correctly, the Packers and Raiders were also teams Nike sponsored uniforms in the mid-late 90’s and who similarly had shinier pants in that era, but today share the Cowboys’ dilemma of less sheen (but not so much the issue of shade). In all likelihood, it was only when Nike’s current league-wide sponsorship began in 2012, during which they felt compelled to also implement templates (in addition to their mixed-bag of uniform redesigns—though this onus is shared with the teams who approved such remakings) that their issues with being slightly (or in some cases, greatly) “off” on certain uni elements began or became much more noticeable.

    In the 1990s a lot of uniforms were actually made by Ripon Athletic- which was the former Medalist/Sand-Knit factory that was purchased by the employees. They made uniforms under the Starter, Reebok, Puma, adidas, and Logo Athletic. They probably also made the NFL Nike uniforms in the 1990s. And of course they made the 2002-2011 Reebok uniforms. Ripon-made uniform components will have small tags indicating that they were made in Berlin Wisconsin (where Ripon Athletic is located).

    Nike began using a different supplier for their NCAA uniforms in the 2000s, so I assume that supplier makes the current Nike NFL uniforms. However Ripon makes the Packers uniforms, and I believe that they make the shiny fabric pants for the Raiders and the Cowboys. But I also assume that they use the colors (Pantone? Something else??) that Nike mandates. Look for the small “Made in Berlin Wisconsin” tags in game used jerseys and pants.

    My vote for best looking game was also the best of the day. Dolphins at Chargers was awesome!

    That’s a fair point. For anything goes with the socks, was that something the NFL officially allowed or did it just take on a life of its own when color rush started?

    Did you do away with the ranking of best to worst-looking NFL games for the week? Or are you waiting to post that after the MNF Bills-Jets game? My own top choice wouldn’t have been Bears-Packers though, since that is an annual divisional matchup that can fairly be called “routine”, unless one or both teams changes things up with a throwback or alternate/color rush uniform.

    In my opinion, rarity of the matchup should be a greater factor in such rankings (even though with the NFL’s current scheduling format, 4 years I believe is the maximum longest interval where one team will play another in the opposite conference, where before it could be over a decade!) So of the best-looking games so far played, I would rank the 49ers-Steelers since they usually only meet every 4 years, (both teams’ dynastic and classic designs notwithstanding), higher than the similarly aesthetically-pleasing Chargers-Dolphins since those meet much more often (usually every 1-2 seasons). Frequency of matchup should by no means be the largest factor in ranking top best-looking games for the week, but definitely should be a contributing determinant.

    Did you do away with the ranking of best to worst-looking NFL games for the week?

    I’ve never done such a ranking, so I’m not sure what you’re referring to. Maybe you’re thinking of “5 + 1” feature for college football games, which runs on Uni Watch on Sundays.

    My mention of the best- and worst-looking games was based simply on yesterday’s games, not on the full slate of Week 1 games.

    Fix the Dolphins’ socks – or better yet, put them in their throwbacks – and this game would have been best-of-the-weekend.
    Speaking of the Dolphins, Tyreek Hill is also going with conspicuously longer sleeves, and they didn’t seem to slow him down. It did look like he was wearing aqua leg warmers though.

    Definitely agree with the throwbacks! I think the jersey sleeve hill rocked looked really cool as well. I’d be for a weekly ranking of uniform match ups. At least a great way to stir the pot for debate if nothing else.

    Boo to the Saints, who wore their gold pants all preseason then trot out in the tired and overused all black.

    If Brady’s kids had worn the old font with those jerseys, that would just make them the old Color Rash jerseys, right? That would have made them technically period-accurate to his career. Personally, though, I think they should’ve gotten creative; have one kid wear the old white jersey, one wear the red Pat Patriot throwback, and one wear the Rash shirt, for a nice, colorful display.

    I was just looking that up. Appears the jersey Brady was wearing would have been from 2012-2014 timeframe.

    I’m still peeved that the Bears didn’t have a memorial patch for Gale Sayers. He certainly deserved it.

    Echoing Paul’s encouragement of blood donation. I am not the biggest fan of needles, but I can grimace/grin and bear it for the 5-10 minutes it takes to potentially help save someone’s life.

    Back when I lived in Mexico, I used to donate 2 or 3 times a year. However, even though I lived in a big city (Mexico City), I am ineligible to donate in Texas, where I live since 2021. When I tried, they told me I need to wait 3 years, so Sept 2024 is when I will be able to donate once again.

    My first time donating was at a blood drive during lunch at my office when I was in my early 20s. We wore shirts and ties at work back then, and I was so nervous during the process that I completely soaked my shirt through with sweat. Made for an uncomfortable afternoon, but I was proud that I’d finally had the stones donate.

    Can’t remember if they were covered in the previous article on this topic, but noticed the Bengals are still wearing the old Nike template.

    One thing I was on the lookout for but didn’t notice, any games in which players on the same team wore different template. I remember we saw that a bit during the last changeover. I didn’t see any, curious if anyone else caught some instances of that.

    As for the template change overall, I actually like the new collar better, but that V shaped seam across the chest is rough. Old seams with new collar would be ideal

    While I enjoyed the Vikings throwbacks, the Bud Grant patch is ridiculous. It looks like someone took a screen-shot of Bud Grant making a credit card transaction. Shocking that they could not do better than that.

    I agree! The Vikes looked SO good! Brought back some warm feelings for me. I think their current shade of purple is so off putting.

    Give me this any day!


    The Vikings’ Bud Grant patch is so big and white that it looks like a “Hello My Name Is” sticker.

    I thought that by NFL rule, memorial patches on jerseys were limited to team owners, and members of their families, and that all other memorials had to be worn on the helmets. Was that ever a thing? And if so, when did that change?

    Someone reported that rule a while back (not on Uni Watch), but the report was demonstrably false. There is no such rule, and the NFL has had several non-owner memorial patches in recent years.

    The Patriots actually did NOT announce they’re retiring Brady’s jersey. They announced his entry into the team Hall of Fame next June (but I’m sure they’ll say that nobody will wear 12 for the team again, and nobody has since he left).

    Nothing uni-related, but thank you for being a donor! Always feel good, and always humbling to go to the donation center and see how many other people are doing the same–all walks of life, ages, etc.

    Thanks for the 9/11 entry today Paul. I hate facing this anniversary each year, so heartbreaking. Glad you found a way to help and that you feel some purpose connected to that day. I can’t imagine what it must have been like to live so close to it, must have been terrifying. I was halfway across the country, and that was scary enough.

    Ditto! That was a beautiful way to share memories of that terrible day and inspire others to donate blood. I was moved by it.

    People have said the Cardinals uniforms wouldn’t be so bad if they would do away with the all red and wear white pants. I think if they even just wore white socks the overall uniform would be better than I expected. Regardless, I really like their number font and the font of the back name plates. Definitely looks great and reflects their classic unis.

    Interesting viewpoints, Jason.
    I dislike the modern-ish number fonts…it’s essentially the same as what the Falcons use – and that’s not very good.
    White/red/red/white would be a marginal improvement, but I wish AZ had modeled their red set (which needs more silver?) to mirror the all-white uniforms which I like quite a bit despite the number font.

    The Cardinals new number fonts are not the same as the Falcons. It’s in a classic style. Go double check pics of their unis.

    One thing that stuck out to me in the visor pics was that the Rams should have yellow tabs to blend into the horns. Glad to see that they match the helmets overall, though.

    The broadcast of the Giants/Cowboys definitely made the pants seem darker, but I chalked it to the rain and the cameras. The Giants white pants almost looked grey in some shots. Guessing it was an exposure+rain thing.

    Technically, Brady’s kids uniforms were era appropriate since the Patriots did wear those uniforms during his time as an alternate during the Thursday Night Color Rush games. link

    FWIW – Zeke Elliot started the Pats game sans visor and came out after halftime with his more traditional dark tinted visor.

    cowboys pants really turn a darker shade when wet….puzzled me too. and the jets wearing throwbacks (in white) just to avoid green jerseys at home again. or so it seems. like these throwback better than their current ones by the way. also, the commies should have just kept the old unis but just changed the name. if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. would appease fans of the old name too, at least. did brady’s kids CHOOSE the newer unis OR is that what the pats gave them? guessing the pats gave them since can’t imagine brady approving since he never played in them.

    Both Zeke Elliot and Tony Pollard played in wet, humid conditions without visors. This looks very odd when you see it, almost like throwback helmets. Zeke later in the game had a dark visor but Pollard did not change. Vander Esch from Dallas also eschewed a visor.

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