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What Did the Denver Broncos Just Send Me?

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The Broncos, who are debuting their white alternate helmets this Sunday, along with a field design featuring white end zones, sent me a package that arrived yesterday. Hmmm, what could it be? Let’s take a look:

Here’s a closer look at that banner that was in the envelope:

And what about the “Instructions?” Here’s a look at them (note that instruction No. 4 is just a repeat of No. 3 — oops!):

Okay, now let’s follow the instrux:

Fun! I’m still not a fan of the white helmet, but I appreciate them including me in the promotion. Thanks, Broncos!



NHL Season Preview Reminder

In case you missed it yesterday, the annual Uni Watch NHL Season Preview — your go-to guide to all of this season’s new uniforms, logos, goalie masks, ice designs, and deep-cut info you won’t find anywhere else — is now available.

You can read the start of the NHL Season Preview here. In order to read the entire thing, you’ll need to become a paid subscriber to my Substack (which will also give you access to my full Substack archives and to the upcoming NBA Season Preview, which will be published in two weeks).

My thanks, as always, for your support and consideration.



Monster of the Midway

Word came down last night that Dick Butkus has died. He’s best known for his time with the Bears, obviously, but I’ve always loved this photo of him from his time at the University of Illinois. So many great uni details — the TV number on the helmet instead of the jersey, the stars on the helmet (an early example of merit decals), the two-bar facemask with the Larry Csonka-style nose loop, the crew socks with the two orange stripes. Also, note that Illinois’s pants were pretty much identical to the ones Butkus would later wear with the Bears:

Later in life, of course, Butkus did a lot of beer commercials. This was my favorite:

The Bears played last night but didn’t have time to add a memorial patch or rear-helmet decal. They’ll presumably do that next week. Then again, they inexplicably never added a uni memorial for Gale Sayers after he died in 2020, so we’ll see. Either way, my condolences to Bears fans on the loss of a franchise icon. R.I.P.



Too Good for the Ticker

The Phillies began wearing powder blue road uniforms in 1972, but their grounds crew was already wearing blue uniforms — complete with Phillies caps! — in the 1960s, when the team still played at Connie Mack Stadium. “This, my friends, is how a grounds crew should dress,” says our own Scott M.X. Turner, although he says he would’ve added the stadium name in red chain-stitched embroidery on the back if he were in charge at the time.



What Paul Did Last Night

Went out last night to see a bunch of bands, headlined by the fabulous Courettes, a spectacular garage-punk duo from Denmark, making their NYC debut. Holy shit were they good. Afterward, the drummer told me they were badly jet-lagged, but it sure didn’t show.

Also on the bill was a New Jersey band called the Goons, who were notable for having a uniform:




Can of the Day

Such a gorgeous design that I can almost forgive the missing apostrophe!

• • • • •

Our latest raffle winners are Connor O’Baker and Robert Kohlmeyer, each of whom has won a Uni Watch prize pack consisting of a koozy, a magnet, and two pins. Congrats to them, and doubleplusthanks to Chris Hickey for sponsoring this one.

Thanks to everyone who sent encouragement and support in response to yesterday’s kitten post. Unfortunately, there was no sign or sound of the little meepster yesterday. I hope she’ll come back — or, even better, that she finally found her mama. — Paul

Comments (35)

    The Goons dress like the henchmen (also known as goons) seen on the 1960’s Batman TV show.

    If the sports information folks at Illinois are worth their salt, they’re already hard at work collaborating with the marketing team to put together a throwback uni to honor Butkus next season. Those Fighting Illini unis were gorgeous.

    Maybe football socks are coming full circle. I never realized that guys used to wear a crew sock over a full team color sock to create the entire look. You see that seem technique now with teams like the Bears and Browns. Most of the players are wearing their tights and then they have what looks like a crew sock with the stripes. I’m 100% OK with doing it this way rather than getting rid of stripes all together. Wishful thinking on my end that more teams do that but with the rise in throwback popularity in the NFL, and striped socks being a part of that, maybe, just maybe there is hope.

    Back in the day, they’d wear a crew sock over a color stirrup! That is probably what Butkus was wearing in that photo.

    The NFL later adopted a rule requiring a one-piece sock that was white from ankle to mid-shin and team color or pattern from mid-shin to the pant cuff, mimicking the crew-over-stirrup look.

    Nowadays, of cousre, anything goes.

    Silly question that I’ve always wondered but never asked…what’s the benefit of wearing stirrups? I know from a uniform standpoint, we love them in baseball and I know a lot of football players used to wear them. However, in the case of Butkus and many others I’d assume, what’s the thought process behind wearing a stirrup on your bare/taped up foot with a sock over top? Is it as simple as being able to layer up on your feet with tape and such while having the ability to have multiple colors/designs that make the uniform complete? When you create the solid sock look with the crew sock over top, you’re losing the stirrup aesthetic.

    The traditional team socks were some of the thickest socks ever created so I understand why the NFL has gotten away from them. The mess that socks have become otherwise I don’t understand.

    Baseball stirrups were invented because stocking fabrics were not colorfast back in the day. So if you got spiked in the shin, the dye could get in the wound and you’d get blood poisoning. So someone figured came up with the idea of a white undersock to provide a layer of sanitary protections (hence the term “sanitaries”). The oversock had a stirrup foot instead of a full foot so that everyone’s shoes would still fit.

    Fabrics soon became colorfast and stirrups therefore became just ornamental (a classic example of a skeuomorph).

    I’ve never really understood why *football* players wore crew socks over stirrups — I just know that they did. (So did basketball players for a while.) Why not just wear a colored sock, or striped sock, or whatever? Hmmmm.

    Back when I was little I asked my t-ball coach why we wore two pair of “socks”…
    I’m paraphrasing but basically his answer was that since our socks were store-bought (cheap elastic) they were going to sag and we needed the stirrups to hold them up… although he was right our socks did sag without the stirrups I’m guessing he never knew the real reason…
    Cool history there Paul thanks

    Seeing Butkus tackle on NFL Films was the reason i wanted to play football in the summer of ‘83, (a rising 6th grader). During our first practice, Coach Barile had us in a team huddle asking everyone what position they wanted to play: typical answers QB, WR, and RB. When he got to me I said “middle linebacker like Dick Butkus”. Coach spit and smiled and said I like this kid. RIP 51

    Thanks to NFL Films’s piece on Dick Butkus in “The Professionals,” (it’s on YouTube), I learned the only Shakespeare line I can still quote to this day. -C.

    Cool packaging by the Broncos and mini helmets are always nice to get, even if the design is not very attractive. Plus I like Paul’s multiple efforts to plant that little flag on the field. Presto! Butkus was the definition of a tough linebacker and he looked great and impressively intimidating in a football uniform, both as a Fighting Illini and as a Bear. As I read elsewhere, now he will watch the Bears play from a skybox up high in the sky along with Halas, Sweetness and Sayers.

    “Snow capped” “Ice”
    They are just white uniform elements. Do people actually buy into these buzzwords?
    When it comes to the Broncos the best choice would have just been to do a royal blue helmet with the orange throwback jersey and white pants. A true throwback design.
    White helmet over mono orange fauxback is just, well, ugly and unnecessary.
    Decisions like these always leave me confused as to what segment of the fans teams poll before rolling out new uniforms, because it seems like more often than not they are putting out something different than what most fans actually want to see.
    Eagles, Seahawks, Bucs, Titans, and Pats getting it right, but only because it was glaringly obvious to go with their throwback looks now that you can have multiple helmets.

    My hope is they avoided the royal blue helmet, orange jersey, white pants because that could be in the near future. Their new primary uniforms which we understand are in the works.

    Let’s hope, but given recent new uniforms like the Jets, Falcons, Commies, Rams, Cards, Titans, etc, hard to imagine they are going to give us something classic and timeless like that. If anything I can see them going royal blue helmet over an orange jersey and orange pants. They just seem unwilling to go with classic design themes.

    The Bears did a field stencil for Sayers for a game. I hope they do a patch for Butkus, the man is a legend.

    Justin Fields said last night in the post-game that the players first found out about it during the moment of silence on the field.

    I’m happy that Paul and the entire uni-watch team are seen by pro franchises as important voices in the sports world! Kudos to my Broncs for sending you the package! Loved the unpacking vid!

    RIP Dick Butkus – I never saw him play but loved watching him on the old NFL films and miller lite ads.

    What a waste packaging for a plastic mini-helmet.

    One use and the effect is ruined.

    Is any of that recyclable?

    I’m guessing that if Paul wanted he could recycle that on eBay to some dedicated Broncos fan

    The best part of the unpacking is the pure disregard of the instructions. Paul, your mancard is punched.

    Any helmet is better than what the Broncos are currently wearing, that logo was played out the day after they introduced it in 1997, and it sure hasn’t improved with age!

    The first time I saw Dick Butkus was the Miller Lite ads; I was not born/too young to watch him on TV.

    During the 1980s, I was wondering why in the hell Jim Morrissey was wearing No. 51.

    I wasn’t aware about the animosity Butkus and the Bears had following his retirement.

    No. 51 finally got retired in honor of Butkus in 1994. RIP, Dick.

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