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It's the Only Game In Town: Army/Navy 2016

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By Phil Hecken

Last year it was all about the helmets, as Army broke out 17 of them, to a mere seven unique helmets for Navy. Army still lost. This year, it’s about the unis again.

As is their wont, both schools will have new uniforms for the traditional end-of-season game between the two schools, this year being the 119th iteration of the game. And this year both schools have some pretty interesting unis — with Army’s clearly being more intricate. Army is the ‘home’ team this year so they will be outfitted in “dark” uniforms, while the Navy will wear white jerseys. And if you’re a traditionalist, you won’t recognize either team.

Army was the first to unveil their new duds on Monday, so let’s eschew with the home team batting last protocol and take those first (you can click all images below to enlarge):

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There’s a lot to digest here (and we haven’t even gotten to the details). First off, Army’s uniform is designed to “honor” the 82nd Airborne — according to Army Athletics, “The black and muted gray tones reflect that most of the 82nd Airborne’s combat jumps occurred at night. Netting painted onto the helmet reflects the combat helmet the paratroopers wore. And authentic World War II-era paratrooper division patches and 48-star American flag patches are included in the uniforms.”

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We’ll get to the helmet (which is pretty impressive) in a second. Lets look closely at the American flag and patches.

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You will likely first notice the flag patch on the right shoulder appears “backwards” (and has 48 stars). It’s not backwards, despite the military’s determination, most recently updated in 2003, which states the patch should “suggest that the flag is flying in the breeze as the wearer moves forward.” However, the U.S. Code does not address the positioning of the flag patch. In 1948, it was worn as it is on the uniform today, and as such is historically appropriate.

The red patch in the middle of the chest is the “Red Devils” patch, which is the nickname for the 82nd Airborne. The patch on the left shoulder is a tribute to the “AA” (Airborne) patch worn by the combat jumpers.

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You’ll note the unique font used on the “AA” — this looked cool and worked well on a patch. Unfortunately, the uniform designers decided to base their NUMBER fonts on this style. The result may not look so hot on the field.

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You’ll also note the patches differ — and the name of the cadet is also on the uniform on the latter two models. This would follow recent protocol of placing the players’ names and unit patches on the jerseys. Expect Navy to also have unit patches as well.

Army’s helmets, as mentioned above, are meant to mimic the netting around paratrooper helmets. It’s an interesting effect — one that may not be “viewable” anywhere but up close, but is a nice treatment. The helmets will also be adorned with a skull patch on the sides.

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Nice, right? I mean, if you have to have a costume. And if there are any two schools that have every right to play dress-up solider, it’s Army and Navy, since it’s possible many of these young men (and their non-football-playing counterparts) may be seeing actual deployment and possibly being asked to give the ultimate sacrifice in the not-too-distant future.

Now…let’s take a look at Navy’s unis:

These are not nearly as intricate, and actually are beautiful in their own right. According to the releases, these uniforms are meant to pay tribute to the 1963 Navy team, which was led by Roger “The Dodger” Staubach, who won the Heisman Trophy that year, and which ended the season ranked #2 — losing to #1 ranked Texas in the Cotton Bowl that season. The 1963 Navy team donned a gold uniform and helmet, along with a block N with four stars on each shoulder and blue numerals, all of which will be featured today.

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The graphic below gives an overview of the elements and provides a color look at the 1963 jersey, which featured the slogan, “DRIVE FOR FIVE” in the NOB location:

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I’m not 100% sure why the team couldn’t go with an all gold uniform, but the team has elected to wear white shirts today. Unlike Army, these are not nearly as intricate, but the jerseys feature a navy blue yoke meant to mimic epaulettes found on the naval officer dress uniform, and the numbers are simple block. Very nice.

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You’ll also note the “N” and star pattern from the 1963 jerseys are repeated inside the navy yoke:

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Unfortunately, as is their wont, the uni manufacturer has added their “trademark” striping pattern on the pants.

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The helmet is nice. It’s an athletic gold (we’re used to seeing Navy in metallic gold), with a bold navy center stripe containing stars. There is an anchor on the side. On the back, Navy continues with its tradition of adding “BEAT ARMY” to their uniform.

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And of course, it wouldn’t be a modern-day game if the gloves didn’t also come with a message.

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Well. There you have it. The costumes for the annual Army-Navy game. I’m not sure if the words “classy” or “dignified” can be applied to any college football uniforms these days, but these are pretty close. Army hasn’t beaten Navy in like 100 years, but they may have “won” the uni game. What say you?

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Army & Navy Since 2008

As we prepare for the 2016 edition of the Army/Navy game, it’s good to remember that this is the game we can “blame” to a certain extent for the beginning of the “special” event uniforms. It’s difficult to really “complain” about the kids playing dress up in this game…but one can argue that the 2008 game opened the floodgates to all the uni shenanigans that followed. Prior to 2008, the teams definitely had altered their uniforms, and you may remember this tremendous article co-authored by Rick Pearson, Larry Bodnovich, Jimmer Vilk and myself — if you have a few minutes give that a read. Beginning in 2008, and in every game thereafter, both teams (with the sole exception of Army in 2009) had a special, new uniform for the game. Prior to 2008, both teams usually just wore their regular season unis (and because both wore metallic gold helmets and pants…looked very much alike).

It started out subtly and classily, and some of the costumes that have been introduced have been awful and downright garish. Much like Oregon started the “different uni for each game,” the 2008 A/N hookup started the ‘special event’ uniform carousel. It’s been ratcheted up by the uni makers ever since.

Still, it’s fun when Army and Navy do it. Especially since all eyes are on this longtime rivalry, and since they’re traditionally the only two teams to play this end-of-season gig, it’s the only game in town.

Let’s take a (loving) look back at each of the matchups since the 2008 “historic” game:

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UW Friday Flashback UW’s Friday Flashback

In case you missed it on Friday, this year’s NFL throwbacks — like all throwbacks that have been worn since 2013 — have had one thing in common: The teams used their existing helmet shells and either swapped out or removed their usual helmet logos, striping tape and face masks. That’s due to the NFL’s “one-shell rule,” which aims to decrease the risk of concussions by preventing teams from switching to new sets of helmets in the middle of the season. So teams can still wear throwbacks if they use their existing shells, but throwbacks that would require a different-colored helmet — like New England’s “Pat Patriot” design or Tampa Bay’s “Creamsicle” set — are now off-limits. Paul’s latest Friday Flashback column on ESPN takes a look back at NFL throwbacks that have been worn in the past but are currently off-limit.

Check out the Friday Flashback here.

Enjoy!

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Uni Watch News Ticker
By Phil

Baseball News: Midnight blue jerseys for the YANKEES“? DaveSaw this in the 2017 Majestic catalog under Authentic Collection. Can’t be, right?” If you read the comments to that, Paul notes “No such addition to the Yankees’ wardrobe that I’m aware of.” Also, it’s quite possible these are Spring Training tops. … A team known as “The Lefties” are selling a throwback before they’ve thrown their first pitch (from Mike Carman). They are a WCL team. … Tweeter Christiantime asks if this is a new design for the Natinals. “Doesn’t appear to be the July 4th fill pattern in the curly W” he adds. … And yes, it does appear that we do have a new Nats’ jersey (from JWerth’s Beard).

NFL News: Houston Texans JJ Watt must have lost a bet, because here is a photo of him donning Penn State gear (h/t John Turney). He attended both Central Michigan and Wisconsin, so he (undoubtedly) lost a LeBron James’ type bet to wear PSU stuff after Penn State beat Wisconsin in the B1G championship. Anyone know more? According to Justin Rocke, he lost a bet to Devon Still. … This Sunday, the Bills will be going blue over white and the Tampa Bay Bucs will be red over pewter with red socks (from Kenny Saidah). … Speaking of uni combos, the Philadelphia Eagles will Midnight green over white. … R. Scott Rogers notes that this pigskin sausage is actually beef, not pork, but a fun package on this Wisconsin summer sausage.

College Football News: More teams are revealing their Bowl uniforms ahead of the actual games: yesterday, the Tennessee Volunteers confirmed they will be wearing their “smokey grey” uniforms to honor wildfire victims, in the *ahem* Music City Bowl. (more here and here). According to UT, they’re “wearing their hearts on their sleeves”. … We know Navy will be using a football with colored laces for today’s game, but will the CFB Playoff be using a ball with colored laces as well? (good spot by James Gilbert). … WillChitty2 does note that some Wilson footballs have colored laces, so that is possibly what the CFB Playoff was depicting. … Several cities have expressed interest in holding the Army/Navy game and according to reports Pittsburgh is one of them. The Baltimore Business Journal reports that Pittsburgh is one of 10 cities who would like to host the game (from Jimmer Vilk). … Looks like JMU Football is using about 4 different fonts for their uniforms, observes clenz. “Chest, helmet and collar all different”. Add to that one more element – the “tail bone logo” (which is I suppose a slightly more elegant name for tramp stamp).

Hockey News: This morning at 8 a.m., the Philadelphia Flyers will unveil the fresh new look they’ll wear at the 2017 Stadium Series game against the Penguins in February. But it looks like the new jersey has already leaked, via Amazon. … Barry Melrose of ESPN has revealed his top five logos of all time (thanks, Brinke). … Here are the Star Wars Jerseys the Utah Grizzlies will wear for this evening’s Star Wars Night (h/t Landry E. Heaton). … The Grand Rapids Griffins did a 80’s fauxback sweater last night (h/t Trevor Toczydlowski). … The Alaska Nanooks are rocking throwback jerseys from the 1936 season vs. UAA this weekend (from Patrick Thomas). … UMass-Lowell wore fauxbacks last night. According to Dan Droper there used to be a chief where the number is. … Dustin Burns noticed, “Ol’ Bobs (Columbus Blue Jackets’ goalie Sergei Bobrovsky) had a mask issue and apparently couldn’t get it fixed quick enough so he had to use another.” … Whoa. Now THIS is a Star Wars sweater I can get into (from Jeff Tasca).

NBA News: What’s in a name? China’s highest court decided that Michael Jordan owns the legal rights to the Chinese Characters of the equivalent of his name. It’s a rare legal victory in a country that’s notorious for copyright infringement and outright theft (thanks to Mike Chamernik). … In a move that could only be said to bring a tear to Jimmer Vilk’s eye, the Cleveland Cavs broke out the orange classic throwbacks (from Robert Hayes). The NBA bills these as “Hardwood Classics.” Here’s how they looked in action. … This photo not only features two of the smallest players ever to play in the NBA, but also the Wizards Bullets lowercase NOB (from Mark Johnson). — BTW, that NOB is the same font as their wordmark (from VP).

College Hoops News: Interesting look inside of William Arena in beautiful Minneapolis last night, as the Minnesota Golden Gophers, clad in gold, had four of five players wearing white leggings, with a fifth having white compression shorts visible (from Tony Tengwall).

Soccer News: Atletico Madrid has unveiled a new crest. The La Liga team will eliminate that dot of green from their badge, and The blue in Atleti’s crest is navy, and the red stripes are wider. There are still seven stars, a bear, and a strawberry tree (from Matt Kellam). In related news, “Spanish soccer club Atletico de Madrid, the White Sox to Real Madrid’s Cubs (ironically, considering the color schemes) has unveiled their new stadium name – The Wanda Metropolitano,” says Saurel Jean. “The unusual name, which one twitter commenter ‘a name you give to a character in a fictional or sci-fi movie’, is combination of it Chinese investors/advertiser’s name Wanda and the old stadium before the old stadium The Metropolitano.” … Here’s a look at the Week 15 Premier League matchups (h/t Frederick E. Vaughn). … Chapecoense will acknowledge its Copa Sudamericana championship as well as the many who were injured or died en route to the final on its club badge (from Matt Pontoriero). … The Dayton Dynamo, an new NPSL club, have unveiled their uniforms for the 2017 season (from Ed Żelaski).

Grab Bag: More than a dozen Georgetown students took over the university president’s office Thursday, demanding the school cut its ties with Nike over unfair labor practices in Vietnam. The students, who call themselves the Georgetown Solidarity Committee, said they are staging the sit-in to protest working conditions at a factory where Georgetown University apparel is manufactured. … Here’s some Super Rugby news from Eric Bangeman: “South African Super Rugby franchises are unveiling their 2017 kit this week. First the Lions and now the Sharks, who play in Durban.” He continues, “It’s (not at all) gratifying to see designspeak has made it to the South African province of KwaZulu-Natal: The design of the jerseys embodies the heritage and traditions of the Sharks and embraces the culture of KwaZulu-Natal. Not quite as busy as the 2016 edition, so probably an upgrade.” … Did you know there was a “Boston Marathon” Jacket? Me either, but adidas has introduced one (from Brad Tatum). … The UAB Marching Band have revealed their new unis (from Clint Richardson).

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And that’s it for today.

Last weekend I had hoped to solicit nominations for the worst uniform in several sports for the 2010s (details in that post). Although I initially received several submissions, there didn’t seem to be much interest in pursuing this, so maybe I’ll just shelve the idea. But if you guys think it might be fun, let me know and we’ll see if we can’t whip something up at the beginning of next year.

Back tomorrow, but until then…

Follow me on Twitter @PhilHecken.

Peace.

.. … ..

“If you’re on the internet at all, it’s probably a ‘first world problem’ so… whatever.”

— “The” Jeff Provo

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A Small Way to Fight Back

On Tuesday, while writing about the news that the Under Armour logo will begin appearing on MLB jersey chests in 2020, I said, “How can we avoid [the insidious influence of advertisers] in a realm like sports, where advertising is everywhere, from TV commercials to stadium naming rights? I’ll have more to say about that — and will be presenting you with a small defense mechanism — in a few days.”

Today is that day.

So: Back in May I wrote about a Trail Blazers fan who was annoyed that the Rose Garden had been renamed as the Moda Center, so he devised a Chrome extension that automatically changed the new corporate name back to the old name. At the time, I wrote:

Imagine if we had additional extensions for all the other corporate-named venues out there — how awesome would that be?

I’m not a software engineer, so I don’t know anything about how to develop a Chrome extension, or how to make it available for people to install. But I bet some of you folks know something about that.

About two weeks later I got a note from a software-savvy reader named Patrick Nance, who said he’d be willing to take a crack at it. Even better, he was interested in having the extension handle more than just stadium and arena names. “In my mind,” he wrote, “a fully featured product would have bowl game name support.”

“I like the way you think,” I wrote back. “Go for it.”

A month passed, and then another, and eventually I forgot about the whole thing. But Patrick recently got back in touch with some good news: The Chrome extension is now ready for download and installation — and he’s come up with a Firefox version as well. (Sorry, no Safari or IE.)

As you can see from those links, the extension is called Naming Wrongs (the same name that No Mas and I used for our line of “I’m Calling It…” T-shirts a few years back). Here are some notes:

1. Unlike the program devised by the Trail Blazers fan, Naming Wrongs does not apply to the entire web. For now, it only affects ESPN, SI, Yahoo Sports, Bleacher Report, Fox Sports, Sporting News, USA Today’s For the Win, NBC Sports, CBS Sports, and SB Nation (only the sbnation.com domain for now, not the individual sub-sites, but Patrick is working on that), along with the league sites for the NFL, NBA, NHL, MLB, and NCAA.

I initially asked Patrick to have the extension apply to Uni Watch as well. I figured if we were going to subject other sports sites to our scrutiny, we should also include Uni Watch. But Patrick pointed out that Uni Watch sometimes intentionally refers to corporate venue or bowl game names in order to make a point, and that the extension would make that impossible. So Uni Watch is not under the extension’s umbrella, at least for now.

2. The extension automatically changes the names of many MLB, NFL, NBA, and NHL stadiums and arenas to their pre-corporatized versions, as follows:

Stadiums
Sports Authority Field at Mile High → Mile High Stadium
Jones AT&T Stadium → Jones Stadium
BB&T Field → Groves Stadium
FirstEnergy Stadium → Cleveland Browns Stadium
Mercedes-Benz Superdome → Superdome
Qualcomm Stadium → Jack Murphy Stadium
AT&T Stadium → Cowboys Stadium
O.co Coliseum → Oakland Coliseum
Hard Rock Stadium → Joe Robbie Stadium
New Era Field → Rich Stadium
Progressive Field → Jacobs Field
Guaranteed Rate Field → Comiskey Park
US Cellular Field → Comiskey Park
UFCU Disch-Falk Field → Disch-Falk Field
Globe Life Park → The Ballpark in Arlington
Rogers Centre/Center → SkyDome

Arenas
Moda Center → Rose Garden
BMO Harris Bradley Center → Bradley Center
Oracle Arena → Oakland Coliseum Arena
Quicken Loans Arena → Gund Arena
Smoothie King Center → New Orleans Arena
Amalie Arena → The Ice Palace
Bridgestone Arena → Nashville Arena
Gila River Arena → Glendale Arena
PNC Arena → Raleigh Entertainment & Sports Arena
Scotiabank Saddledome → Olympic Saddledome
SAP Center → San Jose Arena
SAP Center at San Jose → San Jose Arena
Scottrade Center → Kiel Center

“There are some major grey areas with some of these places,” says Patrick. “For instance, the Seahawks currently play at CenturyLink Field, formerly Qwest Field — but for the first two years of its existence, it was called Seahawks Stadium. I’ve lived in Seattle for more than eight years now and I’ve never once heard anybody say Seahawks Stadium. In fact, I more often hear people still call it Qwest, despite CenturyLink having been the name for several years now. I’ll be interested to hear what the community has to say on cases like that.”

3. The extension also automatically changes the names of many college football bowl games, as follows:

Air Force Reserve Celebration Bowl → Celebration Bowl
Gildan New Mexico Bowl → New Mexico Bowl
Las Vegas Bowl presented by Geico → Las Vegas Bowl
Raycom Media Camellia Bowl → Camellia Bowl
AutoNation Cure Bowl → Cure Bowl
R\+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl → New Orleans Bowl
San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl → Poinsettia Bowl
Famous Idaho Potato Bowl → Humanitarian Bowl
Popeyes Bahamas Bowl → Bahamas Bowl
Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl → Armed Forces Bowl
Dollar General Bowl → Mobile Alabama Bowl
Quick Lane Bowl → Motor City Bowl
Camping World Independence Bowl → Independence Bowl
Zaxby’s Heart of Dallas Bowl → Heart of Dallas Bowl
Military Bowl Presented by Northrop Grumman → Military Bowl
National Funding Holiday Bowl → Holiday Bowl
Motel 6 Cactus Bowl → Cactus Bowl
New Era Pinstripe Bowl → Pinstripe Bowl
Russell Athletic Bowl → Tangerine Bowl
Foster Farms Bowl → San Francisco Bowl
AdvoCare V100 Texas Bowl → Texas Bowl
Belk Bowl → Queen City Bowl
Valero Alamo Bowl → Alamo Bowl
AutoZone Liberty Bowl → Liberty Bowl
Hyundai Sun Bowl → Sun Bowl
Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl → Music City Bowl
Nova Home Loans Arizona Bowl → Arizona Bowl
Capital One Orange Bowl → Orange Bowl
Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl → Citrus Bowl
TaxSlayer Bowl → Gator Bowl
Outback Bowl → Hall of Fame Bowl
Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic → Cotton Bowl
Rose Bowl Game presented by Northwestern Mutual → Rose Bowl
Allstate Sugar Bowl → Sugar Bowl
Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl → Peach Bowl
PlayStation Fiesta Bowl → Fiesta Bowl
BattleFrog Fiesta Bowl → Fiesta Bowl
Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl → Las Vegas Bowl

“Admittedly, I swung a pretty big hammer on the bowl games,” says Patrick. “For example, I changed the Outback Bowl to the Hall of Fame Bowl, despite the game being much more widely known, at this point, as Outback. Maybe I’ll dial that back if I get enough feedback.”

To get an idea of how effective the extension is, check out this page — first without the extension and then after installing it. Night and day!

Is a browser extension going to solve all our problems? Of course not. But it’s a small way to fight back against — and liberate oneself from — the relentless incursion of corporate culture into every nook and cranny of our lives. It’s also a good way to reclaim the older, pre-corporatized venue and bowl game names — and with them, I’d like to think, a measure of sanity.

The extension works well, won’t mess up any other aspects of your browser, and is free. Go on — try it.

And now, allow me to anticipate some of your reactions by slipping into FAQ mode:

This is stupid. Naming rights deals for sports venues and bowl games don’t bother me.

No problemo! We know this browser extension won’t be for everyone. If it doesn’t appeal to you, feel free to ignore it.

I understand what you’re getting at with this project, but I think you’re overreacting. Naming rights deals aren’t evil — they’re just business.

“It’s just business” is often an accurate explanation for why something has taken place, but it is rarely a sufficient justification for why that thing has taken place. I don’t want to get bogged down in that distinction here, but I’ve provided a more detailed exploration of that topic on this page.

I think what you’re doing is wrong. Those companies paid a lot of money to have their names attached to those buildings and games, and you’re making it all worthless.

Before I respond to that, let me ask you a few questions: When you watch TV, do you pay close attention to every commercial, or do you get up and go to the bathroom? When you DVR something and watch it later, do you watch the commercials, or do you fast-forward past them? When you’re watching a web video, do you watch the entire pre-roll commercial, or do you click the “Skip Ad” button? When an ad pops up across a web page, do you thoughtfully consider it, or do you click the “X” in the top-right corner? When you’re reading a magazine, do you look at every ad, or do you just turn the page and go to the next article? When you’re driving on the highway, do you closely scrutinize every billboard, or do just drive past most of them without even noticing them? After all, those advertisers all paid a lot of money for those ads. By not engaging with the ads, you’re making those expenditures worthless.

I trust you get my point. Just because advertisers have paid a certain price in order to get our attention does not mean they’re automatically entitled to that attention. Our attention is not property that can be purchased and owned. It’s ours to give or withhold as we see fit. This browser extension is a small way of withholding that attention from a very small subset of the advertised world.

You obviously just hate capitalism. What’s up with that?

Oh, come on! For the past 20 years I’ve sustained myself by making and selling things (articles, media projects, T-shirts, membership cards, etc.), which means I’ve led a more capitalistic life than most people. But I think of capitalism as a mechanism or a tool, not a religion. And like all tools, it should make our lives easier and better. When it runs amok (or, as I like to say, when it succeeds too well), it can and should be reined in. Maybe you don’t think the explosion of corporate-named sports venues and bowl games qualifies as “running amok,” but I do. I see it as a symptom of something I’ve mentioned before: our disturbing transition from a market economy to a market society.

You’re such a hypocrite. You claim to hate advertising, but your website is littered with ads!

Actually, I’ve never once — literally not one single time — claimed to hate advertising. What I have said many, many times, and will continue to say when the situation calls for it, is that I’m opposed to advertising spreading into places where it doesn’t belong. Selling the name of something is insipid — it’s part of our culture’s descent into Idiocracy. Moreover, sports venues and bowl games have lots and lots of revenue streams. They don’t need to sell their identities to get by. This website, by contrast, gives away its content for free. Its only way to raise revenue, at least for now, is by selling advertising space. If you think those two situations are equivalent, and that I’m therefore a hypocrite, well, you’re entitled to your opinion. But I respectfully disagree.

That said, however, I’ve grown increasingly uncomfortable with Uni Watch’s role in the world of internet advertising. For that matter, I’m getting more and more uncomfortable with the standard model of web content delivery, which has been a disaster for the industry I work in and is problematic in several other ways. I hope to have more to say about that in a month or two, but for now let’s just say I’m exploring some new options.

Meanwhile: If you have feedback to offer about the browser extension — suggestions on names that should or shouldn’t be changed, additional websites that should be covered, that sort of thing — feel free to get in touch here. (Please note that this is not the usual Uni Watch email address. It is a new address that’s been created specifically for this project, so Patrick and I can both access it. Please use this address, not the Uni Watch address, for giving feedback on this project. Thanks.)

• • • • •

Friday Flashback: My latest Friday Flashback column on ESPN takes a look back at NFL throwbacks that have been worn in the past but are currently off-limits due to the one-shell rule (like the Steelers’ 1962 throwback, shown above). Check it out here.

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Thursday-night NFL report: Last night’s NFL game featured the mono-red Chiefs vs. the mono-white Raiders. Of course, we’ve seen the Chiefs in blood-clot mode before (last night marked the third different sock design they’ve worn while going mono-red), so I’m more interested in talking about the Raiders.

As you can see above, Oakland went with black-outlined silver numbers. There’s precedent for that in their uniform history, but it’s not as simple as you might think. Here’s the deal:

• In 1963 and ’64, the Raiders’ white jerseys hadd silver numbers with very thick black outlining (click first photo to enlarge):

That outlining seems almost comically heavy, right? That design, with the thick outline, was reprised as a throwback in 2009 (click to enlarge):

The Raiders dabbled with silver numbers again in 1970, but this time the black outline was thinner (click to enlarge):

They revived this number style for a throwback set in 1994, but that uniform was actually a mash-up, because they used the 1963 helmet logo (with the light background on the shield) and the 1970 number style:

The 1970 version of the numbers — the one with the thinner outline — is the one they used last night:

It doesn’t look bad in that photo, but I actually found the numbers a bit hard to make out on TV. If the Raiders ever try silver numbers again, maybe they can find a happy medium between the thick and thin outlining.

• • • • •

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Ho-ho-ho: One of our most cherished December rituals here at Uni Watch HQ is the annual arrival of baseball uni-patterned holiday cookies from longtime reader Elena Elms. This year she went with a Negro Leagues theme (a suggestion from her friend and fellow Uni Watch reader/contributor Tom Arnel). The teams are, clockwise from top left, the Brooklyn Royal Giants, Pittsburgh Crawfords, New York Cubans, Kansas City Monarchs, Detroit Stars, St. Louis Stars, Atlanta Black Crackers, Milwaukee Bears, Homestead Grays, and Baltimore Elite Giants.

I especially like Elena’s execution of the Elite Giants design. A very nice script and bi-colored placket piping:

I’m happy to report that the cookies are, as usual, as delicious as they are attractive. Thanks so much, Elena — you’re the best.

• • • • •

LAST CALL for the last 2016 shirt: Today’s the final day to get the Uni Watch T-Shirt Club’s last design of 2016. The design is a mash-up of uniform elements from all of our previous 2016 shirts (click to enlarge):

It comes in four color options — our usual grey, black, green, plus a new “military green” (that’s what the manufacturer calls it, although I’d just call it light olive) — and is also available with either short or long sleeves.

If you’ve ordered all five of this year’s previous shirts and also get this one, you’ll be eligible for our year-end “Collect ’Em All” prize, which will be a patch based on the jock tag design used on this year’s shirts. To qualify, please send me proof that you’ve bought all six shirts. The proof can either be (a) a photo showing all the shirts or (b) screen shots of the “Thank you for your order” emails you received from Teespring and Represent.

Once again, the new shirt can be ordered here. Thanks for your consideration.

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The Ticker
By Paul

Baseball News: UT-Arlington’s new softball unis look like something out of 1982, with racing stripes and elastic waistbands. … Clemson has switched its cap from New Era to Nike. … A friend of Marty Hick’s decorates his Christmas tree with baseball caps — with the Hollywood Stars on top, of course.

NFL News: Washington DL A.J. Francis says he chose No. 69 “for exactly the reason you think.” Classy (thanks, Mike). … Raiders WR Michael Crabtree suffered a torn helmet decal last night. We’ll keep seeing more of this as the weather gets colder (from @RNs_Funhouse).

College Football News: Tomorrow’s Army/Navy game will reportedly be the first game in NCAA history to use a football with colored laces (from cDubya242). … Another example of our move from a market economy to a market society: New Oregon coach Willie Taggart says he’s going to restore the “Oregon brand.” … Air Force will revive its “shark head” design for the Arizona Bowl (thanks, Phil).

Hockey News: The NHL says it has no plans to reconsider the Vegas Golden Knights’ team name or logo, despite the team’s trademark application rejection from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The league and team are apparently proceeding under the assumption that the matter will eventually be resolved in their favor. … Check this out: Former Maple Leafs great Borje Salming in a Leafs softball uni (from Brian Wulff). … Ugly sweater jerseys for the Des Moines Buccaneers (from Robbie George). … The Sharks are giving away SF Giants-themed “Sharks” jerseys Saturday (from Jared Buccola). … More ugly sweater jerseys, this time for the Vancouver Giants (from Patrick Johnston). … New retro-themed Winter Classic pads, complete with waffleboard blocker, for Blackhawks G Scott Darling (from Marc-Louis Paprzyca).

NBA News: “A few months ago the internet blew up over a guy who dressed up in full Michael Jordan garb (uniform, shoes and accessories) to play pickup hoops,” says our own Mike Chamernik. “MJ recently gave the guy a call and sent him a letter.” … More trademark follies: You know how Jäegermeister’s logo features a deer’s head? They just filed papers opposing the Bucks’ trademark (from Anthony Verna). … The Raptors used their Toronto Huskies uniforms and court design last night (thanks, Mike).

College Hoops News: Maryland freshman Kevin Huerter is the inspiration for a new logo for his alma mater, Shenendehowa High School East. … Wayne State’s men’s and women’s teams will both be wearing a patch with Collin Rose’s badge number for the rest of the season. Rose is the Wayne State police officer who was recently killed (from Chris Zadorozny). … The Buffalo women’s team wore gold shoelaces for pediatric cancer last night.

Soccer News: If I’m understanding this properly, it appears that the French Football Federation has inked a new deal with Nike (from @Ry_Votro).

Grab Bag: Yesterday’s Grab Bag included an item about a shop in Jerusalem that sells American sports T-shirts with the team names in Hebrew. In a related item, Matt Mosca was recently in Mexico, where he visited a boutique that had pro sports team ponchos. … Pantone says the hot color of 2017 will be a lime-ish shade of green. … The Washington Valor — that’s an arena football team — will release their 2017 uniforms tomorrow. … New jersey for the Super Rugby team Lions, out of Johannesburg. “Significant upgrade over last year,” says Eric Bangeman. … John Cena is hosting Saturday Night Live tomorrow, so the show WWE-ized its logo. … A Maryland man has been ordered to pay half a million dollars for his role in a counterfeit jersey operation. … Latest fad in Japan: a wearable blanket that looks like a school uniform.

Rut-Roh: Trademark Flap Puts Vegas NHL Team’s Identity in Doubt

It seems like just barely two weeks ago that the NHL’s newest franchise, the Vegas Golden Knights, unveiled their name and logo. Actually, it was barely two weeks ago — and now the whole thing is in doubt because the team’s trademark application has been rejected by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Why? Because it’s too similar to the mark used by the College of Saint Rose Golden Knights, a small school in Albany.

The details are spelled out in this SB Nation story, which was published last night. To clarify an important point: Saint Rose did not challenge the Vegas team’s mark. Rather, a USPTO attorney noticed the similarities between the two marks while reviewing the trademark application and rejected the filing on that basis.

The team has a chance to respond to the USPTO ruling, and ownership put out a statement late last night saying they intend to do just that. In case you can’t read the fairly small type, it says:

There are countless examples of college sports teams and professional sports teams with coexisting names, including Vegas Golden Knights and Clarkson Golden Knights, UCLA Bruins and Boston Bruins, U of Miami Hurricanes and Carolina Hurricanes, etc. We will plan on making these arguments and others in our detailed written response to the office action which must be filed by June 7, 2017.

Office actions like these are not at all unusual, and we will proceed with the help of outside counsel in preparing a response to this one.

It’s not clear why team ownership didn’t already have this issue settled before unveiling the team name two weeks ago. Seems like a major failure of due diligence, right?

I sent a note last night to Uni Watch’s resident intellectual property expert, attorney Anthony Verna, to get his take on this. Here’s his response:

1) Looking at the marks, both of them share “Golden Knights.” The question is if those marks use “Golden Knights” in their dominant portion. They do — even though the NHL team’s filing is “Vegas Golden Knights,” we get to ignore “Vegas” because the goods/services are going to actually come from Las Vegas. (We call that geographically descriptive in trademark law. If the goods/services come from the a geographic area mentioned in the trademark, then the mark describes an aspect of the goods/services and the descriptive portion is not protectable.)

2) The goods/services are exactly the same. Regardless of sport, and regardless of skill level, the exhibition of a sport is going to be deemed the same as the exhibition of another sport and that’s the situation here. This is true even though price points are different, salaries are different, the reasons consumers consume their products are different, etc. (The USPTO is not there to say that the NHL price point for a ticket is radically different than a college’s price point for a ticket, therefore, their consumer markets are radically different.)

All is not lost for the NHL team, though. Many trademarks receive this “office action” (which is our fancy trademark law terminology for “rejection”). The Vegas team could present a substantive response, arguing why the marks are different (and they have different stylizations, different pronunciations, and probably different denotations and connotations). Another response would be to have what we call a co-existence agreement, in which both parties agree there are substantive differences in the markets or in the consumers or in the channels of advertising. Submitting evidence of an agreement in which both parties agree to their differences will usually push a mark towards registration.

Also: The NHL team could appeal to the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (you heard about that federal administrative court in the Redskins cases) and argue that the USPTO attorney is incorrect in issuing the office actions. The NHL team could appeal to the TTAB and try to cancel the college’s registration. There are so many different directions this could move in. It’s impossible to predict how it will play out.

Big thanks to Anthony for his expertise.

• • • • •

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Culinary Corner: One of our holiday traditions here at Uni Watch is the annual appearance of my recipe for homemade Irish cream. In other words, homemade Bailey’s. In other words, melted ice cream that gets you drunk. It’s super-easy to make, it’ll make you the hero of whatever party you bring it to, and lots of you have told me how much you like it. Here’s how to do it:

Start with some decent Irish whiskey — Bushmills, Jameson, Tullamore Dew, something like that (but not super-high-end stuff, because the nuances will be lost in this preparation). Pour a pint of the whiskey into a large-ish container and mix it with a can of sweetened condensed milk, a pint of heavy whipping cream, a tablespoon of chocolate syrup, a teaspoon of vanilla extract, a quarter-teaspoon of almond extract, and a teaspoon of instant espresso powder dissolved in two tablespoons of hot water.

Mix well (if the container has a tight lid, you can just shake vigorously), refrigerate, serve over ice, and get ready to become the most popular person in the room. No need to thank me afterward, but you’ll want to do so anyway — trust me.

• • • • •

Blues news you can use: My favorite music is Delta country blues (i.e., the first generation of Mississippi country bluesmen, who recorded in the 1920s and ’30s) and golden-age Chicago blues (i.e., the next generation of bluesmen, who mostly learned on acoustic instruments while growing up in Mississippi and then moved to Chicago and made their country blues more urbanized and electric in the late 1940s and ’50s). And if you love that music as much as I do, this has been a very interesting week.

First, a new movie opened, called Two Trains Runnin’. It’s a documentary about an incredible series of coincidences that took place in Mississippi on a single day in the summer of 1964. First, there were three white college kids who’d driven down to the Delta from Boston in search of the enigmatic acoustic bluesman Son House (that’s him above), who had recorded a handful of 78s in the 1930s and ’40s and then vanished. On June 21, they found him. Unbeknownst to them, another carload of young white blues fans had driven to Mississippi all the way from California. They were searching for another vanished bluesman, Skip James. They found him on that same date — June 21. Meanwhile, swirling all around them was the tension and violence of Freedom Summer, as hundreds of civil rights activists were coming to Mississippi to set up schools and register black voters. On that same day, June 21, three of those activists were murdered, which would galvanize the civil rights movement and help lead to the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Here’s the movie’s trailer:

I saw the movie last night. It’s powerful stuff, with the twin strands of the blues researchers and the civil rights activists occasionally intertwining. Two projects, both with complicated racial dimensions, both involving outsiders descending on Mississippi. I knew the stories of the Son House and Skip James being rediscovered, and of course I knew the famous story of the civil rights murders, but I hadn’t been aware that they’d all taken place on the same day (which, for what it’s worth, was the day I turned three months old). I cried a few times during the movie — in part because blues often affects me that way, and in part because of the tragedy that was the state of Mississippi in 1964.

For those of you in NYC, Two Trains Runnin’ is currently playing at the Metrograph and will be there at least through next Thursday. Don’t miss.

The other blues-related news this week was the release of the new Rolling Stones album, Blue & Lonesome, which consists entirely of Chicago blues covers. The Stones haven’t been artistically relevant in over 30 years, but they’re still my favorite rock and roll band, and a straight-up blues LP sounds like a good approach for them, at least in theory. They got their start playing blues covers, and their name comes from a Muddy Waters song.

Unfortunately, it’s a dud. The guitars crunch and wail at all the appropriate junctures, Mick’s vocals are okay, his harmonica is more than okay, the sound and engineering are fine (although I continue to hate the way producer Don Was insists on making Charlie’s cymbal crashes sound like a steam pump), and the whole project feels respectful and, at times, joyous. But it also feels empty. Why? A few thoughts:

• When the Stones played lots of blues covers in the early 1960s, it was because they hadn’t yet learned how to write songs. They’re doing a full album of blues covers now because they’ve essentially stopped writing songs. They haven’t released an album of originals in 11 years, and they haven’t released a good album in 35 years. In short: They’re tapped out. Viewed in that context, an album of blues covers feels more like a lazy placeholder than anything else.

• The whole point of doing a cover version (to say nothing of a whole album of cover versions) is that it should tell us something new about the song, the artist covering it, or both. These covers do neither. The arrangements are straightforward reproductions of the originals, and it’s not exactly a secret that the Stones are big blues fans. There’s no revelation here, no challenge, nothing to be learned. Just lots of confirmation of what we already knew. The whole thing feels way too easy, too comfortable.

• One reason those original Chicago blues records still sound so exciting today is that they sound primitive. The instruments and amps were battered, the musicianship was superb but very raw, the sound engineering was even rawer, and the vocals had all sorts of incredible nuances that had to do with issues of race, class, rural upbringing, and even education (people who can’t read or write tend to listen more acutely, which in turn means they tend to vocalize more acutely). When the Stones played blues covers in the early years of their career, they had a primitive aspect as well, because they were still learning to play, learning how to command their sound. But now they’re first-rate career professionals playing with state-of-the-art gear in a state-of-the-art studio. There are some raw bits on the new album, but the rawness feels manufactured or even curated, not organic. It’s more like a museum version of the blues.

• Another big reason those Chicago blues records still sound so good is that the bluesmen were, well, legitimately blue. They led hardscrabble lives, they often lived in slums, they rarely had much money, plus they had all the attendant problems of being black men in a highly segregated city well before the civil rights era. The urgency of their lives — and the escape from that urgency that their music represented — was reflected in their recordings. The Stones, by contrast, are among the wealthiest and most comfortable people on the planet. I don’t begrudge them that status (on the contrary, like I said before, I’m a big fan), but it’s not a situation that leads to good blues.

• When the Stones were playing blues covers back in the early ’60s, most white music fans — hell, most white people, period — didn’t know jackshit about the blues. They’d never heard of Howlin’ Wolf, Muddy Waters, or Little Walter, much less heard their music. So when the Stones played that music, it was challenging, it was risky, it was even educational. In 1965 they were asked to appear on the TV show Shindig and said they’d only do it if Howlin’ Wolf could appear on the show with them — a seriously ballsy move at the time (and the producers agreed to it!). Half a century later, though, blues is now an entrenched part of rock and roll’s origin story and most rock fans know the drill. The Stones deserve credit for being a key part of the blues’ ascent from historical footnote to treasured American cultural legacy, but one result of that ascent is that there’s really no point in them, or any conventional rock band, playing blues covers anymore.

(As a side note: Blue & Lonesome has what appears to be one of history’s laziest and worst album covers. Even more puzzlingly, the vinyl version is a double-LP — absurd for an album that has only 12 songs totaling 42 minutes. I realize most of the people who listen to this album will be streaming it, not purchasing a physical copy, but still.)

So my tl;dr take on this week’s blues news: See the movie, skip the album.

• • • • •

Going, going…: Today’s the next-to-last day to get the Uni Watch T-Shirt Club’s final design of 2016. The design is a mash-up of uniform elements from all of our previous 2016 shirts (click to enlarge):

The only new element is the baseball cap (which didn’t appear on our baseball-themed shirt because the player was wearing a batting helmet). It’s comes in four color options — our usual grey, black, green, plus a new “military green” (that’s what the manufacturer calls it, although I’d just call it light olive) — and is also available with either short or long sleeves.

The shirt will be available through tomorrow night. The shirts are due to ship right after Christmas, so they should arrive in time for you to wear them on New Year’s Eve. (I had hoped to have them delivered in time for Christmas, but it just wasn’t possible to get things finalized in time for that. Sorry.)

If you’ve ordered all five of this year’s previous shirts and also get this one, you’ll be eligible for our year-end “Collect ’Em All” prize, which will be a patch based on the jock tag design used on this year’s shirts. To qualify, please send me proof that you’ve bought all six shirts. The proof can either be (a) a photo showing all the shirts or (b) screen shots of the “Thank you for your order” emails you received from Teespring and Represent.

Once again, the new shirt can be ordered here. Thanks for your consideration.

• • • • •

The Ticker
By Mike Chamernik

Baseball News: Indiana’s new uniforms have candy striping on the sleeve cuffs (from Ryan Cotter). … On several occasions during the 1991 season, the Expos’ Tim Wallach wore road pants with the stripe colors inverted. Instead of red in front like the rest of the team, Wallach had blue in front (good spot by Denis Lacloche). … Clint Evans wanted to see what the Dodgers would look like with the Under Armour-branded uniforms, so I made a Photoshop for him. … Several minor league teams, including the San Jose Giants, had some themed jerseys on display at the Winter Meetings (from @213MFS and Andy Horne). … The Chiba Lotte Marines’ stadium has a new logo and naming rights advertiser (from Jeremy Brahm). … Most schools and teams that adopt the Brewers old ball-in-glove logo have the initials MB. Here’s how the Rocky River Bucs handled it.

NFL News: Odd sight this past Sunday as the Saints wore throwbacks but team legends wore current jerseys, complete with the neck roll collars (from Scott Peterson). … Never meet your heroes: A Steelers fan will never wear her Antonio Brown jersey again after the wide receiver showed up late and treated her rudely at a meet-and-greet autograph session (from Brinke). … Washington players shared their thoughts on their personal team-specific emojis (from Jon Solomonson). … The Southern California Sun of the long-defunct WFL had a good helmet cart (from Dwayne White). … If the NFL is the No Fun League, then what can we call the CFL? League commissioner Jeffrey Orridge fined more than 20 players for sock violations during the Grey Cup. Two other players were fined for wearing “improper” (not Adidas) footwear (from @PureLipschitz and Wade Heidt). … No photos, thankfully, but San Francisco coach Chip Kelly says his father was buried in a 49ers sweat suit. … Here’s a better look at the Seahawks’ new green end zones (from Eric Hansman).

College Football News: Tom Herman’s business cards show how Texas’s logo has changed over the years. Herman is the new coach and was a graduate assistant in 1999 and 2000 (from Alex Speth). … A Louisiana company produced marching band figurines for a few schools including Ohio State, USC, and Notre Dame (from James Gilbert).

Hockey News: The Ontario Reign are holding a vote for next season’s 10th anniversary logo. They’re all a tad bit busy, but I would vote for B (from Kristopher Sharpe). … Fox Sports North used the old Maple Leafs logo in a graphic last night (from David Steinle). … Gustavus Adolphus College, quaintly known as the Gusties, wear uniforms that are based on what the 1937 team wore (from Brent Kivell). … Boston College G Katie Burt hails from Lynn, Mass., and has a very cool shout-out to her hometown on her mask’s backplate (from Tris Wykes). … Maple Leafs G Karri Ramo’s new mask has an Edgar Allen Poe theme (from Wade Heidt).

NBA/ABA News: Darrun Hilliard II’s NOB is off-center. My guess is that the Pistons applied the suffix to a jersey he wore last year, when his NOB was just “Hilliard.” … Jeremy Lin, who’s missed the majority of the season due to a hamstring injury, has worn some pretty fashionable courtside outfits. … According to a note in the Jan. 6, 1968, edition of The Pittsburgh Press, a game between the ABA’s Pittsburgh Pipers and Dallas Chaparrals was delayed for more than an hour because the Chaps’ players and uniforms were sent on separate planes, and the uni plane was running late. Also: Note the 8:15pm tip-off time — much later than the starting time for most sporting events today (from Jerry Wolper).

College Hoops News: New unis for George Washington last night (from Byron Kerr). … My coworker thinks that Davidson’s logo looks like Brak from Space Ghost. I agree. … In a game against Gonzaga in the mid-1940s, Washington’s Perry Nelson wore a leather football helmet with facemask to protect a broken nose. More info on Gonzaga’s war-era hoops team here (from Matthew Eng).

Grab Bag: A shop in Jerusalem sells American sports T-shirts with team names in Hebrew (from Brian Spiess). … The cycling team Lotto Soudal has a new uniform, and one of the changes is a second team logo near the shoulder that will allow riders to “capture it on their selfies” (from Alan Evans). … Here’s a good collection of the world’s best volleyball jerseys this year (from Jeremy Brahm).

Some Thoughts About the Aesthetics of Punting

I played football in a rec league from fourth grade through eighth grade. I was a small kid but I had a strong leg, so I sometimes ended up as the punter. My coaches gave me a few pointers, but mostly I just tried to mimic the NFL punters who I saw on TV. All of those guys held the ball horizontally out in front of them and then dropped it so that it laid parallel to the ground as it fell (just like Rams punter Johnny Hekker is doing in the photo shown above), so that’s what I did too. I learned certain variations — drop the ball from a higher position if you want the punt to go high but not as far, drop it from a lower position if you want it to go low and long — but the ball’s horizontal orientation was a constant.

Around that same time, I was obsessively reading and re-reading a 1960 book about the NFL called The Pros, which featured a two-page spread of punters dropping the ball in that same horizontal manner. The accompanying text even referred to the ball being “dropped precisely flat and level” (click to enlarge):

Judging by other old photos and video, it appears that punters had pretty much always punted like that, with the ball staying parallel to the ground. And they kept on punting that way for a long time. There were a few guys who had their little quirks — Reggie Roby, for example, always held the ball really high (and, as all good uni-watchers know, wore a wristwatch on the field). For the most part, though, punters’ styles and forms were pretty interchangeable.

But at some point in recent years — I’m not sure exactly when — a new way of thinking came into vogue. Depending on the situation, punters began dropping the ball with the nose pointing down:

Every time I see a punter drop the ball this way, I wince. Part of it is that it’s not the way I learned to punt and not what I grew up seeing. Mostly, though, I wince because I always think it looks like a shanked punt waiting to happen. Like, if you keep the ball horizontal, then you have a nice, broad surface to strike with your foot. But if you point the nose down — well, then you’re gonna kick the nose, and that’s not going to turn out well at all. Imagine a horizontal ball landing on the ground (it’ll bounce fairly true) versus a nose-down ball landing on the ground (it’ll bounce in all sorts of crazy directions). The same thing will happen on your foot, right?

Of course, that’s not how it actually works. The nose-down ball also presents a broad surface to impact — you just have to hit it when it’s lower to the ground, so your foot is properly angled to mate with the ball, as nicely demonstrated in these photos of Broncos punter Riley Dixon:

I’m pretty sure this is a variation of — and an improvement upon — the old “drop it lower, kick it lower and farther” routine, right? Maybe some people with legitimate punting expertise can fill us in on that. But this website is about aesthetics, and this new-ish way of punting, with the nose pointed down, just does not look right to me. Nossir.

What do you folks think?

• • • • •

Click to enlarge

Naval gazing: Yesterday we had Army’s uniform for the annual Army/Navy game. Now we have the Navy design, which is based on the team’s 1963 uniforms. Here’s some additional info and photos.

Phil will take an in-depth look at the Army and Navy uniforms on Saturday, so you’ll want to check back here for that.

• • • • •

T-Shirt Club reminder: In case you missed it last week, the Uni Watch T-Shirt Club’s final design of 2016 is now available for ordering. The design is a mash-up of uniform elements from all of our previous 2016 shirts (click to enlarge):

The only new element is the baseball cap (which didn’t appear on our baseball-themed shirt because the player was wearing a batting helmet). It’s comes in four color options — our usual grey, black, green, plus a new “military green” (that’s what the manufacturer calls it, although I’d just call it light olive) — and is also available with either short or long sleeves.

The shirt will be available through this Friday. The shirts are due to ship right after Christmas, so they should arrive in time for you to wear them on New Year’s Eve. (I had hoped to have them delivered in time for Christmas, but it just wasn’t possible to get things finalized in time for that. Sorry.)

If you’ve ordered all five of this year’s previous shirts and also get this one, you’ll be eligible for our year-end “Collect ’Em All” prize, which will be a patch based on the jock tag design used on this year’s shirts. To qualify, please send me proof that you’ve bought all six shirts. The proof can either be (a) a photo showing all the shirts or (b) screen shots of the “Thank you for your order” emails you received from Teespring and Represent.

Once again, the new shirt can be ordered here. Thanks for your consideration.

• • • • •

The Ticker
By Paul

Baseball News: The Yankees will retire Derek Jeter’s No. 2 next season. Interestingly, the retirement date, May 14, is Mother’s Day, which means the Yanks might be wearing pink for Jeter’s festivities. … Fun stat: Red Sox INF Travis Shaw hit 16 home runs in seven different jerseys last season. … Chris Sale, Red Sox, something-something, throwbacks, something, scissors, something-something.

NFL News: Marriott — the hotel company — has been helping out NFL gameday tailgaters by sending out supplies and provisions that are delivered by crews dressed in bellhop uniforms. … Some Cowboys players made holiday-season visits to a local children’s hospital. They wore team jerseys with ad patches (from Brent, who prefers that his last name not be used). … The Titans-Browns custom cleats fiasco — first the players were told they could wear the cleats this Sunday, then they couldn’t, then they finally could after all — shows that the NFL can’t get out of its own way (thanks, Phil). … The Seahawks are apparently installing green end zones (from @IPA_Hunter). … Someone on eBay is selling an L.A. Rams 1978 cheerleader’s uniform. The cheer squad at the time was called — get this – the Embraceable Ewes. Yes, really. … This is pretty funny: a T-shirt that mimics an Ezekiel Elliott crop-top jersey with his exposed abs.

Hockey News: The Blues have a jersey-style display of retired numbers on a wall outside their locker room, with the players’ names all shown as FNOBs (from Moe Khan). … The Predators added a small helmet decal last night for the East Tennessee forest fire victims (from The Soulful Ginger). … If you’ve been wondering what an NHL version of Color Rash would look like, wonder no more (thanks, Mike). … Awesome 1938 throwbacks for the Alaska Nanooks (from Mike Eidelbes).

Basketball News: This is pretty good: underwear that looks like NBA game shorts (thanks, Mike). … Wake Forest wore grey alts last night. As you can see, the jersey design splits “Wake” and “Forest” over two lines, but the school’s style guide says the school name should always appear on one line (excellent contribution from Will Lawson). … Florida State wore red at home last night. … New BFBS alts last night for Texas. Sorry, that’s the best picture I could find (from @HomeWhites82).

Soccer News: UNC won’t use certain keeper jersey colors. No red, because of NC State, and no royal blue, because of Duke. … Rainbow-patterned jerseys in support of LGBT rights in the video game FIFA 17 has run afoul of a Russian law that prohibits “gay propaganda.” … The Carolina Railhawks are now being known as NCFC and are aiming to become part of MLS (from @EleteTSC). … England is about to announce a new kit deal with Nike (thanks, Phil).

Grab Bag: There’s an operation called the Sport Gallery that has locations in Toronto, NYC, and Vancouver. They sell mostly retro-themed photos, apparel, and related merch. Ted Arnold recently visited the Toronto outlet and took these photos. … New kit manufacturer for the Super Rugby team Sharks. … This is pretty cool: cycling gloves with built-in turn signals. … An architecture firm in Chicago wants to use Pink Floyd-style pig ballons to obscure the city’s Trump Tower logo. … New uniforms for the Nevada Highway Patrol. … Socks are reportedly the holiday season’s most popular gift. Key quote, from the owner of a sock-centric website: ” It’s a way to express yourself. Sometimes having the ‘f’-word on your socks, even if nobody else can see them, is enough to get you through the day.” I’m not sure if something invisible qualifies as “express[ing] yourself,” but, uh, okay. … The historic Nike Moon Shoes that Bruce Mortenson wore at the 1972 Olympic Trials in Eugene, Oregon, are up for auction.