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The Latest Step in Football Helmet Evolution

Click to enlarge

Behold — the new Schutt F7 helmet, the latest round in the anti-concussion wars. As you can see, it has an exterior plate situated across the top of the shell (and there’s another one in the back). It has a very clever way of removing and reinstalling the facemask, too. Nothing quite like it has ever been seen on a football field before, but that will likely change this spring, when college and pro teams are scheduled to start test-driving it. It could be used in games this fall.

The F7 is a variation on a helmet concept I wrote about for ESPN six years ago, almost to the day: the Bulwark, which was designed by longtime Uni Watch friend Michael Princip. That article from six years back led Michael to a partnership with Schutt, where he ended up being the lead designer on the F7.

The F7 is a really interesting piece of engineering, and I was given exclusive access to tell its story, which I’ve done in a new ESPN piece that will be running today. Check it out here.

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More Manning masks: Following up on yesterday’s entry about former Saints quarterback Archie Manning’s unusually high number of facemasks, @ProFootballJournal came up with two Manning masks that I missed.

The first is a simple two-bar model:

The second is a model that’s similar to several of the other ones on yesterday’s list, but it does appear to be distinct from any of those:

So that means Manning wore at least 13 different facemask designs during his time with the Saints — and counting.

Meanwhile, as long as we’re talking about Manning, longtime reader Ben Traxel found a shot of him with his jersey number mirrored on his waistband towel:

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LAST CALL — design contest reminder: Today is the last day to enter my “Redesign the Chargers” contest. Full details here.

LAST CALL — pets in uniform: In case you missed it last weekend, Phil had a post on pets wearing sports uniforms. He’s planning a follow-up post and wants to feature photos of your uni-clad pets. If you have a photo for him, use this link to send it his way. Thanks.

Raffle results: The winner of the IceJerseys $100 discount code is Jon Chichwak. Congrats to him, and thanks to all who entered.

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The Ticker
By Mike Chamernik

Baseball News: The Memphis Redbirds unveiled a new logo and uniforms. Meant to capture the spirit of Memphis, the redesign incorporates a neon light motif and features an “M” in the shape of a music note (from Phil). … The Giants updated their black alternate jersey, changing to solid orange numerals and SF logo (from Phil). … The Blue Jays will unveil an red alternate cap and jersey on Friday. The uniform will be worn on Sundays this year (as reported by Chris Creamer). … Here’s a look at how the Orioles’ Camden Yards 25th-anniversary patch will look on their sleeves this season (from Robert Hayes). … North Georgia’s softball team showed off its stirrups. … Back a few decades ago, Tim Raines wore a shirt with an Andre Dawson caricature on it (from Patrick Sesty). … Bob Frigiano spotted a briefcase made of Rawlings-branded leather, and @DTABR notes that there’s a company in England that makes watch bands out of old baseball gloves (from Phil). … The Akron softball team has added a memorial helmet decal for a player’s mother.

NFL News: The Chargers will keep their current uniforms for next season, though they may consider a redesign a few years from now. … The Packers showed how their seamstress sewed on their captaincy patches for the playoffs (from several readers). … The Packers’ G logo was created in 1961. When the U. of Georgia introduced a very similar logo a few years later, the school had to get permission (from Phil). … The Steelers and Patriots will play for the AFC title this Sunday. The QBs share respect for each other: Ben Roethlisberger asked Tom Brady for his jersey earlier this season, and it now hangs in his office (from Phil). … Much like Archie Manning, as profiled here yesterday, Bears QB Mike Phipps wore a bulky facemask in 1979. He wore it to protect a broken nose (from Bill Schaefer). … Inspired by the Chargers’ promotional logo flop, here are a dozen of the worst logo changes in sports. Unclear if the writer understands that the Bolts aren’t changing their primary logo, though (from Trevor Williams). … More hints towards a new color scheme for the Rams: They still sell stuff with gold, but the logo on their NFL Shop page is just blue-and-white (from Yancy Yeater). … Southern New Jersey native Mike Trout made his buddy wear a full Eagles uniform to the gym after winning a bet on the Packers-Cowboys game. Trout is a birds fan, and presumably a Cowboys hater (from Phil). … The starting lineup for this year’s Puppy Bowl has been announced (from Phil).

College Football News: Cal-Berkeley has an extensive uniform history. That article tracks the Golden Bears’ record in each different uniform set over the last decade (from Sam Felder).

Hockey News: Lots of readers sent this in, but Chris Mizzoni wrote the blog: Here’s how NHL players spent their offseason in 1961. It looks like the Canadiens had a baseball team at the time. … USA Hockey’s Under-17 Team will wear Star Wars jerseys next Saturday.

NBA News: Buried within the middle of this piece about the Warriors’ new San Francisco arena is a tidbit that they might get Oakland jerseys before the move. … The NBA is switching uniform suppliers next year, so graphic designer Jesse Nunez created a Nike uni concept for each team. Props to Jesse for subtle tweaks, not full-on redesigns. … The Kings wore black at home last night, creating a color-on-color game with the Pacers (from Zachary Loesl). … Also from Zachary: The Hornets’ arena has an American Airlines ad on one backboard post and a Tissot ad on the other post. “This is the first time i’ve seen a team advertise different companies at different ends of the court,” he says.

College Hoops News: Providence will wear throwbacks next Wednesday (from @joeymisdemeanor). … Iowa players have a bump under their nameplates. Josh Sandin says that it’s because the Hawkeyes wear GPS and heart rate trackers.

Soccer News: The name and logo for a new NPSL team, Napa Valley 1839 FC, was revealed last night. … Swansea City midfielder Ki Sung-Yueng has KI. S. Y. as his NOB. Unclear why there’s a period after KI (from Robert Baker). … Fans will design a new badge for Ayr United, a low-level club in Scotland. The old one was considered a Coat of Arms, which broke an ancient heraldic law (from Kevin McNeil). … According to this news clipping, the Kansas City Comets of the MISL had to wear makeshift uniforms for their first ever game at Kemper Arena in 1979 (from Marc Viquez).

Grab Bag: Masonite Doors unveiled a new logo, which replaces this. … At Madeira High School in Cincinnati, boys teams are known as the Mustangs and girls teams are called the Amazons. In addition to separate logos, the school uses a combined logo, too (from K.C. Kless). … The UNC gymnastics team will wear rainbow-patterned leotards tomorrow (from James Gilbert). … NASCAR has a new sponsor/advertiser, Monster, for its premier series. It looks like drivers names will be moved from the top of the windshield to the back window, with a Monster logo taking its place in the front (from David Firestone). … Also from David: New racing suit for NHRA top fuel driver Leah Pritchett.

A Man(ning) of Many Masks

Longtime reader/contributor Gene Sanny recently got in touch to let me know about a really unusual facemask worn by former Saints quarterback Archie Manning (who’s shown at right; dig those Saint-patterned wristbands!). If Gene had simply said, “Hey, look at this,” it probably would’ve ended up in the Ticker and that would’ve been the end of it. But Gene’s email included something that intrigued me: “I knew Archie Manning was notorious for wearing a ton of different facemasks throughout his career,” he wrote, “but look at this!”

I hadn’t realized Manning was known as a man of many masks (which is weird, because I grew up watching football during the prime of Manning’s career and was pretty mask-attentive in those days), so I went back and looked at some old photos. And sure enough, it appears that Manning was extremely fickle regarding his facemask choices. Who knew? Well, Gene knew. But not me!

Some quick context: Manning played with the Saints from 1971 through 1982 — 12 seasons. But he sat out 1976 due to injuries and appeared in only one game in 1982. So for practical purposes, Manning played 10 seasons for the Saints.

Now, granted, anyone who’s in the league that long will likely have lots of chances to change or upgrade his facemask, just by virtue of new designs becoming available, new advances in helmet/mask technology, and so on. Still, I found photos showing Manning wearing 10 different masks with the Saints (and that’s not counting the weird one that Gene showed me), which seems like a lot, right?

And here’s another oddity: The Saints changed facemask colors in 1976, going from grey to black. But from what I can see, Manning never duplicated any of his grey masks in black. So those 10 different mask designs I found (plus the 11th one from Gene) all have distinct bar orientations, irrespective of their color differences.

With that in mind, let’s look at Manning’s masks. Instead of going chronologically, I’m going to go from the simplest design to the most complex — in part because I’m not positive of all the game dates, and in part because in some cases I want to make stylistic comparisons from different years. Here we go:

1. Manning’s simplest mask was a grey single-bar model:

2. Manning also wore a grey mask that I’m pretty sure was a Dungard 207:

3. Later in his career, when the Saints had switched to black masks, Manning wore a different Dungard design. This one, I’m pretty sure, was the 205, which had less separation between the bars (also, note the team-branded waistband towel and the wristbands!):

4. Going back to the Saints’ grey-masked period, Manning wore a mask that I believe was the Schutt 710:

5. He later wore a similar but more boxy grey design, which appears to be a Schutt 1968 OPO Square Jaw:

6. Manning later wore a similar design in black. This one was a little less boxy than mask No. 5, but also not quite the same as mask No. 4:

7. Manning also wore a boxier version in black — but this design had two horizontal bars across the top of the mask, instead of one, with a small vertical bar connecting them:

8. He also wore something very similar, but with three vertical bars connecting the top two horizontal bars:

9. He also wore a version with two horizontal bars across the top and two horizontal bars across the center of the mask (sorry, this is the only photo I could find of this design):

10. Manning also dabbled with a version of this mask that had two vertical bars connecting the top and center of the mask (apparently a Schutt Eye Glass OPO):

11. And now, finally, the mask that Gene Sanny sent me, which got this whole thing rolling. Behold Archie Manning wearing a lineman’s facemask (a Schutt Double Wire JOP):

According to Getty Images (which is often wrong about dates), that’s from a 1980 game against the Bears. Crazy, right? Can anyone think of any NFL quarterback ever wearing something as elaborate as that?

Update: Reader Chris Markham found a Chicago Tribune article about the game in which Manning wore the lineman’s mask. Turns out Manning broke his nose in the second quarter after a hit from the Bears’ Alan Page and switched to a larger mask during the game.

Here’s the relevant portion of the article:

Manning insisted the broken nose didn’t bother him in the second half nearly as much as the Bear defense that surrounded him with relentless pressure. “When my nose was broken I was dazed and couldn’t breathe,” Manning said. “I felt fine afterwards. The bird cage [protective face mask normally worn by linemen] I wore in the second half didn’t obstruct my vision, but those hands waving in my face sure did.”

Additional photos of Manning wearing this mask can be seen here.

Footnote: Manning finished his career with cups of coffee in Houston and Minnesota. Judging by the admittedly scant photographic record, it looks like he used mask No. 7, albeit in different colors, while playing for both of those teams:

And there you have it. Did I miss any of Manning’s NFL mask designs? Also, has any other player gone through as many masks as Manning did?

(Big thanks for Gene Sanny, whose offhand comment made today’s entry possible; to Scott Johnston, for his assistance in identifying some of the mask models; and to our own Mike Chamernik for his assistance with some updated info.)

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T-Shirt Club update: Many of you have been asking me if there will be a new round of Uni Watch T-Shirt Club tees for 2017. Answer: Yes! And while things aren’t completely set yet, I can tell you this much:

• For each of the past two years, we’ve done shirts that had a consistent design theme. This year I’d like to try something different. I’ve asked a bunch of artists, illustrators, and designers — all of them longtime friends of Uni Watch — to each take a crack at producing a Uni Watch T-shirt design. Stylistically speaking, the results will likely be all over the map, so we won’t have any thematic consistency this year, but each shirt will still say, “Uni Watch,” both literally and metaphorically. It’ll sort of be like an “artist of the month” program (or every two months, or whatever).

• I’m not sure how many shirts we’ll do this year, because I don’t know yet how many artists will be part of this. For now, I have five confirmed participants: Larry Torrez (the guy who designed my Twitter avatar); Rob Ullman (best known around here for his pin-up/jersey illustrations); Todd Radom (one of the sports world’s foremost graphic designers); Scott M.X. Turner (the man who created our magnifying glass logo, and who’s also designed every one of our 1,700-plus membership cards); and the pseudonymous Wafflebored (the guy behind so many awesome DIY projects). Bryan Molloy, who designed all of the 2015 and ’16 shirts, will likely do a shirt this year as well, if his schedule allows. I’m a big fan of all these folks’ work, and I’m excited to see what they whip up.

It’s possible that some additional artists will come on board as the year progresses. So even if we start with, say, six artists, we might end up doing more shirts than that by the end of the year.

Speaking of which: Are you a talented artist, illustrator, or designer? Would you like to be considered as one of this year’s T-Shirt Club creators? Are you a really obvious friend of Uni Watch who I have somehow overlooked for this project? If so, shoot me a note, along with some of your work (or a smack in the head, as the case might be), and we’ll talk.

• I’m fairly certain that this year’s shirts will not have a T-Shirt Club sleeve patch (like we did in 2015) or jock tag (2016). I might have the individual artists include some sort of T-Shirt Club graphic or identifier as part of their designs — or I might not. That’s one of several variables I need to get squared away with the artists. Actually, we could use some feedback here: For those of you who purchase the shirts, does having some sort of Club graphic make the whole thing feel more “official” in a way you find enjoyable? Is the graphic actually annoying and you’d be happier without it? Or do you not care?

• In a related item: At the moment I’m leaning against having a “Collect ’em all” incentive prize. One reason for this is that I don’t even know how many shirts we’ll be doing, and it seems unfair to ask you to commit to buying a certain number of shirts when I can’t even tell you how big that commitment will be. But getting rid of the year-end prize will cut down on the collectability factor, which I know many of you enjoy. Any thoughts on that?

• Another variable: Who will produce these shirts? The one thing I can say for sure is that it will not be Represent. It may be Teespring, however. Or it may be someone else entirely. Still working that out.

• The first shirt will likely be ready for ordering at some point in February. We’ll make each shirt available for at least 10 days, and maybe longer.

I think that’s it. More info soon.

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LAST CALL — Raffle reminder: Today is the last day to enter the raffle for the IceJerseys $100 discount code. Full details here.

Design contest reminder: I’m currently accepting entries for a “Redesign the Chargers” contest. Full details here.

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Membership update: If your New Year’s resolution was to finally sign up for a Uni Watch membership card already, there’s no time like the present. You’ll join over 1,700 other cardholders, including Alex Barfield, whose card (shown at right) is based on the Waco BlueCats. Never heard of that team? That’s because they don’t exist yet! But they’ll start playing in 2018, and they’ve already released their uniform designs, and that’s what Alex asked for. I think it’s the first time we’ve done a card based on a team whose first game is still more than a year away.

You can sign up for your own custom-designed membership card here, you can see all the cards we’ve designed so far here, and you can see how we produce the cards here.

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The Ticker
By Alex Hider

Baseball News: Andrew Benintendi of the Red Sox will be wearing No. 16 this upcoming season. He wore No. 40 during his rookie year (from Ethan Faust). … The Fresno Grizzlies have officially unveiled their 2017 Fresno Taco uniforms (from Phil). … Oklahoma State will wear seven different caps this season (from Brian). … Looks like the White Sox will be marking the centennial of their 1917 World Series title with throwbacks.

NFL NewsFormer 49ers TE Vernon Davis owns a Jamba Juice in Santa Clara, Calif., but he apparently can’t use the Niners logo in photos of himself (from Michael R. Carroll). … Peter Fredrickson sent along this video from a 1979 matchup between the Bears and Cowboys in Dallas. Anyone know why the star at midfield was surrounded by red stars? … The duckling statues in Boston’s Public Garden have been decked out with Patriots jerseys.

Hockey NewsThe NHL is reminding teams that goalies should be wearing the new, trim-cut pants that were discussed in the off-season. More on those regulations here (thanks, Mike). … The Amarillo Bulls of the NAHL will wear Star Wars jerseys on Saturday (from Rovitz). … Moe Khan points out that the Canucks don’t use era-specific color schemes on their retired number banners. … Looks like the makers of Good Will Hunting didn’t want to fork over any cash to the Bruins of the NHL (from Joe Z). … Dartmouth G Adrian Clark’s mask features characters created by Dr. Seuss, who was a Dartmouth grad (from Tris Wykes).

NBA NewsThe Warriors, Raptors, Rockets, and Wizards will have new Chinese New Year socks to go along with their CNY jerseys (thanks Paul). … The Lakers wore throwbacks last night (from Robert Hayes). … The Nets wore their grey alternates at home last night, creating a red vs. grey game against the Raptors (from Zachary Loesl). … The Warriors broke ground on their new arena with a bizarre choreographed dance routine (thanks, Mike).

College and High School Hoops News: The Immortal Ten is a group of Baylor basketball players who were killed in a bus accident in 1927. Last night, the Bears honored those 10 players on their jerseys (from Austin Staton). … Bowling Green has some nice vertically arched NOBs (from Luke Schaffner). … Sweet candy-stripe warmups for Latrobe High School (Pennsylvania) (from Rich Donahue). … Texas A&M wore throwbacks last night (from John Urbina).

Soccer News: Yesterday’s Ticker had the news about Juventus’s new minimalist logo. Here’s how eight other teams’ logos might look if they went with a similarly minimalist approach (from Ted Arnold). … New away jersey for DC United (from John Muir).

Grab BagNew athletic logos for the DII school East Stroudsburg University (from Andrew Garigliano). … All Roanoke College athletic teams will wear a patch commemorating the college’s 175th year (from Jacob Clifton). … Bill Gates and some other tech investors have filed a patent for a football helmet that would detect concussions (thanks, Phil). … New lacrosse helmets for Washington. … Lots of old uniforms from Pepperdine’s sports history are showcased in this article (from Phil).

Report: Nike Not Planning to Make Sleeved NBA Jerseys

Ever since the NBA announced that Nike would be taking over from Adidas as the league’s uniform outfitter in the fall of 2017, one of the recurring questions on people’s minds has been, “Will Nike do anything about the sleeves?”

We may now have an answer. Yesterday’s Wall Street Journal included an article about the league’s plan to stop selling lower-priced replica jerseys at brick-and-mortar shops next season (which, as you can imagine, doesn’t matter to me one little bit), and buried within that article was the following tidbit:

Nike, meanwhile, is expected to present its initial NBA jersey designs to retailers beginning this week. The company said it doesn’t plan to produce sleeved jerseys, a style debuted by Adidas in 2013 that received mixed reviews from players and fans.

The full article is here, but it’s behind a paywall, so I’ve uploaded the text for you here. (After a good back-and-forth in today’s comments, I’ve disabled that link. The link to the original article may still work for you, however — the paywall appears to be inconsistent. Give it a try.)

I saw a few people on Twitter yesterday trying to parse the Journal’s wording (“They don’t plan to do sleeves, but that doesn’t mean they won’t do sleeves”), but come on — the clear implication there is that the sleeved jerseys are on the way out.

If so, that will be a major shift. By my count, at least 19 of the 30 NBA teams currently have a sleeved jersey. That includes the Jazz, who introduced a sleeved alternate just this season. Will they really scrap it after only one year? Sleeves are required on “pride” jerseys, and the Cavs rode their sleeved black alternates all the way to the way to the NBA title last season (reportedly at LeBron James’s request).

Then again, the league will be introducing lots of uniform changes next season: Maker’s marks and advertising patches are already a certainty, new tailoring and fabrics haven’t been announced but are a given, and I’ve heard through the grapevine that several teams will have fairly bold redesigns. So why not scrap the sleeves too while they’re at it? After all, even at the college level, the sleeves were always an Adidas thing, not a Nike thing.

I’m sure most fans will be happy, or at least not heartbroken, to see the sleeves go. Me too, for the most part. But I think the real letdown with the sleeves is that they never used them to their full potential. No patches, no stripes, no patterns, no nothin’. What a waste.

Meanwhile, if any of you retailers out there have feedback on the new Nike designs you’ll be seeing this week, you know where to find me.

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Collector’s Corner
By Brinke Guthrie

If you think that “L.A. Chargers” logo was bad, how about this this San Diego Chargers helmet plaque. How did this one get approved with that lightning bold so far off the mark? At first I thought it was for the Air Force Academy, ya know? Maybe the Chargers’ll go to this look for their move up the coast? Eh, not likely.

Now for the rest of this week’s picks:

• Two more for the Super Chargers — this retro stripe cap really takes ya back. And the helmet on this Dr. Pepper/Taco Bell promo glass points left — a real rarity.

• Great artwork on this album called 25 Action Years for the NBA. Narrated by none other than The Voice, Chris Schenkel.

• Get your 1970s Milwaukee Brewers/McDonalds promo ball right here!

• This Kansas City Chiefs jersey is supposedly from the 1970s (No. 86 Buck Buchanan,) but that heat-pressed on NFL shield looks newer than that, and I don’t recall seeing heat-pressed league logos back then.

• This is a truly great NFL poster from the 1960s. Black Saints helmet, too! The seller took a terrible photo of it, but take a peek anyway. This is how it was done.

• Nice helmet depictions on these 1980s Tasco NFL binoculars.

• The facemask on this 1970s Vikings helmet plaque is ridin’ just a little bit too low, am I right? So is this one for the Brownies.

• How about this 1983 Cleveland Browns media guide. Terrific look to those outfits, no? Makes you think of Ozzie Newsome and Brian Sipe. That Sipe look is one classic uniform, especially compared to what they wear now.

• Tombstone Pizza of Medford, Wis., wants to make you a “Packer Backer” with this bumper sticker.

• Ah, look at the great font on this 1970s Seattle Mariners pennant.

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Raffle reminder: I’m currently raffling off a $100 discount code for use at IceJerseys. Full details here.

Design contest reminder: I’m currently accepting entries for a “Redesign the Chargers” contest. Full details here.

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The Ticker
By Mike Chamernik

Baseball News: The Cubs visited the White House yesterday. The team gave President Obama a jersey with a World Series Champions sleeve patch, which they will likely wear on the field this season. The Cubs also gave the president a road jersey that didn’t have the usual front number. The idea there is that Obama is a White Sox fan, so the Cubbies wanted to give him a jersey that simply said, “Chicago” and nothing else (from (Brandon Smith and Andy Garms). … Former Cubs CF Dexter Fowler had a pair of Jordans made up for Obama (from Sean Jankowski). … New jerseys for Nevada. They use the blue-and-yellow color scheme of the state flag (from @PackFundraising). … The Fresno Grizzlies will reveal their Tacos uniforms this morning. … Comedian Howie Mandel wore a Expos-themed shirt on an episode of Just For Laughs (from @mike3783). … The Frontier League unveiled a 25th-anniversary logo (from Josh Handler). … Supermodel Emily Ratajkowski has a painting of a Manny Ramirez card in her apartment.

Pro and College Football News: As Josh Berger notes, the four Super Bowl semifinalists — the Packers, Falcons, Steelers, and Pats — are all Flywire-free. First time that’s happened since Nike took over as the NFL’s outfitter in 2012. Also, the Packers and Falcons are still wearing the old Reebok tailoring and fabric, making the NFC very old-school this time around (well, if 2011 counts as “old”). … This Bucs hat on Amazon has an AFC patch on it. Brian Ashbaugh checked to see if that was for real and indeed it was. Little-known fact: Tampa Bay was in the AFC West for its inaugural, winless season in 1976. … In 1973, Packers LB Tom MacLeod had some serious spacing on his NOB (from Bill Kellick). … Jim Brown and Joe Namath played a game of football with B.A. Baracus and the gang in a 1986 episode of The A-Team, entitled “Quarterback Sneak.” The uniforms were modeled after the USFL’s L.A. Express (from Gene Sanny). … Back in the 1990s, USC had odd captaincy patches. Instead of wearing a “C,” the captains wore little patches that said, “captain” (from Matt Shevin).

Hockey News: Contrary to what reported last week, the Devils are not getting new uniforms next season. Key quote: “[T]he logo will remain the same, the black-and-red color scheme will remain the same. The Devils’ primary identity jerseys are not being redesigned” (from Stan Capp). … DC Comics artist Jason Fabok is one of us. He created designs for a few fictional NHL teams (from Gus Ponce). … John Muir has a few notes about a recent St. Lawrence women’s hockey game. Kennedy Marchment wore a “LAH” emblem in place of a captaincy patch for an unknown reason, and goalie Grace Harrison has the St. Lawrence crest on her pads (the SLU men’s goalie does the same). “Really, why don’t all college goalies do something like this?” John asks. … Are the Penguins the only team that has different colored sleeve numbers, back numbers, and helmet numbers? (From Patrick Thomas.) … Speaking of the Pens and uni numbers, 87 was the theme of last night’s win over the Caps. … In 1981, almost two years after he retired, Bobby Hull attempted an comeback with the Rangers that lasted five exhibition games. “For decades I have been searching for a photo of Hull in a Ranger uni, and finally came across this,” says Bob Gassel.

NBA News: Players across the league wore these warm-up shirts for MLK Day yesterday. … There were also special socks (from Zachary Loesl). … Steph Curry honored Barack Obama by wearing red, white, and blue sneakers and teammate Draymond Green wore “Sideline Racism” shoes last night (from Zachary Loesl). … Jazz and Suns went navy-vs.-gray yesterday (from Trent Knaphus). … A graphic designer named Lammert Wijnsma created a few Greek-themed personal logos for Giannis Antetokounmpo. You may recognize his work, because he previously made logos for other young NBA players. … The Celtics’ Isaiah Thomas said he would want to change from No. 4 to No. 11, but he doesn’t want to make all his fans buy a new jersey. Current Blazer and former Boston teammate Evan Turner had a back-and-forth with Thomas about Turner’s former number. … Hungry? You will be after seeing the big, distracting ad for a milkshake that the Pacers have on their backboard post (Zach Loesl again).

College & High School Hoops News: Big East teams wore MLK patches yesterday. The addition made Marquette’s jersey particularly busy (from @joeymisdemeanor and Michael Brighton). … UNC coach Roy Williams was awarded a No. 800 jersey for his milestone victory last night (from James Gilbert). … A Kentucky high school team had to wear inside-out jerseys to avoid a black-vs.-black matchup last night. The refs were still able to decipher the jersey numbers (from Michael Kinney). … A high school game in the Bay Area last night was white vs. some sort of gold-creme color (from Ethan Kassel).

Soccer News: New black-and-white logo for Juventus. Here’s how the mark has evolved over the club’s history (from several readers). … Mikey Traynor picked his five favorite uniforms from this year’s African Cup of Nations. The internet really has it all, doesn’t it? I really like Senegal’s shirt.

Grab Bag: A New York Times writer explored the difference between the Adidas and Nike flagship stores in Manhattan (from Tommy Turner). … A Reddit post called this the world’s worst golf ball. … Team North America squared off against Team Europe in the Continental Cup this past weekend. Some Team North America curlers wore combined USA and Canadian flag patches (from Wade Heidt). … I don’t know anything about the film series, but here’s a uniform-related Star Wars joke (from Esteban Colinalarga).

Chargers Say, ‘Never Mind,’ Scrap New Marketing Logo

In case you missed it amidst all the weekend hubbub, the Chargers’ much-maligned “LA” logo is official dead, done, kaput. That news was broken on Saturday by NBC’s Pro Football Talk, where Chargers exec A.G. Spanos raised the white flag:

The logo that was revealed on Thursday was meant to help launch our brand into the market and supplement — not replace — our official team marks. Clearly, we miscalculated how the logo would be received, and we’ve taken it out of the rotation.

I’ve heard a few people compare this episode to the 49ers’ infamous one-day six-day helmet fiasco from 1991, but I’d say that’s a case of apples vs. oranges. The Niners’ helmet was really going to be, you know, the Niners’ helmet, while this logo was never going to be anything except a Twitter avatar and a promotional mark. As I explained last Friday, it was never going to appear on-field. So all the fuss over it was largely moot.

But the Chargers have nobody but themselves to blame for that fuss, because they put the logo out there without explaining what it was for. If Spanos had used that language about the logo being intended to “supplement, not replace” the team’s existing visual portfolio when the new logo was introduced, a lot of the ensuing ridicule could have been avoided.

As I mentioned on Friday, I don’t think the logo was that bad (although it would’ve looked a lot better if rendered in a more Chargers-y color scheme). The real issue here wasn’t a design problem; it was a communications problem.

Speaking of which: I often roll my eyes when teams stage elaborate media events or issue hype-laden press releases for fairly routine developments. That’s all part of what I perceive to be a culture of micro-management and marketing nonsense that’s gotten way out of hand. But the Chargers’ logo debacle makes it clear why teams often err on the side of too much information. The alternative — too little information — can have disastrous results.

I’d like to think there’s a happy medium between those two approaches. But I think it’s a pretty safe bet which approach the Chargers will take the next time they update their visual program.

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End zones, continued: Last week’s Friday Flashback about home teams acknowledging the visiting team in one end zone led reader Bob Gassel to submit the 1970 photo of Northwestern’s Dyche Stadium shown above. See how there are two sets of goalposts in each end zone? I’ll let Bob explain:

This photo was taken when the Bears and Eagles played there on September 27, 1970. The game couldn’t be played at Wrigley Field [which was the Bears’ home venue at the time] because of a conflict with the Cubs. NFL goalposts were still located on the goal line in those days, not the back line, so the extra set of goalposts was added for this game.

Another hint it isn’t a college game is that the stadium is full. Northwestern rarely filled the place back then (and now).

Footnote: When the Bears had to move from Wrigley after the 1970 season, Dyche Stadium was their first choice for a new home. But Evanston was dry at the time, and the team wouldn’t have been able to sell beer at the games, so they went to Soldier Field instead.

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And the Puppy Bowl’s coming, too: In case you missed it yesterday, Phil had a post on pets wearing sports uniforms. He’s planning a follow-up post and wants to feature photos of your uni-clad pets. If you have a photo for him, use this link to send it his way. Thanks.

Raffle reminder: I’m currently raffling off a $100 discount code for use at IceJerseys. Full details here.

Design contest reminder: I’m currently accepting entries for a “Redesign the Chargers” contest. Full details here.

• • • • •

The Ticker
By Alex Hider

Baseball NewsThe Diamondbacks announced yesterday that their black snakeskin gradient cap will now be their “primary” cap this season. It also looks like they’re mothballing the black and red cap without the gradient. … Whoops: Andrew Greenblatt’s father bought a Giants cap with a sublimated American League logo. He’s not alone, either. Dawson found a Pirates cap with an AL logo. … With the news that Ringling Bros. is ending its circus after more than 100 years, check out this photo of the Barnum and Bailey Circus baseball team from 1912 (from BSmile). … Tom Cruise must read Uni Watch (from Matt). … You can hear former Mets broadcaster Lindsey Nelson commenting on the Padres’ 1972 uniforms in this radio broadcast from a ’72 game. “But he gives out some incorrect information,” says Ferdinand Cesarano. “He says that the Padres had gone back to brown caps from caps that were ‘all gold.’ There was no all-gold cap, but only the brown cap and the original version of the Taco Bell cap.”

Football NewsIn Paul’s most recent Flashback Friday column about visiting team logos painted on NFL fields, he mentioned a 1971 Dolphins/Chiefs playoff game. Turns out that the hashmarks on the field were painted in Chiefs red and Dolphins aqua (from Mark Guttag). … Speaking of field design, the “Divisional Playoffs” logo that usually appears at the 25-yard line for was missing from the Cowboys’ field yesterday (from @espitt). … Whoops: This NC State shirt was printed in UNC colors (from James Gilbert). … Step aside, Bucs and Cornhuskers. The Oregon Medical Department football team owns the skull and crossbones. That’s from Andrew John, who spotted that awesome photo at the Oregon Health & Science University.

Hockey NewsThe Maple Leafs recently acquired Curtis McElhinney from Columbus. In his first game with his new team on Saturday, he wore a mask with both Leafs and Jackets logos. If you look closely at the first shot, you can see the CBJ logo under the white paint. (from Will Leslie).

Pro Basketball News The Grizzlies wore their black Martin Luther King Jr.-themed alternates at home last night, creating a black vs. red game against the Bulls (from Zachary Loesl). … Also from Zachary: The Raptors wore black at home, with the Knicks wearing their white throwbacks on the road, and the Hawks wore their red alternates at home, with the Bucks wearing their white home unis on the road. … The Dandening Rangers of the Australian Women’s National Basketball League wore special uniforms commemorating 25 years in the league. They contain the names of every player to play for the team.

College Hoops News: Iowa players honored former player Kenny Arnold on their shooting shirts before last night’s game at Northwestern. Arnold lives in Chicago and was recently diagnosed with a brain tumor (from Josh Segal). … Manny Powell for DII Clarion University had a backwards number on his shooting shirt on Saturday (from Jim Roddy).

Grab Bag: Here’s the ball that teams in the United Soccer League will play with this season (from Josh Hinton). … Federal officials are covering up the signage on portable toilets brought in advance of Inauguration Day, due to laws restricting advertising on the National Mall. The slogan they’re covering up? Don’s Johns (from Adam Brodsky). … put together a good graphic showing how franchises changed their logos — or, in some cases, didn’t change their logos — when they moved to a new city. … New logo for the Australian Open tennis tournament.

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Today is Martin Luther King Jr. Day, when we honor history’s greatest American. And as I like to point out each year on this holiday, perhaps the most amazing thing about King is that he accomplished so much in such a short amount of time. He was only 39 when he was assassinated in 1968. Think how different — how much better — this world might be if he had lived another 20, 30, or 40 years. What a waste.

As you may recall, the Grizzlies have an MLK-themed alternate uniform this season. Unfortunately, they’re not among the 18 NBA teams that are playing today. Disappointing.