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Niners Change Their Jersey Stripe Pattern

The one bit of significant uni-related news that emerged from last night’s NFL draft came when the 49ers selected defensive lineman Solomon Thomas with the third overall pick. As you can see above, Thomas was presented with a Niners jersey rendered in Nike’s new tailoring template (the one with the cringe-worthy name that I’ll do my best never to spell out on this website). While the collar is a big improvement over the Nikelace, the big news is over on the sleeves, which now have two stripes instead of the usual three.

Here’s another view:

Sure enough, Niners retail jerseys with the new template show only two stripes. Retail jerseys in the old template have had two full stripes and one truncated stripes.

The reality, of course, is that almost nobody on the Niners has worn three stripes on the field in recent years, and many players haven’t even worn two full stripes (click to enlarge):

I still don’t understand why Nike can’t give the Niners three full stripes (they seem to manage it for the Bears without any problems), but whatever — it looks like they’ll only have two from now on.

Other notes from the draft:

• Following up on yesterday’s post, the Browns are indeed still using the old jersey template, as you can see in this photo of top overall pick Myles Garrett:

Note all the contrast-colored topstitching on the seams — the new template doesn’t have the seams in those areas. In yesterday’s comments section, reader Clint Richardson speculated that this may be the reason that the Browns are sticking with the old template: The contrasting stitching was billed as a major design element of this uniform set (it supposedly symbolizes Cleveland’s blue collar work ethic or some storytelling bullshit like that), but most of that stitching would disappear with the new template. So the Browns are stuck with the older template (including the Nikelace, ugh) because of nonsense design feature that nobody liked or cared about to begin with. Perfect!

• Steelers employees all wore green ribbon/pins and green neckties for Dan Rooney. Here’s a closer look at the ribbon/pin.

• Jaci Wilson, the granddaughter of Hall of Fame defensive back Larry Wilson, was at the draft, wearing her grandfather’s old Cardinals jersey.

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ESPN reminder: In case you missed it yesterday, my latest ESPN column looks at the MLB uniform protocol of teams wearing their team name on their home whites and their city/state name on their road greys. Has that always been the rule? And which teams don’t follow it? Which teams should follow it? Get the full scoop here.

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New T-shirt reminder: In case you missed it earlier this week, our latest T-shirt in the Uni Watch Artist’s Series, designed by the great Scott M.X. Turner, is now available, and it’s a doozy.

Here’s the concept: If Uni Watch had a bowling team, what would the team be called? The Athletic Aesthetics, of course! And what would the team wear? A classic bowling shirt with chain-stitched embroidery, of course!

Scott’s T-shirt is based on that idea, with a simple “Uni Watch” insignia faux-chain-stitched on the front-left chest and a spectacular design faux-chain-stitched on the back (for all of these images, you can click to enlarge):

How great is that?! An anthropomorphized magnifying glass wearing a ballcap and stirrups — tremendous! The graphics really capture that old-school bowling shirt style, too. Even better, the design works well in a wide variety of shirt colors. Here are some of the ones we’re offering (there are several more on the sales listing page), just to show how flexible the design is:

Like all of our Artist’s Series shirts, this one is a limited edition, available until late next week. You can order it here. My thanks, as always, for your consideration.

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The Ticker
By Paul

Baseball News: Expect to see several more MLB teams switching to 3D helmet logos shortly. … The Mahoning Valley Scrappers will change their name to the Packards for one night in August (from Ryan McNaughton). … No photos, so I can’t confirm, but Matt Brown says the Double-A Erie Seawolves have not yet worn a white or grey jersey this season — just black and red softball tops. Not sure if that’s really so unusual in the minors, though. … Single-digit pitcher alert! Julio Urias made his season debut yesterday with the Dodgers, once again wearing No. 7 (from @LAUrbanLegend). … Oregon softball’s new uniforms have a punching Puddles (from Mark Johnson).

NFL News: The swimwear brand Schwimmer has come up with with a line of bathing trunks in NFL team-color pairings (from Nathan Haas). … Sports Illustrated ran a cover showing how NFL prospect Leonard Fournette would look in various NFL jerseys. The funny thing is, he’s wearing No. 7 in all of those shots — that’s his college number, but Fournette is a running back, which means he couldn’t wear that number in the NFL (from Chris Mycoskie).

College Football News: A recruit may have leaked a new Oregon helmet. … All the visting teams on SUNY-Albany’s 2017 home schedule have blue-centric color schemes (from Justin Berger).

Hockey News: Dunkin’ Donuts is selling a travel mug with the Penguins’ 50th-anniversary logo. But instead of the four Stanley Cups that normally appear on the logo, it shows four stars (from Mike, who didn’t give his last name).

Soccer News: Nashville Soccer Club has its first jersey sponsor advertiser (from Ed Żelaski‏). … Inaugural home and road kits for Asheville City. … New home kit for Japan (from Josh Hinton). … Also from Josh: AFC Bournemouth of the EPL has signed a kit deal with Umbro. … And one more from Josh: Man City’s new away kit has leaked. … So has Juventus’s new jersey (from Mikey Traynor). … New uniforms for Chattanooga FC (Ed Żelaski‏ again). … New kits for Detroit City FC: home, road, and charity (from Ryan Keberly).

Grab Bag: Three new bridges with eye-catching designs are being built in NYC. … USA Curling is holding a design contest to create a new pin for the 2018 Olympics (from R. Scott Rogers). … Speaking of curling, there’s a team in Houston with tequila sunrise jerseys (from Garret Heinrich). … Here are the Indy car liveries for tomorrow’s Phoenix Grand Prix (from Tim Dunn). … First responder-themed jerseys tomorrow for the Iowa Barnstormers, an arena football team (from Luke Teeselink). … Speaking of arena football, the AFL has a new 30th-season logo. … The U.S. Open golf trophy has 12 hidden meanings (thanks, Phil). … Under Armour’s stock price spiked yesterday. Why? Because the company lost less money than had been expected, whee! Among the problems: Steph Curry’s shoes aren’t selling (thanks, Brinke).

Our Long National Nightmare Is Over (except maybe in Cleveland)

For all photos, click to enlarge

As the NFL prepares for tonight’s draft, assorted teaser photos are showing various teams’ jerseys rendered in Nike’s latest tailoring template (the one with the painfully cringe-worthy name, so I won’t be saying it out loud), which means they’re blissfully, gloriously free of the brutal Nikelace collar that’s been such a gridiron pestilence over these past five seasons.

You can see the Jets’ new collar above. Sure looks better than this bullshit, right? And here’s how the new collar treatment will look in Philly:

Yeah, the little triangle thingie is annoying, but not nearly as annoying as this. Let’s not let the perfect be the enemy of the good, shall we?

This next photo provides a peek at a bunch of additional teams’ collars. See if you can spot the one jersey that’s different from all the others:

That’s right, the Browns still have the Nikelace. Maybe they didn’t have one of the new jerseys available for the photo shoot. Or maybe Cleveland will be stuck with the old style this season while everyone else gets to wear the new style. Would anyone really be surprised by that?

The Browns’ latest potential indignity notwithstanding, that photo also shows how the new jersey style has some design implications for teams with striped collars. Look at the New England and Buffalo jerseys — the collar striping, which used to come to a point, is now truncated. I’d say this issue is much less objectionable than the Nikelace, but it’s still irksome. Several other teams could have the same problem if they adopt the new template. (Keep in mind that some teams, like the Packers, Panthers, and Falcons — all of which have striped collars — have been wearing the old Reebok template all along. It’s not yet clear, at least to me, whether they’ll transition to the new template or stick with the Reebok format.)

We’ll presumably get a better look at the jerseys during the draft tonight. But I won’t be seeing any of that, because I always spend the last Thursday night of the month seeing one of NYC’s most entertaining bands, so I’ll miss the riveting spectacle of Roger Goodell standing next to a series of overgrown children — what a pity. But I’m sure I’ll catch up on any jersey developments when I get home, right? Right.

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New ESPN column: Today I have a new ESPN column on the common MLB uniform trope of teams wearing their team name on their home whites and their city name on their road greys, with a closer look at the 10 teams that currently don’t follow that standard (including the Phillies, shown above). Check it out here.

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Click to enlarge

Beauty is where you find it, Part 1: Last night I had dinner with my friend Shane at this Chilean restaurant in Queens (very good). As we walked back to the subway, we passed this cluster of gas meters mounted along the side of a house. I love how the pipes are sort of nested to created a repeating pattern. Kinda reminds me of a classic meander design, like this:

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Click to enlarge

Beauty is where you find it, Part 2: My friend Nicole is a certified financial planner and a serious fan of vintage collectibles. Put those two things together and you get her latest find: the old board game shown above. Love the box design, especially the little anthropomorphized dollar signs running amok.

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New T-shirt reminder: In case you missed it yesterday, our latest T-shirt in the Uni Watch Artist’s Series, designed by the great Scott M.X. Turner, is now available, and it’s a doozy.

Here’s the concept: If Uni Watch had a bowling team, what would the team be called? The Athletic Aesthetics, of course! And what would the team wear? A classic bowling shirt with chain-stitched embroidery, of course!

Scott’s T-shirt is based on that idea, with a simple “Uni Watch” insignia faux-chain-stitched on the front-left chest and a spectacular design faux-chain-stitched on the back (for all of these images, you can click to enlarge):

How great is that?! An anthropomorphized magnifying glass wearing a ballcap and stirrups — tremendous! The graphics really capture that old-school bowling shirt style, too. Even better, the design works well in a wide variety of shirt colors. Here are some of the ones we’re offering (there are several more on the sales listing page), just to show how flexible the design is:

Like all of our Artist’s Series shirts, this one is a limited edition, available until late next week. You can order it here. My thanks, as always, for your consideration.

• • • • •

The Ticker
By Mike Chamernik

Baseball News: The Indians have been wearing red shoes at home recently, much like what they did during the 1990s. … Also, Jose Ramirez has been wearing dot-patterned TruSox, instead of Stance socks, much like what Francisco Lindor wears under his stirrups (from Nick Qualters and Robert Hayes). … Yet another Cleveland note: OF Abraham Almote wears a Mims Band, a modern version of the old “Say No to Drugs” personalized wristbands (from @PatDStat). … The Yankees’ Henry Cotto, who wore No. 28, had an upside-down 5 instead of a 2 during the early part of the 1987 season (good spot by Andrew Nesnay). … Braves P Julio Teheran has his initials sewn onto his spikes (from Jason Stewart). … A baseball field in Rhode Island removed five wooden poles that stood in play in front of the right field fence. The poles, which held netting that protected nearby homes, were determined to be safety hazards for players (from Matthew Algeo). … The Salt Lake Bees will wear black-and-pink jerseys on May 13 (from Brady Hack). … Newer ballparks have fewer obstructed views, but the trade-off is that some of the seats are much farther away than they were in older ballparks. … New uniforms for the Chinese team Uni-Lions, who at the very least have an excellent team name (from Jeremy Brahm).

NFL News: RB Marshawn Lynch will wear his usual No. 24 for the Raiders. The number was previously worn by Charles Woodson, whose second stint in Oakland ended in 2015 (from Brinke). … Also, the Raiders team headquarters has this logo display. I’ve never seen the logo at the bottom before. Have any of you? (From Rudy Gutierrez.) … NFL prospect Deshaun Watson is a fan of Cardinals’ black alternates. Arizona has the 13th pick in tonight’s draft and is considering drafting Watson if he is still on the board (from Phil). … A player’s suit and sense of style on draft day could determine future endorsement deals. … The Lions have new helmets, but a display at the draft hasn’t been updated with the new design (from @jawnes12). … The Rams have a new AT&T ad patch on their practice jerseys. Chris Cruz notes that not everyone has the patch yet, and that patches on the red QB jersey have a white background. … The Rams gave Skybound, the Los Angeles-based multimedia entertainment company, a new helmet that still has their old logo on the nose bumper (from Bob Novotny). … Pro wrestler Stone Cold Steve Austin wore a Patriots jersey with “3:16” on the front, in reference to his “Austin 3:16” catchphrase, during a trip to Boston in the late 1990s (from @YUNGGOD3HUNNA, via Phil).

College Football News: Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh gave Pope Francis a Wolverines helmet and retro Jordans during a trip to Rome this week. The helmet has a “266” decal, since Pope Francis is the 266th pope, and U.S. and Italy flag decals — arguably a mistake, since the pope lives in Vatican City, a nation with with its own flag (from Phil). … Oregon will sell excess equipment and uniforms to the public on May 6 (from Andrew Cosentino).

Basketball News: The Pacers filed for a trademark for a new Indiana-shaped logo. It made its first appearance on a Pacers racecar earlier this week when the team submitted their bid for the 2021 All-Star Game (from Conrad Burry). … Rutgers offered a sneak peek at one of its new Adidas basketball jerseys (from Phil).

Soccer News: New black away kit for Dundee United FC (from Ed Żelaski). … New home kit for Indy Eleven of the NASL (from Nile Smith). … Neither @miked3783 nor I was aware that Lacoste once made soccer jerseys. … An Isis enforcer removed the “blasphemous” Real Madrid logo from a local resident’s jersey in Mosul (from Steven Nabil). … Players for Bjarg, a Norwegian soccer club, wear NNOB jerseys, but coaches have their names on their bench coats (from Roy Ellingsen). … Dulwich Hamlet is letting fans vote on next season’s home jersey design (from Ed Żelaski‏). … New 125th-anniversary kit for Liverpool. Additional photos here (from Jeremy Brahm). … Speaking of Liverpool: Here’s a short history of their crest (from JohnMark Fisher).

Grab Bag: Flyers legend Bobby Clarke once owned a house that had a pool in the shape of the Flyers logo (from Jackie Treehorn). … It’s always interesting to see athletes wearing “wrong” uniforms at the ends of their careers (from Phil). … Three finalists were announced for a new flag design for Tulsa, Okla. The public will vote to determine the winner (from @hardchargindady). … First Lady Melania Trump’s birthday was yesterday. Oddly, the American flag shown on her birthday card had only 39 stars (from Andy Moeschberger).

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On a serious note: As many of you are aware, yesterday was not a good day up in Bristol. As news of the unpleasantness spread, many Uni Watch readers got in touch to ask if I was okay and offer their support.

I truly appreciate everyone’s concern and am happy to report that I was unaffected by yesterday’s events. In fact, I signed a new contract just last month, which means ESPN was willing to continue investing in my work even as they were planning cutbacks in other areas — a heartening and humbling realization.

Many of my colleagues, including one good friend and some people I’ve worked with in various capacities, were not so fortunate. My thoughts today are with them.

Reimagining All 32 NFL Franchises as Soccer Teams

[Editor’s Note: Today we have a guest entry from Angus OKeefe, who recently tried his hand at one of those “What if NFL teams were actually soccer teams?” projects. I was impressed by the results, and I think you will be too. Enjoy. — PL]

By Angus OKeefe

I recently sat down and redesigned all 32 NFL franchises as soccer teams. I took my time and tried to incorporate elements of their NFL uniforms, nods to the city/state, and the actual naming rights advertisers of each team’s stadium (or a primary advertiser if they have haven’t sold off the naming rights). I also used accurate starting quarterback numbers and fonts on the leg. In a few instances I also incorporated some classic designs from the world of soccer kits, if I felt it was appropriate and matched well with the NFL team.

Here we go, one division at a time [for all images, you can click to enlarge]:

NFC East

Cowboys: In keeping with their preferred look, I let them wear their home whites.

Eagles: Went with a very subtle tartan on the chest as a bit of an homage to Irish descendants being the largest ethnic group in the city. Added their original logo to the sleeve because I hope they change back someday.

Giants: Solid blue with a single red stripe, echoing their helmets. Subtle pinstriping as an homage to the Yankees. Was a bit odd having to make their home pants white instead of gray. Added the home pants striping to the socks.

Washington: Native American pattern for the body of the jersey. Simple, accurate socks.

NFC North

Bears: Went for the Ditka sweater vest look. “GSH” tribute down the pant stripe.

Lions: Figured that if they just went through the trouble of redesigning their uniforms, I should honor them with a pretty straightforward rendition of the new design.

Packers: Can’t mess with tradition.

Vikings: One of my favorites. Incorporated their Viking boat sleeve stripes and emulated a classic Sweden international kit (to honor the Scandinavian influence in Minnesota).

NFC South

Buccaneers: Went literal with theirs. Tried to emulate the jersey as much as I could.

Falcons: Again, tried to emulate their actual jersey. Added striping to the chest, with a very subtle wing pattern.

Panthers: One of the few that does not incorporate much from the NFL uniform. Modeled after a PSG kit from a few years ago that is one of my all-time favorites. Just felt that the colors would really stand out in this design.

Saints: Fleur-de-lis! Kept in the team’s theme of black on black. A subtle fleur-de-lis pattern to the kit with gold accents popping off. Not every uniform needs white!

NFC West

Cardinals: Adapted a killer Lazio kit from a few years ago to have a cardinal’s head. Went black-heavy, in part because I felt like it was necessary to distinguish this one from the Niners.

49ers: Went with a traditional vertical-stripe kit to match the Niners’ traditional unis. Started out using their three sleeve stripes, but felt like it was sacrilege to put three white stripes on a Nike kit — it just screamed Adidas. Subtle Golden Gate Bridge trim on the shorts, and sleeves in gold.

Rams: Adapted my favorite of their great old jerseys to fit a soccer kit. Think the horns really hold their own on this. A beautiful sock stripe was adapted from another designer’s pant stripe concept. Added Wal-Mart as the advertiser because of Kroenke’s marriage to a Walton heiress.

Seahawks: Figured I could really get after this one. Only time I didn’t use the team’s primary logo as a badge. Modified their current jerseys’ silver panels and let myself get a little creative with it. Helmet stripe pattern on the lower third of the jersey, standard stripe from their football pants on the shorts.

AFC East

Bills: One of my riskier designs. I incorporated the red stripe from the Bills logo all the way down onto the shorts. Felt like it was a nice shout-out to how their logo has the red extending past the blue buffalo. A real hit or miss amongst my friends. Accurate socks.

Dolphins: One of the teams that really gave me trouble. In the end I went with an overlaid graphic (like Man U is incorporating into their third kit this coming season). Felt like the pure aqua gives a greater sense of the dolphin swimming underwater.

Jets: Went with a fairly accurate representation of their uniform, with the addition of a Nike camo pattern that they are rumored to be rolling out to all the major European clubs this coming season. “Jets” to me always gives off a military feel, so I felt it was appropriate.

Patriots: The Pats remind me a lot of PSG these days. No nonsense, consistently dominant. With Belichick in charge of everything, I can’t imagine it would be any frillier than this. I adapted the current PSG kit for the Patriots with a very subtle difference: Instead of 14 thin red stripes down the chest, there are 13, for the original colonies. Added the original 13 stars to the thigh for continuity and didn’t overthink it.

AFC North

Bengals: I adapted an old Werder Bremen kit that I love for this one. I almost added the Bengals’ traditional stripes but felt like that would be too obvious. This gives them the striped feel, but in a more cosmetically pleasing way.

Browns: Shockingly, I really like this one. Modified their sleeve stripes to create a pretty cool shirt design. After that went standard with their pants stripe.

Ravens: This is a team that always seems dignified to me. Modified a Man U kit with alternating sleeves as a subtle nod to the Maryland state flag’s four quadrants.

Pittsburgh: Bumblebee! One of the teams had to get a Celtic-style full hoop design. Who better than the Steelers, who’ve used a similar look for their throwback.

AFC South

Colts: A no-nonsense football uni leads to a no-nonsense soccer kit. Incorporated their horseshoe logo’s white dots on blue background into all the trim pieces. Other than that, not much to it.

Jaguars: Had to incorporate their awful helmet gradient into the full kit. I couldn’t bring myself to make it as jarringly abrupt as their actual helmet is, though.

Texans: Went with a stylized steer’s head as a chest graphic. I think it turned out pretty cool. A friend said the bottom looked like two legs kicking, which I guess is appropriate for soccer.

Titans: A tough color combo. I used the two blues in a quadrant pattern as a nod to the Volunteers.

AFC West

Broncos: Another rare instance of not using any details from the team’s football uniform. This was a bit of a nod to a friend, who is a massive Broncos and Netherlands fan. I used one of my favorite Netherlands kits and tweaked it for the Broncos.

Chargers: Bolt up. Pretty basic influence from the powder blue throwbacks. Used the original LA Chargers badge, which I would love to see them revert to. Interesting to note their advertiser is StubHub, because they will actually be playing in a soccer arena next year.

Chiefs: Took their sleeve stripes to make a center strip. Added a bit of a gradient pattern for interest’s sake. Pants stripe is accurate with added gradient as well. Chose the University of Kansas Hospital as an advertiser because that’s who has the naming rights to their training facilities.

Raiders: It killed me to even add the subtle pattern in the background, but a solid black shirt just didn’t feel like I was working hard enough. And of course, “AL” on the leg.

———

Paul here. Let’s have a round of applause for Angus — not just for his designs, but for the informative text. Nice to have insights into a designer’s creative process.

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New T-shirt reminder: In case you missed it yesterday, our latest T-shirt in the Uni Watch Artist’s Series, designed by the great Scott M.X. Turner, is now available, and it’s a doozy.

Here’s the concept: If Uni Watch had a bowling team, what would the team be called? The Athletic Aesthetics, of course! And what would the team wear? A classic bowling shirt with chain-stitched embroidery, of course!

Scott’s T-shirt is based on that idea, with a simple “Uni Watch” insignia faux-chain-stitched on the front-left chest and a spectacular design faux-chain-stitched on the back. First let’s look at the front (for all of these images, you can click to enlarge):

Pretty cool, right? Scott originally wanted to just draw the lettering, but I encouraged him to make it look chain-stitched (much like our 2015 “ugly sweater” T-shirt looked knitted), and I love how it turned out. But that’s nothing compared to the design on the back. Dig:

How great is that?! An anthropomorphized magnifying glass wearing a ballcap and stirrups — tremendous! The graphics really capture that old-school bowling shirt style, too. As a collector of vintage bowling shirts myself, I can’t say enough about how awesome this is. I’m super-proud to have the Uni Watch name on it.

Even better, the design works well in a wide variety of shirt colors. Here are some of the ones we’re offering (there are several more on the sales listing page), just to show how flexible the design is:

Creating all of that chain-stitching texture on the back took a lot of work, and at one point Scott thought it might not be feasible. I was prepared to do the back design without the stitching effect (plenty of bowling shirts have silk-screened graphics on the back, so we could have said we were matching the silk-screened style), but Scott got some crucial assistance from the great Larry Torrez, who helped with crucial advice regarding faux-stitching techniques and then actually did a lot of the work on the back design. Thanks so much, Larry — this one wouldn’t have reached its full potential without your midwifery.

Okay, enough of my gushing. Like all of our Artist’s Series shirts, this one is a limited edition, available for nine more days. You can order it here. My thanks, as always, for your consideration.

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The Ticker
By Alex Hider

Baseball NewsThere are two Turners playing on the Nationals right now — Jacob and Trea — but neither is wearing a FIOB (from Bob Berman). … Donruss baseball cards are licensed by the MLBPA, but not by MLB itself. That means all of their cards are void of any team or MLB logos (from @KUKCSGF). … Jorge Cruz spotted a cesspool pumping truck on the field at Yankee Stadium yesterday. Definitely not something you see every day. … It’s weird seeing Johnny Bench wearing anything other than his iconic No. 5, but here he is wearing No. 53. The caption on the photo says it’s from a 1969 Topps card, but it would appear the photo was taken no later than 1966 (from Brice Wallace). … The Frisco RoughRiders will become Los Jinetes and wear special jerseys on Cinco de Mayo (from Phil). … Quite a nickname matchup in NCAA DII softball between the Southern Arkansas Muleriders and the Arkansas Monticello Cotton Blossoms. Monticello was also sporting some nice tequila sunrise unis (from loyal and longtime reader ThresherK). … The Busch Stadium scoreboard couldn’t fit Salty’s surname last night (from Erik Spoonmore).

NFL NewsOnce again, Cris Routh has reimagined this season’s Color Rash matchups as “Throwback Thursday.” Much, much, much better that what we’ll actually see on the field. … Some Giants showed up at a “Play60” event recently and wore jerseys that didn’t have the little “ny” chest logo (from Jamie Burditt). … Friend of the site David Firestone discussed the Eli Manning memorabilia scandal over on his blog.

College Football NewsInteresting quote from new Oregon head coach Willie Taggert: “I think a lot of the young men that were here, they came here for the uniforms, not to be a great football player. That fell by the wayside” (from Jon V. Buerstatte).

NBA News: Short-sleeved suits? Belly-button v-necks? Matching dinosaur sweaters? Players always seem to take their post-game outfits to the next level during the NBA playoffs (from Andrew Cosentino). … Check out the jersey on Big Bird. Perhaps a tribute to Larry Legend? (From Jamie Burditt.)

Soccer NewsLiverpool’s kit for its upcoming 125th-anniversary season has reportedly leaked (from Mikey Traynor). … Flamengo has released its home kit for next season (from Patrick Thomas). … Sporting Kansas City’s kitman had some fun with the Daniel Salloi’s askew NOB that he wore in Monday night’s game (from Todd Engle).

Grab Bag: Nordstrom is selling ridiculous faux-mud-splattered jeans for more than $400. The mud supposedly “shows you’re not afraid to get down and dirty” (from Mary Bakija). … John Lesnik played in a “Draft Hockey” tournament in Nashville a few weeks ago. The company that put on the event provides teams with jerseys with some pretty wild designs . … Longtime funny car driver Bob Tasca III will be making a return to competition racing a with new paint scheme that has an annoyingly slanted logo (from David Firestone).

The First Player to Wear the Bengals’ Striped Helmet

I’ve sometimes written about the first player to wear a given uniform (like Don Zimmer and Bob Miller being the first to wear Mets uniforms). Today we’re going to talk about the first player to wear the uniforms that the Cincinnati Bengals unveiled in 1981 — including their now-iconic bengal-striped helmet.

That player was Bengals linebacker Reggie Williams (shown at right). He and offensive lineman Glenn Bujnoch both suited up in the team’s new attire at an unveiling event in the spring of 1981 at the College Football Hall of Fame (which at the time was located north of Cincinnati at the Kings Island theme park). Although Williams and Bujnoch both wore the uniform, only Williams donned the helmet. The moment has been preserved in this video:

That’s some priceless stuff right there. But it also raises some questions: Why, for example, were Williams and Bujnoch selected to model the uniform? And why was Williams wearing a No. 40 jersey, instead of his familiar No. 57?

Williams, as it turns out, is friends with our Collector’s Corner columnist, Brinke Guthrie, who recently discussed the unveiling with him. Take it away, Brinke:

Reggie had no idea there was a new uniform in the works. “I only found out about the new uniform about a week before the unveiling, when the team asked me and Glenn Bujnoch to model the new unis,” he said. “Basically, we were two easily accessible players who lived in town — that’s why they chose us. The first time I saw the new design was at the unveiling.”

As for why Reggie wasn’t wearing his own number: “They had his Buj’s No. 74 but they didn’t have my No. 57. So I wore the uniform of running back Charles Alexander.”

And why did Reggie strap on the helmet, but not Bujnoch? “The helmet was too small. Buj’s head was a size 8, so there was no way he could try it on, so I squeezed down the first Bengals striped helmet in history.”

Other teams ridiculed the new helmet.”Other teams initially laughed until we went 12-4 and were in Super Bowl XVI. It’s a good thing we won — it became almost an ownership imperative that you better win, and win NOW, or you’ll be laughingstocks forever because of the helmet.”

The players had no say on the new look back then. “We had no input,” Reggie remembers. “At the time, there was no love lost for the old uniforms. To me, they were too similar to Cleveland. Now, however, I want to see them one more time.”

Great stuff. Big thanks to Reggie and Brinke for sharing that story with us.

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Click to enlarge

Collector’s Corner
By Brinke Guthrie

Let’s begin this week’s Collector’s Corner with a unique 1970s hockey radio. The seller says it works just fine. The interesting thing is, if you look at the box front art, he’s wearing black and yellow, or Bruins colors. The box says “Make your own player with our self-sticking decals of numbers.” So I’m not sure if you also got uniform stickers to turn him into a Flyers-style player like Bobby Clarke, or if there were different versions of this item. He kinda-sorta looks like Clarke in a generic way, no?

Now for the rest of this week’s picks:

• Here’s a decal from the Bay Area. This one highlights Oakland and includes teams like the A’s, the Ray-duhz, and the Seals, along with local landmarks like the stadium complex, BART, and the airport. The seller has another version here.

• We’ve shown the 1970s NFL and MLB light switch plates before, but here’s the first NBA version I’ve ever seen: This design features the Bulls. The seller also has the Lakers, as well as the Cubs and Astros.

• They gave it a good try, but the maker of this Reds cap didn’t get the wishbone-C quite right, did they?

• Speaking of the wishbone-C, they didn’t do a great job on this Bears helmet plaque, did they? The seller has several different teams for sale, including the Bengals — note that they didn’t come close to the right font on that one. The auction ends Tuesday morning, but you can still click on the image to see what I mean.

• Give a look to the lowercase “hawks” font used on the cover of one of these 1970s Atlanta Hawks game programs.

• This 1970s San Francisco 49ers bumper sticker proclaims “New Coach, New Approach.” This is the third straight season they could use that one around the Bay Area, in case you’re counting.

• Staying with the Niners, I’m betting this 1970s Niners belt buckle was not an NFL Properties-approved item.

• “Never surrender, no matter what the odds.” That’s the slogan on this 1970s Cleveland Cavaliers (or Cavaliers Cleveland to be precise) seat cushion.

• I initially went bonkers when I found this 1970s Westclox Team-Mate lollypop clock for the SF Giants — and then I found out it didn’t work. Looks nice, though. Had a Reds one just like it back in the day, around 1972-1973.

• This children’s 1980s sweatshirt just screams Sears, does it not?

• This design 1970s New York Nets ringer T-shirt is still in the package!

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ITEM! New T-shirt launch: I’m excited — like, seriously excited — to show you our latest T-shirt in the Uni Watch Artist’s Series, designed by the great Scott M.X. Turner.

Here’s the concept: If Uni Watch had a bowling team, what would the team be called? The Athletic Aesthetics, of course! And what would the team wear? A classic bowling shirt with chain-stitched embroidery, of course!

Scott’s T-shirt is based on that idea, with a simple “Uni Watch” insignia faux-chain-stitched on the front-left chest and a spectacular design faux-chain-stitched on the back. First let’s look at the front (for all of these images, you can click to enlarge):

Pretty cool, right? Scott originally wanted to just draw the lettering, but I encouraged him to make it look chain-stitched (much like our 2015 “ugly sweater” T-shirt looked knitted), and I love how it turned out. But that’s nothing compared to the design on the back. Dig:

How great is that?! An anthropomorphized magnifying glass wearing a ballcap and stirrups — tremendous! The graphics really capture that old-school bowling shirt style, too. As a collector of vintage bowling shirts myself, I can’t say enough about how awesome this is. I’m super-proud to have the Uni Watch name on it.

Even better, the design works well in a wide variety of shirt colors. Here are some of the ones we’re offering (there are several more on the sales listing page), just to show how flexible the design is:

Creating all of that chain-stitching texture on the back took a lot of work, and at one point Scott thought it might not be feasible. I was prepared to do the back design without the stitching effect (plenty of bowling shirts have silk-screened graphics on the back, so we could have said we were matching the silk-screened style), but Scott got some crucial assistance from the great Larry Torrez, who helped with crucial advice regarding faux-stitching techniques and then actually did a lot of the work on the back design. Thanks so much, Larry — this one wouldn’t have reached its full potential without your midwifery.

Okay, enough of my gushing. Like all of our Artist’s Series shirts, this one is a limited edition, available for 10 days. You can order it here. My thanks, as always, for your consideration.

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The Ticker
By Mike Chamernik

Baseball News: The Cubs and Pirates went blue-vs.-black last night (from Andrew Cosentino). … Cubs SS Addison Russell asks fellow big leaguers to sign his Pokemon cards. He uses his collection to bond with his cousins, nieces, and nephews. … Alice Cooper wore a customized Cubs-themed T-shirt for a show in Springfield, Ill., on Sunday night. Cooper was apparently unaware that although Springfield is the state’s capital, he was firmly in Cardinals country. Or maybe he was trolling (from Kevin Eckhoff). … A Rockies coach wore a cap without a New Era logo last night (from John Toenniessen). … This is probably a normal thing for him, but the Padres’ Wil Myers took BP with his sunglasses on his cap, only backwards and upside-down. Patrick Thomas says he may do this to keep the cap logos visible. … Monte Irvin wore one high-top shoe and one regular low-top shoe in 1952. The high-topper was to provide more support for an ankle that he had broken in spring training. … Navy, whose mascot is Bill the Goat, is hosting a “Goat Tees For Goatees” event on Saturday for a doubleheader against Bucknell (from Eric Page). … New Era is selling a Yankees 2000 World Series cap that shows images of their new stadium, which was built in 2009 (from Jon McCue). … One observer suggested uniform tweaks for each team in the AL Central. He has some good ideas, particularly that the Twins should use the Minnie and Paul logo more (from Phil). … Here’s a good shot of the Nats’ 3D helmet logo on their road helmet.

NFL News: The Rams’ uniforms were strictly blue and white in 1969, but they had gold-lettered sideline capes. That color wouldn’t return to their uniforms until 1973 (from Marc Viquez). … A few people have applied for the federal rights to the name Las Vegas Raiders, but they most likely will not get it. While the Raiders have yet to officially secure the name, team owner Mark Davis was prescient enough to register the LasVegasRaiders.com domain name way back in 1998 (from Brinke). … Cowboys QB Craig Morton was missing his NFL 50th anniversary patch during a game in 1969 (from Ronnie Poore). … Nick Jones has mocked up how the 2017 Thursday-night uniform matchups could play out. … The Packers have been hosting monthly “History Night” events at their team Hall of Fame. This month’s installment, which takes place tonight, will look at the team’s helmets (from Phil).

College Football News: Western Kentucky is leaving Russell Athletic and will transition to Nike on July 1. Russell is headquartered in Bowling Green, Ky., and WKU had always partnered with them as a gesture of regional loyalty, but no more. With Ohio recently announcing that it would be moving from Russell to Adidas this summer, that leaves Georgia Tech and Southern Mississippi as Russell’s last two FBS schools. Tech’s contract with Russell expires next summer; not sure about Southern Miss’s.

Hockey News: About two dozen laborers work overnight to convert the floor of the Air Canada Centre from hockey to basketball. Between the Maple Leafs, Raptors, and various concerts, the ACC crew does about 200 conversions per year (from Ted Arnold). … Baseball legend Yogi Berra played hockey growing up and loved to attend NHL games during road trips with the Yankees. Here he is in uniform (from Alan Kreit). … North Dakota will have new jerseys next year. The school introduced a new logo and name, the Fighting Hawks, last summer (from Phil).

NBA News: Confirming earlier reports from last year, the Hornets quietly announced that they will wear Jordan-branded jerseys next year, instead of Nike like the rest of the league. Jordan is a part of Nike, and Michael Jordan owns the Hornets (from Andy Cook). … Pacers team president Larry Bird drove a Pacers Indy car outside the NBA office in New York City yesterday, as the team submitted its bid to host the 2021 NBA All-Star Game. Here are a few more looks at the car, which may have had a new Pacers alternate logo on it. … A prison gang in San Antonio has adopted the Spurs’ logo as one of its symbols, so local tattoo artists are warning their customers about getting a Spurs tat on a visible body part (from Jim Wagner). … Back in the mid-1970s, the Pistons had warm-up jackets with a neat racing car motif on the back. … Remember Paul’s recent discussion of the “@” symbol? The start of this Trail Blazers video clip provides another example of the symbol being used with a two-storey “a” (from @NYisBLUE).

Soccer News: Philippe Coutinho of Liverpool had a hole cut out of the heel of his right cleat for a match this past weekend. It may have been to provide relief for a blister (form Mark Emge). … The Spanish club Osasuna will wear a new kit on Wednesday against Barcelona. They’re being forced to adopt this new design because broadcasters say all their existing kits clash their opponents’ (from Mark Coale). … Sporting KC F Daniel Salloi’s NOB was just slightly askew the other night. The kitman later apologized for it (from Jose Palacios and Edward Gaug, respectively).

Grab Bag: New institutional logo for Oregon State. Here’s a breakdown of all the symbolism in the crest (from Mark Snider). … Premier League dart player Peter Wright wore a Flintstones lapel pin last Thursday to celebrate the 50th birthday of fellow player Raymond van Barneveld, who goes by the nickname “Barney.” … I went to a roller derby match on Saturday night. It was cool, but not quite as insane as vintage ’70s LA Thunderbirds derby action. Anyway, I noticed that the logo for the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association looks like the NBA logo crossed with Neapolitan ice cream. … If you don’t know the story of the Adidas/Puma rivalry, and how it’s rooted in a family feud, this story breaks it down pretty well (from Phil). … The USPS will introduce these sports ball stamps at some point in 2017. Interesting that they chose a striped football, which is not used in the NFL. “Where’s the hockey puck, though?” asks Michael Ortman. … The Mumbai Indians, a cricket team in India, have reflective accents on their uniforms (from David Jones). … A little tough to see, but yesterday I spotted a building constructed around a billboard sign post. The pole goes right through its center. … The 1932 film Hold ’Em, Jail features a prison football game, complete with prison-striped uniforms (from Dave Sikula). … Actor Bill Murray and his brothers have introduced a line of golf apparel (from Tommy Turner).