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I Gotta Get One of These Jerseys

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There are certain things with which I feel a very strong sense of identification — things that, when I see or hear them, activate a little center of recognition or even ownership in my brain. One of those things, unsurprisingly, is my name (which I happen to share with an old Hollywood actor). Another is my birthday. And then there are my initials, which happen to be featured on the uniforms shown above.

That’s the 1911 Portage Lake team from Houghton, Michigan, which was part of the International Hockey League. From a strictly aesthetic standpoint, I’m not nuts about the design — the letters are too wide and feel too clunky. Still, even with questionable typography, doesn’t “PL” look great on a jersey? Okay, so it probably doesn’t look like anything special to you. But it sure does to me.

Of course, if your name is, say, Nick Yarborough or Steve Farrell, then you’re used to seeing your initials on a uniform all the time. For most of us, though, it’s not such a common experience. For those of you who’ve seen your initials on a uni, whether frequently or infrequently, how do you feel about it?

(Big thanks to my pal Jay Sherman-Godfrey for letting me know about this one.)

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Roll your own: If you’ve been following the pro and college basketball sections of the Ticker in recent weeks, you know I’ve been tracking the increasing trend of players rolling down the waistband on their shorts. Today I’ll have a new ESPN column that takes a closer look at this phenomenon, including interviews with some of the players shown above. Link coming soon.

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Regime change? In the wake of Arizona State switching from Nike to Adidas and Miami also pondering a move away from Nike, someone posted the following comment yesterday afternoon: “Do you think there’s a chance Adidas gets the NFL contract in 2017?”

Leaving aside the fact that this is a largely meaningless and unanswerable question, it raises a point that I had frankly forgotten about, namely that Nike’s current contract with the NFL is only a five-year deal — and we’re about to finish the third of those five years. In other words, it’s possible that we’re now closer to the end of the current NFL/Nike era than we are to the beginning. Man, doesn’t it seem like they just got started? (By contrast, Reebok’s NFL deal — the one that the current Nike deal replaced — was for 10 years.)

If I had to guess, I’d say Nike will get to re-up unless they have another embarrassment like the Eagles green fiasco. But even if Adidas or Under Armour land the NFL contract, or if Reebok makes a comeback, would it matter? I doubt it. If you don’t count tailoring gimmicks like the Nikelace, the neck roll, and the sweatbox, 27 of the 32 NFL teams are currently wearing the same uniforms they were wearing at the end of the Reebok deal. (The five exceptions are the Dolphins, Vikes, Jags, Seahawks, and Bucs.) Yeah, another team or two will get new unis in 2015, but whatever — what we’ve seen during the course of the Nike contract is a modest pace of change, which is pretty much the way things have always been in the NFL (and, just for the record, is what I predicted all along would be the case under the Nike deal). I see no reason to expect anything different no matter who the outfitter is, especially if the league sticks to its current uniform protocols of allowing only one alternate/throwback uni that can be worn only twice per year, only one helmet shell, etc.

In short: Changing suppliers can have a big effect on a college program. But in the NFL? Despite all the fuss, it really doesn’t matter that much.

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Raffle reminder: The annual Uni Watch year-end raffle is now underway. Get the full scoop here.

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NFL Superhero Project
By Thomas Correia

Today marks is the final matchup for the NFL Superhero Project. I hope all of you football and comic book fans have enjoyed these past 15 weeks as much as I have. Here are the heroes I’ve chosen for tonight’s game between the Titans and Jaguars (click to enlarge):

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Since the flame is a key part of the Titans’ logo, I wanted to find a hero with fire ability. The top fire-related hero is of course the Human Torch of Marvel’s Fantastic Four, who are known for their blue uniforms and their “4” chest logo, which here replaces the “T” in Tennessee’s team logo.

As for Jacksonville, it took some work to morph the team’s jaguar-head logo into Rocket Raccoon of Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy. Since Rocket starred in one of the most popular films of this past summer, this logo is particularly timely. If I had done this project last year, only true die-hard comic fans would have been familiar with Rocket.

As I now sign off from this project, I want to thank Paul and all the Uni Watch readers and commenters. It’s been an extremely positive experience for me, and I’ll be showing my appreciation next Wednesday — Christmas Eve Day — when I’ll be providing a poster of all 32 superhero logos. See you then!

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Mike’s Question of the Week
By Mike Chamernik

As you probably know, Uni Watch has always been a fan of MLB reliever Josh Outman. I’ve always liked Rip Hamilton for his mask, Vlad Guerrero for his glovelessness and Chris Osgood for his plain goalie mask. I’ve always wished I was buff enough to wear a headband for an armband like Ben Wallace.

What about you — whose uniform stylings have you always liked? Are there any quirks that you find endearing? Have you ever copied any players’ styles when you played sports? Post your answers in today’s comments.

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PermaRec update: The latest Manhattan Trade School student whose file I’m examining on Permanent Record is the girl shown at right, who didn’t tell the whole truth about why she turned down a job. Get the full scoop here.

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Uni Watch News Ticker
By Mike Chamernik

Baseball News: When the Havana Sugar Kings moved to Jersey City in 1960, some awesome temporary uniforms were created (from Phil). … This story about former Twins great Tony Oliva’s reaction to President Obama’s initiative to normalize relations with Cuba includes a photo of Oliva wearing a Twins Hall of Fame blazer. … Cards manager Mike Matheny will wear No. 26 next year and Trevor Rosenthal will switch from 26 to 44 (from Brinke). … Up until now, the best view we had of A’s outfielder Billy Conigliaro’s “Billy C” nickNOB was from this baseball card, but Ferdinand Cesarano was watching Game Five of the 1973 World Series and got this great rear-view shot of Conigliaro on deck. While he was at it, he also got a shot of the New York City 75th-anniversary patch on the Mets’ dugout jackets.

NFL News: From a commenter named Mike in yesterday’s comments: “In the last 2 days they have signed a practice squad defensive back and a running back to their active roster. However, they don’t have any numbers available to them. With the number of players on the roster, injury lists, practice squad and with their retired numbers, the only numbers available are 3, 5, 6, 19, 65 and 82.” … The Packers don’t wear captaincy patches during the regular season but always add them for the playoffs. Yesterday they announced who’ll be wearing them this time around. … Jeff Ash’s English friend bought this horrendous Aaron Rodgers jersey from NFL Shop Europe. … The OklahomIraqis fantasy football league is letting readers rank its teams’ logos, colors and uniforms (from Justin Cliburn). … Marc Swanson sends in some cool old NFL programs he’s come across, along with two Cleveland Browns helmets from the team’s stadium.

College Football News: The coach who brought the Nike Pro Combat uniform stuff to the high school level is retiring (from Chris Bisbee). … Here is a look at the Cotton Bowl patches and the Poinsettia Bowl patches (from Phil). … And, here are the Military Bowl patches on Virginia Tech jerseys (from Andrew Cosentino). … North Carolina State will wear slogan-laden cleats for its bowl game (from Phil). … Colorado State will wear all white with this helmet for the Las Vegas Bowl (from Phil). … Yesterday’s Ticker mentioned that Marshall will be wearing a memorial decal for Chad Pennington’s father. Now it turns out that they may also add one for university president Dr. Stephen Kopp, who died yesterday (from Coleman Mullins).

Hockey News: The Capitals wore rally helmets during their 20-round shootout Tuesday night (from Phil). … A Fansided writer listed five NHL uniform changes he’d implement. … The Bakersfield Condors will wear Lord of the Rings jerseys on Dec. 27 (from Jonathan Daniel).

Soccer News: New crest for the League of Ireland’s Bray Wanderers. It celebrates the club’s 30th anniversary of acceptance into the league (from Patrick Fleming). … New training top for Barça in 2015-16 (from Phil). … Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech, who has worn padded headgear for years, says his helmet saved teammate Kurt Zouma from greater injury after the two of them had a head-on collision Tuesday night.

Basketball News: The Kings retired Peja Stojakovic’s No. 16 the other night. … Rich guy Warren Buffet went to a Cavs game the other night and wore an old replica jersey. … The Bulls hosted a bowling outing and the players and guests wore Bulls bowling shirts. … The Raptors went with purple throwbacks last night (from Phil). … The 2016 Final Four logo has been released. … A 1949 women’s team from Chicago, called the Texas Cowgirls, posed for a team portrait while holding toy guns (from Michael Clary).

Grab Bag: Rihanna is the new creative director of Puma. I picture her sitting at a desk in a corner office with a “Hang in There” poster behind her as she designs a more efficient drawstring bag (from Jon Solomonson). … “You know how sports championship rings are often really big and gaudy?” asks Sean Clancy. “The ring that pro cycling team BMC received for being world champions in the team time trial is the opposite of that.” … Here’s a collection of food-shaped erasers.

Uni Watch Fan Appreciation Day, 2014 Edition

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It’s that time of year again — the time when I give something back to you folks, literally. Or, if you prefer to be more cynical, the time when I clear out all the uni-related stuff that’s accumulated over the past year. Either way, it’s the day I run a big raffle that all of you can enter.

As in past years, some of you may recognize a few of these items as gifts that you thoughtfully sent me over the past 12 months. I realize regifting may seem tacky, but sometimes I have duplicates on certain things, or I don’t have room for everything, or something is too big or too small for me to wear, or I’ve gotten some enjoyment out of an item and am now ready to let someone else enjoy it. No offense intended, and I hope none taken. Thanks for understanding.

Okay, here’s what’s available this year. It’s all pretty self-explanatory, except for this: For T-shirts, you’ll see a size followed by two measurements (like this, for example: L, 21″, 29″). In each case, that’s the tagged size followed by the the pit-to-pit measurement and the length from the back collar to the shirttail.

Ready? Here we go: (Continue reading)

Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah

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You know the drlll

I want to go slightly off-uni today to talk about a design-related experience I recently had. The story begins about 19 years ago, when I bought the heavy black leather jacket you see above. It was, and still is, damn near perfect. From the moment I got it, I knew it would be the last leather jacket I’d ever need to buy. It’s my go-to winter coat, and I expect that to be the case for the rest of my life. (Oddly enough, I don’t seem to have any good photos of myself wearing it, although there’s this sort of goofy shot of me wearing it while posing next to a Lego version of Kevin Garnett at the NBA offices. Those were in the happy days before the NBA shit-listed me for encouraging people to send anti-uni-advertising emails to Adam Silver. But I digress.)

After seven or eight years, the jacket’s zipper got chewed up in an accident and had to be replaced. It was a pretty heavy-duty zipper, and it had to be sewn through thick layers of leather, so it was an expensive repair, at least by zipper-replacement standards — something like $60, as I recall, and it took more than a week. Afterward, the shop that did the repair made it clear that the job had been a pain in the ass. The unspoken message I got was, “If you need another zipper, go somewhere else.”

The replacement zipper worked fine until last winter, when it started misbehaving. I’d pull up the slider and the teeth would initially mesh together, but then they’d sometimes start coming unmeshed. I’d have to drag the slider back down through the unmeshed teeth, which is difficult and frustrating, and start over. Sometimes the same thing would happen repeatedly. I figured out a few tricks to help avoid this problem, but by the end of last winter it was clear that it was time for a new zipper. Naturally, I didn’t want to deal with that hassle, so I put the jacket in a closet and forgot about it.

Fast forward to a month or so ago, the first really cold day of the year. I pull the jacket out of the closet, put it on, zip it up, and suddenly realize, “Oh, right — that fucking zipper.” Grrrrrr. Okay, no more procrastinating. Time to fix the damn thing. (Well, actually, I procrastinated another 10 days or so because it suddenly got warmer and I was able to put the jacket back in the closet, but I had mentally shifted into “Just fix the damn zipper already” mode by then.)

I didn’t want to take it back to the place that had fixed it last time, so I went to a shoe and leather repair shop. You know the place: totally ramshackle, smells like shoe polish and leather, a battered sewing machine in the corner, piles of shoes and other crap all over the place.

I brought in the jacket and explained the problem. The guy took one look and said, “I don’t think you need a new zipper. Probably just a new slider.”

Then he took a pair of pliers and removed the top stop from the the right side of the zipper. That allowed him to remove the slider, which he then replaced with a new one. Then put the top stop back on.

Sure enough, the zipper was suddenly good as new. Total time invested: 10 minutes. Total cost: $12.

I had no idea that sliders could wear out, or that they could have such an effect on a zipper’s functionality. I figured that if the teeth weren’t meshing, it was because the teeth themselves were worn out.

This experience reinforced something I’ve thought for years, namely that zippers are completely amazing pieces of industrial design. They’re inexpensive, they’re efficient, and they work like magic. Definitely one of the best and most unsung technological developments of the past century. There’s a good book about them, which I have a copy of, although I’ve only read bits and pieces of it — never the whole thing. Maybe it’s time to pull it back off the shelf and remedy that.

Just to bring this back to Uni Watch, there used to be a zipper factory in Queens, called Serval Zippers. Its sign was plainly visible beyond the left field wall at Shea Stadium, so I grew up seeing it when I went to Mets games:

During night games, the sign would illuminate one letter at a time — S-E-R-V-A-L Z-I-P-P-E-R-S. Then it would go blank and start over. It was sort of mesmerizing. Alas, Serval Zippers no longer exists (the building is now a U-Haul outlet), although its name lives on on countless garments.

So, yeah: Zippers. They’re really cool. Thanks for listening.

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Protest T-shirt roundup: To my knowledge, there were no new sightings of “I Can’t Breathe” T-shirts in the sports world yesterday. But there were still some developments on that front, as follows:

• Attorney General Eric Holder applauded Derrick Rose of the Bulls for being the first athlete to wear the shirt, and also voiced his support for other players who’ve followed Rose’s lead.

• Georgetown basketball coach John Thompson III talked about his team’s recent wearing of the shirts.

• After the entire Hornets roster wore the T-shirts on Saturday, guard Gerald Henderson discussed the team’s intended messaging.

• A Connecticut high school’s basketball team plans to wear “I Can’t Breathe” tees during pregame warm-ups for at least the first few games of its season.

The Washington Post reported that some of the NBA shirts were produced by a company that has long been cited for unfair labor practices, and that the activist who helped organize the production of those shirts now regrets it.

Meanwhile, Browns wide receiver Andrew Hawkins spoke yesterday about the “Justice for Tamir Rice and John Crawford” T-shirt that he wore prior to Sunday’s Browns/Bengals game. Hawkins began crying while telling reporters that he wore the shirt because he fears for his two-year-old son’s safety. The Cleveland police union has demanded that he apologize.

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Decoding the swooshspeak: In yesterday’s Ticker I mentioned that Oakland had worn black-on-black uniforms and said, “Naturally, the one contrasting element was the Jumpman logo because, as you know, it’s all about Nike. Douchebags.”

That prompted a lengthy but fascinating note from Ben Hayden, as follows:

I work as an equipment manager for Michigan State football and Olympic sports, and I just wanted to add reference to the comments made about Oakland’s basketball uniforms. Oakland is not a Nike Elite program, nor a Jordan program (such as UNC or Georgetown basketball). Although Oakland is indeed affiliated with Nike, they do not have the design options such as a program like Georgetown (or even us at Michigan State, for that matter). A Nike Elite program, for one, will meet with Nike years prior to changing its uniform designs, except in the case of the “Disrupter” line, which is incorrectly referred to as “HyperElite” or “ProCombat” uniforms (in terms of basketball ONLY). The Disrupter line is determined the year prior to release. For example, the bronze uniforms our basketball team wore last season (2013-14) were designed in the early stages of the 2012-13 basketball season. A program such as Oakland does not have the option to do this, and if you look closely at the uniforms, you can tell the twill lettering/numbering was an after-the-fact option chosen by Oakland after choosing the uniform template Nike offered through the Jordan Team line.

Indeed, the uniforms come from and are designed by Nike, but the uniform design offered to Oakland could be chosen by any Nike school and designed to fit a team’s color scheme with any lettering/numbering/coloring decided after choosing the template. This is not the case for certain Nike schools, such as Georgetown (a Jordan-Nike program), whose current uniform design is not offered to anyone except the Hoyas. This is a very common practice for large Nike programs (Florida, Syracuse, Illinois, even smaller basketball programs such as USC).

In all, the white Jordan logo appearing on Oakland’s uniforms would be white across the board no matter who chose that jersey template, even if the twill color option was yellow, gold, white, blue, pink, tie-dye, rainbow or camouflage. Oakland does not have the option of choosing the color of its Swoosh/Jumpan design, and same thing would hold true for any Adidas or Under Armour program as well. It is not a branding decision so much as it is a convenience for Nike/Jordan to mass-produce uniforms after they’ve been given a standard template (and teams can choose to add specific designs after the fact). Check out NikeTeam.com and design some uniforms — you’ll see what I’m talking about.

I get Ben’s point about the Jumpman logo and genuinely appreciate his expertise regarding all the other stuff. But seriously: “Elite,” “HyperElite,” “Disrupter,” wheee! Look, up in the sky, it’s DisrupterMan! Ben’s an equipment manager, so it’s his job to deal with this nonsense, but anyone else who can keep a straight face in the presence of this newspeak is way ahead of me. And by any nomenclature, Nike’s whole caste system for its client schools, where some programs are in First Class and others are clearly in steerage, is bullshit. My initial assessment still stands: Douchebags.

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Membership has its privileges: A few weeks ago I mentioned that I might be writing an article on the subject of membership cards cultural totems and objects of design. That article (which includes some references to the Uni Watch membership program) has now been published on the design website re:form. Enjoy.

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Collector’s Corner
By Brinke Guthrie

Okay, so this isn’t exactly your typical 1970s Big Red Machine eBay item, but still. Here we have what looks to be a red or corduroy suit worn by Pete Rose himself, tailored by a fellow named Pepe Ramundo. Costs a lot, but hey, you also get a “Pete Rose” tie!

Alright, here are some items that are more in the standard Uni Watch wheelhouse:

• Folks, two gems right here. We’ve featured these 1970s NFL goalpost helmet kits several times before, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen a set where they never even applied the helmet decals! Two different sets to choose from, here and here. Hurry — these listings end tonight.

• Back in the day, bet you could pick up a Mickey Mantle ashtray at his Holiday Inn in Joplin, Missouri, for next to nothing. A bit pricier now!

• How about this DIY Packers sweater?

• If you live in New England, this sticker will leave little doubt where your sports allegiance lies.

• If you’ve never seen or played this 1970s NFL Strategy game, I’d highly recommend it.

• Check it out! A game-worn Chicago White Sox leisure suit jersey top, and with a doozy of an NOB!

• Here’s a rather T-shirt sponsored by GTE, Offiical Telecommunications Consultant to the NFL.

• Nice-looking 1970s California Angels varsity-style jacket.

• Here’s a Packers jersey by Sand-Knit with the rarely seen logo-inclusive sleeve striping.

• NFL helmet plaques usually have a neutral or gray background. But this 1970s LA Rams plaque has some in-your-face yellow, eh?

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Uni Watch News Ticker
By Garrett McGrath

Baseball News: Happy Holidays from the Mets, courtesy of this vintage Christmas card with Mr. Met dressed as Santa (from Bruce Menard). … New Chicago Cub Jon Lester chose former teammate’s Big Papi’s No. 34. … The folks at Hardball Talk think it’s time for the Padres to bring back the brown (thanks, Brinke). … this jersey was listed on MLB shop as “SF Giants 2015 Alt. jersey” but was changed to “Fashion” after SportsLogos.net honcho Chris Creamer contacted team for comment (thanks, Phil).

NFL News: The Seattle Seahawks 12th man jersey was retired 30 years ago yesterday (from Kyle Hanks). … Former Bears DT Steve McMichael’s McNOB = a base-aligned “c” and a raised “c” at different points in his career (from Cork Gaines).

College Football News: Asked and answered: Yesterday reader Joanna Zwiep wanted to know which school this helmet was from. As many readers helpfully explained, it’s from the University of Saint Francis in Indiana, an NAIA

Hockey News: “No pic, but there is a note in this article about Jesse Winchester of the Avalanche experimenting with glasses on the ice,” says Ryan Dowgin. “He has missed the entire year with concussion symptoms. He is okay at the team’s practice facility with a white background, but has issues in full arenas where the background is multicolored. Can’t recall many hockey players wearing glasses, aside from the Hanson brothers.” [Paul here. Glasses on the ice have been rare but not unheard of. Examples include Al Arbour, Hal Laycoe, Charles Shannon, and Clint Albright.]

Soccer News: Here is a leaked picture of Mexico’s Copa America black home kit (thanks, Phil). … Norway has a new federation crest. … The rest from Yusuke Toyoda: 2015 Asia Cup kicks off in January, and defending champions Japan will wear jerseys with gold numbers and winner’s patches. … South Africa unveils new unis from Nike. … Cardiff City supporters are threatening not to renew their season tickets if the team does not return to its traditional blue shirts.

Grab Bag: The Canadian Olympic Committee has indicated in court documents obtained by TSN that it is pursuing its watershed lawsuit against clothing maker The North Face (from Dr. Peter Baltutis). … Reader David Firestone ranked all 55 NASCAR Sprint Cup teams ranked from first to last on how their paint schemes appearance. … Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez’s holiday card is uni-related (from Andrew Hoenig).

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Happy Hanukkah to all who are celebrating tonight. And here’s something to look forward to: Tomorrow we’ll have the annual year-end reader-appreciation raffle. Good stuff this year!

Monday Morning Uni Watch

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Should anyone doubt the power of Uni Watch, consider this: On Wednesday I had an ESPN column on mono-color uniforms in the NFL. Four days later, the Bills went mono-royal blue (first time ever) and the Browns went mono-turd (first time this season, third time ever). Coincidence? I think not! Can’t say I’m fond of either look. If you want to see more, here are additional photos from the Bills and Browns games.

In other news from around the league yesterday:

• Browns wide receiver Andrew Hawkins entered the field wearing a T-shirt that had “Justice for Tamir Rice and John Crawford” on the front and “The Real Battle of Ohio” on the back. Rice is the 12-year-old Cleveland boy who was recently shot by a police officer who mistook the child’s air gun for a real gun; Crawford is the Ohio man who was killed by police at a Walmart outlet while holding a BB gun back in August (and whose girlfriend was then treated rather badly by the police). Both were black. After the game, the president of the Cleveland police union called the T-shirt “pathetic” and demanded an apology from the Browns — an approach that didn’t work too well when the St. Louis police union demanded an apology from the Rams after several players did the “Hand up, don’t shoot” gesture two weeks ago. (According to one report, “at least one other” Browns besides Hawkins also wore the shirt, but I haven’t been able to confirm that or determine who the other player was.)

• Bills defensive end Jerry Hughes had a bit of trouble with his Ralph Wilson memorial patch.

• Chiefs players wore bracelets in support of sidelined teammate Eric Berry.

• Here’s something you rarely see anymore: Ravens wideout Steve Smith had pockets sewn into his jersey, instead of wearing one of those strap-on muffs.

• I don’t know what Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch was doing before his team’s game against the 49ers, but it sure looked weird.

• Speaking of the Seahawks, their end zones are once again painted blue. They had been green.

• As if 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh hadn’t already punched his ticket out of San Francisco, he went the extra mile yesterday by wearing his mock turtleneck backwards.

• In Tennessee, the Titans wore white at home and the Jets wore mono-green.

• Speaking of the Titans, defensive tackle Jurrell Casey incited a brawl and ended up with a torn TV number and a loose captaincy patch.

• Famous guy-who’s-wealthier-than-you Warren Buffet was on the field and wearing prior to the Vikings/Lions game and looked unusually dorky.

• We’ve mentioned before that the Packers sew little name/number tags onto their sideline caps. Here’s the one on Aaron Rodgers’s hat from yesterday.

• The Buccaneers wore their orange socks for just the second time this season.

• No photo, but at one point in the Vikes/Lions game, Detroit’s Golden Tate III and Minnesota’s Ben Tate III were both on the field, meaning that there were two “Tate III” RNOBs on the field simultaneously.

• Cowboys wideout Dez Bryant had gray socks, or maybe gray tape. Here’s another view.

• Eagles running back LeSean McCoy wore very high whites. Ditto for teammate Cary Williams.

(My thanks to all contributors, including Andy Bartsch, Jeremy Baxter, Kyle Hanks, Brady Henderson, Raymie Humbert, Kevin Lewter, Mark McGowan, Chris Schwartz, and of course Phil.)

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Just twin, baby: The two gents with the unusual nameplates are Kevin and Kelly Klima — twin sons of former NHLer Petr Klima. They play for the OHL’s London (Ontario) Knights, whose equipment manager has given them a very odd FNOB format. To give you a better look, here’s a close-up of Kelly’s jersey.

Weird, right? Don’t think I’ve never seen the first name set in tiny caps like that. Major thanks to Andy Rawlings for bringing this one to my attention.

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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 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.

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Baseball News: We’ve all seen eye black, but what about eye white? That’s Pirates catcher Manny Sanguillen, circa 1970 (From Tristan Ridgeway). … Sy Berger, the guy who turned Topps into a baseball card juggernaut, has passed away (thanks, Brinke). … Steve Johnston and his family were at the Swedish American Museum in Chicago on Saturday and spotted this magnificent satin baseball jersey from an old Swedish lodge team on display. “My son said, ‘Dad we’ve got to take photos and send them into Uni Watch,'” says Steve. Glad to see you’re instilling the boy with a good sense of priorities, Steve.

NFL News: Good article on the artist who created Pat Patriot (from John Pritchard). … Latest rumor regarding the Eagles comes from Brian Smith, who writes: “My wife was Christmas shopping for a jersey at a local sporting goods store and was told by the salesperson that the Eagles are done wearing the black jerseys. Last week was the final time, he said, and he advised against buying one. He said the team is switching to alternate kelly greens next year with the plan being to eventually go back to kelly green as the primary jerseys.” … WWE wrestler Dolph Ziggler, who’s from Cleveland, had Browns-themed trunks for last night’s TLC pay-per-view in Cleveland (from Jared Patz). … “On an NFL Network documentary, Roger Staubach said he wasn’t sure what to do with his Heisman Trophy, so several times he would find his daughter riding it like a hobby horse,” says Douglas Ford.

College and High School Football News: Here’s a cool little chart of Arizona State’s 2014 uni combos (thanks, Phil). … Joanna Zwiep bought this helmet at an Ohio thrift shop but doesn’t know what team it’s from. Anyone recognize the logo? … Here’s a great shot of the exterior-padded helmets that Ohio State wore in 1964 (from Larry Bodnovich).

Hockey News: The Worcester Sharks wore Worcester IceCats throwbacks on Saturday night. … The Reading Royals wore ugly Xmas sweater jerseys on Saturday (thanks, Phil). … Sacred Heart goaltender Sammy Bernard wore a mask featuring the Cat in the Hat and Green Eggs and Ham at Dartmouth on Sunday afternoon. “Dr. Seuss, whose real name was Theodor Geisel, graduated from Dartmouth in 1925,” explains Tris Wykes. … Jeff Ash was at the Uihlein Ice Arena, the hockey rink at the University School of Milwaukee, on Saturday. “It’s a rather tony prep school,” he explains. “Before 1964, it was known as Milwaukee Country Day School. Its hockey teams date to the 1930s, and they played outside for some time.” They had a bunch of old photos and uniforms on display, and Jeff took these excellent photos. I really like the stylized “C” logos in the first two photos and, of course, the green/gold color shots.

NBA News: This is pretty awesome: Former NBA guard Will Bynum is playing in China and his team didn’t have a jersey ready for him, so they made a makeshift jersey for him (thanks, Mike). … Now that Kobe Bryant has passed Michael Jordan on the all-time scoring list, Nike has released this limited-edition sneaker. “With black, purple, green, and Saints’ gold, these shoes might be really popular in New Orleans,” says Mike Engle. … Here are the video game versions of the NBA All-Star Game uniforms — East and West (thanks, Phil).

College Hoops News: Oakland wore absolutely ridiculous black-on-black uniforms yesterday. Naturally, the one contrasting element was the Jumpman logo because as you know, it’s all about Nike. Douchebags (from Drew Mastin). … The Richmond Spiders have a live tarantula mascot. Key quote, from player Deion Taylor: “As long as it’s in its little cage, I’m fine with it. If they let it out, then we have a problem.”

Grab Bag: State legislators in Montana have a new dress code that some view as sexist. … A lacrosse helmet that had been decertified by a safety rating group will be recertified now that the manufacturer has agreed to make a fix. … The cycling helmet maker UVEX Sports has issued a recall of one of its helmet models due to a chinstrap defect. … There’s a new cycling team made up of members of the French army, so they have camouflage kits (from Bernie Langer). … Aussie Rules footy club Richmond Tigers’ 2015 clash strip has leaked. “They’ve been finding a way around having a true clash jumper for years by simply adding yellow to the side panels,” says Leo Strawn Jr. “I’m happy to see this.” … I’m still calling it National Indoor Arena (from Callum Johnston). … There’s a new design initiative to create better-looking license plates (from Yusuke Toyoda). … Also from Yusuke: Good piece on how a designer creates a logo. … Tennis player Andy Murray has caused a stir by posing for a photo in Under Arumour attire (from Murray Conalin).