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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.

• • • • •

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.

• • • • •

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.

• • • • •

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 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.

• • • • •

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.

• • • • •

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.

• • • • •

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.

Dog Day Afternoon

MB 550
Click to enlarge

By Phil Hecken, with Megan Brown

It doesn’t happen often, but every so often I have an idea for a Uni Watch topic I file away, thinking “OK, I’m gonna write about that one day.” Today is one of those days. Not long after I began writing for Uni Watch way back in 2008, I thought a fun post would be to have readers send in photos of their pets in uniform (which, unless you actually have a pet — usually a dog — you consider to be a family member, probably strikes you as incredibly odd). I remember seeing a photo posted by Doug Keklak, probably back when the Steelers were playing the Cardinals in the Super Bowl (I think Ricko may have sent in one of his pet poodle, Winnie, as well), and I had a photo of my own little guy, Bizkit, wearing a Jason Sehorn Giants jersey which I put him in for Super Bowl XXXV (when the G-men got their butts handed to them by the Ravens).

Anyway…I was going to run a post asking UW readers to share photos of their pets in uniform. And I completely forgot about it. Until yesterday.

So, I logged onto Twitter in the morning and one of the first posts I saw was from Megan Brown, who posts as @thatgirlondeck, asking pet owners to post photos of their pets “reppin their teams jerseys,” as yesterday was something called, “National Dress Up Your Pet Day.”

Without even thinking too much about my “let’s see the Uni Watch pets in jerseys” idea I had way back when, I replied to Megan with that photo of Bizkit:

It was shortly after that, in my morning fog, that I remembered the UW thing. I shot Megan a DM and asked, since she’d already put out the call for doggo pics, if she’d be interested in doing an article with me on Uni Watch and if she wouldn’t mind sharing some of the shots she got. She heartily agreed.

(Sidenote: Megan has an awesomely cute Yorkshire Terrier named “Alexa” who has her own Twitter and Instagram accounts. You may also remember Megan for her incredible post on the day she broke the interwebs:


So, with Megan in agreement to do a pups in jerseys post, I’ll introduce her now. I’m also going to FINALLY get to that request to have Uni Watch readers send in photos of their own pets (doesn’t have to be a dog) in a JERSEY (or at least some type of team gear), which I’d love to run at some point in the future. If you have (or want to take) a photo of your animal in a uni, shoot me an e-mail with the subject line “PETS IN UNIFORM” and I’ll compile whatever I get. It may not be too cute to see a 45 year old dude at the game in a bad jersey, but everyone loves a pup in uni, right? Right!

OK, here’s Megan to set up the post and then we’ll have a look at some canines in kits:

By Megan Brown

Yesterday was #NationalDressUpYourPetDay, so naturally I wanted to see the furrier fans repping their favorites. I posted a tweet inviting my followers to share pictures of their pets wearing sports jerseys, and I think you’re going to like the submissions. Regardless of your sports loyalties, even a Tom Brady jersey can be made tolerable when paired with puppy dog eyes. Enjoy!

And there you have it! (There are probably a few more that rolled in, but the cutegasm has to end somewhere).

Big thanks to Megan for soliciting the pics and sharing them, and also for triggering a long-lost memory in me as well — once again, if you fine Uni Watch readers have photos of your pets in parkas (or jerseys, bandanas, headbands, etc.) just shoot them to me in an e-mail (see above for deets).

Megan’s not only a great doggy-mommy, she’s a great follow on the Twitter (and Insta) and she has a blog as well. I’ll forgive her for being a Brewers fan, this time.

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Uni Tracker Wraps

Now that the NCAA football season has ended, I wanted again thank my trackers, Dennis Bolt, Rex Henry, Ethan Dimitroff and Kyle Acker for their yeoman work.

A couple of the trackers not only do the tracking on Uni Watch throughout the season, but they maintain blogs for those conferences as well. As we bid adieu to the college season until August, I wanted to give the guys a quick spotlight for their work.

Dennis Bolt

Dennis not only tracks the Pac-12 (and the Oregon squad on the Duck Tracker), he keeps up blogs for both. Here’s Dennis’ look back at the Pac-12 season:

Looking back at 2016-17
The Pac-12 ended its season with USC in the Rose Bowl, but this past season saw some new faces in the spotlight and some established teams on the fade.

With Oregon’s fall from the top of the Pac-12, came a change in the veracity of its uniform reveals. At the beginning of the season, when its record was still respectable, it had several specialty and alternate uniforms. But as losses mounted, the uniforms began to calm and each week brought much more normal and sedate choices.

The stalwart traditionalists stayed the same: UW, USC, and Stanford pretty much stuck with home and away sets. UCLA—a uniform maven last year—also regressed like Oregon to a more normal rotation. Cal felt boring, but when I tallied their sets, it came to seven separate combos!

People love to lambast Oregon for its uniforms, but the mountain schools have taken over that mantle! Arizona made great use of normal colors mixed and matched, with one real nice alternate USS Arizona uniform. ASU went off the rails with all kinds of wacky helmets and color schemes this year.

But, the winner for number of combos is Utah. They only went with one throwback uniform and several special helmets, but made varied use of their red, white and black, with three mono-color schemes as well.

WSU and Colorado (the win cinderella’s this year) pretty much stuck to several colors that they mixed and matched to nice affect.

“Pink-tober” and “GI-Joe-vember” were almost—thankfully—absent!

You can read more here. You can also check out the Duck Tracker for the season by clicking here.


Rex Henry

Rex has been tracking the ACC for me (and last year he also did the SEC) for two years, and is passionate. He runs the excellent ACC Tracker blog which not only lists each week of uni combos for each team that plays, his side tabs also detail the unis worn by each squad each week individually. The tracking goes back as far as 2012, so it’s a tremendous resource as well. Make sure to check that out as well!

Rex is still in the process of doing his own season wrap-up for the ACC, so once that’s done I’ll run it next weekend.


Ethan Dimitroff

Ethan tracks the SEC, and was also pressed into duty in mid-season tracking the B1G, but his real passion is for the West Virginia Mountaineers. It’s similar to the Duck Tracker, but well worth taking a look at. You can check that out here. It’s a LOT more than just tracking of the 2016 unis too — definitely worth a look-see!

At some point (I know I keep teasing this) I will be getting more in-depth with Ethan (we’ve already partially completed an interview…I just have to put everything together). He’s a talented man and I think you’ll like that when it does run.

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UW Friday Flashback UW’s Friday Flashback

In case you missed it on Friday, earlier this week Paul asked Uni Watch reader what you thought about NFL home teams acknowledging the road team on their fields (as the Chiefs did while hosting the Dolphins in the famous “Longest Game Ever Played” in 1971, as seen here). That’s the topic of Paul’s latest Friday Flashback column on ESPN, which has lots of additional examples, including some from college football.

Check out the Friday Flashback here.


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sb li helmet

Super Bowl Party Helmet Trivia

Got an e-mail from Ray Hund who wanted to share some “helmet trivia” for the upcoming Super Bowl hopefuls. Check it out:

. . . . . . . . . .

This year’s NFL playoff picture is no surprise to me and some of my friends.

75% of the teams playing for a chance at a Super Bowl ring are non-animal teams.

There are 32 teams in the NFL.

Of these teams, 17 are non-animal, or 53%. The other 15 teams, or 47%, are animal teams.

Non-animal teams have won 38 Super Bowls compared to 12 for the animal teams.

So, while non-animal teams make up 53% of the NFL, they have won 76% of the Super Bowls.

All the so-called dynasties have been non-animal teams: Packers, Steelers, Forty-Niners, Cowboys, and Patriots.

Of the 15 animal teams, only the Dolphins and Broncos have been able to win back-to-back Super Bowls.

My friends and I recommend going non-animal to any new franchise entering the NFL.

But there are other things to consider besides this (and coaching, talent, and execution).

Take the football helmet for example:

Teams with letters on their helmet are 27-10 in Super Bowls. Of these, non-animal teams with letters are 24-9.

Teams with lower case letters on their helmet are 10-3 (all non-animal). Teams with letters that overlap 7-2 (again, all non-animal).

(The most common letters found on NFL helmets are S and E, each appearing five times.)

If the city the team plays in is abbreviated on the helmet this produces a winning record too: 18-6.
The name of the team spelled out in full works as well (Jets, Steelers, and Raiders): 10-4.

Variations of silver & gold have shined on helmets in Super Bowls over the years with a record of 20-10.
Variations of yellow on a helmet are 13-7. Orange, in comparison, is 7-11.
The team with the most colors on a helmet — the Steelers (6) — are 6-2.

Human heads (living/dead) on helmets are 11-8 in Super Bowls.
However, putting a hat or helmet on the head on the helmet drops the record to 7-6.

Swords on a helmet are 4-2. Weapons of any kind 5-3.

Circles big & small on a helmet have a 11-7 record. Five-pointed stars drop to 9-8.

If the logo appears exactly the same on both sides of a team’s helmet, then the Super Bowl record is — appropriately — 8-8.

And this is weird: Fabric depicted on a helmet (Buccaneer’s flag, Raider’s eye patch, and Patriot’s hat) has a winning record of 8-6.

The undefeated? Those helmets depicting a football are 2-0 (Again, the Buccaneers, and the Jets). Quality over quantity.

Warning: Here are some things to keep off a new franchise’s helmet:

Horns!!! Horns are 1-10 in Super Bowls! Yikes!

Speaking of horns, the ungulates — or hoofed animals — are 6-13. Actually show the hoof on the helmet and your record is 0-4.
Predators fair worse than the animals they might eat; they are 4-13.
Manes on hoofed animals are 3-9.
Manes on predators haven’t been to the Super Bowl.

Birds on a helmet are 3-6.
Feathers on a helmet are 5-6 (The Seahawks are not included here because the design doesn’t actually depict feathers).
However, show a beak and your team is 3-3.
Talons? 0-1.

If the animal on a helmet is not found within the continental United States, your record is 2-5.

This one is a bit tricky…If eyes can be seen on a helmet (not a suggestion of eyes) you’re 9-10.
If there is only a suggestion of eyes you’re 10-12.
Teeth? 0-2.
Visible ears? 0-2.

If the whole animal is portrayed on the helmet you’re 2-8 or have never been to a Super Bowl.
Floating heads on helmets (animal/non-animal) are 16-21.

So if you want your team to win a Super Bowl, here’s what you put on your team’s helmet:

1. Something that is not, I repeat, not an animal.
2. Abbreviate your city/spell out the team name. Overlap a few letters. And throw in some lower case letters to boot.
3. Remember the song “Silver and Gold” from Rudolph, the Red-nosed Reindeer? Take it to heart. Then add yellow. And a touch of red.
4. And don’t forget the football — it doesn’t have to be prominent.

. . . . . . . . . .

Thanks, Ray. Some faaaaaaaascinating stuff there.

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So, I’ll be on the air today…

The “fun” surrounding the LA Chargers’ “new logo” release continues.

For anyone who’s interested, I’ll be on with Danielle McCartan on her show, “60 Minute Overtime,” which can be found on your local NY dial at 90.3 fm, WRPR. Her show runs from 11:00 am to noon (Eastern Standard Time), and if you are interested you can tune in there or you can also audio stream online here: OR, if you’re really interested, you can video stream at (I’ll be calling in however). I believe the pinned tweet in her link above gives some other options as well.

Not quite sure what my segment will entail, but the plan is to discuss and dissect the LA Chargers failed new logo roll-out on social media, as well as the reaction many of their fans had to the news of the Chargers move by burning team jerseys. I believe my segment will air around 11:10 am, so if you have nothing better to do, check it out!

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man w megaphoneUni Watch Reminders!

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

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

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Too Good For the Ticker
Too Good…

for the Ticker

Got an e-mail from Jmac yesterday regarding the Flyers/Penguins alumni game. It’s a bit too long, and certainly too good, for ticker, so I’m running it here. Here’s John…

. . .

The Flyers and Penguins alumni teams faced off against each other in Philadelphia in front of a sold out crowd as part of their 50th anniversary celebration. The LCB and Legion of Doom lines were reassembled for the Flyers. Philly players wore the 50th anniversary jersey. Attached are several screenshots from the game. By the way, the Flyers Reggie Leach played against his son Jaime (#20 Penguins) in the photo with The LCB line.

Photos are (click to enlarge):

Combined teams:

alumni game 1

Bobby Clarke in his last alumni game:

alumni game 2

The LCB line w/ Jaime Leach:

alumni game 3

The Legion of Doom line in game action:

alumni game 4

John M

. . .

Thanks, John.

OK. Now, on to the ticker…

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Uni Watch News Ticker
By Phil

Baseball News: This important Bobblehead change news comes to us from Richard Paloma: “On Jan 11 the Ticker nothed how the A’s had Bob Melvin’s jersey wrong with piping on the front. This was put out by the A’s on Sat Jan 14. Did someone get the memo?” … An article on FanSided opines, “The Cincinnati Reds had one of the most classic looks in all of sports when they were the Red Stockings.” I do agree, but should the team really return to their original red stockings unis? … SEC Patches for Florida Gators softball have arrived. “This year features a slightly different look,” the add.

NFL News: We show a LOT of creative soda stack displays and most of them are pretty good, but this one featuring Aaron Rogers in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, just might be the best (from Andrew Greenwood). … Speaking of “food” products and the NFL, Michael Bonfanti writes, “I have seen where uni-centric cakes are shown on the site, and figured I’d send you my wife’s effort. Our son Mason turned 8 on the 11th and asked for a Patriot’s helmet cake. Undaunted by the intricacies of the Flying Elvis, his step-mom Kirsten delivered. I think it turned out pretty well.” … Although I believe he has had it for at least a week, Russell Wilson has gotten a new style of facemask (from Allen Alexander). … The NFL posted this cute graphic for their divisional round games featuring the Pats, Texans, Falcons and Seahawks yesterday. Except — they used the Seahawks logo from 1976-2001! (good spot by Deplorable Ted). … “Levi’s are (p)romoting these NFL shirts on twitter,” notes Eric Odden. “Think they even know the KC Chiefs logo is upside down?” … Whoa — check out the V E R Y W I D E S P A C I N G on this old Oilers NOB (from John Turney). … Oops — yesterday CBS was using a graphic showing Patriots away socks with the Pats’ home uniform (good spot by Reed Pike). … The Cowboys may be old school with their dymo tape, but the other Texas team seems a bit more middle school (nice grab by Mark Lockwood). … Sometimes, Darren Rovell is really funny (from Matt Fedorka). … During their game with the Lakers, the Clippers showed the new Los Angeles Chargers logo on the video screen and the Staples Center crowd promptly booed. After a few seconds, the screen cut to Chargers tight end Jeff Cumberland, who briefly waved but then was booed (thanks, Paul). … Tweeter Mike Nessen asks, “Does Will Fuller hold the current record for highest numerical suffix (i.e. RNOB) in sports? Anyone have “VI” or higher?” … Major helmet sticker fail last night for Lamar Miller of the Texans (nice screen shot by CJ Fogler). … Interesting pennant for the Washington football club (from Bill Hetrick). … During yesterday’s Seahawks/Falcons game, Devin Hester was wearing a towel with writing on it. Omar Jalife is curious what it says. Anyone know?

College/other Football News: Some packaging mistakes are, I suppose, unavoidable, even excusable. But I’m not sure if you could ever forgive whoever put this helmet inside this package (from Wild Bill). I mean, you gotta have a really sick sense of humor to get that for your kid, right? … Check out the jerseys, and especially the helmets being used for the “Polynesian Bowl” (from Adam Apatoff). Here are the unis/helmets for the opposing squad (also from Adam). The units are divided into “Team Stanley” and “Team Mariota”.

Hockey News: The Flyers wore their 50th season jerseys on the ROAD for just the 2nd time this DESPITE the fact that the published schedule only denoted that they would be worn at HOME (from John Mac). … Franklin sports has developed batting style gloves with padded palms for under goalie catch gloves (from J. Walker). … Speaking of which, the video with this tweet shows Tuukka Rask has batting gloves (from Nick Griffin). … The Indy Fuel had some great Blackhawks inspired uniforms last night (from Mark Grainda and the Indy Fuel). … The Huntsville Havoc had some pretty awesome Friday the 13th-inspired jerseys the other night (from OT Sports). … The Wheeling Nailers did the Star Wars thingy yesterday (from Jeff Tasca). … Goalie McElhinney was picked up on waivers from the Columbus Blue Jackets and got his first win for the Toronto Maple Leafs last night versus Ottawa – looks like he got a quick temporary paint job in his mask (from Will Leslie).

NBA News: Nike is releasing its LeBron 14 “Out of Nowhere” sneakers through a secondhand site, StockX. The shoes are limited to 23 pairs each and estimated to sell for $3,000 to $25,000 per pair. Nike and James are trying something new with their newest release “to build extra buzz” (thanks, Paul). … The Atlanta Hawks will be retiring “Pistol” Pete Maravich’s no. 44 jersey where it will be lifted to the Philips Arena rafters on March 3, joining Lou Hudson, Dikembe Mutombo, Bob Pettit and Dominique Wilkins as the franchise’s most iconic names. … “The ‘unofficial’ new Pistons logo is on FULL DISPLAY in this tweet they just fired out,” writes Conrad Burry. “Guess we’ll wait til next season for official launch.” … Tonight, the Memphis Grizzlies will debut their MLK uniforms (with Monday being Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, this makes sense). … The Wizards won their 11th consecutive home game last night, wearing these Bullets-inspired throwbacks. That game was also color vs. color (from Zachary Loesl). … Also from Zachary, the Suns and Spurs went color vs. color down in Mexico.

College Hoops News: Yesterday was “90s day” inside the Syracuse Carrierdome, so on the scoreboard (and elsewhere) the team was using 90s style logos (from Seth Goldberg). … I don’t really follow much college hoop until tourney time, so I’m not sure this is big news, but yesterday the Utah Utes had hooded warmups for their game against UCLA (from Ricky Clark). … Good observation from Lawrence Benedetto who notes that in yesterday’s Okie State vs. Kansas game, “There are III players with Surname III in this game. Only II of them wear that distinction on their jersey.” … Color vs. color game yesterday for Iona vs. Quinnipiac (via Derek Turner). … What happens when your kicks are too tight? You change them at halftime. And voila! (from Mike Slavonic). … Here is what appears to be an MLB licensed jersey with a college hoops team (from Custom Helmet Source). … Most hype videos for new unis only show the players going nuts for a new shiny object. You don’t often get to see fans react (nice spot by Jon Horton). … Looks like fans were treated to free Palestra patches yesterday (from fillyfandan). … Color vs. color game yesterday for BYU and San Diego (from Mitch Harper). … Check out these gorgeous throwbacks for the San Francisco Dons (from Erik Kissel).

Grab Bag: Canada’s dairy farmers are dumping their well-known cartoon logo in a bid to rebrand for 2017. The switch starts next month, when consumers may start noticing a more stately, businesslike cow replacing the cutesy, jumping bovine trademark (from Ted Arnold). … It’s official. Big South Sports has a new logo (from Fletcher Jones). … Here’s another look (from Ryan Brown). … Really nice post from Chris Creamer on pro sports team relocations and logo changes that came with them.

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And that’s it for today.

Thanks of course to Megan for the doggies in unis pics. Remember, if you have absolutely nothing better to do this morning and want to hear me trash the LA Chargers (and the few idiots who set ablaze $300 polyester shirts), give a listen (links above).

Also, if you have your own photo of your critter in sports clothing, don’t forget to shoot me a photo, OK? OK!

Enjoy your Sunday and the rest of your week. I’ll catch you next weekend but until then…

Follow me on Twitter @PhilHecken.


.. … ..

“I was tempted to send the Knicks that Cavs champions shirt, since who knows when they’ll ever get another one of their own”

— Jimmer Vilk

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