As briefly noted in yesterday’s Uni Watch News Ticker, the NFL Network’s NFL Total Access show ran a Wednesday-night segment about the league’s officials getting new uniforms this season. Although I don’t get the NFL Network (and probably lots of you don’t get it either), it turns out that the full video clip is available online. Go here, click on “Video Features,” and then scroll down to “Director of Officiating Mike Pereira on NFL Total Access,” and you can watch it for yourself.
It ain’t pretty. For comparison, here‘s what we’re all used to seeing. And here’s the new attire — short-sleeve, long-sleeve (the extra black areas appear to have been influenced by the NHL officials’ jerseys), rear view, and left-sleeve uni number. There are some worthwhile features, like the zip-up mock collar for cold weather, but the black pocket and tapered stripes are bad news. Why fix something that wasn’t broken? Even worse, based on this photo, it appears that there will be a wide black side panel, not unlike the side panel worn by NBA refs, which is a huge mistake.
The kicker, though, is that the officials will now wear black slacks with a white stripe during cold weather — no more knickers and striped socks. Scandalous! Anyone want to bet how many “waiter” and “butler” jokes it takes before this experiment is abandoned?
• If you watch the video, you’ll see that Pereira makes a big fuss over the NFL shield’s placement on the rear jersey — the jersey has the “proper branding,” he says. And just what is “proper” about it? Like, it’s not enough that the NFL crest appears on the front pocket? And you can’t tell me it’s about merchandising, since nobody’s going to buy (I’m not sure it’s even possible to buy) one of these jerseys. This is just pointless, “because we can” logo creep.
• Speaking of logo creep, the white cap in this photo (taken during a Cleveland Browns practice) is disturbing. I think it’s just a replica cap, because the caps shown in the Pereira video didn’t have the Reebok logo. But this situation bears watching.
• My favorite moment in the video: When Pereira says, “The look is, uh — the look is, is, uh, is, is somethin’ certainly like we haven’t done before.” Well put.
Finally, if you’re wondering why refs in so many sports wear black and white stripes, look here.
(Big thanks to Daniel Kinderman and Matt Spencer for their research assistance.)
Geography Corner: Got a great note yeterday from reader Burrill Strong, who was road-tripping through the Midwest last weekend and stumbled across the ultimate Uni Watch town — check it out.
Upon further investigation, Uniopolis (pop. 256) appears to have favorable weather, a bustling traffic grid, a brisk real estate market, and plenty of highly attractive single women and men, many of whom enjoy the town’s vibrant social scene.
How great would it be if we held a Uni Watch party in Uniopolis? We could do it at Greg’s Place! Clearly, this needs to happen, and soon. If any readers live out that way, please do some advance location scouting and send a full report.
Uni Watch News Ticker: Killer throwback action yesterday between the Astros and Padres (although this Houston mound conference threatened to spontaneously combust). Kudos to everyone who wore their stirrups just right. The ‘Stros were particularly good about this, as you can see here, here, and here. … Remember our discussions of Mike Pelfrey’s mouthguard? After seeing this photo, I think it’s clear why he wears it. … Ben Roethlisberger, who had originally planned to switch to a Riddell Revolution helmet (shown on the left in this photo) after his motorcycle accident, has now decided to stick with his old helmet. … SI.com’s Stewart Mandel recently opined that Mississippi State “easily has the worst uniforms east of Oregon,” an assessment that seems more than a little extreme (with thanks to MSU alum Kurt Cooper for the tip). … Looks like Vernon Wells is wearing gray shoes. … The Redskins are spraying their unis and equipment with an anti-bacterial product (with thanks to Chris Zeppie). … Anyone who doesn’t get the whole “leave the sticker on the brim of the cap” phenomenon (that would include me) will enjoy this logo creep alert from Bryan Redemske.