Bonus ESPN column today — here’s the link.
Meanwhile: There are lots of trophies with equipment-based imagery (like the Gold Glove and Silver Slugger awards), and several more featuring balls (like the Lombardi, O’Brien, and Commissioner’s Trophies). But you don’t often see uniform-based awards. Yeah, there’s the Green Jacket and the yellow jersey, but those are actual items of apparel, not depictions of apparel. If there’s a Golden Cap or Platinum Jersey award floating around out there, I’m not aware of it.
There’s a uni-based award in college football, however, and it’s up for grabs this weekend in Columbus. In keeping with longstanding tradition, if Ohio State beats Michigan, all OSU players will instantly become members of the Gold Pants Club (which sounds like a support group for the bladder-challenged) and receive a little charm pendant to mark the occasion. This is, to my knowledge, the sports world’s only pants-based honor.
According to this page, the Gold Pants ritual dates back to the 1930s, when OSU coach Francis Schmidt was asked about facing Michigan and replied, “They put their pants on one leg at a time, same as everybody else.” Seventy years later, the little pants charms have become a strong OSU tradition. Somewhat predictably, they’ve also turned into a merchandising bonanza, with lots of spin-off products like this — a symbol of a symbol.
Every now and then, a real Gold Pants charm shows up on eBay. This one, from 1955, sold just a few days ago — for nearly a grand. Two others went up for sale in late 2003, which caused a bit of a stir among serious OSU fans.
Of course, no matter what happens on Saturday, the year’s most famous gold pants are likely to be the ones recently worn — just barely — by Antonio Bryant. Too bad he went to Pitt, not Ohio State.
Collar Controversy, Continued: This thing with the Saints and their undershirt collars keeps getting weirder. Here’s the deal: On Monday several readers told me that Charles Grant had worn a dress shirt — or at least something with what appeared to have a dress shirt collar — under his shoulder pads. So on Tuesday I asked if anyone could get any screen grabs, and that night reader Chad Morris provided me with several shots, which I posted yesterday.
But as several readers quickly pointed out, the pics didn’t show Charles Grant (who wears No. 94) — they were of Will Smith (No. 91). Apparently Morris, while fast-forwarding through his DVR file of the game in search of screen shots, had inadvertently found a second collar-clad Saints player. I asked if he’d be willing to go back and look for shots of Grant, and he graciously agreed. You can see the successful results of his search here, here, and here. You can even see Grant and Smith standing together — perhaps trading collar tips — here and here.
So now we have two confirmed cases of collared Saints players. As the saying goes, two’s a coincidence, three’s a trend. Stay tuned.
Radio Free Uni Watch: I’ll be appearing on the KADI’s “Morning Drive Sports Report” show (1340AM, from Springfield, Missouri) on Friday morning at 9 a.m. Eastern Time. I’m told that the spot will run at least 15 minutes, and you can stream it here.
Uni Watch News Ticker: You know uni watchery has gone mainstream when there’s an entire article devoted to the Jazz switching the color of their road shoes. … Yesterday’s discussion of pointed collars prompted a sharp rebuke from soccer fans, who chided me for overlooking all the the game’s long history of collared jerseys. Longtime contributor Doug Brei provided the best pics, pointing me toward this, this, this, this, and this. … Interesting note from Mark Meeks, who notes: “I’m hearing rumors from some folks with better seats than I had that Panthers RB DeAngelo Williams was wearing cleats with lights on them (like the kind little kids wear). I can’t imagine a player wearing something like that, especially a rookie backup, but they insist it’s true.” Anybody know anything more about this? … Remember that British football league I mentioned yesterday? Joe Moore poked around their web site and discovered that at least one team is wearing recycled NCAA jerseys, and you can see here and here. … If you’re curious about the University of Oregon’s identity program (i.e., the guidelines for how the school’s logo and seal are supposed to be applied to letterhead, typographic style rules, etc.), an admirably detailed style guide is available in this PDF file. “If only they applied the same theories and principles to their unis,” says Joe Hilseberg, who provided the link (and who also pointed out this article about NFL uni numbers).