Remember those black slacks that NFL officials were supposed to wear this season for cold-weather games? I thought for sure we’d see them for this past Monday’s snow bowl in Seattle, but the zebras in that game wore their regular white knickers, leading me (and others) to wonder if the whole slacks experiment had been quietly shelved before it could even see the light of day.
Not so, says NFL officiating executive Larry Upson, who happily discussed the issue with me when I called to ask about the slacks (and who’s also credited as the editor for NFL’s official rulebook — see link at right). Our conversation went like this:
Uni Watch: So how come we didn’t see the slacks in Seattle?
Larry Upson: Well, believe it or not, it wasn’t actually cold in Seattle. It was snowing, but it wasn’t cold. They didn’t think it was that cold. We really haven’t had any cold-weather games yet where, y’know, where the crew has even — we’ve had one crew ask so far. They have to ask before they can wear ’em, just so we don’t have guys going around willy-nilly wearing them.
UW: In other words, so the whole crew is wearing them, not just one or two guys.
UW: That one crew that asked — which game was that for, and how come they didn’t end up wearing the slacks?
LU: It was Pittsburgh and Cleveland, Week 11. And they had called me on the Friday before the game, because the weather had been predicted to be pretty cold. But as it turned out, it was about 40 degrees, which isn’t too bad.
UW: So how cold does it have to be?
LU: I’ve set a general guideline of about 30 degrees, although that’s flexible, because of things like wind-chill factor.
UW: Would they have had the long slacks available to them for that Browns/Steelers game, if they’d wanted to wear them anyway? I mean, were they there at the stadium, or do you have to ship them to the crew, or what?
LU: Oh, they all have ’em. Once you reach a certain point in the season, you always travel with short-sleeve and long, white and black.
UW: So the slacks are still in the wardrobe — they just haven’t been called for yet.
LU: Right. Actually, it’s supposed to be very cold in Green Bay this Sunday, so you may see them then.
So there you have it: Plenty of waiter, bellhop, and usher jokes on tap for this Sunday in Green Bay. You heard it here first.
Holiday Shopping Update: As you may have noticed at the top of the left column, we have another display advertiser. That would be William Henderson, whose Double-Knit Era Collector’s Reference CD-ROM is an essential resource for anyone reading this. Don’t be fooled by the title — even if you don’t collect jerseys (I don’t collect them myself), the Collector’s Reference is the single best repository of modern-era MLB uni info out there. Highly recommended.
Meanwhile, as promised a few days ago, we have a slew of new Uni Watch merch for sale, and most products are now available in a choice of two logos. In addition to T-shirts (old logo, new logo) and coffee mugs (old, new), we now have trucker’s caps (old, new), travel mugs (old, new, and note that the menu of options on the mug page also includes beer steins), tote bags, fridge magnets, and, by popular demand — well, from Minna H., at least — mouse pads (old, new). You can see the full product line here. Big thanks, as always, to Uni Watch design director Scott M.X. Turner for graciously allowing us to slap his logo designs on anything that doesn’t move.
Okay — now get shoppin’.
Uni Watch News Ticker: As many of you know already, the Dodgers introduced Juan Pierre and Randy Wolf to the media on Wednesday, and in so doing also unveiled their new jerseys. Names have been restored to both the homes and roads, the road jersey’s white insignia outlining and blue placket piping have been eliminated, and the road jersey’s left-sleeve “Dodgers” patch has been replaced by an “LA” patch. … The Reds, meanwhile, will unveil their new uniforms today. And the Cincinnati Enquirer is marking the occasion by running a poll to determine the team’s best uniform ever. … You already knew that the NHL was planning to unveil its new uni template at the All-Star Game in January, but here’s the latest depressing confirmation of it. … In case you missed it in Wednesday’s Comments section: Good explanation here for why Mets pitching coach Rick Peterson always wears a windbreaker, no matter how hot it is. … Also from the Comments: The Reebok logo on the back of Joe Pavelski’s jersey was upside-down on Wednesday night (great catch by David Shucosky). … This little animation starts out being really annoying, but stick with it — after about 20 seconds it develops into a pretty good commentary on logo updates (with thanks to Andrew Landsman). … Good article here on the odd NCAA football protocol of having multiple players with the same uni number. … Laura Koenig notes that the minor league Spokane Indians are revising their logo, with input from the Spokane Indian tribe — apparently the first time such a partnership has been undertaken. Details here. … Two interesting high school football photo finds by Jeff Stephens: First up, a case of dueling winged helmets (and dig those shoulder stripes!). As for the second shot, it kinda speaks for itself. … Good archive of hockey logos, and other hockey stuff, here (with thanks to David Potter). … Gorgeous bit of history shared by Tim Ahner, who writes: “I was going though some pictures that I’d been given by my grandparents. They are of my great-grandfather and the baseball teams that he managed in Fremont, Ohio. I believe they all played in the Fremont Industrial League. The first picture is the 1915 Henkel’s team; the second shot is the 1915 Fremont Industrial Baseball League teams (looks like there were four different teams that year); the third shot is the 1916 Fremont Industrial League teams (I believe there were eight teams that year); and the fourth shot is the 1928 Christy Razors team.” Amazing stuff, Tim — thanks for sharing this bit of family (and uni) history. … Rob Montoya sent along some interesting Pop Warner pics. Among the highlights: Bengals-esque helmets, a “W” logo that will never be mistaken for Wisconsin’s (well, maybe this Wisconsin logo), some killer socks, and the rather jarring sight of a bearded official. … Jeff Israel had a great catch in yesterday’s Comments: “The Boston Bruins have started a new trend where their bench players wear their helmets ‘rally cap’-style (i.e., backwards). Usually it’s just the guys who don’t shoot while the three guys take their chances, and once they get back to the bench they flip their lids. However, tonight the shootout went 7-8 rounds and the Bruins had to use more players than expected. The rally helmets caused a delay for Petr Tenkrat and Phil Kessel, because as their helmets were reversed, their hot/sweaty hair fogged up their visors and they needed to be wiped down so the shooters could see.” … Get a room. … You, too.