Remember that old “This is the NFL” marketing slogan? Yesterday it was officially changed to “This is the NFL?” The league was barely recognizable yesterday, especially in Buffalo and Denver, where we finally got a look at the long-promised cold-weather black officiating pants (although, interestingly, the chain gangs were left to shiver in the standard high-water whites). I’m opposed to the slacks, natch, since NFL zebras are pretty much the only species on the planet that still knows how to wear knickers and striped socks just right. Still, the bellhop look was good for novelty value, as you can see here, here, here, here, here, and here. The operative comparison would appear to be NHL officials, or maybe just Cooperalls (or, okay, Foot Locker proles). Toss in this season’s black-undersided sleeves — an idea that appears to have been borrowed from the NHL — and it’s clear that someone in the NFL front office has been watching a lot of hockey. Remains to be seen if the black slacks are here to stay, but they should at least get rid of the pockets, so we don’t end up with unseemly ultra-casual scenes like this and this.
Other NFL developments:
• And then there was the scene in New Orleans, where the Saints went for the blackout motif — even the coach. Not my bag (big surprise), but it was at least barely tolerable for players who showed some semblance of white socks (here’s another example). But for players who went with low whites, the unitard effect was brutal, especially given the piping-free pants (compare, say, this, which at least provides some contrasting details).
The weekend also featured plenty of non-NFL developments. Por ejemplo:
• Florida International’s road uniforms, which look like this, got lost on the way to Wisconsin, so the Badgers provided the Golden Panthers with plain black unis (including gratuitous Adidas logo creep, natch) for Saturday’s game in Madison. (Further details here.)
• In Oakland, the Warriors performed a public service on Saturday night by holding one of their periodic revivals of history’s greatest basketball uniform, complete with the cable car uni numbers, low-rider nameplates, and retro warm-up outfits.
• Throwbacks were also on display in Denver, where the Nuggets dressed up as the ABA’s Denver Rockets (here’s another view, and don’t miss that left-leg patch). Gotta like the retro-logo headband, although it’d’ve been better if they’d used this one (yes, purple and all). Nice additional details and storytelling here (with thanks to Matt Thompson for the link).
• And the Reds unveiled their new uniforms on Friday evening. For those of you who don’t check in here over the weekend, there’s full coverage in Saturday’s entry.
Friendly reminder: The deadline for entering the quiz to win the $200 Distant Replays gift card is tonight at 11pm eastern time. Remember, the 11 finalists will include one wild card entrant chosen at random, so you could theoretically get all the questions wrong and still qualify to win the prize. Or to put it another way: There’s no excuse not to enter. Full details in last Thursday’s post.
Uni Watch News Ticker: Hey, speaking of Cooperalls, you’ve probably seen a photo or two of the Whalers wearing them, but Bill Slowsky found a mother lode of them in this eBay auction. … Family affair from Eric Stanczyk: “Found these old pictures from when my grandfather played on the 1943 Marine Corps team. Apparently servicemen weren’t given much in the way of stirrups.” … Good roundup of minor league logo revisions here. … Priceless moment in the crowd during the Rutgers/WVU game on Saturday. “Mom must be proud,” says Tim Walsh, who provided the screen grab. … Jeremy Brahm turned up some nice photo galleries of the Brooklyn Dodgers’ 1956 Japanese goodwill tour, including plenty of good uniform shots (note the piping on the belt tunnels). “Actually, this trip was the last time Jackie Robinson wore a Dodgers uniform in a game,” says Brahm, “because he was traded to the Giants before the 1957 season but did not report and retired.” You can check out the full galleries here and here, and info and pics on a similar 1966 trip are here, here, and here. Also notable: a photo gallery of Dodgers jets! … Webmaster Johnny Ek was looking at this rundown of the dirtiest names in sports and noted that Rusty Kuntz is represented by this photo, depicting a uni combo that I’m pretty sure never saw game action. … Anyone know what’s going on here? … Did you know there’s actually a pre-Pop Warner league for 5-, 6-, and 7-year-olds, called the Ankle Biters? I didn’t, until Karen Hibbitt tipped me off to this article. And check out what they wear (click through the entire gallery for the full horrific effect). … More bits re: the Giants’ crimson-clad day: They changed their nose bumpers from blue to red, and radio play-by-play man Bob Papa, who usually punctuates each successful extra point by describing it as “true blue,” instead used the term “dead red.” … Excellent article here on the NFL’s uniform police. … Nice to see that someone at the New York Times was obviously paying close attention to my recent eye black column.