Uni Watch is, obviously, very photo-driven (it’s amazing to think that the column originally ran without photos back in its Village Voice days). Sometimes the photos are just illustrative, but at other times they’re amazing pieces of art. Check out, for example, this shot of Pirates call-up Nyjer Morgan. Aside from his great stirrups, look at his shadow on the outfield wall — that’s award-winning stuff right there.
But I have never — never — seen a uni-related photo as amazing as one that reader Wade Harder forwarded to me last night. It’s a shot from last Saturday’s Alabama/Vanderbilt game, and I guess everyone else missed it, because nobody else has mentioned it to me and I don’t recall seeing it discussed in the comments. Ready to see something small but mind-blowing? Look here.
The guy on the ground is ’Bama linebacker Rashad Johnson. He wears uni No. 49, but, as you can see, the 9 was literally knocked off of his helmet during this play. I’m not sure which is more amazing — that the numeral came flying off, or that the photographer (an AP shutterbug named Mark Humphrey) inadvertently captured the perfect moment of numerical flight. He must have totally flipped when he realized what he’d gotten.
A few thoughts (aside from the obvious “How the hell does a number decal come off like that?”):
• This is probably the best argument ever for having uni numbers on helmets (are you listening, Chargers?).
• Did anyone watch the game and see this play unfold? Did Johnson pick up his 9 and reapply it to his helmet? Or did he just become No. 4 for the rest of the game?
• Update: Here’s another photo of the same play. At first I didn’t see the flying 9, but it’s right in front of the football in the receiver’s hand.
Incidentally, last night I showed the photo to someone who doesn’t really care about sports, and she was completely fascinated. So for all of you folks who say, “My friends make fun of me for reading Uni Watch” or “My wife doesn’t Get It™,” this is probably a good gateway topic.
Uni Watch News Ticker: I’ll have some additional Ticker material later this morning, but for now just a few items, beginning with the unsurprising news that Chad Johnson risked a fine by wearing a black chinstrap last night. … Iowa State will be wearing 1977 throwbacks this weekend. … Nice. … Nicer. … I’ve generally been ignoring NHL-related leaks, because most of them turn out to be bogus, but I’m printing this note from Graham Bakay just because it seems extra-preposterous: “I saw an ad for NHL 2K8 (video game), which had Marty Turco in what appears to be Dallas’s new uniform.” I figure there’s no way the Stars are going with that (we’ll find out for sure this Friday), but it’s amusing to think about. … One-and-done update: Jim Bendat sent along pics of the yellow uni that UCLA wore for one game against Louisville in 1991.