See that photo of Jason Taylor over there? It’s not really him — it’s an “8-metre, animatronic version of [him], the biggest animated human figure ever made,” at least according to the photo’s caption. That photo and this one (also of the “animatronic version”) began circulating on the AP wire on Monday, in advance of this weekend’s Giants/Dolphins game in London.
As you can see in the pics, the jersey features a patch — presumably the one that the two teams will be wearing on Sunday. But I couldn’t make out the wording underneath the NFL logo until Tuesday, when the New York Times ran a much larger version of one of the photos. That’s when I saw this.
I knew Bridgestone was sponsoring the game, but would the teams actually be wearing the company’s wordmark this Sunday? If so, it would mark the first appearance of uniform advertising in an NFL game. Temples pounding, palms sweating, I checked with Giants equipment director Joe Skiba, who reassured me that the teams would indeed be wearing a patch similar to the one shown in the photos but that it would not feature the Bridgestone logo.
After I got back down off the ledge, I wondered why games played overseas always seem to present these sorts of problems. Remember, the only time advertising has appeared in MLB uniforms was when regular-season games were played in Japan — first in 2000, when the Mets and Cubs wore AIU sleeve patches and am/pm helmet decals, and then again in 2004, when the Yankees and Devil Rays wore the Ricoh logo on their sleeves and helmets.
The answer, of course, is that most other parts of the world are much more comfortable with uniform advertising than we are here in North America. Hell, the ad patches used in the now-defunct NFL Europe make that Bridgestone patch look almost quaint by comparison (additional examples here, here, here, and here).
I suppose you could say there’s a “When in Rome…” factor at work here, but I think it should be the other way around. The whole point of playing these games overseas is to help promote our culture in foreign lands, right? So as long as we’re teaching them about football (or baseball, or whatever), why not teach them that ads have no place on a team uniform — even when it’s on an 8-metre animatronic figure.
Uni Watch News Ticker: Big congrats to longtime Uni Watch contributor Joe Hilseberg, who recently got married and, as promised, prepared uniform-style vests for himself and his groomsmen. “And on my honeymoon in Aruba,” he adds, “we rode a party bus one night and you have to see the sock action on this crazy woman who was the guide!” … On Monday I passed along a reader query about Kevin Youkilis possibly having the Majestic wordmark under his Majestic sleeve logo. Upon closer inspection, however, it appears that it was just a shadow. … There’s been a discussion of helmet memorial decals over on the Chris Creamer board, including a link to something I had completely forgotten about: the Pete Rozelle memorial worn in Super Bowl XXXI. … The Nationals have unveiled a new radio network logo (with thanks to Kyle Donnelly). … Minor league hockey note from Jeff Seals, who writes: “I went to the Las Vegas Wranglers’ home opener on Sunday night and they broke out their new home jerseys. The front features a poker chip design with the individual player’s number inside the chip. On the outside of the chip it says, ‘Las Vegas Wranglers.’ What’s different is that the left shoulder has big TV numbers, but the numbers are non-existent on the right arm. The back of the jersey has a black nameplate with white lettering.” … Blake Meyer, who runs the superb TwinsCards.com site, informs me that several of his contributors have banded together to create the very similar (and similarly excellent) VikingsCards.com, which features all sorts of old cards, old photos, and so on. Highly recommended. … WFAN radio clown Chris Russo, who’s already shown himself to have a single-digit IQ on umpteen occasions, further undermined his own credibility yesterday when he opined that Joe Giarardi might not be the right guy for the Yankees managerial job because “he’s one of those managers that worry about how the players wear their socks.” … Sure is weird to see Big Papi with a glove. … Speaking of gloves, Kaz Matsui was using at least two different ones during yesterday’s workouts, as seen here and here (with thanks to Bryan Redemske). … Kudos to the Missouri State High School Activities Association, which recently determined that “it is evident there is a problem with numerous schools wearing illegally-styled uniforms” and then prepared “[a]n extensive power point presentation” to help address the problem. Details here (with thanks to John Vernickas). … Good roundup of San Antonio-area high school football helmets available for download in this PDF file (courtesy of Blain Fowler). … Reprinted from last night’s comments: Looks like some of the Rangers are having their rounded shirttails modified to straight horizontal hems. … Brian Schulz recently reminded me of a phenomenon I’d largely forgotten about: semi-pro football, a subculture comprising over 700 teams nationwide. Some of the uniforms and logos are simply copies from pro or college teams, but others are more original. You can access a bunch of semi-pro helmet designs here, and lots of additional semi-pro info is available here. … Those of you who think I engage in gratuitous Nike-bashing certainly won’t change your minds now (nice find by Jeff Farrell). … The Bears will be wearing their orange alternate jerseys this Sunday.