Lots of readers wrote in over the weekend regarding Saturday’s Oregon/Cal game, which featured the unusual sight of solid yellow vs. solid white. But here’s something else unusual about that game: no TV numbers for either team.
Why are TV numbers called TV numbers anyway? Reader John Ramey, a play-by-play announcer who sent me a note on Saturday afternoon, explains:
Football announcers’ vantage point is often perpendicular to the action of play. So the front and back jersey numbers are sometimes out of view, especially right before the snap. Fortunately, auxiliary numbers on the shoulders or the ever-shrinking sleeve have become an essential part of the football jersey at the college and pro levels (or on the helmet, like at Alabama — GREAT for play-by-play guys).
Unfortunately, Nike’s quest to ruin uniforms has included the repeated omission of auxiliary numbers. This is a real bitch. Cal and Oregon are playing right now and both lack this critical uniform component. And it’s out of control at the high school level, where media considerations are considerably lower. On behalf of play-by-play guys everywhere, please bring attention to this. Those side numbers really matter!
Confession: For all our endless chatter about Oregon’s uniforms, it hadn’t occurred to me until very recently that none of their jerseys have TV numbers. Also wasn’t aware that this was a new trend at the college level (it’s moot in the NFL, where TV numbers are mandatory). So: Which other schools don’t wear TV numbers? We might have to create a special category for schools like Alabama, which have helmet numbers instead of TV numbers. If you’ve got anything to contribute in this regard, send it here.
Sponsor Shout-Out: I know it’s a little early to be thinking about Xmas shopping, but one of our advertisers — Joe Hilseberg’s excellent Jersey NameFrame operation — has set a November 15th deadline for placing orders that can be delivered in time for the holidays. That’s Joe at left — he only smiles like that when he’s got a beer in his hand, and he won’t be able to afford more beer unless he sells some NameFrames, so go ahead and order now. You’ll feel good about having at least one person crossed off your shopping list so early in the game, plus you’ll get a 10% discount for mentioning Uni Watch, so it’s a win-win.
Election Night Research Project Reminder: Remember, if you spot any talking heads wearing purple neckties or other purple attire tonight, please send some screen grabs my way. Thanks.
Signal Flare: Dave Graf, please get in touch. Thanks.
Uni Watch News Ticker: The Blackhawks will retire No. 3 for Keith Magnuson and Pierre Pilote on November 12th (with thanks to James Huening). … And speaking of NHL number retirements, the Canadiens have big plans for Patrick Roy’s ceremony (with thanks to Dave Frolick). … Regarding that NNOB player on the New Mexico sidelines: Several readers mentioned that New Mexico coach Rocky Long encourages walk-ons and red shirts, who generally don’t get nameplates until they are going to actually play in a game. … I never thought I’d be mentioning the New Kids on the Block on this site (or anywhere else), but look at their new logo (with thanks to Alan Borock). … Nice job by Gordon Toggweiler, who found this awesome news clip regarding umpires’ attire in the 2/13/67 issue of Sports Illustrated. … And speaking of old SI items, Jared Wheeler sent along this one from 1991. … I didn’t even know Army had a hockey team, but Ryan Yanoshak informs me that they have a new uni design. … Something else I didn’t know (until Ronnie Poore told me): Clemson awards a leather helmet to their MVP each game. … Doug Keklak reports that Pittsburgh Central Catholic is memorializing a deceased teammate with his initials and uni number on the front of the helmet, instead the customary decal on the back. … Cool National League centennial rug found by Jonathon Binet. … By now we’ve all seen photos of NC State’s ill-fated unitard experiment from 1989. The two shots I’ve seen most frequently over the years are this one and this one, but now Jeff Spry has come up with a larger, clearer version of the first one, plus he’s found a new one I hadn’t seen before. … Brooks Simpson was sitting right behind the goal at last Thursday’s Coyotes/Penguins game and noticed that Marc-Andre Fleury was still wearing last season’s Stanley Cup finals decal. … So the breast cancer awareness trope has come to this: pink mouthguards (with thanks to Matt Shevin). … The Steelers played a scrimmage against some D3 college team last night. … Good observation by Dana Czerwinski, who writes: “Is it me, or does the SOO look a lot smaller than the NERS on this jersey?” … Terry Mark was walking around Assembly Hall in Indiana and stumbled across a display of gorgeous old letter sweaters.
Vote Early, Often, Etc.: I know some of y’all don’t like it when I get political, but right now the stakes are too high, and the danger is too great, for me to remain silent. So today I call upon all of you to do what I’ll be doing — what I do every four years, in fact: Write in Elmer Layden’s name for President. Thank you.