New ESPN column today — look here.
Meanwhile … I recently got a note from reader Steve K., as follows:
A friend of mine was moving and his wife made him give up his boxes of old videos. Of course he kept all the Japanese porn for himself, but he knew I was a sports fan and offered me the rest. Most of them are ‘This Week in the NFL’ and ‘Game of the Week’ episodes and a bunch of other NFL Films stuff, spanning from 1971 to about 1979. Should make for a lot of interesting screen grabs!
To call the resulting screen shots “interesting” is to severely understate the point, because Steve (who, as you’ll see in a minute, has a very good eye) has come up with a body of material that’s every bit as compelling as Ricko’s contributions. In fact, if he keeps it up, I may have to inaugurate a new “Steve K. Files” series. For now, though, here’s what we’ve got:
• “This is from 1971, Week 1, Jets at Colts,” writes Steve. “Norm Bulaich had a big game, but the more interesting part of this is that he wore an NOB jersey during parts of the game but went NNOB during other parts. The NNOB jersey appears to be an old-school pre-1970 NFL jersey with the larger numbers, because it doesn’t even allow room for a nameplate.”
• “Check out how big the nameplate font was in these shots of the Bills and Jets (1972, Week 1) and the Jets again (1973, Week 2),” notes Steve. “I believe the Jets, Bills, and Patriots, all from the AFC East, used this ultra-large font at various times during the 1971 through 1974 seasons. The Jets seemed to use it inconsistently, as some players had more normal-sized fonts than others. By 1975, this font was gone for good, although I sort of like it.”
• “In Week 1 of the 1971 season, the 49ers wore white jerseys with plain white sleeves — no stripes, no TV numbers! This was NOT their customary road jersey. Except for the Bengals (who didn’t add TV numbers until their 1981 makeover), I can’t remember another instance in the 1970s when an NFL team did not have TV numbers.”
• “Check out the letter spacing on those Browns NOBs” [and the official’s picture-perfect stirrups — PL].
• “Look at the wild rain jackets the Giants are wearing on the sidelines! That’s from 1971, Week 1.”
• “It’s a little hard to see, but here’s an FNOB being worn by the Bucs’ Maulty Moore in 1976. They also had a Manfred Moore.”
• “Here’s another FNOB: Joe Owens, from the 1973 Saints. Oddly, there were no other players named Owens on the Saints that year.”
• “Speaking of off-center NOBs, look at Craig Morton.”
• Check out Mike Williams from the 1975 Chargers — his first name initial comes after his surname. I think I’ve only seen that one other time in the NFL (Browns during the 1981 preseason).” [This is an absolute stunner for me. Never would’ve believed it if Steve hadn’t provided visual evidence. — PL]
• “Here’s Lions head coach Don McCafferty in swanky 1973 duds, including a zip collar.”
• “Halftime show at New Orleans’ Tulane Stadium in 1973. Dog was NNOB, but at
least he had stripes on his sleeves. Is that T-shirt logo big enough?”
• “I hadn’t realized Archie Manning wore a single-bar facemask.”
• “Here’s Saints coach John North from 1973, with the Sir Saint logo on his jacket.”
Amazing stuff, no? Big thanks to Steve for all this great material.
The Oracle Checks In: When I linked yesterday to this vintage basketball warm-up top and mentioned its snap-on nameplate, I was pretty sure I’d be getting a follow-up note from Rochester sporting goods maven Terry Proctor (that’s him at left). Sure enough, he sent me a note yesterday afternoon, as follows:
That photo of the Wilson warm-up jacket brings back many memories of that style. Wilson used the smaller “gripper” snaps, which made sewing the name onto the separate piece of tackle twill much easier. The only company we used that also used the gripper snaps was Russell. Powers, SandKnit and Spanjian all used the larger jacket-type “dome” snaps, which made sewing the letters on very difficult, because the foot of the sewing machine had trouble fitting around the dome. We eventually had the tags attached only at the top, for easier sewing. By the 1970s we changed from snaps to Velcro, which made the whole process a breeze.
Also: In the 1970s, the Coane Mfg. Co. of Philadelphia, which made a full line of quality uniforms (they did the Philadelphia Warriors and the early years of the 76ers) came up with a fleece tag that we sewed directly onto the jersey or jacket. Then you applied individual die-cut letters made out of the hook-sided velcro material. These letters would not fall off during play and were very easy to change if you had a new player. We used them mostly on basketball and baseball uniforms. They didn’t work out for football but they were a great idea in their day.
Terry has loads of stories like these. You might even get to read some of them if I ever get off my lazy ass and transcribe the phone interview I did with him last month. Soon, soon….
Uni Watch News Ticker: Indiana State wore powder blue throwbacks the other night. Note that the “I” is actually the shape of Indiana (with thanks to Dave Reding). … The trend of giving a personalized jersey to a newly hired coach, even though coaches don’t wear jerseys, has spread to soccer (with thanks to Jeremy Brahm). … Reprinted from yesterday’s comments: Amazing series of old NFL posters available here. … Trey Phillips notes that Saints receiver Lance Moore often wore one eye black sticker over the past season (but not always). … Matt Englander has brought another sports-themed illustrator to my attention: Paul Schoeneck. … Great time-lapse video showing the Winter Classic rink being set up at Wrigley Field here (with thanks to Greg Riffenburgh). … Faaaaaascinating rugby observation from Caleb Borchers who notes that the Harlequins, a club in London, wear their first and last initials on their shorts. But if there are two players with the same initials, they use the first initial and the first two letters of the players’ surnames, as in the case of Nick Evans and Nick Easter. … Vintage Riverfront Stadium groundskeeper’s uniform available here. … You know how boxers always do those cheesy stare-downs at press conferences and weigh-ins? Here’s the lamest one yet. That’s WBA flyweight champ Takefumi Sakata with the gauze mask. “On his blog, he says it is just to protect from catching a cold,” says Jeremy Brahm. “I know from personal experience that the Japanese will wear their masks while going to work, riding the bus or train, etc. I wore one over a weekend and couldn’t stand it.” … Matt Powers recently took his family down to Fordham, where his sister works in the Athletic Dept. After watching Colgate and Norfolk State play a color-on-color women’s hoops game at beautiful Rose Hill Gymnasium, they walked around the campus and saw some old framed football programs (here’s another) and this memorial to the Seven Blocks of Granite. … For a few months now there have been all these rumors about the Mets possibly going to a dark-gray alternate jersey next season. As I’ve explained to everyone who’s asked me about it, there’s no truth to this rumor — they may add some dark-gray fashion/replica merch to sell to suckers (just like every other team is doing), but the on-field attire has no significant changes for next season. Then, two days ago, I got a note from a reader who I won’t embarrass by printing his name here, breathlessly telling me that he’d just taken these photos of a dark-gray Mets jersey at a local Sports Authority outlet. I told him it was just a fashion jersey, to which he replied, “But it sells for the same $80 as the other jerseys!” After I explained to him that fashion jerseys sell for $80 and authentics sell for a shitload more, he went away, but he apparently gave the same spiel to several bloggers who pounced on the “story” (including this clown at The Daily News, who really should know better), which in turn led even more readers to write to me. So I’ll say it one more time: Contrary to what a few people apparently think, the Mets are NOT adding a dark-gray alternate jersey next season. And that’s the last time I’ll be addressing that rumor (unless it, y’know, turns out to be true or something).
Holiday Schedule: Phil will have an entry tomorrow, I’ll be back on Friday, and then Phil handle the weekend, as usual. My thanks to everyone who helped make 2008 a very good year for Uni Watch, and remember not to make any New Year’s resolutions you can’t keep.