Last Thursday I drove out to the Meadowlands to see Giants equipment director Joe Skiba, who wanted to show me a bunch of new gear and give me a tour of the team’s brand-new training facility. And lemme tell ya, he showed me some eye-opening stuff — almost none of which I’m allowed to share with you.
I know, nobody likes a tease, but Joe swore me to secrecy. Plus he bought me lunch. Plus-plus, no joke, he showed me this dumping ground near the training site and made lots of chatter about how “you could easily leave a body here and nobody would ever know.” Yikes — message received.
Here’s what I’ve been permitted to say:
• The red alternate jersey has been retired. The Giants will not be wearing any alternates or throwbacks in 2009 or 2010, but they have a doozy of a throwback slated for 2011 — which I can’t describe.
• Remember how some Giants players had a different jersey cut last season (no nameplate, lower placement of the NFL Equipment logo, etc.)? All Giants jerseys this season will feature that cut. One problem last year was that some players’ sleeve stripes looked sort of curvy instead of straight, but that has been addressed and should no longer be an issue.
• These new jerseys will be made of a new high-tech fabric. I usually roll my eyes at this kind of thing, but the new fabric really does look and feel different than the standard NFL material (or at least it does in person — I doubt you’ll be able to tell the difference on TV). Interestingly, the fabric is being made is Israel, which means the team’s game jerseys will carry “Made in Israel” tags — probably a first for an American pro sports team. And that’s all I can say about it for now.
• When the Giants wear blue jerseys on the road (in Dallas, say), Skiba plans to have them wear these pants (which are normally worn only with the white jersey), instead of these pants (which are normally worn with the blue jersey, whether at home or on the road). I like this idea.
• Skiba continues to tinker with the nose bumpers. Here’s what he has in mind for this season.
OK, I better stop there before Skeebs drives out and throttles me for giving too much away.
Fortunately, I have full clearance to show photos of the new training site, which is located maybe half a mile from Giants Stadium and looks pretty damn swank. Among the highlights:
• When the players enter the facility, this is the first thing they see. Too bad about the logo (a major turd in the punchbowl, no?), but that photo is a gem.
• There are also classic photos in the cafeteria and outside the film screening room (each of those photos represents one of the team’s championships; I didn’t have room to include the one for Super Bowl XLII).
• The “ny” logo is everywhere — on walls, on trash cans, even on this drainage plate.
• The old practice bubble has been dismantled and replaced by a fancy new practice hangar. Interestingly, the goalposts are suspended from the ceiling by cables, so there’s no anchor post connected to the crossbar. Maybe that’s common for indoor practice fields, but I’d never seen it before and thought it was really neat.
That’s most of it. At one point we hopped in a high-tech vehicle and scooted back over to Giants Stadium, where Joe wanted to show me a few additional things. The best part: this impromptu photo gallery. Recognize anyone in those photos? According to Skeebs, this is Tom Coughlin and this is Jeff Feagles. And this? That’s a young Joe Skiba on the right, with his brother Ed (who works with Joe in the Giants’ equipment room) on the left. Look at those perfectly positioned pads and wristbands — no wonder they got into the equipment game.
Membership Update: Kudos to Jason Bernard, who requested one of the coolest membership card treatments we’ve had so far: the Steelers’ “golden triangle” design. That’s one of several new designs you can see in the membership card gallery. As always, you can make the membership scene by signing up here.
Uni Watch News Ticker: Now that’s a tattoo (awesome find by Kirsten). … Decent article on MLB cap styles here (with thanks to Matt Shevin). … Brazilian soccer uni history broken down here (with thanks to Brett Fujisaki). … Doug McConnell was
shopping for fetishwear innocently browsing at the mall and spotted these Phillies shirts being sold at Victoria’s Secret. “Is this specific to the Phillies or does Victoria’s Secret have an MLB-wide deal?” he asks. … New football uniforms for Baylor. … Some very nice vintage CFL video and photos (with thanks to Richard Musterer and Jim Vilk, respectively). … What’s worse than a soccer team with a Burger King-sponsored jersey? The underside of the jersey. Depressing details here (with thanks to Dave Tyrrell). … New jerseys for the Quad City Mallards of the IHL (with thanks to Matt Linder). … David Beckham wore short sleeves last night. “That’s notable because he NEVER wears short sleeves, no matter the weather,” notes Kenn Tomasch. “Don’t know if it was too hot, if the kit man didn’t bring a long sleeve shirt, or what.” … Colt Brennan of the Redskins is helping to provide uniforms for a Pop Warner team in Hawaii (with thanks to William P. Barrett). … God, I really hate those filled-in NOB letters. … Want to see just how far triple-A baseball is from the big leagues? The Lehigh Valley IronPigs are the Phillies’ top affiliate and dressed their players in tuxedo jerseys for last night’s game (with thanks to Ryan Harrington and Dan Stahl). … Very cool slideshow of Google logos here (nice find by Matt Carlson).