That there was some right purty football, it was.
And not just in Foxboro — the Raiders and Chargers looked my-t-fine as well. Sure, you could quibble about a few things elements not being 100% authentic or whatever, and today’s fabrics don’t have the texture of the old days, but on the whole these two games were very, very easy on the eyes. And as Phil points out, the teams looked a lot better than if they’d been wearing their standard attire.
A few things I was fixating on:
• I loved that the Raiders/Chargers gridiron was laid out over the Oakland Coliseum’s baseball diamond, with lots of the game action taking place on the dirt infield — a bonus throwback element for those of us who remember when so many football games were played in baseball stadiums.
• The Bills’ throwback helmets have had no NFL shield and no American flag for several years now, so that’s nothing new. But I was surprised to see that the Pats, Raiders, and Chargers also went without those two decals. An impressive bit of graphic restraint. (For the record, though, only the Bills went the extra mile of removing the fine-print warning decal, which means the Pats, Raiders, and Chargers are officially total Nancys.)
• Obviously, there were lots of modern details that we wouldn’t have seen in an early-1960s game — visors, super-short sleeves, African-American officials, etc. None of that bothered me, but for some reason I was seriously annoyed by Buffalo’s captaincy patches, which felt completely out of place and ill-advised. The other teams, thankfully, did without them.
• The other big turd in the punch bowl: those goddamn green dots.
• If you look again at that last photo, you can see how Buffalo’s helmets were cream, not white. New England’s were even a micro-shade darker, or at least that’s how it looked on my TV. In theory, this is fine, but the game was played on FieldTurf, so the uniforms didn’t get dirty and the whites stayed very white, which really accentuated the off-white helmets, probably a bit more than was intended.
• Best argument — maybe the only good argument — against San Diego’s helmet numbers: They don’t mesh well with today’s high-hookup chin straps.
• Oakland’s sideline staff wore these totally boss sweaters, or maybe they were sweatshirts. Whatever, they looked cool.
Not a bad start to the throwback series. I could definitely get used to this.
Research Request: I’ve begun working on a column about football gloves, which I think have had a massive (and largely overlooked) impact on the game in recent years. I admit to knowing relatively little about their history — who was the first player to wear them? The first QB? The first QB to do so on both hands? Was there any ever question about their legality under the rules? Also, I know there’s a story about CFL players wearing glass cutters’ gloves but can’t recall the details.
So if you have any thoughts to share about football gloves — history, design, colors, quirks, oddities (until yesterday, for example, I didn’t know that Lions punter Nick Harris wears gloves), whatever, — let’s have ’em. Big thanks in advance.
Please Note: Yes, I’m still having e-mail problems. Yes, it’s incredibly frustrating. Yes, I’m about to switch to gmail but am giving the Earthlink techies one last chance to solve the problem because I really don’t want the hassle of telling the entire world that I’ve changed addresses. For today, please keep using beerframeguy at yahoo.com. Thanks.
Uni Watch News Ticker: Really fun item here about a visit with MLB licensing VP Howard Smith (with thanks to Chris Flinn). … That is one super-cool radio (welcome back, HHH). … A frog in a baseball uniform? Sure, why not. … Completely gorgeous vintage hoops jersey here. … Good post on hockey uni numbers by Jeff Barak. … Sorry, this item is no longer available, but maybe one of them is rattling around a flea market or something. I gotta have one! (Great find by Kirsten.) … Also from Kirsten: These antique baseball gloves. Lots of other cool stuff on that site, too. … Good news in Rochester, where this has given way to this (as noted by a very happy Doug Brei). … New shirt sponsor for Liverpool (with thanks to Keith Dow). … Several people have asked where I got — or, more to the point, where they can get — this T-shirt. Look here. … FNOB alert from a 1983 Saints/Jets game (courtesy of Bill Kellick). … Do you think the caps worn by members of Hamas look like green Washington Nationals caps? Right, neither do I. But some security personnel at an Israeli airport did (with thanks to William Yurasko). … Jonathan Sluss notes that Ryan Williams had a uni-numbered towel on Saturday. … Also from Jonathan: Virginia Tech soccer player Jennifer Harvey has been wearing an interesting nose guard. … Uh-oh, kitty in the stirrup drawer! That’s Jescoe, Robert Marshall‘s mama cat. Hope none of our Uni Watch Stirrup Club members are allergic. … Speaking of which, in case you’ve missed it, ordering instrux for the latest round of stirrups can be found here. … If you go to the 2:13 mark of the first video on this page, you’ll see the jumpman logo now appearing on Marquette’s basketball shorts (with thanks to Brendan, who didn’t give his last name). … Another good Penn State equipment room video here (Chris Flinn again). … Here’s a weird one: Apparently the Pistons are going to have a memorial patch for Bill Davidson on the back of their collars — a blue patch at home and red on the road. Off the top of my head, I can’t think of that spot being used for a memorial patch before, in any sport (big thanks to Jeff Cohen). … HelmetHats!