Okay, let’s get right to it: the Broncos/Pats game. I saw most of the game and have pored over a buttload of photos from various sources. After all of that, my thoughts are as follows:
• First and foremost, whether the Broncos looked “good” or “bad” (I think there was some of both) is not the point. The point is that they were revisiting a chapter from their history — a chapter most of us had never seen, and that almost nobody had seen in color, a chapter that has become semi-legendary and is therefore worthy of further study, even if only as a re-enactment. That’s the value of a project like this, even if the uniforms in question look like shit. And I’m not saying they did look like shit, mind you — I’m just saying that’s not the real issue at hand.
• The vertically striped socks were fun, but where were the whites? The early-’60s Broncos (like every other pro team of that era) wore mid-level whites with their hose, and NFL rules still require mid-level whites today. True, many players nowadays have reduced the white component to just a sliver, but the Broncos didn’t even try yesterday — they just went with full-length stripes, which took things from sublime to ridiculous and, more importantly, was historically inaccurate.
It’s easy to blame the players and the equipment staff for this, but I also say, “J’accuse!” to Reebok, because they could easily have made the socks half-white and half striped (like these, only striped instead of solid). Hell, they gave the socks a white foot –why not bring the white up to the proper level? A major botch by everyone involved.
• The white-free hose led to some tomfoolery on the field, as Jabar Gaffney went candy-striped, plus I noticed a few players wearing two pairs of socks with the stripes misaligned, creating a sort of harlequin effect.
• In the olden days, Denver’s pants stripes were much thinner than the sock stripes, so there was always a clear distinction between sock stripe and pant stripe. But the pants piping on the throwback pants is much heavier, so it sometimes looked like the two sets of stripes were bleeding into each other (that photo doesn’t capture it so well, but I saw it a lot on TV).
• Temperatures in Denver were below freezing but the officials stuck with their throwback attire, including the white knickers, instead of going for the cold-weather slacks. Good for them.
• Y’know, helmets with TV numbers on the side always look so damn cool. I realize teams would rather have a logo on the side, and it’s hard to argue with that, but I wish more teams could find a way to marry the two approaches, like the Chargers used to do.
• Okay, so you wouldn’t want to see that Denver uni every week, and probably ditto for the color scheme, but someone on the Chris Creamer board created this — not bad!
• Very cool that they had this flying at the stadium.
Amazing but true: I know this is gonna be hard to believe, but apparently there were also some other games in the NFL yesterday. Here are some of the visual highlights:
• Rare event in KC, as the Chiefs and Cowboys played a throwback game with no white jerseys. And since nobody has a black-and-white TV anymore, I see nothing wrong with it — let’s see more color-on-color matchups. Lots of additional pics here and here. (This game was uni-notable for another reason, as I’ll get to in a minute.)
• Chad Ochocinco finally broke out the pink chinstrap (or was it black strap a pink cup?). Meanwhile, his teammate Dan Skuta, who wears No. 51, had a No. 46 helmet. (Screen shot courtesy of Michael Kinney.)
• Joe Skiba had told me that the Giants’ ghosted Reebok logos would no longer be a problem, but apparently he was mistaken. Naturally, I think it’s great. Too bad every team can’t have this “problem.”
• Owen Schmitt of the Seahawks had blood on his uni number yesterday. And how did that happen? He smashed his helmet into his forehead during pregame intros, with predictable results. Bright fella. (Screen shots courtesy of Chad Todd.)
• In that same game, David Garrard’s NOB was stretched into an arc (probably because the jersey had been glued or Velcroed to his pads). Not sure if the last “R” in his name was backwards or just stretched into a new shape, but it looked bad either way. (Thanks to Matt Takimoto for the screen shot.)
• Just what the world’s been waiting for: pink spats.
I hear there were some baseball games yesterday too, but none of those games featured vertically striped socks, so the hell with ’em.
End of an Era: The color-on-color aspect wasn’t the only unusual aspect of that Cowboys/Chiefs game. Reader J.J. Lauderdale explains:
The Chiefs’ wearing of their Dallas Texans throwback helmet snapped a 548-game streak of the Chiefs wearing nothing but their red shell, arrowhead logo, and white facemask — a streak that began on September 15, 1974, against the Jets. The Chiefs had worn gray facemasks in 1973 before changing to white in ’74.
This is the longest streak in NFL history for a team continuously wearing one helmet with no throwback, no change of logo, no change of facemask color, etc. If you ask people who had the longest streak, most people guess the Cowboys, Steelers, or Raiders and never get to the Chiefs. But many of the teams with the more classic helmets had their streaks broken during the 1994 throwback season (the Steelers, Raiders, and Cardinals, for example), when they wore throwbacks or blank shells. The Chiefs, however, wore their regular lids in 1994, keeping their streak intact.
The four next longest streaks in history are:
• Cardinals, 1960-1994: They wore that bird head logo on a white helmet for 499 straight games before using the blank shell for a throwback game against the Browns in 1994.
• Raiders, 1964-1994: Wore their current helmet for 446 straight games before going retro for the 1994 75th-anniversary season.
• Browns, 1975-2005: 434 straight games for the white-facemask version of their helmet. Then they switched to a gray mask.
• Cowboys, 1977-2004: 432 straight games between the 1976 bicentennial helmet (the one with the red stripe) and the first time they donned the white throwbacks.
Now that the Chiefs’ streak has been broken, the longest current streak belongs to the Bengals. They’re at about 238 games, dating back to 1994 (not sure exactly which week they last wore the 1994 throwback helmet, so it may be off a week or two).
Stellar research there by J.J. — thanks, buddy.
New Sponsor: As you may have noticed, we have a new advertiser at the top of the page: Homage Clothing, which produces some nifty T-shirts, many of them Ohio-themed. Check out their stuff, and thanks for continuing to support all our advertisers.
Steady Fast: Today’s the last day for this batch of indie singles that I’m selling on eBay. I’ll put another batch up for sale later this week.
Uni Watch News Ticker: You know, uniforms are cool and all, but I’ve recently felt like my life was missing something, sort of an undefined emptiness that I didn’t know how to fill. Then Kirsten turned me on to this, and life is much, much better now. … New mask for Jason LaBarbera, continuing his Metallica theme (as spotted by John Muir). … You know what’s great about pink? Everyone loves it (with thanks to Mark Tang). … Also from Mark: Some great old photos from the Northeastern photo archive, including fantastic team portraits of the football and hockey squads, plus a spectacular Bruins photo. … Reprinted from Friday’s comments: Someone has created a very cool New Jersey Devils maize maze. … Yup, no question, Rush Limbaugh is gonna be great for the Rams. … Fascinating chapter in college football history is described in this video clip — highly recommended (big thanks to Brian Willette). … Jim Ransdell, who does the excellent Sports Design Blog, was recently interviewed on NPR’s Studio 360 program on the subject of this year’s NFL throwbacks. … Bears’ dark-blue pants are discussed in the last entry on this Q&A page (with thanks to Chad Todd). … Hmmm, didn’t MLB retire No. 42? (As spotted by Doug Steffenson.) … Jordan Farmar has changed his uni number from 5 to 1, which is the number he wore in college (with thanks to Matthew Wolfram). … “This is the most confusing uniform confrontation ever,” says Bill Blewett. “That’s the Lyman Raiders vs. the Phillip Scotties out here in South Dakota. It was a home game for Lyman (I think).” … Jeremy Brahm reports that the Rakuten Golden Eagles gave their rookie pitcher Hiromichi Fujiwara a necktie for being the “Promising Newcomer (rookie).” … Nice collection of cages from old catchers’ masks (thanks, Kirsten). … The Colorado Eagles of the CHL did the pink thing the other night, but the real news is that the ref got in on the act. “The linesmen were in the normal zebra stripes, though,” says Michael Putlack. … Nothing enhances the view of a football field like a nearby power plant. That’s from a bunch of power/energy-related photos by the great photographer Mitch Epstein. … Reprinted from Saturday’s comments: Big Klu as an Angel. … Some interesting info and photos regarding the Twins’ new ballpark here (with thanks to Brad Lappin). … Harvard goalie Ryan Carroll’s backplate reads “In fide et in bello fortes,” which translates to “Strong in faith and war” (with thanks to Tris Wykes). … Dan Hastings came across a Seahawks logo he’d never seen before, and neither had I. Looks like it was modeled on this old Eagles logo. Anyone ever seen the Seahawks version before? … Not sure I’ve ever seen baseball pants with the team name printed down the side. … Complete President’s Cup apparel wrap-up here. … Happy Thanksgiving to Teebz and all our other Canadian readers.