Okay, it’s official: Something needs to be done about the new NFL jerseys that some teams and players are wearing, because it’s getting seriously ridiculous out there. Case in point: Packers tight end Jermichael Finley, who looked like he was wearing a cheap replica jersey yesterday. His front uni number and NFL shield were too low, his TV numbers were comically small, his NOB looked nothing like those of his teammates (thanks to Paul Mazzarella for that screen shot), his sleeve stripes were warped — it was a freakin’ horror show.
It’s bad enough that the entire Giants and Jags teams are wearing these jerseys. But it’s arguably worse when they’re worn by just a handful of players on a given team, because it really sticks out. Have you seen Joseph Addai lately?
These jerseys look like shit. But they also hint at a bigger issue, which is this: Football uniforms are headed toward some sort of reckoning or shakeout, because they don’t really work anymore. Consider: For the better part of a century the football uni has consisted of a shirt, a pair of knickers, and a pair of socks. But the shirt isn’t really a shirt anymore (it doesn’t have sleeves, and the current tailoring patterns and seam arrangements are unlike any conventional shirts, which is why so many of the classic stripe patterns and graphics don’t work anymore), the knickers are no longer knickers (most players now wear biker shorts), and the socks are no longer socks (most players wear tights). Some of this is fashion, but most of it is actually based on the players’ needs on the field. If you believe in form following function — which I do — then something’s gotta give.
That’s what the new jerseys are trying to do — they’re an attempt to come up with a new paradigm for the shirt. But I think something more radical is probably called for, like a unitard, with a whole new set of graphics. Would it look horrible? Probably. But it would also be more functional that the current format, which increasingly feels like an outdated attempt to shoehorn today’s athletes and technology into yesterday’s design concept.
A few other notes from the weekend:
• Doug Keklak and Jarden Camden both took note of Montana RB Thomas Brooks-Fletcher’s very unusual NOB format. As more and more married couples opt for hyphenated surnames, we may see more of this in the years to come.
• Okay, so we all know that Army and Navy players wore military patches on their jerseys on Saturday. But why did one of the Navy players have a Seahawks patch? Is there a Naval unit that uses that logo? (Screen shot taken by Jason Greenstein.)
• Looks like Ryan Grant had a bar of soap taped to his elbow yesterday. In all seriousness, I’ve seen guys wear elbow pads and I’ve seen guys wear tape, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone wear a taped-on elbow pad.
• Eric Stangel notes that Chargers WR Vincent Jackson began the game wearing the team’s 50th-anniversary paty, but the patch was missing later in the game. What happened? In the 4th quarter he tore his jersey and had to put on a new one, which didn’t have the patch.
• Have I mentioned that today’s NFL jerseys seem a bit too stretchy?
• I miss the Rams’ gold pants — so much better than their white-on-white look.
Wait, did I just argue in favor of an NFL unitard a few paragraphs ago?
The Jeremy Files: I receive at least one Ticker submission from Jeremy Brahm almost every day. But he really outdid himself over the weekend, when he sent me six separate e-mails with loads of interesting tidbits. Instead of putting them in today’s Ticker, I’ve gathered them all here:
• As you can imagine, I really like the Brazilian basketball uniforms from the 1980 Olympics.
• Here’s the new ball for the Italian Volleyball League.
• Speaking of volleyball, Jeremy has come across a guy named Gunter Pilz, who runs a site devoted to volleyball-related stamps and postal cancellations (you can see some of the site’s greatest hits, so to speak, in this excellent PDF). Man, that’s so specific, it makes Uni Watch seem like CNN! Turns out it’s a subset of the larger sports philately community.
• This is the 1920 French Olympic field hockey team. Love that little rooster patch!
• Here’s the French hockey team from the 1924 Olympics. Man, do those guys look skinny or what? No padding at all.
• While looking for Lake Placid luge photos, Jeremy came across a site specializing in bobsled photos from Saranac Lake. Among the many highlights: helmets that look like modified football helmets (plus I dig that sleeve patch); the New York State Conservation Dept. team; some awesome sweaters (here’s another view); and some interesting jackets (the embroidery is nice, but I’m actually more interested in the odd tailoring along the lower portion of the jacket).
And there you have it — a weekend in the life of my in-box, Jeremy-style.
Membership Update: Several excellent new designs have been added to the membership card gallery, including Roarke Boes’s Cleveland Barons TV number treatment, shown at right (an awesome request, no?). As always, you can get in on the membership scene by signing up here.
By the way: All Naming Wrongs tees are now eligible for a 10% discount. Just enter “UNIWATCH” in the appropriate field at checkout.
And now a quick word from Phil: Anyone who’d like to participate in the Uni Watch NCAA Bowl Game Pool, please go to Pooltracker.com and “Join Pool” at the top of the page. Then select “UW Bowl Game Tracker.” The password is “UniWatch.” Make all your picks by Thursday — that’s when the picks are locked in. First up is the New Mexico Bowl. Huge thanks go to Andrew Zimmerman for setting this up. Good luck!
Uni Watch News Ticker: If you’re gonna take a spill, you may as well be wearing great stripes while doing so (with thanks to Evan Meister). … Wish I’d known about this when I was writing my holiday gift guide column: soap shaped like a hockey puck! (Great find by Tris Wykes.) … The University of Oregon was founded by Phil Knight, right? Wrong! Michael Nachreiner found that Adidas/Oregon jacket at a thrift store in Minneapolis. … What’s even better than a hat trick? A teddy bear goal. Explanation here (with thanks to Larry Brunt). … Good catch by Kurtiss Dilley, who was watching an old Pats game and spotted Michael Timpson wearing Flying Elvis facing the wrong way. … Doug Keklak notes that Pascal Dupuis’s lace-up collar was laceless on Saturday night. Ditto for Evgini Malkin. … The poor Nationals can’t do anything right. They introduced Pudge Rodriguez to the media the other day, but they gave him an old jersey with the wrong sleeve patch. The patch is this one (great catch by Eric Arnold). … Uni typo for Will Creekmore of Missouri State on Saturday. Also interesting to see that they have a player wearing double-zero (big thanks to Zach Brady). … At first glance, this is just a shot of a young Ted Williams. But there’s more to it than that, as Bruce Menard explains: “The Red Sox only wore that road jersey in 1936 and ’37, and Ted didn’t appear with the Red Sox until 1939. I’d guess the photo is from either spring training 1937 or 1938.” … Cool logo find by Michael Kramer, who notes that Twinspires.com — an off-track betting operation — has transformed the shape of Illinois into a horse’s head. “Really ingenious, and instantly one of my favorite logos,” he says. … Tremendous footage of the 1950 British F.A. Cup final between Arsenal and Liverpool — both wearing awesome striped socks — here (big thanks to Coachie Ballgames). … Loyola-Chicago wore mid-1980s throwbacks on Saturday. “These uniforms were worn to honor Loyola’s 1984-85 NCAA Sweet 16 team,” says Bob Stokas. … Uni-centric movie review from Aaron Rich, who writes: “I just saw Invictus, which is about the 1995 Rugby World Cup. I didn’t love the film (Clint Eastwood doesn’t know how to direct a good rugby match on film), but one thing I did love was that both teams wore colored jerseys in the final match (New Zealand wore black, of course, and South Africa wore green). I wonder if anyone watched this rugby match on a b&w television and couldn’t tell one team from another — even in color it’s hard to keep track. What’s better is that neither team had any manufacturers’ logos on their shorts or jerseys — totally clean and beautiful. Also, both teams had gigantic numbers on their backs and big ones on their shorts, a totally great look. This is the guy Matt Damon plays, Francois Pienaar, getting the trohpy from Nelson Mandela.” … Maks Skuz spotted this woman on a train in Portland the other day. “I love football and it’s really sad i don’t remember the NFL being on TNT! [Frankly, neither do I. — PL] I asked her where she got it, and she said her sister-in-law worked for Nike and gave her the jacket.” … Patrick Walsh was watching a recap of the 2006 NLCS and spotted a fan at Shea wearing a Mets hockey jersey. … Love the American Legion sleeve patch on this old baseball uni. … Yikes! That’s Stonewall Jackson High School in Manassas, Virginia (with thanks to BJ Lanier). … Andrew Ladd applied white tape to his shins in just the right spots to create a serious barber pole effect yesterday (as spotted by Russ Chibe).