The Packers’ 1929 throwbacks — first announced way back in March — finally saw their first game action yesterday. Has there ever been a longer gap between unveiling and on-field debut? Personally, I never liked the brown helmet, and still don’t — doesn’t look like a leather helmet, doesn’t look like the Packers, doesn’t look good, period (really clashes with the green dot, too) — but I loved how the rest of the uniform looked yesterday. And I really liked that the coaches’ gear had “Acme Packers” on it.
In other football observations from the weekend:
• The Bucs did their annual creamsicle routine. And in a fascinating development, they even went with full-mesh jerseys with screened graphics, just like back in the day. Not often that you see a team go with a throwback fabric. I hadn’t remembered them doing this with the creamsicle throwbacks last season, so I double-checked. Sure enough, they did.
• Here’s an odd one, at least to me: The Dymo label on Jason Witten’s helmet reads, “82 Betsy.” At first I thought maybe that was his wife’s name, but it isn’t. Then I googled “Jason Witten Betsy” and came up with this message board thread in which it’s mentioned that Witten “is a Betsy alum” — apparently a reference to his high school. Could someone please enlighten us about this? (Update: First comment of the day, from Tommy Forrester, reads as follows: “Jason Witten went to high school up the road from me in upper east Tennessee at Elizabethton High. That is where ‘Betsy’ comes from.” Fascinating. Still odd that his high school is listed on his Dymo label, though.)
• Not sure I’ve ever seen a hand-warmer pouch used by a head coach before.
• Speaking of coaching attire: I couldn’t find a photo, but Atlanta coach Mike Smith was wearing something really weird toward the end of yesterday’s Falcons/Bucs game. Looked like it had three vertical zippers on the front, or maybe just reflective strips..? If anyone DVR’d the game, I’d love to take a closer look.
• The Ravens aren’t exactly my favorite-looking team to begin with, but they really hit a new low last night.
• Turning to Saturday’s college action, Virginia Tech players had a new rear-helmet decal (the one of the left of the American flag). Not sure what it was for. Anyone..? (Update: I’ve now been informed by several readers that this was a “212” decal, a reference to the boiling point of water. In other words, the players were supposed to “get hot” out there, or something along those lines.)
• USC and UCLA went color-on-color.
• We finally got our first on-field look at Oregon State’s undersleeve stripes. While they looked better on some players than on others, for the most part I thought they were a success:
• Oregon linebacker Casey Matthews had some decal problems.
• Yet another Civil War note: At one point in the third quarter, one of the broadcasters mistakenly stated that there was a fumble on the play. After viewing the replay, he realized what he’d actually seen was one of Oregon State’s orange shoes.
• An Oklahoma player was spotted on the sideline in an NNOB jersey. Maybe this was just a temporary jersey he wore on a special teams play to avoid a duplicate-number situation..?
• And a leftover item from Thursday night’s Texans/Eagles game: Stewart Bradley’s helmet speaker was hanging out beneath his earhole.
My thanks to all contributors, including Kurtiss Dilley, Brady Graham, Aaron Wiens, Joshua Brisco, Matt Bristow, and Jon Solomonson.
Research project update: Occasionally people ask if our “White at Home in the NFL” page, compiled by Tim Brulia, could be broken down by season instead of by team. Tim has taken that request to heart and created a year-by-year breakdown. You can find it at the bottom of the “White at Home” page.
Giveaway reminder: Our friends at Gridiron Memories are giving away a college football helmet to a lucky Uni Watch reader. Full details here.
Much more fun than watching college football: Up in Yonkers, just a few miles north of Manhattan, is an abandoned power station. It was built a century ago to provide electricity for the commuter rail lines north of the city. Not sure exactly when it was decommissioned, but it’s been sitting there, vacant, for several decades now. On Saturday I went to check it out.
Gaining entry was easy enough, thanks to this gap in a fence. Kirsten and I wandered all over and even went up on the roof, where I began to climb one of the smokestacks (although trying to scale the whole thing would’ve been rather daunting). Here are some of the photos I took:
Uni Watch News Ticker: Last week I ran this 1980 shot that showed two little Indians sleeve patches. Now Mark Peterson has found some additional examples. “It only seems to have been worn in 1980,” he says. “Maybe an Indians version of Stargell Stars? But what’s that text under it?” Good questions. Anyone know more? … Mark also sent photos showing a variety of interesting tidbits, including that weird 1934 Phillies jersey with the white P and the white tail; an excellent view of the “monkey cub”; a rare peek at the 1937 Indians’ sleeve patch; the 1917 Giants in full plaid; a good shot of the seldom-seen 1927 Tigers jersey; and a shot of a Tigers throwback game from 1992 that I hadn’t been aware of. Those photos all came from this massive message board thread, which is loaded, and I mean loaded, with good stuff. … The Indianapolis Indians will be wearing a 125th-season patch next year (with thanks to Nile Smith). … C. Trent Rosencrans attended Redsfest over the weekend and got a shot of the Sparky Anderson memorial patch that the team will be wearing next season. … We’ve occasionally seen high school football teams whose pants are one color on the front and another color on the back. But Memphis East High in Tennessee extends the front/back color dichotomy to their jerseys. Plus they have SNOB. Plus-plus they’re yet another high school ripping off an NFL logo. Lots of additional photos here (thanks to Clayton Hawks). … Several very nice vintage curling sweaters just showed up on eBay. Look here, here, and here. … Josh Lassiter, who made me promise I’d mention that he hates Texas A+M, found a photo of an Aggie with a missing “A” decal. … Remember that high school that got a bunch of free BFBS uniforms from Nike and then got flagged because black isn’t one of their school colors? A penalty for that violation has now been handed down (with thanks to David Lassen). … The Preds just called up goalie Mark Dekanich, who appears to have one hell of a mask design (with thanks to Dirk Hoag). … DIY alert from Eric Fisk, who spotted someone wearing a homemade Oregon State uni on Saturday. … I’ve mentioned Alex Ovechkin’s NFL undershirt numerous times. I just assumed that little sternum-level hole was a random tear, but now it appears that it’s not random at all — it’s so his diamond-encrusted pendant can show through (great catch by Rob Ullman). … Here’s a weird one: a very old Spalding football jersey in lime green. Didn’t think anyone was offering that color way back when. … Major find here: a 1981 video clip of a Cincinnati TV station covering the unveiling of the Bengals’ new uniforms (big thanks to Brad Burke). … Lots of Ron Santo photos floating around the past few days. Here’s the most interesting one. That’s his prosthetic leg in 2003. … Barron Calvert reports that he just got a mailing from the Dodgers that included this illo of the team’s new BP jersey. I can confirm that it is accurate. … Tris Wykes has written a good story about high school teams “borrowing” their logos from other teams. … Act fast to get this full set of Chiquita NFL stickers (thanks, Brinke). …What do world-class downhill skiers wear under those flashy bodysuits? Here’s an extremely uni-cational video clip of UK skier Chemmy Alcott discussing all her gear (with thanks to Adam Brodsky). … Rugby news from James Vetter, who writes: ” The England Sevens team unveiled new orange change outfits this weekend in Dubai, and won the first round of the IRB World Sevens series, beating Samoa in the final.” … The girls’ hoops team at CE Murray High in South Carolina wears gold socks on one foot and maroon on the other — and they’re not even consistent about keeping the same colors on the left and right (big thanks to Chris Rodgers). … So the Nats plaster a W on their home jersey and promptly stun the baseball world by landing a huge free agent whose surname happens to start with W. Coincidence? … I tried to score this 1927 Spalding uni catalog but got outbid. Mike Hersh, did you win it? … Alex Higley has a friend who’s the great-grandson of Bummy Booth, the first great Nebraska football coach. He provided an amazing 1898 team portrait from Booth’s collegiate days at Princeton. That’s Booth at lower-right, but I’m more interested in the guy sitting next to him — look at that padded chest insert! … Oooh, an Oakland Invaders jacket — from Swingster! If that brand doesn’t ring a bell, look here. … You know that nice Kutztown jersey I have? Someone’s selling one just like it (and overcharging for it) on eBay.