How do I know it’s winter? For starters, we got another foot of snow overnight and are slated to get a few more snow showers during the day. And that’s fine by me, since it makes everything look pretty, plus the cats look all cutie-pie as they perch on the windowsill to watch the flakes come down, plus-plus I don’t have to commute anywhere for work, plus-plus-plus I’m well-stocked with plenty of Diet Coke and mocha brownies, which I can survive on for a looooong time. So snow away!
The other reason I know it’s winter is that all those
over-hyped exhibitions that nobody really gives a shit about all-star games are rapidly approaching on the calendar, and now the uniforms for them are finally trickling in.
So when it comes to unmistakable signs of winter, which is better: another foot of snow, or all-star uniforms? Let’s take a look, league by league:
NFL: The most pointless game in big-time sports moves back to Hawaii this year. The bad news about this is that the 17 people watching the game will once again have to look at coaches wearing Hawaiian shirts; the good news is that the Eagles have already been eliminated from the playoffs, which means Andy Reid won’t be coaching the NFC squad.
As for the players, I hadn’t heard anything about this year’s uni designs until reader Ryan Connelly sent me this link yesterday. Here’s the AFC version. Eh, could be worse, right? Except I’m sure they’ll be cluttering it up with all sorts of additional patches (a team logo, a conference logo on the front to match the one on the back, etc.). For now, though, I think it’s actually the least embarrassing Pro Bowl set in years.
One item of note: For reasons that have never been clear to me, Pro Bowl jerseys over the past 20 years or so have always included the term “All-Star” — an accurate term, even though nobody ever uses it when referring to Pro Bowl participants. Technically speaking, Pro Bowl players aren’t “All-Pro,” because that’s a specific designation that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re playing in the Pro Bowl. So All-Pro has nothing to do with the Pro Bowl, and the term that does have something to do with the Pro Bowl is the term that nobody ever uses. Got that? And they wonder why nobody watches this game.
Anyway: The new jerseys don’t include “All-Star,” so that’s a change for this year. Or maybe it’s just another patch they haven’t added yet. Either way, anything’s better than the Pro Bowl. Advantage: Snow.
NHL: It’s been two solid years since the last NHL All-Star Game. Did you miss it? Did you notice? I was pretty excited when I heard they were scrapping the old East/West format, because I thought it was about time we had a shirts vs. skins all-star game (bad for Uni Watch but good for entertainment value). No dice on that, but the jerseys they’re going with seem perfectly fine.
Or at least it seems fine until you see the rear view. Or until you read the press release that says uni numbers will be added above the front crest. Or until you see what “above the front crest” actually means. Genius! Whoever designed that should get, like, a two-hour special on Comedy Central, right?
It’s worth noting that the NHL ASG has featured some notable officiating uniforms over years, from the vertical ref’s stripe in 2000 to the throwback sweaters in 2004 and the silver armbands in 2007 (which were supposed to be adopted full-time the following season but were then scrapped instead). In fact, the league’s current officiating uni set was first worn at the 2009 All-Star Game. So I’m hoping they come up with something new for the zebras this year, and I don’t mean that sarcastically. Frankly, it’s the only aspect of the game that interests me. Advantage: Snow.
NBA: This year’s NBA All-Star jerseys were leaked more than six months ago. As you can see in that link, I’m not thrilled about the use of “The” in the chest insignia. There are a few other aspects of these uniforms that I’m not allowed to talk about yet, but I can say this: The best-case scenario is that we’ll all have a good laugh; the worst-case is that we’ll all need a good cry. Advantage: The snow.
So it’s snow by a landslide, or maybe an avalanche. Wasn’t really a fair fight, but neither was Ali vs. Coopman and people actually paid to watch that, so whaddaya gonna do.
(Incidentally, the Pro Bowl and NHL All-Star Game will both be taking place on Jan. 30, which sounds like a really good day to go clean the gutters, or maybe get a root canal. Just a thought.)
DIY: MIA? WTF??: Seems like it’s been ages since anyone submitted any DIY jerseys. For the record: If you’re still sewing (or knitting, or weaving, or whatever), I’m still interested in what you’re working on. Thanks.
Uni Watch News Ticker: The NFL may be adding impact sensors to helmets next season (with thanks to Steve H.). … USC + BFBS + UCLA = color vs. color back on Sunday night (with thanks to John Barnes). … Further stomach-turning evidence that Nike basically runs the Oregon program: Read the first graf of this story (with thanks to Matt Mitchell). … In the wake of Cookie Gilchrist’s recent death, several photos of him have been circulating, including one with mismatched front and sleeve number fonts (thanks, Phil). … New cycling kits for Team Liquigas-Cannondale and Team Radio Shack (with thanks to Sean Clancy and Walter Young, respectively). … New lacrosse uniforms for Wisconsin (with thanks to Zach Nichols). … Ladies and gentlemen, your Philadelphia Bimbos! … Not sure I’ve mentioned that Indiana State has new uniforms this season. Lots of photo galleries available here (with thanks to Matt Foster). … Anthony Wales notes that one of the odder facets of the Knight/Plank Bowl was the odd placement of the conference patch on the Nikegon jersey. … Steve H. notes that LeBron James appears to have been wearing a uni-numbered mouthguard. … The new helmet that LaMichael James wore for part of Monday night’s game in Glendale is called the Riddell 360. … This Steelers jersey is often referred to as the Batman design. “I must respectfully dissent,” says the always-observant Rev. Nørb. “The cowled design more closely resembles Hourman’s costume and should therefore rightly be referred to as the Hourman uni. Pittsburgh WISHES they had socks as cool as Hourman’s!” … You have to wonder what’s wrong with this country when a company can admit that its product is completely worthless and then be rewarded three weeks later with a naming-rights deal for an NBA arena. Jeez, if only they’d admitted that the bracelets cause cancer, they could’ve landed a sponsorship deal for Yankee Stadium. … Really nice chain-stitching on this old VFW softball uni. … It’s a little too big, or else I could wear this for ESPN meetings in Bristol. … Here’s something interesting: an old Rawlings baseball jersey in khaki. … Rarely seen and seriously underrated: the Orioles’ 1969 vest. You can see over a dozen photos of it, including many I haven’t seen before, here.