Flying Elvis lived up to its nickname in the third quarter of yesterday’s Jets/Pats game, as stand-up comedian Wes Welker took a head-to-head hit that resulted in fragments of his helmet decal — and, I’m pretty sure, some of the underlying paint — going airborne. You can see video of the play in question here. (If the copyright police have already taken that one down, try here.) As for Welker, he played the rest of the game with a partial logo. Hey Wes, ain’t that a kick in the head?
In other gridiron observations from the weekend:
• I’m not sure what Jets defensive lineman Sione Pouha was wearing, but it wasn’t pretty.
• A cold-weather Bears game means at least one torn helmet decal. That’s offensive lineman Frank Omiyale.
• When a Seattle defensive back had to be carried off the field after taking a knee to the head, the Fox TV crew brought NFL rules guru Mike Pereira into the booth. He said there was a strong chance that knee pads, thigh pads, and even hip pads could become mandatory next season — not just to protect those body parts, but also to protect the heads of opposing players that come into contact with those parts. As Pereira described it, the pads would probably be sewn directly into the pants. That’s something to keep an eye on.
• After the two minute warning in the fourth quarter of the Ravens/Steelers game, which was called at 1:58, Ben Roethlisberger came out without his visor. Close inspection reveals that he was also wearing a different facemask (before: one vertical cheekbone-area bar on each side; after: two on each side), which probably means he switched helmets altogether.
• Ravens RB Ray Rice was wearing weird adhesive thingies on his upper arms. Anyone know what that was about?
• Packers WR Jordy Nelson tore his jersey, which forced equipment manager Red Betty to perform some quick sideline sewing.
• No photo, but several readers noted that Packers RB John Kuhn’s helmet didn’t have a neck bumper, which exposed some uneven tape trimming on his helmet stripes. If anyone DVR’d the game and can provide us with a shot, please do.
Meanwhile, the four teams left standing have some of the most traditional looks in the league. No matter how things shake out next weekend, looks like we’re gonna have a very old-school Stupor Bowl.
(My thanks to all contributors, including Aaron Wiens, Bill Blevins, Nicholas Law, Jacob Reed, Joshua Brisco, Dan Cichalski, and Rick Rutherford.)
Nylonization Nation: Most of you know that the Pirates introduced stretch-knit uniforms in 1970 (a development I covered in detail in this ESPN column). But many people keep mistakenly saying that the flannels being worn up to that time were 100% wool — they were not. By the late 1960s, most teams’ flannels were a cotton/nylon blend. (By coincidence, just yesterday I came across this blank Rawlings cotton/nylon jersey. One of you DIYers should snap it up.)
But in between the 100%-wool flannels and the cotton/nylon flannels, there was an interim phase: wool/nylon flannels. And exactly when did the nylon get added to the wool? In 1959.
That New York Times article is from Feb. 1, 1959 (here’s the jump). It’s loaded with interesting info, including the following:
• Casey Stengel (who was then skippering the Yanks) had a watch pocket sewn into his jersey, to hold his glasses. Does anyone know of a game-used Stengel jersey that included this feature?
• Spalding exec R. Earl Jones is quoted thusly: “In training camps we measure ’em all, sometimes up to eighty players, for tailor-made uniforms. That is so that no youngster will feel that he won’t make the club because nobody measured him.”
• Yogi Berra is referred to as “Yankee catcher and a dude.” Not sure what the writer was trying to tell us there.
Lots of other great stuff in that piece — recommended reading. And a tip of the cap to Jon Springer, who sent the article my way.
Potentially major Coop coup: Someone on eBay is selling what he claims to be a set of game-used Darryl Sittler Maple Leafs Cooperalls. You’re probably thinking, “How can that be? Only the Whalers and Flyers wore Cooperalls.” Right. Except the auction listing has this to say: “Cooperalls were worn by all NHL teams during the 1981-82 preseason. All the teams had the choice of whether to continue wearing them for the regular season.”
I’d never heard that before. It’s probably bullshit — just another erroneous eBay seller claim. Except this seller has a 100%-positiive feedback rating, so he isn’t a fraud, and he doesn’t sound like a doofus. I still think it’s probably bullshit, but I have to ask: Anyone know more about this?
(Special thanks to John Baranowski for bringing this one to my attention.)
Contest results: Congratulations to Edgar Latorre and Chris Frate, who were selected by Grey Flannel Auctions as the winners of their recent “anomalous uniform” photo contest. Edgar submitted several photos relating to the famous (at least on this site) Big Klu typo, while Chris submitted two images I hadn’t seen before: Lou Boudreau with an odd-looking Indians script (front row, fifth from left) and Marion Motley with mismatched block-shadowing (note how his 6 doesn’t match all the other numerals in the photo). I love that Motley photo — great catch by Chris!
Thanks to all who entered. More contests and giveaways coming soon.
Really Long Uni Watch News Ticker: This has to be the best case of logo theft ever: The T.C. Williams Titans (yes, the same school from Remember the Titans) have managed to rip off the Minnesota Twins and the Tennessee Titans at the same time (major thanks to Bryan Boltik). … Not sports-related, but here’s a minutiae-ish issue that I suspect many of you will have very strong feelings about: Is it OK to type two spaces, instead of one, after a period? Discuss. … Oregon’s new court, which debuted last Thursday, is already drawing criticism. Further details here. … According to the very last item on this page, the Mets have promoted St. Lucie equipment manager Kevin Kierst to take over that job for the big club. I’ll be getting in touch with him shortly. … I really like the stripes on this varsity sweater. … Icethetics is reporting that the back uni numbers on the NHL all-star jerseys will look like this — woof. … Meanwhile, was the NHL originally planning to have East and West all-star teams this year? Maybe — look what Bradford How discovered at the NHL Shop in Manhattan. … As many of you know, David Frost has turned his DIY skills into a side business, turning out jerseys for people’s fantasy teams. Some of his more recent designs are for the Broncs, the HornDawgs, and the Super Marios. … Did you know that the NFL’s fines for uniform violations get higher as the playoffs progress? It’s true (big thanks to Alan Kreit). … Here’s a rundown of current cycling kits, plus an opportunity to vote for your favorites (with thanks to Sean Clancy). … More DIYism, this time from Ryan Connelly, who used his now-familiar Invaders motif to make a T-shirt for a friend’s son. … Check out the facemask in this Lance Rentzel photo (nice find by Frank Bitzer). … Some kid in Tacoma was threatened with being suspended from school for wearing a Steelers jersey on Seahawks Appreciation Day. No word on whether the school blamed the whole incident on the refs (thanks, Brinke). … Here’s a rare sight: Brett Favre wearing a four-point chinstrap. “That’s from a game against the Eagles at County Stadium in Milwaukee in 1992, his first year as a Packer,” says Kurt Rozek. … Remember the photo of the Texas A&M baseball player with the football facemask? Kenny Montross has positively identified him as Rob Swain. Even better, he’s found a photo of Swain playing with the North Pole Nicks — that’s an Alaskan team — while still wearing the facemasked Aggies helmet. … Major find by Dan Cichalski, who discovered an old Vitalis commercial featuring Gil Hodges and the Mets’ pitching staff. … Jacob Pomrenke recently acquired a copy of the complete radio broadcast of the Dodgers/Braves game from April 8, 1974 — the game when Hammerin’ Hank hit No. 715 — and says Vin Scully made the following observation in the top of the fourth inning: “He said Braves manager Eddie Mathews was considering a protest against the Dodgers because the red number 44 on the front of Al Downing’s jersey (and the other pitchers) was ‘too shiny’ and was a distraction to his hitters.” … New uniforms for Air Force hockey (with thanks to Chris Folger). … Here’s some really interesting info on the KM Pro cap brand, which supplied many MLB teams before New Era monopolized the market. I love KM Pro’s old slogan: “Milliner to the Majors” (with thanks to Paul Hirsch). … Incidentally, the site where that KM Pro piece appears, The Ballcap Blog, is new to me, but it appears to have some decent info. Worth poking around. … John Freeman spotted this gumball-style helmet display kit at an antiques shop. I really like the helmet design they used for the guy on the box — that’d work. … In the AFC Asian Cup, Syria’s team is using European 7s (with thanks to Jeremy Brahm). … Back in 1962, the Times featured Mets pitcher Jay Hook, who studied mechanical engineering in college, in an article about the physics of the curveball. Hook was subsequently contacted by an industrial manufacturer called Sarcotherm Controls, which featured Hook in their quarterly journal — check out the great cover design (awesome documentation by Jon Springer). … I’ve seen stadiums rendered in Lego before, but never one as magnificent as this. Additional images here (with thanks to Larry Bodnovich). … New soccer kit for Hiroshima Sanfrecce of the J-League (Jeremy again). … Villanova broke out the sweatbacks against Maryland on Saturday (with thanks to Rob Browne). … In 1943, the Yankees sold Lefty Gomez to the Boston Braves for $10,000. He never appeared in a game for Boston — they released him, and then he briefly hooked on with the Senators — but Alan Tompas found a rare photo of Gomez in a Braves uni (that’s Ernie Lombardi on the left). … Also from Alan: Satchel Paige in an Astros uni. … While looking for something else in Bill Henderson’s jersey guide, I spotted something I hadn’t noticed before: The Phillies had originally planned to go with low-rider uni numbers in 1970. They eventually decided to have them aligned with the chest logo, but it’s interesting to see that they had considered doing it the other way. I believe that style had been pioneered several years earlier by the Finley-era A’s (is there an earlier case study I’m overlooking?), and of course there have also been lots of recent examples. Personally, I’ve always hated that look — it’s much better when the number and logo align. … Yet another team with new sweatbacks: Ohio State. Further info here, and here’s a photo of the full package. I love the stripes, natch. … Troy Polamalu isn’t the only one to wear a cross beneath the rear collar. That’s Palm Beach Atlantic, which calls itself “Florida’s Top Christian College.” … New cycling kit for Team Europcar (with thanks to Craig Ackers). … Here’s our first look at the Cubs’ Ron Santo memorial patch. I really like that it’s rendered in the team’s color and uni number font, instead of just a generic black patch (big thanks to Dan Dykstra). … The LA Kings wore their purple throwbacks on Saturday. Heinous color or no, that’s a really nice uniform. … Reprinted from yesterday’s comments: For reasons that aren’t clear, Archbishop Moeller High School in Cincinnati is wearing the Blue Jackets’ anniversary patch. Weird. … If you like cats (and if you don’t, you’re definitely reading the wrong obsessive uniform blog), you’ll love this amazing cat design chart (great find, Kirsten). … There’s some chatter about Indiana possibly tweaking its school colors (as noted by Matthew Robins). … Friday’s entry about the 1967 A’s wearing white caps prompted this from Dave Starbuck, who’s VP of the Kansas City Baseball Historical Society: “I can affirm that the A’s wore white caps in at least part of 1967. I have a series of snapshots of A’s players that I took in 1967 during the annual Picture Day, and they are all wearing the white caps.” … Oh baby, look at this sensational baseball equipment catalog cover. … Reprinted from yesterday’s comments: I really hope this is the only guy out there with a Padres logo tattooed onto his scalp. … For reasons that aren’t entirely clear to me, Pats center Dan Koppen pasted a photograph of Tom Brady on his jersey a while back. … Color-vs.-color alert, old-style. That’s Sid Luckman quarterbacking for the Bears. Not sure who the opposing team is. … Dan Dobczyk notes that the Bulls have worn their black alts for eight of their last nine road games, dating back to Dec. 15. “The one exception was the Christmas Day game against the Knicks, which was a red vs. green game,” he says. “I like the black uniform, but that classic red is, well, classic.” … The women’s hoops team at Mesa State College revived the old Pacers/Hawks-style jersey design last week (with thanks to Dom Lewis).