First, a quick reality check: The two teams we’re about to discuss went a combined 15-11 last year. In other words, we’re talking about two very middling squads. Not exactly a clash of titans.
Nevertheless, people seem to be pretty excited about the newly unveiled “legacy” uniforms that Michigan and Notre Dame will be wearing when they play each other on Sept. 10, which is a triumph of either college football mythmaking or Adidas corporate communications (probably both).
The Notre Dame design is a lot simpler, so let’s get that out of the way first. Basically, I love the helmet (a nice throwback to the Lamonica era), love the striped socks (Adidas conspiracy theorists, take note: Only two stripes, not three), and hate the ultra-truncated shoulder striipes, which will look even worse with the super-stretchy jerseys.
As for the Michigan design, a few thoughts:
• The fact that this is a mash-up design, rather than a true throwback based on a particular season’s design, doesn’t bother me at all. But I realize I might feel differently about that if I were a big fan of the team in question.
• I’m very surprised that the NCAA green-lighted the tiny uni number on the front. I don’t mind the big “M” — it looks pretty cool, actually — but the little number is distracting. If you can make them that small, why not just scrap them altogether?
• Love the TV-numbered helmets. Gray facemasks are a nice touch, too.
• The front insignia and the back uni number both feature faux inner stitching to simulate a quilted look, much like the Sabres’ retro alternates. While I appreciate the idea behind this and am generally in favor of anything that teaches fans things they didn’t know before (seriously, how many of us knew that design style had even existed until the Sabres invoked it?), it doesn’t look so hot. Feels kinda forced, too. Pfeh.
• I’m assuming most people will hate the shoulder stripes. Personally, I really like them (unsurprising, given some of the old jerseys that can be found in my closet), but again, these jerseys are super-stretchies, so I’m assuming the stripe patterns will end up all warped and distorted.
All in all: Could be worse. And given that the game is taking place one day prior to the 10th anniversary of 9/11, I guess we should count it as progress that they didn’t pull any stars/stripes or camo moves, right?
Major uni news! In case you missed it yesterday, readers Tim Brulia, Bill Schaefer, and Rob Holecko have created a new web site that you should all know about: the Gridiron Uniform Database. Much like Dressed to the Nines or NHLuniforms.com, it’s a template-driven database of uniform designs, in this case devoted to football. But unlike that other football database, which only went back as far as 1959, this one goes all the way back to 1933, providing us with an invaluable sense of what the NFL (and AAFC!) looked like back in the day. Given how rarely the NFL acknowledges its pre-Super Bowl history, I think you’ll find some of the early designs to be real eye-openers.
In addition, the new database includes rear views, superior attention to detail, and lots of other cool features that I’m still discovering. It should become — indeed, it may already be — the last word on pro football uniform history. Major, major kudos to Tim, Bill, and Rob for creating such an excellent site. It’s one thing to say, “Hey, let’s do [X]”; it’s another to see it through to completion. Well done, gentlemen.
If you want to learn more about the site’s background, check out yesterday’s lead entry here on Uni Watch.
Time the Avenger: While looking for something else the other day, I discovered something really great: There’s a wristwatch called the UNI Watch. Not only that, but it has customizable face, sort of like a team-builder uniform interface — perfect!
I hereby declare the UNI Watch to be the official watch of Uni Watch. Which would be wonderful if only anyone actually wore watches anymore.
Stirrups Club reminder: Robert Marshall is now taking orders for a new round of stirrups. Some real beauties this time around, but the ordering deadline is tomorrow night, so don’t sit there with your finger up your arse. Details here.
Uni Watch News Ticker: As you probably know by now, the Brewers wore lager-colored Ceverceros jerseys on Saturday (and the Cardinals played along). What you might not know is that Aug. 14 will be German Heritage Day at Miller Park, and the Brewers will be wearing “Bierbrauers” jerseys. You can get a vague sense of what they’ll look like by looking at this Craig Counsel bobblehead, which will be a giveaway at that game. … Someone on a Bills message board who Jeff Christ describes “very well connected” has leaked some new details about the team’s new uni set. Really hope he’s wrong about the logo on the hip and above the NOB, but the socks almost make up for it. … Here’s another case of a Muslim athlete covering up most of her body for reasons of religious modesty. This time it’s a weightlifter. … New logo for the BCS championship game. … Amtrak is celebrating its 40th anniversary with a history train. “It’s divided into decades, with memorabilia from each,” says Andrew Hoenig. “Each decade section features a collection of uniforms displayed on manequin.” … Douchebag move by the folks at the NHL, who told the Bruins’ Shawn Thornton to stop wearing a Red Sox cap. … New logo for the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans Association. “They do a much better job of honoring the troops than a stars and stripes hat,” says Ben Fortney. … Here’s a team portrait of the Occidental baseball team, showing off their 34 uni combinations. “You could say we’re the Oregon Ducks of D3 baseball,” says Barry Stayblur. … Kenny Crookstein reports that police cars in Canton, Ohio, carry a depiction of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. “P.S. Cops don’t like it when you take pictures of their cars!” he adds. … Classy move by the Giants, who gave a World Series ring to Fred Lewis, who had been with the team a long time but whose entire contribution to last year’s team was being on the DL until April 15, at which point he was traded to Toronto. Details here. … Shawn Crull teaches sports marketing at Fishers High in Indiana, and one of his students’ assignments was to design some football and baseball uniforms. You can see some of the results here. … Here’s a new kind of uni typo. That’s the thoroughbred Isn’t He Perfect with a misspelled NOS (name on side) during a recent appearance (good catch by Chris Cocuzza). … Jeff Funke was watching clips from the 1981 Iowa/Michigan game and spotted current Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops with FNOB. … Speaking of FNOBs in college football, here’s an example from UCLA (with thanks to Russell Goutierez). … Freakiest sport none of us has ever seen: fireworks boxing (thanks, Kirsten). … Also from Kirsten: I had no idea that Ecstasy was frequently branded with Nike swooshes, among other brand logos. … Jeff Moulden was watching some footage of 1991 Kentucky football and spotted two players wearing different helmet and facemask designs. … Lots of early-1900s football and baseball photos on this site (with thanks to Kyle Erickson). … Here’s the groovy logo for the 2011 Women’s Team Handball World Championships (with thanks to Jeremy Brahm). … New soccer kit for Bolivia Copa America. … Mike Hersh apparently stopped looking at old sports photos long enough to stumble across this sensational catalog of meat-processing equipment. I’d be all over that if it weren’t so ridiculously overpriced. … You want a patriotic uniform? Here, this this (bizarre find by Comrade Robert Marshall). … “I was watching the NASCAR qualifing and noticed driver Denny Hamlin, wearing the jumpman logo on his firesuit,” writes Casey McClendon. “I didn’t know Nike was in the racing biz.” That makes two of us. … Jacob Kucza reports that Kansas State high jumper Erik Kynard has good taste in socks. … Two Vancouver women had Canucks jerseys painted onto their bodies to help support a local charity (with thanks to Reid Mitchell). … Here’s a great item for an enterprising DIYer out there: a blank tequila sunrise jersey! Someone please snap it up, customize it, and report back with all the details. … Tyler Maun was recently in Isla Mujeres, Mexico, where he saw an Italian restaurant that’s making some creative use of the Ottawa Senators’ logo. … Tim Stoops took a bunch of great photos as Saturday’s Padres/Nats throwback game. … Peyton and Eli Manning were wearing a different kind of uniform for a recent commercial shoot (rare Ticker contribution from webmaster John Ekdahl). … Check out the uniforms worn by the 1936 MLB All-Star Game batboys. That’s Jimmie Foxx posing with them (great find by Bruce Menard). … Just What the World Needs, Part 473: Twitter jerseys, as worn the other day by the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs. “It’s one of the most ridiculous promotions I’ve ever seen,” says Ethan Zavaglia. … It’s hard to tell for sure, but Derek Lucas thinks he’s spotted a little MLB logo on Andrew McCutchen’s hair-control device. It’s a little easier to see what he means if you turn the relevant portion of the photo upside-down. … It had been a while since I’d poked around on Etsy, so I spent some time doing that last night. Among my finds: a baseball-themed traffic safety poster; an instructional guidebook for Little Leaguers with Big Klu on the cover; a set of sheet music with a pretty adorable baseball-themed cover, and another one with a football cover; a brooch shaped like a catcher; a deck of Baltimore Colts playing cards; a super-nice varsity jacket; and a great little set of football cufflinks. … New black road helmet for the Calgary Stampeders (with thanks to Jeremy Brahm). … Remember how Antonio Alfonseca was called El Pulpo (the Octopus), because he had six fingers on each hand? Looks like we may have to start doing the same with that guy they love in Cleveland (thanks, Phil). … Jets coach Rex Ryan was wearing a Thurman Munson jersey at Yankee Stadium yesterday (with thanks to Morris Levin). … I didn’t see the end of last night’s Heat/Mavs game, but Jason Lord did, and he noticed something about the microphone Stuart Scott was holding during the postgame interviews. “Instead of the usual mic flags, it had three small screens that changed back and forth from the ESPN/NBA logo to an image of the championship trophy. … More sweatshirt issues for the Reds: It’s a little hard to see, but someone in the Cincy dugout last night was wearing a “2010 Playoffs” sweatshirt (good spot by Christian Cisneros). … Whatever you’re doing this evening, I hope you have as much fun as I’m going to have.