Last night a very foolish school and a very foolish company showed just how desperate for attention they are. I’m not particularly interested in giving them that attention. Like I’ve always said, just because some idiot in a trenchcoat flashes you, that doesn’t mean you have to react. Just keep walking.
But here’s the thing: While you were all ooohing and ahhing about the costumes in question, I was receiving a package of information from the very foolish company. It arrived in my in-box precisely at 8pm — game time. And that tells you all you need to know about this desperate plea for attention. It isn’t a uniform, or even a costume; it’s just a business plan. (And a completely derivative business plan at that, since it’s pretty obvious that the very foolish school and the very foolish company sat down and said, “You know that other school, and that other company? Let’s copy every single move out of their playbook.”)
So instead of talking about the costume design, I’m going to talk about the press release — the one that showed up in my in-box. Let’s take a look at it, one bullet point at a time:
This is more than just a uniform… It’s ARMOUR built with years of Maryland PRIDE and football heritage woven into its design and innovation to make the TERPS faster, lighter and ready for battle.
Hmmm. Exactly how many “years of Maryland PRIDE and football heritage” are involved, and exactly how are they incorporated into the design? And how is this particular design any more “armour”-y than any other design made by this very foolish company? Does it make the team any “faster, lighter and ready for battle” than the other costumes that the very foolish school unveiled two weeks ago?
Inspired by characteristics specific to the Maryland state flag and the University of Maryland… the jersey numbers, cleats, and gloves all feature a custom Maryland flag print.
“Custom” is one of those signifiers that sound cool but don’t really mean anything. What exactly is “custom” about the Maryland flag print? Like, as opposed to all those generic Maryland flag prints?
From head-to-toe, the right and left sides of the uniform coordinate with the two patterns found on the state’s flag including a custom helmet.
Again with the “custom.” Actually, every team’s football helmet is a “custom” design (well, except for all those high schools that rip off NCAA and NFL logos, but you know what I mean). Pointless.
The PRIDE uniform pays homage to the special Terrapin football heritage and to those who have taken the field as a TERP since the beginning of the football program.
Interesting if demonstrated and articulated; meaningless when asserted. Meanwhile, why are you shouting at us with the all-caps?
The new UA COMPFIT PRIDE JERSEY… tight where it needs to be with no drag, no grab and more flexibility. This jersey was built for speed!
As opposed to all those other jerseys that are built for sluggishness, right? Again, how does this jersey differ, if at all, from the one that the very foolish school unveiled two weeks ago?
UA GRABTACK PRIDE GLOVES are scientifically proven to have twice the grip!
Twice the grip of what? Of the very foolish company’s other gloves? Of some other company’s gloves? Of a pair of gardening gloves? And where is this scientific proof? Sounds like late-night TV hucksterism.
Next (and, mercifully, last):
The Terps’ custom PRIDE cleats all come down to one thing… Speed! Each version was built with UA’s Micro G® cushioning to give players more bounce so they are quick off the line for every play.
Yet again with the “custom.” (Memo to the very foolish company’s marketing staff: Try bookmarking this.) And what do they mean by “each version” of the cleats? Like, are there more “custom” designs still to come?
One other thing about this press release: It includes two player images, both of which show a player wearing a tinted visor. Because God forbid they should actually let you see the player’s face and have you think he’s a living, breathing human. No, he’s just a cyborg, a robot who’s “ready for battle,” a faceless instrument of destruction. Until he, you know, cracks a rib or something (at which point he can just be replaced by another cyborg).
So now we have two companies in a race to the bottom. Lovely — I can practically feel my brain cells dying off while writing about this crap. And frankly, I almost didn’t bother. Prepackaged pleas for attention, whether they involve a guy in a trenchcoat or corporate shenanigans, aren’t just lame; they’re tedious, sad, boring. From my perspective, something like the A’s bug-repellant patches, which I wrote about last Thursday, is far, far more interesting — and much more in keeping with what Uni Watch is all about — than a corporate stunt like the one that unfolded last night. If they had both taken place on the same evening, I know for sure which one would have had lead billing today.
By Brinke Guthrie
If there’s one retro NFL thing I wish teams would bring back, it would have to be the helmet buggy. I never knew quite why they were on the field in the first place — it’s not like you could cart a player off the field in one, right? — but I still liked them. The real ones may be long gone, but you can get a set of six mini-buggies on eBay right now.
As for the rest of this week’s picks, it’s all NFL this time around, ’cause we’re all ready for some football.
• Here’s a 1970s Vikings snap-on bike reflector. How enlightening!
• Net up: a 1970s Bengals bobblehead in really nice condition. I have the exact same guy, but mine’s a bit worse for the wear.
• Before Nike got their clutches into Jerry Jones, the Cowboys were an Apex team, and here’s an affordable game-worn jersey from that era in Dallas history.
• Why am I including this rather innocuous late-’90s NFL Pro Line Eagles T-shirt? I had a few of the Cowboys version of these, and I promise you Champion made the best NFL tees I’ve ever worn. Go for this if you’re an Iggles fan.
• Here’s an NFL promo booklet put out by Ford in 1977, with the Rams and Raiders on the cover.
• Never seen one of these — a Broncos copper wall plaque.
• Just in time for back to school: an absolutely terrific set of NFL book covers from 1965!
• Finally, this Bears T-shirt is featured for two reasons: Never seen a helmet depicted at that angle before, and check how they portrayed the season schedule on the back.
Seen something on eBay that you think would make good Collector’s Corner fodder? Send your submissions here.
All that other stuff I do: There’s new material on my blog about report cards (two new posts since Friday), and also on my blog about the world’s worst baseball broadcaster (also two new posts since Friday). And in case you missed the link from yesterday, I put up a fun Labor Day message over at the blog about meat (which will probably have another new post going up later today).
Uni Watch News Ticker: Phil already covered a bunch of uni-notable items from Saturday’s college football action in Sunday’s post. If you missed that rundown, look here. A few additional college football items will be scattered within this Ticker, and I’ll have an FBS update in this week’s ESPN column, which will run tomorrow. … New jersey for Marquette hoops (from Joey Serge). … Reprinted from Friday’s comments: Here’s how the WinniJets’ logo looks at center ice. … Will new ownership for the Dallas Stars mean a new set of team colors? Announcer Darryl “Razor” Reaugh thinks so. … New hoops uni for Baylor (from Josh Lassiter). … Just what the world needs: Amateur Pacifism at the high school level. … The Angels wore these throwbacks, I believe for the first time, last Friday. … Has James Blake been covering up his sneaker logos with black tape? Sure looks like it (good spot by Corey Gary). … Excellent article about the tradition of wearing uniform No. 1 at Michigan (big thanks to Matt Rothman). … Good to see a high school football team going with striped socks. That’s Bishop Fenwick High in Ohio (from Jason Umberg). … Ditto for St. Ignatius Prep in San Francisco (from Mark Lum). … Here’s something you don’t often see: a promotional sponge (from Paul Stave). … Good work by researcher par excellence Trevor Williams, who found a 1975 newspaper item indicating that the Buccaneers’ color scheme was originally supposed to include green. “When the official logo and colors came out, the Bucs’ PR guy bashed the Seahawks’ green and blue, saying those colors ‘sound like a bruise rather than a uniform,’” says Trevor. “But he also said orange, red and white weren’t ‘too exciting’ until he saw them on paper.” … Georgia Tech is looking into changing the uni number design on its home jerseys, because the current numbers are difficult to read. … New football uniforms for Colgate (from Ryan Dowgin). … A USF player had a badly torn jersey on Saturday (screen shot by Mike Mattison). … Is this LSU’s Amateur Pacifist uniform for the Oct. 2 game against Auburn? Could be. Those photos were taken at a Nike store in Las Vegas. … Another day, another “best uniforms ever” feature. These things are just designed to get people talking, so talk away. … A New Zealand designer is claiming that Nike’s design for England’s rugby team ripped off his design (from Caleb Borchers). … You know the whole concept of throwbacks has gotten out of hand when someone decides to market throwback soap (thanks, Brinke). … Aaron Wiens got some good video of Cal’s Marvin Jones removing his Velcro No. 49 “jersey,” which he wears on punts. “His real number is 1 but there are two 1s on the punt return team, so he wears the Velcro jersey for punt returns,” explains Aaron. … Neil Ponzer found some photos from the 1994 Alamo Bowl. “The pants Washington State donned for that game were a bizarre (for the time) swirl of their standard crimson and silver pants,” he says. “They never saw the light of day again.” … The Browns announced earlier this summer that they’d be wearing white at home this season. But as Joe Baka points out, the Bengals’ jersey schedule shows Cincy wearing white in Cleveland for Week 1. So I double-checked with the Browns, where media relations VP Neal Gulkis confirmed, “We are wearing white jerseys (and white pants) for all eight regular season home games this season.” So the breakdown on the Bengals’ web site is wrong. That makes sense, because the Bengals page also shows them wearing their orange alts on Dec. 24, which would go against the league’s new rule restricting alternates and throwbacks to the first 10 games of the season. In short: Bengals still can’t do anything right. … Tina Charles of the Connecticut Sun lost the “C” from her NOB on Sunday. “She later left the game and got a new jersey with her full name restored,” says Stewart Small. Screen shot on the left by Ben Harris… And wait, Jory Fleischauer got a video clip of the wayward “C” bouncing in place. … The Brewers dressed like cowboys for a recent road trip. “In my opinion, it’s asking for a fastball to the head,” says John Okray. … Howard Berger, a longtime NHL reporter, is posting all sorts of cool-looking programs, media guides, etc. on his blog. Some CFL stuff, too (big thanks to Jeff Anderson). … No photo, but Brian Waltz says Ohio State is now wearing “All In” on their neck bumpers. If anyone DVR’d the OSU/Akron game, maybe you could get us a screen shot..? … Ever seen a Super Bowl grounds crew jersey for sale? Me neither, until now (good find by Bruce Menard). … The revolution in Libya has led to a new kit for the country’s soccer team. Key quote: “The Libyan players wore a new white jersey with the three colors of the pre-Gadhafi flag used by the rebels. Most of Libya’s players were from Benghazi, which fell to the rebels early in the uprising that began in February” (from Morris Levin). … The current A’s program has a little feature on Josh Outman’s uniform stylings — and he even mentions Uni Watch (major props to Sam Lam). … The Islanders may not have a good team, a decent arena, or a third jersey that isn’t ugly as sin, but they do have an official tattoo shop. “You’d think the NBA would’ve thought of this first,” says Ben Fortney. … The Yankees will be on the road on Sept. 11, so they’re planning a 9/11 ceremony on Wednesday, which means they’ll probably be wearing those annoying flag caps that day. … Looks like the Coyotes are planning a 15th-anniversary logo for center-ice. “No clue as to whether it will be a patch on the jerseys,” says Kyle Stephenson. … New football uni and helmet for the Citadel. Note that the jersey has no TV numbers — I’ll have more to say about that trend, along with some interesting commentary from someone whose job is affected by it, in an upcoming ESPN column. … Logo creep, zebra-style: See that little “H” below the rear collar? “It also appears on the rear belt loop on the black pants,” says Aaron Wiens. “It’s the logo of Honigs, which supplies football referee supplies and uniforms.” … Word from Teebz is that the WinniJets will be showing off their new uniforms tomorrow at a private function. Photos will undoubtedly leak. … And never is heard a discouraging word.