Not too many uni-notable details in last night’s NFL season opener. One thing, which nobody else seemed to notice or mention, was that the Packers did not wear a Super Bowl championship patch, as defending champs sometimes do for the Thursday-night opener.
The other thing was the issue of the captains’ patches. As most of you know, for the past four years the league has used a captaincy patch with four stars. For each year that a player wears the patch, another star has turned from white to gold. But this season marks the fifth year of the patch program. How would they handle that?
For the answer, check out Drew Brees and his center. Brees, a fifth-year captain, wore a gold C, instead of the usual white. But since gold is a Saints color, does this mean (a) fifth-year captains get a gold C, or (b) fifth-year captains get a team-colored C? In other words, would a fifth-year captain for the Broncos get a gold patch, or an orange one? The Packers don’t wear captaincy patches during the regular season, so they’re no help. I’ve asked the league for clarification and put out feelers to a few other folks in the know. No response yet. Surprised the NFL hasn’t put out a press release on this (or, you know, set up a whole web site for it). Update, 10:30am: Just heard from the league: All fifth-year Cs will be gold, regardless of team color. So there we are.
And then there’s this: After the game I received an e-mail asking why the officials had a “WRL” patch on their caps. I didn’t notice this during the game, and I haven’t been able to find any photos of it. Anyone else?
Can it get any dumber? (Wait, don’t answer that.) Whatever your feelings about the upcoming 9/11 anniversary, I’d like to think that most of us can agree that this would not exactly make for a solemn, dignified remembrance.
But Lance Briggs of the Bears announced yesterday, “Hey, I’m gonna wear that gear!” and then the NFL announced, “Oooh, you’d better not!” and now we all get to roll our eyes and lose a few dozen brain cells while the whole thing seeps into the news cycle.
This is, of course, a completely manufactured controversy. Reebok — whose wordmark, naturally, is well-positioned in the photo of Briggs’s gear — knows damn well that this stuff isn’t allowed on the field, but they made it anyway. And the league could tell Reebok, “Hey, you work for us, so stop churning out this unauthorized crap with our logo on it,” but they don’t. Briggs is probably sincere (even if he has some funny ideas about how to mark a national day of mourning) but has no clue he’s just a pawn being used to float some merch and drive some page views. The whole thing reeks — the corporate influence in sports is bad enough, but corporate exploitation of 9/11 is flat-out nauseating.
The most absurd thing is the slogan on the gloves. “Never forget” — yeah, like there was much chance of that.
Holy moly! Wanna see something truly mind-blowing? Take a gander at this.
I have never seen a football uniform that looks anything like that. Reader Steve Murphy found the photo while poking around in the Boston Public Library’s photostream on Flickr. According to the caption, the team is the Chicago Cardinals — same franchise as today’s Arizona Cards. No year is listed, but Steve cross-checked the player names in the caption against an NFL database and thinks it’s from 1932. Hmmm, did someone say, “Throwback”? (Update: Steve also found a shot of a Brown University player wearing a very similar design, but without the front uni numbers.)
Steve found some other good NFL pics from the same era, including an early-’30s shot of the Boston Redskins (I believe that’s Fenway, right?) and a really interesting shot of the ’Skins playing the Giants, circa 1933. Look at that Canadiens-style Giants jersey!
No grommet or aglet changes — yet: A few more FBS changes have surfaced. To wit:
• I hadn’t realized that Auburn’s NOB lettering had gotten smaller, but it’s apparently a topic of some discussion among Auburn fans.
• Purdue has added a “22” memorial decal for former player Sean Matti, who died this summer in a drowning accident.
• Teams in the MAC are wearing a new conference patch.
• There were rumblings earlier this week that Georgia Tech might need to revise its home jerseys, and now that has been confirmed. Be sure to read the last two grafs, though — looks like they may actually wear a set of last year’s jerseys next weekend, creating a color-on-color game. Hooray for Russell outsourcing its production to Mexico, which makes it impossible to get a new set of jerseys ready in less than 10 days!
(My thanks to Chad Stegemiller, Patrick Campbell, Mike Foss, Dan Sankar, and Britton Thomas for these contributions.)
Busy fella: There’s new material over at Permanent Record and the Butcher’s Case.
Uni Watch News Ticker: Some 9/11 armbands on tap for USA rugby (from Andy Buck). … Samford University will be wearing this helmet decal tomorrow, commemorating both 9/11 and tornado relief. … Lance Hall and others have noted that a lot of the new Under Armour jerseys don’t even attempt to cover the shoulder pads. … Caleb Borchers wonders if Taniela Moa of Tonga deserves extra points for his commitment to the Rugby World Cup cause. … Good piece about how soccer teams got their colors (from Joe Poll). … Kevin Clark says the Broncos will be wearing their orange alternates on Monday night. … Assorted 9/11-related moves in the works for Arkansas and Boston College (from Sean Patton and Christian Eidt, respectively). … Check out the T-shirt design being sold at Pearl Jam’s Montreal shows (from Matt Friedrichs). … If you click on the decade icons on this page, you’ll see all of the Broncos’ media guides throughout their history (nice find by Kelly Hellman). … An NC State player has some issues with the new Adidas pants (from Chris Warfford). … Soccer note from Kasey van Puijenbroek, who writes: “Here is a composite shot of the 10 home unis for the Australian A-League after all clubs were freed from the league-mandated Reebok deal.” … My Wednesday appearance on All Things Considered prompted a note from a gentleman who identified himself as the Senior Innovation Manager with the Boy Scouts of America. “I was particularly interested in your comments regarding 17-year-olds’ reactions to shiny objects,” he wrote. “We struggle with our uniform, and I’m wondering if a conversation about what might be learned from your work might be appropriate.” Now that would be fascinating — but as I explained to the gentleman, I can’t be associated with a group that has a policy of discriminating against gay kids and atheist kids. Too bad. … Not a great look for Oklahoma State last night: dark-fudge brownie with whipped cream on top. … Readers Marty Hick and James Huening got together in Chicago yesterday. “We were sitting outside at a restaurant, waiting for our burgers,” says James, “when Marty points across the street and says, ‘Isn’t that your last name on that building?’ Lo and behold, he was right. I’ve seen that building dozens of times, but I’ve never noticed that detail.” Finally, naming rights we can all feel good about! Now all we need is to find a few fans named Citi, U.S. Cellular, and Minute Maid, and we’ll be all set. … Scott Lederer notes that Ryan Braun’s helmet logo appears to be slightly off-center. … “There’s a statue in downtown Phoenix titled Full Life Reach,” writes Kenn Tomasch. “It’s of a (normally) nude man, but he’s occasionally dressed up in the uniform of a local team if there’s a special occasion or a playoff run or something. Thursday morning I noticed he’s been dressed in a 2001 Diamondbacks uniform because the team is celebrating the 10th anniversary of its World Series title this weekend. The uni appears to be accurate, and even includes the American flag rear-neckline patch from 2001 and the appropriate World Series sleeve patch.” … Really good article on the history of the Longhorns’ logo.
Looking ahead: I’m going to be running errands for most of today, and then tonight I’m heading upstate, where I’ll spend the weekend checking out the missing Candela structure. Won’t be back until late Sunday night, and don’t expect to see a single moment of football while I’m away, so Phil will have Monday Morning Uni Watch for you (thanks, buddy). I’ll be back in the saddle on Tuesday — see you then.