The Rams went white-over-white last night — not their best look. But several players took things a step further by wearing solid white socks, with no blue at all. Call it white-over-white-over-white. One of the players sporting this look was running back Cadillac Williams, shown at right (here’s the money shot of him). Another was defensive end Chris Long. And I’m pretty sure defensive back James Butler was doing it too, although I don’t have a photo of him. Will these players be fined? Maybe, but they make so much money that it’s the equivalent of a parking ticket to you or me, so they don’t care.
I’ve been saying for some time now that baseball socks have essentially shifted from being part of the uniform to being equipment, by which I mean they’re subject more to the player’s whim than to any team or league standard, and it appears that football socks are fast approaching the same status. For all the talk you hear about the NFL vigorously enforcing uniform standards, socks are all over the place: high whites, low whites, no whites, all whites. You’ve got players like Devin Hester, who often go with two sets of socks (and, hence, two sets of stripes). You’ve got players using white tape to simulate the white part of the sock. Hell, most players don’t even wear real socks anymore — they wear tights with colored leg warmers, or they have the leg warmers sewn into their pants.
It seems like some sort of reckoning or shakeout may have to happen, because the current rules (which call for a one-piece sock, white from the ankle to mid-calf and team colors or pattern from mid-calf to the knee) simply don’t reflect the way players currently dress. If you believe, as I do, that form follows function, the NFL will have to come up with new set of lower-leg standards, or else simply acknowledge that no such standards exist. Funny how that part of the body has gone from uniformity to a total freestyle in both baseball and football (and, to a less extent, in basketball too).
Two other notes from last night’s game:
• Tom Coughlin was wearing a ribbon pin. Some readers thought it looked yellow — and I agree that it looks yellow-ish in that photo — but I saw a good close-up of it on TV and am pretty sure it was a stars/stripes design.
• If you look again at that last photo, check out the seams on Brandon Stokley’s jersey. Phil swears they looked unusually white, but they just look like normal seams to me. Then he sent me this screen shot, which again looks pretty normal to me. Am I missing something?
(Mega-thanks to Phil for help with screen shots and photos.)
By Brinke Guthrie
I’ve been a longtime ESPN fan from way back. Chris Berman even gave me with my own nickname — “Brinke’s Robbery.” So I picked up this terrific (and huge — over 700 pages) book on ESPN. I highly recommend it, and I also recommend this classic satiny 1980s ESPN SportsCenter jacket — just the thing to wear while you’re reading the book. Da-da-da, da-da-da.
In other eBay finds this week:
• Staying with sports media for a sec, here’s a nice CNN-SI polo shirt.
• Wow, a gallon-sized 1970s NFL IHOP pitcher.
• Here’s a cool set of 1970s NFL binoculars by Tasco.
• Reader HH Hipster checks in with a Super Bowl XXIX grounds crew jacket. (Note to The Hipster: you sent a lot of great items, but the other auctions would be over by the time this gets posted.)
• This 1970s Houston Astros/Gulf promo visor could use a little cleanup, but still nice.
Seen something on eBay that you think would make good Collector’s Corner fodder? Send your submissions here.
Wondering why there’s a photo of donuts over there? Here’s the deal: I was gonna write a little something about Permanent Record, which is about report cards, so I did a Google image search on “report cards,” and for some reason one of the photos that came up was that photo of glazed donuts. “Hmmm,” I thought, “glazed donuts are, on the whole, better-looking than report cards. So I’ll just use that photo instead.” (Maybe next week I’ll use glazed donuts to accompany Collector’s Corner, too.)
Anyway … My thanks to the many of you who had kind and enthusiastic things to say about yesterday’s Permanent Record article on Slate. The second article in the series is up now (click on the “2” at the top of the page), plus there’s a little bonus material on the Permanent Record blog.
And for you NYC-area folks, we still have room for a few more people at this Saturday’s Permanent Record party in Brooklyn. If you’ve been following the project and would like to attend, shoot me a note and I’ll fill you in on the details.
Membership update: Several new designs have been added to the membership card gallery (including Jason Shane’s card, which is based on his young son Aidan’s soccer jersey), and the printed/laminated versions of those new designs all mailed out last Friday. As always, you can get in on the membership scene by signing up here.
Incidentally, we’re getting ready to offer a new product to all past, current, and future membership enrollees. Details soon.
Uni Watch News Ticker: Really fun story about an old Alabama mascot. … Yancy Yeater notes that Temple QB Mike Gerardi appears to have wing-like tape strips on the forehead area of his helmet. … Riddell is the only helmet manufacturer whose logo is allowed to appear on an NFL helmet. “So are the Redskins getting fined every week?” asks Ryan Perkins. Good question. … “I found this picture of Washington, DC-area high school helmets, and it looks like just about every logo is stolen from some other pro or college team,” says James Noone. … Reprinted from yesterday’s comments: Brandon Flowers of the Chiefs got in a skirmish during Sunday’s game and ended up with a badly mangled jersey (from Scott Andrews) … Also from yesterday: an article about high school football uniforms in Oklahoma. … Looks like the Phils were using a raised helmet logo in 1964, much like the Cubs still use today (from Kyle Ostendorf). … “The New York Liberty are offering a ‘promotional 1997 black Liberty Pondexter Throwback Jersey’ for season ticket renewals,” says Kevin Brown. “Problem is, in 1997 Cappie Pondexter was in middle school. Meanwhile #23, the number she wears now, belonged to All-Star, fan favorite, and current Liberty radio voice Sue Wicks.” … If you really love your sneakers, bleed for them. “Unfortunately, that is not the dumbest shit tattoo I’ve ever seen,” says Gary Streeting. … “The Western New Mexico University bus caught on fire on the way to a D-2 football game against Fort Lewis College in Colorado over the weekend, destroying all the uniforms and equipment,” writes Bryan Homrighausen. “Fort Lewis and a local high school loaned out helmets, pants, etc. to the WNMU team, Nike donated some shoes, and someone drove the 450 miles through the middle of the night with 55 alternate jerseys so they could play in something uniform. WNMU won the game.” … Fox Sports totally fabricated some newspaper headlines as part of its Bears/Falcons coverage two weekends ago. … What’s the deal with the wrong-colored Vikings helmet in this 1998 photo of Elvis Grbac, especially since Grbac was a Chief at the time? (As spotted by Brad Tucker.) … Here are all of this season’s Islanders goalie masks (from Jason Hoffman). … The ongoing realignment of college football conferences has led statistical guru Nate Silver (once referred to as “the most important mammal since Abraham Lincoln,” and it’s hard to disagree) to do some very interesting geographic analysis. Recommended reading. … ASU players continue to wear odd helmet decal combos in practice. That’s linebacker Vontaze Burfict (big thanks to Shane Nelson). … The Preds have a very logo-driven red line and gold-capped boards. Further details here (from Paul Richard Cook).