On the left is Nike designer Todd Van Horne; on the right, CBS News correspondent Mo Rocca. That’s a screen shot from a uni-centric segment that will be running tomorrow on CBS Sunday Morning. Rocca interviewed me for this piece a few weeks ago, and I’m told he also spoke with Maryland head coach Randy Edsall and with Barney’s Creative Director Simon Doonan (ugh — that does not bode well). The program airs tomorrow from 9am to 10:30am Eastern. Sorry, I’m not sure which part of the show the segment will appear in, so you’ll just have to watch Charles Osgood as his bow tie for the full 90 minutes. Or, you know, just wait for the video to show up on the web later in the day. — Paul
Cage match: Yesterday I mentioned the room up in Bristol where ESPN keeps all the football helmets, uniforms, and so on that get used on the set. That prompted two interesting responses, the first of which came from Jay Francis, Senior Coordinating Director at ESPN:
I’ve never understood why people are fascinated with our prop cage, but they are. It is a highlight of ESPN tours. It is simply a 6’ x 25’ caged area full of helmets and jerseys. We have an arrangement with Schutt to provide all the helmets. We do not have 12 different Oregon helmets, but receive the correct helmet week-of. The inventory is managed by the directors of the different sports/shows — the Baseball Tonight director manages baseball props, College GameDay director manages the college football props, etc. All manufacturers (Nike, Rawlings, Louisville Slugger, etc.) are very cooperative in working with us for our prop/jersey needs.
I also heard from someone in the PR world, who prefers to remain anonymous:
Back in the late ’90s I was doing PR at an agency for Schutt Sports and we started offering networks the opportunity to use Schutt helmets on set for bowl game match-ups (pre BCS days). We would have to send a bunch –- maybe 20 possible helmets, and then when the match-ups were announced they would scramble to get the right helmets. ESPN started stockpiling helmets, eventually having most of the teams. At the time it was hard for networks and even conferences to get all the helmets –- we used to send all the SEC helmets to the PR staff for their media day, as they made for great set props. We also commissioned ESPN and CBS helmets that they would use coming in and out of commercials.
Years later I checked in with the Schutt guys and they said ESPN would send them a list of all the games before the season and then Schutt would send them the missing helmets. By now they probably have all they need. Not sure how they keep up on the special-edition helmets. We used to send with a Schutt or AiR chinstrap for extra branding.
This was before the licensed helmet and collectible days, so some helmet stickers were tough to get, as the school would sticker the helmets for the season –- not Schutt. I remember trying to get Florida State stickers for ESPN or CBS and the equipment manager saying he could send the main sticker but not the tomahawk merit stickers.
One thing we tried but that never took off was a split helmet — one side ’Bama and the other LSU, or whatever. I loved it, but you couldn’t shoot it correctly unless you had one of those flying cameras — it looked awkward when you tried to photograph it. I have a Nebraska/Tennessee helmet in my office from the 2000 Fiesta Bow. A little lame because both helmets were white.
All very interesting, no? And as if to reinforce the point about the split helmets, reader Eric Stangel just found a Jets/Giants hybrid helmet on eBay.
50 Years Ago…This Weekend
Rick Pearson is once again here to bring us his look at the featured television college football matchup from 50 years ago. As always, Rick documented the game via his “kid cards”.
Two bowls were played on the weekend following the “Big” games … one on the Saturday and one on the Sunday after. Here’s Rick with Saturday’s game:
Jan. 6, 1962: The SENIOR BOWL (NBC)
The last weekend of football–pro or college–on January 6 & 7. … Seems odd now, doesn’t it. … What we have here today are stars n’ stripes on display in Mobile. …Helmets spray painted so teammates matched. … I assumed navy blue for the North, figuring they were taking their cue from Old Glory (and because the announcers likely just said, “Blue”), which meant I’d ask myself if in black and white it looked more like the Colts, say, or the Bears. … Bill Miller was briefly with the Texans, then became a quality WR with the Bills, before moving on the Raiders, for whom he caught a TD pass in Super Bowl II. … Larry Vargo was in the NFL for awhile, his first team being the Lions.
by Rick Pearson
’Bout time to show that sucker who’s boss…
And here’s the full-size.
Uni Watch News Ticker: A heavily recruited high school football player verbally committed to Alabama on live television and also strapped on a set of Alabama gloves (from Tyler Haslam). … Chris Fraterrigo notes that Sergei Bobrovsky didn’t have the orange stripe on his pants during the Winter Classic. … Here’s something you don’t often see: a minor league baseball player with handwritten initials on his undershirt collar. “The Newark Co-Pilots played as an independent that year, so maybe they needed to keep every undershirt under control to save money,” says Matthew Glidden. … Check it out — a hat featuring a hat (from Caleb James). … The Brits have minted some new coins to coincide with the London Olympics — including a 50p piece that explains the soccer offside rule! Very cool (from Chris Cruz). … Remember that Under Armour shoe that’s supposed to eliminate the need for spatting? They used that shoe as the trophy for the recent high school all-star game (from Chris Fox). … “I found these mini-hockey jerseys this morning from a trip to Vancouver a few years ago,” writes Dave Sizer. “They were the toy giveaways with a McDonald’s meal. Much cooler than anything I have seen in U.S. McDonald’s. If I recall, they came with a stand to display them that had the players’ stats, photos, etc.” … Ilya Bryzgalov didn’t appear in the Winter Classic, so he didn’t get to wear his old-school brown pads. But he wore them against the Blackhawks on Thursday night (from A.J. Frey). … It’s looking more and more like Wisconsin will cut ties with Adidas due to sweatshop issues (from Bryan Justman). … Biggest Converse collection ever? Could be (from Gary Brackle). … Jay Sandora has been reading a book called Born to Run, which is about the barefoot running craze and serious ultra-runners in Mexico. “About midway through the book, it starts to touch upon Nike and the advent of the running shoe (and how it marks the downfall of running as a sport and near single-handedly created numerous running-related injuries),” he says. “It reveals some of Nike’s tactics, such as their calculated marketing ploy of discontinuing popular shoe models in an effort to get people to stock up on 3, 4, 5+ pairs of shoes they like in case the model becomes extinct.” Such lovely people they are. … Here’s a time-lapse video of Temple’s arena being converted from a concert stage to a wrestling match to a basketball court over a span of four days.” … Lots of beautiful old signage in this Flickr photostream. I’m particularly partial to this one, but the entire collection is worth checking out (big thanks to Gordon Blau). … Brian McKennna reports that his friend Michael Weinstein has been creating new NBA team logo concepts. Some interesting stuff here — take a look. … Mike Monaghan notes that SI’s NFL playoff bracket featured several outdated helmet designs. … The Blackfoot High Broncos in Idaho wear the Ferrari logo — or something extremely similar to it — on their basketball uniform (from Andrew Seagraves). … New logo for the Orlando Solar Bears (from Robert Anthony).