Wanna see something odd? Go to Majestic’s home page and check out the second item in the carousel. Majestic is selling NFL gear! What’s that about? In addition, the shirts they’re selling apparently don’t carry the Majestic logo.
Brinke spotted that yesterday afternoon. It’s even more interesting in light of something reader Chaz Noerenberg had pointed out to me earlier in the day: NFLshop.com is selling a series of jerseys called the Pro Line. If you look at the listing for one of them, the fine print reads as follows:
The Pro Line NFL jersey is manufactured on behalf of NFL Shop and is not manufactured by Reebok. The Pro Line NFL jersey is only sold through NFL Shop. … The Reebok logo does not appear on this jersey.
Faaaascinating. Chaz was curious to learn more, so he started a thread on Chris Creamer’s site. You can read the whole thread, but the key info was posted by someone who engaged in an instant-message chat with one of NFLshop.com’s customer service reps. Here’s what he posted:
[The NFLshop.com rep said] Reebok isn’t making jerseys anymore (including for the Pro Bowl), so the NFL had to whip these up themselves. They are not branded and supposedly are not produced by Nike. However, I doubt they would be able to get potentially hundreds or thousands of jerseys made to sell this week on such short notice. I picture two scenarios:
1) These are the eventual Nike product, just without the swooshes. Swooshes will be screened onto the remaining stock to be sold after March.
2) They made a few thousand non-branded jerseys for all the playoff teams just incase and these will all end up at TJ Maxx this spring.
[The rep] said that they weren’t notified yet of the price of the new Nike replicas. Also confirmed that Reebok hasn’t made new stuff this year, and they have just been selling the inventory the whole season. He said not to expect a big sale in March.
Now, I don’t really care about spending $100 on a polyester shirt. In fact, as most of you know, I don’t care about any of this merch — chuck it all in the drink as far as I’m concerned. But I will say this: If you insist on wasting $$$ on this crap, now is the time to do it, because we have temporarily lurched into into this alternate reality in which there is NO LOGO CREEP! It won’t last long — Nike officially becomes the NFL’s outfitter on April 1 (how fitting) — so allow me to repeat that ringing endorsement: There’s never been a better time to waste your money on this crap than now.
As for something I actually do care about, the most interesting thing about all this is the revelation that Reebok won’t even be making the uniforms for the Pro Bowl. So will that game have unbranded unis? If so, it’ll be the first NFL game without a maker’s mark in a long, long time (if you count the Pro Bowl as an NFL game, which I’ll admit is a squishy assessment at best). How long? Frankly, I have no idea, but I’m thinking at least 20 years. Anyone..?
Incidentally, I asked the NFL to show me this year’s Pro Bowl uni designs a few days ago. They said, “We’ll check.” They’ve become very unresponsive to my inquiries lately (I think I’ve kinda been shit-listed, just for generally peskiness), so I have a feeling we’re all gonna see the designs when the rest of the country does. But if they’re really logo creep-free, it’ll be worth the wait.
Human billboards, continued: Totally forgot to mention in yesterday’s post about Instant Sponsor that an Olympic track runner recently auctioned off space on his left arm, in the form of a temporary tattoo. Look, here’s his actual eBay auction, which garnered a whopping 85 bids, topping out at over 11 grand.
This isn’t the first time an athlete has auctioned off advertising space on eBay. The first such instance I’m aware of — and I’m pretty sure just the first one, period — took place way back in August of 2002, when pro bowler Kim Adler auctioned off nine square inches on her skirt. The winning bidder was an outfit called Pacific Pools, at a price of $14,389.89 (and hey, that was in 2002 dollars).
Meanwhile, exactly zero people bid in Instant Sponsor’s auction for a sleeve patch on Kevin Anderson’s shirt in the Aussie Open. Maybe he’d be better off with eBay, too.
Speaking of Instant Sponsor, yesterday I floated the idea of bidding on one of their auctions (which should be cheap, since nobody else appears to be bidding). Having now looked at IS’s fine print, I see a few yellow flags. But I also see that IS has an office right here in New York (although the company is headquartered in Australia), so I’m gonna give them a call either today or Monday and try to learn more. Stay tuned.
Too bad Hot Doug’s wasn’t around to sponsor anyone back then: A few months ago I linked to this wire photo about the Chicagoland Football League. Reader Brian Powers just caught up with that photo and has some interesting additional info:
The caption on the side of the photo noted the introduction of the Newton (Iowa) Nite Hawks into the CFL in 1974. I lived in Newton during that time, and my father and I helped out with the club. One detail that the photo doesn’t reveal that well is the uniform and equipment sitting on the table. When Jim Foster (future inventor of arena football) landed the team in Newton, he was resourceful enough to get the University of Iowa to donate all of their used football equipment, including helmets, jerseys, pants, pads, and even rain capes.
So many players who played collegiately at other schools were donning Iowa gold and black for the Nite Hawks. It was an odd sight to see former Iowa State Cyclone standouts like Ray King, Jim Wingender, Gerry Petsch, and Karl Schueneman in Hawkeye colors.
On a similar note, the Nite Hawk logo on the sides of the helmets was designed by Kansas City graphic artist Don Vernon. His company did all the graphics and branding for the Maytag Co., which was headquartered in Newton.
The Nite Hawks played good football and there were many Big 8 players that played in the Chicagoland Football League after college. Some players successfully made NFL rosters. The CFL became the Northern States Football League a couple years later, using the same logo but with “NSFL” on the shield.
Uni Watch News Ticker: Minnesota’s new football uniforms will be unveiled today. Meanwhile, the team’s Facebook page has the new wordmark, which features breathtakingly poor kerning. Are they really gonna leave that “A” hanging off the end like that? Amateur hour. … Did you know bowl season is still ongoing? Here are the jerseys that were worn in last night’s Artificial Grass Bowl (from Mike Donnelly). … A City College of San Francisco student had dyed his hair with a 49ers helmet stripe. But c’mon, no “SF” logo? (From Al Cummings.) … Jerome McDonnell’s father-in-law is a high school football coach, and one of his players is going to Northwestern. “He was over at the guy’s house when the Northwestern coaches were there, and at one point one of their coaches pulled out an iPad to show the player what their uniforms would look like next year,” says Jerome. “According to my father-in-law, they had four to five designs, and one was a throwback with gold trim.” … Tyler Hansbrough of the Pacers has been wearing goggles in practice after an eye injury (from Ben Traxel). … Reprinted from yesterday’s comments: Really depressing news out of Kentucky, where advertising may now be allowed on school buses. And if you don’t see anything wrong with that, I recommend checking out the discussion that took place in yesterday’s comments. … Here’s something you don’t often see: a hockey player — in this case Devin Setoguchi of the Wild — tossing a baseball (from Maks Skuz). … This is too good: There’s a movement to make sheep shearing an Olympic sport (thanks, Kirsten). … Here’s something we all missed: Eric Lightenberg says the Wild and the Flames wore this helmet decal back on Jan. 13. “It was in honor of Minnesota high school hockey player Jack Jablonski, who was paralyzed from the neck down after being hit from behind during a game,” says Eric. “The Wild also had the logo behind their bench during the game. It’s been the big story here in Minnesota the last month.” … Chris Holmes is creating a gallery of AFL programs. “I’ve gotten up through 1966 so far,” he says. “If anyone can help me fill some holes, I’d appreciate it.” … Also from Chris: Someone is posting a crazy amount of Texas-related sports photos. … Liverpool FC has inked a new kit deal with Warrior Sports. “I don’t know much about Warrior Sports, but it’s worth noting that they’re owned by Boston-based New Balance and Liverpool is owned by Fenway Sports Group, so there’s a Boston connection there,” says Ashley Wilkes. … Camo warm-up jersey in the works for the Avalanche (from Chris Grey). … Cougars may be an endangered species, at least in terms of team names. … New home kit for the L.A. Galaxy (from Isaac Rosenthal). … You know spring training is right around the corner when assistant Cubbie clubbie Gary Stark is affixing the raised “C” logos to the batting helmets (big thanks to Cubs media guy Jason Car). … Really nice throwbacks on tap for Iowa hoops (from Jack Coyier). … New umpires’ uniforms for Japanese baseball (from Jeremy Brahm). … Also from Jeremy: New uniforms for the Japanese soccer team Urawa Red Diamonds. … Someone on eBay is selling a bunch of cool college football T-shirt iron-ons. … The Heat wore their new black alts at home last night. … RIP, Johnny — you may be gone, but the hand jive will always live on.