Hey, if you’re gonna look like a slob, you may as well have a slob-ish logo on your sleeve while you’re at it. Readers Geoff Hansen and G. Girard both noticed that glitch during yesterday’s AFC title game. As longtime readers may recall, this isn’t the first time Bill Belichick has had a glitch on his sweatshirt.
Only two other uni-notable notes from yesterday’s NFL action:
• 49ers offensive lineman Joe Staley was apparently wearing one of those girdles with padding on his hamstring area. Some photo research reveals that he’s been doing this for a while, so it’s nothing new for him, but I think this is the first time I’ve ever seen an NFL player with padding in that area.
• Was Justin Tuck of the Giants wearing a pink-logo jersey from October? Sure looks that way. (Screen shot by Ben Harmon.)
On a personal note, today would have been my father’s 88th birthday. My Mom’s feeling a bit blue about that, so I’m heading out to Long Island to spend the day with her. See you tomorrow. — Paul
Super Bowl history mystery: I’ve missed only two Super Bowls since 1971, and one of them was SB XII. (I won’t tell you what I was doing instead that day, but let’s say it’s more than a little embarrassing.) So I didn’t see Pat Sumerall and Tom Brookshier having this discussion in the moments leading up to the kickoff.
If I had seen it, I’m sure it would have become a formative uni-watching moment from my youth. I’m also sure I would’ve spent the entire game watching to see if any Broncos were wearing the vertically striped socks. Did any of them actually do so? I’ve never seen any visual evidence of this or heard any mention of it until now. But like I said, I didn’t watch that game myself.
In any case, it adds a new chapter to the already robust legend of Denver’s vertically striped hose. Big thanks to Jim Vilk for the video find.
(And in case you’re wondering, the other Supe that I missed was SB XX in 1986 — Pats vs. Bears. The game fell on the date of my “relationship anniversary” with my college galpal, who made it clear that we would not be spending the day watching football. No huge loss, given what a snooze of a game it turned out to be.)
Human billboards, continued: Remember my note last Friday about Olympic track-and-fielder Nick Symmonds auctioning off a spot on his arm for a temporary tattoo sponsorship? Reader Vince LoBosco says the issue goes a lot deeper than that:
Symmonds has been leading a charge lately to allow for more advertising on uniforms/bodies of the athletes in order for them to supplement their income. Right now the IAAF only allows for one main uniform sponsor. For runners, that generally means a shoe company. And right now the shoe companies generally devote a lot of money to a few athletes. Those who are new and/or not well-known might find it difficult to get a sponsorship from a shoe company that allows them to earn a living and still be able to train. For some the shoe deal they get is pretty much that — shoes and apparel. The athletes still have to pay coaches, trainers, meet fees, and travel expenses out of pocket.
I know how you hate sponsorship on jerseys, but changing the IAAF rules will allow more athletes the means and opportunity to be competitive at an international level. The other benefit you might like is that the racing will be a lot more visually appealing. Right now there are generally three colors in any race: Nike’s uniform, Reebok’s uniform, and Adidas’s uniform. Occasionally someone else will pop up, but they are outnumbered. The new standards would be set up similarly to what triathletes do, so runners wouldn’t be plastered with ads like a Czech hockey team.
I know Symmonds has blogged about this before, but I’m having trouble finding links. Here’s an article about his efforts, though. And here’s one about Lauren Fleshman encountering problems while trying to wear a temp tattoo during the New York City Marathon.
All very interesting. A few thoughts:
• While I would prefer to see a uni-verse complete free of logo creep, I do think athletes in individual sports (running, tennis, golf, etc.) are different than athletes in team sports. It has always been my position that logo creep in these individual sports is much, much less offensive.
• That said, this notion of amateur athletes “needing” huge training budgets and supplemental income really puts the lie to the whole notion of amateur athletics. Look, these people are essentially full-time athletes, so let’s just call them professionals and get it over with.
• And that said, the notion that every athlete somehow deserves a shoe deal or other sponsorship, as if it’s an entitlement or something (which Vince didn’t outright claim, but it’s sort of implied), strikes me as waaaay off-base.
Oh, what a tangled merchandising web we weave: Friday’s post about the unbranded NFL merch currently showing up on the Majestic and NFLshop sites prompted a very informative note from reader Chris M., who works in sports retail:
Regarding Majestic, they’ve been making NFL products for many years now, but it isn’t actually Majestic. These products are actually licensed by their parent company, the VF Corporation. VF has a sub-license through Reebok that allows them to make select NFL apparel. There are about 1,000 rules involved in what they are and aren’t allowed to do, but the gist is that Reebok has exclusivity on sideline apparel, including jerseys, as well as all the other very carefully selected merchandise that players and coaches wear on the sideline. VF is allowed, and will continue to be allowed after Nike takes over, to make what is deemed NFL FanWear. VF uses their Majestic reps to sell the line, but it has to remain unbranded because Reebok has to be seen as the only official supplier of NFL apparel.
Side note: You may notice that the locker room championship gear is also unbranded. This is because VF actually holds the license for the official locker room hot market apparel. This is the same sort of deal that also allows G-III and Mitchell & Ness to make NFL apparel, although their rules are slightly different because they are considered fashion apparel.
As far as the Pro Line jerseys found on NFLshop,com actually being the Nike designs, I am kinda doubting that. Nike will be releasing three tiers of jerseys. They will be known as Game, Elite, and Pro. Their price points will be $100, $135, and $250. Game jerseys will be equivalent to what is currently called a replica. It will have all screen-printed numbers and lettering. The Elite will then move you to what is now known as premier, which will have the tackle twill lettering and numbering. This is what they are currently selling for $100 as a Pro Line jersey, which is why I have my doubts as to this being the Nike product. The Pro level will be equivalent to the current authentic level, which is going to be a close replication of what is actually worn on the field.
Another reason I don’t think Pro Line = Nike: The primary reason behind keeping the updated jerseys so secret is an effort to keep bootleggers from getting a jump start on making fake Nike jerseys.
That thing from last year that I wouldn’t shut up about: Permanent Record — my research/storytelling project involving a bunch of early-1900s report cards that I found in a discarded file cabinet — is once again an ongoing concern, and there’s some major news to report. You can check it out on the PermaRec blog.
If you have no idea what I’m talking about, there’s a good backgrounder on Permanent Record here. And if you meant to read the original PermaRec series on Slate last fall but never got around to it, you can check it out here.
Uni Watch News Ticker: Fast work by the Penn State basketball team, which added a strip of black electrical tape in memory of Joe Paterno in time for yesterday afternoon’s game against Indiana. (And no, that player wasn’t crying — just wiping away some sweat.) … Ya think maybe sports have become a little too prominent in high education? You’re not the only one. … Big news from Bill Henderson, who says the next edition of his MLB jersey guide should be out in June. … Big brand makeover for DC Comics. … Last Thursday I Ticker-linked to a photo of former NHL ref Andy Van Hellemond wearing what appeared to be the NHL logo on his armbands, which I’d never seen before. But Shane Barnes posted a comment suggesting that the logo might actually carry the initials of former NHL official John McCauley. Sure enough! Good call. … UTEP hoops wore their Texas Western throwbacks the other day. … Some guy in the UK has a butt-load of soccer jerseys (from George Chilvers). … Temple’s basketball players now hasve eyes on their feet (from Marc Miller). …
Kids Adults These Days, Part 1: A Georgia woman was arrested for allowing her 10-year-old son to get a tattoo with his deceased brother’s jersey number (from Brady Phelps). … Kids Adults These Days, Part 2: A Baltimore school caused an uproar by holding a Ravens pep rally with an interesting dress code — kids wouldn’t be allowed to attend unless they wore purple or Ravens gear. … Here’s a slideshow of Angels uni history. “Features some good looks — and some bad mustaches,” says Brett Crane. … Spike Lee presented President Obama with a pair of Air Jordans the other day (thanks, Brinke). … Baylor punter Spencer Roth has posted a BFBS uni to Facebook. Let’s hope that never makes it onto the field (from Drew Mastin). … San Francisco’s city hall was lit up in 49ers colors in advance of Sunday’s NFC title game (from Jon Ratshin). … Here’s a really cool bowling dress, even if the embroidery does rhyme with “Wayne Hagin.” … Adrian Acosta spotted someone wearing a Jags jacket with the original prototype logo. Nice! … New football gear branded with a basketball player for UNC (from James Gilbert). … Just about everything you could want to know about the history of the Gatorade shower ritual is available in this article. … In a barely related item, small change for the Florida Gators logo. … Here’s something I’ve never seen before: Wilt Chamberlain wearing either bandages or a Rip Hamilton-style mask (great find by my old college buddy Jeff Katz). … Yet another uni adjustment for Ohio hoops, in the form of some logo-based striping (from Johnny Bruno). … Here’s something I didn’t know: Logan Morrison of the Marlins has a ritual of going high-cuffed on Sundays (from Jon Silber). … Check out these little hand-carved Ivy League mascots (from Terry Paffenroth). … Mike Piazza says he wants to wear a Mets cap on his Hall of Fame plaque. After we get the Marlins jokes and steroid wisecracks out of the way, any sober reading of Piazza’s career stats should make it clear that he made his biggest mark as a Dodger. … Alex Fraser took a bunch of photos at the U.S. Pond Hockey Championships. “I’m pretty sure this was my favorite jersey of the weekend,” he says. … Coupla Saturday-night college hoops notes from Jim Vilk: Pepperdine wore some very nice throwbacks and the Louisville/Pitt game was red vs. gold. … Gumball helmet king Bill Jones appears to have been creating some virtual arena football cards, which provide lots of good uni views (thanks, Ricko). … “Five generations of WVU grads in my family and I have never once seen the logo on this hoodie,” says Joshua Pryor. … More G.I. Joe silliness, this time for the Ohio State hockey team (from Adam Sgriccia).