In case you missed it yesterday, Phil reported how Nike had unveiled a new set of NFL gloves for the Pro Bowl on Saturday. What Phil didn’t mention (in part because he wanted to let me address it) was that the Panthers gloves featured an updated team logo. By the end of yesterday, the new logo — along with a new wordmark — had been formally acknowledged on the team’s web site.
So how do the new logo and wordmark differ from the old ones? Here’s let’s take a look (click to enlarge):
• The single biggest plus about the new logo, at least to my eyes, is the elimination of the black keyline, which makes the whole design feel less cartoon-ish, more fluid.
• Using more blue and less gray also feels like an improvement. Ditto for the extra detailing on the ears.
• That said, a lot of small details on the new design feel wrong. Why is the left eye all squinty? Why does the lower-left fang lack definition? Why do the left whiskers not extend into the cheek? Why does the outline of the lower mouth and lips look like it was lifted from the Rolling Stones logo? All in all, not bad — but not nearly as good as it could have been.
• The new wordmark is an obvious upgrade, but only because the old one was a joke. The new one feels very, very generic.
• Lots of people are already referring to this as “Nike’s first new NFL design,” or words to that effect. But if you go back and look at the announcement on the team’s web site, it says the tweaks were made “by the National Football League’s creative department.” In fact, there’s not a single mention of Nike. All of which supports what I’ve been saying all along, namely that the NFL’s changeover to Nike does not mean that Phil Knight is suddenly calling all the shots for the entire league. In other words: Everyone calm the fuck down already — it’s just a new outfitter, not a whole new era, even if the Swooshkateers would like you to believe otherwise.
(Incidentally, there’s been some chatter that the Falcons gloves show a gold outline on the logo and that the Seahawks gloves show slightly different team colors. But they don’t — it’s just the lighting. Trust me.)
As for the Pro Bowl, I didn’t pay very close attention to it (my friend Carrie was over and we were too busy drinking and yakking to care about the most meaningless NFL game of the year), but I laughed when I turned on NBC just before kickoff and saw Ray Lewis being interviewed while wearing Under Armour gloves. Guess he didn’t get the memo about the new handwear. In fact, I only saw one player wearing the new gloves: Greg Jennings of the Packers (although I suppose there may have been others who I didn’t notice), who was also the only player I saw praying toward
Mecca Beaverton (nice of Nike to provide a way for pro players to be penalized for excessive celebration, just like they did for college players). So these gloves seem more like hype-driven merch than game equipment. In other words, who really gives a shit.
A few other notes from the Pro Bowl:
• There appeared to be lots of players wearing untucked jerseys, droopy socks, and lots of other things that basically said, “No, we don’t take this game even a little bit seriously.” I’ve decided to honor that sentiment by not bothering to track down photos of the untucked jerseys, droopy socks, etc., because if they don’t care, why should I?
• Of course, the most uni-notable thing about the game was the complete lack of maker’s marks on the jerseys and pants (as I had reported several times over the previous 10 days or so), making this the first NFL game without logo creep in twenty-some years. Glorious.
• You know, all joking aside, I think these Pro Bowl uniforms aren’t bad. I mean, look at that shot of Larry Fitzgerald in the last link — nothing to be embarrassed about there. They should quit while they’re ahead and stick with this design.
Okay, now let the Stupor Bowl hype begin.
More glove stories: We’ve occasionally touched upon the topic of Canadian football players wearing glass cutter’s gloves back in the 1980s. The pseudonymous Hungry Hungry Hipster has come up with some new info on that front:
I stumbled upon a Saskatchewan Roughriders fan site with a discussion thread about the glass cutter glove phenomenon. Lots of great stuff in it, including the following:
1) All of the Saskatchewan wide receivers wore glass cutter gloves in the 1989
2) Most of the people in the thread agree that WR Jeff Fairholm was the first player anywhere to wear glass cutter gloves. One guy claims Fairholm wore them at the University of Arizona first and then brought them to the CFL (Some of the thread’s participants disagree, saying James “The Duke” Ellingson or Donald “Narco” Narcisse was first.)
3) This is probably the most important piece of info from the thread:
“[The first player to wear glass cutter gloves was] absolutely
Fairholm. They even did a halftime thing on him once that focused on
the gloves and that he brought them up with him.”
4) Another guy posted in the thread: “I remember Fairholm’s (halftime) piece because he [said he] preferred the tackiness of the glass cutter gloves.”
5) Yet another guy claims his brother played for the Rams, had green glass cutter gloves, and only paid $5 for them!
6) Someone named Sanduski (or Sandusky — it’s spelled both ways in the
thread “had a Sandman company that sold [glass cutter gloves].”
7) One guy claims Doug Flutie wore gray glass cutter gloves in the NFL.
Good stuff. I continue to be puzzled by the way gloves apparently made their way onto the gridiron without anyone raising a peep as to whether their legality.
Gotta see it to disbelieve it: You probably know that Phil Knight spoke at Joe Paterno’s memorial service last week. What you might not know is what reader Darren Walton posted in Friday’s comments: “As Knight walked to the podium to deliver his emotional eulogy, the image displayed on the large screen [behind him] was just Joe’s feet, showing his black Nikes. Nike has found a way to sponsor funerals.”
Here, see for yourself:
I have nothing to add.
Report card update: New developments over on the Permanent Record Blog.
Uni Watch News Ticker: If anything uni-notable happened in the NHL All-Star Game (which featured the same uniforms from last year), I’m not aware of it. … Novak Djokovic tore off his shirt after winning the Aussie Open yesterday. … Total brain cramp on my part for not mentioning Thursday night’s amazing Clippers/Grizzlies throwback game in last Friday’s Ticker. … Check it out — a Keith Hernandez coat rack. … Interesting “MU” cap logo in this 1920 Marquette hockey photo. “I’m curious as to whether that logo was in use for any baseball or other teams at the time,” says Gerry Hintermeister. … Brett Lowman, who runs the excellent Play OK Antiques memorabilia operation, recently got his hands on this magnificent old baseball uniform. “It was owned by a player named Jack Silknitter, who played for both West Chester and the Parkesburg Iron works team in the early 1920s,” he says. … Speaking of Brett, I just bought these three old uniform catalogs from him. Further details once they arrive in the mail. … Some thoughtful writing on the subject of MLS jersey sponsorships (from Sean Tuffy). … Hey, there’s a whole blog devoted to photos of hockey players as kids (from Jay Sullivan). … We’ve already seen the Astros’ 50th-anniversary logo, but here’s how it looks as an embroidered patch. Nice! (Big thanks to Chaz Noerenberg). … Not often that you’ll see a curling sheet and the Super Bowl logo together in the same photo. That shot is from the Super Bowl Village in Indianapolis, where USA Curling has set up a demo sheet to help promote the sport. … Tim E. O’Brien has written an open letter to Indiana football, pleading for better uniforms. … Someone in Brooklyn threw a uniform-themed dance party on Friday night. … Kudos to Sam Lam, who’s custom-painted — and custom-afro’d! — a Coco Crisp bobblehead. … In a related item, the A’s are giving away a Chia Coco Crisp to the first 10,000 fans on June 17 (from Mike Rowinski). … And in still more A’s news, they’ll be wearing Oakland Oaks throwbacks on July 8 (from Peter Thompson). … Tim Duncan’s knee brace has a Punisher skull. “Like the article says, you would never see it during a game because he has a sleeve over it,” says Marcus Ramsey. … Anyone wanna colorize this awesome 1904 Nebraska baseball shot? (From Dan Cichalski.) … Literary note from Gregory Koch, who writes: “Canadian sci-fi author Robert J. Sawyer’s novel Mindscan, written in 2005 and set in 2048, makes a reference to the Blue Jays’ uniforms. The protagonist, Jake Sullivan, collects ‘every permutation of Toronto Blue Jays uniforms, including the lamentable ones from the zeros when they temporarily dropped the “Blue” from the name.'” … “The Seibu Lions are asking kids to design a special uniform for the 100th anniversary of the Seibu Railway,” reports Jeremy Brahm. “The kids can only design the top, not the pants or the cap. And it must use the Lions’ logo, wordmark, or initial.” … Also from Jeremy: New uniforms for FC Tokyo. … The Knoxville Icebears had planned to use pink pucks for a recent cancer-awareness promotion. “But following warm-ups, it was determined that using pink pucks in a game where a team was using pink sweaters, pink sticks, pink socks, pink stick tape, etc. would make it too difficult for the players and goaltenders to see the puck, thus creating more of a hazard than anything else,” says Martk Atnip. “Based on that, pink pucks were used in warm-ups, but not in the actual game.” … Here’s a very cool inforgraphic on NHL All-Star Game MVPs (from Tony Caliguiri). … Syracuse’s mascot has been given more of a “Nike presence,” how wonderful (from Rick DiRubbo). … Bruce Menard spotted some very interesting MLB caps in the recently completed Mears auction, including a very rare late-’40s Cubs design (look how the patch background doesn’t match the blue on the rest of the cap), a Dodgers cap with an unusual version of the “B” logo, and a super-rare blue Pirates cap from 1947. … Nice article on uniform numbers here (thanks, Kek). … Check out this shot of Reds prospect Tucker Barnhart wearing a “Futures” jersey patterned after the Reds’ BP jersey (from Matt Lesser). … It’s tough to see, but Corey Culton says the dribbling the ball in this photo is none other than Mike Schmidt, circa 1971 or ’72, in a charity basketball game. … New lacrosse gloves for Alabama (from Jeff Brunelle). … AFL teams always wore NOBs. So how do you explain this NNOB shot of a Boston Patriots player? Answer: It’s from a preseason game, and teams didn’t add NOBs until the regular season started. … Latest college hoops team to go gray: Seton Hall (from Griffin Whitmer). … Yabba-dabba-do, check out the throwbacks worn by Wisconsin-Green Bay on Saturday. Also: Those three photos show the same player — freshman point guard Keifer Sykes — wearing three different uni numbers during the game. Sykes suffered a head gash and ended up having to switch to two different blood jerseys as the game progressed. … Here’s something you don’t often see: a hockey team with subscript NOBs. “I think it was the Michigan Tech Huskies,” says Nicole Haase, who spotted it while watching a program about Herb Brooks on the Big Ten Network. … New uniforms for the Yokohama DeNA Bay Stars (Jeremy Brahm again). … Most of you probably know about the Saints’ short-lived stint wearing black helmets during the 1969 preseason. Here’s the only known surviving helmet from that unusual chapter in uni history (Bruce Menard again). … Not often that you see an MLB player introduced at a press conference in this uni number. “I mean, Barry Zito had 75 by choice, Albert Belle picked 88 with the Orioles,” says Tyler Kepner. “But 63 is the number Montero was somewhat randomly assigned as a September call-up last year with the Yankees. Is it the number he intends to make his own? Or did the Mariners just base it on what he had with the Yanks?” … Baylor had a neon-out the other day, to “blind the national TV audience with Baylor neon pride,” whatever the fuck that means (from Tyler Mastin). … Possibly the best advertising slogan in the history of ever can be found in the lower-right corner of this ad (thanks, Kirsten). … Whoa, check out the socks being worn by Arizona State’s (club) hockey team (big thanks to Kenn Tomasch). … This is pretty awesome: A bunch of Occupy activists dressed up as the “Tax Dodgers,” complete with high-cuffed uniforms! (Big thanks to Ed Westfield Jr.) … This is unusual: a curling-style sweater made of corduroy, instead of wool. … Really nice move by the Padres, who are providing hundreds of Padres replica jerseys, from various eras, to local Little Leagues (from Brady Phelps). … More chatter about possible new helmets for Illinois (from Eric Lovejoy). … Joe Loch was shopping at a teen shop with his daughter and saw a T-shirt with a distressed version of the old NFL logo. “Thought it was interesting they would be selling retro NFL logo T-shirts to tweens,” he says. … Speaking of T-shirts, what the hell is the “National Football Association”? I dunno, but they apparently made this Super Bowl tee, which David Raglin’s wife found at an airport. … A skier at the X Games was disqualified for wearing hair ties on her pant cuffs. “She was apparently the only competitor not wearing a spandex ski suit,” says Tim Lewis. “You’d think they’d overlook a couple of hair ties. It’s kind of impressive she made it to the finals wearing less-aerodynamic snow pants to begin with.” … A Maple Leafs time capsule, buried by Conn Smythe himself in 1931, has been found. Its contents include a small elephant carved out of ivory, and Jason Bodnar should embrace the story by adopting the elephant as a shoulder patch. Nice idea, except it feels a bit too A’s-ish, no? … Kudos to Leo Strawn, whose design concepts for the Cleveland Cannons and Charleston Saints (those are American Aussie rules football teams, and no, I didn’t know such a thing existed either) have just been accepted as the teams’ official kits. … Color-on-color game last night, as Evansville wore orange home against Indiana State. “The last time I remember them in orange was in the 1993-94 season, when they wore their orange sleeved unis at home every game as a tribute to the Hall of Fame Coach Arad MuCutchan,” says Stephen Smith.