Got a note yesterday from reader Michael Guy, who informed me that Mississippi State will be wearing white alternate uniforms against Texas A&M on Nov. 8 to commemorate the 2000 Independence Bowl. That game, which was the last time these two schools met, was played in a snowstorm and is commonly referred to as the Snow Bowl — hence the white uniforms.
Michael then injected a whiff of corporate intrigue into the proceedings by telling me the following:
At the time of the 2000 Independence Bowl, Mississippi State was a Nike school, and Nike owns the rights to the interlocking “MSU” logo they used at the time [see photo above]. Since they’re an Adidas school now, it is unlikely that Nike will allow Mississippi State to wear the exact uniforms that they wore for the 2000 game. So they’ll be wearing this helmet design instead.
I found that very interesting on a number of different levels, so I left a voicemail with MSU media relations honcho Mike Nemeth, who called me back a little while later. Here’s how our conversation went:
Mike Nemeth: Now, the first thing here is that this is not a quote-unquote throwback game. We wanted to recognize the Snow Bowl and do some things around that, but the uniform itself is not going to be a throwback. We may do a special uniform for that game, but it won’t be a throwback to the 2000 uniform.
Uni Watch: I see. So that was never the plan.
NM: Right. Now, what you were told about the logo, that is actually correct. But there was never an intent to go back to that uniform or that headgear.
UW: In other words, you can’t use that particular logo, but that’s beside the point, because you didn’t plan on using it anyway.
NM: That’s correct.
UW: So even if you did have permission to use it, you would not opt to use it in this game.
NM: Probably not, since we’re not going to use any of the rest of the uniform from that time.
And that’s it. It’s hard to tell which is the chicken and which is the egg here (i.e., maybe they had no plans to use that logo because they know they’re not allowed to), but it’s interesting nonetheless, no?
Leaving aside the specifics of this one game, I hadn’t realized Nike had proprietary rights to some team logos. Usually when a designer creates a logo or identity system for a client, the client owns everything. Case in point: Nike created the Broncos’ uniforms in 1997 (at the time it was the first instance of a major-level team uni being designed by a uniform outfitter, instead of just manufactured by the outfitter from someone else’s design). But when Reebok took over the NFL’s uniform contract in 2001, the Broncos didn’t have to come up with a new uni or logo — Reebok just started manufacturing the Nike design.
But that’s apparently not the case at Mississippi State. Obviously, if that’s what was spelled out in the school’s contract with Nike, then that’s that, but I’m surprised the school would have agreed to such terms. Are there other examples of this? If anyone knows more, please let me know.
ESPN contest reminder: I’m currently running a contest to rename and redesign the Hornets. Details here.
By Brinke Guthrie
Big week here in the Bay Area, as construction on the 49ers’ new [Silicon Valley company name here] Stadium has finally begun. So I thought I’d poke around for a few Candlestick gems, beginning with this 49ers 3Com snowglobe. Then there’s this 1973 Giants program — pardon me, that’s the Young Giants — with Chris Spier on the cover. And no collection of ’Stick memorabilia would be complete without on of these Croix de Candlestick pins, which were given out to fans who survived the ballpark’s frigid conditions. [I actually wrote about these pins a few years back, because at least one Giants player — I think Atlee Hamaker — wore one of the pins on his cap during a game. But now I can’t find that entry in the archives. Grrrrrr. — PL]
In non-Candlestick finds:
• Here’s a nice-looking 1970 NHL calendar banner with logos galore.
• This 1970s NFL bedspread sure feels like Sears to me!
• Great-looking 1970s ABA Nets bank!
• These 1960s NFL bobbles are terrific. I have the Bengals one.
• Absolutely killer 1976 NY Giants poster, right here.
• Here’s a nice batch of 1970s WHA patches.
• And if you have a spare three grand, you can own a piece of the original Kingdome dugout!
Seen something on eBay or Etsy (or anywhere else) that you think would make good Collector’s Corner fodder? Send your submissions here.
Uni Watch News Ticker: Big congrats to Phil, whose recent contest to rename/redesign the Indians was featured on NBC Sports’ HardballTalk blog yesterday. … “The U.S. Olympic Wrestling Trials were in Iowa City over the weekend,” writes Jesse Gavin. “What I did not know is that there’s a tradition in wrestling that if you are retiring from competition, you symbolize it by taking your shoes off and leaving them on the mat. 2008 gold medalist Henry Cejudo took it one step further and threw his shoes into the crowd.” … If the Nordiques hadn’t moved to Colorado in 1996, they would have had a new uniform design. Over the years, many people — probably including me — have linked to this image of the unused design. But the colors in that mock-up are wrong. Jeff Barak tells the full story and sets the record straight here. … Jeff has also found a site featuring tons of beautiful old Finnish hockey sweaters. The interface is a little clunky, so I’ve gathered some of the nicest examples here. If you want to see more, go to this page and use the drop-down menu on the right to see additional designs. … Latest example of public officials looking to sell out our civic institutions: A Baltimore city councilman wants to sell ad space on the city’s fire trucks. “It’s pretty bad when our public services have to stoop that low,” says Troy Robison. Agreed. … Latest team to play G.I. Joe: Fordham baseball (from Chester Baker). … Joe Huggard found a page that shows all the uses of the old English “D” at Comerica Park. The photo of the “D” on the back of the mound includes a view of the stadium’s cleat cleaner, which is orange. Aren’t those usually white? Don’t think I’ve ever seen an orange one before. … Oooh, I love this chain-stitched speed-skating award patch. … I didn’t know Willie Horton had worn a helmet in the field until Jonah Stutz sent me this shot. What’s that in his mouth — gum? Can’t be a cigarette, not on the field like that. … Tim Lincecum wore gray undersleeves yesterday. Don’t think I’ve ever seen a Giants player do that before. … Interesting that the Mets wore their snow whites in the first game of yesterday’s doubleheader and their pinstripes in the nightcap, which means everyone had to change pants, instead of just jerseys, in between games. … Has a basketball uniform ever had skinner shoulder straps than these? (Good one from Mike Raymer.) … Interesting note from Brooks Simpson regarding the Yankees’ stirrups from that throwback game last Friday: “My daughter was with Lonn Trost, Yankees CEO, this weekend (she babysits his grandchildren in Arizona). Trost told her he had previewed an earlier version of the stirrups and rejected them because the red was too bright.” … Sleeve piping issues for K-Rod last night. “Maybe because they wear the alternates so damn much,” says Derek Meyferth. … David Taub’s Diamond Uniform Database, in which he’s tracking what each MLB team wears for every game this season, is now located here.