The fellow shown above is Rob Sankey, who works for NFL Films. Are the “SDS” designations on his laminate and camera a shout-out to one of history’s most important student organizing groups? Nope. They’re Steve Sabol’s initials (Sabol’s middle name was Douglas), which were worn yesterday by all NFL Films personnel — a nice touch. Looks like some coaches wore Sabol’s intials as well.
That was actually one of the more uni-relevant details from yesterday’s NFL action, as it was a fairly quiet day with just a few items of note:
• Robert Griffin again managed not to wear a swoosh during pregame warm-ups, this time by wearing an unbranded compression shirt.
• Once the game started, the Redskins again wore their gorgeous gold pants, this time with their burgundy jerseys.
• For the second straight week, the Chargers wore solid white.
• The Cardinals wore their BFBS alts.
• This Fútbol Americano logo appeared on most (all?) fields yesterday. It’s the league’s recognition of Hispanic Heritage Month, which runs from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15.
Turning to Saturday’s NCAA action, you should start with Phil’s coverage from yesterday. After you’re done with that, here are some additional items:
• Notre Dame added a 125th-annivesary helmet decal.
• Sticking with the Irish, Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o wore a little placard with “574L” on it. Turns out he’s also using it as a Twitter hashtag. Turns out 574 is Notre Dame’s new area code, but it’s not clear what the “L” is for.
• Looks like Michigan’s road jerseys had some inconsistent piping.
• Louisiana Tech running back Kenneth Dixon suffered a nasty jersey rip. (Update: Check that — I’m now informed that the jersey was just stretched to the point where the pad popped out, but it wasn’t torn.)
• Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd’s nameplate was coming loose.
• Looks like Iowa was wearing a little heart (or possibly some other symbol) at the base of their gold helmet stripe. Anyone know what that’s about?
• Norfolk State was penalized for having two same-numbered players on the field at the same time. According to this story, “Norfolk State’s issues began before Saturday, when [linebacker Lynden] Trail began badgering secondary coach Marco Butler about being allowed to participate on the kickoff return team. Impressed that the Florida transfer would relish the grunt work, Butler and Adrian allowed it, but failed to realize another player on the unit wore the same number. When Trail and Wilonte Roscoe were on the field for the opening kickoff, both wearing No. 7, the Spartans were called for a 5-yard penalty.”
• Gee, ya think the Under Armour logo on Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald’s windbreaker is big enough?
• Speaking of coaches’ outerwear, Kansas State coach Bill Snyder’s jacket had last season’s Cotton Bowl logo.
• Yet another coaching tidbit: We often see players’ uniforms set out in their lockers before a game, but here’s how the Notre Dame coaches’ uniforms looked prior to Saturday’s game.
• Odd that Cornell’s midfield logo was upside-down for the cameras (or, if you prefer, odd that the main cameras were on that side of the field).
• And speaking of midfield logos, Minnesota-Crooskton’s grounds crew accidentally put the midfield logo at the 45-yard line.
(My thanks to all contributors, including Trey Ashby, Sam Belk, Adam Brodsky, Dan Cichalski, Fred Doyle, Andy Henderson, Omar Jalife, Warren Junium, Joe Lombardo, Andrew Lopez, Kyle Napiontek, Thos Trefz, Alex Wincapaw, Steven Wojtowicz, and Tris Wykes.)
Better late than never: I’ve just been made aware of several patches and helmet decals that NFL teams will be wearing later this season. Some of them are fairly predictable things we’ve seen before (but for which I nonetheless had not gotten confirmation until now), but a couple of them are real eyebrow-raisers. Here they are, in ascending order of interest:
• All players will wear pink ribbon decals in October.
• The Rams and Patriots will wear the “International Series” patch when they play in London on Oct. 28.
• The Bills will once again wear their “Toronto Series” patch when playing the Seahawks in Toronto on Dec. 16.
• All teams will wear a Pro Football Hall of Fame 50th-anniversary patch for Weeks 14 and 15. Interesting that this patch wasn’t worn for the Hall of Fame game back in August. (Also, note that Week 15 is also when the Bills will be playing in Toronto. Will they wear both patches that week? And what will that mean for their captaincy patches?)
• The relentless ratchet screw tying football to the military will turn a few more notches during Weeks 9 through 11 (i.e., the first three weekends of November), when all teams will wear a G.I. Joe helmet decal as a “Salute to Service.” Disappointing.
I’m sorry I didn’t have these details for you at the outset of the season, but getting info out of the NFL has become like pulling teeth, at least for me. Fortunately, reader Fred Goodwin found the info in the NFL Kickoff Guide, a publication I hadn’t previously been aware of. Thanks, Fred!
Nike feedback, continued: The anonymous critiques of the new Nike uniforms that I reported last Thursday have now largely been confirmed by two sources. One of them would only speak on deep background but essentially confirmed the narrative that was set out last Thursday. The other source is an NFL assistant equipment manager. I won’t name him or his team, but here’s what he has to say:
There are many issues with the new jersey materials being used. We use game jerseys for practice, because the coach likes the players to wear what they wear during the game. So using those game jerseys on a daily basis, we see the wear concerns in the matter of a couple of weeks. The Flywire collars started to separate after week one!
We also had Nike tell us we were using the wrong needles on our sewing machines. We investigated and found out we use the same needles they recommend. We were having issues with certain fabrics in the jersey fraying around our stitches when we added ad patches. We have presented all of these issues all the way up the chain of command, up to a high-ranking executive. This executive actually came to our equipment room and my boss went over the details of the issues with him. He was disgusted with the issues that we are having.
Now, a lot of these issues you won’t see on a lot of jerseys, because most game jerseys only get washed 8-10 times. Except for the severely stained ones, which we’ve had more than usual of this year as well.
Another side note is the sheerness of the fabric. If we use the wrong color girdles with our pants, the fabric changes colors. The game socks are also doing the same thing. If a player has a different color spandex on under their socks, it shows through.
All the teams we play are saying the same things. The annual fall equipment managers’ meetings that are coming up soon would be fun to attend, because there will be a ton of issues addressed….
As for the memo [that was supposedly issued by the NFL office, telling equipment managers to stop complaining about the new uniforms], that would be something that my boss would have gotten, and he doesn’t always share that kind of thing with me.
When I first wrote about this last week, reader Douglas King posted a comment asking if there had been similar “growing pains” when Reebok took over the NFL’s uniform contract in 2001. I don’t know the answer to that question (Uni Watch was a much more rudimentary enterprise in 2001), but Douglas’s underlying point — i.e., that any large-scale uniform transition is likely to entail a few hiccups — is a fair one. Still, it’s hard not to think that there’s a really simple solution to problems with the Nikelace: Don’t use the fucking Nikelace! It’s bad enough that it’s just a branding gimmick masquerading as “innovation”; if it’s also causing physical/functional problems, that’s inexcusable.
If any other NFL people want to chime in on this (anonymity assured), feel free to be in touch.
#NoUniAds update: When the NBA execs first announced their uniform advertising initiative, they said a final vote on the plan would take place via e-mail in September. Ever since that announcement, I have repeatedly asked NBA officials to provide the exact date of that vote. In the beginning, the answer was, “We don’t have a firm date yet”; more recently, they’ve simply stopped responding to my inquiries.
This is the last week of September. So the vote will either be taken this week, or else it’s already taken place and they haven’t announced the results (I’ve specifically asked about that, too — again, no response). Either way, I’m not sure what else we can do, but the silence feels ominous. #NoUniAds
Opinions wanted, continued: Two weeks ago I invited Native American readers to weigh in on the topic of Indian iconography in sports. I got some very good responses, but I just wanted to put out the call once more, in case anyone missed it last time.
So: If you’re of Native American ancestry (I realize that’s a somewhat controversial topic itself in certain circles, but I’m going to let you folks define yourselves as Native American or not for the purposes of this exercise), what do you think about the use of Native names and iconography in sports? What do your family members think, including those who aren’t sports fans? Is there a difference between, say, the Braves’ use of a tomahawk, which seems like an outdated stereotype, and the Seahawks’ use of Salish imagery, which is more part of the local culture in Seattle? Please let me know your thoughts on these and any other issues relating to this topic via this e-mail link (not in the comments, please). Again, Natives only, please. Thanks.
“C” section: The Reds have qualified for the MLB playoffs, which means the wishbone-C will once again be making a postseason appearance. Since lots of teams have worn the wishbone-C (the Bears, the Indians, etc.), that got me thinking: How many times has the wishbone-C appeared in the postseason, and how many championships has it won?
I’m very busy this week, so I don’t have time to run these numbers. Anyone else want to take a crack at it? For the purposes of this exercise, let’s include the Twins, since their “TC” logo includes a wishbone-C.
If you’d like to delve into this, send the results of your research here.
PermaRec update: Some records from a psychiatric hospital — including the patient ledger entry shown at right — raise some tricky questions in the latest entry on the Permanent Record Blog.
Uni Watch News Ticker: Check this out: MLB skipper Davey Johnson as a Texas A&M basketball player, circa 1962! I showed the photo to Mets radio broadcaster Howie Rose, who quickly pointed out that Johnson’s uni number in that photo, 15, is the same one he wore while playing for the Orioles (nice find by Chris Smith.) … The Belfast football club Glentoran is letting fans vote on its 130th-anniversary kit (from George Chilvers). … New basketball uniforms for DePaul (from Luke Wrenn). … Reprinted from Friday’s comments: If you’re a Tennessee Vols fan, it’s easy to show your support via your facial hair. … In a related item, there’s a good slideshow of sports mustaches here. … Here’s a slideshow of “unique” (read: mostly dreadful) high school football uniforms (from Charles Mueller). … New team-themed goalie pads for Chris Mason. … Padres CF Cameron Maybin made a diving catch on Friday night, which caused his pant leg ride up, exposing a very un-baseball-ish sock (from Sean Robbins). … MLB has started selling Reds and Nats caps with “Postseason” patches. Let’s hope that’s only for retail and now something we’ll see on the field (from Peter Kirschenvaum). … Carolina Hurricanes players have been working out while wearing NHLPA jerseys (from John R. Follett). … F1 driver Sebastian Vettel has been wearing a helmet with LEDs forming zodiac patterns (from Dane Drutis). … New uniforms in the works for the Buffalo Bisons (from Mike McLaughlin). … Lots of high-cuffed players in the World Baseball Classic, but the South African third baseman is taking things a step further by wearing high-cut stirrups (from Michael Kotler). … Good article about Iowa’s Apex-designed “banana peel” uniforms from the 1990s (from Thos Trefz). … What’s a “milk rink”? “It was originally iced with water and then with skim milk, which was considered at the time to be waste,” explains Will Scheibler. … Surprising to see a parking sign in downtown Baltimore using the old Ravens logo (from Joe Giza). … “It’s Oktoberfest time in Munich, and 2nd Bundesliga side 1860 Munich decided to join in with a commemorative ‘Oktoberfest Edition’ jersey,” reports Bernd W. Wilms. “Extra points for going the distance with lederhosen-style shorts and traditional-looking socks.” … Brown’s women’s soccer team has added a memorial patch for assistant coach Denis Chartier, who died earlier this year (from Tris Wykes). … The Wild are holding a contest to find the best hockey jesey in Minnesota. … According to a post on the Chris Creamer forums, the Bills won’t be wearing blue pants this season after all. “According to one of the equipment managers, we aren’t wearing blue pants this season,” reads the post. “They’re in the 2012 NFL Style Guide, but the Bills have not ordered them, which totally sucks!! He said [team owner] Ralph Wilson likes the all-white.” The poster didn’t explain the circumstances under which he obtained this info from the equipment manager. … Good article on custom NFL facemasks (thanks, Brinke). … New hoops uniforms for Notre Dame (from Will Streit). … Check this out: there’s a German web site called UniWatch. “It’s not about uniforms — it’s a group opposed to racism in German universities,” explains Rob Holecko. … NBC has a new show called The ’Lights — as in, a shortened version of “highlights.” Only problem is that they’ve started things off with an apostrophe catastrophe (from Caldwell Bailey).