Greetings from the eye of the storm, or maybe the upper thigh of the storm. It’s raining, and it’s supposedly gonna rain a lot harder, but for now I’m fine, so let’s carry on as per usual, shall we?
The big story of the day yesterday was clearly the Steelers’ bumblebee throwbacks. Personally, I loved them (aside from those pointless black side panels, which were a bit of a buzzkill). It helped that just about every player wore the socks properly — really enhanced the effect. Lots of additional photos here. Now let’s start lobbying for them to keep this design in the rotation next season.
As it happens, my friend Heather McCabe, who lives around the corner from me, was at the game, because her boyfriend, James, grew up in western Pennsylvania and his parents had bought them tickets. She had never been to an NFL game before; indeed, I’m not sure she’d even watched an entire NFL game on TV before. I checked in with her last night to get an eyewitness report, which went roughly like this:
Uni Watch: So what did you think of the uniforms?
Heather McCabe: I thought they were great.
UW: What about James and his family — what did they think?
HM: His father was utterly contemptuous of them. Like, total disdain.
UW: Did you sense that fans around you shared his opinion?
HM: James said he heard some fans grumbling about the uniforms, but I didn’t hear anything like that myself. Judging by the number of people who were wearing the jerseys, the feeling about them couldn’t have been so bad.
UW: Did the uniforms help keep you engaged with the game?
HM: Yes! I hadn’t expected the Redskins to look so similar to the Steelers. Their pants were almost the same color! So from a strictly practical standpoint, the stripes were pretty useful for helping me differentiate the two teams. Also, it was just plain cute.
Let’s have a nice hand for Uni Watch on-site reporter and honorary Yinzer-for-a-day Heather McCabe (who’ll now get to be an honorary Yinzer for a few additional days, because she’s stuck in Pittsburgh because of the storm). Meanwhile, in case you missed it on Saturday, Phil and Tim Brulia ran a really good piece on the story behind these throwbacks.
In lesser but nonetheless noteworthy developments:
• The Eagles wore their black alts for yesterday’s game against the Falcons.
• The Rams and Pats wore the “International Series” patch for yesterday’s game in London.
• In that same game, Tom Brady went back to wearing his old helmet. He was asked about this at the London press conference before the game and said, “I’m just trying some different things out, nothing really in particular. You may see the old one back this weekend. We didn’t have very good games the last time I wore that [newer] helmet. Time to go back to the old one.”
• Also from the London game: Although the Rams were the designated home team, one of the end zones had the Patriots’ logo. That used to be really common.
• The Bears wore their Monsters of the Midway throwbacks. Contrary to what I had reported last week, their helmets were logo-free.
• Holy yikes: James Jones of the Packers played part of the fourth quarter yesterday with a cracked helmet. But wait — Aaron Rodgers had the same crack in the same place. Either something’s seriously wrong with those helmets or else those aren’t actually cracks. I’ve asked Giants equipment director Joe Skiba if he can shed any light on this one.
• Giants defensive lineman Marvin Austin emerged from a pile-up with a badly torn jersey, apparently caused by a Dallas facemask.
• As had been expected, the officiating crew at the Dolphins/Jets game used pink penalty flags, and the kid who came up with the idea presented the flags to the zebras prior to the game. In what can only be described as a missed opportunity of tragic dimensions, this oh-so-special moment was not accompanied by the sounds of one of history’s greatest albums. Even worse, Nike found a way to piggyback onto the festivities.
• During halftime of that game, the Jets retired Dennis Byrd’s number. Nice job with the period-appropriate jersey.
Turning to Saturday’s college action, you should start with yesterday’s content from Phil and Terry. Once you’re done with that, you can check out these additional tidbits:
• Middle Tennessee State did the blackout thing.
• During the halftime show of the UNC/NC State game, the following discussion took place:
Rece Davis: Let you have a look at these headgears that the Tarheels are wearing. Mark, what do you think?
Mark May: Yuk. Ugly.
Lou Holtz: Why are the fans colors different than the uniforms of North Carolina?
Rece Davis: North Carolina has some of the best colors in college football. Why are they messing around?
• Damien Williams of Oklahoma had part of his helmet decal come loose.
• Another week, another new helmet for Oklahoma State.
• Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller wore the undershirt from last season’s Amateur Pacifist costume. Oddly, enough, he didn’t wear that undershirt last year in the AmPac game against Wisconsin — he just wore plain gray.
• Oregon running back Kenjon Barner was wearing a Pupello pouch that was basically my worst nightmare.
• Pitt beat Temple, which means they now get NOBs.
• Northwestern State ditched their usual helmet logo (a Louisiana outline with an “N” and a flaming pitchfork) in favor of a secondary “NSU” mark.
• Tulane wore a pink T on their helmets, instead of their usual green, for you-know-what. It’s actually the second straight game they’ve done this, but we hadn’t noted it until now.
(My thanks to all contributors, including Leslie Blair, Jimmy Couto, Joe Giza, Chris Hilf, Wayne Koehler, Dan Medina, Storm Miller, Chris Mycoskie, Charles Neiswender, Ryan Robey, Don Schauf, Brandon Seale, Todd from Atlanta, Joe Walsh, Lee David Wilds, and of course Phil.)
Uni-cane: One of the more fascinating revelations to emerge from the hurricane is that New Jersey governor/blowhard Chris Christie has a fleece pullover embroidered with his name and title. Very uni-like! He’s been wearing it for a few days now.
Let’s follow the thinking on this: Now, if it was just a regular day, he’d be wearing a suit and that would be that. But if it’s a crisis situation, like a hurricane, then he gets to wear the sporty fleece pullover, presumably to show that he’s a man of action who’ll be getting his hands dirty and actively participating in the physical rigors of crisis management. Of course, Christie is physically unsuited to actively participate in anything more rigorous than sitting in a chair (and I don’t mean that as a zinger — it’s just a fact), so the pullover isn’t about practicalities. It’s just about image. And putting Christie’s name and title on the pullover conveys the message that he’s heading a strike force, a SWAT team, an elite crew of action-deployed specialists who have their names and titles on their pullovers. Or maybe there’s no crew — maybe he’s just a SWAT team of one. Either way, someone on Christie’s staff clearly understands the power of a uniform.
Fun with pumpkins, continued: From now through Halloween, I’ll happily post photos of any uni-related pumpkin carvings you folks come up with. Here are today’s submissions:
• Nick Troutman did an absolutely spectacular job with this NC State pumpkin.
• Thomas Lutz has made two pumpkins — New York Football Giants and Penn State.
• Love this St. Looey Cardinals pumpkin by Marcus Clowers.
• Here’s one of the nicest ones of the season: a Cal Bears pumpkin by Spencer Bowen.
• Most Specific Pumpkin Design of the day goes to Mark Rulkowski, who did a carving of Michigan freshman tight end Devin Funchess.
• From Chad Jeske, we have this Bucky Badger pumpkin.
• Stephen Coulter celebrated the World Series with this pair of pumpkins.
PermaRec update: Remember that varsity-style speedskating jacket I recently wrote about? The guy who originally owned it is shown at right. You can learn more in the latest entry on the Permanent Record Blog.
Uni Watch News Ticker: The Giants wore their “SF” road grays for Sunday road games throughout this season — but not last night in Detroit. “A friend of mine writes for the San Jose Mercury News and was at the game, so I tweeted him to ask about the jerseys,” says Brinke. “His first response was ‘Really, does it matter?’ But then he said the World Series teams are only allowed one home and one road uni.” … Marco Scutaro was wearing some sort of head wrap to keep his ears warm last night. Or maybe it was just a Fudd cap, but I don’t think so. … Ladies and gents, your new Astros logo, obligingly leaked by a Houston sporting goods shop. … Late-breaking NBA news, as the Heat — or, rather, the HEAT, as they prefer to refer to themselves — will have six uniforms and a 25th-anniversary patch this season. Full details here. … Good article on Penn State’s stitcher. “My favorite quote is at the end, where she says how she’ll be glad if Nike ships them the jerseys next year with the names already on them,” says Chris Flinn. … Pickerington North High School in Ohio has a weird helmet — it’s sort of toasted (from Michael Lisi). … Really good, really funny story about the guy who wears the Marlins jersey to the World Series games (from Nicole Haase). … Earl Bennett of the Bears has been fined for wearing orange cleats. I was confused by this, because I thought team-colored cleats were kosher this season, so I asked NFL spokesperson Joanna Hunter, to responded: “Solid team-color shoes are not permitted. Two-team-color shoes are permitted.” So there you go. … Phillies second baseman Chase Utley has a foundation for animals. Check out the logo he’s using. Nice (from Art Savokinas). … The statue of Bobby Bowden shows the Sprint logo on his headset (from Brian Wulff). … Looks like Kung Fu Panda has been breathing Ethier (from Greg Long and Jared Buccola). … Check out the cool sleeve patch worn by the 1952 Dallas Texans. The opposing team is the Packers, by the way (from Tom Farley). … Man U has bought back the sponsorship rights to its practice kits (from Brendon Yarian). … Tracy McGrady, now playing in China, has been wearing sneakers with his own photo on them (from Leo Thornton). … Here’s a nice slideshow of old Michigan football program covers (from Erik Best). … We all know Peyton Manning has this weird compulsion to appear in as many commercials as possible. But now he’s actually going into the inedible corporate “pizza” biz? That’s sad. … Here’s an article about Portland’s first championship basketball team, the Portland Indians, who won the 1947-48 title in the old Pacific Coast League. But the article never uses the word “Indians” — it simply refers to the team as “Portland.” The last sentence of the article explains why: “Editor’s note: Portland’s team name was omitted from this story in keeping with the Oregonian’s policy not to publish Native-themed nicknames.” … “While watching the CFL game between the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and the Hamilton Tiger Cats, I saw Dominique Harris of Hamilton and Carl Volny of Winnipeg get their helmets stuck together, writes Gerry Dincher. “The officials struggled for a few seconds to get them unstuck. Eventually they took off the helmets and some equipment guy did the job.” And as Matt Wilson points out, that game was color on color. … Speaking of the CFL: No photo, but Graham Bakay says the zebras in Saturday’s Saskatchewan/Toronto game were wearing toques instead of caps. “I’ve seen them wear earflapped caps before, but never toques,” says Graham. “It looked really weird, but it does seem very Canadian. Game conditions weren’t particularly cold by Canadian standards — minus-4°C (25°F) — so I’m not sure why they went all polar on us. At least they weren’t pink.” … I think it would be safe to say that the makers of CytoSport do not have a licensing deal with the NFL (from James Comfort). … Northwestern High School in Indiana uses Northwestern University’s colors, but their helmet logo is an upside-down Miami “U” (from Jeremy Edom). … Each Notre Dame locker is stocked with Double Bubble (from Warren Junium). … Interesting observation from Reed Adams, who writes: “The new Spurs alternates mean that they are no longer the only current NBA team never to have had an alternate uni. They’ve had throwbacks and Noche Latina one-offs, but never a true alternate. The only other team close to that is the Knicks, but when they added the black in the ’90s, the aways were initially alternates for a year or two before the homes were added and put into full-time use.” … Roberto Santiago wears stirrups while working as a rugby ref — very nice. … Gee, ya think there are enough ads on an NBA backboard assembly these days? But don’t worry, corporations don’t have too big an influence on American life (screen shot by William Locke). … Decent slideshow of assorted NFL throwbacks here. … I was back-and-forthing with DIY gumball helmet king Bill Jones the other day. “I have to say, all the one-offs, the chrome, the carbon fiber, and the matte finishes are making it hard to keep the hobby going,” he said. … I’d never heard of the comic strip “Close to Home” until now, but yesterday’s installment featured a swoosh joke (from Coleman Mullins). … ” I was participating in the medical coverage of a Philadelphia-area high school football game this past Friday night,” says Jason Kerzer. “A defensive lineman got his thumb stuck in another player’s facemask. Here’s a picture with a circle showing where his thumb was stuck, but we were having trouble removing the rivet indicated by the arrow. As soon as the play was over, all the trainers and medical personnel ran on the field with screwdrivers and other tools to get the facemask off, but no one had any idea how to remove that rivet. Eventually, the upper two screws [on either side of the nose bumper] were removed with a traditional screwdriver, which freed his thumb (which sustained no major injury). After five minutes of searching YouTube after the game, it became apparent that all one needs to do is poke the center of the rivet with a pen and it pops out.” …
Sandy update: As of right now — Monday morning — I’m fine. Twenty-four hours from now, however, I may not have power and/or internet access and/or cell service, I may not be able to drink water out of the tap, and I may start doing that cartoon thing where I look at the cats and they start morphing into an image of a roast chicken. So it’s entirely possible that content here on the site could be a bit spotty over the next few days.
I’ve pre-loaded some content that’s scheduled to auto-post on Tuesday and Wednesday mornings, so there’ll definitely be something on the site for those days, but it might not include a full Ticker or other frills. Meanwhile, for everyone else who’s in the storm’s path, be safe.