I’m happy to report that I’ve regained a bit of typing ability in my right hand, so let’s pose this not-very-hypothetical question: How can you make one of the worst uniforms in the league look even worse? Easy: Render it in solid black. That was the situation yesterday in Carolina, as the Panthers wore black pants for the first time in their history (additional photos here). “But wait,” I hear you say, “panthers are black, so doesn’t this look make sense?” It might have if they’d gone with it at the team’s inception, but now it just feels like a gimmick. Plus it doesn’t help that the light blue and the black create a vibrating effect.
Those pants, incidentally, are not listed in the NFL Style Guide, which I mention mainly as a way of reminding everyone (including myself) that style guides aren’t always accurate.
In other notes from yesterday’s NFL action:
• No blue pants for the Bills this week, as they went back to wearing white over white.
• Moon over Philly! That’s Eric Frampton of the Cowboys.
• In that same game, several readers noticed that Rob Ryan’s play-calling card was sponsored by one of Philadelphia’s leading cheesesteak emporia.
• Meanwhile, Ryan’s brother Rex wore a cap in support of Hurricane Sandy victims.
• The 49ers didn’t play last week, so they didn’t wear the G.I. Joe helmet decals until yesterday. Here’s a piece explaining which players wore which decals, and why.
Turning to Saturday’s college action, you should start with Terry Duroncelet’s report from yesterday. Once you’re done with that, here are a few additional items:
• In yesterday’s entry, Terry mentioned that Troy’s helmet logo was rendered in black-and-white. But it was actually G.I. Joe.
• In a development that I can certainly relate to, Kyle Carter of Penn State injured his hand or wrist on Saturday and had it iced down with a PSU logo ice bag.
• Looks like there’s an inconsistency in Michigan’s 5s.
• Not sure exactly what happened to Ciante Evans’s helmet, but it looks like it had some quality-control issues.
(My thanks to all contributors, including Ryan Bohannon, Gerry Dincher, Dane Drutis, Brian Hansen, Jon Solomonson, Mako Mameli, Brendan Slattery, Britton Thomas, Doug Waddington, Brenton Wallace, and Rob Wheeler.)
A few good men … and one jackass: In an embarrassing display that everyone involved should be ashamed of, UVA coach Mike London made a fool of himself on Saturday by dressing up in full camo fatigues. I was going to say something about this, but then I got a thoughtful note from reader Jason Christie, so I’ll surrender the floor to him:
I’m active duty military, so I have always been torn when you discuss the G.I. Joe uniform phenomenon. While I try to separate the two, it can be difficult because of my obvious closeness to the subject matter. …
I had previously seen the current crop of [camouflage] uniforms as honest attempts at honoring service and trying to express support, though some may have been very aesthetically displeasing. But what I hadn’t yet seen — and now recognize as the logical endgame to the camouflage phenomenon — was a coach wearing (or attempting to wear) an actual, complete military uniform.
Mike London was wearing what can only be described as a bastardized set of Marine Corps “cammies.” He had the top, pants and eight-point hat, which was rotated with hats from different services and the ROTC detachment at UVA (more on that later). But he was also wearing a navy blue shirt and sneakers. He also had gold chains hanging out — although those weren’t visible when he had his top buttoned up completely (which itself is wrong unless there’s a specific reason to do it). UVA assistants and staff also wore the pants of the various services, all in the name of “military appreciation.”
I can’t imagine that Coach London was trying to portray himself as a crazed person, dressed in a quasi-military uniform, flailing about and screaming at authority figures (i.e., the officials) — but that’s sure how it came across. If someone was flipping through channels and saw him, they might have thought there was a crazy “soldier” on the field and assumed it was someone who actually had the right to wear the uniform. … Is it too much to ask to show a little decorum while wearing a uniform (incorrectly, mind you) in which you’re trying to “appreciate” those who wear it for a living? … I see it as a little insulting.
I think what bothered me the most, though, is that there’s an ROTC detachment on most college campuses headed by a senior officer and with non-commissioned officer staff. These officers not only gave tacit approval to this farce, they seemingly endorsed it by allowing Coach London to wear their hat. Who thought it would be okay to let this coach go galavanting around the sidelines in a half-assed uniform in the name of “military appreciation”?
After seeing today’s display, I’ve changed my opinion on the issue of camouflage uniforms. If you want to appreciate the military, give out some free tickets, send some care packages, hook up with the USO and go overseas, even give a locker room tour or something. But leave the uniforms on those who should wear them.
In case you’re wondering, no, Mike London never served in the military. But I bet he likes to fantasize about it. Most football coaches seem to fancy themselves as a mix of drill sergeant and four-star general. But that comparison isn’t really fair to drill sergeants (who are strict but don’t routinely throw tantrums on national television) or four-star generals (who don’t make embarrassing self-referential beer commercials).
Bottom line: The whole dress-up soldier routine was misguided and inappropriate from the start, and now it’s metastasized into a bad joke — bad for players, bad for coaches, bad for military personnel, bad for all of us. It’s time to pull the plug on the whole thing and leave the soldiering to the soldiers. Now.
Show & Tell update: The next installment of my Show & Tell storytelling series will take place this Wednesday, Nov. 14, 8pm, in the back room of Freddy’s. Admission is free. Hope to see you there.
Shamelessly manipulative plea for help: Whenever I host a Show & Tell event, I have a photographer on hand to take photos that end up on the Show & Tell web site. But due to a series of unfortunate circumstances, I don’t have a photographer on board for this Wednesday’s Show & Tell event (see above). I’d take the photos myself, but there’s the slight problem of my wrist being broken and my finger not even being strong enough to press the shutter-release button (seriously!).
So: If anyone out there is (a) NYC-based, (b) reasonably handy with a camera, and (c) available on Wednesday night, I would be so totally grateful if you could volunteer to be the official Show & Tell shutterbug-for-a-night. There’s no pay, alas (I don’t get paid for hosting the event either), but you can have all the free drinks you want. Interested? Please let me know. Thanks.
PermaRec update: An iconic photo is the basis for a new documentary film that sounds very Permanent Record-ish. Details here.
And speaking of Permanent Record, I’ll be giving a live presentation on the project, complete with a slideshow and other visual aids, on Wednesday, Dec. 5, 7pm, at the Housing Works Bookstore in Manhattan. Admission will be free.
Uni Watch News Ticker: The folks at Under Armour invited me to join them at their suite on Friday night for the Maryland/Kentucky basketball game at the new Brooklyn arena. Highlight of the evening was meeting Adam Clement, who designed the faux-flannel uniforms that Maryland was wearing that night. I can’t say I love all of his work (he’s also the guy who designed the flag-based Maryland football design, e.g.), but I can definitely say I enjoyed meeting him — a great guy, and definitely one of us. We had a really good meeting of the minds, and I hope to interview him at length in the near-ish future. … Incidentally, the court for that college basketball featured a conventional plank floor pattern — not the herringbone pattern that the Nets are using. I guess that’s a team exclusive. … Jerry Kulig was watching an ESPN special on Darrell Royal’s death and noticed an interesting three-bar facemask. … Check this out: officially MLB-licensed slings! I’m gonna order one today (big thanks to Sean Kane). … Tagg Romney — Mitt’s oldest son — used to work for Reebok. According to this article, “his primary responsibility was to watch NFL and NBA games, counting how many times Reebok was mentioned or its logo caught on camera” (from Sam Coren). … Pretty cool striped design for Florida women’s soccer (from Mark Kaplowitz). … I think we may have Tickerized this before, but once more definitely won’t hurt: Check out this awesome booklet showing this history of the Arkansas Razorbacks logo (from MJ Kurs-Lasky). … Ryan Robey bumped into Ohio State WR Evan Spencer at an airport and said Spencer hinted that OSU will have new uniforms for the Michigan game on Nov. 24. “He also said chrome helmets might be a reality for the Michigan game but that Ohio State will never wear black jerseys ‘because of the alumni,’” says Ryan. … Who’s that in the tequila sunrise jacket? None other than keyboardist Ian Stewart, the “sixth Stone.” Here he is wearing it onstage (great find by Steve Mandich). … Easton Hockey has used some Riddell technology to create a new hockey helmet (from Matthew Austin). … Poultry convention? Nope — it’s an exhibit of South Carolina mascots at a campus museum (from Gordon Cromer). … I didn’t realize Lipscomb University used subscript NOBs (until Matthew Blinco told me, that is). … Tyler Kepner sent along some stills from the upcoming film The Silver Linings Playbook, which is about, among other things, an Eagles fan. Interestingly, the Eagles logo and NFL logo have been scrubbed from the fan’s jersey. “I can think of a ton of instances in which a movie shows official team apparel — not just in sports movies, but even in movies not about sports, like Tom Hanks wearing that NY Giants sweatshirt in Big,” says Tyler. “So I wonder why the NFL apparently would not allow the Eagles logos in this movie. It’s really bugging me.” … Even the more cynical among us can probably agree that the NFL’s “Play 60″ initiative, which encourages kids to run around and get some exercise instead of spending all day playing video games, is a good thing. Or at least we could have agreed on that, until the Lions announced their new Play 60 sponsor: a video game brand. Can’t make it up, people (from Daniel Secord). … Here’s a good shot of Charles Barkley wearing a mask (from James Ashby). … Sunderland soccer player James McClean caused some controversy over the weekend by refusing to wear the Remembrance Day poppy that everyone else was wearing (from Joe Hollomon). … Oregon State hoops player Ricardo Nelson suffered a torn collar last night (from Jeremy Brahm).