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The NFL Draft begins this Thursday, which means two things: a new set of draft caps, which you can see above, and a new set of uniform unveilings. The Jaguars will reveal their new uni set today at 1:30pm Eastern, with the Vikings and Dolphins following on Thursday evening.
Pegging the uniform unveilings to the draft makes sense: The unveilings will help generate excitement for the draft, and the draft in turn will help showcase the uniforms, because the Jacksonville, Minnesota, and Miami draft picks hold up the new jersey designs in their obligatory photo-ops.
NFL teams have been doing their uni unveilings during the lead-up to the draft for several years now, to the point where many of us have been conditioned to expect a series of new uniform releases each April. It really shows how the league has managed to standardize almost every aspect of its operations. They haven’t yet branded the notion of an “NFL Uniform Unveiling Week,” complete with its own logo, but would anyone be surprised if that happened?
Compare that to the other Big Four leagues, whose new uniforms tend to dribble out at random points in the off-season, with no set schedule. There’s nothing wrong with that per se, but it doesn’t do much to build a critical mass of enthusiasm for your league.
Of course, the NFL has an advantage in this regard, because the draft is a high-visibility event that coordinates well with the unveilings. The NBA, NHL, and MLB don’t have any off-season events of that magnitude. Then again, why is it necessary to have the uniform unveilings tied to an event? What if MLB simply decided to have all of its off-season uni unveilings in, say, the first week of December? It would generate some buzz during an otherwise sleepy period for the sport. The NHL and NBA could do something similar. After a few seasons, fans would learn to expect the unveilings to take place during these designated times, which would be good for the leagues and good for the uni-verse — at least in theory. (In practice, the coordinated events might turn out to be too scripted, too corporate, too stupid, etc.)
Once I get a look at the Jags’ new attire this afternoon, I’ll summarize my thoughts in an ESPN piece about it and post the link here, in the comments, and on Twitter, so stay tuned, okay? Okay. Here you go. Also: The Vikes and Dolphins uniforms have both leaked!
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By Brinke Guthrie
As you can see above, we may have found the ultimate Uni Watch item, sitting squarely at the intersection of two of Paul’s favorite things: sports logos and meat. Now, we’ve seen those 1960s Hormel NFL helmet trays before, but never a full set of them, all in one auction. The Browns one even has the “CB” logo!
Here’s the rest of this week’s Collector’s Corner haul:
• This 1970s 49ers helmet plaque, complete with requisite single-bar facemask, would be perfect for Uni Watch HQ.
• We’ve all seen the 1970s NFL helmet magnets like this one for the Bills. Haven’t seen them packaged on that display card before, though.
• I like the sleeve striping on this 1980s Cleveland Indians jacket.
• Speaking of MLB jackets, this Chicago Cubs jacket is just … I can’t think of a word for how bad this design is. [I beg to differ. Love it! — PL]
• A longstanding Collector’s Corner rule: If it’s 1970s and made by Sand Knit, it’s most likely cool. Case in point: this New Jersey Nets pullover top.
• That same seller has four 1970s NFL mini-helmet buggies up for sale.
• Very nice-looking NFL Starter parka. Never seen the old “Pro Line” badge on the chest like that, or seen “Staff” on the chest for that matter. And here’s an NFL shield pullover from DeLong. (While we’re on DeLong — a favorite of mine — how about a cool New York Giants varsity jacket?)
• From reader Stuart Alford: an awesome Baltimore Clippers corduroy jacket with Brooks Robinson tagging!
• And we wrap up this week with an interesting poster showing the evolution of NFL uniforms.
Seen something on eBay or Etsy that you think would make good Collector’s Corner fodder? Send your submissions here.
Uni Watch News Ticker: The jersey Reggie Jackson supposedly wore while hitting three home runs in Game 6 of the 1977 World Series was recently put up for auction, but now it has been pulled. The article doesn’t say why, but I’m assuming it’s because of research by Peter Nash that cast doubt on the jersey’s authenticity. … “Here’s a short promotional video pimping K-State football tickets,” says Dale Allison. “It features some helmet detailing that Uni Watch readers will like.” … Michael Waltrip used Boston Marathon bib-style numbers on his car on Sunday (from Tom Van de Kieft). … New white jersey for the newly relocated and renamed Iowa Wild (from A.J. Frey). … If you’re gonna wrap a player’s injured hamstring, you may as well do it with tape that says, “Fragile.” That’s a player from the Stade Francais Rugby Team (from Wesley Eustis). … Rangers skipper Ron Washington was caught smoking in the dugout the other day (from Mike Engle). … Very unusual baseball pants for Grand Valley State. Unusual striping on the softball team’s pants, too (from Bryan Kimball). … Here’s the latest on the voting for Sparky’s new look at ASU (from Nathan White). … Michigan State football wore a Boston decal for their spring game. … The Yankees began wearing pinstripes 98 years ago yesterday. … Someone got married in Blackhawks jerseys with fun NOBs (thanks, Phil). … The plaque at AT+T Park that marked Barry Bonds’s 756th home run has disappeared (thanks, Brinke). … Rich Aleman spotted a car with a Wisconsin sports logo mash-up window decal. … Here’s another story about that 1919 footage of plantation workers playing baseball in Georgia. Jake Wallace explains the best part: “They were able to determine what year the footage is from by comparing the stirrup striping on the players in the film with still images they had collected.” … The Dodgers have a player at triple-A with one doozy of a hyphenated NOB (from Frank Frank Mercogliano). … RIP, Christina. Nobody ever looked better in a Catholic schoolgirl uniform, fishnets, and a face smeared with lipstick.