Well, that was a pretty bizarre afternoon. Here’s a blow-by-blow of how it played out here at Uni Watch HQ:
First came the Jags unveiling, which started at 1:30pm and took about half an hour. As soon as it was over, I summarized my thoughts in this ESPN piece. I don’t particularly like having to write super-fast assessments like that, but that’s how the media world works now, so that’s what I did. So far, so good.
That ESPN piece included a link to this slideshow of photos, which had been taken at Nike HQ by a Jacksonville TV station a few weeks before the unveiling. The station posted the slideshow once the uniforms were revealed. As you can see, it has 89 photos; yesterday it was even longer, with over 100 photos (I’ll explain why it got shorter in a sec). So I didn’t have time to click through the entire thing before writing my ESPN piece. After I submitted my piece to my editor, however, I began clicking through it.
As I was doing that, I got an email from reader Preston Feiler. He had apparently been clicking through that exact same photo gallery from the Jacksonville TV station, and he’d spotted a photo I hadn’t yet gotten to — a photo that showed the new Dolphins uniforms, which were supposed to be unveiled on Thursday evening. So I emailed my ESPN editor, told him I had a confirmed leak of the new Miami uni, and said I’d write a new piece for him in a few minutes. Which is what I did.
About 30 seconds after I sent in the piece about the new Dolphins leak, I got another email from Preston Feiler, who’d spotted another leak in that photo gallery from the Jacksonville TV station. This time it was a photo that showed the new Jags, Dolphins, and Vikings designs (the Vikes, like the Dolphins, weren’t supposed to unveil until Thursday). So I called my ESPN editor and told him not to run the Dolphins piece after all because I was going to write a new piece that included a mention of the Vikings. Which is what I did.
Then I did something I’ve only done once or twice before: I posted a second blog entry in a single day. The events seemed to warrant it.
Then I got a beer, watched the whole thing blow up on Twitter, and answered the barrage of emails and phone calls that started coming in.
At some point along the line, about 15 photos disappeared from that Jacksonville TV station’s slideshow. I haven’t had time to check, but I’m assuming the two leak photos are among those that were excised. Too late now, of course — you can’t put the genie back in the bottle.
So that’s the backstory. What about the uniforms? Here are some thoughts:
• Jags: Not great but could’ve been worse. Some of the worst-sounding stuff I’d been told last week (player names on the front, a side-panel design extending down into the pants, Falcons-style sleeves) turned out to be wrong. And while I certainly wouldn’t call this a great uniform, it’s probably better than what they were already wearing. Well, except for the helmet. Maybe we can just clone Thurman Thomas 53 times and use that as the roster? Also: I like these shoelaces. Yes, the shoelaces! (Again, I had more expansive thoughts on this uni yesterday on ESPN. Also, there’s an interview with Nike exec Todd Van Horne, who talks about the design process behind this uni set, here.)
• Dolphins: Pretty much what we were expecting — the new logo, the white facemask, etc. Pants striping and helmet striping both seem like subtle downgrades, although the average fan won’t even notice. Orange swoosh looks good, especially on the white jersey (not as good as it would look if it didn’t exist at all, but still…). Disappointing to not to see any aqua pants in the mix, but maybe they’ll show up at the unveiling tomorrow.
• Vikes: Normal pants design = Hooray! Lack of jersey side panels = Hooray! Number font = Nuh-uh. Leotard effect of purple pants with purple-topped socks = Blow me. (Also: If you look closely at the photo, it appears that the “2″ on purple jersey may not have the extraneous serifs like the “2″ on the white jersey, although it’s hard to be sure. Hmmmm.)
The funny thing about all this is that just yesterday I had written about how it would be good for leagues to do all their unveilings in a designated week. But I didn’t ask for three of them in one day. That was kinda frantic.
Meanwhile, so much for Minnesota’s and Miami’s carefully orchestrated unveilings, eh? Not sure how they’ll respond to the leaks, if at all, although I’m assuming they’ll just carry on with their unveilings tomorrow evening as originally planned. But they’ve lost the element of surprise and the sense of drama. Maybe that means they’ll dispense with the over-dramatic music and overheated verbiage that usually characterize these types of events. Hope so — but I doubt it.
Uni Watch News Ticker: Still more Beantown gestures: Red Sox pitcher Felix Doubront is wearing Boston’s area code, 617, on his cap; the Flyers added a Boston ribbon patch for last night’s game against the Bruins; and a bat manufacturer has made “Boston Strong” bats (from Andy Chalifour, Chris Flinn, and Kurt Esposito, respectively). … The AHL’s Connecticut Whale are changing their name back to the Hartford Wolf Pack. Apparently there’s some rule that prevents them from using a team name that ends in “s” (from Brian Williams). … It’s standard for catchers to use a special glove when a knuckleballer is on the mound. But here’s something different: When Red Sox knuckleballer Steven Wright came into last night’s game, he brought a special catcher’s glove with him for Jarrod Saltalamacchia. The bullpen catcher must have been using that glove while Wright was warming up (from Andy Chalifour and Rob Holecko). … Interesting move by NASCAR driver Juan Pablo Montoya, whose car will be sponsored by Depends (from Chris Cruz). … With the temperatures at Coors Field in the md-20s last night, some Braves coaches resorted to wearing MLB parkas (from Matthew Hiett). … Yesterday afternoon was super-hectic (see above) and I was busy emceeing an event in the evening, all of which makes for a very short Ticker today. Sorry ’bout that, but I trust you’ll find a way to persevere.