Pinktober kicked into high gear yesterday, as NFL players, officials, fields, and stadiums were festooned with just about every kind of pink accessory you can imagine. I’m not going to bother linking to specific examples — just look at any NFL photos from yesterday, because every team wore at least a little bit of pink (and often a lot more than that).
Well, almost every team. If you look at photos of the Ravens-Dolphins game, you’ll see that the Ravens didn’t wear a single pink accessory (which, oddly enough, made them one of the best-looking teams of the week, a distinction they almost never have). Not only that, but they didn’t even have the pink ribbon decal on their helmets like everyone else. Why do the Baltimore Ravens hate breasts?
My position on this stuff is the same as it’s always been: Breast cancer awareness is a worthy cause, but surely there must be ways of supporting worthy causes without making your product look like shite for 25% of your season, which is what Pinktober does. It’s awful. And the color everyone wears isn’t even pink! It’s more like magenta, which is even worse. A pink wristband here or there for one weekend, like MLB does on Mother’s Day, might be tolerable, but the NFL fully embraces the unfortunate American maxim that anything worth doing is worth overdoing, so the whole month feels like an visual assault instead of a timely reminder. I hate the whole thing and am already counting down the days to November.
The stupidest part, unquestionably, is that the zebras are using pink penalty flags. Reader Léo Murphy-Daix sent me a note summarizing the problem quite nicely: “Watching the Colts/Seahawks game, there were at least two occasions where dropped pink towels were mistaken by Fox as thrown pink flags. There’s a reason penalty flags are bright yellow, because nothing else on the field is bright yellow.” In other words, the pink flags aren’t just a case of bad aesthetics — they’re a case of bad functional design. (As an aside, if they insist on using the pink flags, the least they could do is play one of history’s greatest albums each time a penalty is called.)
Pinktober notwithstanding, it was a fairly uni-uneventful day in the NFL. Just a few items of note:
• The Cardinals wore their BFBS alts.
• Titans quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick slid across a painted area of the field and emerged with a light-blue uni number.
• Here’s something I don’t think I’ve ever seen before: One of the zebras in last night’s Chargers/Raiders game had a blank uni number!
Turning to Saturday’s college action, Phil and his contributors had good coverage in yesterday’s entry, so start there. Once you’re done with that, here are some additional items:
• Penn State went with a fairly low-key Pinktober element: pink neck bumper lettering.
• Nebraska wore (and maybe has been wearing all along..?) team-branded shoes.
• Clemson added a memorial helmet decal for former athletic director Bill McLellan, who died last week.
• Michigan added a memorial decal for a grad assistant’s son.
• Kent State came out with a completely new helmet design.
• No photo, but I’m told that one of the UGA trainers tending to an injured player was wearing a cap that had “Dawg Doctor” embroidered on the back.
• Lots of Pinktober accessories for Towson, including pink helmet stripes.
• For reasons I can only guess at, Ole Miss used Dolphins and Jaguars logos — and the old, outdated logos at that — on their play-calling cards.
• One Stanford player went NNOB. Not sure if that was a blood jersey or what.
(My thanks to all contributors, including Drew Arnson, Michael Hauswald, Will Hodge, Trey Jones, Mike McLaughlin, Jody Michael, Seth Moorman, David Pealing, Austin Pendergist, Clint Richardson, Ryan Robey, Aaron Scher, Maks Skuz, Paulie Sumner, and of course Phil.)
Let’s have a party: We usually convene an Brooklyn Uni Watch party each autumn, and Phil and I have chosen Nov. 3 as this year’s date. We’ll meet up at 2pm at our usual spot — Sheep Station in Brooklyn. See you there/then.
’Skins Watch: As you’ve probably heard by now, the latest public figure to weigh in against the ’Skins name is the President of the United States. I’ve heard a lot of people, maybe including some of you, saying, “Doesn’t he have bigger things to worry about?!” Yes, I’m sure he does. But he was being interviewed by a reporter who asked him about the ’Skins, so he answered. (The full interview covered lots of other stuff.) Blame the reporter for bringing up what you consider to be a trivial subject if you like, but don’t blame the President for answering a question that was posed to him. Meanwhile, the ’Skins issued a predictably weak response (there’s a good deconstruction of it here), but at this point they’re just whistling past the graveyard. They know where this is heading. All that’s left now is the face-saving endgame. . .. Here’s a good case study on the right way for a team to incorporate Native imagery into its visual program. … Wanna win $500? That’s the prize for the winning entry in this design contest to rebrand the ’Skins. You can see the entries that have been submitted so far here. … Some Natives have no problem with the Indians and Blackhawks. “The are the Thompson brothers, who are very good lacrosse players from the Onondaga Nation,” says Matt Kruszewski. “That screen shot is taken from this video interview with them.” … The Oneida Nation will be holding a symposium about Native imagery in sports today in Washington, in the same hotel where NFL owners will be holding their fall meetings. … Latest to boycott the ’Skins name is, surprisingly enough, this Dallas bar. They refer to the ’Skins as “Team from Washington” and have blurred out the ’Skins logo on all their photos. “Awesome that a Dallas bar would do this,” says Dylan Poole. … NBC’s Meet the Press program did a segment on the ’Skins controversy yesterday. Pretty boilerplate, but it’s still a good indication of how this issue has entered the mainstream national discourse. Here’s video of the segment:
Baseball News: In a disappointing but unsurprising move, MLB has put the kibosh on the Pirates’ Stargell Stars, so the players have stopped wearing them on their caps (although I’ve noticed that Russell Martin has still been wearing the one on his jersey). I understand why MLB did this — given how “Me too”-ish our sports culture has become, there’s a decent chance a team that started modifying its uni, even with little stars, would lead to more modifications from other teams, and then the whole thing becomes a mess. Still, I really liked the stars as a shout-out to Bucco history. And maybe that’s the real measure of sadness here: Back in 1979, the original Stargell Stars were their own little thing — nobody copied them, MLB saw no reason to clamp down on them, no problem. A generation later, with much greater media exposure, a copycat culture, and higher financial stakes, the stars can’t be tolerated. Too bad. … Reprinted from Friday’s comments: A Pittsburgh hospital is dressing newborns in Pirates onesies and bandanas. … Christopher Falvey notes that several of the Braves’ nameplates are significantly whiter than the surrounding jersey fabric. … There’s been lots of chatter about the Red Sox’s beards, but Ben Levy has noticed another follicle-related matter: Several of the Bosox players have little horizontal lines shaved into the area behind their ears. Anyone know what that’s about? … Speaking of the Sox, Salty was wearing a “Boston Strong” pin on his cap while sitting in the dugout on Saturday. He wasn’t in the lineup that day (from Andy Chalifour). … Here’s a good project by a guy who went to all 30 MLB ballparks this season. … Three great items from Jared Wheeler: (1) Who’s that on the right? None other than Casey Stengel, who was managing the Oakland Oaks in 1946. (2) Who’s that with the Frank Robinson FNOB? None other than Reggie Jackson. Not sure why he was wearing that. (3) Here’s a memo to the Cleveland Indians accounting department, instructing them to deduct uniform deposits from players’ paychecks. … “Now that you’ve brought the overuse of ‘beloved’ to our attention, I see it everywhere,” says Mary Lynn Delfino. … While looking for something else, I came across this unusual shot of former Pirates pitcher Bob Friend wearing a vest jersey over a white windbreaker. … Here’s a great infographic on the Indians’ uni combos for 2013 (from Johnny Bruno).
NFL News: Frontline’s long-awaited documentary about the NFL and concussions, League of Denial, will air tomorrow night. It will no doubt include a fair amount of info on helmet design. There’s a short trailer here. … This isn’t truly NFL-related, but it’s about concussions, so we may as well put it here: Jeff Flynn Jr. recently attended a high school football practice where a lot of the players were wearing Guardian Caps. “I thought they looked really cool and had an old-school leatherhead look to them,” says Jeff. “They claim to reduce concussions by deflecting direct blows to the helmet via all of the little angles on the caps.” Further info here. … And in yet another related story, Riddell is being sued by the family of a high school football player who suffered traumatic brain injury (from Kenny Ocker). … This is pretty fascinating: a major breakthrough — maybe — in the origin story of the Packers’ logo. Recommended (thanks, Phil). … Donte (W)Hitner’s name probably won’t change on his jersey until mid-November (from Paulie Sumner). … Speaking of (W)Hitner, he introduced himself as “Donte Hitner” during last night’s Sunday Night Football telecast. … Here’s a short video clip of Joe Montana explaining why he wore No. 19 with the Chiefs. … Dolphins defensive lineman Marvin Austin has been wearing an elevation training mask during pregame stretching (from Jesse Agler). … Here’s a pretty good slideshow of NFL games being played in baseball stadiums.
College Football News: Major find here, people: Leo Strawn Jr. goes his hands on a copy of Street & Smith’s 1946 Football Pictorial Yearbook and has scanned the entire thing for our edification. “It’s an incredible piece of NCAA history,” he says. “It was the first full season of college football after World War II and many of these players had been in the war and were returning to play again. Additionally, a number of schools shut down their athletics programs for the war and were starting back up again.” You can download the whole thing as a PDF by going here and using the “Download” button to the right of the cover design. … Kudos to Adidas, which donated a ton of uniforms and equipment to that college team that lost all its gear in a bus fire (from Paul Broadway). … Jordan Cutler recently spotted this fanstastic Ohio State-themed RV.
Hockey News: We’ve known for a while now that the Flames would have a third jersey at some point this season, and now it appears to have leaked. Interesting approach. I don’t dislike the basic design, but I hate that the lettering is in black. … Fox Sports’s Erin Andrews wears a generic football jersey in a recent Trubiotic commercial. “The uni-notable aspect here is that she is wearing No 28, which happens to be the number worn by her boyfriend, L.A. Kings player Jarret Stoll,” says Michael Page. … The Stars wore white at home on Saturday. … Former NHL ref Kerry Fraser has some thoughts about the new jersey tucking rule (from Jerry Wolper). … Senators goalie Craig Anderson has a Sens logo in an unusual place: on the side of his blocker (good spot by Mike Engle). … Justin Abdelkader of the Red Wings didn’t have the NHL logo on his jersey collar on Saturday (good spot by JD Vercett). … Last week I Ticker-mentioned that John and Dominic Moore both play for the Rangers but only John has FIOB. Alan Kreit wanted to know the story behind that, so he asked one of the Rangers’ beat reporters and got this answer. … North Dakota’s men’s hockey team wore green pants and helmets for the first time in about a decade on Saturday night (from Brad Reissig).
Soccer News: To celebrate its 150th Anniversary, England’s Football Association generated the map of the London Underground with stations renamed after historically significant players (from Markus Kamp). … Also from Markus: Check out this very uni-centric image that was used to promote last weekend’s dual Classicos. … The Man City vs. Everton match the other day featured both teams wearing blue (from Ben O’Connell). … “In last Thursday’s match against St. Gallen, Swansea’s Michu kept bleeding after getting kicked in the head and had to change his jersey four times,” says Yusuke Toyoda. “He wore his backup jersey and a numberless jersey before the kit man had to raid the team gift shop for two more jerseys at halftime.”
Grab Bag: Keegan Bradley has been wearing Jumpman golf shoes for the Presidents Cup. “I wonder if Jumpman will do a full clothing endorsement on tour,” says Mike Davis. … Creighton will unveil new athletics branding this Wednesday (from David Westfall). … Formula One is considering a ban on helmet livery changes. “It’s BS,” says Omar Jalife. “The helmet is the only part of the whole sport that belongs to the driver (although most sponsors are from the team). If the driver wants to change it, let him. The article says this ban would help fans recognize drivers, but that’s why the cars have different numbers.” … Fascinating story about Cadbury’s attempts to claim trademark protection on the color purple (from Tommy Turner). … Just what the world needed: a pee-wee football team wearing G.I. Joe jerseys with such a “successful” camo pattern that the uni numbers are impossible to read. Meanwhile, note the shorts-clad zebra (from Glenn Stern). … Here’s a look at some of the first layers and “village wear” that the USA team will be wearing in the upcoming Olympics (from Alex Graber). … Check this out: the tale of the tape between War Admiral and Sea Biscuit prior to their 1938 race (great find by Jared Wheeler). … Ever notice that thing are sometimes described as “too clever by half” or “too cute by half”? It’s never “too clever by one-third” or “100% too clever” — always by a half. Now why is that? … Pinktober jerseys for SDSU women’s volleyball (from Andrew Domingo). … Unusual look in Saturday night’s junior middleweight bout between Miguel Cotto and Delvin Rodriguez, as both fighters wore red trunks with blue trim and red gloves. … Okay, Pinktober has officially gotten way out of hand (from Jason Mott). … Still more Pinktober: Saturday’s Mexican Super Clasico match between Chivas and America featured a pink ball and pink-clad refs (from Lee S.). … William Burke notes that Ken Norton’s WBC heavyweight championship belt in 1978 had some Adidas logo creep (look near his left hand). Did Adidas manufacturer the belt?
Photo by Heather McCabe; click to enlarge
What Paul did
last night Friday night: I’ve been touting Sean Kane’s awesome painted-glove artwork for a while now. A bunch of his gloves are currently being showcased at the Bergino Baseball Clubhouse in Manhattan, and on Friday they held a little reception to celebrate Sean and his work. It was my first time seeing his artwork in person, and I’m happy to report that it looks even better in person than it does on the web. It will be on display at Bergino through the end of the month — strongly recommended to all NYC-area readers.
The best part is that I finally got to meet Sean (that’s him posing with me above), who turned out to be a peach of a guy. This wasn’t a surprise — I could tell from our emails that he’s good people — but it’s still a treat to meet someone whose work you admire and find out that the artist is as likable as his art. Thanks for the great time, Sean — hope to see you again soon.