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One Lid, Two Lids, Yellow Lids, Blue Lids

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When it comes to helmets, the NFL and NCAA are heading in opposite directions. The NFL, as you know, has enacted a new rule that largely bans the use of alternate helmet shells, while it’s becoming more and more common for college teams to have at least three different helmet shells (as in the case of West Virginia, shown above), and sometimes more.

Over the past two weeks I interviewed the equipment managers for over half a dozen FBS teams that have multiple helmet shells. I asked them about the divergent approaches toward multiple helmets in the NFL and NCAA, and also asked about some other issues raised by the recent explosion of helmets at the college level (who pays for all of them, what happens to them after they’re used, etc.). Their responses form the basis of my latest ESPN column, which I think you’ll find fascinating. Check it out here.

Update: As if to reinforce the point, Oregon has just announced that it will be wearing Pinktober helmets this weekend.

+ + + + +

’Skins Watch: Deadspin has published the single most insightful piece I’ve read about the ’Skins controversy. Written by a Native American who’s a big football fan, too. Whichever side you’re on, there is stuff here that will have you nodding your head and stuff that will have you shaking your head, and that’s as it should be, because this is a complicated issue. Nothing I’ve read has addressed those complexities as intelligently as this piece has. Don’t miss.

Baseball News: Earlier this week I mentioned that a pair of Marlins infielder Greg Dobbs’s pants had ended up in a Goodwill outlet. Ryan Campbell thinks he knows why: “There’s a website called nomorerack.com, which specializes in daily clothes discounts. One day they sell a pair of women’s jeans for 50% off and the next day they have golf polos for 75% off. One of their sales was ‘authentic game-worn MLB gear’ for like $40. The catch was that it was a blind ‘grab bag’ deal, so you didn’t know what you’d get. I couldn’t pass up the offer, paid the $40, and ended up with a pair of Dontrelle Willis’s Florida Marlins pants. I guess they had extra Marlins stuff.” … Back in 1992, Doug Brei was the marketing director of the Charleston Rainbows, who had a Dodgers-inspired uni. “At one point we considered having four different colored cap/stirrup/sleeve options that would rotate on a game-by-game basis,” he recalls. “One night we’d have red caps, sleeves, and stirrups, the next night we might have green caps, sleeves, and stirrups, and so on. With a team name like ‘Rainbows,’ it seemed like a good idea. But as soon as we mentioned it to the big league club, the brass immediately nixed the idea, insisting (rightfully) that it would be absolute chaos.” … Good infographic on MLB teams with baseballs in their logos (from Brad Iverson-Long). … Not uni-related, but Garrett McGrath, whose office is a block from the MLB offices, happened to spot Alex Rodriguez coming out of the building after the latest installment of his arbitration hearing yesterday.

NFL News: As expected, Brandon Marshall was fined for wearing those green cleats for Mental Health Awareness Week. … While looking for something else, I came upon this photo of Joan Jett wearing what appears to be an old-school Jets jersey but without TV numbers. … Jeff Ash was looking at photos of the 1965 NFL title game and noticed that all the Browns had their uni numbers written on their helmet in Magic Marker. … Bob’s Discount Furniture is running a commercial with animated Giants figures, at least two of which — and maybe three — are wearing the same uni number. Weird (screen shot by Chris Flinn).

College Football News: A little birdie tells me that Navy will be switching from Nike to Under Armour in 2014. … I’m quoted in this article about how UNC has used new uniforms to boost recruiting. … Here’s a really great infographic on the economics of outfitting a college football team (thanks, Phil).

Hockey News: Here’s more info on the Flames’ third jersey, which will be officially unveiled next Friday “I was at Tuesday night’s Pens game,” says Doug Keklak. “During one of the numerous breaks where the ice crew goes out and does maintenance on the playing surface, I heard this ripping sound. I looked down and noticed one of the guys tearing down an ad from the boards. It was covering up another ad that was painted on the boards. Per period ads? Never saw that one before.” … The Cincinnati Cyclones have posted their specialty jerseys for this season. Clockwise from top left: Star Wars Night, Cincinnati Swords throwbacks, Pinktober, and “American Hero Night,” whatever that means (from Adam Walter). … Pinktober strikes again: The Capitals’ trainer was wearing pink rubber gloves last night (screen shot by John M).

Soccer News: To celebrate 10 years of participation in the National Soccer League and A-League, Adelaide United have updated their club crest to include a reference to their 10th anniversary (from Graham Clayton).

NBA News: Two weeks ago it looked like the Lakers had fixed the problem regarding the big hole in their numeral 9, but now the big hole is back. Odd (from Paul Lee). … “Jimmy Kimmel brought up the topic of uniforms when he had Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, and DeAndre Jordan on his show last week,” says Jody Michael. “It wasn’t exactly a substantive discussion, but Kimmel said the Clippers’ new sleeved uniforms ‘look like pajamas’ and also asked “Wouldn’t it be great to watch a game and all the players are in costumes for Halloween?” There’s video of the segment here.

Grab Bag: New logo and store design for 7-Eleven (thanks, Brinke). … “Over the weekend, mountain biker Cam Zink nailed what is being called the biggest backflip ever on a mountain bike at the Red Bull Rampage in Utah,” says Sean Clancy. “He was wearing a special helmet that had an extra layer of expanded polystyrene on the outside, which is apparently becoming more common in some motorsports.” … Here’s an infographic showing every outfit Walter White wore on Breaking Bad (from Anthony Juliano).

 

127 comments to One Lid, Two Lids, Yellow Lids, Blue Lids

  • Bernard | October 17, 2013 at 7:56 am |

    Despite the multitude of potential combos, WVU is going traditional for homecoming this weekend: blue helmet/blue jersey/gold pants.

    • Kek | October 17, 2013 at 12:40 pm |

      Update of a classic… should look good

  • Dumb Guy | October 17, 2013 at 8:08 am |

    J-O-A-N! Joan! Joan! Joan!!

    • John in KC | October 17, 2013 at 9:54 am |

      Looks like Joan Jett is wearing one of those replica jerseys you could buy at Sears or Penneys back in the 1970s. They never had the TV numbers that I can remember.

  • Dumb Guy | October 17, 2013 at 8:11 am |

    The new 7-11 logo disturbs me. I don’t like it written out long/horizontal like that.

    “No sir, I don’t like it.”

    http://www.youtube.c...

    • scott | October 17, 2013 at 8:19 am |

      Definite downgrade for the 7-Eleven logo.

      • Connie DC | October 17, 2013 at 9:56 am |

        Way too tasteful and understated. I particularly enjoyed the photo cavalcade of shelves featuring and other healthful delights.

        • Connie DC | October 17, 2013 at 9:58 am |

          That should be “…featuring fruit and other healthful delights…”

    • GoTerriers | October 17, 2013 at 9:35 am |

      Agreed. The Storefront, elongated logo doesn’t really do it for me. The signpost logo with the “eleven” perpendicular to the “7” works.
      Truthfully, as long as I still get my free Slurpee on July 11, I really don’t care.

    • Tom V. | October 17, 2013 at 10:02 am |

      My birthday is free slurpee day so can’t beat that. With the 7-11 redesign in mind, you must check out COTD. A great idea, I wish the execution was different though.

      • terriblehuman | October 17, 2013 at 10:13 am |

        Agreed.

        Also:
        7 Eleven < bodegas < Chinatown coffee shops

  • BurghFan | October 17, 2013 at 8:21 am |

    Too bad the Charleston Rainbows didn’t go through with the alternating cap/sleeve/stirrup colors. As much fun as I’ve had tracking two colors, four would be much more interesting, especially if they didn’t always match.

    • Dumb Guy | October 17, 2013 at 8:27 am |

      Being the Rainbows they could have even gone with a whole ROYGBIV thing!

    • arrScott | October 17, 2013 at 9:55 am |

      Agreed. Yes, it would have been “absolute chaos.” That kind of chaos would have been a feature, not a bug. If Honolulu ever gets another affiliated minor-league team, I hope they consider something like this.

  • scott | October 17, 2013 at 8:24 am |

    Love the idea floated by the Charleston Rainbows. A much better way of getting more variety of color into uniforms than the now ubiquitous alternate jerseys.

  • Jim Gregg | October 17, 2013 at 8:25 am |

    Excellent article by the Native writer on the Redskins. As he said, there is no inherent problem with Indian names but in the presentation of those names but Redskins is just wrong. I would challenge the Redskins, if you want to keep an Indian mascot name and the logo, to come up with a much much much better name and work directly with a tribe. In this day and age of awareness about everything, create some awareness about the issues facing Native Americans Washington NFL franchise. Maybe make it one of your causes. Provide assistance and educational opportunities to those folks. In other words, do give these Native Americans a NFL franchise that represents them well and makes them proud. Do the right thing Snyder.

  • arrScott | October 17, 2013 at 8:54 am |

    Judge rules in lawsuit between various former members of Black Flag over ownership and use of the band’s iconic, and apparently now generic, logo:

    http://www.hollywood...

    • Paul Lukas | October 17, 2013 at 9:05 am |

      Funny to see a band that took its name from a trademarked product (insecticide) claiming trademark infringement.

      In a vaguely related item, there’s a great new-ish book about people who have a tattoo of the Black Flag logo:
      http://www.amazon.co...

      • Garrett McGrath | October 17, 2013 at 9:23 am |

        This is a fun little infographic of all the members of Black Flag during their run and what hair styles they had at the time: http://trickledown.f...

    • terriblehuman | October 17, 2013 at 9:07 am |

      I guess the lesson is, if you care about your symbol, keep using it and go after other people who use it?

      • arrScott | October 17, 2013 at 9:24 am |

        That, or true punks don’t assert bourgeoise intellectual-property rights.

        • terriblehuman | October 17, 2013 at 9:35 am |

          True, though, punk was always kind of contrived attitude, at least if you wan to focus on Malcolm Mclaren/Sex Pistols and ignore the CBGB/DC scenes.

        • Paul Lukas | October 17, 2013 at 9:35 am |

          Exactly. A bit much to complain about “the system” and then seek its protection. This is, ultimately, the problem that ends up afflicting most self-professed anarchists.

      • arrScott | October 17, 2013 at 9:51 am |

        “This fucking city is run by pigs / They take rights away from all the kids / Copyright 1981 Black Flag Music LLC / All rights reserved.”

        Less catchy than the original.

        • Jerry | October 17, 2013 at 11:11 am |

          That is funny because today is the anniversary of the Warren G./Garth Brooks tiff over their logo.

          http://www.mtv.com/n...

    • Anthony | October 17, 2013 at 1:12 pm |

      I’m surprised that a judge would rule the BLACK FLAG trademark to be generic – maybe only for music (I’d need to view the entire judgment, which I won’t get to do soon).

      Also, many states have laws that state that if two members of a band are together, that band can still use the original name (which is why there were the Beach Boys and then the Beach Boys Experience back in the 80s and 90s). (This New York lawyer forgets what California law states about that subject, though.)

      • Judy A | October 17, 2013 at 2:44 pm |

        On a similar subject, there’s a “tax relief” company here in Los Angeles that’s using the IRS Records logo on its billboards.

        Here’s the logo: http://crushmm.net/m...

        If I could figure out how to do it, I’d add a link to a photo of the billboard.

  • Michael Carroll | October 17, 2013 at 8:58 am |

    I have to believe those Greg Dobbs pants were from his time with the Mariners, considering he only wore #22 for Seattle and the finder’s twitter account shows a picture of the Seattle skyline.

  • Jay Lite | October 17, 2013 at 9:15 am |

    Pink helmets for the Ducks this weekend, of course… http://espn.go.com/c...

    • Johnny O | October 17, 2013 at 9:21 am |

      I can’t believe it took this long for Nike to do this to the Ducks. It looks hideous. Why pair it with black?

      • Jeremy Brahm | October 17, 2013 at 9:28 am |

        Would you prefer the white uniforms with pink?

        • terriblehuman | October 17, 2013 at 9:32 am |

          White after labor day? What are we, savages?

        • Johnny O | October 17, 2013 at 9:43 am |

          I guess I would prefer it with white.

          You will notice in Darren Rovell’s article that there is no mention of what % or how much money will be donated to research.
          http://espn.go.com/c...

      • terriblehuman | October 17, 2013 at 9:32 am |

        Well, if you want to accentuate the pink, black is the color to do it with. It’s either that or pink/brown, but I can’t imagine too many teams doing brown for brown’s sake.

  • Harvey Lee | October 17, 2013 at 9:16 am |

    I hope you find out what they do with all of the helmet shells. Recycle? Repaint? Landfill?

  • BrianC | October 17, 2013 at 9:22 am |

    Sorry, Calgary. You’re third jersey may be hideous, but it’s still nothing compared to Buffalo.

    • mike 2 | October 17, 2013 at 1:13 pm |

      Its really hideous in its own way. Like I commented when it came out, it looks like a knockoff jersey that you buy for a child in an airport gift shop.

  • Newt | October 17, 2013 at 9:25 am |

    The NFL should allow multiple helmets

    Just make the teams use the throwback helmets during the practice week before the game so the game isnt the first time they wear the helmet

    • Chance Michaels | October 17, 2013 at 10:13 am |

      Teams *were* doing that. And/or wearing them in training camp. It evidently wasn’t enough.

  • terriblehuman | October 17, 2013 at 9:26 am |

    Dave Rappocio, who’s did the Manningface NFL logo project a while back, wonders what all 32 logos would look like if they were fat.

    • GoTerriers | October 17, 2013 at 9:40 am |

      The Chiefs logo is uninspired until you realize that the arrowhead is now the side of the bag . . .

      • terriblehuman | October 17, 2013 at 9:46 am |

        Ha! I didn’t catch that on the first pass.

    • arrScott | October 17, 2013 at 9:58 am |

      The ones with faces look like if Chris Ware redesigned the NFL. Brilliant stuff!

      Personal favorite: The Texans as a steak.

    • Dumb Guy | October 17, 2013 at 10:06 am |

      The Lion on the scooter/Lark/Hoveround is pretty clever.

    • Mirliton | October 17, 2013 at 12:59 pm |

      The Saints should be a grain of rice flanked by red beans.

  • tommy | October 17, 2013 at 10:13 am |

    Uniform critics did a top 25 of BFBS uniforms. http://uniformcritic...

  • tommy | October 17, 2013 at 10:20 am |

    Oregon going with Pink Helmets this weekend against Washington State. http://www.sbnation....

    • Ed Hughes | October 17, 2013 at 10:42 am |

      Only one thing to say (sing?): “Pepto…Pepto Duck…”
      Apologies to the writers of “Disco Duck” (possibly the first time that phrase has EVER been used).

    • ChrisH | October 17, 2013 at 3:25 pm |

      Lifted right out of a “Married With Children” episode:

      http://images.tvrage...

      • Ed Hughes | October 17, 2013 at 4:23 pm |

        Really? I’ve never watched that program. Coincidence.

  • Chance Michaels | October 17, 2013 at 10:21 am |

    Man oh, man. That Flip Flop Fly Ball graphic is great. I really love Craig’s work.

    Do have one minor nitpick, since he’s including alternate logos….

    • arrScott | October 17, 2013 at 1:50 pm |

      Rangers, Twins & Mets are by far my favorite balls-in-logos. Phillies and A’s get special mention for their distinctive treatments. And despite my personal favorites, I have to regard the Giants and Dodgers as the best-designed of the lot.

      Yankees, by a big margin, have the worst ball-in-logo. Every element of it – line, shape, perspective, negative space, etc – falls in a different spot on the abstract-realistic spectrum from every other element. Just a mess, formally.

      • quiet seattle | October 17, 2013 at 8:04 pm |

        The Twins? Really? Their wordmark over a baseball. Redundant and dull.

        • arrScott | October 17, 2013 at 11:01 pm |

          I’m assessing the quality of design of the ball, not the overall logo. Just considering the design of the ball within the Twins logo, it’s one of my favorites. Not the whole logo, just the ball.

        • quiet seattle | October 18, 2013 at 10:03 am |

          Gotcha.

  • Paul Lukas | October 17, 2013 at 10:31 am |

    Today’s ESPN column is up:
    http://espn.go.com/c...

    • Ben Fortney | October 17, 2013 at 11:15 am |

      Nicely done, PL. I’d be curious to hear from some players too. I’m sure most are excited when they get a new toy, wonder if there’s any thought given past the comfort aspect.

      • Paul Lukas | October 17, 2013 at 11:23 am |

        I actually asked the equipment managers what the players think about the multiple helmets. To a man, they all said the players only care about how the helmets look.

    • Harvey Lee | October 17, 2013 at 12:05 pm |

      Great work. Interesting the variation on cost, but tens of thousands of bucks seems really excessive given budget challenges for higher education (I know athletic monies are separate). One times paid for my marketing makes these guys running billboards. Thanks for answering my Q on what happens afterwards, reuse and auction to recoup costs make sense.

  • Alex Rabens | October 17, 2013 at 10:31 am |

    Are there any other MLB teams that do front numbers? I feel like the Rockies did at one point but can’t say for sure..

    • Perry | October 17, 2013 at 10:48 am |

      Front jersey numbers? Lots. Dodgers, Cards, Reds, Rockies, Cubs road, A’s, Orioles, Royals, Astros just off the top of my head. Probably others.

      • Jerry | October 17, 2013 at 11:15 am |

        Tigers road

        • DJ | October 17, 2013 at 2:24 pm |

          White Sox

        • Chance Michaels | October 17, 2013 at 3:43 pm |

          Brewers, everything except the one-offs.

    • arrScott | October 17, 2013 at 10:55 am |

      Do you mean contrasting front numbers?

      • arrScott | October 17, 2013 at 10:57 am |

        In MiLB, the Cedar Rapids Kernels do contrasting front numbers. Others I’m sure, but the Kernels contrast blue and green, which gives them a special place in my heart.

      • Mark in Shiga | October 17, 2013 at 11:17 am |

        The Cubs — one of whose affiliates was the first team ever to do front numbers, just before the Dodgers did — have had contrasting front numbers since they went back to gray road jerseys in the early ’90s.

        On second thought, though: the numbers on the back are also red, with a white border, and have been since they dumped the blue inner layer in 1997. Is that still “contrasting”? It feels like it should be, because the Cubs are a “blue” team with their wordmark, cap, sleeves, and socks all in blue.

        I hate gray and think the Cubs would do better to just wear the blue alternates on the road (and not at home), but they do deserve some credit for spicing up an otherwise-dull road jersey with contrasting colors. And I think they’re one of the few teams to have a fully-contrasting NOB color (blue).

  • Will. | October 17, 2013 at 10:35 am |

    Words Paul should learn to live by:

    “I actually appreciate Rick Reilly’s perspective when he says he wants to keep non-Native liberals from driving this discussion. It’s a fair point, and it shows at least some awareness of who has a real stake in the outcome.”

    Not some guy in Brooklyn….

    • Paul Lukas | October 17, 2013 at 10:46 am |

      Actually, my position all along — and you can look it up — is that Natives should be in control of this imagery, because it belongs to them. And that’s the point of the Deadspin article.

    • arrScott | October 17, 2013 at 10:54 am |

      “Who has a real stake in the outcome.”

      That would be all of us. If I’m in a restaurant and some stranger starts shouting racist insults at another stranger, I am not unaffected. I have a stake in the outcome there, and if I’m a decent person, I should stand up for the victim of the verbal assault. Upholding standards of decency is a universal good in which we all have a real stake.

      Or put another way, if “some [non-Native] guy in Brooklyn” lacks the moral interest to oppose the Redskins name, then neither does any non-Native person have moral standing to defend the Redskins name. If you don’t have a “real stake in the outcome,” then you can no more argue for one outcome than you can argue against it.

      • terriblehuman | October 17, 2013 at 11:07 am |

        I mean, if a white guy in Brooklyn thinks it’s distasteful for an institution as visible as an NFL franchise uses a racial slur to identify itself, why shouldn’t he bring it up?

        And I’ve made this point before, but how casual the mainstream can be about using slurs in public is something that affects me, as an ethnic minority in the country. The nickname may not directly affect me, but the conversation around it certainly does.

        • Will. | October 17, 2013 at 12:19 pm |

          That white guy in Brooklyn IS driving the conversation…don’t tip toe around Paul’s words / actions…by posting EVERYDAY about it…essentially he is DRIVING / LEADING his intentions…

        • terriblehuman | October 17, 2013 at 12:25 pm |

          Yeah, strange that a guy presents his point of view about a team’s branding on a platform specifically created to his points of view about teams’ branding.

          But you and I agree, white people shouldn’t express opinions.

        • Paul Lukas | October 17, 2013 at 12:28 pm |

          Let me get this straight: *I* am driving the entire national debate on this?

          I wish I could take credit for that. But I think you’re overstating my role.

          In any case:

          1) My position all along has been that Natives should have control over their own imagery, their own depictions, their own iconography. It’s not about me; it’s about them.

          2) I only post about this because it’s a developing and ongoing story that’s related to Uni Watch. I’ve actually had very little to say about it in recent months — I’ve only been linking to other stories about it.

        • Kek | October 17, 2013 at 12:43 pm |

          Truth be told, Phil had the anti-Skins opinion far before Paul on this site.

        • Phil Hecken | October 17, 2013 at 1:06 pm |

          You say that like it’s a bad thing.

  • Coach Batt | October 17, 2013 at 10:39 am |

    I believe most of us here, with a keen uniform eye, have noticed that the Bears were wearing much more white-dominant cleats this year. With the random, pell-mell wearing of “team-colored” cleats it is difficult to tell sometimes; I always use the color of the tape players use on their cleats as the indisputable proof. Sure enough the Bears have been using white tape the entire season.

    Buried in the Marshall/tweeted NFL letter is the quote from the league that “Your team dominated footwear color is white”… I suppose now it’s “official”.

    I wonder whose decision it is from year-to-year to decide on white/black team color? Is that a decision that fits under the league’s 5-year window? Or like pants can they be chosen more frequently without league notification?

    By the way, for a traditional-uni team, the Bears in white cleats just doesn’t work and looks like shite compared to black. (my opinion, of course)

    • Paul Lukas | October 17, 2013 at 10:45 am |

      Buried in the Marshall/tweeted NFL letter is the quote from the league that “Your team dominated footwear color is white”… I suppose now it’s “official”.

      Interesting. I asked them about that during preseason and a spokesman specifically told me that they were not changing to white.

      • Thomas J | October 17, 2013 at 8:05 pm |

        Is this some kind of long experiment then?

        It isn’t just that they’re a heritage franchise, I also think that cleats on grass look better in black compared with cleats on turf.

  • Kevin Z. | October 17, 2013 at 10:56 am |

    I heard this during the ESPN radio broadcast of Game 2 of the ALCS a couple nights ago (forgot to post a comment/email Uni Watch). Jon Sciambi brought up Jarrod Saltalamacchia wearing the forward-facing helmet with mask. Apparently, he started doing it was he was having trouble throwing the ball back to the pitcher and wearing the brim forward gave him “tunnel vision” on the pitcher, which allowed him to focus.

    I know we’ve talked about Salty and others wearing the forward-facing helmet, but I don’t recall hearing this as the (or part of the) reason he started doing it. My apologies if this has been discussed before.

    • Paul Lukas | October 17, 2013 at 11:01 am |

      I hadn’t heard that — good stuff. Thanks for sharing!

  • Maks | October 17, 2013 at 11:18 am |

    question: with the Ducks donning pink helmets for Breast Cancer… and your interviews with equipment manager plus the link you posted yesterday about funds splitting with very little to cancer research…. are any of the pink equipment going to be auctioned off for cancer research or will it go back to Nike/school/manufacturer for making these?

    reading the article about how little research gets puts a knot in my stomach.

  • Dan Pfeifer | October 17, 2013 at 11:23 am |

    Fantastic work on the ESPN article, Paul.

    It took thought to put two and two together from the very beginning on that.

    College sports has become so much about marketing brands and flashy things in the supposed name of recruiting (more likely in the name of selling products for the sportswear brands) that the multiple helmets have seemed like a logical extension when isolated.

    Meanwhile, given the NFL’s concussion issues, their reasoning also makes sense, again, when isolated.

    But to put two and two together, in and of itself, then to follow through on it was very smart.

    Plus, these are essentially two very large industries, in the same field, in complete disagreement. It’s rare you see that, and usually when there’s disagreement between industries, they’re loathe to talk about why, and we’re usually loathe to ask because of the industry size — who are we to get answers from these big colleges and pro teams? But you went and did it. Good jorb.

    I can’t help but think, though, that the whole thing is just dripping with irony.

    On the one hand, you have college sports. We now have numbers — anywhere from $30,000 to $100,000 per helmet set. Schools are obviously willing to spend that money, and yes, they might recoup some or all of it through auctions or “yard sales,” but we also saw other cases where the equipment managers said it did force them to adjust their budget. So they’re willing and able to spend this money, even though we’ve all read the stories about how most programs LOSE money and we’re constantly hearing they can’t afford to pay athletes? And the NCAA, which made such a big deal of “most of our athletes go pro in something other than sports,” is less concerned about safety than the pros? Clearly the managers don’t think it’s an issue, and neither does Riddell, but when you put it together, who should be taking fewer chances — the colleges, whose athletes will be trying to make a living after playing football (something that’s easier with fewer concussions), or NFL guys, who theoretically should have enough money after they retire to not have to work again? (Yes, I watched “Broke,” so I know that isn’t the case, but guys who are smart should be able to live the rest of their lives on what they saved and their pension.)

    Meanwhile, the NFL has enough riches to make Solomon blush and is probably in a better place to afford to allow players to wear multiple helmets than colleges, not to mention, if you’re going to use players as marketing tools for products, it seems far more savory to use guys who are getting paid millions to do it than guys who aren’t getting a single cent. Yet, the NFL, in the name of pseudo safety (which is now being somewhat debunked by the college equipment managers and the helmet man from Riddell) won’t let the teams do it, even though the fans want it and it apparently doesn’t have a real safety concern! Why, because they want to give everyone the IMPRESSION they’re being safe … never mind actually being safe or not, when again, really, in an ideal world without lawsuits and such, colleges are in a spot where they should be more concerned about safety than the NFL, not the other way around.

    Long story short: I take from this that football is a messed up business at both the college AND pro level. Maybe everyone involved with those sports has had a few too many concussions.

    • terriblehuman | October 17, 2013 at 11:52 am |

      There’s a lot of thoughtful stuff here, but I wanted to single this out:

      even though we’ve all read the stories about how most programs LOSE money

      I think you get that this is more creative accounting than a true reflection of football’s economics. Just because the money doesn’t come directly back to football, it doesn’t mean it’s losing money. The reality is that athletic programs have more money than they know what to do with – you see this in mahogany-finished athletic directors’ offices, ridiculously equipped clubhouses and state of the art weight rooms. And of course, a silly array of uniforms.

      • Dan Pfeifer | October 17, 2013 at 1:18 pm |

        Even if there is creative accounting going on, you can’t have it both ways. Even taking your example, don’t tell me you’re losing money when you have those great facilities. Then that’s bad judgement on the part of those who got the facilities.

        • terriblehuman | October 17, 2013 at 1:49 pm |

          Well, my point is that colleges are basically lying about losing money on football.

          They’re spending money on helmets because the money’s there. The money’s there because they don’t pay the players. And because they don’t pay players, they’re not really invested in player safety – those chumps will move on long before they suffer any ill effects of head injuries, for the most part, and there’s a whole generation of impressionable youths who are happy to play for shiny helmets and free tuition.

        • Commenter formerly known as Eric B. | October 17, 2013 at 3:39 pm |

          there’s a whole generation of impressionable youths who are happy to play for shiny helmets and free tuition.

          As opposed to previous generations of impressionable youths who were happy to play for free tuition and…non-shiny helmets?

    • Jim Gregg | October 17, 2013 at 12:40 pm |

      Willing to be most BIG schools don’t spend a dime on helmet sets. Why? Because the equipment companies use it as marketing to sell other school related stuff that brings in billions. Of course, the schools get a cut of this but things today are about the Brand. The Brand of the uni, the Brand of the university too. What the companies like adidas and Nike know is that if your team wears their gear you are most likely to buy more of their gear. Colleges are making beaucoup money by selling apparel, caps and the like that are usually made by, you guessed it, the company they have a contract with.

      • terriblehuman | October 17, 2013 at 12:45 pm |

        I linked to a Daily Tar Heel article yesterday that went into a little detail about how the stuff is paid for – not Big 10, but still, you know, a big school:

        The Tar Heels’ all-sport, 10-year contract with Nike, which was signed in 2009 and made retroactive to 2008, is worth $37.7 million and covers shoes, uniforms, coaching gear, balls and other equipment.

        The athletic department has an allotment from Nike to pay for coaches’ and players’ athletic apparel, and all costs beyond the allotment must come out of the athletic budget.

        Dominic Morelli, UNC football’s equipment manager, said the three new sets of uniforms cost about $75,000, with Nike picking up all costs within UNC’s allotment. In a typical year with no redesign, Morelli said, the team would spend about $30,000 to $40,000.

        Arrangements differ from school to school, but I can’t imagine, say, Nike paying extra money for special Riddell helmets beyond what’s in the contract.

      • Paul Lukas | October 17, 2013 at 1:23 pm |

        Willing to bet most BIG schools don’t spend a dime on helmet sets.

        Did you actually read today’s ESPN column?

        It’s amazing how so many people think their own judgment, which is usually rooted in approximately zero professional and/or real-world experience, is more accurate than, say, a professionally reported article with industry professionals.

        • Jim Gregg | October 17, 2013 at 1:44 pm |

          They spent it mostly for repainting Paul as I read it. Sometimes for new sets. The amount of money the companies spend, which you linked, is staggering for big schools. Michigan gets 80 million for instance. That becomes part of the athletic budget does it not?

        • Dan Pfeifer | October 17, 2013 at 1:54 pm |

          In fairness to even one of my detractors, I can see how someone wouldn’t consider the seven schools you quoted in the article as “BIG” schools, particularly if they’re a fan of, say, Notre Dame, Oregon or an SEC school. Only one of the seven schools has appeared in a BCS National Championship, and Virginia Tech hasn’t been back since 1999.

          Nonetheless, if you’re going to use that definition of “BIG,” there sure are a lot of not-“BIG” schools paying a lot of money out there.

        • Paul Lukas | October 17, 2013 at 1:55 pm |

          They spent it mostly for repainting Paul as I read it.

          You might wanna go back and read that again.

  • Kek | October 17, 2013 at 11:27 am |

    I probably meant to say “tearing” not “treating”.

    I’m also fascinated by that Deadspin story… because I don’t remember and NWA member wearing an Angels shirt on that album cover! If it wasn’t Raiders or Kings for those guys it was Dodgers as I remember it.

    • Paul Lukas | October 17, 2013 at 11:31 am |

      I probably meant to say “tearing” not “treating”.

      Now fixed. Sorry, Doug!

      • Kek | October 17, 2013 at 12:39 pm |

        not a problem! That deadspin story REALLY IS a good read after I got past my initial reaction.

  • Matthew Robins | October 17, 2013 at 11:51 am |

    Very much enjoyed the interview piece with the various NCAA equipment managers. Here’s the new Colorado Buffaloes away basketball uniforms – http://www.ralphiere...

  • Jim Gregg | October 17, 2013 at 12:46 pm |

    Interesting in the ESPN piece that most equipment managers say helmets are so good today that if fit properly by good equipment managers no break in is really required and the NFL rule is more of a CYA rule than anything else.

    • mike 2 | October 17, 2013 at 1:10 pm |

      But isn’t the issue for the NFL that plenty of players are using older and different models of helmets, so that throwback or alternate helmets would be different than their usual model of helmet? They want to avoid having players wear their old, comfortable helmet for 14 games and a new unfamiliar model for 2.

      The multi-helmet schools in the NCAA all seem to have the players wearing two or more identical helmets.

      • The Jeff | October 17, 2013 at 1:20 pm |

        The really simple solution to that is to not have grandfathered safety equipment. If a helmet isn’t being made any longer, then players shouldn’t be allowed to wear it.

        It was stupid when there was still a punter or 2 using single-bar facemasks in the late 90’s, and it’s stupid to have players wearing discontinued helmet shells now.

        • terriblehuman | October 17, 2013 at 1:40 pm |

          But older isn’t necessarily more dangerous, and conversely, newer isn’t necessarily safer. That a model is discontinued says nothing about its safety.

        • Paul Lukas | October 17, 2013 at 1:43 pm |

          If a helmet isn’t being made any longer, then players shouldn’t be allowed to wear it.

          Just because a helmet has been discontinued, that doesn’t mean it’s less safe than newer models. Companies routinely discontinue a given product just to get people to buy the newer version. I don’t know whether that’s necessarily the case here (and neither do you, Jeff), but it could be.

        • Teebz | October 17, 2013 at 3:30 pm |

          This is slightly off-topic, but, Paul you should really do an interview with Jeff because I’m not sure what world he lives in.

          Some days, I read Jeff’s comments and picture him like this. And yet other days, I conjure this kind of image of him.

          I get that Jeff likes to stir the pot around here sometimes, but like Mr. BC Johnson, it could be extremely interesting to sift through the mystery that surrounds “The Jeff”.

        • arrScott | October 17, 2013 at 4:17 pm |

          Noooo! Do not demystify The Jeff! The world destroys our idols on its own without going out of our way to do so. Let the legend stand, man, let the legend stand.

          For what it’s worth, I always kind of picture The like this.

        • Paul Lukas | October 17, 2013 at 4:29 pm |

          I happen to know what Jeff looks like. All I’ll say is that none of y’all is even remotely close.

        • Phil Hecken | October 17, 2013 at 4:56 pm |

          HAHA! Each one of those guesses as to what THE looks like is worse than the other. I too know what THE looks like…and well…those ain’t it.

        • Komet17 | October 17, 2013 at 9:51 pm |

          OK, there needs to be a Uni-Watch contest so that readers can submit pictures of how they think The Jeff looks. At least three categories:
          1. Most similar
          2. Least similar
          3. Most creative

  • Jim Gregg | October 17, 2013 at 12:50 pm |

    Found an interesting article on concussions. Note that the study revealed the helmet does little to prevent a concussion and age of the helmet really doesn’t matter these days. A concussion is the sloshing around of the brain in the cranium and a helmet doesn’t stop this. What will need to happen are the rules changes in terms of tackling and blocking which are already being considered.

    http://consumer.heal...

  • russ | October 17, 2013 at 12:52 pm |

    Can’t we be accurate and call it Magentober? Might as well make it sound as ugly as it looks.

    Thankfully October wasn’t picked for testicular cancer awareness.

    • Mike Engle on iPad | October 17, 2013 at 4:10 pm |

      I’d almost rather blue balls than pink everything. As long as it doesn’t spread. But we know it would.

  • TIm | October 17, 2013 at 12:55 pm |

    Everyone concerned (on either side) of the ‘Skins issue should read that article Paul linked today. It is by far the most measured and insightful article about the issue I’ve seen and is significant in that a Native American wrote it.

    • Glenn Simpkins | October 17, 2013 at 1:35 pm |

      Bookmarked it to print later

  • Dan Pfeifer | October 17, 2013 at 1:17 pm |

    Great picture of a 1958 Milwaukee Braves program cover illustration. Think this might be from that one guy you wrote about that one time … post-lunch brain drain and I already spent too much time on that comment above.

    https://www.facebook...

  • Glenn Simpkins | October 17, 2013 at 1:34 pm |

    Drew Litton comes out against the name of DC Gridiron Football:

    http://www.drewlitto...

    • Dumb Guy | October 17, 2013 at 3:40 pm |

      nice.

  • Newt | October 17, 2013 at 5:03 pm |

    that infographic:

    annually, auburn spends $40 million on their football team?

    holy cow. where?

  • Paul Lee | October 17, 2013 at 7:32 pm |

    Anyone ever suggest the name Rhinos for the football team in D.C.?

    • arrScott | October 17, 2013 at 10:54 pm |

      Yes, it’s been suggested, including here recently. But no, those have not been serious suggestions, since for reasons I don’t

      • arrScott | October 17, 2013 at 10:57 pm |

        (Stupid pad keyboard) … for reasons I don’t understand, “rhinos” is associated with Virginia. While for reasons I do understand, DC is more associated with “hippos.” Since they’re called “Washington” but play in Maryland, I don’t see the Virginia-associated “Rhinos” being a real contender, and since it’s an NFL team, I don’t see the DC-associated “Hippos” being an option. Alas.

  • LI Matt | October 17, 2013 at 7:42 pm |

    North Carolina is wearing BFBS tonight, calling it “Zero Dark Thursday” (barf).

    • arrScott | October 17, 2013 at 10:58 pm |

      Did the Tarheels kill Bin Laden? Because if so, that would totally make “Zero Dark Thursday” OK.

  • Laurence Holland | October 17, 2013 at 8:37 pm |

    My guess about the Lakers’ 9? It was never fixed, and the 9 on the “new” uni is an upside-down 6. (Compare to Gasol’s…) Even so, it would have been an improvement…

  • alex35332 | October 17, 2013 at 9:32 pm |

    The Skins name change debate would be a lot further along if there were more people like Gyasi Ross were in the discussion and less bama hack self absorbed “writers” like Mike Wise.

    • Paul Lukas | October 17, 2013 at 9:42 pm |

      Actually, the debate would be much further along if people would address the actual arguments being made instead of referring to the people making those arguments as “hacks” or other insulting terms.

  • Jim Gregg | October 18, 2013 at 7:26 am |

    Not understanding the criticisms of Lukas and others when it comes to the Redskins name. Politically or otherwise. Heck I am conservative as anyone and I think the name is horrible. It isn’t about being PC. It is about being better than this. We can honor Native Americans as a team name much much better which is what the article linked by Lukas says in essence. This is just about right and wrong in my view and Redskins is just wrong. Lukas, et al, aren’t hacks. They have a well thought out view.

  • Dave | October 18, 2013 at 10:02 am |

    1) What does the NCAA care if you wear six ill-fitting and poorly maintained helmets in one year? It’s not like they’ll give a crap in 10 years when you’re chairbound and drooling with CTE, Parkinson’s, ALS, or all three; by rule you’re out of there before you know what hit you.

    2) The “Redskins” franchise is worth billions. Change the name and do it wrong, you’re really going to affect your bottom line. Look no farther than across town at the Washington Wizards. Do it right and you’ll be OK (to wit, Houston’s MLS franchise renaming itself the Dynamo to avoid offending the large Hispanic population there).

  • Dave | October 18, 2013 at 10:06 am |

    3) Can we stop using the word “lid” to mean “helmet” now?