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).