Here’s a life lesson to keep in mind: When you insist on making massive, over-the-top symbolic gestures, you run the risk of massively embarrassing failures that provide a very different kind of symbolism than you had intended.
Case in point: Let’s say that for some reason you feel the need to unfurl an American flag large enough to cover an entire football field (either because you adhere to the unfortunate American maxim that bigger is better and biggest is therefore best, or else just, you know, because you fucking can). That’s all fine and good — until, as was the case in Buffalo yesterday, a strong wind literally rips your flag in two (see photo above). Kind of puts a dent in your “U! S! A!” messaging, no? Maybe next time you should think a bit smaller. Or maybe you should just scrap the jingoistic nonsense already and stick to staging football games.
The wind Buffalo wreaked havoc on more than just that flag. It also did quite a number on a Jets field goal attempt:
And in one other note from that same game, the Bills put a new spin on GI Joevember by wearing National Guard helmet decals.
In other notes from around the league yesterday:
• The Bears wore their throwbacks in a game that was interrupted by a tornado warning and then became very, very muddy — so muddy, in fact, that Ravens kicker Justin Tucker’s uni number was completely obliterated.
• The Steelers wore their bumblebee throwbacks. Lots of additional photos here. Interestingly, those jerseys are made from a mesh fabric, not Nike’s usual jersey fabric. Maybe because of the stripes..? (And as an aside, here’s a video of Steelers owner Dan Rooney talking about the evolution of the team’s uniform. Rooney even uses the term “Northwestern stripe” — impressive!)
• Here’s something I don’t recall having seen before: Peyton Manning wearing gloves on both hands. Has he ever worn a glove on his throwing hand before? If so, I don’t remember it.
• Freaky scene in the Jags/Cards game, as Jacksonville defensive end Jason Babin pulled off some of Arizona running back Andre Ellington’s hair while making a tackle. The hair was later returned to Ellington.
• Chargers offensive tackle D.J. Fluker had a bit of an NOB problem.
Turning to Saturday’s college action, Phil and his contributors had good coverage in yesterday’s entry. Once you’re done with that, here’s an additional coupla items:
• Yesterday’s “Sunday Morning Uni Watch” report from Terry Duroncelet included the following: “I can tell that the right sleeve patch is a flag, but what’s on the left sleeve?” Turns out it’s a yellow version of the patch for the Oregon Army National Guard 41st Infantry Brigade Combat Team. Reader Eric Fisk says, “I am an Oregon Army National Guardsman and I personally did not find the Oregon uniforms a tribute but more of another marketing ploy by the Ducks.” (There’s also a colored version of that patch logo, which Oregon and Oregon State will be wearing as helmet decals for the Civil War game later this month. Hey, why not just bring a bunch of tanks and artillery units onto the field and get it over with already?)
• South Dakota and South Dakota State went color-vs.-color.
(My thanks to all contributors, including Timothy Appel, Chris Hartranft, Jake Hurley, Willard Kovacs, Jeffrey Seals, JJ Sledge, Daniel Swartos, Shane Thomas, Tim Walsh, and of course Phil.)
Correction: On Friday I said the NBA’s original plan for its Christmas Day jerseys, before Brian Erni of SNY and I broke the story on them, was to unveil the jerseys on Good Morning America. I had received that information in the course of my reporting, but the league has told me that it is incorrect, and that they never planned to unveil the jerseys on GMA. Uni Watch regrets the error.
’Skins Watch: Yesterday’s edition of the New York Times Magazine attempted to address the whole Native American sports thing, but the resulting article was a bit of a mess. They tried to cover too much ground in not enough space. … Here’s a close look at the Oneida Indian Tribe and their leader, Ray Halbritter, who are leading the movement to change the ’Skins name (from Tommy Turner). … There’s increasing pressure on Wisconsin governor Scott Walker to veto a billthat would ease the state’s current restrictions on schools using Native American mascots (thanks, Phil). … A high school whose teams are called the Indians was playing another high school, whose fans came up with this banner. Classy. That photo made Reddit’s front page last night (from Richard Jurnack). … A Quebec snack manufacturer is facing criticism after using a “throwback” package design featuring Native boy wearing a feather and a loincloth (from Roch Smith).
This is bizarre: The bullpens the old Jarry Park in Montreal were on top of the dugouts. I’m not sure (a) how they managed that and (b) how I was unaware of it until now. I’m old enough to have seen lots of televised games from Jarry Park when the Mets visited there in the early and mid-1970s, but I have no memory of this bullpen quirk. Crazy! (Big thanks, Phil.) Never mind. Debunked in today’s comments.
NFL News: Drew Brees has been appearing in an NFL Mobile ad with his jersey swoosh covered up but his pants swoosh left intact. “Strange,” says Chris Perrenot. … Also from Chris: Saturday Night Live ran a spoof ad for NFL’s RedZone, but the game footage they used was from a Houston Gamblers USFL game. … Richard Stover was looking thorugh a Super Bowl VI program and spotted a Dolphins logo that he (and I) had never seen before. Anyone familiar with that mark? … It had previously been reported that the Panthers would be wearing Purple Heart helmet decals for tonight’s game against the Patriots. Duncan Wilson wasn’t thrilled about this, so he emailed the team about it and received this response: “The Carolina Panthers are actually wearing the Military Order of the Purple Heart crest, not the official Purple Heart ribbon/logo.” You can see that crest, and learn more about the Military Order of the Purple Heart, here. The bottom line is essentially this: The Panthers aren’t wearing actual an actual depiction of a Purple Heart (which would clearly be inappropriate). Instead, they’re wearing the logo of an organization whose membership is comprised exclusively of Purple Heart recipients (which I think is also inappropriate). Either way, it’s just another way to connect football with the military, which is bullshit at best, propaganda at worst. Not all soldiers are heroes, and not all heroes are soldiers.
College Football News: I’m not the only one who doesn’t like all the GI Joe nonsense — plenty of military personnel don’t like it either. Key quote, from a Vietnam vet: “Does every sporting event these days have to become a mini-Nuremburg rally? Honor the vets by giving them a discounted ticket or a free replica game jersey or something like that, but please stop dressing like clowns out there.” And from Desert Storm vet: “As a former Marine, I think all this over-the-top stuff is superficial and, in many regards, an insult to the troops. Wearing camouflage football uniforms and sticking flags everywhere does not mean that you understand what any Marine, sailor, airman or soldier has experienced in war or in garrison during peacetime. In fact, I would even argue that it takes away from the intended purpose because you did not earn the right to wear the uniform. Uniforms have a deeper meaning to those who served than just an article of clothing.” … Hendrix College in Arkansas wears some seriously crazy pants (from Seth Shaw). … Matthiew Mitchell says the scuttlebutt in Waco is that Baylor will wear fluorescent yellow, head to toe, for their bowl game. Cant, uh, wait. … There’s a petition for Virginia Tech to put a horse on a treadmill on its helmets. “Since I’m sure no one will know why the hell anyone would want a horse on a treadmill, it’s mocking Virginia Tech’s commercial,” explains Andrew Costentino.
Soccer News: Bit of a sleeve-length kerfuffle for Arsenal (from Yusuke Toyoda). … Also from Yusuke: Pope Francis is apparently amassing quite the soccer jersey collection. … “Martin O’Neil had his first game as the new Ireland soccer manager on Friday,” writes Patrick Fleming. “O’Neil has pretty much always worn tracksuits throughout his career as a manager. But ever since Brian Kerr took charge of Ireland in 2003, Irish managers have all worn a suit on the touchline. I was therefore interested to see whether O’Neil, whose tracksuitedness has always been a big part of his everyman image, would follow this trend. Sure enough, he suited up on Friday. It makes me wonder if this is perhaps something that the Football Association of Ireland requires from managers.” … Also from Patrick: Here’s a slideshow of soccer mascots observing a minute of silence for Remembrance Day.
NBA News: Golden State wore their T-shirts on Saturday night. … In case you missed it on Saturday, the Knicks and Hawks played a near-unwatchable orange-vs.-red game. The NBA says that won’t happen again. … The Trail Blazers may have new unis in 2015-16 (from Jeremy Brahm).
Grab Bag: The Ottawa Senators will unveil their Heritage Classic jersey on Nov. 28 (thanks, Phil). … A few months ago I touted the artwork of Mark Wagner, who makes mind-blowing collages from cut-up dollar bills. Here’s a great little video piece about him — strongly recommended (thanks, Heather). … Having a recognizable logo for your clothing brand is great — until a right-wing extremist and mass-murderer starts wearing your clothing (from Willard Kovacs). … The city of Chattanooga now has its own custom typeface (from Yusuke Toyoda). … Three auto racing items from David Firestone: Kevin Harvick wore a tribute helmet for his last race with RCR; Caterpillar ran a tribute for Jeff Burton for his last race with RCR; and David has given out his best- and worst-dressed awards for NASCAR. … Clint Wrede was watching the U.S. Olympic curling trials and has some cool news: “Uni numbers are a new and non-required phenomenon in the sport, and one commentator on the webcast earlier last week thought it was an attempt to sell jerseys to fans. But here’s the great part: Team Erika Brown, which won the women’s competition to become the first U.S. athletes to qualify in any sport for the 2014 Winter Games, is wearing uni numbers that were chosen based on the periodic table of elements and chemical properties. Each player’s number is the atomic number of her chosen element. Normally, the players also wear the one- or two-letter symbol of the corresponding element on their sleeves, but those were replaced during the Trials with Olympic patches. The team’s Facebook page includes explanations for why they chose their numbers/elements.”
Photos by Heather McCabe; click to enlarge
What Paul did last night: Last night I attended a screening of Casablanca at the magnificent United Palace Theater up on 175th St. — one of New York’s five original “Wonder Theaters.” The organizers had announced that anyone wearing a tuxedo or a gown would be admitted for free, so a bunch of my friends and I decided to get dressed up for the occasion.
This presented me with a problem: I didn’t own a tuxedo. In fact, I had never worn one. So on Saturday I went to a couple of vintage shops and eventually found an old tux that fit me surprisingly well for $80 — not bad, right? I could have bought a tux shirt as well, but then I would have had to buy studs as well, and that seemed like a bit much, so I decided to go with a standard French-cuffed dress shirt. (I know, I know, but cut me a little slack here.)
We all got together at the home of a friend who lives near the theater, had some food and drinks, and then walked to the theater from there. It was a great time, and I enjoyed being tuxefied. Aside from the two shots shown above, most of the photos I ended up with kinda sucked (lousy lighting, crummy phone camera, etc.), but if you’re curious, look here.