By Phil Hecken
Yesterday afternoon, the Northwestern basketball team revealed a new, alternate, “player-designed” uniform, and what you see above represents the left shoulder of that uniform. They’ll be wearing these uniforms this Sunday versus Illinois (7:30 pm CT start).
Before we go on, take a close look — it’s got writing, symbols, all kinds of stuff. Looks like some kind of pepper, the phrase “Pound The Rock,” some numbers, what looks like a broom…and a steak.
Yes, a steak.
Why the hell is there a steak on the uniform? We’ll get to that in just a minute. First lets take a look at the whole uniform (click any images to enlarge):
OK then. First off, it’s gray, which is apparently a first for NU basketball, even in the era of GFGS. And there is a LOT of stuff on the uniform. A LOT.
I mentioned above the uniform is a student design.
According to this article:
On May 2, 2013, (Under Armour’s Creative Director of Team Sports, Adam) Clement sat around Welsh-Ryan Arena center court with a select group of Northwestern University athletes and their newly minted head coach, Chris Collins, to find out what makes the Wildcats tick. Armed with an initial set of 25 questions, Clement collected information about the school’s traditions, the current squad’s routine, and the connection to nearby Chicago. From there, Northwestern’s new By the Players uniform was built.
Clement wanted to know why the kids were attracted to NU and what makes them tick. After several brainstorming sessions, which included whiteboard ideas and notebook doodles, UA and NU came up with the above uniforms.
This included “notable markings” and “the words ‘family,’ ‘brotherhood’,” and other terms the players and coaches feel make up the concept of team. Much of this writing and imaging is found on the shorts:
The uni features some Chicago landmarks, like the John Hancock Center, which tries to play up NU’s status as “Chicago’s Big 10 team.” There are also clocks and music and bar-be-ques and all manner of things. Really, it’s quite a hodgepodge of images and words.
I’m guessing this is supposed to be a one-off, but who knows, if the team wins (or loses, even), perhaps they’ll be worn again.
When I first posted uni pics on Twitter, reactions ran the gamut from “Dope” and “Sick” (which I presume are words of approbation) to “awful” and “horrible” (which to my knowledge are still terms of distaste). Predictably, the media jumped over it, with an awesome writeup by Deadspin and another humorous review by CBS Sports, and other outlets saying the writings look like they’re “covered in clipart.” I chuckled at that one.
You’ll notice the Name On Back (NOB) says “BY THE PLAYER”. I’m not certain if all of the uniforms will say that (I assume they will) of if that was just the model uni.
Now — about these uniforms. Are they, using Paul’s barometer, “Good” or “Stupid”? You’d think I’d say “Stupid” (and, well, they kind of are), but I actually like the idea of letting the kids design the uniforms. That’s the “good” part. The “stupid” part is the design is pretty much a fail because there is simply too much stuff on it. From almost any distance, the words, symbols and logos won’t be readable, but yet you want to know what they say. There are also waaaaaaay too many sayings: “POUND THE ROCK” and “Family, Brotherhood and Trust” and “Eh! Eh! Eh!” are overkill. Pick one, make it legible, and use it. As far as all the symbols? I kinda like those as well, but once again, there are far, far too many of them. Adding all the Chicago-centric stuff in addition to everything else just muddles the whole design. Stupid.
I’m including a link to NU Athletic’s Facebook post showing the unis. If you click on each photo, the UA/NU corporate-speak will give you a bit more insight into the unis. For example, clicking on this slide, you’ll learn “EH! EH! EH!: As NU takes the court, you will undoubtedly hear the team chanting ‘Eh! Eh! Eh!’ as they prep for battle.” Yes, because it’s not a game, it’s a battle. Still, I didn’t realize the crowd chanted that before games.
NU has certainly let UA have their way with the uniforms since taking over the clothing contract last year. This may not be the worst uniform to grace the courts this year, and maybe they’re looking to rebound after the disaster of a football uniform they broke out this fall. At least the jersey is relatively clean and the numbers are legible. Those shorts though.
OK, readers, I’ve said more than enough. Now it’s your turn — what do you think of these unis?
Truth…or Consequences (the NickNOB Game)
Welp. Last evening the Brooklyn Nets and Miami Heat hooked up for the first time since the opening game of the season, and this time, it really wasn’t about the basketball or the players (at least to us Uni Watch fans), it was about the NickNOBs (“Nick Names on Back”) of the uniforms (in case you weren’t aware, EVERY player wore a jersey with a nickname where their normal NOB would be — some were actual nicknames, some were just initials, and some were made up [apparently] just for this gimmick). Or to put it another way, a moneygrab if there ever was one for the NBA.
I could write about how stupid this whole concept was, but reader Jay Abbott actually did a better job than I ever could. Before we even take a look at any more unis, check out Jay’s thoughts:
Hey man. I live in south Florida and therefore am a big time Heat fan. This shit is STUPID! The announcers on SunSports have nicknames. The fucking announcers. I’ve never heard any Heat player refer to Norris Cole as Cole Train. Can’t imagine any Nets player has called Kirilenko by his cyrllic pronunciation. Is D. Wade really a nickname? Seems like the regular season is nothing more than a carnival. Sucks.
Well said, Jay. I watched the game on ESPN, and aside from the NickNOBs, the game looked normal. But it was all about selling more jerseys, since who wouldn’t want to own a J. Shuttlesworth (short for “Jesus Shuttlesworth,” Ray Allen’s chosen nickname and his character in Spike Lee’s “He Got Game”) jersey? By the way, it now sounds like Spike will be making “He Got Game 2″ (or a sequel by another name). So, it’s more than just moving these shirts to fans. Think of the cross-promotion down the pike.
The big players, who already have established nicknames, looked fine. And because we love long NOBs (even NickNOBs), Ray Allen’s jersey looked good. I’m not so sure about some of the other players though. Some were just lame, and some weren’t even nicknames, but initials.
I actually watched this game (well, most of it), and I rarely watch the NBA until the spring. The announcers (Jeff Van Gundy and Mike Breen) were also given custom NickNOB jerseys, and they constantly were remarking about them (and not with much praise) throughout. They too felt some of the NickNOBs were forced, stupid or not even NickNOBs at all.
Of course, ONE TV sports reporter could say it better than all of us, and that of course is Keith Olbermann (the video is old, but oh, so poignant — and it includes a shout out to Paul as well). Presented to you, without further commentary, is this from KO:
Count me as “not a fan” of this — I’d say more, by Jay (and Keith) already spoke for most of us. Readers? What say you?
Bowl Edition 5 and 1…Part II
Finally, dear readers, we’ve come to the conclusion of another College Football Season, but that doesn’t mean the Five and One has disappeared yet.
Catherine’s back with part two (of two) of her Five Best and One Worst uni matchups of the Bowl Season. This will take care of the second half of the bowls (played from 12/31/13 through 1/6/14). If you missed Part I, click here and scroll down. Now, here’s Miss Ryan with the final College 5 & 1. Enjoy:
Five & One, Bowl Edition (Part I)
By Catherine Ryan
Happy Saturday, UniWatchers! Here is the second half of the bowl season countdown. Here’s the list of games that were considered:
Let’s get to the countdown!
I loved the contrast in this game, especially between the black and white pants. Both teams kept it simple and, despite it being scheduled between a few major bowls, this game caught my attention!
There is a lot of red/white on this countdown and there is a reason. It’s beautiful. Nebraska looks so sharp in the red pants. I’ve always loved Georgia’s uniforms and seeing them up against a clean and simple uniform was awesome.
I loved both teams in the gold/yellow pants. I like the contract between it being paired with purple on one side and black on the other. I felt that this game provided the best uni match-up of the second half!
Honorable Mention: UNLV and Clemson
I chose two teams for Honorable Mentions: First, I chose UNLV for looking great in the gray/white. Second, I chose Clemson for looking fantastic in their orange pants.
Thanks for another great football season, UniWatchers!
And thank you, Catherine! OK, Uni Watchers — how about a big hand for Miss Ryan for another great season of picking her five best, and one worst, uniforms of College Football.
UWFFL Bowl XIV
UWFFL Week 19
By Rob Holecko
We have finally made it to the Championship Game. The Miami Cougars and the Minnesota Mustangs will be meeting in this week’s UWFFL Bowl XIV. The Cougars finished in third place in the Eastern Division at 8-6 and defeated Atlanta in a wild card playoff game last month, and then knocked off the #1 Seed New York Sharks in last week’s semifinal, 132-73. The Cougars, managed by Roger Morrow, redesigned their uniforms after a 1-4 start, and finished the regular season with 7 wins in 9 games with the new design, and now including the playoffs are 9-2 in the new duds.
The Mustangs, on the other hand, have been at the top of the Central Division for the whole season, going 11-3 and securing the #2 seed in the playoffs. Managed by Jeff (“The Jeff”) Provo, the Mustangs have had one of the most traditional uniform combos in the league. Eschewing the multiple alternates and specialty uniforms that many teams have worn, Minnesota has stuck primarily with their blue jersey over white pants at home and their standard mono-white look on the road. They did wear a pink uniform for a cancer awareness initiative in October and also wore blue pants for the first time since 2004 for throwback weekend, but other than that have remained true to their traditional palette.
That is why we at UWFFL Headquarters were surprised to see Minnesota break out a never-seen-before Red Alternate jersey for the Championship game! Is this a gusty championship game gamble (like Sean Payton’s call for an onside kick in Super Bowl XLIV) that will pay off with a trophy? Or will this backfire and give the Cougars an opportunity to win their fourth league title? Due to league rules allowing color-vs-color, the Mustangs going with red allows the Cougars to wear their blue jerseys — will they fare better in those than they would have had they had to wear their white road jerseys? One thing is certain, we’re sure this will be an exciting game to cap off the UWFFL Season.
Along with the UWFFL Bowl, this is also the final weekend of play in the minor leagues. Fourteen teams across the three conferencs will qualify for the postseason, with the top two nationally ranked teams going to the BCS Championship game in three weeks, while the remaining four teams in each conference will compete for their conference title next week.
In the Eastern Association, Hartford has clinched the number one seed in the playoffs, Florida with a win will secure a BCS Championship Game berth, while Connecticut needs only a Florida win or a loss by the Brooklyn Mariners or Raleigh to make the playoffs. Raleigh needs a win over Roanoke to make the playoffs, while a loss for them would mean elimination. The Brooklyn Uni Watchers need Raleigh to lose in order to make the playoffs, whether they beat the Mariners or not, although if they lose, they’d also need Florida to win. Carolina, Roanoke and Montreal were all eliminated last week.
Here is the Raleigh vs. Roanoke game in what amounts to an elimination game for the Aeronauts:
In the Central League, Rapid City has clinched at least the #1 seed in the CL playoffs, but with a win would likely go to the BCS Title Game to face Florida. Birmingham, Cleveland and Swisshelm have also wrapped up playoff positions and will sort out the seedings with this week’s games. Nashville will grab the final playoff spot as long as Rapid City stays in the top 2 and goes to the BCS game, while Youngstown is a longshot to make the playoffs, they would need both Rapid City and Birmingham (#4 in the BCS rankings) to go the Championship game, meaning both #1 Florida and #3 Anchorage would have to be upset in their season finales.
In the third and final conference, the PCC, Anchorage has clinched the #1 seed, while Vancouver, Dallas and Las Vegas need only to win to secure a playoff spot. Sacramento, currently in fifth place, faces Vancouver in their last game, in what is essentially a play-in game. Should either Florida or Rapid City lose, however, and Anchorage were to move into one of the Top 2 BCS spots, then all four teams including Sacramento would make the playoffs.
Well that’s it for this week, be sure to head over to uwfantasyfootballleague.com to vote on all of the rest of the minor league games, good luck again to Miami and Minnesota in the UWFFL Bowl, and we’ll see you next week with the minor league playoffs and the beginning of the Bowl season.
Also let us know in today’s Uni Watch comments any feedback you have for the league as well as whether or not you think you’d be interested in competing in a similar sports uniform fantasy league in basketball, hockey or baseball this year.
College Bowl Recap (the last)
And now it’s time for TJ Duroncelet to bring you his final Bowl Wrapup for the 2013-14 Bowl Season. It was a great ride this year, and I’m really pleased TJ was able to bring you so much NCAA football news since the beginning of September. But the College football season is over now, so this is the final wrap-up for the year. Here’s Terry:
Bowl Roundup Part 5 (or is it 4?)
By Terry Duroncelet
Damn. Of all times for me to not be able to come up with an intro. But anyway…
• Houston vs. Vanderbilt (played on Saturday, January 4th, 2014)
The Vanderbilt University Commodores finished off a good season with a 41-24 win over the University of Houston Cougars, all while wearing black helmets and pants with white jerseys. Houston wore red/red/white.
• Ball State vs. Arkansas State (played on Sunday, January 5th, 2014)
The Ball State Cardinals wore their white helmets with red jerseys and pants against the Arkansas State University Red Wolves, who weren’t lookin’ so red in black/white/black. A down-to-the-wire game that would ultimately go Arkansas State’s way. Also, squirrels. That little guy made his way onto the field during the game.
• Florida State vs. Auburn (played on Monday, January 6th, 2014)
Wow. The final game with this format. It’s crazy how something that has been at the center of so much discussion (some of the words from those discussions would make even the Angry Video Game Nerd go “Whoa. Let’s take a step back and chill, now.”) played its last game on Monday. The game itself was so much fun to watch if you’re the kind of viewer who lives on the second half comeback. The two teams that would grace this game for the final time were the Florida State University Seminoles, and the Auburn University Tigers. Florida State wore their usual golden helmets and pants with garnet jerseys. Meanwhile, Auburn wore an all-white ensemble. A great-looking game with an even better finish, as Florida State would hoist the sparkly punch bowl trophy for the cameras to focus upon for the last time (at least, with the now-defunct format). Take a bow, ‘Noles: you deserve it.
And THAT fillies and Djentlecolts, marks the official end of the 2013 college football season. It’s always a sad time writing this bit, but as I’ve always said: there’s life after football, and these men are still students first. I hope you guys enjoyed this season, and I’ll definitely be back for the 2014 season. What will next season bring us? Who knows? That’s the fun of it. OH! Before I go, there’s this:
Thanks TJ! Thank you for all you did and for a great season. That little video (please everyone, give it a viewing — it’s short, sweet and to the point) brought a big smile to my face AND a tear to my eye. Can’t wait to have you back next fall for the 2014 NCAA Football Season!
Uni Watch News Ticker: Not a lot of submissions from yesterday, so it’s Old School ticker today.
Timothy Fesmire was looking at cnnsi’s photo gallery of Muggsy Bogues yesterday, and noticed the Bullets had title case NOB. … Jason Whitt writes that one of his pet peeves is a section of Progressive Field that always seems to have visiting fans sitting in the front rows. He wanted to see how many times it happened last year. “I’ve only finished April, May, and June so far, but it’s been fun.” … John Muir notes the Greater Hartford Beard & Mustache Club “looks familiar.” … Don Silsby sends this article, Denver Broncos’ turf is as obsessed-about as the players. … Oh good lord. Jeremy Lin has shaved the stripes into his sideburn to celebrate him signing with Adidas (thanks to Stu Taylor). … Lindsay Resnick says her alma mater (Georgia Tech) posted this new GT baseball uni on twitter. “This uniform couldn’t get much worse,” she adds. … SF Giants fan Brinke sends this, “It’s Time for the San Francisco Giants to Retire Barry Bonds’ Number,” article. Says Brinke, “Not a chance. The guy’s a thug.” … From Daniel Pellegrino: Cool stuff going on at Ole Miss, where they have mannequins of every Ole Miss player who’s played for an NFL team. Here’s a time-lapse of setup, and a photo gallery, plus here is an image of hallway near completion. “Each mannequin has a glass plate in front with a raised, metal team logo and the name of every Ole Miss player that played for that NFL team.” … Columbia sportswear has unveiled some very cool “uniforms” for their freestyle athletes. … I’m pretty sure we’ve covered this, but just in case: Clemson warmed up in white pants, before changing into orange pants in their Orange Bowl victory over Ohio State (thanks to Jack Quinn). … Jeff Stark saw this image on CNNSI yesterday which “clearly shows Percy Harvin not wearing the required ‘white socks’ during a game against the Vikings this year.” He asks, “Wonder what penalty, if any, Percy had to pay the ‘No Fun League’?” … UW Sneakerhead Matt Powers says his buddy is the stage director/manager for the YES broadcasts of Nets games and he has an interesting nickname of “Snacks.” So “for fun, I made up a Nickname tee for him (for last night).” … Check out these Army goalie masks and the meanings behind them (h/t NightVision). … The Western Michigan Whitecaps are having a “Social Media Night” where “Everything including the jersey the players are wearing, the giveaway item, the music at the ballpark, and the post game band, will be chosen by the fans via social media” (h/t Matt Aber). … Rusty Wallace took a couple of laps in the #2 Miller Lite Ford at Winter Testing in a Throwback suit at Daytona on Friday, says David Firestone. “Also note that Brad Keselowski is wearing a brand new Puma driver suit as well.” … Sean Clancy notes the “US pro cycling team Trek Factory Racing goes all minimalist (perhaps because there aren’t many sponsors?) with its new kit.” … The Toronto Raptors are on the hunt for a new look, but fans are divided about changing the NBA team’s colors to black and gold, an idea said to be under consideration (includes a quote from Paul). … Georgia Tech linked this about the lady who makes the Buzz mascot costume (thanks to Matthew Caldwell). … The new Baltimore Arena (Formerly First Mariner Arena) has used the old WHA Blades logo in it new logo. as seen here (good spot by Steve Zerhusen). … Yale and Harvard will be playing a non-conference game at Madison Square Garden tonight which has been titled “Rivalry on Ice” and of course there are special one off throwback jerseys for the game (thanks to Erik Sundermann). … Unfortunately we have no photo yet, but Bruce Jaynes says “On a radio interview (Thursday) night, San Diego Padres CEO Mike Dee said that the Padres will honor deceased broadcaster Jerry Coleman with a star on the right sleeve of their jerseys for 2013 campaign, the star represents his You can hang a star on that one catchphrase.” In this day and age of memorializing everything and everyone with a patch or sticker, this should come as no surprise (not that he doesn’t deserve it, but it’s become almost a mandatory uni accoutrement these days). … Really shitty news about Dave Sandford, an NHL photographer, who had a ton of NHL memorabilia he’d acquired stolen from a storage locker. Says Andy Rawlings who sent those articles, “I’ve known this guy since grade school & he does some fantastic work for the NHL.” … Richard Paloma found this terrific pic of Ronnie Lott wearing an Oakland A’s cap from a 1989 pre-season game in Tokyo. … Last night, Army hockey wore these gray sweaters vs. Air Force (h/t Matt Harris). … Reader Calvin was at a high school basketball game and this is a logo used by a high school in Des Moines. “Look familiar?” he asks. … Bill Stewart was watching the Rangers/Stars game and noticed that Rick Nash had the number 29 on a piece of tape on his stick. Bill’s not sure what that’s about. Anyone know? … “They’re just like us,” says Sean Spitzer. “Even celeb’s kids DIY their own NFL football NBA Lakers tee shirts.” … And finally, of the people working behind the scenes at the national figure skating championships, few provide a more urgent service than the seamstresses and technicians who repair costumes and skates (thanks, Paul).
And that, boys and girls, will do it for this fine second Saturday in January. This is (along with next weekend) pretty much the best two week stretch in the NFL, as we have two games today (Saints and Seahawks tee it up in Seattle at 4:35 ET, followed by the Colts and Patriots in Foxboro at 8:15 ET). Plus the usual assortment of college hoops (and puck) and pro basketball and hockey as well. Plus, the Aussie Open starts tomorrow. It’s a full weekend of sports and plenty of Uni Watching to be done!
One last, BIG…HUGE…thanks to my NCAA Football compatriots, Terry Duroncelet (for his SMUW and playoff uni news) and Catherine Ryan (for her weekly 5 & 1 segments). They deserve a giant round of applause from the UW readership — please give them some props down in the comments, OK? OK!
Everyone have a great Saturday and I will catch you on the morrow (and assuming there is no breaking uni news, I should have a very fun and interesting lede — make sure you check back then).
Follow me on Twitter @PhilHecken.
“I was really hoping to enjoy the NickNOB night in the NBA. But it only took a few minutes of watching it for it to feel contrived and forced…and, therefore, insanely stupid.”
–Paul “Too Tall Paul” Deaver