I had meant to mention this on Monday (and I thank reader Nik Streng for reminding me): As many of you probably saw over the weekend, Pepsi was running a really great commercial during the NFL divisional playoff games. It features some terrific leatherhead-era uniforms with spectacular texture. It’s definitely worth using the full-screen option for this one.
The interesting thing about this ad is that Pepsi rarely trades on nostalgia, or even acknowledges the existence of the past. It is — and has always been — a completely forward-looking brand. (I wrote about this, and about how Pepsi’s approach differs from Coke’s, here.) Yes, they’ve done that “Pepsi Throwback” thing in recent years, but that was to take advantage of the recent foodie preference for cane sugar over high-fructose corn syrup. On balance, Pepsi’s marketing is still all about youth and the future, which is what makes this leatherhead ad so surprising. I’ll be curious to see if they do more of this. And if it gives us more commercials featuring gorgeous old uniforms, so much the better.
Meanwhile: New ESPN column today, about assorted NOB variations — first initials, accents, full names, first names, etc. Check it out here.
QBC reminder: The Queens Baseball Convention — basically an all-day Mets-apalooza– is coming up this Saturday at McFadden’s, and it’s shaping up as a great event. Among the highlights:
• There will be a panel discussion on the subject of uniforms in general and Mets uniforms in particular. Panelists will include myself, Phil, uni designer Todd Radom, Jon Springer (who runs the excellent Mets by the Numbers site), Russ Gompers (who runs Stitches, the shop that does all the Mets’ sewing and embroidery), and other luminaries. Should be awesome.
• There will be a “jersey parade,” in which fans can wear their favorite (or most obscure, or whatever) Mets jerseys. I’ll be taking part in the judging to pick the best and most interesting jerseys of the day.
• There will also be lots of non-uni stuff, including autograph sessions with former Mets Ed Kranepool and Ron Darling; presentations by Faith and Fear in Flushing blogger Greg Prince and ESPN.com columnist Mark Simon; a scavenger hunt for kids; and a lot more. The full schedule of events is available here, and you can purchase tickets ($35 for adults, $10 for kids) here.
Raffle reminder: I’m currently raffling off a game-used Bengals jersey. For details, look here.
PermaRec update: Lots of star-struck girls wrote fan letters to Charlie Rich in the 1970s. A journalist recently came across several dozen of those old fan letters and decided to track down the people who wrote them. Get the full scoop in the latest Permanent Record entry. (And in case you missed it yesterday, I’ve also posted an interview with a guy who found a bunch of PhD program application files in the trash and made a cool art project out of them.)
Slate/tooth update: Another thing you may have missed from yesterday: My Slate article about parents who pull out their kids’ loose teeth by using a string and a moving object (a door, a baseball, a cat, whatever) is now available for your enjoyment. It’s loaded with very short but very entertaining videos.
Troll update: There’s also a new post on My Pet Troll — an interview with the writer Amanda Hess, who discusses her stalker troll.
’Skins Watch: This is fasincating: Someone on eBay is selling a bunch of photo negatives from 1992, showing people in Naperville, Illinois, campaigning to keep their high school’s “Redskins” team name. “A quick Google search shows that the name was changed to ‘Redhawks’ shortly thereafter,” says Michael Clary.
Baseball News: Good news from Auburn, which is adding stirrups and scrapping the GI Joe cap (from Clint Richardson). … Cardinals players were issued new jerseys for the last year’s World Series — except for Yadier Molina, who stuck with his regular season jersey (from Kevin Eckhoff). … A Long Island bank robber has been wearing an old Blue Jays cap for all his heists (from Tom Mulgrew). … New uniforms for Fresno State (from Richard Paloma). … All that backlash against the Cubs’ new mascot character didn’t go over too well with team officials. Personally, I’m happy to see a mascot that doesn’t pander by looking “intimidating” or any of that crap. I just don’t understand why the bat he’s leaning on is bent. Like, is it made of rubber or what? … Meanwhile, here’s a history of bad Chicago mascots (from Trevor Williams). … And in yet another mascot storyline, one of the NSFW versions of the mascot that appeared on Deadspin somehow showed up on Comcast SportsNet last night. … Appalachian State is incorporating its new logo into batting helmet and bat knob decals (from David Sulecki). … Josh Murphy notes that the 1978 Quad Cities Angels appear to have had a tequila sunrise-style design on the front and a solid color — maybe red? — on the back. Would love to see some full-body color shots of this team.
NFL News: Yesterday was the anniversary of Super Bowl II, so Jeff Ash came up with some great photos from The Green Bay Press-Gazette’s archives. First, check out the script on the back of this NFL Films camerman’s shirt — complete with the term “Super Bowl,” which wasn’t officially in use yet! And then check out the logo on the pocket of Vince Lombardi’s blazer. … I think we may have seen these before, but just in case: Someone on eBay has used old team logos as the basis for some throwback helmet concepts for the Pats, Colts, Chargers, and Eagles (from Frank Bitzer). … Adam Herbst’s son attended one of the Super Bowl Host Committee’s “Huddle Tour” events and came away with some wristbands and eye black. … Reprinted from yesterday’s comments: Check out this crazy old Browns facemask (from Larry Bodnovich). … Concussion discussion: Athletic safety experts and researchers will be gathering this Friday in Phoenix for the National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment (NOCSAE) board meeting, which will feature lots of new concussion research findings. … Niners coach Jim Harbaugh’s wife is not a fan of his pleated khakis (thanks, Brinke). … Ooooh, check out the super-wide-spaced NOB lettering on Daryle Lamonica (from Brian Anderson).
College Football News: HGI’s Facebook page includes photos from a trade show that appear to show a mannequin wearing a maize Michigan jersey. Doesn’t necessarily mean anything, of course, but it’s still interesting (from PJ Kuzdal). … For reasons that aren’t entirely clear to me, Washington State’s athletics department chose mid-January as the time to release a video showing the football team’s uni combinations (from Ryan Dingle).
Hockey News: Here’s a rendering of how Dodger Stadium will look for its upcoming Stadium Series game (thanks, Phil). … Yesterday’s Ticker included a locker-room photo of the Dodgers-themed warm-up jerseys that the Kings wore prior to Monday night’s game, but here’s a shot of them in use during the pregame warm-ups (Phil again). … The Penguins hosted a charity bowling tourney, complete with custom bowling shirts (from Brendan Donohue).
Soccer News: New kit for Kawasaki Frontale (from Trevor Williams). … On Monday I asked about the button on Stoke City manager Mark Hughes’s jacket collar. Daniel Bevis reports that it’s the “Kick Racism Out of Football” logo. … New camo uniforms for the J-League’s Urawa Red Diamonds (from Thomas Fiers). … Real Salt Lake’s new kit has leaked. “A major step backwards from what had been the class of MLS,” says Markus Kamp. … Ricardo Carvalho of Monaco wore his shirt backwards the other day (from Yusuke Toyoda). … Also from Yusuke: Good article on an old UK kit man. … New kits for Mozambique and Chiapas (from Trevor Williams).
NBA/WNBA News: Chelsea FC welcomed the Nets to the UK by giving them a set of custom Chelsea jerseys, and the Nets returned the favor (from Phil and Yusuke Toyoda, respectively). … The WNBA’s San Antontio Silver Stars are dropping the “Silver” from their name (thanks, Phil). … Did Bob Weiss of the old Buffalo Braves shave his beard in the middle of a photo shoot? Maybe — look here and here (from Brian Mazmanian).
College Hoops News: Maryland will have new uniforms for tonight’s game against Notre Dame. Rumors that Northwestern’s players designed these are almost completely untrue. Further info here (thanks, Phil). … In the What Took Them So Long? department, Oregon is planning a Phil Knight bobblehead night on Feb. 1 (from Ryan Lindemann).
Grab Bag: The 2014 Boston Marathon gear, thankfully, is not a giant memorial to last year’s bombings (from Dave Levy). … Lleyton Hewitt’s shirt at the Aussie Open has a tennis court motif, and Tomas Berdych’s shirt resembles Agentina’s soccer jerseys (from Phil and Yusuke Toyoda, respectively). … Who’s that wearing No. 11? None other than Jack Nicklaus, playing for his high school hoops team in the late 1950s. Also, note the vertical striping on the home socks — unusual! (Great find by Kevin Mueller.) … Reprinted from yesterday’s comments: Lots of rumor about Syracuse possibly getting a new arena. … An Oregon man has found and sold an early Nike prototype shoe. … You know what arena football really needs? Helmet cams (blame Phil). … New logo for Cadillac (from Paul Lee). … Check it out: Socks that look like Chucks! The shoelaces are a particularly nice touch (from Chris LaHaye).
What Paul did last night: Yesterday evening I met up for a beer with my friend/hero Jamie Jensen (the guy behind the greatest travel guide ever written, Road Trip USA), who told me something pretty amazing: When he was growing up in L.A. in the early 1970s, his next-door neighbor was the guy who made NFL helmet carts!
I’m not sure why he never told me this before, but when I got home I immediately called up this 2008 Uni Watch entry, which featured a 1972 trade magazine article about the making of the helmet carts, and sent the link to Jamie to see if his neighbor was one of the guys pictured and/or quoted in the article. Still waiting to hear back from him — stay tuned.
Meanwhile, after a quick drink we went to see The Great Flood, a new movie that uses archival film stock and a great score by the jazz guitarist Bill Frisell to tell the story of the 1927 Mississippi River flood, one of the greatest natural disasters in American history. Here’s the trailer:
The movie is really, really good. Highly recommended.