I think it’s no secret at this point that I am largely indifferent and therefore clueless when it comes to the world’s most popular sport. I say this with neither pride nor shame — it’s simply a fact.
But there’s one aspect of soccer that fascinates me: ball design. So I was intrigued when the ball for next year’s World Cup was unveiled (complete with its own Twitter feed) last night.
I read a few articles about the new ball last night and was particularly intrigued by the following passages (yes, I’m mixing text from more than one source, but whatever):
Made up of six interlocking panels (compared to the eight panels of the 2010 World Cup’s Jabulani, or the 32 of the iconic 1970 World Cup Telstar), the [new ball] features a swirling multi-color ribbon design that is intended to evoke the Brazilian tradition of wish bracelets. …
[B]oth the design and the structure of the World Cup ball have been changed with each iteration [since 2002], often prompting debate among players, especially goalkeepers and dead ball specialists, about how the alterations affect the consistency and flight of the ball. …
When designing the ball, [Adidas] wanted to improve on many of the criticisms they faced during the 2010 World Cup, where their Jabulani ball was widely panned. Dickson Etuhu of Nigeria called the Jabulani “the worst ball ever.”
Basically, the Jabulani had very few seams and was really lightweight, so it moved around like a knuckleball. Players didn’t like it. Goalies understandably hated it.
So Adidas basically needed to design a super-light ball … that didn’t fly all over the place. To try and solve the problem, the company shaped the panels much like a series of interconnected boomerangs. This allows them to have only six panels but still have plenty of seams, hopefully ensuring that the ball flies truer.
I find it really interesting that the construction of a soccer ball can vary so widely, and that these variations can have such a big effect on the ball’s performance. I mean, a baseball is basically a baseball, right? There may be minor variations between leagues (Japanese pitchers, e.g., have often said that the seams on the MLB ball are higher — or lower, I forget — than those on a Japanese ball), but it’s still made from two interlocking pieces of horsehide and a familiar seam pattern. Same goes for a football. True, the WNBA and D-League use different balls than the NBA, but those balls aren’t that different from the NBA ball.
But soccer balls are all over the map, especially for the World Cup (that’s a great interactive page, by the way — click around on it). All you soccer folks out there: Why so much variation? Is it because soccer is such an international sport, with each country or region having its own ball-design style? Is it just a matter of corporate branding? Something else?
Hmmmm. I’ve run lots of “Redesign [some team]” contests on ESPN. Should I do a “Redesign the soccer ball”?
When I think of a soccer ball, I still instinctively think of the classic black-and white design based on a truncated icosahedron. I mention this for two reasons: (1) Although the old design is my mental default, I really like all the different designs that have emerged over the years. If I were a soccer fan, maybe I’d think, “Oh, that’s too newfangled” or “That’s not what a soccer ball’s supposed to look like.” But since I have no emotional stake in the sport, I’m free to appreciate the designs on a more abstract level. (2) It’s fun to say, “truncated icosahedron.”
But you know what’s even more fun than that? This video showing the production of the new ball. Fascinating stuff, and totally worth three minutes of your time:
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Uni Watch Exclusive! Big changes possibly afoot for Notre Dame: A little birdie from South Bend, who I happen to trust, checked in last night with some interesting news about potentially big doings in the land of the golden dome. Here’s what the birdie had to say:
I don’t have all the details yet, but it appears that Notre Dame will announce major renovations and changes to Notre Dame Stadium. In May, the University officially announced a study into the feasibility of creating a multi-use stadium facility. The results of the study and the next steps will apparently be announced next month. My contacts who’ve seen some of the possibilities are very impressed. It appears that the stadium will add field turf, a jumbotron of some type, and some luxury seating and student-use areas beyond football.
The Notre Dame old guard are losing their minds over the possibility of a jumbotron and plastic field. The school permanently destroyed the stadium in 1996-97, when they built the modified version around the historic stadium. The modified version is trashy modern and really doesn’t represent the university well. They need to get this right, or else they will lose a ton of support forever.
Also: Notre Dame signed a 10-year deal with Adidas in 2005, and rumors are rampant that school officials met with Adidas on Tuesday to tell them that the university will not be continuing the relationship. I have not confirmed if that means immediate termination or non-renewal. Nike is mentioned as the likely replacement.
None of this is confirmed yet, so take that for what it’s worth.
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NHL Stadium Series, continued: Two more NHL teams unveiled their Stadium Series uniforms yesterday — the Ducks and the Kings. Chris Creamer provided very good coverage here.
The Ducks design seems like a good exemplar of something I’ve thought for some time now: Orange is great — maybe even unparalleled — as an accent color, but it’s too strong to serve as a uniform’s base color.
It might surprise you to hear me say this (I’m a little surprised myself), but I really like the Kings design. The black/gray color scheme with white accents totally works, and the crown crest seems a little less cartoonish in this context. Have a feeling I won’t like the raised hitch in the hip areas of the hemline, but I’ll wait until I see it on the ice before deciding for sure.
Incidentally, once the rest of the Stadium Series designs have been revealed, Phil will be collaborating with some of our most hockey-obsessive readers to provide a fuller assessment of them. Looking forward to that.
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ESPN reminder: In case you missed yesterday, my annual Uni Watch Holiday Gift Guide is up now on ESPN.
Blazers contest reminder: Remember, I’m soliciting entries for a Blazers redesign contest on ESPN. The deadline is Dec. 9, and the results will be published on ESPN soon after that. I look forward to seeing your designs.
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Baseball News: Ian Kinsler will wear No. 3 with the Tigers (from Andrew Cosentino). … Salty and his longest-ever NOB are headed to Miami. Man, his name is gonna look brutal on that orange jersey. … Cort McMurray was recently traveling in London, where he saw an Andy Warhol baseball jersey. “Also, a stranger in Manchester expressed horror at the Dolphins’ ‘poncey’ orange and aqua color scheme,” says Cort. “I tried to explain that there was nothing poncey about it at all, and anyway, the team has pretty much replaced orange with navy blue, but they’d already lost interest. England — it’s quite a place.” … Reprinted from last night’s comments: Last season the Royals used this BP cap, but now they appear to have added a road version with a gray front panel (from Mike O’Neal). … Check out the oddly rotated Orioles cap logo on this photo of Bobby Grich. Was that white panel must sewn on sideways or what? (Good find by Joe Moulden.) … The triple-A Charlotte Knights have a new stadium with a new name, and Tyler Maun isn’t happy about it. “Not only is ‘Ballpark’ a perfectly acceptable word without the capitalized ‘P’ in the middle [This is known as intercapping. — PL], but the team’s own site dedicated to the new grounds has it spelled without the extra capitalization. Maybe it’s just a continuation of the MiLB epidemic of pushing two words together and capitalizing both of them. Or maybe it’s because there’s already another BB&T Ballpark.” … Too late for my Uni Watch Gift Guide column, but you could do a lot worse than this merch from the Negro Leagues Museum (thanks, Phil). … The new summer collegiate Futures League franchise in Worcester, Mass., will be known as the Worcester Bravehearts. Here are the uniforms and logos.
NFL News: This is weird: Seahawks QB Russell Wilson was holding his mouthguard during a play on Monday night. “Maybe the snap came earlier than expected,” speculates Scott Morell. I watched that game, and there was a play when the center snapped the ball early, but it’s impossible to know if the photo is from that play. … Here’s the logo for the Super Bowl XLIX host committee. … I think we all know by now that there’s no such thing as a concussion-proof football helmet, but here’s another article emphasizing that point (from Tommy Turner).
College Football News: Ohio State has extended its contract with Nike through 2018 (thanks, Phil). … Missouri fans will get to vote on the team’s bowl game uniform (from Patrick Sokolowski). … Arizona State going gold-maroon-gold this weekend (from Marc Altieri). … Here’s Cincinnati’s helmet for this weekend. … Joe Duider bought one of those game-used NIU GI Joe jerseys from a few weeks ago. “Everything on it is sublimated except the Adidas logo in the collar, which is screened and almost rubbery,” he says. “Even the sizing tag is sublimated. Both the star- and stripe-patterned yokes are made from different materials than the much shinier sleeves, so the sheens don’t match when viewed up close. The jerseys seem double-layered but fully bonded — the inner white side is completely uncolored but can’t move independently at all from the outer layer.”
Hockey News: The ECHL and Orlando Solar Bears are inviting fans to design the 2015 ECHL All-Star jersey (thanks, Phil). … Here’s one guy’s picks for defunct but sorely missed NHL jerseys (Phil again). … The Islanders’ fisherman mascot has been moonlighting with the Hingham (Mass.) Harbormen (from Joe Giza).
Soccer News: How do the 2014 World Cup teams get their nicknames? This article offers up some insights (thanks, Phil). … The new Sacramento Republic FC kit may have leaked (from Kyle Burkholder). … Thomas Fiers tried his hand at making a set of mimimalist logos for the J-League teams. … “Arjen Robben wore tights in Bayern Munich’s win against BTSV, which isn’t that uncommon,” says Tanner Welch. “But when he scored the opening goal, he went in for a knee slide celebration, only to be rebuked by the pitch, leaving him with torn knees.” Additional photos here. … Here’s a commercial for the new Brazil kit. “Not too shabby,” says Yusuke Toyoda.
Basketball News: You know things are out of hand when the night before the NBA All-Star Game has its own sponsor and logo. … Hmmm, did you know you could buy cycling jerseys based on NBA jersey designs? “That company is apparently the only authorized seller of NBA-licensed cycling gear,” says Paul Kos. “Pretty neat!” … Are Duke’s black uniforms cursed? Maybe (thanks, Phil).
Grab Bag: Canada is test-driving a few logos in advance of the country’s 150th anniversary. “All horrible!” says David Kuruc. … The L.A. Kiss — that’s the arena football team owned by the members of Kiss — unveiled their new jerseys yesterday (from Greg Keklak). … Several months old but still interesting: “Project Active Armor is working to encourage law enforcement officers to wear ballistic vests at all times during their shifts, not just occasionally,” says James Ashby. “To raise that awareness, some members wear their vests during athletic events, like the Quantico triathlon.” … Here’s another high school football team with COB, or cross on back. That’s Detroit Loyola High from Michigan. Also, note the old English “D” on the back of the helmet — is that the Tigers’ jersey logo? Close, but not quite (from Chad Hensley).
The jerseys you see above are what the Covington Blue Sox wore in 1946 and 1979 — or maybe they’re what the Covington Blue Sox would have worn if the team had existed in 1946 and 1979. In reality, the Covington Blue Sox, who were charter members of the Federal League, only existed for part of the 1913 season, after which the owners moved the team to Kansas City and renamed it the Packers.
All of which got Jake Staubitz wondering. What if the Sox had stayed in Covington? What sort of history might they have had? How would their look have evolved? Jake, a graphic designer who’s about to graduate with a BFA from Northern Kentucky University, decided to address those questions for his capstone thesis project. You can see his full re-imagining of the Blue Sox here.
Meanwhile: New ESPN column today — the annual Uni Watch Holiday Gift Guide. Enjoy!
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By Brinke Guthrie
Here’s something new (at least to me) from the Volpe Files. We’ve all seen the famous Pro Star Portraits he did, but how about this Browns “Pro Star” three-ring portrait album? Seven players are included, along with a 1970 NFL game schedule. The seller also has albums from the Packers, Lions, Bears, and football Cardinals.
You say portraits aren’t your bag? Then check out the rest of this week’s eBay picks:
• Nice cover art on this 1975 Roundy’s Food Store Packers player photo album.
• From Uni Watch membership card designer Scott M.X. Turner, this Etsy collection of 1965 MLB pins from “8 Guys Potato Chips.”
• From reader David Firestone, here’s a program from the first game in Raiders history, a 1960 preseason game against the Dallas Texans!
• Here’s a nice-looking early-1970s SD Chargers poster.
• Will Scheibler sent along this 1970 St. Louis Blues Stag Beer player brochure and matching window sign.
• What makes the Juice run? Juicemobiles, of course.
• Get yourself a battery and you’ll have all you need to make this 1980s Citibank Yankees promo digital watch work. Hopefully.
• Check the logo work on this early-1970s MLB blanket!
• This early-1970s Buffalo Sabres coffee mug looks to be in great shape.
Seen something on eBay or Etsy that you think would make good Collector’s Corner fodder? Send your submissions here.
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Blazers contest reminder: In case you missed it last week, I’m soliciting entries for a Blazers redesign contest on ESPN. The deadline is Dec. 9, and the results will be published on ESPN soon after that. I look forward to seeing your designs.
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ITEM! Big event on the horizon: Shannon Shark, who runs the excellent Mets Police blog, has put together what should be a swell event: the Queens Baseball Convention, which will take place at McFadden’s on Jan. 18, 2014, from noon into the early evening.
The QBC will basically be an all-day Mets-apalooza, and there will be at least three uni-reated components:
• I will be conducting a pub quiz-style trivia content focusing on Mets uniforms.
• Mike Cesarano, curator of the Mets uniform timeline, will be conducting a presentation on Mets uni history. (I may be involved in this presentation as well, although the details are still being worked out.)
• 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 Daily News columnist Anthony Martino, ESPN.com columnist Mark Simon, and Faith and Fear in Flushing blogger Greg Prince; a scavenger hunt for kids; and a lot more. You can see the full schedule of events and purchase tickets ($35 for adults, $10 for kids) here.
Shannon Shark, the Mets Police honcho who’s putting all of this together, is a smart, can-do guy who makes stuff happen (he pretty much single-handedly convinced the Mets to bring back Banner Day). I’m excited to be part of his event and have no doubt that it’ll be a good time. Hope to see lots of you there.
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Tick-Tock: Today’s Ticker was compiled and written by Garrett McGrath.
Baseball News: No photos, but C. Trent Rosecrans says that the Cincinnati Reds are going to unveil their new camouflage and St. Patrick’s Day uniforms on Friday afternoon at Redsfest, a two-day event happening at the Duke Energy Convention Center.
NFL News: The Arizona Cardinals will wear all-red bloodclot uniforms this weekend. … Reprinted from yesterday’s comments: What if the Panthers had been born in 1955, instead of 1995? Their visual history might look like this (from Matt Stevens). … When Andrew “The Giant” Luck isn’t quarterbacking, he is designing headphones (from Tommy Turner). … Nike doesn’t know how to spell Gale Sayers’ first name correctly (from Kyle Clifford).
College Football News: Here is a complete look at the throwback uniform that will be worn by Baylor this weekend. … The ACC revealed the patch that FSU and Duke will wear this Saturday during the conference championship game. … Fresno State will wear all-black this weekend during Saturday’s Mountain West Football Championship (from Richard Paloma). … You know those little gold pants charms that Ohio State players get after a win against Michigan? OSU QB Braxton Miller was wearing his gold pants from a previous season during last weekend’s game against the Wolverines (from Kyle Shaner).
Hockey News: Hello fellow Parrotheads! The Minnesota Wild created a customized jersey for Jimmy Buffet. … On Jan. 5, 1974 the Soviet Union hockey team traveled to America and played the Seattle Totems of the Western Hockey League. Chris Mizzoni posted a photo and background on the match-up. I also can’t resist posting this: Toronto Maple Leafs 1964 ‘Colouring’ Book, fantastic stuff.
Soccer News: David Meyler of Hull City revealed a customized shin pad with the Irish flag and the names of his father, mother, and sister on it after scoring a goal vs. Liverpool (from Tanner Welch). … An article with minimalist logos for all 19 current MLS teams (from Anthony Nuccio).
Basketball News: Ad patches are one thing, but what if NBA uniforms were basically just delivery devices for larger corporate sponsors? They might look like this (thanks, Phil). … The NBA Store in NYC started selling the Knicks Christmas Day shooting shirts. … Rhode Island College wore these illegible unis over the weekend during their loss to MIT (from Robert Gelles). … Georgia Tech wore all-black uniforms on Friday during their loss at the Barclays Center (from Richard Musterer).
Grab Bag: Interesting article on how premium seating revenue is driving stadium design (from Matthew Walthert). … You have been waiting for it, a New York City Super Mario Brothers Subway map. … Leo Strawn Jr. was helping a friend go through some old boxes when they came across lots of cool vintage stuff, including things from the WFL, NASL, and the Olympics.
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Protesters in the Ukrainian city of Kiev clashed with police yesterday and, as you can see above, it looks like one of the policemen — or maybe one of the protesters? — was a Browns fan. When I tweeted that photo last night, lots of people responded with “I’d protest too if my team lost to the Jags,” or words to that effect.
That was arguably the most uni-notable moment of the day yesterday, as it was a fairly uni-unventful day in the NFL. Here’s the very short rundown:
• The Eagles wore their black alts.
• Speaking of the Iggles, f you’re going to put an old player’s name on a contemporary jersey, you could at leastspell his name correctly. (Should be “Bednarik,” don’tcha know.)
• The Chargers wore their powder blues. They also had throwbacks end zones, to mark the 50th anniversary of the 1963 AFL champions.
• The Bills played a “home” game in Toronto. They used this coin for the coin toss but didn’t wear the “Hey, we’re playing this one in Toronto!” patch that they’ve worn in previous seasons. (Rumors that Toronto mayor Rob Ford smoked the patches are almost completely untrue, although he was in attendance.)
• Panthers quarterback Cam Newton warmed up in a pair of Batman cleats, but that’s not what he wore in the game. (He pulled a similarly meaningless stunt last year with Superman cleats.)
Turning to Saturday’s college action, Phil and his contributors had good coverage in Sunday’s post, so start there. In one additional tidbit, Grambling State had its logo plastered all over its uni numbers for the Bayou Classic. Ewwww.
(My thanks to JJ Sledge, and Phil for their contributions.)
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New sponsor shout-out: As you may have noticed in the right sidebar, we have a new ad for Forward Progress Tees, which is run by longtime Uni Watch reader/contributor the Hungry Hungry Hipster. He has the following message for Uni Watch readers:
Forward Progress Tees is now has a ton of new vintage-inspired sports T-shirts. For example, we redesigned a bunch of baseball teams’ cap logos to see what they’d look like if they adopted the old English font that Detroit uses. All the various shirts we offer are organized into different categories on the left-hand side of our main page, and you can go back to seeing all the different shirts by clicking on the “Everything” link at the top. Any design can be put on any color or style of mens/unisex T-shirts, hoodies, and sweatshirts, in addition to T-shirts made to fit women, kids, and babies — click on the “More Styles…” link on each design’s page for the full range of options. Changing the shirt style can sometimes lower the price, so play around with the different options and you may be pleasantly surprised. We’re constantly coming up with new designs, so like us on Facebook to stay updated.
While we’re at it, the onset of the holiday shopping season makes this a good time to remind everyone about our other fine advertisers:
• Retro College Cuts sells very cool throwback college basketball shorts and warm-up jackets.
• The Qalo ring is the wedding band designed for an active lifestyle, and they’re offering a 15% discount to readers who used the code “UNIWATCH” when checking out. (I recently talked about the Qalo and other wedding ring-related issues with Bears quarterback Jordan Palmer.)
• Left Field Cards sells super-cool baseball-themed cards, T-shirts, and prints, all designed by the fabulous Amelie Mancini (who I featured in an ESPN column last year).
• ShirtWhiz is the hanger specifically designed to display your jersey collection.
• Longtime Uni Watch partner No Mas sells very smart, very cool sports-related apparel, much of it with a boxing slant.
• And Grey Flannel Auctions is currently in the midst of their latest catalog auction (my favorite selections from which were recently featured in this post).
I’m grateful to all of these advertisers for their support of Uni Watch. Please consider their products when doing your holiday shopping. Thanks.
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Too good for the Ticker: Phil had this in Saturday’s Ticker, but I like it so much that it’s worth repeating: Every year in Massachusetts, Attleboro High and North Attleboro High square off on Thanksgiving. As part of the game, the players are given blank helmets and are free to design them however they want as long as they use the proper school colors (blue and white for Attleboro, red and white for North Attleboro). Some of the results look cool, others are somewhat regrettable, but all of them are interesting. There’s a good backgrounder on this here, and you can see 10 of the best designs from this year’s game here.
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I never quibbled if it was ribald: My friend Ted runs the excellent music blog Boogie Woogie Flu. Each year he marks the eight days of Hanukkah by having Jewish writers write about eight Jewish musicians, and this year he asked me to participate. Most the obvious choices had already been covered in previous years, so I chose the great satirist/pianist Tom Lehrer. You can see the piece I wrote here.
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Blazers contest reminder: In case you missed it last week, I’m soliciting entries for a Blazers redesign contest on ESPN. The deadline is Dec. 9, and the results will be published on ESPN soon after that. I look forward to seeing your designs.
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’Skins Watch: Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker still hasn’t decided whether to sign, veto, or ignore a bill that would make it easier for schools to retain their Native American mascots (thanks, Phil). … The Navajo woman who’s the lead petitioner in the trademark case against the ’Skins isn’t too thrilled with the team’s recent use of Navajo Code Talkers as human shields (Philagain). … “I was watching the broadcast of the Thanksgiving parade in Montgomery County, Maryland, just outside of DC,” says Andrew Hoenig. “The ’Skins marching band came down the street, and neither the announcers nor the graphics ever referred to the band by its official team name.” … A ’Skins fan was planning to take this sign to last night’s game. I like how the “o” is shaped like a pentagon — a nice DC-related touch, if probably unintentional. Meanwhile, another fan had a pithy comment for Bob Costas (Phil again).
NFL News: Reader Brian Carroll has been doing some digging into wide receiver uni numbers. According to his talles, 137 WRs wear Nos. 10-19, and 78 WRs wear Nos. 80-89. Other tidbits: All Cardinals WRs wear 10-19; the least popular number was 86, worn by only two players (David Nelson of the Jets and Vincent Brown of the Chargers); and the most popular number is 11, worn by 20 players. … Speaking of uni numbers, Paul Kovacs notes that Tom Day wore five different numbers with the Bills. … There’s been a lot of chatter about that famous old Life magazine photo of NFL QBs, but David Feigenbaum noticed a good detail: Y.A. Tittle of the Giants, who’s shown at lower-right, was wearing the team’s home blue jersey but the road red socks. … Here’s something we’re not often privy to: radio-equipped helmets being tested prior to a game (thanks, Phil). Also from Phil: No, I don’t think the sports world has gone off the deep end with this superhero stuff, do you? … An enterprising Bears fan made this QB jersey, which Joseph LaFerla spotted at the Mall of America. “He said he had two custom-made and is thinking about making more to sell,” says Joseph.
Hockey News: The South Carolina Stingrays of the ECHL will be wearing Clemson-themed jerseys on Dec. 14 (from Gorden Cromer). … . Chris Conner of the Penguins took a puck to the head the other night that knocked one of the logo decals off the helmet (from Brian Skokowski).
Soccer News: Arsenal’s “sleevegate” controversy is over, as Mathieu Flamini wore long sleeves like everyone else on the team (from Yusuke Toyoda).
Basketball News: Michigan’s warm-ups have the players’ Twitter handles on the back. “So much for ‘student-athlete,’” says Drew Arnson. … Middle Tennessee State will be wearing BFBS jerseys with SOB tomorrow night (thanks, Phil). … A player in France has the best NOB ever (from Yusuke Toyoda).
Grab Bag: Check out this awesome softball uni with a seam/stitching theme. That’s East Union High School in Blue Springs, Mississippi (big thanks to Dustin Semore). … A rugby website is giving away some really ugly jerseys (from Josh Jacobs). … West Catholic High in Michigan has an unusual helmet design, tone-on-tone jersey lettering, Polamalu-style crosses at the rear neckline. A modified wishbone-C on the back of the helmet, too. Lots of additional photos here (big thanks to Casey Siereveld). … Based on yesterday’s installment of Beetle Bailey, you’d think football players still wear single-bar facemasks (from Alex Allen). … Yusuke Toyoda reports that the latest episode of Parks and Recreation had lots of uni-related stuff: ” First, the gang did a cross-promo with NFL’s Play 60, so there was Colts and Play 60 gear galore. And Rob Lowe’s character appeared in a basketball/football/not-soccer referee jersey but, oddly, wielded red and yellow cards and even had a UEFA Champions League sleeve patch.” … Everyone knows the Yankees aren’t allowed to wear beards, but apparently Santa didn’t get the memo (you made me smile with that, one, Phil).
By Phil Hecken
It could have been so much worse. Instead, rivalry weekend brought a rather tame set of uniforms, and that’s A-OK by me.
Sure, Ohio State broke out special one-offs, and the Civil War produced a retina-searing color vs. color matchup, but for the most part, everything was as it should be.
USC and UCLA played in color vs. color that works, Auburn and Alabama played as we knew they would, and Florida versus Florida State played well, like we know them. And that’s a good thing.
Our biggest (or at least my biggest) fears were not realized after the incredible hype of adidas and aTm, as it turned out the only “carmouflage” (as they called it) turned out to be cleats and arm sleeves (phew). And even that was tame when you saw it on the field.
However, the biggest stories for rivalry weekend weren’t the unis (thankfully), but the games themselves. Ohio State (stay classy) and Michigan played what was easily the best football game of the year. For about 3 hours. Alabama and Auburn played one for the ages. If you didn’t see what happened, or haven’t heard about it, I’d just recommend googling “Iron Bowl 2013″. But the last play of the game was just incredible. In a nutshell, with no time left on the clock, Auburn cornerback Chris Davis caught a 57-yard field goal attempt by Alabama in the back of the end zone, ran it out down the left sideline and went 109 yards untouched to beat the Crimson Tide, 34-28.
I’ll leave you with that before turning the rest of the post over to Terry.
Sunday Morning Uni Watch
By Terry Duroncelet
Question of the day: how do you avoid a food coma around the holidays? You don’t. You will be entranced by the Itis before you even know it. And if turkey, sweet potatoes, and bread pudding aren’t your preference for a full stomach, then all of the closer-than-almost-getting-caught-by-your-mom-for-stealing-the-freshly-baked-cookies games from rivalry week just might do the trick. I mean, just look at some of these scores. Anyway…
• Um… you… it… I’ve seen my fair share of G.I. Joevember uniforms over the last few years (especially since 2011), but… wow. How can one team forget how to number font? Why do the camouflage thing when you can barely see it? Especially on the NIU unis? You know what? Rather then tear my hair out trying to come up with something to describe the Adidas Bowl (as it was referred to on the site earlier this past Wednesday), I’ll link you to AVGN’s Tiger Electronic Games video (just substitute the games with Western Michigan and Northern Illinois’s getups). The key point in the vid would be here.
• Texas Tech wore their Lone Star uniforms (the road versions) against Texas.
• Mississippi State wore their Gold Egg uniforms with shiny gold chrome helmets against Ole Miss. Not bad. Ya know, since Miss. St. is really the only one who gets into the spirit of this particular game year-after-year, why not just make gold an official color for the school? You’d have some aesthetic differentiation from Texas A&M, plus you’d have an excuse to spam this video. They won, BTW.
• Houston wore their G.I. Joevember BFBS costumes against SMU. At least they got into the spirit of
get 2% off of a bunch of shit that you don’t need Black Friday.
• A player from Florida International lost his Adidas logo *woohoo!* and started to lose his Conference USA patch on his jersey. Credit to Jay Abbott for that shot.
• UCF wore black helmets for the first time since 1993 against South Florida.
• These colors… THESE COLORS… OH MY GOD THIS IS THE MOST COLORFUL GAME I’VE EVER SEEN AND I LOVED EVERY BIT OF IT… well, almost every bit of it. I wouldn’t have gone with those dark green helmets. A kelly green helmet or even the yellow lids from last year would’ve been far better. Let’s petition for every Civil War game to be color-vs.-color from now until the end of time.
• The Duke Black Devils… won? The Duke Black Devils won. Huh. How ’bout that? Good for them! Their season, not the uniforms from the UNC game. Just so we’re clear.
• THE wore mono-white against Michigan. Basically, apart from the fact that it’s a road flip of last year’s uni, it has the same exact design. Also, have this thing that I made. The amount of sorry I am is none. Kinda like this guy.
• As it should be, UCLA and USC went color-vs.-color in their annual rivalry game.
• The Tennessee sideline looked to have had coffee or something steaming in what looks to be a coffee pot (on the part with the tarp). Credit to John Gray for the pic.
• Texas A&M disappointed me on Saturday. I was expecting a good laugh with what they were teasing earlier in the week. Turns out it was just some new sleeve things and cleats. Bummer.
• Arizona wore their copper helmets against Arizona State.
• Couple of notes from Bama/Auburn: Several Tigers had orange UnderArmour sleeves with a partial sleeve stripe. Why not just have the full stripe? Oh, right, because that would actually make sense. Also from Auburn, a few wardrobe malfunctions, including one player’s belt not being done up, and another player’s jersey was torn badly, so they had a crew with a sewing machine fix the jersey right then and there on the sideline! Here’s the Auburn player who had to stand there in the cold. Why were there no blood jerseys on hand, especially since this was a home game? Credit to Chris Perrenot for the belt pic.
That puts Week 14 in the books. Hope you all had a great Thanksgiving. Now if you don’t mind, I’m going to eat my weight in chocolate cake, sweet potato pie, and bread pudding. See you next week.
Five and One
Happy Sunday, Uni Watchers! I have to say that this weekend was probably the best college football weekend that I can remember watching. Bowl season is fun and there have been some great games in my lifetime but WOW this rivalry weekend saw almost every game come down to the final few possessions. We also saw a few brawls, some tempers boiling over, and that hatred between teams that is unfortunately rare in the pros these days. I loved it. Let’s get to the countdown!
5. Iowa vs. Nebraska: This game got more attention for the Pelini meltdown than for the great uniform matchup.
4. Alabama vs. Auburn: This was the game of the night. You can’t ask for much more than a gorgeous matchup blowing up the BCS.
3. Penn State vs. Wisconsin: If you’re going to get upset at home by a dismal Penn State team than you better look good doing it.
2. Ohio State vs. Michigan: This was a fantastic game. It was a stunning game visually and showed why it is the best rivalry in college football.
1. UCLA vs. USC: No contest. As always, this was gorgeous.
+1 Western Michigan vs. NIU: Okay, so I had a bunch of tips suggesting that I choose the Oregon/Oregon State game for this +1 but honestly I like those Oregon uniforms. That game wasn’t pretty but I will cut the Ducks a break this week. THIS game was so hideous. It looks like someone took templates for a football uniform and just photoshopped a bunch of random sh*t on them.
I hope everyone had a lovely Thanksgiving and enjoyed Rivalry Weekend as much as I did!
Uni Watch News Ticker:
Seems that there was a jersey malfunction on Friday night for Jamal Crawford (nice grab by Ernest Penaflor). … Reader Ben Obecny was looking around kickstarter when he found this: The Schaumburg (Illinois) Boomers a Frontier League minor league baseball team is planning a 1 night only uniform redesign based on zombies. … Chad Hensley was watching the Missouri State High School Activities Association Class 6 Show-Me Bowl Finals Friday and noticed that the person in charge of the bugs for Fox Sports Midwest had some spelling errors throughout the game. Also from from that game’s pregame, you can see the MSHSAA logo as a helmet decal and Rock Bridge High School had a rather hideous helmet design. … This weekend Michigan hosted the first ever B1G hockey game against Ohio State. Says submitter Eric Glickman, “The color-on-color game was beautiful. And both teams have always worn football inspired hockey helmets which I think are friction’ awesome.” … Timothy Tryjankowski says a good guy to follow on Twitter is Sabres equipment guy David Williams. … Jerry Kulig has a question about the MSU Pride Stickers: “They’ve obviously been around a while, but I have never noticed. What are these things? there are “block s” decals on the right side. Thanks for any help.” … David Firestone found this sweet vintage Bears stadium banner, and here are the NASCAR paint scheme rankings for Chevy, and for Ford. … The AFL’s Richmond Tigers (Aussie footy) revealed new clash jumpers for ’14. The change gives the front and back black a strange shield-like shape, but definitely gives them more yellow to differentiate themselves from Essendon when they play one another (from Leo Strawn). … Dave Taylor was reading an article on the BBC which caught my eye – Falkirk v Rangers in the Scottish Cup — match report and photos here — and the teams are wearing inverse Puma template kits. Rangers (white kit, red accents, navy upper, navy shorts, navy socks) and Falkirk (Navy kit, red accents, white upper, white shorts, white socks). Says Dave, “I’m sure the same template in different club colours comes pretty often, but I don’t think I’ve seen it with Puma kits before, and not with the same team colours inverted.” … The Eagles plane had work done in Pittsburgh, and the workers left a personal touch (nice find by Robert Silverman. … And finally, Jeff Shirley noticed at “last night’s BYU/Utah State game (played at Energy Solutions Arena) that the NBA logo was taped over rather sloppily, and wondered why they didn’t just cover it all together.”
And that will do it for this fine first Sunday in December. Mercifully, the pink and GIJoevember games are now behind us (right?), and we can move into the best parts of the football season. Thanks to TJ & Catherine, and of course all the ticker submitters. You guys have a great week and I will catch you next weekend.
Follow me on Twitter @PhilHecken.
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One for the road…
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(from Bruce Menard!)
“How long has it been since Duke football was relevant, you ask?”
–Rick “Ricko” Pearson