Hail! To the Conqu'ring Spartans

Victors Valiant

By Phil Hecken

Michigan State University, all clad in their amateur pacifist costumes, may have won the battle for Paul Bunyan’s Trophy in East Lansing yesterday, but it was their opponents, the Michigan Wolverines, who won the uniform war.

After warming up in their *normal* road attire, the Wolverines surprised everyone by breaking out a fauxback jersey (modeled after their “legacy” top) and, for the first time since 1975, white pants, right before kickoff. It was a stunning move (and a well-kept secret), and it made for one of the more visually appealing games of the season.

In a move that was surely embargoed, Paul forwarded me the following E-mail he received, right about kickoff (check the date stamp):

Date: October 15, 2011 12:01:52 PM EDT
Subject: BREAKING NEWS: Michigan Wears Retro Uniforms vs. Michigan State

Good Morning –

To celebrate Michigan’s rivalry game today vs. Michigan State, adidas surprised the Wolverines with retro-style football uniforms.

Similar to their “Under the Lights” jerseys worn against Notre Dame on Sept. 10, Michigan’s vintage-inspired uniforms today highlight a fusion of design elements from throughout Wolverine football’s 132 years.

Today’s jersey features a large number on the chest, a block M above the heart and repeating striped sleeves. The Wolverines’ adidas TECHFIT compression has “Victors” on the right bicep and “Valiant” on the left.

Also, since the “Under the Lights” game last month, player numbers appear on Michigan’s famous winged helmet for the first time since the late 1960s.

Check out the attached photos of Michigan’s retro-style adidas football jerseys. Thanks for considering!

Michael Ehrlich
adidas Public Relations

I’m generally not a big fan of adidas’ football gear, particularly their *top-of-the-line* jerseys and pants we refer to as “super-stretchies,” but I have to say, this instantly became one of my favorites, and one I hope they don’t retire to the dustbin of history, especially after a tough (28-14) loss to Sparty. Some video of the game is here.

“Our players really enjoyed the uniforms from the night game with Notre Dame so we decided to surprise them and the country with a new-look design for the Michigan State game,” said Michigan head coach Brady Hoke. “This is such a great in-state rivalry that we decided to honor the former players that played in this game.”

According to the MgoBlue.com blog, “The legacy jersey is a compilation of design elements from different eras of Michigan football.” It also marked the first time since 1975 the Wolverines wore white pants. They wore white pants with a blue-maize-blue stripe (which repeated on the jersey sleeve) in 1974-75, for their road games. So the plain white pants they wore yesterday were at best a “nod” to the past. As far as the tiled jersey stripes, are they harking back to 1891? Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love that look, but I can’t place the era — did Michigan ever (aside from this year’s legacy game against Notre Dame) have a jersey pattern with tiled stripes before?

And I learned something new yesterday — the actual words to Michigan’s fight song. That’s where they got the words for the comp-sleeves: “VICTORS” (right bicep) and “VALIANT” (left bicep).

Yesterday, having only seen Nike’s fashion show shots, I gave the Spartan uniforms a “solid B+.” Having seen them in action, under the sun, I need to downgrade them to a “B.” The green and black kind of muddied each other, and as I had suspected, the “SPARTANS” NOB was virtually invisible. Still, the green and “bronze” were a great combination. Interestingly Sparty had some kind of darker bronze “airbrushing” on their helmets, giving them an even more 3-D appearance (and most likely trying to mimic an actual Spartan helmet contour). They also lost a half grade due to the numbers only being truly visible when reflected by sunlight.

Counterbalancing my reduced grade of “B” for the Spartans is an “A+” (with a bullet) for the Wolverines getup. If this was a one-shot (and I hope it isn’t), it’d still be an A+, but I would love for them to make it a part of their regular rotation. My only qualm is not with the uni itself, but just where exactly do they get the elements from (it’s supposedly celebrating the 132 year history of the football program). To my mind, it’s not really a fauxback or even a mashup — but that’s just semantics. Whatever you want to call it, it’s fantastic. Well done, Michigan (and adidas), well done. Next weekend LSU breaks out their amateur pacifist unis — against Auburn. Think UA will whip up something special for that one?


ncaa footballNew NCAA Rundown

In what is now a regular Sunday feature during the NCAA season, my buddy Terry Duroncelet is here to give us the uni machinations and assorted athletic aesthetics for this week of the college football season. Here’s Terry:


First off, I want to apologize for the shorter-than-normal rundown, as there wasn’t a lot of uni-notable action Yesterday (watch, next week will be a two page summary just so that the NCAA can spite me).

• Miss. State wore the matte helmets from the Georgia game against South Carolina.

• Normally, I would be giving the College Cowboys crap for not wearing as much orange as they should be this year, but I’ll make an exception here.

• The Sam Houston State University Bearkats wore camo jerseys that they’ve dubbed “BearkatCamo”. The jerseys were worn to be auctioned off with proceeds going to the Lone Survivor Foundation. The jersey’s manufactured by Wilson were paired up with the Bearkats standard white pants (with orange “stripe”) by Nike. Helmets were unchanged (solid orange with white facemask and school logo decals). Additional info here. Credit Victor Quintana, Jr. for the heads up. Photo Gallery is here (thanks to Chris Mycoskie).

• Florida wore orange pants against Auburn. When was the last time they wore orange pants?

• Last week, I mentioned that Portland State wore white helmets, but if you look at these pictures (namely, this one), you’ll notice that only the Quarterback (#6) had a green helmet stripe, while everyone else didn’t. Anybody know why? Thanks to Rickey A. Layman II for bringing that to my attention.

• Washington State went mono-grey against Stanford. So we’ve seen the Vader Effect, the Stormtrooper Effect, and now the Death Star Effect. At least WASU can say that they’re actually going mono-grey, instead of these other schools wearing silver and calling it grey.

• Remember last week when I said that the pink IU helmet logo for the Hoosiers was to be an all-October thing? I spoke too soon.

• The Tempe cocktail of the week consisted of maroon helmets, white jerseys, and maroon pants.


Thanks Terry!


all sport uni tweaksUni Tweaks

We have another new set of tweaks today.

If you have a tweak, change or concept for any sport, send them my way.

Remember, if possible, try to keep your descriptions to ~50 words (give or take) per tweak. You guys have been great at keeping to that, and it’s much appreciated!

And so, lets begin:


We start with Richard Paine, another Seahawk concepter who missed the deadline:


Big Fan. I saw that the Seahawk redesign competition is already up, but I took a few minutes and threw together a few ideas.

1. Remove the neon green and replace with smoke mist grey.
2. Clean up the look with non-monotone home and away jerseys and pants.
3. Smoke mist grey helmets.

Anyway, just a thought.

Here is another late addition. This time I took some Oregon U colors and adopted them to the Seahawks.

Take Care,


In the two-hole is Andrew Riehle, who was also late for the contest. In the words of the immortal Kenny Mayne, “Those who are late do not get soup.”


I know I am late for the Seattle redesign contest, but here are some new Seahawks uniforms. I just switched colors of the new uni to the old design and the old colors to the new design.

Andrew Riehle


And we end the weekend with another NFL concept, from Marc Gilbert this one for your Tampa Bay Buccaneers:

Hey Phil,

Here’s my concept for an update to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Although unique, I was never a fan of the Pewter, so I ditched it–keeping the current logo and going with a deep orange and burgundy scheme.

— Marc Gilbert


That’s all folks. Check back next weekend for more.


Benchies HeaderBenchies

by Rick Pearson


Oh, like with the truth he had a shot…

10-16-11 s-Band ALT

And…as always — the full size.


2010-playoffs-alex rockleinTracking The 2011 MLB Playoffs

Alex Rocklein is back…so let’s put ‘em in the books!

Only one game was played last evening, and it was a big Game Six between the red-capped Rangers (IMHO their best look) and the Detroit Tigers. Unfortunately, for Detroit, it wasn’t much of a game, as the Rangers just exploded offensively, putting up a 9-spot early on, enabling them to coast to victory and return to the World Series for the second straight year. The Rangers rode their lucky red caps over white tops to three straight home victories (and four straight if you count the Rays series). Look for that in the Series as well.

Alex has now updated his 2011 MLB Playoff Tracker to reflect all the games so far. Tonight, the Wild Card Cardinals look to advance to the Series, but they have to win at least one game in Milwaukee. Fasten your seatbelts everyone. Baseball’s not done yet.


vilk 5 & 1Jim Vilk’s 5 & 1

And now for the part of the post that I wait up all night for you’ve all been waiting for…

And it was pretty late when I got this…again. And you know the Ducks, despite looking outstanding (albeit not in school colors — big shock), won’t even sniff the “5”. Here’s Movi:


Terp Tracker — Really…just wear the yellow pants every week.

Honorable Mentions to Michigan/Michigan State — How about making these the permanent road unis?

And Oklahoma/NebraskaIndiana/Wisconsin — Why don’t you guys run the wishbone while you’re at it?

5. Navy/Rutgers — That’s right, SCARLET Knights…wear that scarlet proudly.

4. BYU/Oregon State — OSU’s pants are borderline, but everything else in this game looks great.

3. Florida/Auburn — Florida’s awesome pants canceled out Auburn’s blech pants.

2. Alabama/Ole Miss — Even without the red jerseys, this looks fantastic.

1. Western Kentucky/Florida Atlantic — Would have been a great week for WKU to break out the red pants, but still…WOW.

And the bad one: Utah State/Fresno State — Lucky for Phil that Arizona State looked so good, or his Ducks would be here.


You’re nuts Vilk. Oregon & ASU was an outstandingly good looking game…worthy of a spot in the top 5, not the 1. Good thing it wasn’t there or this might have been your last 5 & 1.


And that will do it for today. You may have noticed the absence of the Duck Tracker the past two weekends. Unfortunately Jake has been unable to create the graphics for it, but we hope to be all up-to-date for next weekend. Thanks for your patience.

Today in the league where they play for pay — the Packers will be wearing their 1929-era throwbacks. I did a pretty intricate look at those last March, before they wore them in actual game play — you can check it out here if you’re so inclined. My only complaint, after last year’s game, was the helmet — I wish they had done something like this, or, failing that, gone with a mashup featuring gold helmets and pants. Still, should be nice to see again. Further info here.

Also throwing back will be the Atlanta Falcons, who will be wearing a uniform they should really revert to full-time. More on that can be found here.

Everyone have a super Sunday, and I’ll catch ya next weekend.


Dude, if you thought MSU looked good today, then you must think black socks go with brown dress shoes. — Jim Vilk

Molon Labe... or 'Come and Get Them'!

MSU 12

By Phil Hecken

While not THE Game, or the “Civil War” or even the “Red River Rivalry,” today two teams will be battling for Paul Bunyan’s Ax trophy (officially known as the “Paul Bunyan Trophy”) — that’s right, Michigan (ranked 11) and Michigan State (23) will do battle for the Governor’s Trophy. It’s a storied trophy that dates to 1953, when Michigan State officially entered the B1G, although Michigan vs. MSU have battled far longer — today marks the 103rd time the teams will meet, with the Wolverines holding a 67-31-5 overall lead, and a 34-22-2 Bunyan Trophy lead. Sparty enters the game as a three point favorite, playing at home, and has won the last three times the teams have met. You’d think a game like this wouldn’t need any additional hype. But you’d be wrong. Because Nike has created a special costume for the Spartans to wear just for today … because the pro combat is on.

Building upon the *success* of their pro combat line from the past two seasons, Nike describes this years uni thusly:

Echoing the cry of King Leonidas, the back of the collar is inscribed with the words “Molon Labe,” the Spartans’ defiant challenge to the competition to “come and get them!” Gloves complete the traditional Spartan headdress look. Armed with intensity and determination, MSU will fight on the battlefield until the last team is standing.

Oh for Zeus’ sake.

The Spartans’ website continued the hyperbole:

The uniform design incorporates bronze colorways in honor of the armor of their historic namesake, and a carbon fiber plate symbolically mirrors that of the Spartan shield, which is emblazoned on the right of the base layer.

OK, OK, I get — we ALL get — that Nike is very skilled at marketing shiny objects to seventeen-year-olds, and in true warrior fashion, those who don the uniform will undoubtedly become as invincible as King Leonidas when he proclaimed tonight, we dine in hell. Or something. Good thing the game starts at noon.

But hey, Uni Watch isn’t about political statements or judgments about the disgusting marketing and corporate practices of uniform manufacturers or anything, it’s about uniforms, right? So, let’s dismiss with all that macho shit posturing and really take a look at what Sparty will be taking the field in today. And, for the moment, lets also forget that Michigan State’s official colors are green and white and that their normal uniforms look like this. Just imagine a world where history and school colors don’t matter and you’re free to wear whatever your uniform supplier deems. And make sure it’s cool.

And it is pretty cool. Let’s start with the helmet. While it looks “gold” (no, not athletic gold, but good old fashioned old gold), I believe Nike is calling this “bronze.” OK, well, if you can make up a uniform that’s not in school colors, you can make up color names too. But that is a pretty good looking lid, I have to say. Nice matte gold bronze, with a green spartan head graphic.

The helmet has a green stripe (to mimic a plume), with a deep green jersey, black raglan sleeves, bronze numerals, and black pants. The wordmark reads simply “SPARTANS.” I’m not personally a fan of that font (though both numbers and letters mimic the font face of the current uniforms). It’s fairly well done, and certainly not over-the-top like some previous pro combat unis. I do love the gold, er…bronze and green, but the black, being quite close to green in colorscale and intensity, doesn’t really work (in my opinion). But we all know the kids LOVE black uniforms, since it makes them tougher.

The back of the jersey is similarly plain (spartan-like, much like the ancient Greeks, particularly Spartans), with a black “SPARTANS” NOB which should be impossible to read from a distance of more than one foot. The black trou have a standard Nike tramp-stamp. And of course, the inside of the collar and the helmet stripe and nose bumper contain the phrase “molon labe,” which loosely translated means something like “come and get ‘em.” Oh, they’re ready for war all right.

It’s not a bad looking uniform, all things considered. I’d even venture to say it’s a lot better than two out of the three uniforms they currently wear. Heaven forbid these are in school colors however. Still, I give it a solid B+ (based purely on the uniform as a uniform — if you toss in school colors and tradition…and the fact that this was designed for a Grecian soldier…the grade drops precipitously).

Ah, but what if Nike did want to give a nod to history? They could have looked to these these 1947 green and white beauties, with the famous “winged” helmet. Yeah, we know Michigan has and still wears that style, but what better way for Nike to say “eff you” to the adidas-clad Wolverines? And, since black is such a “hot” color, they could have simply taken this black and gold classic for inspiration. Yes, that uniform was worn between 1934 and 1946 and yes, it was black and gold (despite how that may look on your monitor, it was black and gold). But that might be a bit too close to the current Michigan uni (even with the *maize* pants).

Interested in more Spartan uni history? Be sure to check here, here, here (that has a great history of the winged helmet, including that worn by MSU), and, for a great uni history from 1947-present, here.

Enjoy the game today. And just remember, when we look back at this one in 50 years, you may be saying “who the hell was playing Michigan and what have they done with the Spartans. But they did look pretty good.”


50 years 200 pixel50 Years Ago…This Weekend

Last weekend Ricko helped me out with a tremendous article detailing the ABC’s College Football Game of the Week, in which he painstakingly documented the uniforms of the two combatants featured on his “kid cards.” I liked it so much, for the remainder of the NCAA Football season, I’ve asked Rick to share one of his “kid cards,” with a writeup, of that game of the week. Oh what fun it must have been to be a Uni Watcher in 1961, before there was a Uni Watch (or even before there was a Paul Lukas). Here’s Rick:


Oct. 14, 1961Michigan State at Michigan: Bet this one would have made Vilk’s 5&1, if there’d been such a thing in 1961. Hell, there wasn’t even a Vilk in 1961, though, was there….Anyway, a few notes. Numbers on the Wolverines helmets may actually have been maize…Here’s Bob Timberlake, who first played for them in ’62…Was the era when Michigan’s outer helmet stripes were shorter and met at the center stripe in the back, shown in a 1960 photo…Also, by ’61 most everyone had gone to white shoelaces, but there were a few holdouts that still preferred black. Michigan, Purdue, Oregon State, Browns (although they went to white in ’62) and Redskins are four that come quickly to mind. Maybe Iowa State, too…Dave Raimey went on to a quality career with Toronto and Winnipeg in the CFL.


Thanks Ricko! Those Sparty unis look just a bit different than they will today. Who knows, in 50 years when we look back at the game played today, will we say “wow, those unis were fresh” or “what the hell were they thinking”? Only time will tell.


all sport uni tweaksUni Tweaks

We have another new set of tweaks today.

If you have a tweak, change or concept for any sport, send them my way.

Remember, if possible, try to keep your descriptions to ~50 words (give or take) per tweak. You guys have been great at keeping to that, and it’s much appreciated!

And so, lets begin:


We start with Brian Skowski, who has a pretty long description, but it’s worth it:


I’ve read the blog for years now, have submitted a few things, but I’ve mostly been a hands-off reader. I’ve never really been too into the concept design thing, because I stink at using Photoshop. I love seeing others’ designs, but most of mine usually just stay in my head. But after playing NHL 12, An idea popped into my head and I thought I’d share…

I’ll start by saying that I’m pretty sure that I’m the only person outside of Nashville that likes the Preds’ new uniforms. But, I love them. They’re right up there with Minnesota’s thirds as the best in the league, in my opinion. I know, I know, I can’t decide if I like new or old school styles! Anyway, I was playing NHL 12 and thought, wow, that Preds template could make a real sweet Penguins’ third jersey. So, I started using my extremely limited Photoshop skills to come up with a concept. I threw a few ideas from the Preds, some things that are important to us in Pittsburgh, and some concepts from around the league into a blender and here’s how it turned out. Obviously, I changed the Preds’ blue to black, and changed the gold to a slightly different shade, to match the Pens’ uniforms of the 80s/90s. I really like how Nashville incorporated the guitar strings into their number font, so I adapted their idea to fit Pittsburgh and the Pens. I used the Classic 60s font in white (NOT trendy off-white) and black for the numbers, and put three lines through the middle (instead of Nashville’s six) to represent Pittsburgh’s three rivers, as well as the three Stanley Cup championships that the Pens have won. I used the 2-color name/captain’s font from the ’08 Winter Classic jerseys, with black replacing blue. As for the shoulder patches, I used the Badger Bob Johnson patch, worn in the ’91-’92 season on the left shoulder. I thought this patch fit well, because the colors match the look I was going for, and it is a shout out to our first Cup team and its legendary coach. (I was thinking the Bears’ continued use of the GSH sleeve patch here….) For the right shoulder, I really like how the Flames use the Alberta flag to represent their region, so I put the Pittsburgh coat of arms found on the city’s flag on as a shoulder patch. You may recognize it from the front of the Steelers’ ’94 throwbacks. To finish the patches, I used the Penguins’ current wordmark on the top of the back of the collar. Since there are so many throwback elements in my concept (besides the template) I put the current mark in to help modernize the look. Again, I love the placement of the team/city name there on the Preds’ jerseys. It’s just a shame that it has to look so stupid with the giant Reebok logo/word creep between “Nashville” and the player name.

Anyway, sorry for the long rant. I just thought I’d share a concept with you and hopefully the rest of the blog readers! Keep up the awesome work!

-Brian Skokowski


Next up is Matt Moon, who has a Seabirds concept — alas, he submitted this after the contest deadline, but it’s still a tweak:

Hey Phil,

I realized tonight that I never turned in my Seattle cleanups after seeing everyone elses. So I thought I’d try sending it in now. You may notice that I have white at home. If you notice on the city flag of Seattle, the white really sticks out. I thought I’d try converting that over to the jersey. Just an idea. Anyways, accept it or not, I honestly don’t care. Because I’m Matt Moon. And that’s a fact.

Sincerely yours,

Matthew Garry Moon (@matthewgarryfox)


And we close today with Leo Strawn, who has a couple of Bucs logos:


I created a jolly roger logo for the Pittsburgh Pirates…sent it off to them to consider as an alternate logo…two versions, black/yellow, and one with red stitches (they use red as an accent color, occasionally)…

This one is a variation of the previous designs I emailed…(space between the skull and bats)…

What do you think…?


That’s all for today. Back with more tomorrow.


Benchies HeaderBenchies

by Rick Pearson


Nice to know SOMEONE has his priorities in order…

10-15-11 d-sternly

And, of course, your full-size.


Paul & Phil at Sheep Station, 2009 GatheringMark Your Calendars

That’s right, the annual Brooklyn Gathering of Uni Watchers will be taking place at Sheep Station on Saturday, November 12 at 2:00 pm. Hoping all NYC-area UWers can stop by and say “hello” to Paul, moi, and the myriad other characters who share Paul’s obsessive study of athletic aesthetics. Especially hoping to meet some of you locals (I’m looking at you Chance and Conn) who never seem to be in town at the same time as the uni-obsessed are. Mark your calendars now. As an added bonus, we’ve just been assured that this guy will be there. Trust me, that’s worth the price of admission (which is free, btw) right there.

See you then.


And that’s all for today, folks. Everyone have a great Saturday, and enjoy the battle for Paul Bunyon’s ax…and all the other games, including what could be the final game of the ALCS. Molon Labe, baby.


In his later years, Phil Jackson spent most of the game riding the pine; I only began following basketball in 1977 and he became my favorite player. I remember remarking his jersey looked like it still had the hanger in it. — Walter Helfer

Because They Can't Lock These Guys Out

Screen shot 2011-10-13 at 7.05.05 PM.png

College basketball season begins four weeks from today, and teams are beginning to showcase their new uniforms. Here are some developments from yesterday:

• New sweatbacks for Florida. Woof! I really dislike all that black trim (although note that the jersey swoosh is outlined in white — hmmmm). Also, makes no sense for the front typography to be black-outlined while the back is outline-free.

• New home uniforms for Colorado. First time in several years that they’ve gone with white at home, instead of that silver/gray. Big improvement.

• New look for Georgia Southern: Too bad about the loss of the gold trim. Also: Nice “shorts.”

• An Iowa player had a misspelled NOB at yesterday’s Media Day. Ouch.

• Notice anything else missing from all these jerseys? That NCAA certification patch from last year has pulled a disappearing act. (If you don’t know what I’m referring to, or if you just need a refresher course, look here.) I thought the patch was supposed to be mandatory this year, but I’ll contact the NCAA next week and ask for a clarification.

• Meanwhile, Evansville has a new arena.

And as long as we’re talking college hoops, there’s a lot of good stuff in this slideshow of past Iowa hoops Media Day photos. I especially love the “I” side panels on these shorts from 1954 — how awesome is that?! Also interesting: white jerseys paired with gold shorts (1953) and black sneakers (1941). And check out this 1944 shot — in addition to the crotch extensions, there’s also one jersey with vertically arched lettering while the others are radially arched!

(My thanks to Dan Wunderlich, Jake Wallace, Matthew Robins, Jordan Hoehn, Jesse Gavin, and Joe Wagner for their contributions to this entry.)

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ESPN reminder: In case you missed it yesterday, here’s my latest ESPN column, about the fan in his 20s who designed the new Ottawa Senators jersey.

Research request: I have reason to believe that tonight’s installment of SportsBiz: Game On (Versus, 7pm Eastern) may show a view of Troy Polamalu wearing his wedding band during a game. If anyone out there has a high-def teevee and would be willing to record the show and get a screen shot of Polamalu’s ring, I’d be much obliged. (That’s right, I still have an ancient low-def teevee, which is generally fine but isn’t so great for isolating small details like wedding rings.) Thanks.

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Uni Watch News Ticker: A new version of the Islanders’ third jersey has been leaked, and it’s just as miserable as the previous ones. Further info here. … Yesterday I Ticker-linked to the announcement of a sports-themed art exhibit. Mark Haarmann notes that the painting on that page is based on a famous NFL moment. … Did you know the Chicago Bulls tried to register various “4-peat” trademarks, in anticipation of a fourth straight NBA title? It’s true (big thanks to Joe Juettner). … Here’s the latest on those high-tech mouthguards that concussion researchers are using (from Ryan Perkins). … Two Lions players have received hosiery-related fines (from Christopher LaBella). … New Lebron sneakers for Kentucky (from Mike Shearer). … The Packers are wearing their throwbacks this Sunday, so their web site has an Acme Packers theme (from Rob Siergiej). … More Packers throwback stuff: Interestingly, many of the Packers appear to love the throwback pants. Since the regular pants have stripes and the throwbacks don’t, it sounds like maybe stripeless pants are comfier (from Stuart J. Ciske). … Labatt’s is coming out with Sabres-themed beer cans (from Steve Lega). … My Page 2 colleague Matt Lindner says Theo Epstein is currently generating so much buzz in Chicago that the Cubs should start marketing him on merch. Has any GM ever been leveraged in that way? … Ben Fortney notes that the official seal of the city of Green Bay features a very familiar-looking G. “I can’t think of any other occasion where a the logo of a business entity (albeit a public owned one) is used by official governments,” he says. … Before Phil Jackson and Pat Riley were geniuses, they were just a coupla basketball players (nice find by Ronnie Poore). … We all know Magic Johnson’s real name is Earvin, but it’s still really surprising to see he his NOB had two initials during the 1980 NBA All-Star Game. “At first I thought this was because Eddie Johnson was on the West team,” says Josh Hansen. “But Eddie Johnson was actually on the East team. The West did have Marques Johnson and Dennis Johnson, along with Magic. Were they worried that fans would confuse Magic with Marques?” … The Cavs have a new D-League affiliate, the Canton Charge. “Their identity package looks NOTHING like that of one of the local colleges in Canton,” notes Jason Tirotta. “In fairness, Walsh has previously worn basketball uniforms that were a blatant rip-off of the NBA Cavs. It is interesting to note, however, that Walsh was founded in 1958 and began competing in collegiate athletics (NAIA) in 1962-63, eight years before the NBA Cavaliers made their debut.” … New center-ice design for the Rangers (from Chris Hernandez). … Reprinted from yesterday’s comments: The CIAA — that’s a D-2 conference — has come up a new rule regarding shoe colors. … I like these Russian nesting dolls patterned after DC-area sports teams (from Andrew Hoenig). … Even if you’re not into video games — I’m not into them myself — you have to like the uni commentary in this NBA 2K12 segment (nice one from Brett Paci). … Odd inconsistency in this Blackhawks wallpaper image: Note the NHL logo on Duncan Keith’s pants (good spot by Keith Burza). … Goes without saying that “reality” teevee is not exactly humankind’s highest achievement. But even by the standards of the genre, what kind of warped mind has people stuff their mouths with roast pig and then makes them spit it out — over and over again? Fuck the competition, or the challenge, or whatever it’s called — I would’ve just swallowed every delicious bite. … Roger Faso designed this Boston mash-up T-shirt, which refers to the 33 championships that Beantown teams have won. … All those years I loved Shea Stadium, and I didn’t even know it had a private masturbation closet. This revelation has led our own Scott Turner to imagine how the Wilpons might offer pornography in their new ballpark: “They’d have 13 different price-point porn rooms. Shlubs in the outfield seats only get to talk about it, and the big-ticket high-rollers get glory holes in the Excelsior Club.” … The Pens and Caps both wore memorial patches for the Russian plane crash victims last night. … Here’s more about Steve DeBerg and his microphone back in 1980. Still no photo of the big hump-back thingie he was wearing, though (good find by Douglas Ford). … Someone likes to make logos — many of them sports-related — out of food (thanks, Kirsten). … Longtime contributor BSmile has started a new blog, where he’s pursuing two of his obsessions: Babe Ruth and panoramic team portraits. … My Mom’s about to move to a new apartment, so I’m heading out to Long Island today to help her pack boxes and such. See you all next week.

The Man Behind the Uni

Screen shot 2011-10-12 at 11.46.59 AM.png
On the right is the Senators’ new heritage uniform, which the team will wear for the first time tonight. On the left is Jacob Barrette, the guy who designed it. Jacob’s unlikely route to becoming an NHL uniform designer is the subject of my latest ESPN column. (My goalie column has been delayed but should end up running next week.) — Paul

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Screen shot 2011-10-12 at 3.40.40 PM.png

San Francisco feat: A faaaaascinating windfall for a bunch of attorneys story is unfolding in the Bay Area, where the Giants apparently neglected to trademark their “San Francisco” script for, oh, just 18 years or so. Some apparel company apparently noticed, went ahead and trademarked it themselves, began slapping it on assorted merch, and sued the Giants for good measure. You can read the full story here and here.

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Permanent Record update: The technical difficulties at Slate seem to be endless (photo link glitches, disappearing blocks of text, etc.), but I’ve now fashioned a work-around. If you want to read the Slate series, or pick up where you left off, or revisit it, look here.

Even if you don’t care about PermaRec, there’s one little section of it that I think will appeal to all Uni Watch readers. I’ve taken that section and given it its own page here.

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Party time: The next Uni Watch party will take place in Brooklyn on Saturday, Nov. 12, 2pm, at Sheep Station. See you there, yes? Yes!

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Uni Watch News Ticker: Here’s the Brewers’ memorial patch for groundskeeper Gary VandenBerg, who passed away on Monday. And in an unusual twist, the St. Louis grounds crew wore black ribbons last night as a gesture of groundskeeping solidarity. … The Cowboys will be wearing blue this Sunday and throwbacks on Thanksgiving. … This is pretty cool: a CFL pillowcase! (Nice find by Mike Hersh.) … “I was reading a Bradley University message board thread about the basketball team’s new unis,” says Adam Mettrick. “Someone asked how often the team usually gets new designs and BU’s sports information director, Bobby Parker, chimed in with this response: ‘Usually every other year, or maybe every third year. Has as much to do with Nike marketing efforts as anything.’ I’d never heard anyone from a school straight-up admitting that they just let Nike put them in whatever uniform the company wanted, even though we all know that happens all the time.” … Remember how Eric Bangeman was offering $100 for a new uni design for his rugby league’s referees? Here’s the winning entry, submitted by Mako Mameli. … Mmmm, Parisian butchery market (thanks, Kirsten). … Mmmm, sausage race socks (from Jerry Kulig). … Dan Tearle — co-founder of the great Illustrated NFL site — is one of the featured artists in the new Football Invitational exhibit at the National Art Museum of Sport in Indianapolis. “I’m very proud of him, since his work is alongside other famous artists such as LeRoy Neiman and Bart Forbes,” says Illustrated NFL co-founder Michael Princip. “The exhibit precedes this season’s Super Bowl and Big 10 championship game, both of which are in Indy this time around.” … Soccer note from Chris Chaussee, who writes: “For Tuesday’s match against Ecuador, it appears that Brek Shea of the USA had cut the feet off his team socks and was wearing Nike Elite Basketball socks at the foot level, with the rest of team sock pulled over the top of it [like a leg warmer]. He had also done this in the previous game vs. Honduras, but I didn’t get a screen grab. It’s my understanding (from my wife the soccer player) that soccer players usually wear thinner socks so they can have a better ‘feel’ for the ball. The Nike Elite socks are thicker and have areas that have been built up for extra padding.” … Reprinted from yesterday’s comments: Victor Martinez has had some serious pine tar stainage on his shoulder during the postseason. … I guess squirrel merch was just a matter of time. … I’m kinda in love with this curling sweater, but the bidding has gotten too rich for my blood. … Here’s an odd one: Navy basketball is offering $3 tickets to fans who can show “an article of clothing, game program, or old ticket stub with a professional basketball team logo on it” (from Jason Mott). … A Minnesota designer is creating a logo for each one of the state’s lakes. Further details here (big thanks to Jimmy Lonettii). … Don’t think we’ve ever seen Tom Brady in the Revo before (from Tom Adjemian). … Tons of mid-’60s Packers and Rams goodness in this sensational photo gallery (big thanks to Jeff Ash). … New merit badge designs for the Girl Scouts. And as a bonus, the Girl Scouts don’t discriminate against gay and atheist kids like the Boy Scouts do. … Everyone knows by now that Yanks/Bosox games are ridiculously long. That helps explain why the Yanks and Sox played the most minutes of baseball this past season (from Stefan Spasovski). … Fascinating and addictive: this kerning game (big thanks to Michael Sulivan). … The ESPN web site was using this background wallpaper last night. “It’s advertising Carmelo’s new Jordans,” says Erik Morris. “Doesn’t it look like a straight rip-off of Golden State’s jerseys?” … Oh, taxi — taxi! Kyle Speicher spotted that in Tampa. … Interesting note from Eric Vanderburght, who writes: “I recall a 49ers/Jets game at Shea Stadium back in 1980 where Niners QB Steve DeBerg played with a microphone or amplifier under his jersey. He was having problems with laryngitis and they used this to pump up his voice. If I recall correctly he played with a rather large hump on his back just under the numbers.” Anyone know more? … Oh for shit’s sake, settle the lockout already, if only to put an end to nonsense like this. … Wondering how the SF Giants get their jerseys to be orange? Look here (from Christian Cisneros). … Doug Kyed has started a blog about the history of teal in pro uniforms. … Last Sunday Adrian Peterson was wearing something I hadn’t seen before: pink kinesio tape. “Barf,” says Leo Thornton.