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Bills and Jets Get 2016 Color Rash Program Started

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The NFL had its first Color Rash game of 2016 last night, as the Jets and Bills played a rematch of last season’s Colorblind Bowl (but with the Jets wearing white this time around, to avoid a repeat of last year’s problems).

• Generally speaking, I love striped socks. But I think the Bills’ uni would be better off without the sock stripes. For that matter, they probably could have scrapped the pants striping as well. If you’re wearing solid red, make it really solid red.

• I’m usually fine with grey facemasks. But the Bills should have swapped out their grey grills for red. Grey just doesn’t work in this context. (That noise you hear in the background is The Jeff fainting due to a mix of joy and disbelief.)

• In keeping with the red theme, the Bills used red visor tabs and clips. They did that for last year’s Color Rash game, too. (They normally go with white tabs and blue clips.)

• I mentioned the other day that the Color Rash jerseys rendered in Nike’s new tailoring template (the one with the name that’s too embarrassing to spell out here) are using a Chromaflex chip for the NFL logo. That may seem like a minor detail, but it definitely looks shinier and more reflective on the field:

• At one point Jets wideout Brandon Marshall lined up without gloves, which is unheard of for an NFL receiver. I think it was after he came back from an injury — must have taken the gloves off while getting treatment and neglected to put them back on when he returned to the field. (Marshall also changed cleats at halftime.)

• Check out this goalpost padding:

First, the lettering should be centered, not flush-left. And second, shouldn’t the background color be red, not blue?

• The Bills retired Bruce Smith’s No. 78 last night, and they had a really cool uni-themed giveaway in conjunction with that — jersey shaped towels:

• In what I think is a first — and can only hope is a last — the Bills set up a Color Rash fan-spraying station at their stadium (further depressing info here):

(My thanks to Mark Heggen, @santullo, Darren Rovell, and Matthew Whitney for their contributions.)

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“Fore!”: With the Ryder Cup set to begin in two weeks, I’ll have an ESPN piece today about Team USA’s new uniforms. I don’t often write about golf, so this was an interesting change of pace for me, and the finished piece includes quotes from Team USA captain Davis Love III; his wife, Robin Love (the captain’s wife traditionally has a role in creating the team’s look); and the PGA’s merchandising director. Check it out here.

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The Ticker
By Paul

’Skins Watch: The girls’ basketball team at an Iowa high school has come up with a very ill-advised poster. Note to the school: Even Native Americans who are okay with the word “redskin” are usually not okay with non-Natives wearing headdresses and ceremonial face paint. Jeez (from Omar Jalife).

Baseball News: Red Sox 1B Hanley Ramirez, who won last night’s game against the Yanks with a three-run walk-off homer, has some pretty ratty batting gloves (from Wayne Miller). … Dodgers CF Joc Pederson is the latest MLBer to wear a faceguard despite not having suffered a facial injury. After the game he said he did it mainly because he thinks it looks cool. Also note that the faceguard is matte, to match the helmet (from Jason Harambi). … The White Sox held a charity auction last weekend. The full listing of items can be found in this PDF. If you go to page 88 of the PDF (or page 92 of the catalog), you’ll find 10 pages’ worth of World Series press pins. Lots of other good stuff, too — worth spending some time scrolling through this (big thanks to Pete Hoelter). … While we’re at it, Ryan Mattern points out that Cubs OF Jorge Soler is also wearing a faceguard, and I’m not aware of him having suffered any facial injuries either. These players, along with Cardinals C Yadier Molina, appear to be part of a trend of players wearing the guard proactively, to prevent an injury (rather than reactively, after an injury, which had been the standard protocol in the past). Anyone know of other players who are wearing the guard despite not having been injured? (Please, no mention of Jason Heyward, Mike Stanton, or other players who we all know had facial injuries. Thanks.)

NFL News: The Rams have announced that they’ll be wearing their royal/yellow throwbacks for this Sunday’s home opener. … Here’s something I never noticed before: In the famous 1994 “fake spike” game, when the Jets thought Dan Marino was going to spike the ball and he instead threw a game-winning touchdown pass, Marino wasn’t wearing the league’s 75th-anniversary patch like everyone else (as noted by Rudy Gutierrez). … Steelers WR Antonio Brown was fined for wearing blue shoes last week (from Jerry Wolper). … If you’ve been dying to know what my ESPN colleague Darren Rovell looks like in a Color Rash jersey, today’s your lucky day. … Broncos coach Gary Kubiak wore a Super Bowl 50 visor at a presser yesterday. … Steelers RB DeAngelo Williams says Sunday’s game against the Bengals will be “a two-chinstrap game.” Always nice to see people expressing things in uni-related terms. … The NFL has banned Kanye West’s Yeezy cleats.

College and High School Football News: Here are this week’s uni combos for UNC, Eastern Washington, Illinois, and Oregon State (note the white facemasks, instead of the usual black). … One of Phil Knight’s big regrets is that Nebraska signed with Adidas instead of Nike (from Brett Baker). … Many high school football players are joining the movement to protest during the national anthem.

Hockey News: Looks like Mario Lemieux was wearing a Canadiens wristband during the 1987 Canada Cup (good spot by Brian Rowland). … The Predators have two twins in rookie camp — Tyler Spinks and Tyson Spinks — which has led to some interesting NOBs (from Lee Wilds).

Pro Basketball News: Thunder G Victor Oladipo says he thinks the current trend of national anthem protests in the NFL will likely spread to the NBA. Not mentioned in that piece is the fact that the NBA reportedly has a rule requiring players to stand during the anthem, although that wouldn’t necessarily prevent players from engaging in other forms of protest, such as raising their fists. … The ABA’s newest team, the Springfield Sting, unveiled their logo. … Chris Andersen is apparently wearing No. 00 for the Cavs. With Kevin Love wearing No. 0, that means the Cavs have a zero and a double-zero on the roster. First time we’ve seen that since — last season. … Here’s a gallery of Sacramento Kings sneakers over the years (thanks, Mike).

College Hoops News: Gorgeous new green uniforms for North Dakota State. … New uniforms for Southeastern Louisiana. “First time the ‘SLU’ mark has been prominent on the jersey,” says Chris Mycoskie. … NC State’s arena, which has been renovated, will reopen today (from J. Huckel). … New home and road uniforms for Charleston Southern (from Harrison Huntley and Daren Stoltzfus, respectively).

Soccer News: MLS jerseys redesigned for Hispanic Heritage Month? Sure, why not (from Kenn Tomasch). … Buried within this item is the following: “Sun Belt Conference women’s soccer programs will wear specially designed warm-up jerseys [starting yesterday and continuing through this weekend] in support of Texas State head coach Kat Conner, who was diagnosed with ovarian cancer last year.” … New Oktoberfest kit for 1860 Munich (from Peter Pereira). … USWNT member Megan Rapinoe once again did not stand for the national anthem last night. She had previously done that while playing for the Seattle Reign; this was the first time she protested the anthem prior to a USWNT match. … New third kit for AS Roma (from Mario Cuttone).

Grab Bag: World peace can finally be restored now that “Harambe” has been restored as an acceptable retail jersey NOB for MLB and the NFL. Phew. … Faaascinating article about how Nike’s contracts with universities — and, to a lesser extent, Under Armour’s and Adidas’s contracts as well — include clauses that allow the company to harvest activity-based data on the student-athletes, which is raising a red flag for privacy advocates. Further info here and here (from David Arnott). … Police officers in Nigeria have to pay for their own uniforms. … Interesting piece about the Statue of Liberty’s shade of green (from Jason Hilyer). … New logo for the 2016 Kabaddi World Cup. … The University of Detroit Mercy spent three years and $1 million on a new logo, and I think it’s fair to say they didn’t get their money’s worth. … NASCAR drivers competing in the 2016 Chase for the Sprint Cup will have their Twitter handles on their car windshields (from Josh Pete).

Big Day for NBA Alternates and Throwbacks

It’s a big day for NBA uniforms, as the Grizzlies, 76ers, Knicks, and Nets have all made uni-related news. Let’s start in Memphis, the Grizzlies have unveiled of a new alternate uniform honoring history’s greatest American, Martin Luther King Jr. (click to enlarge):

The uniform includes many visual references to the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, where King was assassinated in 1968. It was later converted into the National Civil Rights Museum, which is where the uniform was unveiled last night. Among the details:

• The chest lettering is based on the motel’s sign.

• The icon above the chest lettering, at the base of the collar, was inspired by the memorial wreath that was hung outside Room 306 — King’s room — after his murder.

• If you look again at the wreath photo, you can see that the motel’s railing design served as the inspiration for the trim on the shorts (which also runs up the sides of the jersey).

As you know, I generally take a pretty dim view of uniforms with “storytelling” elements. That’s because they usually seem forced, like someone in the marketing department said, “Okay, you have to include at least four storytelling elements, and so far you only have two, so come up with two more!” The reality is that most uniforms don’t have a story to tell (or, perhaps more to the point, they don’t have a story worth telling), but this one does — it’s a history lesson. The details feel well-considered and well-executed. Too bad about the sleeves. Overall, though, nice job.

The uniform will make its on-court debut on Jan. 15 and then will be worn for various games during Black History Month in February. Additional info and photos are available here.

Meanwhile, over in Philadelphia, the 76ers will announce today that they’re marking the 50th anniversary of their 1966-67 championship by wearing throwback uniforms for six Saturday home games (dates not yet finalized):

Thanks to various leaks, we’ve known about this throwback for a few months now, but this is the first time we’ve seen photos of it. Here’s a side-by-side comparison of the throwback and the original uni:

The shades of blue don’t seem to match there, although that could have to do with lighting, sweat, etc. And speaking of blue, the Sixers are using Pantone 294 for the throwback, instead of their usual Pantone 293. Here’s a side-by-side of those tones — current blue on the left, throwback blue on the right:

The throwback includes a commemorative patch, which I’m pretty sure was not shown on any of the leaked mock-ups that have been circulating, so this is our first look at it:

For the six throwback games, logo shown on the patch will also be used at center court:

Although not shown in that image, the center court design will also feature the signatures of all Sixers season ticket subscribers, which according to the team will be “the first time in NBA history that fan signatures will appear within the playing surface of an NBA court.”

The team is also celebrating the 1966-67 championship team on its ticket stubs (click to enlarge):

Next up are the Nets, who’ve released a retro-themed alternate uniform (click to enlarge):

This is basically a dark version of this alternate uni, which they’ve had for the past two seasons. They’ll wear this one for the home opener on Oct. 28, and for 12 additional games — some at home, some on the road. The dates are listed here, and there are additional photos here.

That press release, incidentally, includes some first-class corporate nonsense. For starters, it says that the five stars on the jersey “dually represent the team’s fifth season in Brooklyn, and the five decades of the franchise.” Compare that to the Grizzlies’ MLK uniform and you can see the difference between real storytelling and bogus/forced “storytelling.” And then there’s this quote from team exec Brett Yormark: “By combining elements from the team’s most iconic uniforms, we’ve created a modernized look that emphasizes our heritage and defines today’s lifestyle brand.” How does anyone say (or, more likely, type) that kind of thing with a straight face?

In happier news, the Knicks have a new 70th-anniversary throwback, which they introduced yesterday via a short video clip that’s informative, entertaining, and blissfully free of corporate brandspeak:

It’s not quite as much fun as the throwback they wore last season, but it’s still pretty good. It will be worn for eight games (six at home) — the dates are spelled out midway through the video.

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And speaking of storytelling…: Shifting to college football for a sec, Arizona is hosting Hawaii this Saturday, and the Wildcats will be wearing a uniform that honors the USS Arizona, which was stationed at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii when it was bombed and sank by the Japanese on Dec. 7, 1941. Arizona and Hawaii, get it?

Okay, so it would be better if the game were taking place closer to Dec. 7, but the uniform is a good one. Much like the Knicks (see above), Arizona has put together a really good video that explains all of the details, although you might want to mute the soundtrack (and all the info in the video is also available in this PDF):

Lots of good stuff there. But ugh, that neck bumper — a glaring apostrophe catastrophe. Punctuation illiteracy strikes again.

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Madden-ing: Reader Josh Claywell was poking around on Madden yesterday and found the new Thursday-night uniforms for all 32 teams, with colored and white versions for most of them.

Normally I’d embed a slideshow here, but Flickr’s slideshow function seems to be balky today, so instead I’ll just link to the set of Josh’s screen shots.

As you’ll see there are no colored uniforms for the Bengals, Cowboys, Giants, Packers, Saints, or Raiders. Those are the teams that are wearing new white uniforms on Thursday nights. I’m pretty sure all the other white unis shown here (whether they’re slated to be worn on Thursday nights this season or not) are just the teams’ regular white unis.

Also, the Pats, Niners, and Steelers are all shown wearing colored pants with their white jerseys. That’s because those teams don’t have white pants in their wardrobe, and new Thursday-night white pants have not been created for them (at least not for this season).

In addition, reader Brian Spiess’s son was playing Madden and got a good screen shot of what a Bears/Bengals game would look like (in reality, they’re both facing other teams in Thursday-night games). He also confirmed that the Browns’ white Thursday-night uni features their regular (i.e., awful) pants:

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Mighty Mike: When not compiling our Tuesday and Thursday Tickers, Mike Chamernik has a day job at a trade magazine and also moonlights at the sports section of The Chicago-Sun Times (plus he’s a just an all-around great guy). He recently had two articles in the Sun-Times: a preview of the Chicago Football Classic (an annual game between teams from two historically black colleges, played at Soldier Field) and coverage of the game itself.

Both articles are highly recommended. Congrats on the bylines, Mike!

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Bacon update: I appeared on the radio show Marketplace yesterday, discussing my new Businessweek article about the nuances of bacon packaging. If you missed the article, it’s available here, and the radio interview is embedded below. (I haven’t actually listened to it myself — I hate hearing myself on the radio — but I’m told it sounds pretty good.)

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Membership update: A new batch of membership cards was mailed out on Monday (including Jonathan Safron’s late-’70s Cubs throwback treatment, complete with reverse pinstripes and vertically arched NOB lettering, shown at right), so those of you who’ve been waiting for your cards should have them momentarily. We’re now fully caught up on orders.

As always, you can sign up for your own custom-designed membership card here, you can see all the cards we’ve designed so far here, and you can see how we produce the cards here.

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The Ticker
By Mike Chamernik

Baseball News: The Orioles’ new schedule revealed a 25th anniversary logo for Camden Yards. Paul has confirmed that it will be worn as a patch next season, complete with silver metallic thread for the ballpark’s silver anniversary (from Scott Pika). … Check out this 1924 scoreboard. It looks like it was a Playograph, a scoreboard that, as Paul explored here back in 2009, displayed real-time out-of-town game updates (from John Muir). … Lots of stirrups were featured on last night’s episode of Big Brother (from Chris Flinn). … They’re expensive, but here are some pinstriped pencils in honor of Joe DiMaggio’s 56-game hit streak (from Rob Ullman). … Great story here: A Texas man filled out a nearly 60-year-old Bazooka promotion card for a new baseball glove, and the Bazooka people honored it (from Brinke). … Remember Marlins OF Giancarlo Stanton’s custom faceguard with the stylized “G”? Turns out he broke it right around the time he went on the DL last month. Now that he’s back in action, he’s wearing the standard face flap (from Mike McLaughlin). … Here’s a great old Lou Brock sneaker ad (from Joel Paylor).

NFL News: The Bills will retire Bruce Smith’s No. 78 tonight. Crews painted his number on the field yesterday. … The Cardinals will have “NJB” decals on their helmets in memory of Nancy Bidwill, the wife of owner Bill Bidwill. … Packers CB Damarious Randall wore long base-layer sleeves in 100°F heat in Jacksonville last weekend. He says he wears long sleeves because it improves his range of motion. It’s like the flip side of when Bengals linemen went sleeveless in -59°F windchills to intimidate the Chargers in the Freezer Bowl in 1982 (from @HawksPacMan). … The Chargers will wear their powder blue alternates on Nov. 6 and Dec. 18. … Sean Marenkovic‘s girlfriend knitted a pair of very good-looking striped Browns socks. “She had to labor through them, as she is a Steelers fan,” he says. … Also regarding the Browns, beck in 2006, Scott Bogunia put together a marketing brief (PDF) that featured a redesigned home uni. … The NFL Shop is forbidding customized jerseys with “Harambe” on the back. That was the name of the ape in the Cincinnati Zoo who was shot and killed back in May, and has since become the cause célèbre on the internet. Other leagues still offer Harambe jerseys, though (from Phil). … A Virginia couple decided to stake the fandom of their infant daughter on the outcome of Monday’s Steelers/Washington game. … Here’s a pamphlet that details uniform rules and violations for all 32 teams (from @manonwire22). … Giants WRs Odell Beckham Jr. and Victor Cruz will not be fined for their 9/11 cleats (from Phil). … What would a blue Thursday-night uniform for the Cowboys look like? Perhaps like this.

College and High School Football News: Louisville painted a Muhammad Ali memorial behind one of the endzones. It’s a butterfly with “Ali” in it (from @DaveDoop). … Virginia Tech will wear white at home with Navy template helmets this Saturday (from Andrew Cosentino). … Here’s more on Miami’s new merit decals (from David Leiphart). … Minnesota also awards helmet stickers (from MKE_Gopher). … In reaction to North Carolina’s House Bill 2, a measure seen as anti-LGBTQ, the ACC will move its title game out of Charlotte. … Marshall will wear a West Virginia-shaped helmet decal as a tribute to victims of flooding in the state this summer (from @cDubya242). … A small town in Michigan has been having an annual pink-uni game, for cancer awareness, for nine years, and it’s become a big part of the community (from Joe Hollomon). … Here’s this week’s uni combo for Florida Atlantic.

Hockey News: The Predators will now wear gold helmets for every home game, instead of only on Saturday home games (from Nick Griffin). … New uniforms for the Toledo Walleye. … New jerseys for Michigan State (from MikeTPhD). … The Sharks will give away a Warriors-colored jersey.

Basketball News: A Portland coffee shop made Trail Blazers-themed ice cream sandwiches. … The Bucks’ Mickey Johnson went double-decker FNOB for a time in the 1980s. Marques Johnson did the same (from Reinis Lācis). … Kentucky revealed a new home jersey with checkerboard-patterned side panels (from Drew O’Neal). … Tony Parker recently hosted a basketball game on top of a glacier in Switzerland.

Soccer News: Here’s a collection of all of the home, away, and third kits in the UEFA Champions League this season (from Josh Hinton). … Portland Timbers CB Steven Taylor normally wears No. 27, but for some reason he wore 72 last night.

Grab Bag: The ACC is the latest athletics organization to pull out of North Carolina due to the state’s anti-LGBT law. … The James Bond 007 logo has evolved since the early 1960s (from Brinke). … ESPN has inked a deal to televise the Drone Racing League. The uniforms appear to be black T-shirts with the team names (from Jay Wright). … Here’s how the British Army’s uniforms have changed since the redcoat days (from Mark de Socio).

The Day After: Nike/NFL FAQ

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As you’ve no doubt become aware by now, yesterday the NFL and Nike unveiled a slew of new monochromatic uniforms, which will be worn for this season’s Thursday-night games. The basics of the program are in that article I just linked to, and my assessment of the uniforms can be found in this ESPN piece, which was posted yesterday afternoon. If you haven’t yet read either of those articles, I suggest that you start there.

There are lots of questions and unresolved issues regarding these uniforms, so today I want to follow up with an FAQ-style entry that addresses some of those questions. Before I get to that, though, I should say this: I spent most of yesterday working on that ESPN piece, and then most of last night working on this blog entry. In both instances, I was working pretty furiously and somewhat sealed in a bubble — I wasn’t looking at Twitter, wasn’t reading many of the other articles about the new uniforms (although I did read a few that had some inaccurate information). If you were bouncing all over the web, absorbing info from a ton of different sources, it’s possible that you may know more about these uniforms than I do, or that you may have seen the answer to some of the unresolved questions I’m about to bring up. If so, please feel free to share what you know (or what you’ve read) in the comments.

Okay, then — here we go:

Did you know what the uniforms would look like prior to yesterday?

No. I got a slight sneak peek about an hour before everything went live, but aside from that I was in the dark, just like you.

I’ve seen lots of photos of the Jets wearing green, the Texans wearing navy, the Browns wearing brown, and so on. But your ESPN piece says all of those teams will actually be wearing white. What gives?

My hunch is that some of those colored uniforms were designed — and that the photos may have been taken — before this year’s NFL schedule was finalized. They couldn’t keep the Texans in navy, because they ended up being scheduled to play a Thursday-night game against the Pats, who were slated to wear blue. And they couldn’t keep the Jets in green, because they were scheduled to play tomorrow night against the Bills, and it would have created another red/green colorblindness fiasco. So some teams had to wear white instead.

Then why did they release the photos of the colored versions?

For starters, the colored versions are available for sale, even though they’re not being worn this season. Also, they may end up being worn next season.

With so many teams wearing white, doesn’t that take the color out of the equation, which kinda defeats the point of this program?

Arguably, yeah. I’m fairly certain Nike didn’t want or expect it to play out this way. But they didn’t realize there’d be colorblindness issues, they didn’t realize that the NFL schedule would present unworkable color-vs.-color matchups, and so on. In short: It all turned out to be a bit trickier than they’d envisioned, and one result is that there are more teams wearing white.

As an aside, this is also a good reality check for those of us who like color-vs.-color games played in “normal” uniforms (like the recent UGA/UNC game, for example). It’s great when it works, but it doesn’t always work. Which means teams will always need to keep white uniforms in their wardrobe, just in case.

Will the Browns’ white design include the big, honking wordmark on the pants, or will they get new pants?

Good question. The solid-brown design they had created (the one that won’t be worn because it turns out that they’re wearing white, not brown) had a new pant design, but I haven’t seen any full-body photos of the white uniform — just this torso shot. The same goes for some (but not all) of the other teams that will be wearing white — no full-body pics yet.

Update, 9:25am: The Browns have said that they’ll be wearing their normal whites, not a new white design.

Does that mean that they haven’t finalized those uniforms yet?

That seems possible. If you look again at that Browns torso photo (and also at the torso shots for the Falcons, Texans, and a few others), it looks like the player is just wearing his regular white jersey — not a newly designed white jersey. (By contrast, the white jerseys being worn by the Saints, Bengals, and a few others are clearly new.) So that, combined with the lack of full-body photos, makes me wonder if the torso photos are essentially just placeholders. Like, “Okay, the new white uni isn’t ready yet, so just put a regular white jersey on him and don’t show anything below the waist.” I don’t know for sure that that’s the case, but it wouldn’t surprise me.

Why aren’t the Colts, Lions, and ’Skins wearing the new uniforms?

Because they’re playing on Thanksgiving, and the league has decided to go with standard uniforms on that day.

But teams wore the new monochromatic uniforms on Thanksgiving last year, didn’t they?


So why did they change that this year?

I don’t know.

If the Colts, Lions, and ’Skins aren’t wearing the new uniforms, why have I seen photos of their new jerseys?

For starters, they’re selling them at retail. Also, those designs may be worn next season.

How did the Giants and Broncos get away with having new helmet designs? I thought the NFL had a one-helmet rule.

The NFL’s anti-concussion program limits teams to having one helmet shell, which basically means you can’t change helmet colors. But you’re free to change your striping or side logos or facemask color — several teams do that for their throwback helmets, and that’s what the Giants and Broncos have done for these new uniforms.

That rule is so stupid! College teams have, like, 17 helmet designs apiece, so why can’t the NFL join the modern world?

The rule is what it is, and we all have to live with it, at least for now. For what it’s worth, I’m sure there’s nobody who’d love to have the one-shell rule changed more than Nike, because then they’d be free to experiment with all sorts of alternate helmet designs. So while you may not like the rule, at least it shows that the NFL hasn’t completely given Nike the keys to the uniform car, so to speak.

What’s the deal with these jerseys being rendered in Nike’s Vapor Untouchable template?

According to this press release, “Participating teams will take the field wearing a special Color Rush edition of Nike’s Vapor Untouchable uniform exclusively on Thursday Night Football in 2016.”

I initially took this to mean, “All teams participating in Thursday-night games will wear the VU template.” But I’m now starting to realize that it actually means “All teams who wear VU will be wearing VU” — which is kind of lame.

If you look at the promo photos, many of them are clearly in the standard Elite 51 template, complete with the annoying collar, and the Packers photos appear to show the old Reebok tailoring, while others appear to have the VU-style collar.

But then look at the Bengals — some of the promo photos show a white collar with what appears to be the VU template, while others show a black collar:

That’s pretty messed up right there. I get the feeling that there was a lot of last-minute scrambling on this project.

One detail worth mentioning: The NFL logo on the VU uniforms is apparently an updated Chromaflex chip, while the logo on the Elite 51 uniforms is the same chip they’ve been using since 2012.

In any case, just having to type corporate nonsense like “Vapor Untouchable” and “Elite 51” makes my head hurt. Let’s move on.

What’s this about the NFL donating their merch proceeds?

According to that same press release:

One hundred percent of the NFL’s proceeds from the sale of Color Rush jerseys will go directly to the NFL Foundation to fund health, safety, and wellness programs for youth around the country. The NFL Foundation is the league’s non-profit organization, representing all 32 clubs, and funds grants to support athletes, youth football, and the communities that support the game. The first $500,000 raised from this initiative will be earmarked to replace youth and high school football equipment and fields lost in last month’s devastating floods in Louisiana.

Is Nike also donating its proceeds?

Not that I’m aware of. It’s worth noting, of course, that Majestic and New Era don’t donate anything (or at least they haven’t said they do) from the sale of Memorial Day or Independence Day merch, even though MLB does. In general, it seems like the leagues tend to undertake these charitable initiatives, not the manufacturers or retailers.

What about all those leaks from the guy on Reddit, and from the @NFL_Leaks guy. Did they turn out to be accurate?

No idea, and I don’t have the energy to go back and see how good their info turned out to be. If you’d like to do that, be my guest.

Some of the opinions in your ESPN piece were surprising. Do you really like the Ravens’ purple uniform?

Surprisingly enough, I do! Or at least I think I do — as always, it’s tough to tell until we see everything on the field. But I really like the gold numerals with the white outlining. (On the other hand, I really dislike the Vikings’ design, even though it’s fairly similar. Yes, I realize that may seem contradictory.)

And do you really like the Seahawks’ green design?

I wouldn’t go so far as to say I like it, but it seems like the purest expression of what this uniform program is supposed to be, and I’m curious to see how it’ll look on the field.

Anything else to add?

Yeah, here are a few late-breaking thoughts and some additional details I picked up from Phil’s Twitter feed: The Giants’ helmet has a new back number font. … Seems odd that the Giants would go with “ny” on the chest and while using the old “Giants” wordmark on the helmet. Maybe the jersey was already in production when they decided to swap out the helmet logo. … The Jets’ helmet will have a white facemask, instead of their usual green. … The NFL consulted with colorblindness experts to avoid any repetition of last year’s problems. … A Seattle Mariners blog, of all places, has come with the most entertaining response to yesterday’s unveiling. … Spotter’s nightmare: Hadn’t initially noticed that the Pats’ new uni doesn’t have TV numbers. That runs counter to current NFL jersey regulations, so they must have received some sort of waiver.

Why haven’t you used the official name of this uniform program — or even the bastardized version of the name that you often use — anywhere in this blog entry?

Because I’m sick to death of both of those terms and decided I didn’t want them appearing in today’s entry. Simple as that.


And there we are. If you want still more, I’ll be discussing these uniforms today at 12:15pm Eastern, when I’ll be appearing on this Albany radio station. Feel free to tune in and see if I can keep avoiding saying you-know-what.

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Bacon reminder: In case you missed it yesterday, I’ve written a new article for Businessweek about the standard package design format for bacon. It was really fun to work on, and I think you’ll have fun reading it. Check it out here.

Incidentally, in yesterday’s blog post I said I’d be discussing the bacon article on yesterday evening’s installment of the radio show Marketplace. If you tuned in and didn’t hear me, sorry about that — we taped the interview, but it got bumped by something “more important” (as if there could something more important than bacon packaging!). They tell me it’ll be running today.

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The Ticker
By Paul

Before we get to the Ticker, a quick caveat: A lot of Ticker contributions these days come from people who tweet things at me. But I didn’t look at my Twitter mentions yesterday, because I got literally over 1,000 tweets about you-know-what, and it was just too much to keep up with, so I decided to not even look at my mentions (although I did look at Phil’s feed — always a good source of info). If you tweeted a good Ticker item at me yesterday and don’t see it listed below, that’s why. Apologies in advance. — PL

Baseball News: Really interesting collar here. That’s a player from an old Studebaker factory team. The photo is in the archives of the Studebaker National Museum in Indiana, and originally appeared in the Studebaker-themed magazine Turning Wheels (big thanks to Andrew Beckman). … Still more new caps for Youngstown State (from Robert Hayes). … The Majestic logo on Nats 1B Ryan Zimmerman’s jersey was yellow-ish last night. It’s usually red (from @NikeMetsPlus, via Phil).

NFL News: Good article on how the growing NFL protests regarding the national anthem are part of a larger trend of today’s brand-conscious athletes weighing in on divisive social issues. … New form of DIY-ing: A Broncos fan wanted to burn a Brandon Marshall jersey — a response to Marshall kneeling during the national anthem last Thursday — but apparently didn’t want to spend the money on the real thing, so he bought an orange T-shirt, inscribed Marshall’s number on it, and buned that instead — which Marshall himself found quite amusing (thanks, Mike). … Bills coach Rex Ryan gained 30 pounds after having his lap band removed. He had the band removed as a show of support for his brother Rob, whose band almost killed him (thanks, Phil). … My Friday Flashback last week was about the various uses of the NFL logo on team uniforms. But Earl Blow points out an instance that I overlooked: From 1965 through 1969, the league logo was prominently featured on helmets in the Pro Bowl. … The NFL has announced a new $100 million anti-concussion initiative.

College Football News: It appears that Miami will be unveiling new uniforms next Monday (from Jackson Copeland). … Very nice uni combo this week for Arizona State (thanks, Mike). … Clemson coach Dabo Swinney says he won’t discipline his players if they want to protest during the national anthem, although he thinks it’s a divisive gesture. … Here are this weekend uni combos for Vanderbilt, Texas State, and Tulane. … New tunnel graphics for UNC (thanks, Phil). … Also from Phil: New chrome helmet for Louisville.

Hockey News: NHL goalies will have to wear narrower pants this season (thanks, Mike). … Blackhawks G Scott Darling has a Wayne’s World-themed mask (from Ken Traisman). … KHL refs wore black armbands for a fallen colleague last night (thanks, Phil). … New pads for Devils goalie Keith Kincaid (from @HawksPacMan). … New uniforms for the Springfield Thunderbirds (from Joe Condon).

Basketball News: With the 2017 NBA All-Star Game having been relocated from Charlotte to New Orleans due to North Carolina’s anti-LGBT law, the Pelicans have added an All-Star Game patch. … This is pretty awesome: A bunch of old high school basketball uniforms, some dating back to the 1940s, were found in an old North Carolina school that was slated for demolition (big thanks to Gerry Dincher).

Grab Bag: New away soccer kit for Adelaide United (from @BluesBrother95). … Pro golfer Jason Day is switching from Adidas to Nike (thanks, Brinke). … I have to admit that for sheer weirdness value, I kinda like these caps that feature logo mashups across different sports and cities (from Andy Pohlman).

Color Rush Uniforms Finally Ready for Their Close-Up

Update, 4:55pm: My take on the new NFL uniforms can be found here.

We’ve been wondering for months now when the NFL would finally reveal this season’s solid-color uniforms for Thursday-night games. There are strong indications that today is the day. The Patriots’ design will apparently be revealed at 9am Eastern, we’ve known for several days that the Bengals’ design will also be released today, and assorted retailers and other sources are all indicating that the moment has finally arrived.

Watch this space as the morning unfolds — I’ll have basic coverage here on the blog and will have more to say over on ESPN.

(And yes, I’m aware that a lot of leaked images were floating around yesterday. I have no idea how legitimate they are — maybe they’re the real deal, maybe not. Either way, we’ll know soon enough. We’ve all waited this long, so a few more minutes or hours shouldn’t hurt.)

Update, 8:53am: And so it begins.

And that’s it, at least for now. I’ll have some thoughts about each game’s uniform pairing later today on ESPN.

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Collector’s Corner
By Brinke Guthrie

Been reading a fascinating book on my Kindle: The Unforgettable Buzz: The History of Electric Football and Tudor. (I’ll have a review on it once I’m done- it’s a lengthy read!) So far, the battle in the book — besides the one on the vibrating field — is between the rival companies Tudor and Gotham, who really went at it. Here’s one of Gotham’s efforts from 1954: the Gotham All Star Electric Football Game, model G-880. And in the interests of equal time, here’s a Tudor NFL Team Set, which I never even knew existed. And check out this Falcons set—do you remember those stick-on numbers? Man, I sure do.

Now to the rest of this week’s picks:

• Bart Starr stars in this print ad for the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company. Own a set of Official N.F.L. Team Emblems! Complete set of 15, just a buck. Must be stickers, and they sure look like Chiquita NFL Stickers to me!

• Never seen these before: a predecessor to the famous NFL 1972 Sunoco album and stamps, it would seem. These are American Standard Oil Amoco NFL All-Pro Football Stamps (whew) from 1966, and boy howdy will ya look at the artwork. I’m guessing the players didn’t have final say on how they looked.

• Look at the 1966 helmet art for this embroidered Colts patch, sponsored by National Beer.

• Also from the Colts: this 1960s button says “Our Colts are best and so is Baltimore.”

• Had one of these! This is a Cowboys throwback jersey, I assume for Duane Thomas. These were well made — very heavy-duty jersey knit, with embroidered numbers. Fine work by Champion.

• Another classic ring-pull zip-front sweater from Sears, this time for the Denver Broncos.

• Here’s the 1969 Official Touch Football Play & Rule Book from our friends at NFL Properties. Wish we had this when we played touch on the Terrace Park soccer field back in the day.

• Love the clean simplicity of this 1960s Packers coffee mug from Chase Sanborn coffee.

• See this supposedly 1970s Vikings tee? Can’t say that I’ve seen this type of facemask art used on a shirt before.

• September 3rd, 1967. That’s the date on this game program between the 49ers and the Ray-duhz. Check out that cover art!

• And from reader Will Scheibler, check out this Pittsburgh Pirates warm-up jacket from … wait for it … 1905!

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Classically inconspicuous: I’ve long been intrigued by the standard package design for supermarket bacon, which shows the bacon slices fanned out to create the illusion of leanness, and then on the back there’s the little window showing the “representative slice,” which of course is much fattier, because bacon is, you know, naturally fatty:

It’s an ingenious packaging format. Who came up with it? What’s it called? Are they legally required to show the slice on the back?

I’ve written an article that answers all of those questions, and more. It’s up today on the Bloomberg Businessweek website. I’m pretty happy about this one, people, so I hope you’ll check it out. Also, I’ll be talking about the story on this evening’s segment of the radio show Marketplace, so tune in for that as well. Thanks.

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And speaking of inconspicuous details…: While walking on various beaches this summer, I’ve noticed that when a wave inches its way up the sand and then recedes, it often leaves a herringbone/zigzag pattern in the sand. I’ve probably seen this for years, or even decades, but I never really noticed it until this year (for all of these pics, you can click to enlarge):

I’m intrigued by how the water creates such a geometric pattern. How does that happen? Anyone..?

Even weirder: The other day I noticed that almost the exact same pattern appears on the bottom of Lorna Doones!

Obviously, that pattern is imparted by the conveyor belt that carries the cookies, or maybe by the mold that forms them. Anyone know more about that?

At first I thought I’d also seen this same pattern on the bottom of a Snickers bar, so I rushed off to buy a Snickers, only to find that its bottom pattern actually has a slightly different kind of zigzag pattern, more like an EKG readout:

Soooooo fascinating. If anyone knows more about any of this — the ocean/sand thing or the bottom-of-junk-food thing — I’m all ears. Thanks.

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The Ticker
By Mike Chamernik

Baseball News: The Pirates wore grey last night, making it seven different jerseys in a week. Working backwards, they wore 1979 yellow throwbacks, black alts, Homestead Grays throwbacks, camo tops, 1971 white throwbacks, and their standard home whites (from @redbuppy). … A’s rookie Joey Wendle bats barehanded. … Mariners call-up Daniel Vogelbach will wear No. 20. … The Red Sox are giving away this Big Papi shirt-jersey tonight. It features his trademark gold chain. … A Blue Jays fan with a comically oversized glove snagged a foul ball on Sunday. … Rays rookies dressed up in patriotic wrestling singlets. … As of yesterday morning, all the division leaders had roughly the same color scheme, although the Dodgers’ touch of red is a stretch. … New hats for Youngstown State. That’s from Robert Hayes, who also notes that the team wore stirrups and zip-front vests in the 1960s. … An Astros fan wore a misspelled jersey last night (from Bart McKay, via Phil).

NFL News: 49ers teammates Colin Kaepernick and Eric Reid took a knee during the national anthem last night. On the opposite sideline, Rams teammates Robert Quinn and Kenny Britt raised their fists. Meanwhile, Broncos LB Brandon Marshall lost another endorsement deal yesterday, this one with CenturyLink, due to his anthem protest last Thursday. … The NFL will allow personal messages on cleats during Week 13 this season. The messages must promote a charitable cause and will have to be approved in advance by the league (from Phil). … The underside stripes on Antonio Brown’s sleeves look pretty weird (from John Dankosky). … Several Chiefs and Chargers swapped jerseys after Sunday’s game. … I dig the cartoon logo on this “Riverboat” Ron Rivera T-shirt. … The Rams’ Fearsome Foursome wasn’t always so intimidating (from Ronnie Poore). … The NY Daily News ranked the 32 NFL logos. Nothing of substance in that piece, though. It’s click bait-iness is particularly evident when compared to Zach Lowe’s NBA logo rankings from last summer, which featured thoughtful design critique and input from actual designers (from David Smolowitz). … Little-known fact: An arena team called the Albany WarBirds was set to unveil its name and logo on September 12, 2001. The team was eventually named the Conquest (from Mitch Goldich). … Recently retired Lions WR Calvin Johnson is participating on Dancing With the Stars, and last night he and his partner Lindsay Arnold wore Lions-themed outfits, complete with Johnson’s familiar No. 81. … Super Bowl 50 was played at the the 49ers’ stadium, which presumably explains why a member of the chain gang at last night’s Rams/Niners game was wearing a vest with the Super Bowl 50 logo.

College Football News: Ohio State will wear Woody Hayes-era white throwbacks on Saturday (from Phil). … LSU will wear gold throwbacks on Saturday. Here’s another view and a detailed look at the uniform (from Brian Rees). … Several letters in Wisconsin’s new end zone are upside-down (from Nate Neumann). … Central Michigan players wore a mix of glossy and matte helmets on Saturday (from Kurt Witten). … The colors from Michigan’s official style guide don’t match the new Nike colors (from Phil). … An Iowa fan has some aggressive Hawkeye tattoos.

Hockey News: The Canadiens presented a No. 71 jersey to Peter Thomson, the Representative of Fiji to the United Nations and the incoming 71st U.N. General Assembly President. … Devils rookie defenseman Yohann Auvitu will wear No. 33.

NBA News: Chinese media outlets are reporting that the Rockets will retire Yao Ming’s No. 11. He was inducted into the hall of fame last weekend. … The Hawks are letting fans swipe left and right (like or dislike) every logo in team history. The logos come from Chris Creamer’s SportsLogos site. … James Harden will wear a “Ghost Pepper” colorway of his Adidas Crazylight shoe for a few games this season. His signature shoe doesn’t launch until next year. … In case we didn’t already know, the Raptors revealed when they will wear their Huskies throwbacks and Chinese New Year unis.

Soccer News: New York City FC’s Andrea Pirlo has new burgundy cleats that represent his love of red wine (from Mikey Traynor). … New kits for Newell’s Old Boys, an Argentine club.

Grab Bag: The NCAA has pulled seven championship events out of North Carolina, including the first two rounds of next spring’s March Madness, in response to the state’s anti-LGBT law. … The Joint Program Executive Office for Chemical and Biological Defense is holding a competition to design a suit that protects against chemical and biological attacks (from James Gilbert). … New logo for Snapdeal. … The English post-punk band Public Image Limited sells a cycling jersey (from Eriq Jaffe).