Behind the Scenes at the Puppy Bowl

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For all of today’s photos, click to enlarge

Back in October I got to attend two days’ worth of taping for Puppy Bowl XI, which will air this Sunday. Everything I saw and photographed was embargoed until yesterday, but now I’m finally allowed to share it with you. I had planned on doing a big feature on everything I saw (I took a lot of notes), but I don’t have enough time for that, so instead I’m going to go over a few of the more interesting details.
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Uni Watch DIY Project: The Annual Super Bowl Edition

As longtime readers may recall, Steve Speicher has an annual Super Bowl ritual: He DIYs himself a jersey based on one of the teams competing in the big game. In 2012 it was an Eli Manning Giants jersey; in 2013, a Colin Kaepernick 49ers jersey; and last year it was Russell Wilson and the Seahawks.

Here’s Steve’s account of this year’s project:

I decided to change things up this year and go with a 1980s-’90s Seahawks throwback, but with Marshawn Lynch’s name and number. Crotch-grabbing and awkwardness with the media aside, I’m in the camp that thinks he’s a pretty damn good back.

The process was the same as I’ve used before: measure the shirt, mock it up in Photoshop, construct vector-based images for the numerals and letters, grab some logos from Chris Creamer’s site, and size and lay everything out on the representation of the shirt. Then, once everything is sized relatively well, move all the graphics into files that are of printable size for the transfer paper, print, cut, iron, and you’re done [click to enlarge]:

The old Seahawks numerals were massive, so I tried to make mine a little bigger than last year’s, but I was limited by the size of the paper. I’m also aware that the NFL logo I used is the current one, and not the one that would’ve been worn back in the day. But I figured if Seattle were to wear this throwback today, it would have the current logo.

The collar was the most difficult part — I think it’s a little too thick, plus it came out a bit goofy on the application, as you can see in the photos. But the biggest mistake was by far the sleeves: I wasn’t careful and didn’t double-check when I was applying the first sleeve logo/stripe, so I accidentally put the left sleeve’s graphic on the right sleeve. I only noticed after it was firmly ironed on, and by that time it was too late, as those things don’t like to peel off nicely, and I’d already completed the front and back numbers and the nameplate. As a result, my sleeve logos are facing the wrong direction. Grrrrr. I could have started over, but I decided to just leave it alone and live with my mistake. Maybe someone at the party I’m going to will Get It™ and call me out.

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Nice project, even with the sleeve glitch. I love that Steve does this every year. Hope he never stops.

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Mike’s Question of the Week
By Mike Chamernik

I played basketball in my driveway with a group of friends on Christmas night last month. It wasn’t excruciatingly cold, but it was prime winter weather. I wore two pairs of gloves — basically, I gave up on all outside shots and focused on rebounding. The gloves kept my hands warm and helped protect me from jamming my fingers with my rock of a basketball.

How do you keep warm when playing sports outdoors in the winter? What tricks do you have to keep optimal mobility without shivering to death? What’s the coldest you’ve been while playing a game or doing a physical activity, and how did you cope with it? Also, how do you keep warm when watching sporting events?

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Too good for the Ticker: About two years ago, as part of a “No Service Like Wire Service” entry, I ran a 1971 photo of UMD basketball player Howard White, who wore an “H” nickNOB. But that photo is nothing compared to this shot of him (click to enlarge):

What a doozy! I love everything about it — the wide-spaced “13,” the massive “H” (compared its size to the NOB lettering on the guy to White’s left), the huge, angled quote marks. A masterpiece!

For those who care about such things, White went on to work for/with Michael Jordan. But I’m more interested in the “H.”

(Big, big thanks to Nicole Haase for bringing this one to my attention.)

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ESPN reminder: In case you missed it yesterday, my latest ESPN column is about the latest wrinkles in the annual debate over which cap logo should appear on a Baseball Hall of Famer’s plaque (including Craig Biggio’s, shown at right). I got lots of very positive feedback on this one yesterday. Check it out here.

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If you’re an industrial designer or engineer, I’d like to have a word with you regarding a project I’m working on. Can do? Thanks.

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Uni Watch News Ticker
By Mike Chamernik

Baseball News: Hooray! The Padres will wear brown pinstriped home jerseys for five Wednesday day games this season. … The Royals will give away a few fielding-action bobbleheads this year. … Do the White Sox need another color in addition to their usual black, white, and silver? This Sox blogger proposes the idea (from Matt Mallonee). … The winning entry from the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers’ fan design batting practice jersey contest has been revealed (from Jeff Ash). … New 25th-anniversary logo for CPBL in Taiwan (from Jeremy Brahm). … Here’s a shot of Hall of Famer Fergie Jenkins in a Harlem Globetrotters uni (from Phil). … The Durham Bulls are celebrating the 20th anniversary of their ballpark this year, so they’re ading logo on the home jerseys (from Joe Sewash).

NFL News: Marshawn Lynch might get fined for wearing a BeastMode hat at media day on Tuesday. Lynch wore a different version of the cap yesterday. … The Gatorade towels the players had at media day might have served a purpose after all (from Tom Adjemian). … Sunday’s Kitten Bowl will have kittens named after NFL players (from Phil). … Richard Sherman helps his Seahawks teammates out by fixing their wrinkled and untucked jerseys during games (from Phil). … Some fans of a Seattle restaurant saw a Seahawks logo in one of the place’s pizza boards. … Brett Favre is the most well-known player to wear No. 4, according to this piece (from Phil). … Former Bucs running back Manfred Moore was mentioned in yesterday’s Ticker. Graham Clayton remembers that in 1977 Moore played four games with the Newtown Jets in the Sydney rugby league competition. … A Connecticut car dealership is running an ad with bogus Seahawks and Pats jersey, the wrong officiating jersey, and blurred Super Bowl patches (from Mike D).

College Football News: Will SMU have new black jerseys for the 2015 season? … The veterans affairs member at Marshall has one of the school’s Military Bowl helmets in his office. Coleman Mullins noticed, though, that “‘Marshall’ is a sticker applied over the ‘Schutt’ that’s actually molded into the neck bumper,” he says. “Is this normal? I’ll admit I have not been that up close and personal with many football helmets.”

Hockey News: A former minor league goalie had been looking for the jerseys he wore for the first pro team he played for, the defunct Reno Renegades. After years of searching, a fan of the team reached out to him and shipped him his old jerseys. … “The AHL will be having a press conference on Thursday to discuss the movement of five AAA-level minor league hockey franchises to California,” says Charles Eldridge. “I don’t know if new names will be discussed, but keep a lookout for new names, logos, and uniforms. Selfishly, I hope the new Anaheim Ducks affiliate in San Diego goes for the classic Gulls name. Keeps it in the fowl family and a nostalgic treat for the local fans.”

Soccer News: A new soccer stadium is being proposed for Indianapolis (from Phil). … In the Chile-USA match last night, because home team Chile wore white socks, USMNT wore red socks with their white kits (from Evan Sadler). … “Chile” was misspelled on ESPN’s mobile page (from Phil).

Basketball News: An artist creates portraits of James Harden out of, basically, anything he can find. … It looks like the Rookie-Sophomore game will have some insane uniforms (from Phil). … According to the last item in this article, the Pacers will not wear their ’90s throwbacks tonight after all (from Phil). … The Raptors wore camo last night (from Phil). … Oregon wore throwbacks against Arizona last night (from Phil).

Grab Bag: Paul was quoted in this article on why neon is the hottest color in the sports world now. … Richard Petty discussed his signature hat and glasses (from David Firestone).

Not Even If You Paid Me: Super Bowl Media Day

Update, 1:30pm: Didn’t realize I was gonna have a new ESPN column today (thought it was being held until tomorrow), but I do, about the latest wrinkles in the annual debate over which cap logos should appear on Baseball Hall of Famers’ plaques. Check it out here.

Now then: Yesterday was Super Bowl Media Day (aka the annual Big Fuss Over Nothing). Here’s a look at some of the event’s uni-centric aspects:

• Most players wore those Media Day uniform jackets. But some players, like Pats running back LeGarrette Blount, were in full uniform. Anyone know why?

• Bill Bellichick wore mandals.

• Pats cornerback Brandon Browner wore Nike Hypervenom soccer cleats.

• For reasons that aren’t clear to me, a lot of the players arrived wearing knapsacks. Was this a sponsorship thing (the official knapsack of the NFL, or whatever)?

• Many Pats players wore Flying Elvis caps. But cornerback Darrelle Revis wore this black cap, which looks really odd to me. Like, what Pats wordmark is that?

• Speaking of caps: If you’re wondering about that cap Marshawn Lynch was wearing, look here.

• NBC Sports correspondent Karim Mendiburu Contreras was wearing — uh, you tell me. Bizarre.

• Not sure what the full story is here, but one dude found a new way to wear neon green.

• The event was sponsored by Gatorade, which presumably explains why each player’s chair was accessorized with a Gatorade towel. As you know, sitting and answering questions is really strenuous, so you have to towel off quite a bit. Douchebags.

• Speaking of corporate nonsense, Richard Sherman’s headphones were confiscated.

• Finally, here’s an interesting tidbit: Media members (or at least some of them) were given earpieces that let them choose which players they wanted to hear.

(My thanks to Jason Eich and Phil for their contributions to this section.)

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Sneaker Report
By Owen Dillon

[Editor’s Note: As longtime readers are aware, I’m not a sneakerhead. But today we’re going to try something new — a sneaker-centric guest column by Owen Dillon. If it’s well-received, it may become a semi-regular feature here on the site. Feedback welcome. — PL]

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is obviously an important holiday from a historical and cultural standpoint, but it’s also become a big day in world of sneaker culture, where it presents an opportunity see the new sneakers being debuted by NBA players. When combined with Black History Month, it makes this an important time of year for new sneaker designs.

This year Nike decided to go with a black and white patterned look, which was present throughout all of its models, including the most recent Jordan silhouette, the Jordan 29. LeBron James also got his LeBron 12 in a Black History Month/MLK Day edition featuring multiple patterns throughout the upper and lower, with a grey sole.

Kobe Bryant is now out for the year, but before that he was given an MLK Day edition of his very popular Kobe 9. This particular shoe comes in the high-top version of the Kobe 9, and is primarily black on the outside, white on the inside, providing a very nice contrast.

Then there’s Kevin Durant. The Durant 7s also received the Black History Month treatment, but I don’t much care for the two-panel multicolored concoction. Personally, this was my least favorite BHM shoe from any brand.

Kyrie Irving also has a signature shoe from Nike, and the Kyrie 1 also got a Black History Month makeover. This is one of the most entertaining shoes from Nike in the BHM line, and is my personal favorite.

Adidas also join in on the Black History Month theme. The John Wall 1 was shown in a variety of browns with a gold lower; Damian Lillard’s first shoe got an MLK treatment; and the Derrick Rose 5 also debuted a new edition for MLK Day. Unlike the Nike models, all the Adidas models featured words and quotes from Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, obviously one of the inspirational athletes of recent memory.

Under Armour has only one signature athlete, and only one relevant non-signature shoe, but that didn’t stop them from taking part in the MLK celebration. The Stephen Curry 1 was featured in grey and black, much like the Nike models.

Finally, my favorite pair of kicks worn during the past few weeks was a special edition of the Nike LeBron 8 Soldier worn by Danny Green of the Spurs. The shoe paid tribute to the late Stuart Scott. In addition to being a very nice gesture, the shoes looked very good with the Spurs’ road jerseys.

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Baseball News: New commish Rob Mandred’s signature has been added to the official MLB baseball. … The A’s are giving away a bobblehead with audio this season. … Here’s a visual timeline of all the Topps baseball card designs from 1951 through 2015 (from Jonathan Daniel). … Tequila sunrise jerseys on tap for the Fresno Grizzlies (from Jared Buccola).

NFL News: Odd scene from the 1993 Pro Bowl: Moose Johnston from the Cowboys wearing a Packers helmet. Johnston says it’s because his helmet was stolen the night before the game, so he had to wear Brett Favre’s lid. … The big neon “R” at the Rainier Brewery in Seattle is changing its colors to blue and green for the Super Bowl (from Markus Kamp). … EA Sports’ Super Bowl simulation shows Tom Brady with elasticized sleeve cuffs, which is something Brady doesn’t actually wear on the field (thanks, Phil). … The 1976 Bucs had Maulty Moore and Manfred Moore on the roster, so at least one of them wore FNOB. Look at the spread on that lettering — it practically extends onto the sleeves! “That’s from this site, which has some other cool stuff from the early days of Tampa pro sports,” says Cork Gaines. … On Thursday the U.S. Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards (NIST) and Technology will participate in a news conference in Phoenix on health and safety in the NFL. NIST will join the NFL, GE, and Under Armour to announce an open competition to identify innovative materials for protective sports equipment. … Here’s the annual story on that company that makes the Super Bowl jersey patches (thanks, Phil). … Here’s a discussion thread on how Super Bowl field designs might have looked if the teams that lost the conference championship games had won. “The one for Super Bowl XIV, with the Oilers versus the Bucs, would cause seizures,” says Eric Dearden. … Dolphins CEO Tom Garfinkel says the team will be celebrating its 50th season in 2015, which presumably means a patch is in the works (from @JJHarkins). … Robert Morris University has totally ripped off the Eagles’ logo and wordmark. Yeah, they’ve made slight adjustments to both, but come on (from A.J. Frey). … A few days ago I showed you the Super Bowl uniform being worn by that statue in downtown Phoenix. That uniform was made by Patsy Elmer of Big Time Jerseys, who’s shown here posing with the statue. “All the tackle twill name and numbers are 25% larger than on a normal-size jersey,” she says. “The statue’s chest measures 65”, which is only 5” bigger than Shaquille O’Neal’s. When Shaq played with the Phoenix Suns, he wore a size 60 jersey, which to my knowledge is the largest size any Suns player has ever worn.”

College Football News: Here’s some 1980 footage of Bear Bryant talking about some very specific aspects of his hats (nice find by Chris LaHaye). … Here’s a one-minute video of Clemson’s football equipment staff going through all the gear players are issued during the season (from Scott Moody).

Hockey News: Good story about the NHL’s partnership with GoPro helmet-mounted cameras. … The Powerchair Hockey International Committee is launching a logo design competition. … The Penguins misspelled Sidney Crosby’s name on their own program. … The Blackhawks are auctioning off a seriously ugly jersey as part of a meet-and-greet with Marian Hossa. “Yikes,” says Ryan Lindemann. … Always kinda weird when a team uses an anniversary logo as its main jersey crest. That’s the 15th-anniversary uni for the Tri-City Storm (from Jason Johnson). … Stars C Jason Spezza changed from a jaw guard to a conventional visor at some point during last night’s game against the Habs. “The Canadiens’ announcers suggested that it was because he had trouble inserting his mouthpiece,” says Matt Larsen. … Here are Miami’s uniforms for the upcoming Hockey City Classic (from Jason Eckerle).

NBA News: The Pacers will wear 1990s throwbacks tomorrow night against the Knicks. … Charlie Panian recently picked up this 1972-73 Bucks media guide. Among other things, it lists the official team colors for each NBA club. The funny thing about this is that it has “red and white” for the Hawks, even though the accompanying photo shows Pete Maravich wearing the blue/green uni. You can see more of the interior pages here.

College Hoops News: North Carolina Wilmington’s new logo will be revealed prior to tonight’s game against Elon. … Akron did a purple-out for pancreatic cancer yesterday. The “Peters” NOB is for former assistant coach Dan Peters, who died of the disease about three months ago. … Pink-trimmed uniforms last night for Georgetown. … Some sort of bizarro sneaker on tap for Maryland (thanks, Phil). … Arkansas G Anton Beard normally wears No. 31, but someone puked on his jersey during last night’s game, so he had to switch to an old No. 15 jersey with outdated fonts (from Jason Yellin).

Soccer News: Here are the Women’s World Cup jerseys for Sweden (from Mira Muikku). … Here are some updates on MLS and international kits (from Trevor Williams). … Barcelona may end its sponsorship deal with Qatar Airways.

Grab Bag: Did you know there’s a band called Uniform? It’s true! Not really my bag music-wise, but ya have to like the name. Now let’s see a band called Stirrups. … There are lots of species of “white-crowned” birds — the white-crowned sparrow, the white-crowned pigeon, and so on. But the recent snow has left me with a white-crowned bird feeder. … Under Armour may design new uniforms for the Baltimore police department (from Adam Marcus). … The Super Rugby champions NSW Waratahs have extended their sponsorship agreement with CMC Markets. … Cycling news: Menswear designer Paul Smith has designed the leader’s jerseys for Dubai Tour (from Sean Clancy). … Here’s a fun slideshow of Syracuse-area high school wrestling singlets (from Tony DiRubbo). … Another company outfitting an Aussie Open tennis player in neon green: Uniqlo, which sponsors Kei Nishikori (thanks, Phil).

Snow Day

As you may have heard, we’ve gotten a wee bit of snow here in the Northeast. My thanks to everyone who’s expressed concern about my well-being, but no worries — while we certainly got our share of the white powder, the doomsdeay forecasts turned out to be a false alarm (at least for NYC, although other areas may still get walloped), and I’m happy to report that everything is fine here at Uni Watch HQ, where the power is still on, the radiators are clanking away, and Uni Watch mascots Tucker and Caitlin are purring contentedly by my side. My morning commute (from the bedroom to the living room) was unaffected by the storm, and I have plenty of Cheerios, Diet Coke, and cat food — you know, the essentials — so it’s pretty much business as usual around here.

“Collector’s Corner” columnist Brinke Guthrie — who lives in California, 3,000 miles away from the snow — has taken an unusual interest in this storm. At one point yesterday he wrote to me with a suggestion:

Here’s an idea for tomorrow: Compare the parkas used by news teams from CNN and Weather Channel. TWC has long had a deal with LL Bean, while CNN has its own branded gear.

I liked that idea — a Uni Watch approach to the blizzard. But why limit ourselves to CNN and TWC? So I put out a call, which prompted a bunch of good responses (many of them, as you’ll see, from Chris Howell — thanks, Chris!): (Continue reading)