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Malware? No — Mal-wear!

My annual college football season-preview column for ESPN, this year’s edition of which will run today, is always my biggest column of the year. It’s also the most frantic and stressful one to produce, because there’s usually so much late-breaking news right up to the moment the piece is published.

This year, for example, I delivered the piece to my editor, Dave Wilson, on Friday. But of course there were plenty of additional college football unveilings and developments later that day and over the weekend, so on Monday morning I sent Dave a bunch of additions and adjustments to the text. And then there were more developments on Monday, so I kept sending Dave more updates: “One more ”¦ Wait, one more ”¦ Sorry, just heard about this one ”¦ Is it too late for one more?” (One of the many reasons I love working with Dave is that he never complains about any of this. He wants the column to be as complete and comprehensive as possible, just like I do. Hi, Dave!)

One of the several items to come over the transom yesterday was the news that Alabama, as you can see above, will be wearing a “Mal” memorial decal for former athletic director Mal Moore, who died back in March (I like how they used the ’Bama “A” as one of the letters). Another was the report from Longhorns beat reporter Kirk Bohls that the ’Horns will be wearing TV numbers on their helmets this Saturday, and possibly for the rest of the season.

Okay, so now I just gave away two of the things that’ll be in today’s ESPN column. But don’t worry, the column has plenty of additional info — like, a lot more. here you go.

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Collector’s Corner

By Brinke Guthrie

Nike’s dominance of the NFL is somewhat of a sad thing for me. I liked it better back when a variety of manufacturers could give teams different looks and styles (although some tended to be quite bizarre, such as Logo Athletic and Zubaz). Take Russell and Champion, for example. Afterthoughts in the league now, they used to be quite visible. I preferred these brands, along with Apex. Champion and Russell leaned on old-school designs, and their stuff was, for the most part, classic-looking and heavy-duty. I mean seriously heavy-duty — not this shiny “high-tech” poly-blend stuff. Ah well, all in the name of progress, I suppose.

Anyway, you can’t miss with NFL Pro Line by Russell Athletic. I had this very Cowboys sweatshirt. (Or maybe you’d prefer it in a hoody style?) Then we also have a Chiefs tee and sweatshirt.

Champion also produced a Pro Line, er, line. Got the Jags, St. Louis Rams, the Pack, Cowboys (had this one too, loved it, totally warm), and Panthers.

As for this week’s non-Pro Line finds:

• Here’s a great late-1960s Eagles poster. I clearly recall this design. Here’s another one from roughly the same period.

• Wow, totally cool Astros souvenir batting helmet from 1970 — unopened!

• Here’s a poster from the 1970s featuring hockey great Bobby Hull. Or just Hull, as the poster says. (Is it me, or was there a period when lots of advertising and book titles were just one word plus an exclamation point at the end?)

• Pack up your NFL stuff in this late-1960s/early-1970s era Green Bay Packers team-issued equipment bag.

• Gonna finish up with a few tennis items, ’cause of the U.S. Open in Paul’s neighborhood. Here are a pair of Jimmy Connors Converse sneakers. For what it’s worth, to this day he still wears an essentially logo-less pair of Nikes, the same pair he wore back in 1991’s epic run. He also wore Brooks sneakersNike Wimbledon. This was their first entry into the leather tennis shoe market. I had about a hundred pair of these, it seemed. I’d wear ’em until they wore out, then plug the toes with Shoe Goo. Once THAT gave out, it was time for the next pair.

• And Adidas made some truly awful designs for Ivan Lendl. This was the worst. After a long run with Adidas, Lendl wrapped it up with Japan’s Mizuno. And the artwork didn’t get a lot better.

Seen something on eBay or Etsy that you think would make good Collector’s Corner fodder? Send your submissions here.

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’Skins Watch: Here’s the latest on the ’Skins name and related issues:

• Former Raiders CEO Amy Trask, recently hired as an analyst by CBS, thinks the ’Skins should change their name.

• ESPN Senior VP Rob King (aka my boss) apparently avoided saying the ’Skins name during an interview with Sports Media Journal.

(My thanks to Tommy Turner and Brian Wulff for their contributions to this section.)


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Wouldn’t all that money in your pocket be happier in my pocket?: Since I’ve been away for a month, this seems like a good time to remind everyone about a few things:

• You can sign up for your own custom-designed Uni Watch membership card (like Mike Plunkett’s USA soccer World Cup design, shown at right) here.

• Planning a big Labor Day barbecue and/or Rosh Hashanah party? Wondering, just theoretically, if your event might look better if you or your guests had some sports/food-themed attire? Contact me.

• Have an interesting product or business that would make a good fit with the Uni Watch readership? Thinking about taking out an ad? Contact me.

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Uni Watch News Ticker: New hoops uniforms for Kentucky. … I like this old MISL program cover from the mid-1980s. “Some great logos represented there,” says John Waddill. “The MISL was a very fun and affordable and entertaining league.” … Here’s the jersey that RIT hockey will be wearing for the 2013 Frozen Frontier game (from Gretchen Mittelstaedt). … Anthony Pellegrino reports that the Code of Federal Regulations, of all things, has a 75th-anniversary logo on its cover this year. … While looking for something else, I came across a disturbing sight: a Lions kicker with swooshified socks. Let’s hope that’s just a preseason thing. … New rugby jersey for Agen (from Robert J. Hudson). … New bat knob decals for the Dodgers (thanks, Phil). ”¦ Also from Phil: a good photo gallery of the Russian hockey uni set for the Olympics. ”¦ And still more from Phil: Eastern Washington is wearing a 50th-anniversary conference helmet decal. ”¦ This is pretty good: a site called What Pros Wear, which is devoted to which players wear which accessories, equipment, gear, etc. Recommended (from Roger Morrow). ”¦ You know the G.I. Joe thing has gotten way out of hand when Olive Garden — yes, Olive fucking Garden — comes up with a camo-based uni design (from Ryan Frazer). ”¦ Eagles QB Matt Barkley is wearing a substitute wedding band on the field. Apparently it’s this product (from Jonathan Hunolt). ”¦ Randall Sanders designed this Cubs hockey jersey and had it made for himself. “I’m ecstatic with how it came out, happy to own something one-of-a-kind that I designed myself, and eagerly awaiting it being cold enough to wear it for the first time,” he says. ”¦ Steven Little, who runs the Sports Design Blog, has launched an excellent new side project called Winsipedia. It’s pretty self-explanatory — check it out and see for yourself. ”¦ Some great 1960 NFL photos from Life magazine here (from Leo Strawn Jr.). ”¦ Brinke notes that Rafael Nadal’s U.S. Open shoes this year don’t feature the tournament’s trophy like they usually do. ”¦ Matt Carpenter was wearing Jon Jay’s batting helmet last night (good spot by Mike Engle). ”¦ In a related item, here’s an old shot of Joe Namath wearing someone else’s warm-up gear (from James Ashby). ”¦ Also from James: What do these photos of Bobby Tolan and Terry Crowley wearing Texas Rangers uniforms have in common? Neither Tolan nor Crowley ever appeared in a regular season game for the Rangers. The pics must have been from spring training. ”¦ Here’s the logo for the 2013 FIVB Men’s Club World Championship in Brazil (from Jeremy Brahm). ”¦ New uniforms apparently in the works for Oregon State rugby. “This is actually a big deal, because Nike only provides uniforms for a handful of clubs around the world,” says Matt Manley. “In America, Cal uses Nike uniforms that are made specifically for them. Cal being the most dominant college program in history, it makes sense to a certain degree.” ”¦ Remember how Barry Bonds used to have little straps on his pant cuffs that looped under his shoes? That particular form of customization was supposedly banned, but it has resurfaced in Detroit, where Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder are wearing it (disturbing find by Ross Yoshida). … Oilers goaltender Jason Labarbera’s new mask features WWE star CM Punk on one side and Metallica singer James Hetfield on the other (from David Hutchison).

Comments (105)

    “Is it me, or was there a period when lots of advertising and book titles were just one word plus an exclamation point at the end?” Happened!

    Liked the MISL program, but Wichita totally ripped off Whataburger.

    The Dallas Sidekicks – isn’t that the equivalent of being called the “Second Fiddles”, or is it another name for corner kicks?

    Separate note – but the Jaguars finishing dead last was the most indisputable placement on Paul’s rankings – what a complete and utter mess the Jaguars have become.

    Oakville–in indoor soccer, a “sidekick” replaces the “throw-in” of outdoor soccer. So, when a ball would go out of bounds (i.e., over the sideboards), the ball would be placed on the ground, about three feet from the sideboard, and be kicked into play.

    Thanks for the clarification, as the name is based on a standard play – isn’t the equivalent of naming a football team – “The Punts” – or “The Place Kicks”

    Then again – I never understood the nickname the “Nets”. It’s the equivalent of naming a football team “The Goalposts” – or a baseball team “The Home Plates”

    See also the San Diego Sockers and the Minnesota Kicks. NASL and MISL folks were never afraid to be lazy.

    I miss the old MISL from the 80s. I had the old MISL computer game (from Mindscape). Yes, it featured the team logos on the back of the box.
    It was brilliant because you could create a player, trade players, and that kind of stuff. I wouldn’t be surprised if it was in that category of pioneering games that laid the foundation for the franchise modes of Madden and other sports games. I was playing this game in the late 80s on a Tandy with 5-1/4″ disks.
    MISL Game

    “The MISL was a very fun and affordable and entertaining league.”

    During mid-week matches at the Fabulous Forum, you could park for free and see the Lazers for just a few bucks! Not too shabby. Used to go there, then head up to the Sunset Strip to visit Tower Records. Them were the days!

    Good thing the program didn’t have the Hartford Hellions logo.


    Welcome back, Paul, and thanks for linking to that program cover which showed the great MISL at its peak.

    I agree with Dumb Guy – the Wings logo always reminded me of Wonder Woman. That’s OK, though.

    The Sidekicks may have been inspired by the supporting characters in Western pictures, but in 1987 they were second fiddle to no one.

    i dont think thats david akers in the socks since akers is a left-footed kicker.

    That is Sam Martin (rookie from Appalachian State). He is kidkoff specialist. i.e. deep, unreturnable kicks into the endzone.

    RE: 1960 Life magazine photos….

    I love me some square-toed kicker shoes!

    I also love how recognizable the Bears are without any helmet logo and in B/W photos.

    There’s no way that Astros plastic batting helmet is from 1970. For one, it has a barcode on the plastic which weren’t even introduced until 1974. I would imagine that helmet is from the late 1970’s.

    Thanks, John Q…you picked up on the barcode, as did I when I first saw the pic. You know your stuff!


    Yeah the barcode is the big clue. The bar code was introduced in 1974 but not widely put into use until 1977-79.

    This also looks like it came from a retail store not a ballpark because of the little price tag sticker. These helmets were almost exclusively found at ballparks or available by purchase through the mail up until 1979-80. Their exclusivity made them like little pieces of treasure in small suburban backyard wiffle ball games during the 1970’s.

    The first time I remember seeing them available in retail stores was when Toys ‘R Us started carrying them in 1980. I remember I had a pretty large collection of plastic batting helmets that were bought exclusively at Yankee or Shea Stadium during the late 1970’s. I would go over a friend’s house for a wiffle ball game with 4-6 different late ’70’s helmets (Orioles, Brewers, Padres, Pirates, Astros, Braves) I was kind of like a mini celebrity because I had all these out of market helmets. When Toys R Us starting selling the helmets my collection went from “Wow, awesome, to yeah, So what” All of a suddens kid’s were showing up to these wiffle ball games in Chicago White Sox and Seattle Mariners helmets.

    The Astros didn’t start wearing the orange helmets until 1971 so that’s another mistake. The Astros wore those helmets until 1982 so I don’t know why the guy posted “1970” on the title. I would think that helmet is from the Toys R Us retail era 1980-82

    The first time I remember seeing those batting helmets was on the boardwalk in Wildwood, NJ in what seemed like a HUGE maze of a store. I don’t remember much about it, but I remember those batting helmets. Would have been the late 70s, early 80s.

    That Cubbies sweater is pretty sweet. Was that years in the making? I noticed the old CCM logo on the bottom of the sweater template – those haven’t been used in over 10 years now.

    Sweet jersey but really should have gone all the way and had the front logo embroidered.

    The ambition of every insignia/logo/monogram is to appear on the front of a hockey sweater.

    The ambition of every insignia/logo/monogram is to appear on the front of a hockey sweater.

    Best sentence on the Internet today.

    2 thoughts:

    1) Winsipedia: Pitt is a REAL head scratcher…

    2) Jason Labarbera would be cut from the team immediately…

    bonus thought:

    really cool jersey, and probably great/fun research tracking down all the pieces, Randall Sanders!

    I could spend hours on winsipedia. Bad enough I have sites like this to take away from my productivity…

    Agreed as to Pitt. They only have about four opponents they appear to play with any regularity.

    Isn’t it ironic that yesterday Paul wanted to eliminate ads from the site, and today he is asking if anyone is interested in putting an ad on the site?
    Just a random thought to ponder.

    1) The response to the “Would you pay to keep the site ad-free?” question was overwhelmingly negative. So it looks like we’ll have ads for a while.

    2) I generally enjoy working with individual advertisers who are promoting their specific endeavors. Much better than the network-served corporate ads that comprise the bulk of the advertising on the site. If there were enough of the former, I’d gladly scrap the latter.

    By all means, as long as the ads don’t contain any malware (har har), keep them. We know you gotta pay the bills.

    Two points:

    1. Brinke, I remember you tearing around high school in those Nike Wimbledons. In fact, whenever I see a pair it always reminds me of you!

    2. Bobby Tolan and Terry Crowley did both play for the Reds.

    I absolutely love that RIT hockey jersey. Is there a name for that particular stripe pattern? It looks like the Northwestern stripe kicked up a few notches.

    It seems odd that the RIT captain would decide to wear a Minnesota Twins cap for the jersey unveiling. Very incongruous.

    Welcome back, Paul!

    My opinion on yesterday’s discussion of main entry vs./plus the ticker: Personally, the ticker is – in general – my favorite part of each morning. There’s alot of crap in there that doesn’t apply to my personal tastes, but there’s enough minutia as well that just tickles my Uni Watching funny bone. When it comes to each morning’s main entry, I feel like 75% of the time, I could care less about the topic (college football uniforms, woo hoo … they get changed as often as the players’ underwear), but the 25% of the time I LIKE the subject, I enjoy the in-depth coverage. That means that 75% of the time, it’s easy enough for me to slide down the page to what *I* consider the “good stuff”.

    I’m not saying that other 75% shouldn’t be covered. I’m sure it’s relevant to someone. That someone just isn’t me.

    I get the impression that I’m one of the few who feels this way, and I respect that, but I also feel it’s important for all the voices that want to be heard to be heard.

    Also, as for this becoming a formal paid site … for $25 a year, would we get annual Uni Watch Card updates? Sounds like it would be a huge undertaking (over and above the efforts already put in), but would make me even happier to lay down the dough! Maybe even a $20 no-card annual membership, and a $25 OFFICIAL (carded) membership.

    I would suggest that the Olive Garden camo is a lot less G.I. Joe than it is hunting/Duck Dynasty. Still ugly, sure, but not likely a gesture to honor the troops.

    True. An odd gesture for a restaurant, though, for servers to wear hunting camo. For one thing, does anybody want their meat to be that fresh? For another, does anybody believe any of the food at Olive Garden ever could be that fresh?

    I’ve dined at tables where my meal’s next of kin grazed just a few feet away, but whatever’s close enough to any given Olive Garden for the wait staff to have shot it recently, I don’t want to eat.

    RE: Cabrera/Fielder Picture

    There appears to be some additional customization on Cabrera’s pajamas pants….almost like it’s designed to have his shoe laces loop through them. Anyone know for sure?

    I’ve always wondered what the deal was with those warning stickers on football helmets, and it’s more relevant now with all the controversy over concussions in football. What do the stickers say? I mean, I know they’re CYA legalese, but what do they say exactly? And they are so ugly — I understand why the manufacturer puts them on, but why don’t teams remove them?


    Here’s a blowup of (what I think is) the most recent warning label.

    Be sure to read the last line (highlighted for your convenience) very carefully.

    Pretty much like saying, “Don’t want to die in a car crash? Don’t get in a car”

    That is the warning in Schutt helnets.

    Riddell helmets have a different warning that does not include that last line.

    Other teams have worn belt loops in the recent past- the Royals and Brewers spring to mind- but they didn’t stick with them.

    Um… in case you’ve missed the last 20 years, the Cold War is over. Russia is democratic now. They elect their president the same way that the US does.

    Granted, there’s a still a ton of corruption that leads to certain people getting power, but that’s politics, no?


    Презентация Олимпийской формы


    Even we Americans have to salute our Russian cousins when it comes to over-the-top glitzy vulgarity. Tasteful understatement hasn’t had many Russian exemplars in the post-Gorbachev era. And these unis…. whoa. The men’s outfit is merely unattractive; the women’s is historically, hilariously bad. That double-headed, double-crowned, quintessentially tsarist eagle is getting quite the workout.

    If “classic” implies a steady progression from yuck to yecchh, absolutely. Those old Soviet unis (with the modest CCCP on the front) were super-cool, though.

    Ivan played the PJ game like the other pros. I believe his “Adidas” frame was actually a Kniessel painted over. Not sure on the Mizuno.

    I would love to have tried Mizuno stuff but never saw the clothing, frames or shoes ever. Not once.

    Speaking as a ‘Bama fan, I sure wish we could get all the clutter off the back of the helmet. The MAL sticker is fine and appropriate. NCAA sticker? Well shucks, I would have never known UA was a member if not for that (same as the SEC logo on the jersey, but I digress). Get it off of there. Then of course there is the American flag. God forbid anybody think the University has stopped supporting the troops…

    I never would have known about the warning label being required, if not for reading Paul’s response above. Interesting, if not a little dumb. Couldn’t they find a place on the inside for it?

    You are right, CH. Runway helmet clutter. Not one of those stupid labels belongs on a football helmet. Certainly not the NCAA, not the flag, and not the ridiculous legal warning. I’d go further: not the memorial to MAL, and not the giant Riddell brand.

    Look, I know it’s a losing cause, but I’m tempted to waste much more of my time on anti-billboardism in general. Does anybody know of a website that concentrates on this issue?

    Russell Athletic jerseys were so good; what a shame they lost their contracts. I have retail versions that were exact (except for the length) that still haven’t cracked on the numbers. People are selling game worn jerseys on ebay that are 20+ years old with perfect un-cracked numbers.

    If it was a simple case of nike/reebok/puma giving better deals to the teams then that is a shame for Russell. Also, their logo update many years ago wasn’t a good one IMO. Go back to the old logo!

    Russell is still the greatest IMO. And ya can’t find it anywhere. at least where I live.

    USA Hockey is set to unveil the 2014 Olympic hockey jerseys at Kettler Ice Center in Arlington, VA at 11:30 am. Will be varied live on the NHL Network.

    “- Here’s a poster from the 1970s featuring hockey great Bobby Hull. Or just Hull, as the poster says. (Is it me, or was there a period when lots of advertising and book titles were just one word plus an exclamation point at the end?)”

    The seller calls it a Bobby Hull Chicago Blackhawks poster, its clearly a Winnipeg Jets poster.

    (I love the white nameplate and the numbers on the skates)

    Also note the sponsor name – “The Equitable Life Assurance Society of the United States”. Kind of a reverse logo creep with HULL in giant letters and the sponsor in tiny type – imagine how that poster would look today :)

    Ewww. Makes the Russian sweaters look good. A lot of good ideas here, poorly executed. I’m particularly bothered by the inconsistent treatment of white, alternately as a color element or as a neutral background element, not only between the uniforms but even within the white sweater itself.

    The matte/gloss sublimated stars, though: So tacky it’s awesome. If you’re not allowed to actually sew the words “America, Fuck Yeah” onto an Olympic uniform, those sublimated stars are the next best thing. They’re the exact fabric equivalent of a crowd of drunk Americans chanting “Yoo Ess Ay! Yoo Ess Ay!” I love it.

    I don’t think I’d categorize the new USA Hockey sweaters as flag desecration. They do, however, qualify as jersey desecration.

    The design of the Cubs hockey sweater was perfected over the course of a few days in April and took most of the late spring and summer to make, the majority of that being the five weeks it took the apparel shop to letter and number it for me.

    The CCM in the design is just on the template I used. The sweater itself is manufactured by Athletic Knit, a Canadian brand.

    I agree that having the front logo embroidered would have been ideal, but legalities (due to the trademark) and cost were proving prohibitive in that regard.

    Thank you all for the kind comments and thank you Paul for publishing the link.

    Curious … would pinstripes on a hockey “sweater” work, or would it need to be pure white?

    Yes. As a Flyers fan, it’s got too much of a Rangers look for me, but it still looks great.

    For the Cincy/Purdue football game this Saturday, U of Cin has decided to wear white on white at home. Purdue will wear black tops/gold pants.

    Apparently this decision had to do with the heat expected this weekend. Mid 90’s in Cincinnati at game time.

    You’ve got Boston College in the American Athletic Conference, they haven’t been in the Big East since 2005.

    Georgia Tech will be wearing Throwbacks to celebrate Grant Field’s 100th Anniversary on 9/26 (that’s a Thursday), they have yet to unveil them, should be soon though.

    Also I have a theory that Georgia Tech will be scrapping the criss-cross jerseys, and sticking with the Navy jersey, and the Alternate White jersey (worn against VT, among others), and potentially introducing a Gold Jersey in the same design. I’m basing this off of promotional stuff (they’re wearing the alternate whites), the fact that they’ve been wearing the criss-cross pants in practice (something usually reserved for uniforms pieces that are no longer worn in game), the Gold jerseys did not make NCAA 14 (why not include them unless you plan on replacing them with a different version, also left out were the white pants that were worn with the Gold jersey, and a few times with the white jersey), and finally the fact that while the other jersey design is far from perfect, it is a better design than the criss-cross design. This would likely mean the introduction of a new pair of gold pants.

    Let’s hope Georgia Tech ends up with good uniforms. The past 5-6 years have been awful.

    Here’s to hoping – A good, darker shade of Gold that contrasts well from White, no more Sportsbras or gradient striping or gimmicks, and no more Golf Ball patterns

    They’ll always have the Sun Bowl … let then die with a victory over USC …

    sorry it is a day late, but welcome back paul. and nice job in his absence phil. okay, time to devour the college football preview.


    Is the Gridiron Database still up? Every time I try to get to t I end up with unsolicited advertisements, but no website.


    “This is actually a big deal, because Nike only provides uniforms for a handful of [rugby] clubs around the world.”

    Ugh, so the whole reason to try to be good at rugby is so that the benevolent Nike corporation will bestow upon you the rare honour of “Team Nike” status?

    Rugby doesn’t need Nike. In fact it would be well advised to steer clear of it’s constant push to monopolize every facet of sporting culture.

    Gotta hand it to Nike though, the fact that they, the only party who really stands to gain from such a deal, are able to spin it so that WE are the ones begging for THEIR approval.

    Nike did innovate the tight fitting rugby top with England before and during the 2003 RWC. They also added rubbery grip sections to the jerseys before Canterbury did in 2007.

    True they have never seen rugby as a huge focus, but they have left a mark on the games performance apparel.

    The photo of Namath makes me wonder if Sanchez is trying to channel some Namath vibes with his similar facial hair look lately…

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