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Monday Morning Uni Watch

Football helmets are supposed to protect against concussions, not cause concussions. Try telling that to Bills kicker Dan Carpenter, though. Upset with himself over a missed extra point, he slammed his helmet to the ground and was surprised to have it fight back.

What you can’t tell from that video snippet is that the Bills went mono-blue for that game. Woof!

In other news from around the league yesterday:

• Unfortunate move in Miami, as the Dolphins went mono-aqua. Incredibly, this marked their first time wearing aqua jerseys (never mind the pants) for a home day game since — get this — Dec. 31, 1994. That’s 21 years!

• More mono follies in Cincy, where the Bengals went mono-black.

• The end zones at the 49ers’ stadium, which are usually either red or black, were a grey-ish green. This was apparently due to a bowl game played there on Dec. 26. All of the turf, including the end zones, will now be replaced in time for the Super Bowl.

• Speaking of the Bengals: With H-back Ryan Hewitt out due to injury, offensive tackle Jake Fisher, who had frequently been reporting as a tackle-eligible anyway, had his number changed from 74 to 44.

• Giants quarterback Eli Manning turned 35 years old yesterday, and Nike helped him celebrate by giving him a Nikelace-free jersey. Is this a hint of things to come throughout the league? Let’s hope so.

• The Seahawks won while wearing their grey alts. I’m told that they’ve never lost while wearing that jersey.

• Speaking of the Seahawks, defensive back Earl Thomas wore a personalized compression sleeve.

• I don’t really give a shit about the uniforms in TV player intros (because they’re just, you know, TV player intros), but a lot of folks seemed to get worked up about NBC using a mix of old and new Vikings jerseys last night, especially given how old that shot of Adrian Peterson appears to be.

• Two fans in Dallas apparently want the Cowboys to acquire Robert Griffin III.

• After a full season of thoughtful consideration, I’ve given the matter a lot of reflection and come to the carefully nuanced conclusion that the Browns’ pants are still a fucking embarrassment.

And that wraps it up for the NFL regular season. Next week: the playoffs.

(My thanks to all contributors, including @5_hutchins, Brinke Guthrie, Bryan Prouse, and of course Phil.)

•  •  •  •  •

Click top photo to enlarge

Proof that New Year’s Eve really is for amateurs: I don’t ever, ever go out in Manhattan on New Year’s Eve, but this time around I made an exception because my friends Susquehanna Industrial Tool & Die Co. were playing at Otto’s Shrunken Head, which promised to be quite the raucous caucus. As you can see above, I was even invited to join them onstage for a stirring rendition of their ballpark anthem “Hot Dog Buddy” — my first (and let’s hope last) time singing in front of a crowd. A fun night.

Earlier that day, the Tugboat Captain and I went out to Coney Island for a few hours. It was a grey day — perfect for grabbing a frank at Nathan’s, walking along the sandy shoreline in search of shells and beach glass, checking the out the fishing scene on Steeplechase Pier, making new friends at one of the boardwalk bars, and generally taking stock of the year that was about to come to a close. I like the way this panoramic photo turned out (click to enlarge):

As for New Year’s Day, I don’t have any rituals about eating black-eye peas or anything like that, and I’ve only made one New Year’s resolution in my life (which, as it happens, was to create a column about uniform design in 1999 — guess that one worked out). So TBC and I just slept late, made waffles, took a nap, called our respective parents to wish them a happy 2016, and then went to the Museum of the Moving Image in Queens, where we checked out this cool exhibit about cats on the internet, which pretty much hit the spot. Had dinner at a nearby pub afterward, and then back to Brooklyn — a nice, mellow start to 2016.

Thanks for listening. However you rang out the old year and rang in the new one, hope it was a good time.

• • • •

PermaRec update: The library book card shown at right — one of several that I acquired nearly a year ago — happens to have a semi-famous person’s signature on it. Get the full scoop over on Permanent Record.

• • • •

Gromm•It update: Several new entries over on Gromm•It, including a grommetized ice cream sandwich, Life Savers, avocados grommocados, and — wait for it — pizza. Also, Gromm•It now has its own About/FAQ page. Enjoy.

• • • •

The Ticker
By Paul

NFL News: The Bears have a new fan appreciation logo. ”¦ Hmmmm, was a concession worker at the Browns’ stadium really wearing a Steelers T-shirt during yesterday’s game, or is there something fishy about that photo?

Hockey News: At the 18-second mark of this 1974 video clip, it appears that someone on the Flyers’ bench — a trainer, perhaps — is wearing a goalie mask (from Bill Kellick). ”¦ I attended yesterday’s Stars/Islanders game here in Brooklyn. At one point the two guys sitting to my left, who appeared to be in their early 20s, were discussing teams that had moved from one city to another. One of them mentioned the Hartford Whalers, and the other one immediately said, “Great jersey.” The first guy enthusiastically agreed. It’s pretty remarkable how much love people continue to have for that design. ”¦ In a related item, check out this Whalers Wives Cookbook (from Brian Mazmanian).

NBA News: In what I presume would be a first not only for the NBA but for all of the Big Four sports leagues, the Lakers might retire two different numbers for Kobe Bryant (thanks, Brinke).

College Hoops News: Marshall went mono-black yesterday for the first time since 2002, and the first time ever at home (from @cDubya242). ”¦ Gorgeous color-on-color game yesterday, as Oregon and Oregon State went green vs. orange.

Grab Bag: Pretty sure we’ve seen this before, but once more won’t hurt: a website devoted to shoelaces (thanks, Mike). ”¦ Here’s a 2012 photo of an Austrialian discus thrower who wore an “anatomically correct” singlet. “Now if you’ll excuse me, I need a drink to get that image out of my head,” says David Firestone. ”¦ Good story on the business deal that changed the course of bobblehead history (from Jerry Wolper). ”¦ West Indian player Carlos Braithwaite has been wearing a stomach protector under his shirt while batting in the current Test Match against Australia in Sydney (from Graham Clayton). ”¦ MotoGP champion Jorge Lorenzo is switching helmet makers. ”¦ There’s a new book featuring 6,000 modern trademarked logos.

Comments (98)

    I recall beach glass (we called it sea glass) being very plentiful on the northern Jersey Shore beaches 30 years ago when ocean dumping was still going strong, but very little 20 years ago. Is there much on Coney Island?

    There wasn’t much on NYE Day. A bit, but not a lot. I’m not a regular collector of the stuff, so I can’t speak to any trends.

    Unless I’m missing something, the big deal is that an employee of the home team is wearing a shirt honoring the visiting team (which also happens to be the home team’s biggest rival).

    I was speaking to Jakob Wolf last evening, who has shall we say, some experience in these situations, and he said the kid is (was?) a volunteer, not an employee (I’m guessing it’s a condition of his probation or something). So, he can, IMHO, wear whatever the hell he wants. That includes wearing whatever shirt he wants as a volunteer.

    This now raises a new question: Why the hell does an NFL franchise enlist volunteers to sell its overpriced food? Why can the Browns not hire people and pay them a fair wage?

    Fair question. One I’m guessing probably isn’t for UW.

    However, why should the kid (volunteer) not be allowed to wear whatever shirt he wants?

    And so what if it’s “the home team’s biggest rival”? Seriously — we see lots of folks wearing Yankee *gear* at Shea…so?

    Should a fan, for example, not be allowed to wear Stillers gear in Cleveland? Maybe the volunteer is a Stillers fan? And even so, what’s the big deal, even if he is an employee (but not held to a dress code)? That’s like saying if I work for a politician of one particular party, I shouldn’t be allowed to put a bumper sticker on my car for anyone I want?

    FFS, team *gear* in and of itself is stupid enough, but hey, if you want to wear it, knock yourself out. But to get upset over someone wearing the *gear* of a rival? Lets all just enjoy the damn game and not worry about how people are dressed.

    Seriously – we see lots of folks wearing Yankee *gear* at Shea…so?

    Right, but those are fans. I thought this was an EMPLOYEE. And even if he’s a volunteer, it seems odd to volunteer for one team while wearing the shirt of another.

    The Ravens are now both teams’ biggest rival.

    I thought only minor league teams (I know…insert Browns joke here) had organizations come in to staff their concession stands, but apparently it’s a thing for the pros. And I’m with Paul..why?

    Let me rephrase…I’m with Paul on why can’t the Browns or whomever’s in charge just hire concession workers? I’m with Phil on why is it a big deal that the kid is wearing a Steelers shirt.

    I once had a co-worker who, along with some other parents from her daughter’s figure skating club, staffed a concession stand at a Rochester Red Wings game. In exchange for working the stand, the figure skating club got a monetary donation (either a cut of the sales, or a pre-determined amount, I’m not sure). So it’s not really a “volunteer” situation, at least not in that case. Can’t say for sure what the deal was in Cleveland, but this is one such arrangement I know of where concession stands get staffed by non-employees.

    At Phil:

    “…Lets all just enjoy the damn game and not worry about how people are dressed…”

    Isn’t that the point of this website?

    “…Lets all just enjoy the damn game and not worry about how people are dressed…”

    Isn’t that the point of this website?


    Uh, no. The point of this website is to obsessively observe the UNIFORMS of the players in the game, not fan *gear*. There may be other sites for that, but it’s not this one.

    Therein lies the problem, methinks. Increasingly (and in no small part due to the rampant fan merchandise available, fans seem to think THEY are on the team (and hence also the use of the first-person plural to describe the teams’ doings). Unless this kid is a paid employee required to wear an actual uniform, he should be able to wear whatever he wants (including wearing the colors of the “other” team) to serve you a freakin’ hot dog.

    Can’t speak for the Browns, but I know my parents have worked concession stands on behalf of myself & my sisters when we were younger & playing sports, and all the other expensive school- and group-related activities in which kids participate. Can’t recall for certain, but I’m pretty sure they did the Blues & Rams games on a few occasions; having been to more Cards games recently than anything, sometimes you can tell when certain concession stands are manned by volunteers. Usually you can tell who the actual F/T & P/T employees are in the stand, and who the volunteers are, as they seem to become confused a little more easily.

    So, all that in mind, it’s not that difficult to imagine someone volunteering that way, showing up w/ a coat on (and not being forced to check underneath), then unzipping it once the patrons start to trickle in.

    I don’t know how it works at Browns Stadium. When I worked at the Richfield Coliseum, though, we were employees of ARA Services…not the Cleveland Cavs or Force. And during the Force games I routinely wore buttons for the Pittsburgh and Baltimore franchises on my uniform shirt, right next to the button showing the price for whatever I was selling.
    Originally my boss gave me a little grief over it, but he relented. Sure I did my share of “trash talking,” but I always kept it professional. Had lots of fun with it, and very few people were offended. Even the ones that were never made it into an incident. They got over it.
    Of course, this was before twitter. I see everyone involved has had to protect their tweets now. Some of the repsonses were silly (No, the kid and his boss should NOT be fired), some were just plain not nice, to put it mildly. It’s a game. It’s supposed to be fun.

    Paul, it’s not just one guy volunteering, usually it’s a group.. like a local marching band, boyscouts or whatever, and i might be wrong, but i think they get a part of the profits from their booth

    I get the sense that the dude in the Stillers shirt isn’t volunteering so much as he’s doing it to satisfy a condition of his parole.

    But point well taken.

    The picture of the Fullers isn’t from yesterday. They are shown at Ford Field in Detroit but yesterday’s game was in Chicago.

    Retired numbers..thought kobe’s situation is unique, there are several players who have had different numbers retired for them. The 3 that came to mind:
    Carlton Fisk ~ 27 with Boston & 72 with White Sox
    Nolan Ryan ~ 30 California & 34 texas & Houston
    Reggie Jackson ~ 9 Oakland & 44 Yankees.

    Proofreading: “he slammed his helmet to ground”

    The Browns may be the classic case of a team that downgraded its uniforms to match the rest of the organization. (Cleveland fans deserve better, in all senses.)

    browns concession worker: i am not sure if the NFL does this, but when i worked for the Carolina Hurricanes, there were a few of the concession stands that were manned by volunteers.

    either that or it’s a guy who knew it was the last game of the year and he wouldn’t be kept on for next season

    Re Hartford Whalers: Back in 2010 when the RIT Mens Hockey team grabbed some time in the spotlight with their run to the Frozen Four, several media outlets made note of the fact that RIT’s goalie Jared DeMichiel, a CT native, wore a small Whalers decal on the back of his helmet as a nod to the one-time franchise. I’ll poke around at lunch to see if I can find archived stories/pictures.

    @ken – the difference is, those guys had numbers retired by more than one team. Kobe has only ever been a Laker and wore 2 numbers (pre-rape and post-rape to be cynical). But let’s be honest, he doesn’t need TWO banners in the rafters. He’s not the best Laker of all time. Not with Magic, Kareem, The Logo, Wilt and Elgin Baylor in the mix for the title. To me, he was always a Michael Jordan knock-off with a little less charisma.

    Who needs numbers :) for a while the caps used a picture of the player, his name and years played.

    “Football helmets are supposed to protect against concussions, not cause concussions.”

    Actually Paul as Dr. Stefan Duma (head of the Virginia Tech Helmet Lab) will tell you, football helmets are supposed to protect against skull fracture, NOT concussions (one of the many problems with football helmets today.)

    Re: Jake Fisher
    Did the NFL make him change from a traditionally-ineligible number to a traditionally-eligible one to make it less confusing? I know lineman jerseys aren’t big sellers and it makes sense if he is going to be off the O-line as a rule, but it’s rare to see a player change numbers midseason. Deone Bucannon plays LB for the Cardinals wearing #20 and no one seems to confuse him for a nickelback.

    That was not a day game. It was a Monday-night game.

    The point being made here is that this past Sunday marked the first time in 21 years that the Dolphins wore aqua jerseys for a HOME DAY GAME.

    Granted the Dolphins wore aqua against the Chiefs in ’94, but that was also a late afternoon 4:00 p.m. EST kickoff. That wasn’t that uncommon (1990 WC game vs. Chiefs, 1981 WC game vs Chargers for example) for a late afternoon kickoff back in the “good ol’ winning days”. I would be curious to know when they last wore aqua for a 1:00 p.m. EST game

    The concession worker kid tweeted a photo of himself in front of the hot dog roller, replied @Browns and @MrsLevy1 … I have a screen cap of it. It’s real. He was wearing the shirt.

    I sent the screen cap to @UniWatch, so if you wanna add it to the page for proof :)

    I’m not usually a bowtie kinda guy, but it’s a good look when you’re around a bunch of guys dressed in hot dog hawker costumes.

    I wore a Whalers warm-up jacket to the New Year’s Eve party I attended, and I received many kudos as well. Really, about the only thing with the Whalers logo on it that people wouldn’t buy is a game ticket.

    Really a shame that the Dolphins have only worn aqua at home during the day once in 21 years. Based on their record over that time frame, the whole “make the other team wear dark in the hot Florida sun” schtick hasn’t exactly helped them. And because everyone else wears colors at home, the Dolphins are almost always in white. So lame.

    You would figure the sun is less of a factor after mid-season. Teams like TB and Carolina tend to go to the dark jersey for their latter 3 or 4 home games. I actually like the double Aqua.

    Did the grommets fit into the Life Savers cleanly, or did you have to ream them out a bit to get a good fit?

    If you ever had a case where a pre-existing hole was too big, would you use an adhesive to hold them in or would you consider this cheating?

    They fit right in — a perfect match.

    Yeah, I might consider that to be cheating, or just something that wasn’t meant to be. In any case, it hasn’t happened yet.

    The Life Savers are particularly beautiful. Because they have a glass/plastic look maybe the food juxtaposition isn’t as strong as with some of the other foods, but very beautiful nonetheless.

    Did the Dolphins’ throwbacks not count as aqua at home? Needless to say, bring back those throwbacks

    Sure they do. But that was a MNF game, not a DAY game. The point was this was the first time they wore aqua tops in a home day game in 21 years.

    Regarding the Sunday Night player intros, NBC just reuses ones for players who have been with the same team for a long time, so it’s not as if they record new intros for every game. When the Bears are on Jay Cutler’s intro still has him with floppy hair and about 30 pounds heavier.

    The sample pages from that logo book remind me of something that has always bothered me: logos that use a four-blade pinwheel design set on the diagonal. Reminds me of a swastika way too much. The Columbia Sportswear logo I find particularly troublesome.

    On a more positive note, Paul I don’t know if you can sing but you sure look like you can sing in the photos. Retro mics are a nice touch for the band.

    I have a few books about the state of logo design circa 1979. The focus is on Europe and Japan. Maybe it’s because of my eyes’ ripeness, then, but I’ll always consider the late ’60s through the ’70s to be a golden age of graphic design. I like my insignias to be crisp and simple, erring on the side of inscrutability.

    Hey Paul, I noticed that you eliminated the “Whole Foods” reference on the subtitle of the Gromm-It website. Did someone from Whole Foods contact you about it? Just curious….

    The 49ers’ stadium has grayish-green end zones and red seats. Lots and lots of red seats. Yikes.

    RE: volunteers at concession stands

    sometimes people will do it for fundraisers. They get a cut of the proceeds at the stand they’re manning.

    I was at a Radiohead show once (I know, not pro sports, but definitely a big-time act) and when I got to the front of the line to purchase my overpriced beer-flavored beverage, I was surprised to see the woman who ran the preschool my kids attended. She was doing it to raise money for her daughter’s figure skating club.

    P.S. the Titans went mono-white yesterday. I’m pretty sure that happens way less often than the Bengals in mono-black.

    Unfourtonate to see the endzones turn colors in SF yesterday, but it would have been more fun to see the Chargers play at Quallcomm this week after the endzones kept the “San Diego” font and styling but used team colors over the top of them. That would have been one big cluster!

    This is just a quick s/o to Paul and Phil, as well as all of the other uni-watching faithful. Just had a quick story to share.

    About a month ago, I was watching the cavs play (I believe toronto) with my buddy, and we got to talking about uniforms in pro sports. He just happens to go, “man, I wish there was like a blog about that somewhere.”

    I turned onto UW and we haven’t looked back, just wanted to say thanks for the awesome daily material, both of your passion and drive to keep this thing going.

    You inspire me in ways I never thought possible, and am currently working on my first DIY jersey project, which j plan on documentING for the site.

    Happy new year to the UW family, and everyone be blessed as fuck!

    I’ll admit that I’m partial to the color, but I wasn’t nearly as offended by the mono-aqua as I thought I’d be. I don’t know if it was because of the white shoes, the pant stripes, the darker blue on the upper socks, or the liberal use of white gloves/towels/undershirts…but I didn’t hate it. Not their best look, but not blood-clot awful either.

    Carpenter should really be in concussion protocol. In many martial arts movies, a direct blow pushing the nose in usually resulted in a quick death.

    Is it just me, or does anyone else feel we are witnessing Paul’s slow descent into madness with the Gromm-it project?

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m enjoying it for reasons I can’t quite understand, but it might the most peculiar thing I’ve seen on Uni Watch.


    Yeah, Paul’s kinda lost it here. It works as like a 5 page slideshow on buzzfeed or something, but it’s already played out. The mental reaction to “slice of ham with grommets” and “slice of cheese with grommets” is pretty much the same. He’s taken what should just be a quirky art project and turned it into a fetish site. Hopefully he stops before we end up seeing a grommet stigmata, or worse.

    Jeff’s comment comes closer to being a thoughtful critique (at least the Buzzfeed-slideshow part).

    But no, Jeff, it’s not a “fetish site” (although your characterization of it as such may say more about you than it does about the site [not that there’s anything wrong with that]). It’s just an exploration of a certain themes, or a certain series of closely related themes. Yes, it’s somewhat repetitive — that’s part of the point, to achieve cumulative oopmh. Also, I find the whole enterprise satisfying, which is probably the most important thing about the project.

    As for stigmata, if you go back to my very first post about the grommets (here on Uni Watch, not on the Gromm-It site), I actually said I had an urge to stick one of the grommets in my arm but chose to put them in food instead. So you’re on the right track.

    I said it before and I’ll say it again: Many of these responses are EXACTLY the same types of responses people initially had when I created Uni Watch. I expect that type of uncomprehending “WTF?”-ness from the general public, but I’m surprised and disappointed to see it from Uni Watch readers, who know all about what it’s like to consume niche media (and sometimes be ridiculed for it) and should therefore really know better.

    “I had an urge to stick one of the grommets in my arm but chose to put them in food instead” Well, you are what you eat . . .

    Grommetaco anyone?

    When worlds collide: I think some fun things could be done with extra grommets on a pair of Chuck Taylors.

    Of course it’s peculiar — duh.

    Nobody has to like it. And articulate critiques are always welcome. But complaining (or even just observing) that it’s weird or peculiar or not normal is like complaining (or just observing) that water is wet.

    Wow, I don’t know if anyone reads these comments the day after, but I didn’t make it back here yesterday, and I’m realizing that discussion following my comment went pretty negative really quickly.

    I certainly didn’t mean to imply any negativity in my post. Perhaps it lacked an articulate critique or insight, but first and foremost, I was really just making a joke (though as it turns out maybe a not well recieved one). I really WAS just observing that “this is the wettest water I’ve seen in a while”. Lazy, maybe, and probably nonsensical, but not meant to be a criticism in any way. Heck, part of why I read Uni Watch daily is BECAUSE of odd, peculiar, or otherwise interesting things I wouldn’t otherwise see. I was merely observing that even by Uni Watch standards, this one is a bit out there. That doesn’t in any way make it bad, IMHO.

    There are several Uni Watch side projects that I have no interest in, and I have no problem scrolling on by. That said, I don’t think there is a single side project posted here that I haven’t at least clicked on once because something caught my eye. And when that happens I’m usually glad I did.

    Keep ’em coming!

    I’m enjoying it as well. Now if he posts a series of “All work and no play makes Paul a dull boy” written in grommets through a roll of butcher paper, then i may start to worry.

    Just coming back from two weeks in the West Indies. Lot of Lakers and Yankees caps among the locals. The few other North American teams I saw represented: Blue Jays, Nationals, Cubs, Ottawa Senators. Only saw North American teams represented on caps; shirts were all European football teams. Also lots of Saskatchewan Roughriders stickers at several bars, taxis, and whatnot where folks have posted decals over the years, but one assumes that comes from visitors, not locals.

    All of the sports-related shirts or jerseys, that is. Most shirts were, obviously, not Real Madrid jerseys.

    Paul please assure me that you’re still eating the foods you grommetize. Or at least giving them to the birds or something. That looks like it was a quality pizza you had there, oh man.

    It was a GREAT pizza! As with almost all of the grommetized foods, I removed the grommets after taking the photos and then ate it. Still have two slices left, which are slated to become tonight’s dinner.

    Oh, I can.

    But as we frequently say here at Uni Watch (mostly regarding design, but also sometimes about other things), just because you can do something, that doesn’t mean you SHOULD do it.

    You know what? The Lakers should retire 81 for Kobe as well, since he once scored 81 in a game. I think he deserves the honour.

    Can’t say I love the Bills in mono-blue, but the striped pants and socks keep the look from being too monotonous.

    Realizing the Australian discus guy’s suit looks like Slim Goodbody’s filled me with fresher and greater horror.

    The 49ers’ end zones were an attempt at their normal end zone format–the wordmark on green grass. Usually the natural green is sufficient, but yesterday they had to do green paint over the painted end zones from the bowl game.

    By tradition they only do red end zones for playoff games (notable exception being the throwback red end zones last month to commemorate the two Super Bowl wins over the Bengals). The black end zones are only when they wear the BFBS uniforms (hopefully never again).

    Could the Cleveland Browns go with a solid strip and dump the embarrassing “Browns” word mark next season or would that be deemed a uniform change? Are they stuck with these for the next 5 years?

    Technically, they’re stuck with them for five years.

    But since nobody in the league office gives a shit about pants, they could probably get away with changing them sooner if they wanted to.

    But I suspect they don’t want to.

    @Paul Lukas… Speaking of Eli Manning’s jersey template, I didn’t realize individual players could choose which style they wanted to wear. I thought the teams template was what was used, period (with the exception of the sleeves of course). Was it a situation where they asked him if he would like to “try out” a new template?

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