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Uni Watch Bookshelf: ‘The Official Treasures of the NFL’

I don’t think of myself as being particularly scavenger-y, but I do seem to have pretty good luck finding things that other people leave out on the street. A paella pan, a sweater, a nice pair of chukka boots, a pair of hiking boots, the pair of sneakers I use for my daily bike ride, a pair of jeans — I found all of those just on my own block. And a few weeks ago I found something else: a copy of The Official Treasures of the National Football League ”” and in near-perfect condition!

As you can see above, Official Treasures comes in a slipcase, which is nice, but that actually turns out to be the least interesting thing about it. The more interesting thing is that the book is full of envelopes and pockets, each of which contains a reproduction of some document from the NFL’s past — a contract here, a ticket stub there, photos, trading cards, booklets, and so on. Everything is nicely yellowed with faux-age, and the whole thing feels like a series of nice surprises.

Here are some photo pairings that show some of what’s tucked inside the book. In each case, the top photo shows a photo spread as you’d see it after having turned the page, and the bottom photo shows the various items after they’ve been removed from their envelopes or pockets. For all of the photos, you can click to enlarge.


I could show more, but you get the idea (you can see a few additional photos here). Having once worked as a book editor, I can tell you that all those pockets and envelopes must have been a complete bitch for the printer and binder — it’s a complex production job. But they did a really nice job with it.

The bells and whistles notwithstanding, the book also features excellent photography and serviceable text. It’s a piece of mythmaking, of course, but in a relatively benign way. Definitely a good gift item, especially if you have a young football fan in the house. (I would have swallowed this thing whole if it had been in the house when I was growing up.) If you want a copy, it’s available here.

Or you could just wait until one shows up on the sidewalk, like I did.

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Signal flare: If anyone out there is a South Carolina Gamecocks football fan, please get in touch Thanks.

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T-Shirt Club reminder: In case you missed it yesterday: As I mentioned a few weeks ago, this year we’re going to have a bunch of new T-shirts, with each one designed by a different creative luminary from the Uni Watch family — the Uni Watch Artist’s Series, I’m calling it. Today I’m ready to show you the first one.

We’re kicking off with a shirt by uniform designer/historian Todd Radom, who I’m sure needs no introduction for most of you. After admiring Todd’s work for so many years, and also drawing on his expertise and knowledge countless times, it’s a thrill for me to be working on a creative project with him.

Here’s his design (click to enlarge):

Pretty good, right? The design takes inspiration from the old Abe Stark sign at Ebbets Field, which read, “Hit Sign, Win Suit.”

An important note: We’re using the shirt fabric color to fill in the dark portions of the design — the outfielder’s cap, sleeves, stirrups, and shoes, and also the dark part of the sign behind him. We think it looks best on Teespring’s dark navy shirt, which is the version shown above. But you can also order the shirt in black (yes, go ahead and make all your BFBS jokes), in which case the design will look like this:

The difference is subtle, but it’s there. There’s also an American Apparel short-sleeved version and a long-sleeved version, both of which come in a slightly lighter shade of navy. You’ll be able to see all of this on the ordering page. Just make sure you choose the shirt and color you like best.

The shirt is available here through next Friday, March 3. My thanks, as always, for your consideration.

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The Ticker
By Paul

Baseball News: Yesterday was Photo Day at Cardinals camp. They appear to use generic jerseys with no front numbers. Also, Kolten Wong posed while wearing a helmet with a faceguard. … Throwbacks yesterday for Fresno State (from Jared Buccola). … Very nice striped stirrups for Rutgers. although it’d be better if they didn’t wear them backwards (from @OhHeyItsTodd). … Sensational new Expos-style pinwheel cap for Kansas. … Mallex Smith, now with the Rays, could become the latest MLBer to wear No. 0 (thanks, Brinke). … Remember our recent guest entry from Jeff Callahan, who had DIY’d himself a tabletop ballpark game? He’s been working on a new version based on the Polo Grounds. Lots of photos here. … Check this out: Rice is wearing owls on the bat! (From Denis Costello.)

Pro and College Football News: Last month I had an ESPN piece about the new Schutt F7 helmet. In that piece, I noted that the F7’s ridges and vents might make it tricky for teams with traditional decal placements. Now Michael Princip, who was the lead designer on the F7, has created some concepts of how teams wearing the F7 could apply their team designs to the shell. “These are unofficial,” he stresses, but they’re interesting. … Here’s one of those “What if NFL teams were actually soccer teams?” projects (thanks, Mike). … An arena team in Utah lets the fans call the plays. Fans anywhere can participate via a mobile app. They also choose the team’s uniforms. … Here’s the story behind Clemson’s championship logo (from Benji Boyter).

Hockey News: The Blackhawks commissioned a mask for their emergency goaltender, Eric Semborski. It was done by Corey Crawford’s artist, David Gunnarsson (from Marc-Louis Paprzyca). … Former Coyotes player Mike Gartner, thinking he was signing a promotional jersey, accidentally autographed Shane Doan’s game jersey the other night (from Vince Serritella). … Some local hockey players wore throwback uniforms to re-enact the 1907 Stanley Cup match-up between the Kenora Thistles and the Montreal Wanderers (from Will Scheibler). … The ECHL has a fantasy program in which fans can vote on one player from each team who’ll wear a special patch, plus a goalie who’ll wear a gold-themed jersey. You can see two of the goalies here and here (from K.C. Kless).

NBA News: Here’s a look at some notable sneakers from the NBA’s All-Star Weekend (thanks, Brinke). … Here’s something I didn’t know (or maybe just forgot): Craig Hodges, who won the 1992 NBA Three Point Contest, defended his title in 1993 even though he’d been waived by the Bulls and was a free agent at the time. The NBA initially omitted him from the field of contestants but eventually allowed him to compete while wearing a generic NBA jersey (from Jonathan, who didn’t give his last name). … The Cartoon Network reimagined their shows as NBA logos (thanks, Mike).

College Hoops News: Virginia Tech will be giving away these socks for tonight’s game (from Andrew Cosentino). … Women’s hoops: NJIT and Florida Gulf Coast went last night (from Jeff Mayer).

Soccer News: I put this in the NFL section, but I’ll put it here too, just in case: Here’s one of those “What if NFL teams were actually soccer teams?” projects (thanks, Mike).

Grab Bag: NASCAR fans are reported in an uproar over risqué Victory Lane models. … This is weird: Vice President Mike Pence was visiting government officials in Germany and was greeted with a 51-star American flag (from DenverGregg). … New logo for the Japan Rugby Football Union (from Jeremy Brahm). … This is pretty cool: NASCAR driver Clint Bowyer’s new helmet has a very realistic-looking faux-rust theme (from David Firestone). … A high school wrestler in Wisconsin was disqualified from a match for wearing multi-colored underwear, which apparently violated an obscure rule (from Jerry Nitzh).

Comments (60)

    Typo 1: “a new version based on Ebetts Field”–Ebbets

    Typo 2″ “NJIT ad Florida Gulf Coast”–at? and?

    It’s too bad the original owner of the NFL book could not see fit to hold onto it. You are fortunate to have it now, and I hope you’ll be able to keep it for a long time to come.

    I notice on the NFL/soccer kit thing that Washington is called the “R**skins”.

    Is using asterisks better than (or worse than, or equal to) not using the name at all? Just wondering.

    He could have just as easily said “Washington Football Club” or something like that.


    Didn’t Washington DC became the 51st state in the past election? Or does the vote that won to become a state still has to go to some other process in order to be accepted?

    Then maybe the germans are as confused as I am because of the voting on November. Thought it was a done deal

    Not even close.

    DC statehood has been a political football for many years. The short version is that Republicans won’t allow it because the District is heavily Democratic, so granting statehood would add two Democratic senators and at least one Democratic House member.

    DC voted overwhelmingly to petition Congress for admission as the 51st state. As Paul rightfully notes, that petition isn’t going anywhere for at least the next two years.

    Statehood for any place will never be “on the ballot in November.” The United States doesn’t hold national referendums on anything. The Constitution gives Congress, and only Congress, the authority to admit new states to the union. If and when a new state is admitted, the votes will be taken on the floor of the House and Senate chambers, not by the general public in the November elections.

    What was on the ballot in November was a referendum in Washington, DC, asking residents whether or not they want to seek statehood. Yes – apply for statehood – received 78.5% of the vote. But that was a vote by residents of DC only, and it’s not binding on Congress or on any other state.

    Also, it’s not as simple as Congress admitting DC as a state. The lack of statehood for the capital is in the US Constitution. (Art. 1, Sec 8, Cla. 17). Madison, in the Federalist Papers gives the reasoning for this. Ergo, there will need to be an Amendment for DC to become a state.

    Nitpick on the Article 1 thing: Section 8 gives Congress the power to govern a federal capital district. As with most of the enumerated powers, this is a “may,” not a “must.” Congress designated two national capitals prior to moving to DC, and exercised no control at all over the governance of those cities. And Congress already returned half of the original District of Columbia to Virginia without a constitutional amendment. Congress has the power to permit statehood (or retrocession to Maryland) for any or all of the current territory and population of the federal district. And the current DC statehood proposal would leave most of official Washington – the buildings, monuments, and parks – as a smaller federal district still controlled by Congress. Either way, no amendment to the Constitution would be needed for Congress to act on any DC statehood proposal.

    Some other photo day observations so far:

    SF Giants wearing the New Era logo caps in their photos, ending their practice of wearing the older style of hat with the grey underbrim. link
    (Some players wore an older jersey top with old Majestic logo)

    The Phillies also seemed to be wearing generic Phillies jerseys with no name and number on back (no sleeve number either). These jerseys also have the old Majestic logo on the sleeve.

    It occurred at Brussels, Belgium. Oddly enough though I was just involved in an audiobook about the first World War during which Brussels was occupied by the Germans.

    Sure, but folks increasingly see the EU as a German-run project, so the joke still works. The EU put out a statement blaming “human error” – which is to say, denying that any deliberate statement was being made by anyone. Seems like you’d have to go pretty far out of your way in an image search to find that instead of a 50-star image, but if there’s one thing we know about the Internet, it’s that if an image exists on Wikimedia Commons, it will be found and used incorrectly.

    The 51-star arrangement I’m accustomed to seeing used to promote DC or Puerto Rico statehood uses a link design. This is the first time I can recall seeing a more linear 51-star design “in the wild,” and I really like it. The vertically asymmetrical pattern makes the stars pop for me much more than the current, almost-too-neat arrangement.

    Any news on the LA Rams potentially having new uniforms for 2017? Have sources been called and the streets been scoured?

    Thank you for not saying, “… I’ll report it out.” I’m hearing that construction all the time lately, and it drives me bonkers.

    Really? I hadn’t heard that. Hope I never do!

    My peeve: “tweet[ed] it out.”

    You don’t tweet something OUT; you simply tweet it, the end.

    Twitter is the fount of many a terrible phrasing. “Trump took to Twitter to tweet …” is a phrase I’ve heard several times lately. That’s not a news report, it’s a tongue-twister. “[Name] tweeted …” is what you’d write, if you didn’t pretty strongly hate the person who will be reading your words out loud.

    “Report out” is a bit of Washington bureaucratese that’s slipping into use by Washington reporters. Since forever, “report out” has been used by Washington flacks to describe what they do when the provide an account of a conversation. As in, “Following the secretary’s conversation with her Hungarian counterpart, we’ll report out a summary of the call.” Just in the last few months, I’m hearing reporters using “report out” as well, when obviously “report” already implies the outward-ness of the flow of information being reported. A bureaucrat might conceivably report information “in,” away from the public toward and among the staff of an agency. But a journalist by definition reports “out.”

    The two that bother me the most:
    “Where are you guys at?” No, it’s simply: “Where are you guys?”

    And the other:
    “Where are you going to?” No, it’s simply:
    “Where are you going?”

    They drive me crazy.

    I’ll see ya and raise ya:

    “I’ve got [whatever].”

    That’s redundant, because “I’ve” is a contraction of “I have.” And if you have [whatever], you don’t need to add the “got.”

    In other words, “I’ve got [whatever]” should really be “I have [whatever].”

    My peeve is the use of “trove” as a noun. I know it’s common usage now, but still bugs me.

    It is now. It wasn’t always. It originated as a post-positive adjective, like “martial” in courts-martial. It comes from the French verb “trouver”, to find. It means “found”. So when you say “I found a treasure trove,” you’re saying “I found a found treasure”. Which is why it bothers me.


    Just about none of the current language has ‘always’ been as it is now. Things change; common understanding trumps derivations almost no one knows of.

    Notice the crest for the gold goalie jersey has the Mei Grey logo on it. Another big form of advertising

    Here is a (sort of) similar “Treasures” book with pockets and papers and whatnot. This one is not football related however.


    Am I mistaken or does that Jim Otto playing card show him wearing number 50? I guess I never realized that he ever wore any other number than 00

    Jeff Callahan:
    Awesome job with that Polo Grounds game board!
    I’d like to see a park similar to that today. Not identical (would need either very tall walls in either corner or some other modification), but similar.

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