Skip to content

Too Good for the Ticker!: Vintage Football Observations

Longtime reader Gene Sanny was recently doing a bit of football research for some art projects and came across some interesting stuff. One thing at a time:

•  Here’s something I’ve never seen before: Cowboys running back Calvin Hill with a blue U-bar to go along with his grey facemask! An interesting look:

•  I think we’ve seen this one before, but once more won’t hurt: Check out the seriously torn jersey being worn by Bears quarterback Bobby Douglass in a 1973 game.

•  We’ve all seen players wearing casts to protect broken bones. But I don’t think I’ve ever seen a cast as big as the club-like treatment that Falcons center Jeff Van Note was wearing in this next shot.

•  Remember how Raiders quarterback Ken Stabler sometimes had a little smiley face sticker at the base of his helmet stripe? Fellow Oakland signal-caller Daryle Lamonica also had a sticker in that spot, but his was a little Raiders logo (apparently accompanied by some sort of text, although I can’t make out what it says; click to enlarge):

Update: Pseudonymous reader/commenter Dumb Guy reports that the text on the sticker reads, “Oakland Raiders.” You can see it clearly if you click to enlarge this next photo:

•  Interesting helmet being worn by Jets offensive lineman Winston Hill in this 1969 shot. Note how the nose bumper padding runs the entire span of the helmet shell’s forehead ridge:

•  At one point Chargers quarterback Dan Fouts broke his nose and wore a facemask style more commonly seen on running backs:

•  Turning to the college gridiron, we’ve seen USC playing color-on-color games against UCLA, and we’ve seen Georgia Tech going color-on-color against Texas Tech, but I don’t think I’d ever seen USC and Georgia Tech going color-on-color against each other. This photo is from 1969. Look closely and you can see the college football centennial logo on Trojans running back Clarence Davis’s helmet:

•  There are mesh jerseys and then there are mesh jerseys. The one worn by Ohio State quarterback Rex Kern in the 1969 Rose Bowl looks like it would be better suited to be a basketball net:

Good stuff — big thanks to Gene for sharing it with us.

•  •  •  •  •

Membership update: Several new designs have been added to the membership card gallery (including Tony Andela’s, shown at right, which is based on caddy jumpers at the Masters). The printed/laminated versions of these cards will be shipping out by the end of next week — or sooner, if we get a bunch of new orders, hint-hint.

As always, you can order 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.

•  •  •  •  •

Raffle results: The winner of the raffle for the free satin jacket from Stewart & Strauss is Louis Schneider. He’ll share a screen shot of his jacket design once he’s created it with the S&S jacket-builder interface. Congrats to him, and thanks to all who entered. More raffles coming soon.

•  •  •  •  •

The Ticker
By Alex Hider

Baseball News:   The Blue Jays debuted their red Sunday alts (and batting helmets!) yesterday. Catcher Russell Martin continued to wear blue catcher’s gear, and outfielder Kevin Pillar celebrated by going high-cuffed (from Will Shoken and  Mark). … The Mariners wore their cream Sunday alts yesterday, and Trevor Miless  points out that Seattle is  not giving their royal batting helmets the matte treatment. Their standard navy helmets went matte this year. …  The Mets and Marlins went color-on-color yesterday in Miami. … Someone drew a cross on the mound at Nationals Park yesterday ”” perhaps an Easter tribute? (From John Mark Fisher.) …  D-Backs P Taijuan Walker wore teal cleats to match the team’s alternate road grays yesterday (from  Andy Page). …  Michael caught a Bay Area TV station using an  old Astros logo  in a graphic. …   In honor of Jackie Robinson Day,  Jeff Pollock sent along  this commercial that used to run in Canada. Good  attention to detail on the uniforms. … The Class-A Inland Empire 66ers will now be the Inland Empire 66ers of San Bernardino thanks to a new stadium lease with the city (from Kristopher Sharpe). …  St. John’s has the New York skyline inside its uni numbers. They also have a handwritten “LV” on their caps ”” anyone know what that stands for? (From  Eric Hoffman.) … How hot is Orioles rookie Trey Mancini? Not only did he hit two home runs yesterday, but two of his teammates homered while using Mancini’s bat. … Nats OF Bryce Harper appeared to be wearing old socks without the Stance/MLB logo creep yesterday (from James Roberts).

Pro and College Football News: Here’s a look back at the uniforms of the  ’90s American expansion teams in the CFL (from  Bar Down). … Ohio State QB J.T. Barrett wore a special  black QB jersey with reflective numbers and sublimated Buckeyes during the team’s spring game Saturday. The team’s typical QB jersey has normal numbers (from  John Alexander).

Hockey News: Blue Jackets D  Zach Werenski took a puck to the face during yesterday’s playoff game, leaving a nasty gash. He came back later wearing a  full facemask. …  Good story about  a Minnesota community’s search for a jersey worn during the 1973 high school state championship.

NBA News: For yesterday’s playoff game against the Bulls, Isaiah Thomas of the Celtics wore a  black headband in honor of his sister Chyna, who died in a car accident on Saturday. He also appeared to be wearing a black undershirt with a Nike logo, which was clearly visible under his jersey. The Celtics also wore black mourning bands, and the Bulls wore their black sleeved alternates (from  Cole P.  and others). … Color-on-color playoff game between the Rockets and Thunder last night (from  Chris Howell).

Grab Bag:  The Vancouver Stealth of the National Lacrosse League wore  British Columbia-themed unis  on Saturday (from  Wade Heidt). …  White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer appeared at the Pentagon Saturday in full naval uniform. He’s a commander in the Navy reserves. … Artist  Yoshihiro Okada uses orange peels to create  spectacular art. … The New York Times has a feature on  Alexandre Daillance, a 20-year-old man who has made a name in fashion with his specialty baseball caps  (from Tommy).

Comments (48)

    Was about to chime in with that. Check the shoulder boards; Lieutenant Commander, two wide and one narrow gold stripes; Commander, three wide gold stripes. The star indicates he’s a member of the line corps. Lieutenant Commander is the equivalent of Major; Commander is the equivalent of Lieutenant Colonel.

    Regarding Winston Hill’s helmet – that nose bumper padding was probably home-made by the Jets equipment manager and added to his suspension helmet (which would have come with the same rubber bumper as on Lamonica’s helmet). The “modern” nose bumper really had just come into use with the first Riddell “Micro-fit” air-and-liquid filled helmets in 1969.

    Nitpick: 3rd bullet reads “a cast a big a the” I believe should be “a cast as big as the”

    Fixed. And it’s not a nitpick! A mistake is a mistake, and I want the text to be as mistake-free as possible. Thanks for your help!

    In retrospect, those CFL American expansion uniforms look pretty decent. The only real clunkers were the Barracudas and Mad Dogs. The others were fairly solid uniforms.

    A few interesting tidbits on Jeff Van Note, the Falcons center with the huge cast club:

    1) He was link, so it seems he had to learn to snap (and shift the weight during his stance) with his left hand while he was injured. That must’ve been difficult.

    2) He played for Atlanta from 1969 to 1986. By the end of his career, he was pretty much link. Reminds me of link from December.

    3) At one point, QB Steve Bartkowski wore a facemask that was positioned link.

    The Bartkowski photo, to me, represents the apex of the Falcons appearance. I know the expansion-year black jerseys get more love on these pages.

    Kevin Pillar almost always goes high-cuffed, so I don’t think it had anything to do with celebrating those awful red uniforms.

    I sometimes wonder whether players should be allowed to play with a cast like that. Certainly a center is impaired but is there any indication that other linemen are actually helped by having a harder/heavier arm that precludes a holding call in most cases? In theory these guys shouldn’t be using their hand to grab anyway right?

    A good example of that would be Ted Hendricks, who, after joining the Raiders, started wearing a similar club, and explained to the ref that he had injured his hand…needed the protection, blah, blah, and would get away with it.


    I’m pretty sure the cross on the mound at the Nats v. Phillies was added towards the end of the game. I’m memory serves right part of closer, Blake Treinen’s pre-pitching ritual is to make a cross on the back of the mound.

    On the membership card paragraph, the last name of the member and the card have two different spellings.

    Everytime I see something like the Fouts broken nose facemask, it makes me wonder when the trend away from the center vertical bar started. It used to be that most linemen and some running backs use to have them. Now, even guys like Ndamukong Suh or JJ Watt wear facemasks I would’ve associated with QBs or RBs in the 80s.

    I don’t pay enough attention to facemask styles to say when it started, but there has to be a vision aspect to it. You need the mask for protection, but you also don’t want to be distracted by it. Honestly I wonder why football helmets haven’t evolved into motorcycle helmets.

    Airflow. Your brain will start to ignore the cage in front of your eyes very quickly (I never noticed the bars when I wore my lacrosse helmet). A motorcycle helmet will get hot and stuffy (and fog the visor), especially when you’re sweating and not moving that fast.

    I am in no way saying he was the last NFL player to wear a center vertical barred face mask, but you will find very few of them after Reggie White retired. I believe he was one of the last ones to wear it full-time, and he retired after the 2000 NFL season.


    Jeff Saturday (Center for the Colts) was rocking the center-bar for a while. Not sure if there are any lineman currently wearing them

    Even Saturday moved away from it at some point.
    From 2011:

    But good call, that was obviously way longer than Reggie White.


    “There are mesh jerseys and then there mesh jerseys.”
    – Put an “are” before the second mesh.

    Wow, I never realized there were so many American teams in the CFL. I only remember Baltimore and Sacramento, if only because I used to live there.

    It’s kind of a shame that the CFL killed the whole thing. I think a CFL with a few American teams would’ve worked fine, and possibly lead to an NFL/CFL merger… and then we get a 40 team league with a 20 game schedule. I’d be OK with that.

    Beyond the complete lack of interest in most of the US cities, the CFL could not figure out how to equalize the playing field, in that the Canadian based team had to dress “X” number of Canadians, whereas that rule could not be applied (for obvious legal reasons) to the US teams. The one idea I wondered, if you could insist on “X” numbers of players have played say high school football within a 25 mile radius of the US city. (but I suspect that could have been legally challenged as well)

    The CFL was also greedy, expanding to whoever had any money, slower, and IMO – to markets that are closer to Canada, such as Rochester, maybe it would have had a better chance.

    Although I have to add, the CFL ill-fated expansion into the US, did produce one moment that never fails to make me laugh.

    The Las Vegas team – on what I think was their home opener, used an anthem singer, who managed to sing “O Canada” to the tune of “O Christmas Tree”. Some stuff you just can’t make up.

    I would say he lost his way as the song went on, and fell into a full on O Tannenbaum by the end, as much as the lyrics would let him (but just my opinion). He was supposedly a last minute sub.

    Those Shreveport unis look like a pretty blatant rip-off of the Pats’ unis which debuted just a year prior. Team colors (granted, red and blue are pretty common in American pro sports) + the fact that the logo is a similar shape comprising a profile shot of the nickname’s head is what does it for me.

    Maybe hard to tell from the photo from the card, but the Shreveport Pirates wore purple, with orange, silver and black trim. Purple and orange, not red and blue.


    You’ll notice any alternative football league features a Birmingham, Alabama franchise; see the Americans, Stallions, Fire, Barracudas and Thunderbolts. How close has the city come to landing an NFL team?

    A couple notes on the Mariners Cream/Royal/Yellow alternates

    -The hats they use with the green alternates have a green bill and a green squatchee. Wondering why they don’t use a Yellow squatchee with the royal/yellow hat?

    -Zoom into the attached (great catch by Mitch Haniger!) and you’ll see the New Era Logo in Gold (not in white). First I’ve seen on the MLB hats that the NE Logo similar to the secondary color of the uniform.


    -Great shot of Scott Servais, a pretty staid character in an argument yesterday. Note he’s not in a Cream alternate but the big reason for the alternate colors…assorted stuff folks can buy in the alternate kit, this one including yet another color in the royal/yellow/white…grey (yuck).


    Those Birmingham Barracuda uniforms are complete garbage.Wow. Baltimore looks like the Cowboy blue jersey.

    Birmingham AND Memphis’.
    I’m glad that was a fad that didn’t catch on. Whoever gave those the “OK” didn’t really want the CFL to catch on in the US.


    Woof is right! A fad, kind of like football’s version of Cooperalls.

    A third team in the league that was long-established wore this style of uniform as well during that one season in 1995. The Toronto Argonauts joined that uniform party. So nineties!


    I absolutely love the red batting helmets that the Toronto Blue Jays wore. Does anyone know if the maple leaf on the front is raised?

    On a side note, is there a company that sells official batting helmets? As much as we talk about official merchandise, 5950s, etc., I’ve never seen a discussion about batting helmets.

    They used to have replica flapless batting helmets for sale back in the ’80s.
    Like the one that Gary Carter used to wear:
    I actually wore a Giants one before I ever wore baseball hates.


    I happened to visit Memphis in August 1995, and I snagged a commemorative Mad Dogs t-shirt and keychain. The color scheme used by the Mad Dogs wasn’t bad, though admittedly it was rather derivative of the WLAF/NFL Europe link. The heavy use of green with yellow and red trim is a look that would be unique in the NFL, though it would only come to fruition if a team were to completely rebrand itself.

Comments are closed.