Skip to content

Uni Watch Field Trip: The NFL Experience

For all photos, click to enlarge

Back in January, I was invited to be part of a press tour of the NFL Experience, a new attraction in times Square. I mistakenly thought it was just a temporary attraction that had been set up to coincide with the then-upcoming Super Bowl, but it’s actually a permanent operation with a long-term lease. And I have to tell ya, it’s pretty damn good.

The guy who runs the place described it to me as “Disneyland meets the Hall of Fame,” and that’s a pretty fair description. There are lots of exhibits and memorabilia, but there are also lots of interactive stations where you get to do stuff — a good mix of the educational and the entertaining.

The place is too big for me to fully capture its range in a blog post. But here are some of the highlights:

1. Our first stop was a hall with a bunch of display cases — one for each NFL division — featuring team memorabilia. Lots of really good stuff here — I took a bunch of photos.

2. This same hall had a bunch of touch-screen video displays where you can cue up info on your favorite team. The wall in the background, oddly, featured a mural showing all of the Color Rash uniforms:

3. There’s a theater with a surround-projection format and seats that vibrate and jolt to simulate the feel of being on the field during a game. They even have little simulated snowflakes (fauxflakes?) that cascade down to create the illusion of a snowy game. For this one, I’m going to embed some promotional B-roll footage produced by the NFL Experience staff, instead of my own photos. It doesn’t have any audio, but it still provides a much better sense of what the theater is like:

4. There’s an area that simulates an equipment room, with lots of gear and also lots of notices posted on the walls:

5. There are lots of interactive stations where you can do assorted fun stuff:

6. There’s a carpet of artificial turf covered in Super Bowl confetti — or at least that’s what it looks like. The confetti is actually a pattern that’s printed onto the turf. It’s very convincing!

7. There’s a station where you and your friends can be photographed taking a virtual Gatorade bath:

8. I really liked the display of tickets from every Super Bowl (they also had Super Bowl rings, but those photos didn’t turn out so well):

There’s more, but I figure that’s enough for you to get the idea (and more than enough scrolling for you to deal with). In short: I liked it, and I definitely recommend it. A fun place.

• • • • •

Cap update: When I announced my plan to create a Uni Watch cap the other day, a fairly large number of readers suggested that I get the caps manufactured via Ebbets Field Flannels, which makes excellent caps. So yesterday I discussed the project with EFF honcho Jerry Cohen. He was very receptive to the idea. If we were to do the cap with him, here’s how it would work:

• The cap would have a classic 1950s relaxed construction, like this Seattle Rainiers cap.

• The fabric would be wool broadcloth.

• We would be able to offer the cap in fitted numeric sizes and also offer a leather strap option — so you’d get to choose whichever of those two styles you prefer.

• EFF has three different shades of green cap fabric: Kelly (which I think is too light), dark green (which I think is too dark), and “bottle green,” which I think is just right. (Our cap would not have the construction or profile of that last cap; I’m only showing it so you can get an idea of the color.)

• I had wanted a grey undervisor. That will probably be possible, but not necessarily. We might need to go with a green undervisor (which I’d prefer to avoid, because I’d rather have a color that contrasts with the rest of the cap, but it wouldn’t be the end of the world).

• All of the other design options I mentioned the other day — gold squatchee (which I’m pretty sure we’ll do), gold brim (which I’m leaning against), script on the back (I haven’t decided yet) — are available.

• The caps would not have a visible maker’s mark. They would have EFF tagging on the inside.

• If I decide to go with EFF, the caps would probably be available about five weeks after I pull the trigger. If you folks are willing to pre-order, that would be nice, because it would help us know how many caps to make, and in which sizes, although pre-ordering wouldn’t be a requirement.

• The caps would be made in the USA. And that leads me to…

• The caps would be sold on EFF’s website at their regular cap price — $49. I realize that’s more than many of you are used to paying for a cap, but EFF’s quality is excellent and there’s something to be said for having the caps made in America. Also, I’ve known Jerry for years, so I trust him to do a great job, and I like the idea of collaborating with someone who cares about uniforms as much as he does (and as much as the Uni Watch community does).

That said, I’m also considering other options, so here’s another chance for you to provide some input. If you were thinking of ordering a Uni Watch cap, please weigh in here (if you have no interest in ordering a cap, please skip this poll — thanks):

[totalpoll id=”94716″]


One thing I’ve learned this week is that people are v-e-r-y particular about their caps. One person says, “It better be flex-fit, or I won’t buy it.” Another says, “It better be fitted, or I won’t buy it.” Another says, “It better be New Era, or I won’t buy it.” In other words, no matter which route I choose, some people will be disappointed. My apologies in advance to anyone who ends up feeling that way. This is one of those situations where it’s impossible to please everyone, but I’m doing my best to find the best way forward.

Meanwhile, people have also asked if we’ll do alternate designs, or if we’ll offer a purple version for this year’s Purp Walk, or if we’ll offer a visor. For each of those questions, my answer is, “Sure, that would be cool — but let’s get this first cap off the ground before we worry about any of that.”

Thanks for your continued input. I’m excited about how this is coming together.

• • • • •

rafflet ticket by ben thoma.jpg

LAST CALL for the 19Nine raffle: In case you missed it earlier this week, I’m currently raffling off a T-shirt and a pair of retro shorts from the good folks at 19Nine.

To enter, send an email to the raffle address by tonight, 7pm Eastern. One entry per person. I’ll announce the winner on Monday. Good luck!

• • • • •

Membership update: Eight new designs have been added to the membership card gallery. That includes Tyler Evans’s card, shown at right, which is based on the Astros’ gold-trimmed championship jerseys — a rare case of a membership card being based on a jersey that hasn’t yet been worn on the field.

The printed/laminated versions of these cards should mail out by tomorrow.

Remember, a Uni Watch membership card entitles you to a 15% discount on any of the merchandise in our Teespring shop. (If you’re an existing member and would like to have the discount code, email me.) As always, you can sign up for your own custom-designed card here, you can see all the cards we’ve designed so far here, and you can see how we produce the cards here.

• • • • •

The Ticker
By Kris Gross

Baseball News: Mike Trout is the latest to add a face guard to his helmet (thanks Paul). … Sluggerrr, the Royals mascot, still has the 2015 World Series Champions patch on his jersey (from @UntillTheNight). … Birmingham is sometimes known as “B-Ham,” so the Birmingham Barons, Double-A affiliate of the White Sox, will wear ham on their jerseys on Aug. 25. … The New Hampshire Fisher Cats, the Blue Jays’ Double-A team, will play as the Mountain Men on July 8. … Vanderbilt went all-high-cuffed Wednesday night (from Edwin Bonner). … Speaking of, the Collinsville softball team is doing it right (from David Stephens). … For NYC-area residents, Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn is conducting a tour of baseball greats who are buried in the cemetery on March 31. … Former Mets 3B Ed Charles is usually associated with having worn No. 5, like in this famous photo. But here’s a shot of him wearing No. 24, which he apparently wore for only 10 days in 1967.

NFL News: Newly acquired Washington QB Alex Smith got his first uniform — in the old template (from Andy Johnson). … The Jaguars’ two-tone helmet isn’t dead yet! (From Brett Baker.) … New Broncos QB Case Keenum won’t get to wear his old No. 7 in Denver, because of some guy named John Elway (thanks Brinke). … Some other Keenum notes: He tweeted a photo of himself wearing an Elway jersey as a kid. And his Twitter picture is him in a Photoshopped Broncos jersey (from Kary Klismet). … The Chiefs will likely have five wide receivers wearing numbers in the 10s for the upcoming season (from Joshua Brisco). … This incredible piece of artwork features the date, score, and opponent of every game in Eagles history. You can see a larger version of it here (from John Kelemen). … What if the Jags had come into existence in the 1970s instead of the ’90s? Here’s a great concept of what their helmet might have looked like. … Looks like former Eagles K Tom Dempsey had some sort of little strip or plate added to the crown of his helmet. Here’s a closer look. Anyone know what that’s about?

College Football News: This just seems wrong: The rings for Texas A&M Commerce’s DII National Championship feature the Under Armour logo (from Christian Berumen).

Hockey News: The Capitals’ Stadium Series jerseys will be worn at least one more time this season. The team will be wearing them next week (from our own Jamie Rathjen). … Nevada basketball will play their first round game in Nashville, and the Predators welcomed them with a custom sweater (from Damon Hirschensohn). … St. Paddy’s Day jerseys tonight for the Tulsa Oilers (from Mike Iles).

NBA News: The Windy City Bulls — that’s Chicago’s D-League affiliate — will wear G.I. Joe-themed jerseys tomorrow night. … Nike sold a pair of Kobes that came with a four-leaf clover plus Kobe’s logo to commemorate the Lakers beating the Celtics in the 2010 Finals (from Jorge Cruz).

College Hoops News: Loyola Chicago had a huge conference patch on their shorts yesterday (from Robert Hayes). … Stephen F. Austin wore black last night against Texas Tech (from Chris Mycoskie). … As Bryan Molloy points out, Rhode Island’s shorts look like the team is wearing fanny packs. … Here’s an awesome graphic featuring all tournament teams’ mascots fighting for the National Championship trophy (from Vasav Swaminathan). … Long shorts are out and short shorts are in at Michigan (NYT link; thanks, Paul). … Cross-listed from the hockey section: Nevada basketball will play their first round game in Nashville, and the Predators welcomed them with a custom sweater (from Damon Hirschensohn).

Grab Bag: This is really cool: The city of Pittsburgh tweeted a photo of the original color fabric swatch that established black and gold as the city’s official colors. Those colors, of course, were later adopted by the city’s sports teams (from Jerry Wolper). …Rickie Fowler will wear Arnold Palmer-themed shoes for the Arnold Palmer Invitational this weekend (from Chris Howell). … Ray Hund passes along this old ad that tries to draw families home by watching TV. Four of the six things that “took the family away from home” are sports. … Is the Brannock Device underseeded in this “Mundane Madness” bracket of ordinary and underappreciated items? (From Ryan Friedman.) … The Baltimore Sun has created a bracket for local Maryland beers (from Andrew Cosentino). … That’s not all for brackets, especially if you love animals (from Andrew Hoenig). … Nike announced last night that the company’s president has resigned amidst reports of improper workplace behavior.

Comments (73)

    Like the cap update very much.

    I’m kind of a “tweener” on hat sizes. Does anyone know whether EFF tend to run a little big or a little small?

    They fit small on me, but I’m a size 8, so I may be at the extreme end, and the intermediate sizes might be better.

    They run the most true to size of any manufacturer. That is one of the reasons that I am in for a pre-order if Paul goes with them. You definitely know what you are getting. They are also a normal cut, so you don’t have to worry about the cap being too shallow like many of the new era flex fits ir 47 brand franchise caps.


    I have several, ok several is an understatement, hats from EFF. I’m a 7 3/8 with my long-ish hair and they all run pretty much true to size. I think I have one that is a little tight but it isn’t cutting off the blood flow to my brain tight, I wear it when it’s windy out.

    When Paul mentioned that hat I though there was no way that it would be and EFF hat. Now that he mentioned it, I wil go all in if it’s made by EFF (pre-pay, pre-order)

    As the owner of, um, “several” EFF caps in 7-3/8, the only thing I’d add to Ted’s account is that EFF caps do tend to shrink up to a cap size over a year or two. They don’t have to get soaked or anything; the humidity in the air and/or one’s sweat will do the trick.

    The one thing I really like about New Era is that modern synthetic cap fabrics don’t shrink like wool does.

    If you wait to buy, the UNI WATCH hat could probably be bundled with EFF’s current inventory selection and be available for $33 (they have a deal where you buy 3 hats for $99). But if it means that UW profits a little bit more if you pre-order, I will do it because EFF hats are by far the best made / most comfortable to wear anytime of the year. Btw- I guarantee that nobody else will be wearing this hat when you go out anywhere! In my experience, over the years the EFF hats are getting more consistent & truer to size (while they were always american made, I think Jerry has either changed manufacturers or just consolidated his existing vendors this past year). That said, I do find that I will sometimes feel more comfortable in the next size up in an EFF hat if it has a cotton sweatband (which I’m sure that these will). I have over 100 EFF hats and I don’t find that any hats made after 2005 or so change sizes / shape because of humidity (and I live in Florida. However, their earlier hats can be hit or miss and mostly ran small). I wear a 7 5/8” (leather sweatband) or 7 3/4” (cotton). Lastly, if you are an EFF fan, my latest obsession is their hats with a leather sweatband and a flexible visor which I find to be super light and very comfortable. Definitely unique style head gear!

    “Speaking of, the Collinsville softball team is doing it right. ”

    Yeah. Purple!!

    I find it strange that the Cardinals’ jersey at the NFL Experience is for a fictional player.

    I just find it strange that of all the teams, it’s the Chiefs that have a cheerleader’s outfit in their display, and not the Cowboys. It just seems to me that Dallas is first to come to mind when considering NFL cheerleaders.

    I was about to say the same thing. Surprised they didn’t go with Pat Tillman.

    I wonder if they couldn’t use Tillman, because he is no longer a football player, but a marketing tool.


    Ugh. I was really hoping for a modern MLB-style cap with raised logo. I would have preordered that in a heartbeat, even at an inflated price (official MLB hats are pushing $40 now anyway). However, I understand that not everyone wants that. Just a shame that I wouldn’t really wear a hat in this style.

    Yeah, very interesting what everyone’s preference is. I tend to assume there are the “new school” people, who would want a new era style hat with high crown, flat brim, etc, and the “old school” people who want a broken in style, bent brim, etc. Paul seems to have tried to go middle ground. Hopefully that gets him as many buyers as possible.

    That’s the thing: New Era is closing in on EFF prices but not EFF quality. I would much rather pay $49 for EFF fit, quality, and domestic manufacture than $40 for a foreign-made New Era with inconsistent sizing, poor quality control, and a crown that makes pretty much everyone look like Elmer Fudd. Plus I wouldn’t have to spend 30 minutes manually de-structuring the cap.

    In Paul’s shoes, I doubt I’d have the fortitude to go with EFF. If a soft-crown strap-back could be done at or below $30, I’d be inclined to test demand with that and use EFF later for a special follow-up cap if the first one actually made a profit.

    Though personally, I’m all in if Paul goes the EFF route now.

    I have always kinda wanted to grab one of those EFF caps, but at the price, and because I don’t have the emotional connection to any of the teams, I never pulled the trigger, figuring it’d spend more time in the closet than on my head. A sharp UW stirrup cap would probably get me to finally pony up the cash, though.
    I must admit, tho, I do very much dig the current low crown 5950s from New Era. I’d most likely grab one of those in a heartbeat as well.

    I would love to buy a UW cap. But $49 is too steep and a wool cap in the south in June does not work well for me. I understand you can’t keep everyone happy. I’d give you my preferences, but I’m sure you’ll be swamped with everyone’s preferences so I’ll spare you my wishes. Good luck either way, though, and if the final product is feasible for me, I’ll buy one.

    Paul, I appreciate your acknowledgement of everyone’s very specific cap preferences. I’m basically a relaxed fit 47-franchise style or nothing. Really just the only style hat that looks good on my head. Hopefully the style you chose was the most popular and you are able to sell a ton!
    I love the logo and the green with yellow, if it ever gets made in my preferred style I’ll be all over it!

    Wow… all these years of teams playing dress-up soldier with their camo unis, and we finally have a team who’s actually making a reference to the actual G.I. Joe line. Though they are, interestingly enough, paying homage to the “real life” Joe, Sgt. Slaughter. I just find the whole enterprise amusing.

    Q: What would the Jags helmet look like had the team begun play in the 1970s?

    A: Good.

    Concerning Dempsey’s helmet, the front pad on all Riddell helmets have a “tongue” that is stretched from the inside and secured to the front(known as the front bumper). Most likely it bothered his vision and had the EM slice it off then tuck the loose end up inside leaving the thin plastic nameplate you see.

    “This just seems wrong: The rings for Texas A&M Commerce’s DII National Championship feature the Under Armour logo”

    At least the team declares their first priority, Commerce, in their name.

    I would love an EFF cap as the construction is great and the fit is almost always true to size.
    However, there are embroidery companies out there that offer various styles of caps,and if done as a pre-order, everyone could pick the style that they like. I had a custom logo cap made up several years ago that I did in a mix of fitted and snapback styles and colors. Everything ca,e out great and it was under $20 a cap in total.

    The company was link

    Everyone can get the style that the like at a very reasonable price. There is just a one time setup fee for the logo. I would imagine one could work with them to obtain the correct color caps.

    Anyone else having problems with the site today? Froze on me four times. Had to close the tab, open in a new tab and scroll down to where I was (and read some before happening again.)

    Not sure if its the bottom scroll ad, or perhaps the Flikr images (or something else). Tons of those today along with the slideshow that require Flash :(

    Weird. I was having some problems with it this morning, but it seemed to get resolved when I removed the Flickr slideshow. Hmmmmmm….

    Anyone else still having issues with the site today?

    Regarding the UA logo on a championship ring: WTF??? Maker’s marks on jerseys and hats have never bothered me much. I’ve always just felt it was business, but this is way too far! Did UA manufacturer the ring? Did they pay for them? What business does Under Armour have with their championship. These aren’t hypothetical questions, I’m legit asking what business they have with their logo on a championship ring.

    Maybe UA donated money to have the rings made? By rule, the NCAA only pays a small portion towards rings…anything else must be paid for by the school or a generous donor. I’ve seen this firsthand at the D3 level. Maybe no one stepped up to the plate to help pay for nicer rings and UA thought it would be good advertising? Not saying it’s right, but this might explain why.

    Call me a sellout, but I can live with the UA logo if they bought the kids the rings.

    EFF is the perfect choice for Uni Watch caps. A jersey would be cool as well – the grey with green pinstripe fabric would be spectacular.

    Nooooooo I got so excited! And then I saw the results of the vote!

    This is the PERFECT option for the Uniwatch community (wool broadcloth, no maker’s mark, provided by a vendor who CARES about the very same things we hold dear); EFF is simply part of “those who get it.”

    The option for fitted/adjustible is ideal as well, and I love supporting good business here, in America.

    If nothing else, you get what you pay for.

    Does “a classic 1950s relaxed construction” mean high crown? How does it compare to the caps worn by the MLB today?

    Regarding the price, I’d rather pony up $50 for a hat to support the site than buy a couple T-shirts.

    A much more relaxed fit than the current MLB caps. Look at MLB pics from the 1950s thru the mid-’60s and you’ll get the idea.

    EFF caps in that style are roughly equivalent to New Era’s current “low profile” 5950, at least with regard to crown height.

    EFF recently started making a 1970s style that’s much more structured and a bit taller, not quite as much as a modern 5950, but enough that I’d call it high-crown.

    Thanks. This was very helpful. I prefer a lower crown. The shape of the New Era 39Thirty fits me better than the standard 59Fifty. I’ll have to check out the low crown 59Fifty.

    I believe that the profile of the 3930 was based on the low-profile 5950. New Era has long made the low-profile 5950, mainly for on-field athletes. Used to take a bit of work to source them at retail, but in the last two years, New Era has wised up and made the low-profile 5950 widely available. Anyway, point being that the low-profile 5950 has been around a while, and I’m pretty sure that the 3930 was based on it.

    Odd coincidence – The Tampa Bay Times today reports that St. Petersburg native Ed Charles, 84, passed away in East Elmhurst, Queens.

    I love the EFF cap, and definitely would plan on buying one. Might preorder depending on my finances when the preorders go up.

    I originally voted that I would not pay $49 for this cap; but upon further review, I would actually pay $49 for this cap…and I would even pre-order.

    I suspect this may be true of others too, if they similarly take the time to look!

    This hat at $49 no different from cereal costing $6.99, inflation is rampant and we are lied to about it but hey gotta enjoy life!

    I own about 25 EFF caps, another 100 or so fitted New Era and Ideal Cap Company caps, lots of adjustables. EFF caps are the truest fitting cap I’ve found. They look great, are made in the US, and, as someone pointed out, Jerry Cohen “gets it.” EFF is the perfect company to produce a Uni-Watch cap. I’ll pre-order one of those for sure.

    “This same hall a bunch of touch-screen video displays”
    – had a bunch

    “Rhode Island’s shorts look like the team is wearing wearing fanny packs”

    One more option to throw out there. The vent holes on the Rainiers cap are stitched in white. How about gold vent holes if you go with a gold squatchee?

    Forget that he’s still wearing a 2015 World Series patch, I’ve always been much more bothered by the fact that Sluggerrr’s crown is part of his head. Meaning those crown points would be creepy, bony extensions growing from his skull. Yes, it’s a cartoon, but these are the things that keep me awake at night.

    Modest proposal: Make the pea crab the official mascot of uni watch “teams”? I know, I know the cats are already mascots. But for cartoonish t-shirt imagery & such? Maybe?

    EFF already has experience making link so that wouldn’t be too much of a stretch. On the other hand, crabs as mascots have sometimes link so scuttle carefully.

    Love the EFF idea for a cap. I have a couple and they are top notch. $49 is a bit pricey but well worth it for the quality they produce.

    Want a game-used baseball jersey with not one, but two leading zeroes in the number? link, worn by #001 Shimpei Shinohara of the Yomiuri Giants’ development team.

    Unlike most teams which give these players numbers in the 100s — zero through 99 are already used by players and coaches on the main team and the minor team — the Giants for some reason started these people with 001. link

    I’m just not used to middle aged men dressing like Madonna. Funny how your hands get cold but not your fingers.

    Some people run cold. My father-in-law wears fingerless gloves indoors a lot due to Raynaud’s.

    Also, some people are hobos.

    I’m surprised I have never seen the history of the Ken Griffey Jr’s Upper Deck rookie card on here! I never knew it was airbrushed.


    Hey Paul,
    I’m wondering if there is different content for viewing your site in Canada and the States. I normally your site back home in Ontario, Canada and today I’m in Michigan.
    The difference is where the Uni Watch title is displayed. In Ontario it’s green with white lettering, in the States it shows a picture of today’s topic

    Thanks for the heads up on the Green-Wood Cemetary baseball tour. My dad is buried in Green-Wood, an incredibly beautiful place, and 3/31 is his anniversary. I will have to check it out.

    Not sure if you’d ever consider going with a non-wool cap option, such as the polyester used in current New Era on-fields. I know it’s not as classic as wool, but it’d make the item palatable to vegan readers who’d probably opt out of a wool cap.

    I love the design, though, and would probably buy one if other materials were offered.

    I’m a fan of the idea of UW caps, but I’m weary of fitted sizes. Buying caps for me has always been difficult since I have a larger head, so I’ve never been able to purchase a fitted cap, I have to stick with adjustable ones. The caps with the velcro strap are my favorite, I don’t want to go back to the plastic straps or that leather strap with buckle style.

Comments are closed.