[Editor’s Note: Paul is on his annual August break from site. Deputy editor Phil Hecken is in charge from now through the end of the month, although Paul may be popping up here occasionally.]
By Phil Hecken
The Grand Rapids Griffins have made their decision. The winner of the 2019 Jersey Design Contest is…
Casey Sprogis. Here’s one more look at his winning submission:
I want to thank everyone who participated in this year’s contest. There were a grand total of 87 entries, all of which you can view here. From those 87, readers voted for their favorite designs over four days of voting, and chose these 12 designs as their finalists — from which the Grand Rapids Griffins selected Casey Sprogis as their winner.
This is the fourth year the Griffins have partnered with Uni Watch to select a fan created jersey for their team to wear at a select game the following season. As the creator of the winning entry, Casey will receive a jersey produced by the Griffins which will be based on his winning design, which will be worn on their 90’s Night on Saturday, February 22 (with either red or black pants and red gloves/helmets). The Griffins had asked for “a 90’s inspired jersey” and the designers really took the ball and ran with it. Casey’s winning design certainly fits that theme, obviously creating a jersey that is based on one of the most popular movies of the decade. Well done.
In addition to the custom jersey based upon his design, as winner, Casey will also receive tickets to the game in which the jersey will be worn, and recognition that evening (past winners have been invited into the locker room and on-ice among other nice perks).
Big thanks to the Griffins, and specifically Ashley Oostindie, the Griffins Director of Digital Marketing, for again working with me to bring this contest about, and also to Larry Torrez, who created the polls for reader voting for this contest (and made it as fair as possible). And of course, thanks to all the submitters and readers who participated in voting. You picked 12 great finalists from which the Griffins could choose the ultimate winner. Great job all around!
Rutgers Drops 150th Anniversary “Throwback” Uni
You know how NCAAFB teams have that “150” patch on their jerseys this year? Well, that’s because it’s the celebration of the “first” ever football game played between Princeton and … Rutgers. So it’s no surprise the Scarlet Knights have unveiled a new “throwback” uniform to commemorate the occasion.
I actually have known about these for a few weeks, after adidas inadvertently sent out a photo featuring eight teams getting special 150 year unis — when they only meant to unveil seven. The team on the left of the photo below is Rutgers:
If you look at the splash photo from this article I wrote a few weeks ago, you’ll notice there’s only seven teams pictured; adidas cropped out the Rutgers player when they sent their promo photo package. I didn’t mention it then because I knew they’d end up rolling out the Rutgers throwback uni in a separate release.
Anyhoo, let’s take a look at the “throwback” — I’m using that in the loosest of loose terms because there’s no way the uniforms worn back in 1869 in any way shape or form resemble what the team will wear 150 years later: there were most certainly no helmets, and it’s believed the teams wore “uniforms” more resembling the street clothes of the day. To wit, here’s an artist’s interpretation of that first football game, played on November 6, 1869. And here’s what the team released yesterday:
Notice anything unusual about the jersey? Look closely — those aren’t compression sleeves underneath a short sleeved jersey — those are actual honest LONG sleeves! Not sure how hot it will be when they wear these (hint — it’s early October) or if all the players will actually wear them, but whoa! When’s the last time we saw a real, legitimate long sleeved jersey in College Football? Gotta be the 60’s right?
Anyway, even though they farted around with filters, I’m pretty sure the helmet is white, not cream. The hat will feature a scarlet “R” logo:
Jerseys are scarlet, of course, and the pants are tan. Aside from being long-sleeved, the jerseys are pretty plain, featuring the “150” patch and “B1G” logos (plus the makers mark), with a small “R” at the base of the collar. Numbers are a plain, rounded font, in what looks to be cream. The backs of the jerseys are completely plain except for numbers:
While the “20” jersey is shown NNOB, I do believe the team will actually have names on back. You’ll also notice the helmet bumper contains the words “THE BIRTHPLACE” which is an allusion to Rutgers being the birthplace of college football:
The front bumper has “1869” on it:
The team will wear these on October 19th, in their homecoming game vs. the Golden Gophers of Minnesota.
And here’s some video of the team sporting the new unis:
— Rutgers On BTN (@RutgersOnBTN) August 29, 2019
It Was (Almost) 20 Years Ago Today…
While I’m certainly not ready to deem the Oregon “O” helmet logo iconic, it’s just about to end its status as a “teenager” and graduate to its 20th birthday — that’s because on September 2, 1999, the Oregon “O” made its debut on the (then) semi-revolutionary Mallard Green helmet.
Our own Dennis Bolt, he of SMUW Pac-12 tracking and Duck tracking, has written a piece over on the “Ducktracker” blog with more details about the debut of those beautiful hats. It’s fairly short, so give it a read!
Uni Concepts & Tweaks
After being dormant for a while, the Uni Tweaks/Concepts have returned!
I hope you guys like this feature and will want to continue to submit your concepts and tweaks to me. If you do, Shoot me an E-mail (Phil (dot) Hecken (at) gmail (dot) com).
I received the following e-mail from reader John Elbertson, who has a couple NFL concepts:
What’s up Phil? Here are two NFL concepts for you:
Somebody, I can’t remember who, once had the idea to use the Buffaslug on a football helmet, and I’ve always wanted to try it out. I love the ‘Slug and don’t understand all of the hate that logo gets. The curve of the logo is perfect for a helmet. Also, we’re doubling down on red, to separate from the cool colors of Buffalo’s AFC East rivals.
For this Colts concept, I turned the horseshoe on its side to make a “C”, and then added a stake “I” to make interlocking initials for a secondary logo. Other than that, just added some blue and changed up the font. As you can see, I’m all for gray facemasks and striped socks, a nod to days gone by in the NFL.
Thanks John. OK readers (and concepters). If you have some tweaks or concepts, shoot ’em my way with a brief description of your creation and I’ll run ’em here.
Guess The Game…
from the scoreboard
The game has returned! At least for a trial basis, but I got a lot of positive response to its return, so we’ll see how long we keep this one going.
Today’s scoreboard comes from reader Christopher Hickey.
The premise of the game (GTGFTS) is simple: I’ll post a scoreboard and you guys simply identify the game depicted. In the past, I don’t know if I’ve ever completely stumped you (some are easier than others).
For my final weekday GTGFTS, we’re going out with a twist. Obviously not every scoreboard run is baseball (we’ve had football, golf, hockey, basketball, etc. in the past), but this one *may* stump you as it’s not your typical scoreboard. Good luck!
Here’s the Scoreboard. In the comments below, try to identify the game (date & location, as well as final score). If anything noteworthy occurred during the game, please add that in (and if you were AT the game, well bonus points for you!):
If you guys like this, please continue sending these in! You’re welcome to send me any scoreboard photos (with answers please), and I’ll keep running them.
By Anthony Emerson
Baseball News: Mets 1B Pete Alonso let Cubs 3B Kris Bryant use his bat for a week in June. Some great bat wood discussion in that article as well (from Mike Chamernik). … Guy Serumgard has been annoyed “all year” by an ad running behind home plate at Comerica Park reading “Big Hits. 118 Summers. Cold Pepsi. Roar Back. The Tigers Rule.” With the Tigers’ first season being 1901, that would make the 2019 season their — sigh — 119th summer.
NFL News: I’ve never seen this Bears logo before, and neither has Harry Cook. Can anyone tell us if it’s old or new? … NBC Philadelphia used the old Jets logo on its score bug for last night’s preseason game against the Eagles (from Garrett Floyd). … The Colts had two players wearing no. 40 on the field at the same time during last night’s preseason game (from Jason Montgomery).
College Football News: Clemson used the CFB150 logo as the 50-yard marker last night (from Kevin Shaw). … UCLA has switched to gold facemasks from grey (from multiple readers). … Georgia Tech’s Chris Martin wore no. 90 last night to honor teammate Brandon Adams, who died recently (from James Gilbert). … UCLA West Virginia is going blue-blue-gold this weekend (from @postmaroon and Drew Ward). … Duke is going mono-white this weekend against Bama. The original plan was to have Duke in blue and Bama in crimson, but that was evidently nixed by some party involved (from Michael Manker and @bk_owens). … UNC is going blue-blue-white (from James Gilbert). … Virginia is going blue-white-blue (thanks, Jamie). … Houston is going red-white-red this weekend (from Ignacio Salazar and Brian Cashiola). … Also from Ignacio, Rice is going mono-white. … Texas Tech is going white-red-red (from Scott Gilliland). … FIU is going white-white-blue this weekend against Tulane (from @kmn904). … Buffalo will be going white-grey-grey on Saturday against Penn State (from @bulletpoints716). … Virginia Tech DB Tyree Rodgers will wear Frank Beamer’s no. 25 during the Hokies’ opening week game against BC (from Andrew Cosentino). … Here’s a good piece on the renovations to Iowa’s Kinnick Stadium (from Kary Klismet). … East Carolina had some pretty massive TV numbers in 1990, didn’t they? Wow (from Brian Weingartz). … Replica versions of Syracuse’s new orange jersey are being delayed due to production errors (from Chris Sciria). … Some very nice art on the cover of this week’s City Weekly out of Salt Lake City (from Brice Wallace). … Apparently, there is a mule hidden in this old MU logo. Went cross-eyed before I saw it. Maybe you’ll have better luck! (form many, many readers). … Denny Majeske crunched the numbers and figured out the most common mascots in South Dakota high school football. “Tigers and Hawks lead the way with 6 each (including Blackhawks, Nighthawks, Redhawks, Seahawks) followed by Raiders (5), and Bulldogs, Panthers, Cougars, and Warriors (4 each). There are 115 football playing schools and co-ops with an unbelievable 7 state championship classes. 7!”
Hockey News: An Ontario K-9 police unit made a bite suit to look like a Mitch Marner Maple Leafs uni (from Wade Heidt). … Also from Wade, the OHL’s Saginaw Spirit have undergone a slight uni change caused by switching over to CCM’s Quicklite template.
Soccer News: The USL’s Hartford Athletic have released their charity kits for this weekend’s match (from Josh Hinton and Forrest J. Bowlick). … Argentine side River Plate has so many shirt advertisers, they got mixed up as to where each go. Assist Card should be on the back below the number, and Turkish Airlines should be on the front (from Germán Cabrejo).
Grab Bag: Coco Gauff wore her New Balance headband upside down during her US Open match. She also wrote “call me Coco” on her shoes (thanks, Brinke). … ESPN used an American flag for retired tennis player Ivan Lendl’s nationality. While Lendl was an American citizen for the final two years of his career, he was a Czech national for the vast majority of it, and Czech flag would probably have been more accurate (from @Atxprogress). … Iowa’s 18-month-old license plate design is so hated that the state started offering an all-black version, and the state’s making it even easier to obtain (from Jay Wright). … Dublin is facing Kerry in this Sunday’s GAA Final, and Dublin’s shirts commemorate the final in Gaelic while Kerry’s shirts commemorate the final in English. … Ohio University is once again allowing itself to be referred to as “OU” (from @JPadurean).
*last weekday of August*
Well, dear readers, my
Reign of Terror annual month-long weekday run has finally come to an end, and after this weekend (I’m outta here), I return to my usual Deputy Editor position running the weekend show starting next weekend. Of course, we’ll already be one week deep (technically two — what with all those “week zero” games — what’s up wit dat?) into NCAAFB season by then, which means I will once again welcome back the best College Football crew in the game: Terry Duroncelet, who brings you all the uni-gridiron action; new 5 & 1 decider Michael “Memal” Malinoski; Duck Tracker Dennis Bolt; and trackers Rex Henry (ACC), Dennis Bolt (Pac-12), Kyle Acker (Big XII) and Ethan Dimitroff (who tracks both the B1G and the SEC). So your college football weekends will be chock full of the best college football coverage there is. Stay tuned!
I want to thank all the guys who bring you the tickers this month (and every month) as well: Anthony Emerson, Lloyd Alaban, Jamie Rathjen and Alex Hider. Each was a big help to me and several contributed above and beyond the normal course of duty with lede and sub-ledes this past month. These guys are great. I also want to thank our Collector’s Corner guru Brinke Guthrie for all his efforts (which were not limited to just the CC); and also to welcome aboard Josh Hinton, who has been bringing us the PL roundups (and will continue to do so under Paul’s regular weekdays, beginning the week after this).
Special thanks also go out to the great Larry Torrez, who was once again instrumental in running the polling for the Griffins Jersey Design Contest, and doing his level best to ensure the vote was run both smoothly and fairly.
I also want to give my thanks to all those readers (and my usual suspects) who contributed articles this month — they’re too numerous to name, but you’ve seen their by-lines the past few weeks and they’ve allowed me to bring you (hopefully) the best uni content we can hope for during August. Were it not for a few surprise unveilings and assorted uni machinations, I would have been able to get to everyone who submitted pieces — I apologize to those whose articles didn’t make the August cut, but I assure them (and you) they will all be run at some point. There’s still a few great pieces that have yet to appear.
And finally, my thanks to Paul for keeping Uni Watch going all these years, and for allowing me to showcase whatever few talents I have on here every weekend, and for one month during the summer on the weekdays. For those who know my still somewhat trying personal situation, he’s been a great help and friend, and I’m grateful he provides this platform for all of us to enjoy! There is some good news for me though: starting this coming Wednesday, I’ll (again) be attending Grad School (this time in Library Sciences) so I’m both excited and anxious for that to begin. I’m taking three classes this fall, so I’ll be quite busy with that for the next few months — and hopefully for the next year plus when I intend to complete my degree on an accelerated schedule. So, in the words of the great Carl Spackler, “at least I got that going for me, which is nice.”
And Finally — no really — FINALLY — thanks to all the readers who continue to come to the blog and who read and contribute either to the ticker, in the comments, or simply by reading. You are all part of a much larger community than you know and your support is always greatly appreciated. You’re the best!
OK, enough of my yakkin’ — I’m outta here — I’ll catch you the weekend after this when we kick off the NCAA Football Season in Week 2 with a giant Week 1 wrap on Saturday, and then we begin the 2019 edition of the Sunday Morning Uni Watch in earnest the next day. Make sure you keep checking back!