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His Mom’s Cooler Than Your Mom: Amazing Uni Craft Project!

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[Editor’s Note: Today we have a guest entry from longtime Ticker contributor Tris Wykes — that’s him above — who’s going to fill us in on a completely amazing uni-related craft project. Enjoy. — PL]

By Tris Wykes

Sometimes when you have kids, you’re lucky that their interests dovetail with your own. And sometimes, you wind up like my poor, late mother, Viva “Pat” Wykes, who had an only child obsessed with sports — me.

Mom didn’t know anything about sports. But when I was about five years old, she saw that I’d spend long stretches staring at the Sears catalog pages that offered NFL goods. I was especially fascinated by a page that showed replica helmets for sale. I eventually received a Packers helmet and a John Brockington No. 42 jersey for Christmas.

Mom loved to cross-stitch and was very good at it. She went through a phase of making small pillows, which usually had flowers or the like on them. But in the late 1970s she somehow found two patterns for NFL helmets — one for the NFC and one for the AFC. I recently found the NFC pillow [click to enlarge]:

I’m not sure what happened to the AFC pillow. Maybe I still have it somewhere, or maybe it suffered water damage and had to be tossed.

In retrospect, my favorite part is that Mom would have had no idea what the helmets were really supposed to look like. Maybe that’s why some of the logo proportions are off..? When I recently posted a photo of the pillow on Twitter, someone remarked that the Lions logo looks like a T-Rex.

Sadly, Mom and I didn’t get along so well once I hit my teenage years. But it’s cool to have this memento of when I was her little boy and she took the time to make me something right up my alley.


Paul here. Oh man — I love this so much! Even the inconsistencies are charming (like the way the white Bucs helmet has an outline for the earhole but the white Cardinals helmet doesn’t). I think my favorite detail is the way the white Giants facemask stands out against the white background, because it’s rendered with a different stitch:

Meanwhile: If you made an NFC pillow today — more than 40 years after Tris’s mom made the one for him — how many of the designs would you have to change? Here’s my breakdown:

• Completely unchanged (4): Cowboys, 49ers, Saints, Washington

• Unchanged except for facemask color (3): Bears, Packers, Vikings

• Unchanged except for minor tweak to logo (1): Cardinals

• Similar but with several overall tweaks (2): Eagles, Lions

• Significantly changed (4): Bucs, Falcons, Giants, Rams

All very interesting. Big thanks to Tris for sharing this family heirloom with us, and also for his many, many Ticker contributions over the years. You make Uni Watch a better place, Tris!

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And speaking of DIY projects…: Longtime reader/supporter and all-around swell guy Jimmy Lonetti recently DIY’d himself a Minnesota Twins grounds crew windbreaker, complete with a chain-stitched chest insignia and vertically arched lettering on the back. To see how he did it, start here and then scroll through the entire thread — you won’t be sorry. Nice job, Jimmy!

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What might have been: Everyone knows that the original Cleveland Browns moved to Baltimore and became the Ravens, and then Cleveland was given a new team that got to claim the Browns’ team name, colors, records/stats, and so on.

But did you remember that the initial plan was for the original Browns to keep their identity and simply be known as the Baltimore Browns? I had forgotten about that until a few days ago, when reader Jason Silfies sent me the rare item shown above. I’ll let him explain:

I was living in Baltimore in 1995, when the Browns announced that they would be leaving Cleveland for Baltimore.

At the time of the announcement, the team was still called the Browns until the city of Cleveland later sued for the rights to keep the name, logo, colors, etc.

In November 1995, when they were still slated to be called the Browns, The Baltimore Sun newspaper was promoting an upcoming special feature section on the new team. I was able to obtain this promotional insert from a newspaper vending machine.

A month of two later, a few players were signing autographs at a local mall to promote the team. I was able to have Vinny Testaverde sign the insert in the helmet area.

Fascinating stuff. Big thanks to Jason for sharing.

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ITEM! Uni Watch wallpapers now available: “Collector’s Corner” columnist Brinke Guthrie is always tossing suggestions at me. His latest: “How about some Uni Watch wallpapers? I can get them made for you!”

Sure, why not? So I sent Brinke some vector files, and he came back to me with a bunch of wallpaper designs — including some BFBS and purple versions! Brinke didn’t actually create them himself — “Credit for these goes to my friend and former co-worker Tom Maynor,” he says.

You can see all of the designs here. If there’s one you want to download, click on the thumbnail; then, on the resulting Flickr image page, click on the download arrow and choose “Original” from the popup menu. Enjoy!

(Big thanks to Brinke Guthrie and Tom Maynor for making this happen.)

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Membership update: Another day, another new round of purple designs added to the membership card gallery (including Aaron Spaulding’s, which is patterned after this 2015-16 Orlando Solar Bears jersey).

Ordering a membership card is a good way to support Uni Watch (which, frankly, could use your support these days). And remember, as a gesture of comm-uni-ty solidarity, the price of a membership has been reduced from $25 to $20 until further notice.

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 (now more than 2,700 of them!), and you can see how we produce the cards here.

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ITEM! Yet another membership raffle: A reader who prefers to remain anonymous recently donated two memberships for me to raffle off, so that’s what we’re going to do today.

This will be a one-day raffle. To enter, send an email to the raffle address by 8pm Eastern tonight. One entry per person. I’ll announce the winners tomorrow.

Speaking of raffles, the four winners of yesterday’s membership raffle are Mycroft Newkirk, Matt Dillon, Chad Staffan, and Chad Hayes (two Chads!). Congrats to them, and big thanks to Anthony Verna for sponsoring that one.

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The Ticker
By Lloyd Alaban

Baseball News: Here’s the story of the woman who has sewn the Women’s College World Series patch on every participating team’s uniform for the past 23 years — and hew she’s dealing with the Series’s cancellation this year (from Jeff Curley). … A brewery in New Jersey has released an Astros-inspired beer called Trash Can Banger in a tequila sunrise-themed can (from Elliot Teichman). … The Tacoma Rainiers, Triple-A affiliate of the Mariners, revealed the amazing caps they would have worn for their “La Familia” night. … ESPN re-aired the 2016 World Series last night and used the Cubs’ 1946-47 logo for a graphic (from Steve Sher). … Here’s a great Astros/White Sox crossover from reader Michael Galante: “My town in NJ is basically two towns linked together: Scotch Plains and Fanwood. SPF is a common way people refer to both towns or either town. My son’s 11-year-old travel baseball team, the SPF Raiders, hasn’t played yet this spring but they just got their uniforms. The jerseys are a take on the Astros’ tequila sunrise uniforms and their hats are a take on the 80’s-era White Sox logo.”

Hockey News: The Golden Knights will reveal the name and logo of their new Henderson, Nev., AHL affiliate tomorrow (from our own Anthony Emerson). … Ducks G Ryan Miller recently posted a picture of his last Anaheim trapper glove, which he’s selling for charity. He shared details that his Pisiform bone was amputated, which is why he has the league-approved extra pad (from Mike Engle).

Basketball News: North Carolina men’s announced the uni number assignments for their freshmen (from James Gilbert).

Soccer News: The following items are from Josh Hinton unless otherwise specified. … Arsenal’s new home kit was spotted in a retail store. … So was Juventus’s home kit. … New home kit and crest for Iceland. … Scunthorpe United has signed a kit deal with Macron. … Borussia Dortmund wore a special one-off sponsor yesterday against Bayern Munich. … Bayer Leverkusen had several photographs of fans in the seats of their stadium for their match against Wolfsburg yesterday. … Betway will replace Marathon Bet as Sevilla’s shirt ad, because Marathon Bet are pulling their sponsorship deal ahead of schedule. …For both away games since the Bundesliga has come back, Borussia Moenchengladbach’s goalkeeper has worn the team’s home kit instead of the normal keeper kit (from Shane Bua). … Orlando Pride will reveal their new kit next week (from our own Jamie Rathjen). … Also from Jamie: Here’s the logo for the NWSL’s return-to-play tournament, which is scheduled to take place in Utah in about a month. … There’s a new Manchester United leak. “It appears they’ve updated the home kit after an earlier leak was met with sharp criticism from the fan base,” says our own Anthony Emerson.

Grab Bag: The Twitter account for NRG Park, where the Astrodome and the Houston Texans’ stadium are both located, tweeted an illustration of Texans QB Deshaun Watson, Houston Rockets G James Harden, and Houston Astros 2B Jose Altuve. Both Harden and Watson are mirror images with backwards lettering, and Altuve is wearing a 2017 Independence Day uniform — weird (from Ignacio Salazar). … Riot Games, developer of the popular online multiplayer game League of Legends, revealed a new in-game advertising system (from Griffin Smith). … The Boise Police Department revealed new uniform pins over Memorial Day weekend. The pins honor veterans and help officers connect with other vets in the community (from Timmy Donahue). … The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review has been picking the best Pittsburgh athlete to wear each uni number. Here are their picks for Nos. 99, 98, and 97 (from Joe Werner).

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What Paul did last night: You can’t tell from the photos, but the silver car that was parked in front of our house for the past few days was partially blocking our landlords’ driveway. It wasn’t impossible for them to get in and out, but it was tricky. So they put left a note on the car’s windshield for a few days, asking the owner to please move the car, and also posted a note on our neighborhood listserv. No dice. So yesterday they made a few calls and had the car ticketed and then towed.

A short time later, a new car arrived — the black one you see in today’s photo. Naturally, it is partially blocking the driveway. My landlords are about to lose their minds. This is what qualifies as drama during the pandemic.

The branch is still there.

As always, you can see the full set of Pandemic Porch Cocktails™ photos here.

Comments (57)

    Re: pillow changes, the Saints wouldn’t need a new facemask, they still have a black one.

    So strange seeing two cars in the spot outside.

    I mistakenly interpreted the pillow as showing them with a grey mask — it’s a black outline, with grey in the center. I guess it should really be solid black.

    Will adjust text!

    Actually, the Saints and Vikings have both had changes to their helmet logos since the late 70’s — the Saints added an additional black outline on the fleur-de-lis in 2000, and the Vikings added black accents and repositioned the horn in 2013. I think both teams could go in either category #3 or category #4, depending on your opinion of the degree of change.

    I thought of that, but I think the degree of change is such that it would not affect the cross-stitch rendering.

    And 49ers logo also has a similar minor change as they now have white and black outlines around the red oval, not just black. I think all three of these examples are minor logo tweaks to the details which may or may not have been big enough to warrant a change in this pillow stitching format.
    I’d concur with Paul that the Niners, Vikings, and Saints are “unchanged” for the purpose of this pillow.

    There’s also a brighter shade of purple on the Vikings’ helmet. It may not be possible to obtain material in that hue, though.

    I remember xmas shopping in ’95 here in MD and seeing Baltimore Browns stuff everywhere.

    As a side note, I was really glad that didn’t stick. It was hard watching the Colts be in Indy; it would’ve added to the guilt of “stealing” another team to see the Browns name and logo in Baltimore.

    Strange how not this was not the only time in the 1990s that Baltimore had merchandise for their football team and ended up not being able to use the name.


    Baltimore CFL Colts in 1994. Baltimore had to play as “the horse with no name” in 1994 before becoming the Stallions in time for the 1995 CFL season.

    Great find! And I doubt any merchandise was for sale at the time, but there was the failed expansion franchise Baltimore Bombers. There was at least one prototype jersey. Today you can buy Baltimore Bombers replica jerseys and shirts online.

    Dear Comm-Uni-ty,
    Any interest in Zoom Uni Watch meetups? We’re not having regular meetups for quite some time…

    That would be fun. Never had a chance to go to a meetup in person.

    Yeah I have always wanted to attend a Uni Watch meetup – still hope to one day.

    Yes, that would be fun! I’ve been thinking about doing that as well. I’d been thinking about it more on a local level for uni-watchers in my area. But suggestion is a good reminder (to me, at least) that there’s no reason to restrict meeting by geography when Zoom lets us get together from anywhere.

    Quite a few cities have that tradition. NYC is not one of them. If you put a chair in a parking spot in NYC, someone (maybe me) will simply take the chair.

    I would NOT take kindly to a parking chair.

    Is the red car the real problem? Does it need to back up to make room?? In front of our house there’s room for two cars, but only if that car that comes first is cool about it and leaves the room.

    Californian here. Literally had no idea what a parking chair is and that there’s a culture behind it. Of course we don’t get as much snow as Pittsburgh or Chicago.

    But I agree, as someone who has to parallel park around people who leave waaaaay too much space between cars, I would also not take kindly to a parking chair.

    My grandfather in South Philly used to bring sawhorses from his basement to reserve the spot in front of his house. (Every time he left the house, yes.)

    In my previous Brooklyn neighborhood, residents and, especially, contractors working on long-term jobs would sometimes put sawhorses or traffic cones in parking spots. I’d just move them to the sidewalk and park. There’s no reserved street parking in NYC.

    There is no reserved street parking in a lot of these places. When I lived in Philly people would frequently use cones, chairs, etc to reserve a spot. It is public parking, and just because you live closest to that public parking spot does not give you ownership of it. To me that behavior always came off as incredibly entitled.
    One should also not need to put anything on the street to prevent people from blocking driveways. Easily solved by ticketing and towing. Was very kind of your landlord to make an attempt to get the owner to move the car before involving the authorities.

    What I meant — and I should have specified this more clearly — is that there is no *culture* of reserved street parking in NYC. Such a culture does exist in some other cities, even if it’s not codified into law.

    I grew up in Philly as well.
    The only time I ever saw lawn furniture used to hold parking spaces in my neighborhood was occasionally in winter…if you dug the space out, it was yours.

    Tris that’s a great keepsake. Mom’s like yours are blessings even when we don’t know it.

    I was working at the lettering shop in Baltimore that ended up working with the team. When the move was announced people were bringing in Browns hats, sweatshirts and jackets for us to add “BALTIMORE” too. I may still have my Baltimore Browns hat somewhere.

    We need like a full “tonal” black and grey BFBS uni-watch background lol. And some Oregon type variations.

    Wow! I didn’t know about the Cardinals. Here’s a fascinating article about the move: link. One of the reasons Bidwill chose Phoenix over Baltimore and Jacksonville was its climate. Modell is also interviewed.

    Gotta love the quote from Art Modell: “No one wants to see a franchise move”…sure thing Art…

    I didn’t know that they intended to move to downtown Phoenix. They couldn’t even leave Arizona State until the mid-’00s and it cost them a chance at having more revenue sooner. Even after getting a more modern place, they still haven’t played a single game in Phoenix to this day. Maybe it’s just as well that they started using Arizona as their geographic identifier a few years into their run in that state.

    The city of Cleveland SUED to keep the Browns name, colors, uniforms, history… I repeat – SUED. Let that insanity sink in.

    I’d be like “TAKE IT, PLEASE” we look awful and we’re named after a man who didn’t want the team to be named after himself in the first place.

    “But we don’t want to lose our stuff as the Dodgers, Lakers, Giants, and Colts did.”

    I get that, but the HUGE difference is those teams actually look good.

    This post is from a troll who’s been posting negative things about Joe Biden.

    Every day he tries to find a way, no matter how nonsensical, to post an anti-Biden comment.

    I usually just delete the comments and then block him (and then he finds a new way to post a new comment the next day), but today’s effort is such a pathetically lame attempt that I thought I’d leave it up.

    The comment doesn’t even make sense. If you’re gonna troll, you have to at least attempt to be a little more clever than that.

    RE: that NRG illustration, Harden has become a zombie, Watson appears to be in the throes of a seizure, and if that fellow in front is Jose Altuve, then I’m Zog, King of Albania. It’s a terrible image, made worse by the inclusion of that insipid train trestle graffito that has inexplicably become the unofficial motto of this city.

    This is what happens when several million people get lumped together on a malarial flood plain, with no real sense of community, very little shared history, and nothing holding us together other than regular paychecks and an abiding hatred of Dallas.

    I love the pillow and love the story, Tris! Thanks for sharing this! It sounds like your mom was a special lady. God bless the mothers who tolerated, encouraged, and even materially supported our obsessions with athletics aesthetics!

    As a life-long, die-hard Browns / Cleveland fan seeing that “Baltimore Browns” insert made my stomach turn. I remember being so sad that they were intending to keep the Browns name. Thankfully they changed it because Cleveland/Cleveland fans swarmed the NFL office with faxes and letters and protesters in person that the league wanted to avoid a lengthy court battle and gave the city the name/colors and a new team.

    The Orioles came to be when the St.Louis Browns relocated to Baltimore.
    If they hadn’t changed name, and if the Football Browns had kept their name and franchise history(I continue to lament that they did not), you’d have 2 teams playing in the same city sharing a team name, like you used to have in NYC (Giants) and St. Louis (Cardinals).

    Love that pillow! What a great treasure to have after all these years.

    I grew up in the DC suburbs, so I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with Baltimore. My sports allegiances have been to DC teams, although for most of my life the only sport I really cared about was football. I did, however, go to college in Baltimore at the time when O’s won the World Series and when Irsay packed up the football team in the middle of the night and moved to Indianapolis. Even though I didn’t care about the Colts, I hated John Elway for many years, because I think if he’d gone ahead and signed with the Colts, they might’ve stayed in Baltimore.

    All of that is to say that I don’t get all that excited one way or the other about Baltimore sports, but I still hate that they lost the “Colts” identity to Indy. I wouldn’t have wanted the “Browns” identity to move to B’more, but I think the town got the fuzzy end of the lollipop by having the league essentially tell them that the Cleveland legacy was more important than their own.

    I get why they chose “Ravens” for their new name, but I really hoped they would name the team “Mustangs” – mostly because my junior high school was the Mustangs and I think it’s an great name, but also because it would tie in a horse theme.

    It wouldn’t be impossible to do a “post hoc” records change like was done with the Hornets/Bobcats and Pelicans in the NBA. The Ravens could claim the Baltimore Colts’ history, then pick up from when the Ravens began. Indianapolis would be considered a new franchise starting in 1984. The Ravens would inherit the Baltimore Colts’ retired numbers, and only Peyton’s would remain retired by Indianapolis.

    The Ravens have sort of already done that, they have several Baltimore Colts in the ring of honor, and while the team has no retired numbers, 19 for Unitas is unofficially retired along with those of some Ravens greats. The Ravens honor the Colts legacy in the town, even if the titles and official franchise records stay in Indianapolis.
    The real oddity is the Titans/Oilers/Texans relationship. The Titans don’t do much to promote their time as the Oilers, and obviously the fans in Nashville don’t really care about what Earl Campbell or Warren Moon did. Meanwhile the name has been abandoned, but legally stays with the Titans, and Houston couldn’t claim it for their expansion franchise and went with the Texans. The Texans could do the same thing and honor players and moments from Houston Oilers history, even if in the record book they belong to the owners of the franchise in Nashville.
    Nothing stops the new franchises in each city from honoring the players or celebrating championships/moments from past franchises in the city. They simply can’t sell merchandise or claim them in their record book.

    “They simply can’t sell merchandise or claim them in their record book.”

    Those are not incidental restrictions.

    I’d love to see a legacy matchup between the Houston Texans/Oilers/Titans against either the New York Jets/Titans or the Kansas City Chiefs/Texans.

    If the Golden Knights’ farm team isn’t called the “Silver Squires,” then I’ll be slightly cheesed off.

    I love the wallpapers Paul. Big thanks to you and Brinke for that project!!!

    Just wanted to say a quick thank you for highlighting the diy projects. This one is outstanding. It shows just how much love Tris’ mom had for her son.
    Reminds me of a Tecmo Bowl cross stitch project that was a lede a few months back. My brother and I are constantly trying to outdo each other with gifts. I don’t think cross-stitch would be too hard to learn. So, thank you comm-uni-ty for the inspiration.

    Glad you like, Jason. DIY projects are a big favorite of mine, and I always enjoy showcasing them on Uni Watch. There’s way more creativity and inspiration in the average DIY project than in the average uniform unveilling!

    That pillow looks awesome, my mom had the same hobby but it never crossed my mind that she can do something as awesome. That is a really nice and one of a kind memorabilia.

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