Click to enlarge
The folks at the Gridiron Uniform Database recently received a note from one of their website visitors, who wanted to tell them about an interesting Seahawks jersey he’d acquired on eBay. He included some photos (which the GUD guys then shared with me), one of which is shown above. As you can see, it looks a lot like a 1980s Seahawks jersey (they used that mesh fabric back then), except for the sleeve striping. The Seahawks had blue-green striping back in the day, not green-blue-green.
Here’s a closer look at that same jersey, this time focusing on the sleeve:
I’d like to show you a side-by-side comparison, but it’s been surprisingly difficult for me to find a comparable sleeve-centric photo of a true Seahawks jersey from that era. Here are some pics that should at least give you an idea, though:
Which version do you like better? On the one hand, the two-stripe version that they actually used in real life matches the helmet logo. But the three-stripe version on the GUD guy’s jersey is a closer match to the pants striping.
Anyway: Is the old jersey a possible prototype design that the team ultimately rejected? Or maybe a practice jersey? One of the GUD folks shared the photos with a game-used jersey expert, who wrote back with this:
I believe the jersey is legit. In the early 1990s I was set up at a sports card show in Seattle where an individual walked in with a few of those jerseys, with the Russell Athletic tagging. The story was they came directly from the Seahawks equipment manager when the team was cleaning the old stuff out of the locker rooms and that they were used as practice jerseys. I am not sure if the were prototypes or if the team was testing jerseys from a different manufacturer.
I want to say the individual had some sort of provenance, but after 30 years I can’t recall what he specifically had. I actually purchased jersey No. 80 (Steve Largent), which I still own.
Interesting! I kinda prefer the three-stripe version, but that’s because I always prefer symmetrical stripe patterns. Hmmmm.
While we’re at it: While looking at old Seahawks pics, I was reminded of the fact that (a) they had fucking gigantic front jersey numbers back in the 1980s and (b) you could drive the proverbial truck through the space between the numerals on quarterback Dave Krieg’s jerseys (especially the white road jersey, although the blue jersey was no slouch either). Add (a) and (b) together and you get (c) some seriously weird-looking NFL photos. Let’s start with the blue jersey:
And now the white jersey, which really has to be seen to be (dis)believed:
With the one-shell rule being lifted next season, maybe we can finally see those uniforms back on the field in 2022. Here’s hoping!
(Huge thanks to the Gridiron Uniform Database crew for sharing the prototype story with me.)
Photo by Justin L. Fowler, The State Journal-Register; click to enlarge
Bulletin reminder: In case you missed it on Thursday, my latest piece for Bulletin is about two Illinois high schools that wear “half-and-half” two-tone helmets that are unlike anything I’ve ever seen before — and that I think could potentially rewrite the book on football helmet design. You can check it out on my Bulletin page. Enjoy!
Incidentally, one thing I learned after this article was published yesterday is that UConn wore a two-tone navy/white helmet way back in 1965! Check this out:
Is that wild or what? I had no idea! So when I talk in the Bulletin article about two-tone being the possible future of helmet design, I guess it would really be going back to the future.
(My thanks to Paul Dillon for letting me know about the UConn helmet.)
North Carolina party reminder: Remember, I’ll be convening a Uni Watch gathering in Durham, N.C., tomorrow, Nov. 13, 2:30pm, at Tobacco Road. No RSVP is necessary — just show up and look for me (or for lots of people wearing jerseys).
This will be the first Uni Watch gathering since the 20th-anniversary parties in 2019. I’m looking forward to meeting lots of you!
Uni Watch Bookshelf: Jennifer Government: I recently caught up with Max Barry’s 2003 novel Jennifer Government. Not sure how I missed it when it came out, but it’s right up my alley. Or to put it another way, the book’s title in Germany and Italy was Logoland; its title in Brazil roughly translates to United States, Inc.; and Barry himself considered calling it Capitalizm. Intrigued yet?
Jennifer Government is a dark satire set in a dystopian world in which taxation has been abolished, most government functions have been privatized, and corporate culture rules everyday life to such an extent that people’s surnames are simply the names of their employers, so people have names like Nathaniel ExxonMobil, Claire Sears, and Billy NRA. (The title character is a federal investigator, hence her name.) Also: Schools are run by companies like Mattel and McDonald’s; police investigate crimes only if the victims provide the funds for them to do so; if you call 911, the ambulance will only come if you provide a credit card number; and so on. It’s basically the “Hey, it’s just business” ethos taken to its logical conclusion. Eighteen years after its publication, a lot of it seems depressingly prescient.
And here’s the best part: The key character is named John Nike. He does not disappoint.
For years I’ve been saying that the spread of advertising into every nook and cranny of our lives is leading us to the world of the 2006 movie Idiocracy. But now I may have to start saying it’s leading us to the world of Jennifer Government.
Uni Watch’s highest rating — strongly recommended.
By Anthony Emerson
Baseball News: On Veterans Day, the good folks over at Baseball Reference add poppies to the profiles of players who served in the military (thanks to all who shared).
NFL News: Some members of the Denver Broncos practiced on Wednesday in helmets with the old-school “D” logo from their orange Color Rash uniforms while also wearing modern-look navy practice jerseys, which made for a very incongruous look (from Kary Klismet). … In a 1991 game, Washington QB Jeff Rutledge got hit so hard by Eagles LB Seth Joyner his facemask warped (from Johnny Garfield). … Last night’s Dolphins/Ravens game marked the 17th time the two teams have met but just the fourth time that the Ravens wore a combo other than purple-on-white (from Marcus Hall).
College/High School Football News: Tyrrell Smith has been assigned Frank Beamer’s No. 25 for Virginia Tech tomorrow. Since he’s an offensive lineman, he’ll wear his usual No. 79 for the game itself (from Andrew Cosentino). … The ACC Network has a morning show, Packer and Durham, that celebrated its 500th show yesterday. Packer and Durham got commemorative Virginia football jerseys — one is No. 5 and one is No. 00. “I have absolutely no idea why they picked us, or we volunteered, as opposed to any other ACC school,” writes our own Jamie Rathjen, a UVA alum. … Temple High in Texas wears pants that are blue in front and white in the back (from Chris Benedik). … Check out this photo of the 1893 Tulane football team. That chest crest looks like a radiation or fallout shelter logo, but according to James Gilbert, the symbol didn’t have those connotations until after World War II, more than 50 years later (original photo from Matthew Livaccari). … Here are this weekend’s unis for Virginia Tech, West Virginia, Virginia, Troy, ULM, Towson, Arizona, Vanderbilt, Michigan State, Mizzou, Tennessee, Oregon, Iowa and Duke (thanks to all who shared).
Hockey News: The WHL’s Kelowna Rockets acquired G Talyn Boyko from the Tri-City Americans recently, and when Boyko made his Rockets debut, he was still wearing his Americans mask (from Wade Heidt). … Also from Wade, the BCHL’s Coquitlam Express wore Remembrance Day uniforms on Wednesday night.
College Hoops News: UNC men’s will have camo warm-ups for today’s game in observance of Veterans Day (from James Gilbert).
Soccer News: Remarkably, Chelsea’s men’s team has worn their primary blue kits in every single one of their 20 first-team fixtures this season. That streak will end next weekend, when they visit fellow azure-clad club Leicester. … San Marino has unveiled the one-off 90th-anniversary kit they’ll wear for Monday’s match against England (from Jeremy Brahm).
Olympics News: The Swedish Olympic Committee has unveiled their uniforms for Beijing 2022 (thanks, Phil).
Grab Bag: Lauren Theisen of Defector has voiced an issue I’ve felt for a while now: score bugs are too big nowadays (paywalled, but worth a subscription, from James McNamara). … Pacific Sportswear and Emblem, a patch and emblem company, has donated 300 memorial patches for a UPS driver who was killed in a plane crash near Pacific’s corporate offices. The patches have been distributed to other UPS drivers in the area (from John Cerone). … Influential typeface designer Jonathan Hoefler was able to identify all the different fonts on the FBI jackets used in a recent episode of Succession (from @EricBinOmaha). … NASA’s Expedition 66’s mission patch is shaped like a U.S. Highway sign, even using Highway Gothic numerals (from James Gilbert).
By the time you read this,
I’ll be on my way to North Carolina (or maybe will already have arrived there). My flight was just canceled. Rebooked for an afternoon flight, which is going to cause major complications to my barbecue itinerary, but whaddaya gonna do.
I almost had to scrap this trip entirely, because my mom landed in the hospital again on Monday — third time in less than a month — but she went home yesterday and seems to be okay-ish now. My brother encouraged me to go ahead and make the trip, so off I go. Crazy times, crazy times.
Anyway: Play nice while I’m away, enjoy Phil’s weekend content, and I’ll see you back here on Monday morning. And for those of you in the Tar Heel State, I look forward to meeting you tomorrow afternoon in Durham! — Paul