There was a bit of confusion earlier this week when the NFL tweeted a graphic showing all of the new throwback and alternate helmets that had been released so far for this season. The confusing part was that it showed two different white helmet designs for the Cowboys: the standard throwback model with the solid-blue star, the grey facemask, and the blank nose bumper, which the team unveiled last week, and a separate design with the team’s primary outlined-star logo, a white facemask, and a “Cowboys” bumper, which was listed in the Twitter graphic as an alternate.
Many fans quickly surmised that the Cowboys planned to use the alternate version with their Color Rush uniform. That uni design has a white jersey, white pants, and white socks, and of course it’s not a throwback, so using the primary logo and a white mask seemed like a logical move.
But the Cowboys hadn’t announced anything about that, and I hadn’t heard any chatter about it either. Could the graphic have been wrong? I emailed the Cowboys — no response. I followed up — still no response.
Yesterday, however, I was interviewing a league executive about something else and got confirmation: The Cowboys will indeed be wearing both versions of the white helmet this season — one with their throwback uni and one with their CR uni. The league hadn’t initially planned on this when it allowed teams to add a second helmet color, but the Cowboys asked if they could give the white shell two different design treatments. Since the throwback and CR unis are both alternates (which means it’s permissible under league rules for them to be paired with an alternate helmet color), the league said yes.
It’s not clear to me why the Cowboys haven’t simply announced this themselves. But in any case, that’s the deal.
Giant Talent: The Man Behind Big Blue’s Uniforms, Field Graphics, and More
Last week I wrote about the Giants’ new throwback uniform. One of the people I interviewed as I was preparing that article was Doug Murphy, the team’s longtime director of creative services. I’d never spoken with him before, and he was a revelation — knowledgeable, friendly, detail-oriented, and very uni-enthusiastic. In short, he totally Gets It™.
I soon learned that Murphy oversees the team’s uniforms and a whole lot more. His portfolio also includes designing all of the the team’s commemorative patches, on-field graphics, stadium-wall graphics, publications, ads, the ring of honor, tickets, season ticket packaging, and a lot more (he worked on everything shown in the photo above). He’s probably had as much of an impact on the Giants’ visual culture as any one person has had for any team over the past generation — but he’d never even been on my radar until two weeks ago.
I often refer to equipment managers as the unsung heroes of the uni-verse, but front office creative staffers like Murphy are arguably even more obscure and, depending on how much responsibility they’re given, more important. They get very little attention and work almost completely behind the scenes.
With all that in mind, I’ve done an in-depth interview with Murphy for this week’s Bulletin column, and I don’t mind saying it’s one of the best, most informative interviews I’ve ever done (mainly because of Murphy, not because of anything I did). We talked about all the stuff I just listed, plus things like why the Giants wear grey facemasks, why they wear blue at home and red on the road, and more. If you’re a Giants fan, it’s essential reading; for everyone else, well, it’s also essential reading, because Murphy provides so much great info. (Even proofreader Jerry Wolper, who’s definitely not a Giants fan, went out of his way to tell me how much he liked this one.)
On Aug. 21, 1985 — just shy of 37 years ago — I was just starting my senior year of college in Binghamton, N.Y. I opened that day’s New York Times and read a very enthusiastic review of the quirky debut album by a New York band called The Scene Is Now. It sounded like my kinda thing, so I mailed a $10 bill to the address listed in the review, and I can still remember how I was sitting on the front porch of my off-campus house about a week later when the mailman brought me a package. Inside was the LP by The Scene Is Now, a poster, and a few dollars (the change from my 10 bucks). I ran upstairs to my bedroom to play the record and instantly fell in love with it.
About two years later I moved to NYC, where I went to see The Scene Is Now every chance I got (which, sadly, wasn’t very often — they played rather infrequently). Several years after that, I became friends with the band members, several of whom quickly ranked among my Very Favorite People Ever.
Although their lineup has shifted a bit over the years, The Scene Is Now are still together, still recording and performing, and I’m still one of their biggest fans. (In 2014 I was even asked to make a little speech at their 30th-anniversary show!) Last night they played their first show since before the pandemic, and they were as special as ever. Whenever I see them, I remember that day the mailman brought the package, and I smile.