The Bears got a penalty for trying to dry the field with a towel in order to kick a field goal. pic.twitter.com/Jv2A2na6zk
— Sickos Committee (@SickosCommittee) September 11, 2022
Hello, and welcome to the first Monday Morning Uni Watch report of the 2022 NFL season. Let’s start in Chicago, where the Bears were hit with a really unusual unsportsmanlike conduct penalty during a very rainy game after their kicker and holder tried to dry off the spot of a field goal attempt with a towel (which, it turns out, is not allowed). You can see the taboo toweling taking place above, and then here’s the ref announcing the penalty:
The Bears really got a unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for wiping down the field with a towel 💀
— PFF (@PFF) September 11, 2022
I found some good additional info in this postgame article, as follows:
“You’re allowed to use a towel to dry your hands and I just wanted to flatten the spot, so I just grabbed [holder Trenton Gill’s] towel and did it myself,” [Bears kicker Cairo] Santos said. “The referee called him, but it was really my responsibility.”
Santos said he didn’t know he did anything wrong. The NFL rulebook doesn’t allow players to move snow with a towel, but it doesn’t specifically say that for rain or water.
“You cannot bring what we consider a foreign object — this was not a towel that would go on a uniform — out to alter the playing surface,” referee Clay Martin said. “We felt that provided an unfair advantage.”
At the time, the penalty appeared to loom large because it pushed Chicago out of field goal range and forced them to punt, but they ended up winning the game anyway, so the “Towel Play” will likely become more trivial than notorious. (You can see lots of photos of the very rainy conditions here.)
In other news from around the league yesterday:
- Yesterday was Sept. 11, so all players wore rear-helmet decals commemorating the anniversary of the terrorist attacks.
- The Ravens announced on Friday that they’d have a dual memorial decal this season for Jaylon Ferguson and Tony Siragusa. As far as I can tell, they never showed a close-up of the decal design on social media, and I had a surprisingly difficult time finding a good view of it in the game photos. It’s a gold shield with both “Jaylon” and “Goose” in white and their respective uni numbers in black.
- The Texans added a one-game rear-helmet decal in support of the Robb Elementary School mass-shooting victims in Uvalde, Texas (which, when combined with the 9/11 decal and the team’s perma-memorial decal for Robert McNair, made for a very busy rear shell).
- Gorgeous game in Los Angeles, as the Chargers hosted the Raiders (lots of additional photos here):
- The Cardinals went with the bloodclot combo, which looked even worse with KC wearing red pants:
- Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts apparently made a midgame footwear switcheroo:
Looks like Jalen Hurts changed his cleats at one point. pic.twitter.com/vQnABYjBGh
— Crossing Broad (@CrossingBroad) September 11, 2022
- The Panthers’ midfield logo usually has blue trim, but yesterday it was just black-and-white. Plain white lettering in the end zones, too. Why? According to Fox Charlotte’s Will Kunkel, it’s because rainy conditions forced them to use aerosol paint to apply the graphics after the previous night’s Charlotte FC soccer game, and Carolina blue does not come in aerosol.
— Jrex (@Sokhommom) September 11, 2022
- Six teams wore white at home: the Commies, Dolphins, Jets, Panthers, Texans, and, of course, the Cowboys.
And there we go, with our first MMUW of the season in the books!
(My thanks to Mike Chamernik and Michael Hochman for their contributions to this section.)