Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Week 4: Fox in Socks, Rules & Regs

Following on the heels, if you will, of last week's conversation about cleats, this week's topic is socks.

There's supposedly rules about the way in which NFL players may wear their socks, but you'd never know it from watching the games. 

As recently as last season, this sign was hanging in the Cleveland Browns' locker room:

First reaction - Wow.  That graphic has to be twenty years old - the guy still has sleeves.  But that's a topic for another day.

Couple things to note:

"The exterior stocking must be a one-piece unit solid white from the top of the shoe to the midpoint of the lower leg, with approved team color or colors from that midpoint to the top of the stocking"

"Stockings must meet the uniform pants below the knees"

So let's look at the Packers.  Last week, we had some very unique interpretations of those rules:

Personally, that one's my favorite look.  I love the strong colors, with little to no white at all.  I'd like to see football go baseball's route and wear solid colored socks with no whites.

By my reading, Aaron Rodgers is the only one who actually conforms to the uniform code.  Low whites, big gaps between the pants and socks either because the pants are worn high or the socks or worn low or both, all sorts of violations.

This reminded me of the Denver game last year, in which Charles Woodson and Al Harris decided to wear their whites high, and no green socks at all:

Also "Sleeves must not be torn or cut".  So how the hell does Chris Hovan get out on the field each and every Sunday?

But now we're back to sleeves.  And again, that's a subject for another day.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Week 3: Sometimes a subtle change is the best change

Can't believe we're through the first three weeks and only now talking about this - there was a potentially Earth-shattering development in Packers uniforms this year.

Huge. Ground-breaking. The first significant change (meaning that the manufacturers' logo swaps don't count) since Nike slashed away at Lombardi's sleeve stripes in 1997. For such a uniform-conscious, conservative team, this is big.

Black cleats.

Hey, I'm serious. The Packers have been wearing white cleats since 1974. In the preseason, they wore the standard white cleat we're all used to seeing:

Then, when the regular season started, the Packers came out of the tunnel in black cleats, as seen this week against Dallas:

Now, there is some variation allowed. Every player must wear cleats which are predominantly of the team's official color. Rodgers wears cleats which have a much higher percentage of white than either Collins or Desmond Bishop above:

Nothing really new there, as Favre's white cleats usually incorporated a fair amount of green.

I'd love to know what the specific regs are, but the NFL is extremely reluctant to reveal this kind of information. If anybody has a copy, let me know.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Week 2 - Oh Captain! My Captain!

The NFL's misguided journey into captain's patches continues. For those who missed them last season, they're standardized across the entire League. Squarish patch featuring bold C and four stars below - one gold star for every year spent as Captain. Guess the NFL will institute term limits so nobody goes after four. And considering that the League doesn't count any years before the 2007 season, one can only presume that all Captains will be required to start over with a single gold star after their mandatory year out of office.

As with last year, the Packers select their captains on a week-to-week basis, which means that there isn't enough time to sew the ugly things on. I'm presuming that when and if the Packers make the playoffs (looking more like "when", with this nice 2-0 start, but let's not get ahead of ourselves), they'll have postseason captains, and that means we'll see them again in January:

Photo: Tom Lynn, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Uni Watch reader Kody Staples got these screengrabs of Packers offensive tackle Mark Tauscher, who went stripe-less on one sleeve during the win over Minnesota:

The area on his shoulders where the stripes should go is darker than the rest of the jersey, but that looks like it's just sweat.

Wardrobe malfunction? Deliberate attempt to introduce an assymetrical look to the NFL? Whatever the origins, it's not a bad response to the problem of disappearing sleeves. Instead of chipping away at Vince Lombardi's stripes, just eliminate them altogether.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Week 1: The Most Memorialized Man in NFL History

So far so good in the Rodgers era - 1 and 0, with an important division victory on our side.

The uniform news this week revolves around Gene Upshaw, the controversial head of the players' union, who died earlier this year. The trend towards over-the-top memorials continues, as all players on all teams wore a patch in his honor, and the patch logo was painted on all fields.

Originally, it was announced that all teams would wear the patch for the entire year, but it seems as though sanity has returned at least a little bit - given that no Packers player has been memorialized for an entire season, it seems unseemly that Upshaw, with no specific connection to the team, should be accorded an honor denied Hutson, Canadeo, Nitschke and White. Now the patch is only for the first game (the Raiders, Upshaw's club from his playing days, will wear it all season), but the helmet decal will stay all year.

The placement of the patch caused some problems with the skin-tight cut of some jerseys - check out Cullen Jenkins (#77), Will Blackmon (#27) and Atari Bigby (#20):

Yep, they have so little real estate that the patch lays over the numbers.

Seriously - for a union head? Pete Rozelle himself only got a crummy helmet sticker, and that for just one game (even if it was a Super Bowl).

I have a real problem with the attention-seeking memorials of Goodell's NFL. Surely there's a middle ground between these showy displays and Peyton Manning not being allowed to honor Johnny U's passing with black high-tops.

Monday, September 8, 2008

The Wearing of the Little Green Dot

Even for a team as sartorially consistent as the Packers, changes abound. Last year, the NFL introduced a little green dot to mark all radio-equipped helmets:

Photo: Tom Lynn, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

This year, there are two modifications. First, the defense will be allowed to radio one player, which means a little green dot on both sides of the line. Second, the dot is New And Improved - no longer a plain Staples-issue sticker, but fully authorized and licensed by the National Football League. You can tell because they slapped their logo on it:

Last season I thought the dot was ugly, but hey - now that it's all official-like....

I'm sure I'm not the only one who found this somewhat familiar. Apparently Mr. Yuk comes radio-equipped.