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If the early returns are any indication, this is gonna be one doozy of an NFL season, at least from a uniform perspective. We're barely two weeks into the season, and already there's plenty to talk about.
For starters, mere hours after Uni Watch's NFL season-preview column was posted, the Chiefs announced that they'd be wearing a "H.S." helmet decal this season in memory of Hank Stram, who recently passed away. It's a classy move, for sure, but check out the size of this decal -- it's huge! Far be it from Uni Watch to suggest that Stram doesn't deserve as big a tribute as possible, but the "H.S." is almost as big as the team's main helmet logo. It's not clear if the Chiefs were trying to outdo this season's two other helmet memorial stickers (the 49ers' "72" in memory of Thomas Herrion, and the Panthers' "51" for Sam Mills), or if they just have an odd sense of scale. Either way, looks weird.
And speaking of weird, things got a bit out of hand in the Colts' season opener, as defensive lineman Corey Simon had the "7" ripped from his jersey during the third quarter, with freakish-looking results. Like, is that photo the very definition of "too much information" or what? Uni Watch never would have guessed that a mere "7" could hide such a multitude of sins. In any case, it seems safe to assume that nobody will ever mistake Simon for an eligible receiver, no matter what uni number he's wearing.
And then there's an issue that's been gnawing at Uni Watch's brain stem for some time now: the Jets' belt buckles. Check out these pix from last Sunday's game -- most of the players wore a little Jets logo on their buckles, but some just had a standard double-ring buckle (this was particularly prevalent among receivers). What gives? The logo, apparently, is on a little insert that's supposed to fit into the front belt loops but sometimes falls out. Now granted, inconspicuous uni details are Uni Watch's raison d'Ítre, but c'mon -- a belt-buckle logo insert? It's better than this, but just barely. Uni Watch hereby nominates the Jets' insert for the exalted title of Most Pointless Uniform Accessory -- although rival nominations are, of course, welcome.
The strangest scenario, however, has involved Redskins quarterback Mark Brunell. As readers Sam Bell and Todd Carroll alertly point out, Brunell had "Redskin" -- instead of the plural "Redskins" -- printed on his jersey and on his rear helmet liner during the team's Week 1 game against the Bears.
Now, one typo might be an honest mistake. But it doesn't take a conspiracy theorist to conclude that two matching typos are evidence of more than just an innocent coincidence. Was Brunell making some sort of statement? Is he not a team player? Does he consider himself to be a big chief among little Indians? Or did he just have trouble distinguishing singulars from plurals in grammar school?
These and other questions hung in the balance when the 'Skins played the Cowboys this past Monday night, with Uni Watch vigilantly perched mere inches from the TV screen in order to get a good view of the fine print on Brunell's togs. And sure enough, he still had "Redskin" on his jersey -- but his helmet liner had been updated to include the "s" in "Redskins." With the situation getting curiouser and curiouser, a thoroughly confused Uni Watch put in a call to Redskins HQ, where the team's entire PR staff immediately stopped what they were doing and began investigating this crucial mystery.