Category Archives: Copping Out

Breaking Down The 2012 NFL/Nike Uniform Unveiling

I’m really, really surprised Kyle managed to not open his earlier article with one of his patented, lengthy comparisons between some sports-related event and some (hypothetical) relationship or “girl” story with expectations as high as they were. It would’ve practically written itself.

Of course, the high expectations were generated completely by Nike (and some widely circulated fan renderings made in the style of Nike’s “Pro Combat” NCAA uniforms which were frequently and erroneously reported as “the 2012 Nike uniforms” well after they were confirmed to be fanmade), as there’s simply too much money in the NFL to rock the boat. Patting myself on the back, I’ll point out that I predicted the uniforms generally wouldn’t change.

For what you care about, as far as we know from what we’ve seen so far, the Eagles uniforms aren’t changing at all this season. Being that Nike only showed the green over white combination (more on this below) and it didn’t change anything on that combo (in fact, according to Nike Corporate write-up for the Eagles, they “have chosen to stay with their traditional design aesthetic as well as their former uniform fabrication this year,” it’s safe to assume the Eagles other components (white jerseys, green pants, black alternates, assuming those ever make an appearance again) aren’t changing either. That’s it. End of story.

Allteams

Photo: Nike

The best way to analyze today’s event is to figure out what it wasn’t.

Yesterday’s event was not for football fans. Every fan wanted to know what their team’s “new” uniforms looked like. Nike only showed one combination for each team. Of course, the reason for that is twofold.

1) With 32 teams and multiple jersey/pants combos for each team, there are simply too many combos to show in-person (the Rams have seven combos which they regularly trot out, for example), but even the Nike website and store show only the primary/color jersey for each. OK, maybe the merchandise/material isn’t available yet (these are two of the largest brands in the world, get your stuff together), but computer renderings could have been made for publishing on the Internet, a la an official style guide. Oddly, there are some substantial uniform updates for 2012 which weren’t even mentioned on the 3rd. The Jaguars will be adding a black alternate to their current set for the 2012 season, so there could be other notable updates for which teams want to control the release as opposed to Nike or the NFL.

2) There was nothing “new” about the uniforms from a fan’s perspective (other than for Seahawks fans, of course). If recaps of the event included lines like, “And after showing the Rams 5th effectively unchanged combination of 7, this reporter’s eyes began glazing over,” it’d ruin the coverage. Instead, we get reporting(?) on how these uniforms will “usher in [a] new era of sportswear” (note: they won’t).

Yesterday’s event was not for the NFL. The event was a Nike commercial where they could push their brand values of performance, etc. in exchange for the $1.1billion they (reportedly) spent for the NFL license. That’s all well and good (capitalism!), but that’s all it was. Fans don’t care that the new fabric is however many percent lighter or better at wicking moisture (unless they’re materials science engineers). It’s simply means to an end for associating all of Nike’s products with “faster, lighter, stronger.” Again, that’s fine, but the “new” uniforms aren’t a big deal to anyone other than Nike (or Seahawks fans). To talk about this “changing everything” or “the game never being the same”…geez, slow down, Nike.

Speaking of the Seahawks and their new design… they actually did post a complete set of pictures showing all combinations. Generally, the new uniform is an evolution of the current design, not a throwback-inspired 0r clean sheet redesign (don’t tell Nike that). They did add a grey alternate jersey (as well as pants), but the Seahawks generally wore monochrome White or Blue in the last few years in the current uniform, so let’s see if the actually exercise all of their combinations. BUT, with 3 pants and 3 jerseys, that’s 9 combos, so we could see an Oregon-typeeffect where they’re in something different almost every week (though the alternate is worn at most twice a year per NFL rules), especially if Nike pushes for it (and they probably will – fans seem generally supportive of Oregon’s non-uniform uniforms. For the record, I actually like the Oregon uniforms, though I wouldn’t mind if they stuck to an NFL-like Color/Home/Alternate, but I guess I’m old-fashioned. Note: this is slightly sarcasm. The NFL didn’t have predictable alternates until 2002.) The new Seahawks uniform is not awful, but in terms of emotional statements that can’t easily be refuted, it doesn’t look like an NFL uniform. In some big picture (let’s say 10+ years), it will look as dated as the current Bengals set, which was also a “product of the [2004] times” type of design, lots of black, inexplicable paneling, non-white monochrome combinations, you name it.

My prediction (UniDiction?) for the Seahawks is that the trendy grey alternate will survive for three or four seasons, then be replaced with a throwback from this style (or similar), which will  become a fan favorite and eventually replace the “this smells like 2012″ design that was unveiled today. (note: if the Seahawks somehow become a dynasty in the next few years, fans will latch onto the new 2012 design, similar to how Boston fans like the generally ugly Patriots uniforms in which they won all those Super Bowls. Note: The Seahawks are not going to become a dynasty.)

And a quick word about the grey alternates: this was obviously a push from Nike to which the Seahawks did not say “no.” I say “obviously” because it’s the new “trend” color Nike’s been pushing. Look at this year’s special NCAA basketball uniforms… all made by Nike. Look at their Lunaracer sneaker. Look at the Kentucky NCAA Basketball Championship gear (made by Nike – you’d think Kentucky’s color was blue. Hmm…) This fad will die, and someone in the Seahawks marketing department will say, “Wait a minute. These grey jerseys and pants just look like slightly dirty versions of the white uniforms.” Really. Look at the grey over white combo. There’s so little contrast that it’s useless. There is no reason for this to exist other than Nike’s push for grey to be the next big thing, like the late 90s/early 00s black boom (which is beginning to finally fade away, though maybe just “fading” to grey…)

And finally, another pattern seen on the new Nike uniforms is the swapping of grey for silver for some teams. Nike claims this is due to limitations of the new fabric, but, not so coincidentally, look at Nike’s high profile “Pro Combat” NCAA uniforms. Nike loves matte colors. Not to get all conspiracy theory-ish, but if they’re billing the new fabric as the greatest thing ever, they couldn’t have figured out a way to keep the Patriots and Lions in silver instead of matte grey? (It looks like the Raiders are still in silver, so…conspiracy!)

On top of both of those reasons, grey has no place on a sports uniform other than “away” uniforms for baseball teams. It’s why I always complain when the Eagles play the Giants, and that’s not coming from a place of Giants-hate, if they wore white pants, I wouldn’t complain as loudly.

During an odd time in last year’s Eagles season, Kyle wrote a multi-step plan for how to fix the Eagles, one of which included the uniforms. In the next week or so, I’ll be looking at a few strategies for how that could’ve/should’ve taken place, and what changes would have helped the Eagles’ look

½

Throwing Your Vote Away

I don’t really believe in voting. I know that’s not the most original sentiment and even sounds like the type of overwhelmingly “look how anti-establishment I am – I’m sure that no one else is as serious about it as I am” phrases for which I could call someone out. But, my argument is the same as the usual (it’s super-rare for one vote to matter) and the wonderfully apolitical “status quo” thing. Case in point: the big hubbabaloo about the balance of power shifting to the Democrats in Congress last November. A whole lot of nothing has come of that. Iraq is still going on and the president’s rather liberal immigration make-over was deeee-nied. Status Quo!

flush
It was kind of like this.

Every November, this leaves me at a cross-roads – what’s a better way to waste my vote? To not vote? To go to the booth with zero knowledge of anything going on? Yesterday I chose the latter.

First, let me say that the voting location, The Pennsylvania Institute of Technology, is probably the creepiest set of buildings I’ve ever seen/been inside. Architecture that screams “stay out,” the type of church/chapel that you’d see in a movie where the devil comes back and has his big face-off with a holy warrior, big trees which make creaking sounds at night, and worst, a wholly inadequate access road for fire trucks.

Having manned up enough to get out of my car, I walked around rather aimlessly looking for an entrance to the fortress. No doors were labeled, but I managed to walk into what I learned was the completely wrong wing of a building that I’m sure you’ll see on Ghost Hunters in a few years when the county condemns the place. Voting was simple – I signed my name, waited in line with one person in front of me, listened to one of the other voter’s 3-year-old scream like a maniac, then was next in line.

I got into the booth which had electronic push buttons, then developed a strategy. I saw there were a lot of women in the races, so simply, for every random guy I voted for, I voted for two random women. I also made a point not to vote for the school board person who registered under both Democrat and Republican. How dare he make a mockery of our two party system! How dare he!

So, having done my part for women’s lib., I pressed the green “vote” button to lock it all in, and I had just done my civic duty. Of course, if Delaware County effectively closes down for one week each month due to my voting patterns, maybe I did more harm than good. (I should really be a stand-up comedian.)

****

Throwing Your Vote Away gets four stars. It sticks it to the man (or maybe the woman, in this case) and gives me slight moral superiority over those that protest voting by completely not voting. Unfortunately, it kind of takes a long time getting there, finding the right entrance, then getting back (especially if the voter in question chose to man-it-out and not actually look to see where the place was, and instead, relied on the “fact” that he could, in his mind’s eye, picture the street sign which said “Manchester” though he had no idea where that sign he was remembering actually was.) In terms of doing even more to throw a vote away I have a few options: vote on only one item – so when they talk about about how many people voted, the actual races will have fewer total votes than there were actual voters OR play battleship with the two columns of little lights which glow when you press the candidates’ names. Ah, democracy.

Pitchfork Media’s Review of “Shine On” and “Get Born” by Jet

My review of “Step One” by Steps. Wow, that was easy. I didn’t even have to sit through the CD!

When you read a review, you expect certain things. You want to hear some insightful positives and negatives regarding the thing being reviewed. You don’t want to be talked down to. You hope to have an overall idea of whether said object is worth seeing/listening to/buying/reading/visiting/eating/doing/throwing things at. And after you’ve done any of those things, you want to come back and read that review again to determine whether you agree or think the reviewer is out of his mind. Basically, you expect reviews like this and this. Then you go to a website whose supposed specialty is reviews, and you see something like this. This “review” only manages to fit one of those criteria, that being the last one” that this reviewer is totally out of his mind.

A long time ago, when the second Franklin movie was being planned, our discussion took a long detour, with us arguing over the definition of the phrase “cop out”. There were numerous e-mails sent back and forth trying to determine if an idea that I came up with was something that constituted this. You can read highlights here. This argument was never really solved, but I stand here today telling you once and for all, that this “review” is the definition of “cop out”.

I can gather by the video clip shown here that the “reviewer” doesn’t like Shine On, but I was interested in hearing some actual insight into what makes it good or bad. Granted, the CD wasn’t that great (there were three songs on it that I thought were really good, but the rest was kinda mediocre), but it doesn’t deserve to have its review have nothing interesting or meaningful to say at all. I don’t know how a high-fallutin’ website like pitchforkmedia decided that that was representative of their organization, but recently, they even put up a similar video, claiming it was a JET music video. Obviously, the pretentious music-lovers have a thing against the Aussies rockers, but I really can’t figure out what it is.

The review of their first album, Get Born, gives us a little more understanding, but I use the word “little” literally. It’s presented in the form of a discussion between the band and the owner of a venue where they’re supposed to be putting on a concert. Things go wrong at the concert and the fans turn on the band. Sure there are opinions presented about the band, but I’m sure they’re all completely over-the-top exaggerations from someone who’s never seen them live or met them. I can’t imagine a band (aside from the Flaming Lips or Ozzy Osbourne) actually demanding [thirty f%$&in' angry alligators with top hats on, Iggy Pop shooting out of that cannon, and midway through sending in the kid from the iPod commercial.] It may work as a review of the band, but as a review of the album it fails miserably.

It only mentions three songs from the CD (very briefly) and it only has two points that I gleaned from the whole thing. The first is that all their songs sound like other bands (citing AC/DC, Iggy Pop, Wallflowers, Oasis, Bon Jovi and the Rolling Stones). The second is that they have “insipid love songs that sound like wedding band covers” and “insipid lyrics, we say ‘Come On!’ and ‘Oh Yeah!’ every five seconds”. So basically the guy only knows one insulting adjective. You know, there’s a thesaurus feature in MS word, and I’d assume there’s also one on the trendy Mac you also probably use. Insipid: dull, bland, wishy-washy, characterless, colorless, trite, tame, unexciting, uninteresting, boring. Maybe none of those words sounded smart/insulting to readers enough, though I’m partial to the word “trite

Here’s the thing that the review is missing. The music is fun. It’s not meant to be high art. It’s not meant to be genre-pushing. It’s meant to be music with easy-to-learn lyrics and melodies that you can put in your car CD player, turn the volume way up on, roll down your windows and shout at the top of your lungs and have a good time. And it completely succeeds at that, something that this reviewer was competent enough to pick up on. There’s a good mix of fast and slow songs (so the whole CD doesn’t sound the same, a huge pet peeve of mine), and I like most of the slower songs. I understand that a lot of the faster songs sound similar, but they’re catchy enough that it doesn’t bother me (a problem that the second CD had), much like with critically lauded Franz Ferdinand. As far as the words go, I’m not expecting poetic lyrics, so why should I complain that they’re not there? Did people who went to see Pirates of the Caribbean complain that there wasn’t a deeper meaning in the dialogue, or that it wasn’t a British period piece about some queen from the 17th century? I would hope not. They should be expecting to have fun. That’s all I expect out of it. That’s not to say that I shouldn’t hold the band accountable for bad music, I just don’t think that criticizing lyrics for this kind of music is really the way to go. Do critics complain about the lyrics to “SHOUT” or “MONY MONY”? Some of the songs on that Fountains of Wayne CD, Welcome Interstate Managers had TERRIBLE lyrics, but critics dismissed them because of how fun the melodies were.

Now some of you who are familiar with Aaron Copland’s book, “What to Listen for in Music“, would say that I’m only listening to this album on a “sensuous”, or maybe an “expressive” level, and that to fully understand why music is good or bad, I have to be listening to it on a “sheerly musical” level as well, combining the three. Well, in response to that I would claim that there isn’t too much to it on a musical level, but my musical knowledge is limited. I’m learning to increase what I hear when I listen, but I want to understand what makes this a musically good or bad album. That’s why I went to a site where I knew I would find a harsh but intelligent criticism of the CD. But there was none of that there. Instead, all I got was a poorly-written, profanity-laced diatribe against the band for mimicking other bands. Personally, since there really isn’t any truly popular band playing right now that sounds like them, I don’t have too much of a problem with it, but I’m reviewing the review, and not the band or CD, so that doesn’t really matter.


Zero stars for the cop-out Shine On so-called review.

½
½ star for the creativity to write a review for Get Born as a dialogue. Minus four and a half for not having any substance to it at all, not talking about the songs, and basically complaining because Jet has songs that sound like bands that lots of people like.

That new U2/Green Day Song

I guess I just don’t understand the point. U2 needed a single for their approximately fifth greatest hits collection. Rather than come up with a really good song themselves, they enlisted the help of a band that while good, just doesn’t seem like the right fit with U2: Green Day. Not that Green Day can’t play, but the two bands’ styles are just a little too different to mesh collectively, not unlike that time where about 16 different musicians got up onstage at the Grammys and butchered Lennon/McCartney’s “Across the Universe”. Paul’s probably rolling in his grave. “route involving thoughtful lyrics about the condition of the area, or people’s struggles, they decided that the second half of the song should consist of the phrase “The Saints are Coming”, repteated over and over and over again, in a musical phrase that has definitely been taken from somewhere that I can’t quite place. They chose to debut this song at the reopening of the Superdome, for the Saints-Falcons Monday night game a few weeks ago, and it works perfectly as an opening theme song for the football team during games. I can’t imagine, however, that this song is going to be remembered at all in even one year’s time, and that’s a shame considering that this is all that two of the most prolific bands of the last 15 years could come up with. It’s almost like they weren’t trying.

They could very well have been trying something new though. This could be the start of product placement within the music industry. Well, I guess that’s not new” but maybe actually using the songs on the radio to promote something. It would be like the Eagles writing a song about how great the Philadelphia Eagles are, to get them pumped up, or AC DC writing a song for the Chargers (HA!), or Bad Company writing a song called “Bad Company” and using it at Enron meetings (BA-ZING).

And isn’t Bono’s thing Africa , anyway? Why didn’t they use the power of song to put together a group to raise funds for Africa “. Oh waitI forgot” Well, why didn’t they do it again? A world-renowned, self-appointed ambassador to a far-off and underprivileged continent can’t be taking time away from that to help another cause, especially one that’s been nigh on forgotten by most of the world ( You know you’re lost in your own logic when you can’t tell if you’re being sarcastic or not). I mean, you don’t see Brangelina Polie out there helping America ‘s homeless people, or fighting drug abuse, or all the millions of issues people here face every day. And that’s because they have character. They know that if they multi-task, not only do run the risk of reducing the importance of their cause, but they also reduce the importance of other, more useless celebrities. By doing double duty (I said Doody!… I guess that doesn’t work as well when typed out) when it comes to activism, you’re the one putting Rob Scheider out of a job. It’s on your head Bono.

What was I talking about? Oh, this dumb song. Like I said, it may be good for the football team, but call me cold; I don’t really care about the Saints. It was nice to see them play well, but not nice enough for me to listen to an awful song that could’ve been better.

*

One star for trying to bring some attention back to New Orleans , and making a song that they’ll be playing forever at Saints games. Minus four stars for making the rest of us listen to it, and possibly starting a trend of individually-made rock songs for a specific sports team. The last thing we need is a re-made version of “Benny and the Jets” about New York’s lesser football squad. We already have to deal with that annoying J-E-T-S cheer. That should be enough.