IRVINE, Calif. — Greetings from Rams camp, where on Thursday I found dancing quarterbacks and an undrafted wideout doing his best Odell Beckham impersonation. I also got to peek behind the scenes of dorm life for the players, thanks to a video story my colleagues Robert Klemko and John DePetro produced that will go live on The MMQB next week. (Gamers, you’ll want to see it.) And between autograph sessions—his, not mine—Rams WR Tavon Austin told me about his socks, which you can read about below, in addition to items on official NFL apparel, vintage football shirts and a couple of trouble-causing French bulldogs owned by a Bronco.
* * *
NFL ROLLS OUT THE STYLE
The response to the first Football Lifestyle column on T-shirts was so great that I want to make sure to stay on top of the latest football apparel offerings for fans. You folks clearly have a hunger for it. Speaking of hunger, here’s a picture of Von Miller eating a popsicle on the back of a beastly pickup truck near a wall mural.
What’s happening here? Good question. Even for Von Miller—a well-documented eccentric—this is pretty random. As it turns out, it’s part of a series of images featuring players that will be used to promote the 2016 NFL Apparel Collection being rolled out nationwide right now.
Rhiannon Madden is the NFL vice president behind the collection, which features items for men, women and kids from brands like Levi’s, New Era, Nike, ’47 Brand and more. Madden told me one of her goals with the new apparel was to speak to fans who “want a more subtle approach and a little more stylish than what we call the ‘loud and proud’ approach. We understand the fans who want items that scream their colors and logos but we want to also cater to fans who want to be a little more subtle, a little more stylish in showing off their team pride.”
The emphasis on style might not play so well in the Dawg Pound or in the end zone at Lambeau, but I like that the NFL is paying attention to this kinda stuff and giving fans more choices for how to show their spirit. There are a few duds to be sure but the NFL is getting a lot of this right. Here are a few items that stood out from the collection, which is available at NFLShop.com and other retailers like Nordstrom and Macy’s.
(Note: Most items are available for every team, so if you like the look, you should be able to find your team. Click red link or pic for purchase info.)
Hey, hipsters like football too. When I asked Madden for the pieces she was most excited about in the collection, she mentioned these non-traditional pieces from Levi’s. Good option for fans looking to push boundaries.
Suns Out, Guns Out isn’t applicable during the fall, but fans fresh off a WOD can still show off their gains in these tri-blend, slim-fitting henleys. (Pro tip: Order one size bigger if you want a little extra room.)
Majestic Hyper Classic Slub T-Shirt
I had a couple of these listed in the all-encompassing T-shirt piece, but they merit mentioning again. Soft, heathered gray tees are perfect to wear around the house while you host a game-watch gathering.
’47 Brand Alpha Hoodie Camo
Like Hansel, camo is so hot right now. So if staying on trend is important to you, hard to go wrong with these hoodies. I like the absence of team colors—plus, maybe you’re hitting a duck hunt right after the fourth quarter?
I’ve kept most of this male-focused because, well, I’m a guy and I think mainly of myself. But the NFL is all-in on the women, and this purse line is only a small part of it. Madden mentioned a focus of this year was helping women go from “studio to stadium,” and this new line of leggings from Nike helps accomplish that.
* * *
THROWBACK FOOTBALL GEAR
Maybe all that official team apparel above is not your thing. A little too sanitized maybe? I can respect that. I don’t have an NFL team that I root for, but I still like to show off my general football fandom. That’s why these Football Utility Shirts from Ebbets Field Flannels are perfect.
In addition to not having a team, I also love vintage sports branding. Ebbets prides itself on recreating classic athletic apparel of the past, and though the focus is primarily on baseball, Ebbets has uncovered some football gems too. These shirts have logos of teams from defunct leagues like the AAFC, PCFL and AFL and feature the kind of details—shoulder yokes, doubled elbows—that no apparel brands really do anymore. Plus, these are made at the original Canadian mill that first produced these in the early-1900s.
Jerry Cohen, the founder and owner of Ebbets, told me he enjoys scouring for unique football items; he’s made several trips to Canton for research purposes. Ebbets also has a line of authentic football jerseys—all featuring teams from 1949 or earlier—and, if that price point is a little steep, Cohen said T-shirts featuring the logos and branding of some of those same teams will be available this fall.
If you grab anything from Ebbets, drop me a note and let me know how you like it.
* * *
HARD KNOCKS: SHOP THE SHOW
Last week, I debuted a section looking at the items worn by Rams players and coaches during the season premiere of Hard Knocks on HBO. A couple of you reached out to say you enjoyed it, but here’s the part that matters: I liked doing it, so here we go again.
Ram: WR Tavon Austin
Item: Custom Roger Goodell socks
Sock brand The Real Forty-Three made these for the Rams wideout using a picture of the commissioner and Austin on stage at the 2013 draft; Goodell’s on the left sock, and Austin’s on the right. One of many questions I had: Did Tavon gift Rog with a pair? Tavon wouldn’t say.
Ram: DE Matt Longacre
Item: Huckberry x Homage Yosemite T-Shirt
Huckberry and Homage are two of my favorite brands, which is probably why I spotted this shirt in the corner of a generic film room shot. If you like national parks, they’ve got plenty more to choose from.
Ram: DT William Hayes
Item: Stay Humble T-Shirt
Bad news for anyone wanting to emulate their favorite mermaid-loving defensive tackle: These Stay Humble tees are sold out and the brand appears shuttered. Maybe, like dinosaurs, it never even existed in the first place.
Hat tip to reader Abe S.—a former SI.com intern—for helping tracking down this gear. Abe also passes along that Tackma is Lebron James’ favorite streetwear brand, and I’m going to have to take his word for it. (I can report that TACKMA stands for They All Can Kiss My A--.)
Ram: WR Austin Hill
Item: Money in the Clutch T-Shirt
This is a retired Nike shirt that was made in a Kevin Durant collection, though some are still hanging around on eBay. Unfortunately, Hill didn’t play in the first preseason game, so we’ll need to wait to see if he lives up to his shirt’s prophecy.
Ram: Coach Jeff Fisher
Item: Bike Coaching Shorts
A Google image search for “Rams coaching shorts” turned up the jpg linked above, which gives me hope these still exist—somewhere. I think I found the perfect item for the 2017 NFL Apparel Collection.
* * *
THE MMQB PET OF THE WEEK
This is Reptar (left) and Kuddi. They are French bulldogs owned by Broncos tight end Virgil Green and his wife Marianne. Kuddi will be 3 in October and Reptar turned 1 in May. I’ll let Green tell you the rest.
• “They’re great dogs, really. My wife loves them because they love to cuddle. The oldest one is Kuddi. I was listening to a lot of Kid Cudi at that time in my life, so I named him that. The youngest one’s name is Reptar after the Rugrats character. It’s the perfect name because he causes havoc.”
• “Kuddi is like a human. He understands everything that is going on. Reptar is just a wild man. He’s all over the place. We need to keep our eyes on him at all times.”
• “My first dog, Kuddi, I spent a lot of time with him, taught him the things I wanted him to know. But Reptar, I didn’t have the time to teach him what I wanted him to learn. So now, we’re just up the creek without a paddle. The older dog doesn’t want any issues or any beef. The younger dog is all about the action, so the older dog doesn’t teach the younger dog anything.”
* * *
HELMETS AND STRIPES
Last week in the Beer + Football section, I referenced a “Football IPA” shirt. The brand that makes it, Tankfarm, reports it’s back in stock in all sizes ... A memorable rant last season by Dez Bryant, caused in part by my MMQB pal Bob Klemko, resulted in a Dallas radio station making these epic T-shirts. Klemko reports that he has ordered three ... A notable sports graphic designer shares his idea for a Bills retractable roof ... My favorite thing on the Football Internet this week is this.
* * *
The MMQB Football Lifestyle column is a curated list of links to what’s catching Dom’s eye off the field. The MMQB has affiliate deals with some of the brands featured and receives commission on certain purchases. Have an item for consideration? Share it.