Inflatable Buddies, MVP Beers and Athletic Pitbulls

A handful of ideas for what to get kids to kick off the football season. Plus the rescue story of a Carolina Panther’s pup, a sweater for your favorite beverage and what to wear while signing a multi-million-dollar contract
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Here we are, on the doorstep of the season, and there’s a national conversation happening around socks. A dream development for your favorite football lifestyle columnist? Well, not exactly. So I’m just going to ball these up and throw ’em in the hamper, and go on with the column.

This week, I’ll cover everything from beers made by Super Bowl MVPs to bookstore hats worn by NFL general managers. There’s also another adorable pet of the week, and I’ll kick things off with thoughts about some other huggable, smelly creatures in our lives: our children.

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This One is For the Kids

We got mom and dad geared up already for opening weekend; now it’s time to focus on the little ones. NFL apparel for kids has come a long way from the days of Starter jackets and mail-order jerseys from Sears. There are so many more options. So peruse the below and surprise your son or daughter (or niece or nephew or grandkid or cousin or neighbor) with something fun to get ready for football season:

(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 picture for purchase info.)


Nike Youth Team Color Jersey

One of these weeks, I’m going to tackle the topic of adults wearing jerseys. (Sneak peek: I’m not in favor.) Replica jerseys are made for kids to wear—on the playground, for out-of-uniform Fridays at school, while playing backyard football with friends. Just make sure to pick a player with staying power, and one you don’t mind your child emulating.


Patches Printed Backpack

Loud backpacks are all the rage these days—remember?—and this one, and others in the same line, certainly check that box. Bonus points for featuring old-school Super Bowl logos, before the NFL sucked all creativity out of the game. Another idea? These drawstring backpacks are perfect for after-school activities.


Bare Feet Youth Rush Socks

Another item extremely popular with kids right now—calf socks with crazy graphics on them. And who am I kidding, it’s not just kids—you can’t turn on a TV these days without every seated, suited-up talking head casually crossing his legs to reveal garish socks. But child or adult, let’s just all stay away from pigs on hosiery.    


Junk Food Clothing Girls NFL Tee

You want a more creative way to bang your head against a wall? Try online shopping for NFL apparel for a young lady who doesn’t want to wear a cheerleader getup. There are plenty of wide-ranging options for women now, so maybe it’ll take a year or two for it to trickle down to the little ones.


Inflatable Tackle Buddy

Your kid have a problem letting out his anger in unhealthy ways? These are perfect for a little punch-throwing session and no one gets hurt. My only question: Is it better to get one of your favorite team’s rival, to promote healthy hatred at an early age? 


NFL Gridiron Junior Size Football

This one is a personal favorite. When I was a kid, I brought my Atlanta Falcons (wasn’t even a fan) mini football to school everyday and used it for impromptu football games at recess. You can also get one and keep it in the back of the car; next time you and your son or daughter are stuck waiting somewhere, boom, instant game of catch.

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OK, that’s enough kid talk. So let’s take a hard segue into matters of beer. With a clink of a pint glass to the boss for letting me borrow the section header, here are a few things catching my eye in the world of booze and football:


• Fellow MMQB editor Matt Gagne pointed me in the direction of these socks, which led me to discovering the above ... beverage sweaters? Quilted koozies? Whatever you want to call them, Freaker USA recently secured a licensing deal with the NFLPA so now you can cloak your beverage in the knitted jersey of your favorite player. 


• After the beer branding discussion a couple weeks back, a reader sent along a link to Escutcheon Brewing’s latest offering: the John Riggins’ 4th&1 Pilsner. It’s an obvious ode to the ex-Redskin’s famous play in Super Bowl 17, and Riggo himself was part of the development of the beer. You can buy 4th&1 in the greater D.C. area and throughout Virginia, Maryland and West Virginia. It’s also now available at FedEx Field. 


• Bud Light announced this week that it reached a deal to produce its 28th NFL team can—the Rams. Previously, I mentioned the Rams’ partnership with Corona, which is the Los Angeles franchise’s official cerveza or imported beer. And now the Rams have a domestic beer partner too. One more note: the Rams can doesn’t feature any yellow, which to me is another step in the direction of the team adopting blue and white as its only two colors in the near future.

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The MMQB Pet of the Week


This is Blue, a 15-month-old blue nose pit bull owned by Panthers linebacker A.J. Klein. Blue has packed a lot of excitement into her short life and also has proved to be quite athletic. Here’s Klein to explain:

• Blue is a rescue. She was found on the side of the road in a box with her brother. When she was first brought home, she was thin, had a skin condition and digestive problems. We had those fixed and she became the happy rambunctious puppy she is today.

• Blue loves to cuddle up in bed with me and would rather lay on my lap than be on the floor. If I let her, she would lick my face all day. Proof:

• Blue also is quite the escape artist. She has gotten out of my yard a couple of times by jumping over a 6-foot fence in a single leap. I’ve seen it done. What can I say: she’s an athlete.

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Hard Knocks: Shop The Show

Before you hop in a golf-cart and hit the In-N-Out drive-thru on your way to the dinosaur museum, please take a moment to appreciate these items as seen during episode 4 of HBO’s inimitable Hard Knocks:


Ram: WR Tavon Austin
Product: Jordan Flight hoodie

In case you were wondering what to wear the next time you sign a $42 million contract, Austin sets the dress code here. Bonus points for the AWESOME hat, which best I can tell is something Austin had custom made and may be part of his own apparel line down the road. (Check out the “11” in the “O” in this picture.)


Ram: QB Sean Mannion
Product: Flinch Ball shirt

If you’re not familiar with The Dan Patrick Show’s obsession with this made-up sport, this should catch you up. It’s not the first time Mannion has worn his Flinch Ball shirt at the facility. And according to a random Twitter guy, the game is popular at Oregon State, where Mannion went to school. 


Ram: GM Les Snead
Product: Square Books hat

Square Books is an iconic independent book store near the Ole Miss campus in Oxford. Snead is a southern boy, bred in Eufaula, Ala., so the connection makes sense. Related: I own a Square Books T-shirt and my wife has a coffee mug. Completely logical takeaway: My wife or I could be GM of the Rams.

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Helmets & Stripes

The company that made the football featured in this GQ photo shoot has renamed the product Camo Newton ... Fan of a New York football team? The guys at Streaker Sports have something in the works for fans of the Giants and the Jets ... I’m kinda obsessed with this guy’s mini helmet business. Gonna try to convince PK to get some made with The MMQB logo ... Geno Smith brought it mainstream, but turns out Von Miller and Tony Jerod-Eddie also have Zero Friends.

​Published every Friday, 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.