Yesterday I started out with the worst throwback uniforms in the NFL. Now I'll start my "best of" list. Again, this is just my opinion and it's mostly for fun because there's not a whole lot going on right now.
The Patriots wore these all whites in 2009 against the Denver Broncos, and I loved these uniforms, an homage to the 1963 AFL team that made it to the AFL Championship game. They're classic, sport the old red white and blue, and have that great, weird old-school logo of a Revolutionary War soldier inexplicably playing Center on the helmets. Simple striping, not too busy, cool socks.
Of course, wearing all-whites can be pretty dangerous, especially if you're Robbie Tobeck.
Per a great piece by David Fleming, "The former NFL center, who retired in 2006, spent 13 seasons in the league, the final seven as a cornerstone of the Seattle Seahawks offensive line. In 2001, Tobeck and the Seahawks traveled to Washington to face the Redskins. Late in the week, he had come down with a wicked, explosive stomach virus; by game day he had lost 10 pounds, as well as a roommate, after guard Steve Hutchinson was mercifully allowed to seek shelter away from the sounds and smells emanating from Tobeck.
"I had pretty much blocked this whole awful experience out of my mind until you called, so thanks," says Tobeck, who co-owns an insurance company in Bellevue, Wash., and hosts his own outdoor radio show on Seattle's ESPN 710AM. "This stuff happens way more than people realize. Every time you hear a player got 'snot bubbled,' you have to know the same thing happens on the other end, too. You just get hit so hard, you lose your control for a minute."
The Seahawks were a precarious 3-3, so after a three-word pep talk from coach Mike Holmgren -- "Tough it out" -- Tobeck downed all the Imodium he could find and willed himself onto the field. There, trainers stashed spare pants and a bucket for Tobeck to poop in behind the team bench. He made it through his first snap to quarterback Matt Hasselbeck and was holding off 335-pound defensive tackle Dan Wilkinson when running back Shaun Alexander ran into him from behind. In Tobeck's delicate condition, that was enough to cause him to Jackson Pollock his pregame meal all over the back of his uniform. And yes, Tobeck still calls it the worst moment of his career, even worse than suffering two Super Bowl defeats. "When you're trying to push every last bit of your ability out of your body, stuff's gonna happen," he says. "It's not a badge of honor. In football, you're just expected to go beyond your limits. I was lying on the ground, thinking, What do I do now? Then I was like, 'Heck, it's only Hasselbeck -- I'll stay in the game.'"
The next play called for a shotgun snap, but crowd noise at FedEx Field forced Hasselbeck to snuggle up nice and tight under center. The epic mushroom cloud of funk had set in with Tobeck's linemates and even with the Redskins -- on his return trip to DC two years later, Tobeck found a bag of Depend adult diapers in his locker -- but at the time, Hasselbeck didn't fully grasp the origin or the extent of the situation until a few minutes later, when a bug-eyed trainer ran up to him near the Seahawks' bench.
"Hey," the guy yelled into Hasselbeck's ear. "I'd stop licking my hands if I were you!""