Fantasy, Reality & Johnny U.

Friday is National Dog Day, and if you enjoy our four-legged friends, you’ll want to check out The MMQB Pet of the Week below for the story of a love lost. Also in this week’s column: a shoe company’s tribute to Johnny Unitas, a Chief rocking Homer Simpson gear and the latest Hard Knocks style. But let’s start with an item you might find useful in the coming days…

Fantasy Draft Apparel

It’s that time of year when fantasy drafts are happening all over the place. I can’t help you with any advice—that’s why Gary Gramling was put on this earth—but I can offer assistance in a different way.

Photo: 500 Level (2) || Third Out

Let’s put this out there right away: I can’t condone the wearing of fantasy football apparel in, like, 99.99 percent of life situations. The other 0.01? A live draft with buddies. That’s pretty much it. So take these recommendations for what they are: fun, once-a-year options to maybe get a chuckle out of your friends but most likely will get you ribbed instead.

500 Level: Fantasy Football – Simplicity is ideal, and I couldn’t find an option that just said “Fantasy Football” that I liked. This one is cool, and the colors really pop on that draft board, but the players are kinda random.

Third Out: Sleeper Pick – Slay ’em with the double entendre. You see, because you like sleeper picks, and you are a sleeper pick.  At least, that’s what you’d like the ladies to say.

500 Level: Antonio Brown/PPR – Real-life scenario: You’re in a keeper league, you own Brown and you want to troll everyone else in your league who doesn’t. Like the idea but don’t own Brown? This shirt exists for other players over on 500 Level. And ladies, they have you covered too.

In Honor of the Original Johnny Football

This is cool. In honor of the black hightops that Johnny Unitas made famous—and that currently occupy a spot in the Pro Football Hall of Fame—rising apparel brand York Athletics Mfg. has released a new shoe. It’s called the Field Green Henry and York took its simple design inspiration from Indian Head Shoe Company, which made Unitas’ original kicks. Those green soles—perfect touch, in my opinion—are a nod to the fields Johnny tore up on his way to Canton. 

Photo: York || Pro Football Hall of Fame

In keeping with the old-school football theme, York also offers Johnny Socks. These striped calf socks are named in honor of Unitas and are an ode to the style worn decades ago by the Colts. What’s a bit ironic is that most of the photography back then was black-and-white, making York’s socks look like a pretty good match. But in reality, the socks were Colts’ blue. Still, a cool throwback look. 

Photo: Focus on Sport || York || Getty Images

Post-Game Style: Chiefs

At the Chiefs-Rams game at the Coliseum last weekend, I hung out in the hallway outside the visiting team’s locker room and watched players leave on their way to the team bus. I grabbed a couple Chiefs to ask them about their post-game style.

Photo: The MMQB (2)

• That’s wide receiver Jeremy Maclin on the left. His JMAC personalized backpack was a gift from the brand that makes it, Tumi. (No doubt hoping for this exact kind of coverage.) It fits our already established theme that Wideouts Love Backpacks, though this one probably is a little more spendy for folks not bringing in $11 million a year. In the market for a more reasonable backpack? I’d peruse Huckberry, which offers multiple brands, or check out the new ones at Hudson Sutler.

• On the right is cornerback Marcus Peters. I had to ask about the Homer shirt, which turns out to be from Neff’s Simpsons collection. He told me, “I’m not a big suit guy, so I dress how I feel comfortable. I’m more of a relaxed fit, loose fit guy. I have to dress to my personality.” He also said his preferred brand of choice was Beast Mode Apparel, started of course by his friend and Oakland comrade, Marshawn Lynch. Go lose a couple minutes perusing Beast Mode’s site, but if you only have a few seconds, this is the best product on there.

The MMQB Pet of the Week

Photo: Ashlee Burton/Through a Lenz

This is Taz, an Australian Terrier who passed away suddenly last October at age 13. Raiders long snapper Jon Condo was at practice when he got a series of texts and calls from his wife Jaclyn that Taz was sick and he needed to come to the vet ASAP.

Photo: Harry How/Getty Images

“It’s kind of a mystery,” Condo said about what happened to Taz. “We have a fenced-in backyard, and he loves to go out there and chase the squirrels. When my wife went to let him back in, he was laying at the door and didn’t want to move. She got him to the vet, who said he was bleeding internally and an organ likely had been ruptured.”

When he arrived, Condo was able to sit with Jaclyn and say their goodbyes to Taz. Condo said the loss hit them really hard. Taz had been Jaclyn’s dog since college, and Condo quickly took to Taz after they met a few years later. 

“He was like a son to me,” says Jon, also the dad to two daughters, ages 2 and 9 months. “He would always greet me at the door, tail wagging, happy to see me no matter how bad my day was. I liked taking him for walks at sunset. That was my favorite part of the day.”

Photo: Ashlee Burton/Through a Lenz

Jaclyn and Jon had Taz cremated and keep the remains in an urn in Taz’s favorite part of the house: the floor of the master bedroom’s walk-in closet. “Right behind my shirts,” Jon explains. “It’s probably the coolest spot in our house.”

Another dog is in the plans for the Condos, but they want to wait until their youngest daughter is a little older. For now, Jon enjoys taking his daughter to a local playground and sneaking peeks at the dog park next door. As for any advice Jon has for pet-owners who worry about what’s down the road. “Just cherish all the moments you have,” he said, “because you never know when you’ll have to say good-bye.”

Hard Knocks: Shop the Show

Every Tuesday night, I watch HBO’s Hard Knocks and annoy my wife by pausing it every few minutes so I can stand up and get real close to the screen to see if I can read Jared Goff’s hat. (Related: It says Patagonia, but is no longer available.) These are the things I do for you, dear readers. On with the show…

Ram: LB Alec Ogletree
Item: State Traditions Hat

I’d like to say Ogletree saw me in this hat and just had to get his own, but that would be a lie. What is true, however, is how much exposure State Traditions—a college-focused brand out of Birmingham, Ala.—received in this episode, as Ogletree was in multiple scenes wearing this hat. Good free pub. 

Ram: Hall of Fame RB Eric Dickerson
Item: Travis Mathew Hat

Dickerson is doing preseason broadcast work with the Rams and has been a fixture on the sideline at camp. Here he went full Romo with the backwards ball cap, repping the rapidly rising golf brand Travis Mathew, which is based in Huntington Beach, Calif., just down the road from Rams camp.

Ram: LB Brandon Chubb
Item: NASA T-Shirt (similar)

Quick story: On The MMQB Super Bowl 50 Road Trip in February, writer Emily Kaplan bought a NASA hoodie in Houston and wore it for the remainder of the drive to San Francisco. (See it in this pic.) I enjoyed ribbing Emily for her basic, tourist style, but I guess joke’s on me now that NFL players are following her trend.

Helmets Stripes

Dan Hanzus over at is doing the Lord’s work with his series on gems found on the NFL auction site. … A tip of the helmet to @HelmetAddict for pointing out this eBay item. Turns out, these originated at Caesar’s Palace in Vegas. … Another vintage team yearbook cover unearthed. The NFL is leaving money on the table, not commissioning the modern-day equivalent. … And finally, the last word on fantasy draft behavior, from my friend Joe Thompson and his acting buddies.

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.

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