With so many of the seasons starting NFL quarterbacks already injured and replaced so far, I thought I would spend some time looking at the some the great arms in the NFL. The purpose is to keep you from getting injured in the wallet as you build your football jersey collection. There are any number of valuable things to be seen and understood in looking at great NFL arms. I have provided 12 images that cover some of things I look for and look at.

IMAGE 1.TOM BRADY: Often collectors will debate sleeve length with comments like “it looks too short” or “looks too long” with out any real qualifiers. Consider looking for things such as the placement of logo’s or crests with respect to their distance from something like the hem at the end of the sleeve. If the logo or crest has remained a uniform size and is consistent with respect to placement, then this can be a subtle indicator with respect to over all sleeve length. It can also serve to help identify specific jerseys within a specific year.

IMAGE 2. JOHN ELWAY: Teams will often change the style of a jersey by changing the manner of a sleeve. In some cases, this can also be the sign of a different manufacturer. Take the time to study the color combinations, order, and width.

IMAGE 3. DAN MARINO and BOB GRIESE: Mark Hayne told me some time back that I would find looking at Dolphin’s jerseys interesting…once again, Mark was right. These photos highlight why at times bandings seem a bit different. In the case of the Marino, jersey, the sleeves were cut in this area. For Griese, you will see both cut sleeves and styles when there is no banding color. For the Dolphins, especially in the early to mid 1970s, you will multiple styles in the same game.

IMAGE 4. CARSON PLAMER: Look for areas of customization such as elastic bands or the absence of them. Realize these may be found in variations for a player within the same season.

IMAGE 5. JOHNNY UNITAS: Often times a change in the sleeve or arm design will coincide with other changes such as font styles. When you notice one, make an effort to look for other things that may have changed as well.

IMAGE 6. ROGER STAUBACH: Like buying a home, focus on location. In some cases a team will change the location of something like a crest or in this case, the “TV” numbers. This can help date jerseys that may be without year identification.

IMAGE 7. CHAD PENNINGTON: One of the good think about quarterback images is that the arm is usually featured in a throwing motion. Look for details in the underarm area dealing with construction or pattern changes.

IMAGE 8. JOE NAMATH. Besides, hair styles, other things change over time such as font styles, fabrics, and manner of appliqué. Star players who spend a significant amount of time with the same club offer solid templates to track these changes.

IMAGE 9. JOE MONTANA: Looks for things like variations in sleeve length to key in on as they me be tied to other changes such as font and banding styles as well.

IMAGE 10. BART STARR: Take the time to study images in detail. From a quick look, these sleeves appear to be the same length. In looking at the image from 1967, you will notice the rolls or changes in the thickness of the fabric. This is not a seam from a reinforced elbow area as that stitching does not go around the entire are of the jersey.

IMAGE 11. PAYTON MANNING: Teams change manufacturers over the years and in more modern time, manufacturer/brand name recognition has been a mainstay in the NFL. The other thing to note, is that even the same manufacturer will often change the style or location of their logo on the outside of a jersey.

IMAGE 12. JACK KEMP and RON MIX. One of my favorite images as it shows that variations do occur.

These 12 images are just representative of some of the things to consider and they are by no means exclusive to quarterbacks. The point is, if you collect a player or a team, take the time to conduct a focused look at all of the various areas of the jersey. Other specific areas to look at with respect to changes would include:

The neck area: V-neck or crew neck.

The shoulder area: Look at seams for construction patterns.

The body side: Look for seam construction or presence of side panels.

As always, collect what you enjoy and enjoy what you collect.