An Inside Look At This Seasons New NFL Uniforms; From Reebok To Nike
Nike takes over from Reebok as official NFL licensed uniform and team merchandise supplier; what it all means for teams and fans:
Via Paul Lukas of ESPN Playbook
A year ago, football fans were all aflutter — some with excitement, some with dread — about Nike getting set to take over the NFL’s uniform contract for the 2012 season. But a certain uniform columnist had the temerity to suggest that a Nike-outfitted NFL probably would look pretty much the same as a Reebok-outfitted NFL.
Twelve months later, a certain uniform columnist doesn’t want to say he told you so, but, um, he told you so. Aside from the Seahawks, who were put into the Nike centrifuge and emerged with a predictably eccentric costume, the rest of the league still looks like the NFL, at least for now.
But that’s not to say the transition from Reebok to Nike has been seamless. There are three Nike-related visual elements you’ll be seeing a lot of this year — all of them, unfortunately, rather annoying:
1. The Nikelace: Most teams have adopted Nike’s Flywire collar, which has extra bands of stitching at the neckline. There’s no way Uni Watch is going to keep repeating “Flywire” all season, though. The visual effect is sort of like a necklace, so let’s call it the Nikelace. The good news is it isn’t too visible on white jerseys unless the light is hitting it just right, but you’ll still be seeing a lot of it on colored jerseys.
2. The neck roll: In addition to the Nikelace, many teams are going with a two-tone collar design that looks like an old-fashioned neck roll. Judging by the communiqués that have been arriving here at Uni Watch HQ during the preseason, this feature is particularly unpopular with fans (and with good reason).
3. The sweatbox: Many of Nike’s college jerseys in recent years have incorporated stretch panels and ventilation panels. The idea is to provide just the right kind of fabric at each area of the body, rather than using the same fabric for the whole jersey. When the jersey is dry, you can’t really tell the difference. But when the players perspire, these fabric panels turn dark, creating a two-tone effect. College football uni fans refer to this as the sweatbox, because of the square-shaped panel on the abdomen that typically turns dark with sweat. And now Nike has brought the sweatbox to the NFL.
Some teams have incorporated all three of these changes, a few have incorporated none of them and most have chosen just one or two. Here’s a breakdown that shows where all 32 teams stand on these Nike elements, along with other developments for the new season (you can click on each team’s name to see its primary 2012 uniforms):
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