Nike Gives NFL a Makeover, a Run-Down

Okay, as you know – have known for some time – Nike is taking a run at redesigning NFL uniforms.

With such impressive words as ‘flywire technology’ and ‘hyperstrong compression’, it’s impre…no, not really. Since I won’t be wearing them (imagine that) I just care how they’ll LOOK.

(There’s no way to make a uniform look sleek when one is the possessor of such an incredibly rumpled body as mine…)

The NFL allows teams to change their uniforms every five years or so. Usually, one would see something like some black added (en masse during the 1990s) or an extra stripe here or there. On occasion, we’re treated to something meaningful such as a meaner mascot or a return to ‘home’ colors, but this is the first time that such a sweeping league-wide redesign has been dumped in our laps. Relax, Browns fans – you know darn well that your organization, along with Chicago, Indy, Green Bay and a few other classics, will stick to “if it ain’t broke…”

There weren’t the wide-scale design changes that every Chicken Little (okay, me too) were fearing (see photos of all the uniforms here); some musings on some of the more interesting (to we logogeeks, anyways) changes:


The coolest change brings the team logo onto the palm of players’ gloves; when held together and aloft, the team logo materializes. Innovative. I like it. TD celebrations will be sure to feature these neat-o mitts prominently, and I like team-oriented celebrations.


The belts have the same old look, but the locking D-ring is now made of aircraft-grade aluminum (lighter but stronger – I had one of the old ones break in high school, an embarrassing story that I will spare you – you’re welcome) and the belts, as in the rest of the uniform, are now lighter.


Have you seen the socks? Holy crow, these things must be a pain to make; arch support, zone cushioning, breathable…I might go buy a couple of dozen of these before anything else. (What? My feet sweat.)


The shoes…I have to say, I’m not impressed. It’s a bit cheesy, campy, whatever. Check ’em – – about halfway down Nike’s timeline.


The Carolina Panthers say they did a redesign to make the Panther look meaner. Okay, up close, we can all see the changes…smaller mouth, no outline around the head…but honestly, it’s not eye-popping; I don’t think you’ll notice the dif on TV. (I had to ask, too…why’s the new Panther looking backwards…?!?)

Positively, however, the Panthers have honored one of my All-Time favourites, linebacker Sam Mills, with the words “KEEP POUNDING” on the inside collar, presumably as inspiration to current players. For those who might not remember, “Keep Pounding” was Mills’ speech to the Panther locker room after they upset Dallas in 2004. Mills died of cancer the next season, so this is a beautiful tribute, one that fans will be able to proudly show off.


The Seahawks were the most innovative, with some extra dashes of that neon/lime green and a swoop (well, it IS Nike) down and around the shoulderpads with the team name incorporated. The coolest part, by far, was the update of the ‘PooHawks logo – it looks MEAN, dude. I actually like it now. The Hawks also added a subtle but noticeable series of “wings” on both the helmet and uniform itself; the wings neatly blend a Native American look and provides a “thermal regulation zone”, according to Nike creative director Todd Van Horne.

(By the way, did you count the wings on the pants? There are twelve – a solid nod to the fans, whom the Seahawks consider to be – and market as – the team’s “twelfth man”. A tremendous use of the symbolic – well done.)


The Jacksonville Jaguars, apparently victims of the five-year redesign rule, will wear teal for the last time (as primary unis) this year; black will be the primary color, starting next year. I think I’m going to like these, as long as they don’t look too Saints-esque. (Look, Ma, new word…)


Teams like the 49ers, who previously looked a little gold-lame (or ‘lame’, literal pronunciation, if you like), have toned down the foil pants. They’re more matte now, which makes them look a little more classy. No, I don’t spend a lot of time looking at players’ backsides. You just couldn’t miss the old shiny pants. Look, that’s my story, and I’m sticking to it, okay?


I’m mildly annoyed that Mighty Nike couldn’t get the Cowboys to make the blue on their star match the blue on their jerseys. It’s subtle, it’s nitpicky, but that’s what Chris pays me for, my attention to detail…


The Broncos (boo, hiss) are returning to the Orange Crush unis as primaries. Actually, as a Charger fan, I even like the Orange. Brings back memories of Elway, who even I couldn’t hate.


Okay, Ndakamong Suh already scares the crap out of me, even in “Honolulu Blue” or whatever the Lions call their colors. You could put dude in pink and offensive linemen would still wake up in cold sweats.


I can’t find any documentation to support this, but it seems the Bears’ “GSH” (on the sleeves…George S. Halas…you know, Papa Bear?!?) is a little larger.


Nine NFL teams didn’t like the new Nike collar design, which the manufacturer claims will help “lock down” shoulder pads; the design does look a little like a choker…decide for yourself.


Nike Brand President Charlie Denson said that he believes NFL street gear sales are going to go through the roof; “It’s very fashionable now. Nobody has capitalized on it. Our ambition is to be able to capitalize on it.”

It’s believed that Nike will capitalize, indeed, to the tune of oh, $750m or so from this year’s uniform sales alone (holy cow). I believe it. Welcome to the new NFL.

I might wear some of the new off-field stuff – check the awesomely excellent shirt below, for ex – but I’ll still be keeping my old Junior Seau jersey. Chris, please note, instead of my yearly bonus, I want one of these shirts for my birthday…whaddya mean, ‘what bonus’? Stop laughing.

Let me know when Nike gets to the cheerleaders.

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11 Responses to Nike Gives NFL a Makeover, a Run-Down

  1. jjcorp says:

    i never knew until now that more than 1 person operated the site. how do i apply (i’ll work volunteer work)?

  2. stets5150 says:

    one thing i really like is that the white “NFL Equipment” shield is gone and back to just the nfl shield like before reebok’s takeover in ’02. as for the seahawks and jags next year, i’m sorry, but i don’t like that futuristic look. not for the nfl anayways. just the opinion of a football fan who likes the old school looks for teams. but nike did do a good job overall. i would say A- is the grade i give them.

  3. dcameronh says:

    You are right about the Niners having shining gold pants but this is not a change by Nike. They haven’t had the shining gold pants since 2008. When they made the new uniforms back in 2009 with Reebok, they went back to a matte gold color on the pants. Nike just keeped what they already had from last year.

  4. Igotdubbs says:

    There was an article a few years ago that analyzed the quirkiness and subtleties of the Cowboys uniform and how they are unique. Like for example they two sets of silver pants with the one for the white jersey having a bluish hue to it. Very interesting read…

  5. BKAllmighty says:

    Overall, these new designs look great. I’m looking forward to seeing these on the field. The Seahawkes look terrific.

  6. prospect13 says:

    There are more things I don’t like than I do with the new uni’s. That collar is too strange for me, for one. Seattle, despite clever symbolism, looks like a joke. It’s so busy it’s sickening. The number font is terrible, the neon is an eyesore, and the “wings” just do not flow with the rest of the uniform. The logo is the only upside. My Bears made minimal changes, but even those seem to be for worse. Moving the tv numbers to the top of the shoulder really hurts the look for me (especially when you see the full sleeved jerseys). And I don’t know what the facination is with these glove logos. Yeah, they’re neat but they don’t seem worth the fuss. I think teams like Chicago, Green Bay, Pittsburgh, etc. would be better of without them.

  7. acbolt says:

    Can’t wait to see the powder blue version….

  8. Kieran in Dallas says:

    I agree with the Cowboys Star matching the blue on the jersey. I did notice with the Saints the previous jerseys alway had a darker gold trim around the collar and the numbers that didn’t match the helmet and pants and with the new Nike uni’s the lighter gold matches all around.

    Kinda like when the Vikings finally matched the purple helmet and jerseys the same shade.

    Anyone know when the Rams move back to LA if they will return to the old uni’s? Blue and Yellow Gold?

  9. carg0 says:

    the front collar’s are embarrassing, with that extra “flare” garbage sticking out like a sore thumb. looks like something you’d find on a cheerleader’s outfit. it guarantees i won’t be buying any — thank god i bought Reebok (NYG). other than that, everything else seems fine.

    don’t get me started on the Seahawks, though (shaking head). put simply; they look like they were outfitted by the DMV to be used as human safety cones.

  10. Tim says:

    I’m not a Chargers fan (go Bears!!) but I say bring back the powder blue uniforms on a permanent basis.

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