Roger Goddell, the Nike brand ambassadors and player representatives from all 32 NFL teams kicked off the new joint venture between the National Football League and the Nike global empire in Brooklyn with pomp and circumstance that would make the Macho Man proud.
Nike formally introduced their “Elite 51” jersey to be worn by all 32 teams beginning in the 2012 season. With integrated Flywire, Pro Combat and Dri-Fit technologies, the Elite 51 as a uniform will be the new baseline for all football jerseys across the Nike Football platform. While almost all of the NFL teams decided to keep their style of the uniform the same, with only minor tweaks/changes to their original uniforms, there would be one NFL team would receive the “treatment” from Nike. The Seattle Seahawks got dipped in the “swag” and came out with the most popular jersey for 2012 easily. From the addition of the neon green to the Seahawks jersey layout, to the addition of ‘Hawk print on the pants and panel design around the top of the jersey, things have definitely changed for the Pacific Northwest’s favorite football team.
Even Saints’ Pierre Thomas thinks so.
“Man, I can’t tell you enough how dope I think that Seahawks uniform is. Look, I love the Saints all-black uniform, but that Seahawks….man.”
The man was speechless. Over another team’s uniforms. Who does that? That’s how much the players like the Seahawks uniform.
Of course, many in the crowd were expecting major overhauls to the jerseys of all 32 teams. If you’re on the internet long enough (that’d be me) you’ll usually come across some photoshopped mock-up of what people think their favorite NFL uniforms will look like. The reality of the NFL uniforms is this, Seattle was the only team that stepped up and said, “WE WANT THAT NEW NEW!” I paraphrased, by the way.
Yes, there will be other teams that will get some reinvented uniforms and an overhaul from a branding standpoint (Jacksonville is slated to go to an all-black standard uniform in 2013) but many teams decided to keep things as is until further notice. Yes, jerseys will function better. More padding in key areas, more comfort in others, the performance measure of the uniform has increased considerably, but they aesthetic of the uniform was something of a risk for many teams to consider.
Of course, the performance apparel for the NFL teams is only half of the change that is part of Nike’s football takeover. From Nike Destroyer reversible jacks, to “Just Do It” team tees, to team shoes, shorts, etc. the brand is banking on customers taking advantage of Nike’s new stylings in a big way. (Which by the way, can I get a Nike reversible Destroyer jacket…..2XL? Please?)
Check out the photos from Tuesday’s event and ponder a few questions. Did you want your team to do “more” with their uniforms? Are you excited about Nike taking the NFL game over? Let us know your thoughts.f
Eddie Maisonet is the founder and editor emeritus of The Sports Fan Journal. Currently, he serves as an associate editor for ESPN.com. He is an unabashed Russell Westbrook and Barry Switzer apologist, owns over 100 fitteds and snapbacks, and lives by Reggie Jackson’s famous quote, “I am the straw that stirs the drink.”