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New kits the NFL way

Charlton are due a home kit change next season, and there are rumours out there that we might take on Nike as the kit manufacturer, which would be disappointing as for ‘lesser clubs’ they only ever seem to put out generic kits.

We did sign a 4-year deal with Macron though two summers ago and I have been pleased with what they have produced for us, especially the current home kit. The more red the better.

So, it was with interest that I read today of the NFL’s new Nike jersey release (via Facebook). The NFL control all things to do with whoring themselves out for the most dollars and they replaced Reebok with Nike on a 10-year deal starting next season.

It was said that Nike laid out some radical changes to the 32 NFL teams on jersey design, and they have already produced some very trendy college football outfits, the University of Oregon one for example.

Yet, Nike’s introduction by the NFL gave the teams every chance to modernise or revolutionise their colours and what happened? Only one team, the Seattle Seahawks took them up on their offer.

Now the new generation jerseys are mostly about fabric and materials and not design. The Nike Elite 51 is 20 to 30% lighter than the previous Reebok one, the jerseys are more form fitting (perfect for the average American) and there are cooling zones, aircraft-grade aluminium belts and reinforced padding for high impact areas.

Not all NFL franchises embraced the new technology however. Nine teams chose not to adopt the Flywire collar and five teams decided not to use the brand new design at all.

They were Carolina Panthers, Atlanta Falcons, Philadelphia Eagles, Oakland Raiders and Green Bay Packers. For these teams, Nike’s press releases said simply they had allowed those teams to choose to stay with their traditional design aesthetic as well as their former uniform fabrication for the coming season. Nike will still make them but even so the designer at Reebok would have a wry smile on his face today.

Most teams made some very minor changes. Chicago Bears increased the thickness of the three orange stripes on the arm, Kansas City Chiefs moved players’ numbers from the sleeve to the shoulder pad and by all accounts current Superbowl champions New York Giants poo-pooed Nike’s suggestion of an alternative all red design and are rightly sticking with their famous ‘big’ blue.

The new NFL replica jerseys sell for $100, although a fully fledged Elite 51 version costs $250! Of course Nike will also happily supply all kinds of baseball caps, t-shirts, shorts, cuddly toys and popcorn holders.

But this is the bit I like, the NFL have a rule that no NFL team can change anything about their jerseys for five years and some have hardly changed their look for decades but despite this I reckon every adult American man and woman owns at least one licensed piece of NFL clothing. More if you include other pro sports and college teams. In fact I would go as far as to say some men only own sports clothes!

This somewhat disproves what English football teams hoist upon their fans by changing their kits every 10 minutes and in this world that we live in, it is somewhat comforting that NFL teams are proud of their heritage, don’t feel it necessary to blazon a company name across the front and insist on changing their jerseys every season.

2 Comments Post a comment
  1. Bob Miller #

    As a Canadian, who grew up with the concept of sports teams maintaining the continual usage of their traditional “team colours,” I find it really odd that English football teams (and others of course) will introduce away kit that is entirely different from their traditional colours. If home is red jerseys and white shorts, why not go with an away kit of white jerseys and red shorts or all white with red trim or some other combination of the actual team colours? How do you cheer for the “Reds” or “The Blues,” when they are running around in black, yellow, chartreuse or whatever?

    April 5, 2012
  2. I’m really disappointed ‘cos Nike are renowned for not supervising their sub-contractors who operate sweat-shops, including here in Indonesia.

    As a life-long Addick, I’ve applauded the Community Trust’s work. A community-based club should think of the ethical (family) values when making commercial deals.s

    April 5, 2012

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