I apologize for the long pause in my blogging activities as I’ve been traveling but last night, as I turned to ESPN once I settled back at home, I watched the NFL Preseason opener between the Green Bay Packers and the San Diego Chargers. Now I know nobody puts much stock in preseason games (me included), and I could barely watch it for any football significance. The one thing however that actually left an impression was the display, for the first time in real game play, of the new Nike jerseys.
At first, and certainly back in the spring when they were released, I was significantly underwhelmed with the changes. Other than branding the pants, jerseys, and pretty much every other piece of equipment imaginable with the signature swoosh, there appeared to be no difference whatsoever between these jerseys and their old Reebok counterparts. As we all knew going into the season, only the Seattle Seahawks, perhaps more Pacific Northwest favoritism on Nike’s part (as we all know the Oregon connection…), saw any major changes – which I might add look absolutely awesome. See a full report on their new getups here:
So going into the game I wasn’t geared for much excitement on the jersey front. Yet by the end of the first quarter (when I invariably tune out to all preseason games because somehow, watching Jarret Lee and Graham Harrell just doesn’t hold the same interest as watching Aaron Rodgers and Philip Rivers), something with the jerseys did seem different and I couldn’t put my finger on it until, when scouring the web for articles on the jerseys, I came across this article by Mike Batista of Bleacher Report: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1130747-nfl-nike-uniforms-2012-comparing-new-nike-jerseys-to-old-reebok-ones.
Batista, and I wholeheartedly agree with him, described the differences between the old and new jerseys of teams not named the Seahawks, as ones merely of hue and color, without changing color scheme or logo or anything else in a dramatic way. What resulted, and what I noticed as I turned off the TV last night, was that the players looked just a bit better. Brighter, sharper, crisper. It resulted in a more modern and sleeker looking game, like the difference, almost, between watching it in HD or not. The other important thing about the uniforms which Batista pointed out was that the alternate jerseys are for the most part undisclosed. So, while the basic Nike Elite 51 jerseys that have so far been released fail to stray from their Reebok predecessors in the design departement, the alternates may provide more widespread originality. However, even if they don’t, Nike has already managed to make the NFL look about 10 years ahead of any other sport if only because their new uniforms are more vibrant and richer than any everyday jersey we’ve seen in pro sports to date.