Nike Replaces Reebok as Official NFL Uniform & Apparel Designer

April 4, 2012

Finally fashion and football go hand in hand.  Nike finalized a five-year deal with the NFL to be the exclusive designer of uniforms for all 32 franchise teams, team merchandise, warm-up gear and off-the field gear.  Yesterday, the sports brand unveiled its collection in Brooklyn Navy Yard with a Pep Rally (gosh I miss those from high school).

Players from each of the NFL teams, including Victor Cruz of the reigning Superbowl champions, the New York Giants and Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, showed off the new jerseys, which have some pretty cutting edge technology including:

Lightweight padding integrated directly into crucial “hit zones” on the garments. Nike’s Flywire technology is used around the neckline of jerseys to provide a “lockdown” fit over the shoulder pads, making it more difficult for opposing players to grab onto the jersey. The jerseys also boast improved sleeve articulation to provide better range of motion.

Even the players’ numbers on the backs of jerseys are fashioned from stretch twill for better fit, while the D-rings on the belt of the pant are manufactured from lightweight aircraft-grade aluminum.

The jerseys have also been aesthetically altered with variations for each team, though Nike says it made sure to stick with NFL regulations. The Seattle Seahawks’ jerseys received the biggest makeover, which was inspired by the Native American culture of the Pacific Northwest and the colors of the Seattle environment.

“We celebrate the story within the uniform,” explained Todd Van Horne, creative director of Nike football and baseball. “The team’s logo is a striking sea hawk that provides a focal point for both the uniform and the helmet. The design on the helmet has a new wing pattern and the horizontal graphic across the front of the shoulders replicates the powerful wings carved into native thunderbird totems.”

Fans can pre-order jerseys, apparel and accessories starting April 15 at nikestore.com, nflshop.com and on individual team Web sites.  In store sales will start April 26. Snagging your favorite player’s jersey will cost you but Nike has designed three different lines for different budgets.

The Nike Elite 51 jersey is an exact replica of the model worn by players, except for sizing that is designed to be worn without shoulder pads; the Limited style is a modified version with genuine touches like sewn-in embellishments and the NFL shield, and the game jersey is the most accessible and broadly distributed to fans.

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