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The Swootchover

The Nike Football League is official and I feel the need to make a few comments.

In general, I don't care about what happened in Brooklyn yesterday but I do care greatly about football, my Bears and uniform design. Since the only real redesign to speak of from yesterday was the Seahawks, that's what I'll be covering.

First, let's talk about the Nike aspects that affect football:

Flywire Collar: Call it whatever you want - Flywire, Nikelace, Colombian Necktie, etc. - but I'm torn on this uni element. I feel like collars creeping up on people is an issue that bugs football players, it bugged me as a kid and I see a lot of players holding the collar back. Hell, Jay Cutler violently pulls on his collar, but perhaps that's to adjust his pads.

Listen, if it makes jerseys more comfortable, I think it might be worth it. But on some of the jerseys, it ruins the flow of the collar design. If you can't make the collar uniform all the way around, don't bother with this 'technology'.

New Jerseys: The main issue here is that the jerseys have different materials and when players begin to sweat, these different materials react differently and begin to appear as though they're two different colors, AKA the Sweatbox.

Basically, I don't really care. Listen, it's hard playing at your maximum output when you're starting to overheat. If this helps, I'm okay with it. What's the difference between this and pit stains on Gayle Sayers back in the '60s?

New Pants: This is a bit of a twofer.

First, the new pants feature a belt loop that includes padding at the hip that players might otherwise not wear. Now, this design infringes a bit on the pants stripes on many teams but if this prevents one player from missing one half of football on your team, the pads are well worth the small infringement on the pants' design.

There’s a lot of reasons to hate Nike, but I don't think this is one of those reasons. This sort-of mandatory hip padding could be a great thing since most players would rather go without any hip padding due to a comfort issue.

Next is the same issue with the Jerseys: Different materials in different places. Pretty much the same as above, the issues seem negligible and the benefits are noticeable.

Now lets get to The Bears:

When I first saw the new Bears unis, I was mad. I was mad because the numbers on the new Nike jerseys are now on the shoulders rather than the sleeves. But now that I've had some time to mull it over I now think that it was a bit of an inevitability. Otherwise the sleeve stripes would've really suffered. It's not perfect, but it's understandable.

But I have a dream that one day sons of stripes and sons of TV numbers will be able to fit together at the table of uni-hood (specifically on the sleeve). All sleeve elements are created equal. I have a dream.

Other than that, the uniforms are pretty innocuous. They'll look primarily the same from a distance and that makes me happy. The 'GSH' is slightly bigger, but as long as it's there but not overwhelming, I could care less.

Finally, let's get to the Seahawks new designs:

I'm more surprised than any of you might be when I say this: I kinda like them.

Now, there's a bit too much going on on the jerseys (I don't need the triangle surrounding the swoosh, the asymmetrical 'Seahawks' and these green things around the collar need to go away) but there's some good stuff to work with.

And while I think the number font is stupid, that pants design is brilliant. I mean genius. It's a classic stripe with a unique take and local flavor (Haida art inspiration).

I think my biggest qualm with the helmet is that the helmet isn't gray. And if the helmet is gray I think they should only use the gray pants.

With some minor modifications, these uniforms might be some of my favorite modern uniforms in any sport.

A lot of the reaction is quite negative but I think these unis have potential. They're not great as of yet, but perhaps they will be, just like the great Titans' unis.

Well, those are my thoughts and I'm glad the NFL still looks like the NFL and I'm glad there's still room for me and my concepts to improve the NFL's image.

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Reader Comments (5)

Do you mean Tennessee's uniforms are great or would be great with a couple of tweaks?

I agree with you about Chicago's number relocation. Seemed strange at first, but like you said it's inevitable with the disappearing sleeves.

You Seahawks modifications are big improvements - especially the helmet - but I can't get enthused about the green on the shoulder and the grey stripe up to the collar. Looks like a way to use up leftover fabric to me.

How about Houston's new collar? Distractingly large in my opinion.
April 5, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSteve
I could tweak the Titans a bit, but I love those unis as is. Maybe it's because I loved those Eddie George teams, but those are some of my favorite 'modern-style' uniforms in any sport.

I could definitely live without the triangles of color on the Seahawks sleeve, but I was trying to make the tweaks as minimal as possible to show how good they could look with minimal change.

I could live without the wing pattern on the helmet and other small changes too. with those changes, you'd get something like this:

I worry about Houston's collar. But with the way helmets are these days, and they way collars slip into shoulder pads, I actually think it will look OK on the field, but I'll have to see before I pass judgement.

Thanks for the comment.
April 5, 2012 | Registered CommenterTim E. O'Brien
The Titans are my team! Neat to hear good comments on their unis, many people dislike them. I do wish they'd go back to dark-blue-over-white at home and white-over-dark-blue on the road. No coincidence they've fallen off the map since straying from that look.

I see what you were going for with the Seahawks, and you're right it's just a touch or two away from being a really great look. I like the design in the leg stripe, similar to San Diego's lightning bolt.

What do you think of Nike's new cleats? I like my cleats black, so this new look is... hard to get used to. I know Reebok moved in this direction a bit but it seems to me that Nike has much more (and brighter) color on their cleats. And of course the impossible-to-miss wordmark on the back.
April 5, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSteve
I can't feign interest in cleats. Personally, I just don't care about cleats so long as they're some combo of team colors. I think that should be up to each individual team to decide how much black/white or team colors they allow their players to display.

I'm mostly with you on your Titans, I like these for home -
and these for the road -
April 5, 2012 | Registered CommenterTim E. O'Brien
Nice modification on the Seahawks unis. But I'm not sure how much work it would take for me to ever like neon green.
April 6, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJP Lowe

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