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Entries in Nike Pro Combat (7)

Friday
Mar302012

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.

Friday
Sep302011

B1G Rivalries

This weekend, BigTen conference football returns and so do BigTen rivalry games.

Earlier this month, I posted my concepts and tweaks for all 12 BigTen teams here and on the wonderful SportsLogos.net, showing what I thought the schools should wear every game. Some people over at SportsLogos noticed that many of my designs a fairly traditional and/or pretty close to what most BigTen teams currently wear.

Heeding this criticism, I decided to create what I referred to as a 'Rivalry Series' (although inspiration credit goes to this guy here). What follows are six rivalry games, their special uniforms and descriptions. Enjoy:

The Bucket Game - IU vs PU

Indiana: I bring back my much beloved candy-striped pants but pair them with (a variation of) their actual 2011 jersey. The helmet matches their current lid and features the iconic interlocking 'IU'.

Now, originally, my design showed a candy striped helmet and that the compression shirt sleeves and the socks not matching, but that was because each individual player could either wear vertical or horizontal stripes - so long as they wear all matching - allowing for fun customization while still being 'uniform'.

However, I scrapped both those ideas and returned the standard helmet and unified all the stripes.

Purdue: As this years visitors, Purdue comes to The Rock wearing all old gold. The 'P' logos; helmet, shoulder and pants stripes; and numbers all sink up to match: Black trimming White. The numbers are a modern variation of classic varsity block. Finally, the compression shirt and socks are Boiler black.

The Land of Lincoln Game - U of I vs NU

Illinois: The Illini host this year's Sweet Sioux Tomahawk game Land of Lincoln game, and they come onto (a) Memorial Stadium* wearing fauxbacks to a simpler time. Three simple stripes grace the shoulders and pants. A rounded version of the state name appears on the helmet (as opposed to "Illini" which has appeared on the lid in the past). Only blue and orange grace the uni (except the shoes), just like it was back in the day.

Northwestern: The Wildcats are also donning a fauxback of sorts. The white helmet is inspired by this helmet from NU history. The jersey is basically their current road uni with the addition of the 'N-Cat' logo while the pants have a purple double stripe that give the 'Cats a sleek, clean look.

The Heroes Game - NU vs UI - There isn't much history in this 'rivalry' game so I manufacture some from the uniforms:

Nebraska: As the home team, Nebraska comes out in a uniform that honors many of their best teams from their long, storied history. While the helmet design is the same as the one's they've worn since 1970, the red facemask harkens back to 1982. The jersey focuses on both those eras as well. The shoulder numbers are from the 1970 unis while the sleeve 'N's are from the 1983 team.

The pants are from both eras but the red belt screams 1983. The black shoes and white socks go through many generations of Huskers.

Iowa: The Hawkeyes come into (a) Memorial Stadium wearing fauxbacks to their 1958 National Championship team. While Iowa has worn fauxbacks to this era before, they've never worn the road version of these before. That's a shame, because those were some beautious unis. The moving of the stripes from the sleeves to the shoulders is just for player continuity (no lost stripes due to lack of undershirt).

Also, the facemask is unapologetically black.

Paul Bunyan's Ax Game - UW vs Minn - One of the Best rivalry trophies in all of sports deserves some great unis:

Wisconsin: The home team in 2011 comes out wearing something like nothing you've ever seen take the field at Camp Randall. The helmet is a variation of the current helmet that rids the flying W of it's unnecessary drop shaddow. This harkens back to most of Wisconsin's history, when the helmets were only white and red.

The Jersey is simple yet completely original. The shoulders are adorned with stripes that will quickly remind any UW fan of Bucky Badger. While the pants are almost identical to their current set, the socks pick up on the Bucky Badger theme and run with it all the way to victory.

Minnesota: The Golden Gophers have a tough task winning in Camp Randall. This Fauxback set calls upon the predecessors of this Minnesota football squad to lead them back to the path of victory and BigTen supremacy. The undershirt features Goldy Gopher's double stripe (just like my other concepts) and gold become predominant to remind the team of their victorious and glorious past.

The Land Grant Game - PSU vs MSU

Penn State: The home team for this game will march into Happy Valley with a uniform that will be very recognizable to it's fans and opponents. While there are some design changes (many of them have a fauxback feel) the biggest difference may be the color on the uniform.

The Blue on these unis are more royal blue than the current navy blue unis the Nittany Lions currently wear. This is a throwback to an earlier era. Combine that with helmet numbers, the return of white jersey accents and a singular, thin blue stripe on the pants and Penn State has a modern update of a classic uniform.

Michigan State: The Spartans recently unveiled a new Nike Pro Combat uniform for 2011. However, I disagree with Nike's use of Bronze and Black on MSU's uniforms, particularly since MSU is named after a group of people who are famous for wearing red. But Michigan State's colors are green and white and as such, those are the only colors I use on this uni.

The shoulders of jersey pop thanks to a green field that adorns them which flows nicely into the optional green compression with an updated version of MSU's 'S' logo. While the jersey numbers revert to a more traditional font, the university mark is updated to match the 'S' logo font. Thick white stripes grace both the helmet, pants and socks and help unify this uniform.

The Big Game - UM vs OSU

Michigan: As a BigTen alumnus, it's very hard for me to conceive Michigan wearing anything but their normal helmets, blue jerseys and maze pants at The Big House. I actually liked the fauxback they wore against Notre Dame, but I didn't want to re-tread the ground Adidas already walked. Instead, I made minor changes to the current home uni and left one of the best lids in all of sports untouched.

The jersey gets an 'M' logo sewn onto the shoulder as sort of a 'pride-patch'. While a player's name and number are usually the only thing to grace a Wolverine uni, I wanted the 'M' to be on there to remind the players that the glory of the game should go to Michigan.

While I added a blue belt to the pants, I removed the 'M' logo from them just to simplify the uni even more. The shoes and compression shirt are team colors but I'm not sure how much even I am digging the maze sleeves.

Ohio State: The Buckeyes are Nike Pro Combat veterans at this point. With the theme of most of their NPC unis being 'fauxback' I continue this trend with a look back to the late '60s (just on the cusp of one of their greatest eras like hopefully this will be).

While I could not find the exact specifics of the road uniform that matches this helmet, these jerseys, pants and socks probably approximate the jersey pretty well. The differing color TV numbers are a signature part of OSU's look from this era and the Northwestern stripes that adorn the helmet, jersey, pants and socks unify this set as a world class Ohio State uniform.

Well, that about wraps that up. You may have noticed the two new templates I was using. I'm proud to say that I created both of them and the one that features both the front and back of the uni has been improved even since I created these B1G concepts.

I'm currently working on doing some ACC and SEC stuff in this new template which I'll bring to you as soon as I can.

Happy tweakin'...

*With Nebraska now in the B1G, there are three Memorial Stadiums in the conference (U of I, IU and OU).

Sunday
Aug212011

Pac-ing It In

Football season is tantalizingly close. With high hopes for the new season come all new looks for your favorite teams - players, coaches and (of course) uniforms.

In this spirit, I've decided to get back to my roots and start coming up with some new football uni concepts. Now, since I've started doing concepts, I've gotten many requests from people out West asking me to take a crack at the Pac-12 the same way I did the BigTen a few months back.

Well, I couldn't think of a better way to get back into the swing of all things football than to tweak on of the nations' finest conferences. So, without further adieu, I give you my take on the the Pac-12:

Arizona - Home, Road, Red Alt, Blue Alt:

While I'm sorta known as a stripe-classicist, I love the fading stripe of Zona's. Granted, I wouldn't want it on every team (or even many) but it reminds me of a mirage in a desert and I think it works very nicely for the Wildcats. I kept the fading stripes on the pants and helmet and added them to the compression sleeves. I also reduced the role of the red jersey because I think ASU should be the red Arizona state school (that's also why there's no red pants). Oh, and no blue helmet, one UA helmet is enough.

Arizona State - Home, Road, Home Alt:

I created a few ASU unis a while back but looking back on them, I don't actually like my own designs too much. While my new designs draw from the new Sun Devils uniforms Nike came up with, I still like the classic look of the old Sparty-helmeted unis. I do like the gradient number font a lot, so much so I added it to the Alternate's pants. To me, that just screams 'heat'.

California - Home, Road, Yellow Alt, All Blue Alt, Yellow Alt Two:

Here is my first real departure from the norm. With two-tone numbers, a modern font and a variation of Georgia's shoulder stripes, these new Cal uniforms are anything but your daddy's Cal uniforms. I kept the classic lid and colors but that's about all that didn't change.

Colorado - Home, Road:

Back to a more classical look (but only briefly, look who's up next...). No stripes. Just numbers and the word 'Colorado' in bold italics font. No black pants. No gold alternate. Just how it should be.

Oregon - Regular Home, Road; White Pants Home, Road; White and Green Home, Road; Green Helmet Alt; Yellow Alt:

Listen, everyone needs an Oregon. For every Alabama, there has to be an Oregon. I did limit the Ducks, however. My rule: You can only wear green, white or yellow. Even with those restrictions, I gave them three helmets, five jerseys and three pairs of pants. That's 45 possible combinations. I narrowed that down to the combos I think look best. I actually like the Oregon Wings and the design of the current jerseys and helmets don't bother me, what does bother me is all the out of scheme colors. I faux-back to the days of yellow helmets and pants and Kelly green jerseys with the modern accoutrements.

As for the all yellow uni? Ducks are yellow.

Oregon State - Home, Road, Home Alt, All Black Alt:

The Beavers may have started the whole, "stripes on the compression shirt," fad, but they looked so good, I decided to bring that look along with modern numbers and logos. To differentiate OSU even more, I made orange the Home uni and left the black jersey as the alternate. I downplay the cartoon beaver logo and this is the only Pac-12 design in which I use full length socks. This could become an iconic look for the Beavers.

Stanford - Home, Road:

The Cardinal (sic) have flirted with black recently. I stop that shit.

Washington - Home, Road, Road Alt:

With the Huskies, I removed any black or modern stripes. Instead, I put the Huskies' alternate logo on the shoulders and their TV numbers on the compression sleeves. I also gave them a unique and thin number font and gold pants as the go-to road pants.

Washington State - Home, Road:

The Cougars recently announced new unis and I was rather unimpressed. Instead I take some elements from those unis and add them to WSU's tradition of alternating Home and Road helmets.

UCLA - Home, Road:

There shouldn't be much to change to UCLA but adidas has made this untrue. Instead I return the UCLA stripes to a reasonable length (though they still could be longer) and remove all dark blue from the stripes (though I keep it around the numbers).

USC - Home, Road:

No Change. Perfection.

Utah - Home, Road:

To be honest, I kinda phoned this one in. It's basically what they wear these days (though slightly different) but it was the last set I was doing and I have no idea about Utah's history, what a 'Ute' is or where to go with their unis. So I made them the only solid red team in the Pac-12.

Well, that's my take, feel free to leave yours in the comments. Until next time...

Wednesday
Jul202011

Indiana Déjà Vu

Yesterday, Indiana announced a new uniform set for 2011. While anything is an improvement over this, I'm not sure just going back to this was the best idea ever.

A few weeks back, I had hopes that this would be IU's uniform next year. Aside from that silly collar, that's almost exactly what I wanted out of the Hoosiers' unis.

But, alas, the Hoosiers disappointed me yet again. The uniform - seen here and to the right - along with the helmet (at the bottom) are basically throwbacks to the Terry Hoeppner era.

And actually the new IU unis look a lot like my over-the-top IU concept, down to the overly fat uni numbers - except for the numbers on the compression sleeves, and the candy-stripped pants.

Compare: 2011 uni  vs. O’B. Candy-stripe.

Let's start with the helmet. I like the white facemask but that's where my love affair quickly ends. The only redeeming feature of the 2010 uniforms was the double stripe helmet.

Originally a one game throwback with a block I, the double stripe helmet from recent Hoosier past was so popular it was the new standard uniform helmet THE NEXT GAME and then continued to be for the next three seasons.

While the Hoosiers aren't the only red cap in the BigTen (Minnesota flirts with a red helmet), IU could at least continue having a unique red lid while they’re at it.

As for the jerseys, they're way too boring. Maybe add some stripes to the bottom of the sleeves, or maybe go with sleeve numbers rather than pad numbers, or go for what IU fans really want, the double stripe theme all over.

The Hoosiers were just shoulder stripes away from that design two years ago and they were a pair of pants (and that stoopid side blotch on the jersey) from having it last season. Keep it simple but don't make us an Oklahoma knockoff again (I mean, Riddell already thinks we're interchangable).

And please, for Christ's sake, remove the "For the Glory Of Old IU" from the inside of the collar.

Final Grades:

The Helmet - Love the facemask, hate (like, loath) the lack of stripes. Grade: D | Uni-Watch.com Scale: Seriously Stupid

The Jersey - No side blotches, but no stripes whatsoever. Grade: B- | Uni-Watch.com Scale: Good but could be Great

The Pants - Back to the ol' double stripe. Grade: A+ (so long as they wear red pants on the road) | Uni-Watch.com Scale: Great

Overall, two steps forward, one step back: B- (which is a vast improvement from the D- that was last year.)

Friday
Jan212011

UPDATE: These Are What Indiana's Uniforms Should Look Like

Since I first posted my concepts for Indiana's football team, I have found a better template and have updated my ideas.

First I have the Home and Away look with the candy striped pants.

Next, I tried the same look with a white helmet, Home and Away.

I decided to take the striping to a whole new level, Home and Away.

But to make Indiana's Helmet more original and unique, I tried a front of the helmet placement for the interlocking IU logo, Home and Away.

finally, since this is the Nike Pro Combat line and Nike is so fond of black uniforms for the sake of black, I tried a black alternate uniform (although because black is one of Purdue's colors, the Hoosiers should never wear black) and I tried a gray uniform like the Oregon Nikes Ducks are so fond of.