by Phil Hecken
Yesterday’s Army-Navy game was either the greatest or the worst uniform matchup of the year, depending upon your perspective. It was the 109th meeting between the teams, and it’s always the biggest game of the year for those two service academies. Even though Navy thoroughly smoked Army, 34-0, the uniforms were the story.
Nike chose Army and Navy
seeing as how it’s already ruined Oregon as partners in debuting its new “Enforcer” football uniforms this weekend. According to the Swoosh, the new uniforms “were developed as the next evolution of Nike’s shrink wrap uniform with high performance materials that will help the athletes perform at their highest standard.” The uniforms “are lightweight, breathable and more form-fitting, enabling superior field performance.” (Apparently someone forgot to tell Army this). Nike continues, “The uniforms provide greater moisture management and reduction of grab points while also incorporating inspiration from two of the nation’s military units in its design.” Whatever.
Wait — what was that last part — “incorporating inspiration from two of the nation’s military units in its design”? Let’s look at that part, shall we.
Navy: Navy’s unis incorporated symbols associated with the Marine Corps for the first time ever, while also including the blue and gold always associated with the Naval Academy. Navy football players wore their traditional sun gold helmet and their jersey had the United States Marines “globe and anchor” logo, which emphasizes the connection between the Marine Corps and the Navy. Also, included in the jersey are the shoulder boards, which depict the wings of the Blue Angel plane. Each player also wore a unit patch representing different units of both the Army and the Navy from around the world. Navy also wore a replica of the Marine Corps Elegant Dress Pants (as seen on right) with the fold and red officer blood stripe running down each pant leg.
Army: Army debuted a new helmet and pants, along with jersey numerals with a digital print camouflage pattern. The pants featured the name “West Point” along the right side. “Boots on the Ground,” Army’s slogan, ran along the left side of the pant. In place of the name plate, “Duty, Honor, Country” was displayed on the back of each player’s jersey along with their uniform number. Each player also had a unit patch on the front of their jersey.
So, what’s the verdict, Uni Watchers? Just another Nike gimmick, or a fine tribute to the Armed Services? Maybe a little bit of both. Regardless, the real champion of the 109th Army-Navy game was the unis. Either way, it’s interesting to see how the Swoosh is attempting to work with some universities (and academies) to produce unique and sometimes visually jarring uniforms. I would imagine the Battle of the Academies was probably just a “one-off” thing and these two teams will retrun to their more “traditional” unis next season (until they face each other next year?). But how did you like it? Let us know what you think.
“Men, I want you just thinking of one word all season. One word and one word only: Super Bowl.” — former Houston Oilers Head Coach Bill Peterson
Notes & Asides: • This weeks “worst uni matchup” winners: Stade Francais / Harlequins (thanks, SQL), AC Milan / Palermo (grazie, Stuby), and Atlanta / St. Louis (thanks, John Muir) •• BCS selections announced tonight at 8:00 EST (FOX) ••• Today in the NFL: Look for the G-Men to clinch the NFC East & a first round bye with a win over the Iggles at 1:00 EST; FAIC (Football Afternoon In Canada) at 4:05 EST, with the Bills “hosting” the Fish; Tremendous game between playoff-bound Pittsburgh & playoff-wannabe Dallas at 4:15; SNF features the suddenly-hot Ravens and the barely-breathing Skins…good stuff
BCS Predictions: BCS: Florida vs. Oklahoma; Fiesta: Texas vs. TOSU; Sugar: Bama vs. Utah; Rose: USC vs. PSU; Orange: VT vs. Cincinnati