The stream of info on Nike’s “rivalry uniforms” program, which was supposed to be all hush-hush, went from a trickle to a full-on projectile vomit yesterday, as Florida State caught everyone (or at least me) off-guard by unveiling the superhero costume they’ll be wearing on November 21st. There’s a very thorough and illustrative photo gallery here, so take a minute to click though it before we go any further.
A few thoughts:
• The thread pattern on the shoulders looks like the experimental Oregon State design that first surfaced back in August. Reminds me of Spirograph art, which would normally be a good thing, except Spirograph art doesn’t really belong on a football uniform.
• If we go back to that Ohio State jersey photo that was making the rounds a few days ago, we can now see the same thread pattern on the shoulders of that jersey. I didn’t initially recognize it as such — thought it was just some sort of textured surface. But now it’s looking like Nike is going to give some of the same design elements to all of the rivalry uniforms. Which means, once again, they’re subsuming the individual team identities into the larger Team Nike concept. Fuckers.
• Interesting to see that the jersey in that FSU slideshow and the one in the Ohio State photo are both No. 55. Anyone know of any underlying significance there?
• The patterned undersleeves are exactly what Phil and Ricko have been proposing lately — a way to restore sleeve graphics to a uniform that no longer has sleeves. It’d be nice if the graphics in this case were something other than a giant feather, but whaddaya gonna do. At least it’s a team-based graphic instead of some sort of Nike branding graphic.
• The way the gloves fit together like a puzzle is cool — except that football players rarely have their hands together, and the individual glove designs don’t look so hot on their own.
• A black helmet? Sure, why not, whatever, knock yourselves out.
• My favorite three words in the promo package: “padded belt loop.”
High-tech fabric, greater ventilation, lighter weight, higher breathability, moisture wicking Nobody cares.
• You know people are getting tired of Nike’s antics when a mainstream newspaper like The Orlando Sentinel responds to the new uniform by publishing something like this. Sample line: “There’s this thing down the side of the pants. You’ll see. Kind of looks like a horse tail.” Read the whole thing and then get me the writer’s phone number so I can ask him to fill in for me a few times a week.
And so on. Personally, I find it difficult to take this stuff very seriously — it’s not the worst uniform in the world, but I’m here to watch a football game, not the Batman. More importantly, FSU already has one of the best uniforms in the game — why mess with that? Oh, right: Because you can.
And here’s a scary thought to ponder: Buried within this promo sheet are the words “system of dress for football.” Grreeeeeaaaaaat.
Raffle Reminder: I’m currently raffling off three cool posters. Details here
Uni Watch News Ticker: Check out Babe Ruth wearing a special uniform from a 1934 tour of Japan. Further info here (with thanks to Jeremy Brahm). … Here’s a cool sheet running down all the Penguins’ skate details (with thanks to Dane Drutis). … I can’t believe it took a federal court case to determine that it’s OK to making paintings of football players. … Totally ingenious art project, which ties into issues of value, authentic-vs.-copy, etc., described here. … Awesome photo of Dean Meminger and Gary Brell wearing Marquette’s 1970-71 striped warm-ups. And the patch is for Apollo 11! … The Phils may have lost the Series, but they definitely have a more interesting assortment of facial hair than the Yanks will ever have (nice find by Nathan Haas). … We’ve all seen plenty of photos from old-style “base ball” games played by 19th-century rules. But Justin Lafferty recently attended one that had an extra twist, because the participants included Jeff Kent, Steve Finley (dig the botto end of the bat!), Blue Moon Odom, Spaceman Lee, Vida Blue, Gaylord Perry, and Rollie Fingers. You can see the rest of his photos from the game here. … UCLA will be wearing throwbacks tomorrow. … Good question from Cliff Murphy, who asks: Which team or league was the first to have its players wear championship T-shirts, caps, etc.? Or to put it another way, who’s to blame for this idiotic tradition? … Look, soccer without sponsors! “Normally Liverpool is sponsored by Carlsburg beer and Lyon by an online gambling site,” explains Coachie Ballgames. “However, French law bans alcohol ads and online gambling, so the net result was soccer played the way it should look, without ads.” … The Blazers will be wearing their Rip City alternates tonight. … And the Bucs will be wearing their creamsicles on Sunday. … The Rockets’ red alternate uni will make its debut tonight. That uniform and other Houston alternates are discussed in this article. … According to Greg Riffenburgh, this photo shows Michael Vick wearing the Air Zoom Vick II cleat from 2004. “That means he either has some left over, or Nike revived them for him (I’ll be they’re stockpiled),” says Greg. “Vick’s signature shoes haven’t been seen on the field in years (obviously) so I’m curious to see if he’ll be wearing any other versions of his old signature shoes in the near future.”