The Oregon Ducks' new Nike uniforms, which they will don against the Wisconsin Badgers for the 2012 Rose Bowl this Monday, will be creating plenty of buzz before, during and after the game.
According to a Nike press release, the company describes the upgrade to the Pro Combat uniform as the most advanced football uniform system ever assembled. The concept made its debut during the 2011 BCS National Championship game when Oregon faced Auburn in Glendale, Ariz., last season. Pictures and details of the newest iteration were revealed online on Tuesday.
Here are the ins and outs:
- A new, state-of-the-art material called Nike Chain Maille Mesh material is incorporated into the back and under the arms in the jersey, as well as down the sides of the athlete's pants that provides ventilation while keeping durability. The mesh also provides thermoregulation and includes the Nike Pro Combat Deflex padding layer, constructed with fabric that is supposed to keep the body cool and draw off sweat that makes the uniform, and by extension the player, lighter and dryer.
- The Deflex padding is specifically integrated in the hip and knee areas of the pants in a way that keeps the padding in places for maximum impact protection.
- Less bulky padding has been added to the hit zone between the knees and shoulders for optimal low-profile impact protection.
- A Flywire collar acts as a stable anchor to keep the jersey in place and is supposed to eliminate two layers of fabric for improved breathability.
- The overall uniform is open-hole woven to provide more ventilation through increased air flow.
- The overall uniform has a base layer that provides lightweight protection for maximum speed. The base layer in the pants specifically features customizable protection that incorporates a thin, strong carbon fiber plate that can be placed on the thigh padding where needed.
- There are 16 different materials in the complete uniform-jersey, pants, gloves, etc.-that are supposed to address the specific needs of the athlete in game situations.
- It includes a larger number font with iridescent sheen that allows the numbers to change color as they move through light.
- An armored wing design along the shoulder area.
- A new helmet that includes bright, silver wings on the sides with an almost mirrored appearance atop a LiquidMetal black finish never before seen on the field. The O appears in the top-center portion of the helmet's back, and like the wings, has a mirrored finish.
- Surely the new uniform will play some part in gaining recruits and fans for the Ducks, but for Nike, it can represent a bigger purpose: since Nike will be taking over manufacturing NFL apparel from Reebok this spring, the new Oregon uniform paves the way for NFL uniform innovations and licensed products. The Oregonian reports that those products could show up in retail stores as early as April.
So far, the uniforms have drawn mixed reactions from the Ducks.
I think we've got a little swagger, said Oregon defensive end Dion Jordan. The fans are going to enjoy it.
The kids were excited, said coach Chip Kelly. The thing for us is the science behind them. They're lighter weight. They're better at whisking sweat away from your body. That part's pretty unique.
That's a lot of hooey, I think, said offensive lineman Mark Asper about the uniform's fancy technology. They tell us all this science, cooling and water resistant. I want the O-line tested and approved uniform. Give me the science for that because my jersey gets soaked through in warm-ups. The pants are supposed to be water-resistant. By the end of the 4th quarter, they're soaked.
However, even Asper couldn't resist positive feedback.
But they [the uniforms] do a good job, with everything they have, Asper continued. I can't complain. It's top of the line stuff and it works well.
You're either going to like them, or you're going to hate them, said linebacker Josh Kaddu of the helmets. I'm loving them right now.
Oregon tight end David Paulson had a broader perspective on the new outfit.
I think that is kind of the fun part about playing at Oregon, he said. You get to wear things that are new and different than anybody else wears. This is just another example of that. We get to do it on another big stage.
Oregon, despite all the talk of the new look, won't be the only ones to show it all off on Monday, however. Wisconsin will also sport a new uniform courtesy of their uniform supplier Adidas, and that new look will be unveiled Friday in Pasadena according to the Oregonian. A countdown has even been created on a site dedicated to the Badgers' new outfits.
Oregon arrived in Southern California on Monday to conclude their preparation for the Rose Bowl, as well as to participate in bowl activities, including taking a trip to Disneyland along with players from Wisconsin. The Ducks are seeking their first Rose Bowl championship since 1917.