New NFL uniforms from Nike were shown off on Tuesday with a gridiron-styled fashion show at a Brooklyn film studio. Uniforms for all 32 teams were on display and worn by a member of the team .
NFL stars, including Ben Roethlisberger of the Pittsburgh Steelers, Ray Rice of the Baltimore Ravens, Alex Smith of the San Francisco 49ers and Wes Welker of the New England Patriots, modeled their new uniforms on stage.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said at the unveiling of the new NFL uniforms, “I love them. I love them first because it starts with the performance part of them. Talking to the players, they don’t want to take them off. They love ’em.” Then afterwards, he said more teams may make design changes in the future. “The performance is so important for the athletes. What we tried to do is innovate. Even if the look doesn’t change, there’s innovation. You saw it with the Seahawks. There’ll be more to come.”
The new NFL uniforms were more for fit rather for fashion and style. The Nike Elite 51 uniforms all are made with new technology that make them lighter, dryer and more comfortable.
CEO of Nike, Mark Parker, said the new NFL jerseys are 20% to 30% lighter with four-way stretch that gives players a more contoured fit with less material for tacklers to grab. There’s also padding built in to some parts of the uniforms. “It’s extra layers where you need it and none where you don’t.”
Nike used nine different materials in the new uniforms for the NFL, but noted that the Flywire neck takes what used to be three or four different fabrics merged together and turned it into a tension system to reduce the amount of fabric needed.
The new uniforms start with Nike’s Pro Combat base layer. Three versions of “Hyper” product offer either cooling fabric that wicks sweat away from the body, a fabric that moves sweat away and seals out the cold for added warmth and a protection version with lightweight, flexible “deflex” padding integrated into critical hit zones. Van Horne says players can opt for a carbon-fiber plate for added protection, reported Sports Illustrated.
As of April 1, Nike has an exclusive five-year contract with the NFL to sell apparel for all 32 teams in the league.
Paul Lukas, who contributes to ESPN.com and writes the Uni Watch blog, said, “NFL team owners are some of the most conservative businessmen in America. They call the shots. They don’t just sign off on what somebody else does. They ultimately make the decisions. It’s their property, their teams. The notion that Nike, or any company, could just walk in and change everything unilaterally is (wrong). I think a lot of fans misunderstand how that works. It does not work that way.”
The new NFL jerseys go on sale April 26-28, 2012, the weekend of the NFL Draft. Nike took over as the NFL’s official outfitter this Spring from Reebok.