League says Nike deal won’t lead to dramatic jersey design changes

Earlier today, we suggested that folks thinking about buying an NFL jersey should consider waiting until April of this year, when the switch flips from Reebok to Nike.  But with a Nike exec saying in October 2010 that the company plans on “changing the NFL jersey dramatically,” the league is now saying otherwise.

“Logos are controlled by teams and the NFL,” league spokesman Brian McCarthy told PFT by email this morning.  “That will not change.  Teams have to apply to league to make changes to logos and colors.

“We anticipate new uniform technology (i.e., performance-driven, lighter materials).  That’s what Nike’s [Charlie] Denson was referring to in his interview in 2010 regarding changes.”

So, apparently, the jerseys will look the same, barring any changes that would be made in the ordinary course of changing jerseys.  Of course, the shift to Nike could cause some teams to decide to make the change.

Last year, for example, Seahawks president Peter McLoughlin said that the team will use the occasion to re-do their duds.  “There will be no changes for ’11, for the upcoming season,” McLoughlin told Dave “Softy” Mahler of KJR.  “2011 is the final year for the Reebok deal with the NFL, and starting in 2012 we’re going to be going with a Nike jersey and a Nike design.  So we’ve actually met with Nike, and I think we were the first NFL team to meet with them, and we had a fascinating session with them.  Pete Carroll was in the room, John Schneider, all kinds of people, and we’re looking at all kinds of new designs, and new kinds of jerseys, and we’re talking about a throwback for sure.  So there’s a lot of creative stuff in the works right now.”

Thus, we won’t know for sure the team jerseys that will look different until the new jerseys are unveiled.  The league says that’ll happen in late April, in connection with the 2012 draft.

As to players changing jersey numbers, McCarthy said that the policy won’t change.  Players wanting to change their numbers will have to submit requests to the team, and the team will then pass the requests along to the league.  Still, NFL spokesman Greg Aiello separately tells PFT that the requirement that a player who changes his number refund Reebok for the unsold inventory of jerseys bearing the prior number will go away in conjunction with the changeover.

So if, for example, Adrian Peterson wants to change his number (as he said he wants to do on his Twitter page), he won’t have to write a check to Reebok.

The bigger takeaway is that Nike won’t be unleashing haphazardly a new array of alternative looks and designs.

We think.

96 responses to “League says Nike deal won’t lead to dramatic jersey design changes

  1. Nike?So then each team will have new uniforms each game that are both unique and brutally ugly.

  2. Since I am a fan of the traditional, simple, clean-style uniforms I am pretty worried about Nike coming in and making these guys were their spacesuits with extra piping to enhance “performance.”

    Not excited about this…

  3. Hopefully the NFL will give New Era some leeway to do alternative looks and designs when they start releasing the new NFL hats in the summer.

  4. ya,

    if they touch the silver & black raider jerseys

    they’ll be riots from LA to the Bay ,

    thats the only team you can watch a game of in the 1960’s and then watch a game of in 2012 , and be like

    oh the silver and black team,

    yup thats the Raiders.

    Shield does not get touched either.

  5. The Jaguars said this a week ago Via Twitter. that they own the logos and colors and not to expect major changes, just a different company making the jerseys.

  6. A prototype of the new Seahawk helmet was shown in Pete Carrol’s office. Seattle is going back to the silver helmet, but the logo will be unchanged.

  7. “Logos are controlled by teams and the NFL,” league spokesman Brian McCarthy told PFT by email this morning. “That will not change. Teams have to apply to league to make changes to logos and colors.”

    That doesn’t say anything about jersey design. The Titans could completely change their jersey but keep the flaming T logo and their colors.

    Translation: “no no no.. keep buying jerseys… they’re not going to change at all” *whistles suspiciously*

  8. nike butchered some of the college jerseys. i sure hope they don’t mess with the classic colts or steelers jerseys. some things are just better off left alone

  9. Thank god I was scared that NFL teams were going to look like those disasters the Ducks wear all the time

  10. Can someone with a little pull, start the Eagles back to kelly green wheels in motion? Most teams improve on their unis, but the Eagles dropped the ball. Coming from a life long Eagles fan, I guess dropping the ball is what we do. Really though, someone out there can get this going…….. Please..

  11. What they are trying to say is…

    The broncos helmets will have crosses on them and thorn designs around the helmet.

    The Steelers will have “toilet occupied” signs on the helmets.

    The Jets will have 4 pre-season lombardis on the helmets.

    The colts will have a revamped”Luck”y-horshoe design.

    The eagles will have a new dream team logo.

    The dolphins will replace the logo with a goldfish

    The packers will have a new logo featuring the discount double check hand motion …. (in which packer fans can be owners of the new logo for just $300 a certicefercate!)

    The Raiders will use Al Davis with an eye-patch in the shield.

    The Panthers will now use a fig-newton symbol.

    The Ravens have applied a choker around the neck of the raven logo

    The chargers will replace the lighting bolt with recharable AAA batteries

    The Chiefs have incorporated thier color scheme to use a medic symbol on the helmets.

    The falcons are the now the pigeons

    ok im done….. enough laughs

  12. We already know Denver is going back to Orange dominant this year… a minor change but a good one!

    Nike college jerseys seem to offer a lot of different trimming options that we don’t see in the NFL. I wouldn’t mind seeing some teams not necessarily change their logo or colours, but just include some different trim patterns. Would add some extra flavour to the looks. 🙂

    And as much as I hate the Raiders – I agree with the comment above. Don’t touch that one… that’s iconic.

  13. hopefully Nike makes the new Vikings, Browns, Raiders, Redskins, Bills, Jets and Buccanears uniforms invisible, because they suck and no one wants to see them anyway!!

  14. Of course they are not going to change team colors or logos. Nike is powerful, but c’mon now people. The new materials will be great and the untrained eye won’t see a difference most likely. The jersey panels will probably be stitched together in different places and on the jerseys for sale to the public better have a man sized collar no matter what size the jersey. Those Reebok jerseys were like putting on a turtle neck noose.

  15. Why not change a little? Some teams could use a makeover. It would be nice to see changes for special occaisions once in a while. Why not? I hope the NFL’s team logo stuff changes. Some of the Reebok NFL golf shirts were ugly as hell.

  16. Hopefully this means the Chinese website I buy “authentic jerseys” from can get these changes made quickly after Nike takes over and I can grab an “authentic” Nike, Michael Floyd, Bears jersey quickly after the draft.

  17. Let nike have at it…. The only way you can make the seahawk uniforms any uglier would be to give them what the bengals wear.

  18. If Nike had their way every team’s jersey would be predominantly black and be covered in gang symbols and brightly colored “swooshes”. That way all those impressionable urban youths would spend $100 dollars on a football jersey instead of opening a savings account.

  19. This is getting way over blown. The only difference is going to be the fabrics the jerseys are made from, and a Nike patch on the shoulder where there currently is a Reebok patch. No extra piping, no new logos.

  20. Oh god. We’ve alls een the trash that NIke forces Oregon to wear.

    Be afraid, be very afraid!!

  21. Yes, Seahawks. Do what the Buffalo Bills did and go back to the old look with a minor modern touch. Please, I can barely make out the Seahawk players.

  22. You will see a lot of little tweakings on the uniforms especially with the “template” of them. Minor piping, border lines, etc.

  23. dam, I was hoping the Jags would at least tweak the uni’s a bit, not totally into these newer one’s Wayne Weaver went with.. I think all 32 clubs should allow their fans to have some say in the products being worn, maybe like having a few jerseys to pick from, home & away? (who else buys them anyway?)

    I guarantee so much more jersey’s would be sold, which would make this deal a win/win!!

  24. Nike has a new ad campaign with a star BB player for shoes. How much will they cost? Or, how many young men will be hurt or worse just for wearing them? I do not care for Nike and their corporate structure of jacking up prices to over pay athletes to wear them.

  25. It better not… we don’t need to turn the NFL look into the ‘bling’d’ up Ducks… Rose Bowl gave me a headache to even watch. Terrible.

  26. I prefer the simpler uni look of the 80s, but if there are changes to be made, it would be nice to see teams make changes with some character and flair, instead of just the ugly militaristic/video-game look that Nike gives so much stuff.

    Take the Seahawks. I’d love to see a sort of retro color scheme (more the old saturated blue & green, as opposed to the sort of apologetic subdued tones we see these days) combined with the Oregon-style smoked-chrome helmets. Could be striking.

    Whatever is done, someone please convince the Bucs and Jags to change their unis completely. Personally, I love the old Bucs creamsicle look, but this sort of dirty-brass and dark-red combo is truly awful. And the Jags just never look like their stuff matches, it looks clunky.

    Uniforms/logos/color schemes used to be iconic. Now everyone seems to want to not stand out, with logos all designed to look indistinct and sort of mean. It’s like the nu-metal-ization of football. Give us simple, striking, and bold. And maybe, just maybe, even… fun.

  27. Dolphins need to lose the blue back-drop on their numbers. Can’t tell the difference between the 8s 9s 6s and Os . Need to lose the aqua pants too. Larry Csonka in aqua pants? I don’t think so.

    Need to go back to the 1973 style. Dress like a champion, play like a champion.

  28. Old traditional teams like Bears, Steelers, G-Men, Green Bay, Lions, Raiders etc, I say nyet! Newer teams with no tradition, I say go for it. Every team should have a future forward design that they play in 1-2 times per year instead of the hideous “Throwbacks”. It could be fun as long as they don’t screw around with the logos, emblems and insignias. Remember when “Patty” Patriot became “Elvis” the Patriot? That was a big change!

    BTW. The Redskins are first up for a major redo. Their unnies are terrible. And they are a total ripoff of Green Bay! They look like miscolored Packer uniforms. Lombardi brought it over from GB. The Skins need to change it into a new identity. Knowing Nike though, they will disguise their Swoosh all through the new designs like they did with the Denver Bronco unnie. When the Broncs crouch in a stance, the side design becomes a Nike Swoosh.

  29. mjbulls45 says:
    Jan 24, 2012 3:41 PM

    thats the only team you can watch a game of in the 1960′s and then watch a game of in 2012 , and be like…


    Yup, just the Raiders. Well them and the Jets, Colts, NYG, the Rams are practically the same, Steelers, Eagles, Cowboys, Chiefs, Packers, Vikings, Lions…and about a hundred college programs.

  30. ..that is NOT what this release from the NFL says….first of all…of course they are going to say this….but how do they “message” it….the logos arent changing….duh…of course the logos and colors arent changing…only the USE of those colors and logos are. Read between the lines man. This message is to keep apparel sales going for a while.

    ASk yourself….if the DESIGNs arent changing,why is it Nike is saying so AND why have they spent all this time churning out design layouts?Just for kicks?…ah NO

    The uniforms ARE going to change drastically…just not the colors and logos.

  31. Nike threads rock!!! Could you imagine your team having 16 different jerseys and the team captn picks b4 the game like University of MD? Wow!!!

  32. I wish my Raiders would wear their silver jerseys once in awhile. They have them as an alternate but never wear them

  33. Oh and could Tennessee always wear their Oilers throwbacks? So much cooler than the Titans uniforms

  34. you know – maybe somebody needs to drop that little nugget on nike – because, as we read earlier – they seem to think there are dramatic changes coming…just shut the hell up and collect your money – we don’t need your stinkin’ artistic license!

  35. There are certain teams that should NEVER be allowed to change the basic design of their uniforms, and I think we all would be in agreement as to who they are.

    Since the 1960’s, I can’t think of one new design uniform that is an improvement on the original. Even the Bucs’ old logo was better (just maybe not their colors).

  36. Hoping the Browns go back to the Orange pants of the 70’s. You can chalk the Browns up with the rest of the teams who havn’t messed with tradition. Sadly not only havnt we changed our uniforms…We havnt messed with the tradition of losing in said uniforms.

  37. I knew some idiot would have to refer to the Bengals again. Leave our tiger stripes alone…we are proud of them!

  38. I hope the Dolphins replace the cartoon dolphin with the Dolphins Stadium logo. It was slick! Besides that we’ve statistically sucked since making it a cartoon dolphin.

  39. how is old is everyone on this site?!?! i love oregons uni selection, i also love tradition. theres only a handfull of teams you shouldnt change packers,bears,cowboys nyg,sf,raiders. everyone else is fair game i think especially the dolphins, chiefs, redskins,browns
    i love and only buy nike and im a 25 year old white boy

  40. I hope not because that 49ers one I seen was hideous. Looked like the redskins. On the note, the Redskins, Bengals, Cardinals and Patriots looked pretty damn good. Especially the pats…. The 49ers uniforms are ugly anyway. The throwback and newer blocked letter variations looked better in 94-97 before they got the super hideous shiny gold pants. The design I seen however was kind of reverse engineered in the style dept if you ask me and given the choice I would rather have the current “classic” style than that thing Nike presented

  41. teams heading for change
    Broncos – already will switch to orange home

    teams not changing
    Bears, Packers, Patriots
    Raiders, Giants, Niners, Steelers (numerical font will change)

    Redskins, Vikings, Lions, Eagles, Chiefs, Cowboys

    the top five mentioned are at the bottom of sales of NFL properties (although Denver got a bump from Tebow THIS YEAR)

  42. Jags, Panthers, and Texans all need new helmets. I think Nike could do something really cool for them.

    Aside from that, NFL should consider letting Nike do a futuristic helmet once a year. Forget the throw backs for once, have them do something really cool like they’ve been doing for their preferred college programs.

  43. PS Seattle needs to go back to the old silver ones like other said, Tampa needs new ones too, and the Rams need to go back to yellow. I think that’s everything I’d change.

  44. I think Cleveland should go back to their 1940’s moniker of the Cleveland Hashbrowns, and their helmet could have a plate with some scattered, smothered, and covered, with a little steam rising off. mmmmmm, hashbrowns………

  45. I hope Bengals switch their jersey color to Orange…I like Black jersreys but 90% of the NFL wears Black at some point Orange should be main Black should be alt.

  46. Cleveland needs to wake up. Change the colors AND the name of the team. Here’s why…
    First, the Browns uniform is consistently voted the worst in the league. Worst team and worst uniform needs a makeover.
    Plus, the Browns and Paul Brown divorced. Paul Brown went to Cincy. He wants nothing more than to pound the brains out of the Browns. History is history. But some things need to change because of circumstances.
    How stupid for the Cleveland Browns to still carry Paul Brown’s name and personally selected colors. The Brown family has made Cincy home and the Paul Brown memorial stadium exists in….CINCINNATI! He even mocked Cleveland by making his Bengals orange. It makes Ohio look pretty dumb! And, the “Browns” look dumbest of all. Suckers for ancient history.
    Cleveland should wake up ans start anew! NEW UNIFORM. NEW COLORS! NEW TEAM NAME!

  47. Im in advertising and ill say this…if the league lets nike redo all the uniforms designs it will be a huge mistake. The nfl already has throwbacks and subtle changes throuout history but all are subtle and clean. Keep the teams branded as they are. It has resonated to the fullest with the fans. Last thing we need is another xfl.

  48. Please, change the Packers’ uniforms – they suck.

    You can start by going back to dark blue & gold.

    Get rid of the stupid “G” (is it “greenbay”?) and think of a better logo.

  49. the bills need to change when was the last time you saw a blue buffalo. and anything they do to the browns would help. the only team i see that matches in color and name is the bengals. maybe that is why alot of people dont like the bengals uniforms. because there team dont

  50. mistersmith22 says: Jan 24, 2012 4:11 PM

    mjbulls45 says:
    Jan 24, 2012 3:41 PM

    thats the only team you can watch a game of in the 1960′s and then watch a game of in 2012 , and be like…


    Yup, just the Raiders. Well them and the Jets, Colts, NYG, the Rams are practically the same, Steelers, Eagles, Cowboys, Chiefs, Packers, Vikings, Lions…and about a hundred college programs.


    @ Mrs. Smith,


    because I could have SWORN i saw all those teams wear alternates at some point ,

    Philly wore a nasty blue/yellow collabo, they have various shades of the green they wear

    Steelers – have a black/yellow alternate they sport from time to time

    Jets – have different helmets from back then in 80’s

    THE LIONS? – they just changed their uni’s , u dont notice that Lion Suh wears is not like the one Barry used to wear…

    anyways, my point was that the Raiders other then the 1 AFL throwback anniversary year in 2009 , PRIMARILY rock the same uniforms 24-7, more consistent then ANY other team – that is fact.

    as far as college programs go , they change jerseys pretty much all the time, especially with the new wave of Nike alternates & Under Armor.

    alright Martha Stewart?

    is that enough clarification for you .

  51. If they burn the Eagles 1933 baby blue and yellow throwbacks, I’m in favor of Nike.

  52. I wonder if Nike will do special “dry-fit” 3 piece suits that are made out of 20 % lighter material then the previous reebok JDR ones. 😐

  53. My vote is for the Chargers to wear their Powder Blue unis more often. And make them throwbacks again with their numbers on the side of the helmet.

    Then again if Nike is making all these supposed changes.. nevermind. They’ll just destroy what makes it special.

  54. This is a long time coming. Coaches and players alike prefer Nike over Reebok. From cleats to athletic apparel, Reebok is an inferior product.

  55. I doubt there will be dramatic changes, but to say the logos and colors are owned by the teams as the reason is bs. Logos and colors are owned by the universities and colleges is college football…how is that working out.

  56. Let see, Oregon uniforms on the Boise State field. WOW way out man. By the way I do have an Oregon jersey with feathers on the shoulders. Had more fun watching those teams than the scripted political NFL. Used to like the NFL, but things have changed, and not for the better.

  57. mjbulls45 says: Jan 24, 2012 3:41 PM

    if they touch the silver & black raider jerseys
    they’ll be riots from LA to the Bay ,
    thats the only team you can watch a game of in the 1960′s and then watch a game of in 2012 , and be like oh the silver and black team,
    yup thats the Raiders.


    What about the Bears, Packers, Chiefs, Browns, Lions, Colts, Dolphins, 49ers, Cowboys…
    Do you see a big difference between their uniforms from 45 years ago and the ones they wear today?
    Even the Giants and Jets came to their senses and went back to their old look.

    Not every team changed their uniforms to sell jackets and jerseys to gang bangers you know.

  58. I can’t wait to see the Eagles in the butt-ugly green uniforms that Oregon wore this year.

    Just how bad can Nike screw up the star on the CowBabies helmet?

  59. Really like the idea of NewEra being major contributed to NFL headwear …. Especially the 5950
    Please don’t go overboard with the uni’s Seahawks !
    -12th man

  60. Slightly off-topic, but I can’t believe in this day and age of stymieing political correctness that Washington is still able to get away with their team being named the Redskins. I figured they’d have changed it to the Washington Warriors or something by this point, so they could at least still keep the Indian motif. Either way, their uniforms are atrocious and every time I watch one of their games I feel like I’m going to see commercials for “All In The Family” and Jordache bell-bottoms during time-outs. Time for an update.

  61. Once Nike got hold of the English Premier League (Soccer) it was all over. Boring, unimaginative, cookie cutter, one style for all teams type of jerseys. They have a monopoly and the arrogance that they can just churn out garbage and the fan(consumer) will blindly buy it. Sigh…

  62. Big Seahawks fan here, but if Phil Knight’s team of highlighter-happy Oregon designers gets a hold of our duds we’re doomed. Nike’s technology is superior to Reebok’s, no question, but the NFL charities must be licking their chops.
    Nike’s special Skittles-themed shoes they made for Marshawn were cute (and he was fined $10k), but how scary is the thought of Nike getting hold of the entire uniform for the entire team! Will the NFL fine the players, the teams, or perhaps just establish an open line with Nike?
    There’ll be so much money floating around it’ll be like the United Way is getting their own TV contract.

  63. I sure hope they don’t change the jersey look.

    Their shoes are nice, I own one pair of the older cheaper ones. So fill in the blank:

    Nike products are made by the largest combined amount of ________ laborers in the world.

    Nike you better not ____ with us. Fill in that blank.

  64. If Nike can change storied college football and basketball uniforms to fit their stupid templates, they’ll do it in the NFL too. I’m sure the league is all in, thinking the kids will like some cool new uniforms. I wish Nike would stop trying to make all the uniforms look the same…especially since their templates are eyesores.

  65. I can’t stand most of what they’ve done with some of the college uni’s, but I’ll have to admit, I think the flat (rather than glossy) paint on the helmets is an awesome look – especially the flat-black helmet. A few years ago some of the NFL teams change their helmet and with this glitter effect, which look absolutely silly to me. The glitter effect really only looks good on silver and gold, and maybe the Giants blue. I couldn’t believe storied franchises like the Packers and Dolphons went to the glitter. What a joke and a tolal f’up to a classic helmet! I’d rather see a couple of teams use a flat alternative to the glitter crap.

  66. mjbulls45 says: Jan 24, 2012 5:36 PM

    anyways, my point was that the Raiders other then the 1 AFL throwback anniversary year in 2009 , PRIMARILY rock the same uniforms 24-7, more consistent then ANY other team – that is fact.

    is that enough clarification for you .

    1) You realize it’s because the silver alternate jerseys suck, right? Not to mention the lack of contrast between the away team’s whites? When your colors are basically black white and grey, there’s only so many options you have.

    2) Do you even watch football outside of the AFC West?

    No change over the years: Packers, Bears, Browns, Colts, Chiefs (how did you miss that one?).

    Minimal change at most (slight number or font style): Steelers, Saints, 49ers, Miami, Minnesota.

    3) If you’re really going to point out the one game a year that most teams are required to wear an alternate jersey, I’ll refer you to #1.

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