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Nike reveals new uniforms for Bucs, other NFL teams

TBO.com
Published:   |   Updated: March 19, 2013 at 02:22 AM

Nike unveiled its new NFL uniforms at a much-ballyhooed event in Brooklyn, but the reveal itself was more dramatic than the changes to the jerseys.

Most, including the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, while more tailored and form-fitting, look pretty much the same as the Reebok uniforms they replaced.

The most notable exception was the Seattle Seahawks, who completely redesigned their uniforms with a steel-blue, grey, white and neon green color scheme, as well as new number patterns, stripes and uniform marks.

The Seahawks posted an extensive photo gallery of their new look on the team's website. You can view it here: http://bit.ly/HV3pV5.

The Bucs retain their red, pewter and orange color scheme, as well as the familiar skull and swords flag logo used since 1997. The only noticeable difference on the jersey design shown Tuesday is the collar and the replacement of the Reebok logo on the sleeve with the distinctive Nike swoosh.

Nike calls the new NFL line Nike Elite 51. The company claims it is lighter, more durable and more flexible than previous uniforms, with improved ventilation and water resistance.

Most of the uniform changes relate to the construction and materials used, rather than individual team designs. Included is a "Flywire" collar used in the Nike Pro Combat line by several college football teams.

"Designed and engineered from the inside out, the new uniform focuses on creating a system where the baselayer, padding, jersey and pant work in concert," Nike claims in press releases announcing the new Elite 51 line.

For the University of Oregon's 2012 Rose Bowl uniform, the newest design before Tuesday's release, Nike boasted it used 11 different materials in the uniform (jersey and pant), and 16 different materials in the complete system.

Not all NFL franchises embraced the new technology. Nine teams chose not to adopt the Flywire collar, which Nike claims provides a "lockdown" seal with shoulder pads, and five teams decided not to use the "uniform system" at all.

For those teams, Nike's press releases said simply they had "chosen to stay with their traditional design aesthetic as well as their former uniform fabrication for the coming season."

The teams that passed on the Nike design completely were the Carolina Panthers, Atlanta Falcons, Philadelphia Eagles, Oakland Raiders and Green Bay Packers. Nike still will manufacture their uniforms, using the previous design.

The Kansas City Chiefs made a minor uniform modification by moving players' numbers from the sleeve to the shoulder pad, while the Chicago Bears increased the thickness of the stripes on their sleeves. Several teams had to change collar designs to accommodate the Flywire collar.

Demand to view photos of the new uniforms overloaded Nike's website Tuesday afternoon, with pages loading very slowly, if at all. By 1:30 p.m., nikeinc.com appeared briefly to go down completely, delivering "503 Service Unavailable - No server is available to handle this request" errors. The site went back online at about 2 p.m.

While universities like Oregon and Maryland have released radical uniform and design changes in recent years, NFL owners generally are a more conservative group and the league strictly protects its teams' logos, marks and color schemes. That was reflected in the Elite 51 uniforms displayed Tuesday.

Even Seattle was restrained compared to college standards. Its three new uniforms can be worn in nine different combinations, according to the Seahawks' website. Oregon claims the Ducks can hit the field in 210 possible combinations of its jerseys (seven), helmets (five) and pants (six).

Don't expect anything remotely like that in the tradition-bound NFL.

"You are going to see a different quality in the products," NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said Monday at a temporary NFL Draft store in Manhattan. "They are more performance related, particularly the jerseys, which will be launched (Tuesday), and of course, style."

A greater chance for modification may be with teams' alternate jerseys, which can be worn in up to two games each season. Those designs were not released Tuesday, nor were road uniforms, except for the Seahawks.

The Bucs have used an orange throwback "Creamsicle" design – patterned after the team's original jersey, logo and colors – as their alternate uniform the past three seasons.

Nike took over uniform licensing from Reebok starting this year under a 10-year contract with the NFL, and also markets an NFL-approved line of clothing that features primarily shirts and shorts for both men and women. New Era is the official supplier of NFL caps.

Goodell also said the merchandise in particular targets women.

"Women fans are huge for us. As a matter of fact, my first purchase today was for all of my women at home. The line, women are going to love it because it is designed for them and it is intended to be performance related for them."

You can check out other Nike merchandise for the Bucs here:

http://www.footballfanatics.com/NFL_Tampa_Bay_Buccaneers_Everything_Nike/partnerid/7642

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