Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Week 10: Getting Ugly

I can't decide what's worse - a loss in Minnesota, or the new prototype jerseys the Packers are testing.

Not sure about these prototypes - sure sounds like what some of the Giants have been testing on the field this season.

Looks awful, like he's been vacuformed or swaddled in Saran Wrap. Check out all the stretch marks, and the pads poking through like ribs on a zombie. You can't stretch a clingy fabric over uneven surfaces and still look halfway decent. The performance fabric aspect sounds like a good idea (although I'm usually skeptical of such claims), but they have to fix the æsthetics.

UPDATE: On the must-read UniWatch blog, Paul Lukas quotes Giants equipment manager Joe Skiba’s reaction to the WFRV video: “That jersey’s already outdated.” So the Giants version might be, what, even more stretchy?

The report is all the more frustrating for its imprecision. Ryan Popkey, the correspondent, specifically mentions "League-wide uniformity." That brings to mind of the Reebok EDGE debacle in the NHL. They tried to apply a limited number of templates to all teams, with some negative results (they also made some dubious claims about performance, including that the new jerseys had 9% less wind drag). Wouldn't surprise me, as Reebok obviously has a financial incentive to simplify jersey construction. On the other hand, Packers equipment manager Red Batty talks about trying to consolidate the three different uniform patterns worn by different positions, and the three different kinds of material used in each of the jersey (shoulder yoke, mesh torso, spandex side panels). So which is it?

If Popkey is correct, how will this single uniform template handle complicated uniforms like those of the Cardinals or Vikings? The Bills have piping up and down the seams of their jerseys - will Reebok paint those thin stripes on, or will the Bills re-design the jerseys? How about the orange side panels on the Broncos' duds? Will Reebok create a new template just for them, or will they add the color blocks on like stripes, or will we see another re-design?

There are a lot of questions raised by this prototype, and not necessarily in a good way. 2010's not that far away.

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