Monday, October 19, 2009

The future is (Almost) Now

Breaking news - we have a leaked photo of the NFL's design team working on the 2010 uniform template:

No, the NFL isn't becoming Rollerball.

At least, not yet.

But the new skintight uniforms have been cropping up all around the League, including in Arizona:

That's Anquan Boldin on the left, modeling the newfangled version, and Leinart on the right in last century's technology. The most obvious difference is the material, but Leinart's relatively loose sleeves will be cropped and capped the same as Boldin's once he gets issued his new shirt.

Of the teams wearing the new jerseys, few are more high-profile than the New York Football Giants. Watching them, we can see one issue with the jerseys - the Reebok logo on the sleeves flakes off during the course of a game, leaving a faint residue in its place:

The Jacksonville Jaguars have been having similar issues with their prototypes:
Personally, I don't consider this "ghosted logo" a design flaw so much as a beneficial side effect. I wouldn't mind a tonal manufacturer's logo at all.

Other "quirks" of the prototypes, however, might be considered more problematic.

So that's what happens when you put stretchy numbers on stretchy fabric. Not pretty.

But while all of this is interesting, what does it mean for the Packers? The short answer: I really don't know. I can provide lots of documentation about the jerseys worn by players on other teams, but the Packers are harder to figure out. Giants equipment director Joe Skiba reports that a handful of Packers are testing the new design in games this season, as opposed to the entire roster of the Jags and Giants.

Not having the Sunday Ticket package, I've had to pour over game photos trying to figure out who's wearing them. The cloest I've been able to find is this photo from last week's game, featuring backup tight end Jermichael Finley:

So is this it? I'm not entirely convinced. The "protruding clavicle" look, created by stretching elastic material over shoulder pads, is usually a pretty good sign. Add to that the tighter-than-normal sleeve caps, and the truncated sleeve stripes which tend to be less horizontal on the current uniforms.

Counter that with the color - the new material is more matte than spandex, resulting in a duller finish and more muted color. The wrinkled numbers, such a dead giveaway on the Giants, don't look all that different from the customized jersey he was wearing in the 2008 season:

If anyone can help me with screengrabs or photos from this season, please let me know in the comments. These new uniforms are scheduled to be implemented in 2010, so expect more testing as the season goes on.

(hat tip: Uni Watch for the screengrabs)

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