According to this press release from Nike, the Alabama Crimson Tide football team will wear a new uniform for its November 13 game against Mississippi State. According to the release on the Miami website Alabama’s uniform will feature a “Houndstooth check pattern incorporated into the uniform in tribute to legendary coach Paul ‘Bear’ Bryant.”
Other schools getting new designs:
Miami: Tonal Fir palm-frond print emblematic of South Florida incorporated into the jersey numbers, pant and footwear.
Boise State: Reflective, Game Royal Bronco head on the uniform echoes the famed blue turf of Bronco stadium.
Florida: Alligator-skin motif used in the jersey numbers, pant, gloves and footwear inspired by menacing Gator mascot.
Ohio State: Stylized script numbers, a replica U.S. flag on the jersey sleeve and the camouflage-print base layer honor the WWII-bound Buckeyes, National Champions of 1942.
Oregon State: Retro design revives a look worn by the victorious 1967 “Giant Killers.”
Pittsburgh: Notched Team Gold jersey numbers and stencil stripe on the helmet evoke steel I-beams in reference to Pittsburgh’s steel industry.
TCU: Icy lizard-skin pattern used throughout the uniform inspired by the scaly body armor of TCU’s horned frog mascot and a memorable quote from celebrated coach Leo “Dutch” Meyer.
Virginia Tech: All-black uniform references the cadet gray-and-black regalia worn by Virginia Tech’s original football team and honors the school’s current Corps of Cadets.
West Virginia: A headlamp-like line running front-to-back on the helmet and smudged Black pattern on the uniform pay respect to the region’s coal mining industry.
According to the release, “The participating schools all rank in the preseason top 25. The teams plan to wear the uniquely designed uniforms for the games listed below and any other games they may determine at a later date…” For Alabama that is November 13.
“The Nike Pro Combat System of Dress merges innovation and inspiration to deliver the lightest uniform in the industry,” said Kris Aman, Global VP and GM of Nike Athletic Training, which includes football. “The designs incorporate cultural cues emblematic of each team’s identity and heritage. They’re more than uniforms, they’re expressions of pride.”
Responsible for this monstrosity (ok, maybe it isn’t as bad as it sounds) are Nike designers. According to the release, “Nike designers studied each team’s past, present and vision for the future. They immersed themselves in the community and culture of the universities. As a result, the special-edition uniforms capture the soul and spirit of each program.”
Perhaps the responsible party in all of this is the University of Alabama and its athletic department. Where was the leadership necessary to protect Alabama’s unique brand? Instead the University has chosen to sell out its distinctive uniform in a way that has delivered the worst possible design conception. The University and Nike should be ashamed.