It was one thing if you saw the uniforms the year before, and you just couldn’t wait until it was your turn to wear one. It’s an entirely new thing if you heard through the grapevine that new uniforms were coming. All of a sudden, you have that additional energy to lift more weights, run more suicides, work on drills, and it’s all in the name of putting on that new jersey with some new shoes, and if your coaches were cool enough to let you rock wristbands, headbands, and all those other Christmas tree ornaments, it was even better (equate a bare Christmas tree to a bare uniform and the ornaments to all the extra stuff that players do to dress their uniform up, and that’s where the analogy comes from). Take all those ingredients, add in New York City, and you have a picture of what took place when I shocked the world yesterday at the Nike Pro Combat System of Dress Unveiling.
One thing that seemed to be a theme was something that was shared by CJ over at 6 Magazine and myself: when you have a strong tradition, the reception to change is either high or low. If you do decide to change something, it will be radical, but also steeped in tradition. The flip side is the change can be so subtle, that you can barely tell that one was made, which was the case with two powerhouse schools in particular.
The Ohio State unveiled their uniforms, and when I saw it, my initial thoughts were their fan base would raise all sorts of hell, simply because it was so different than anything I have seen, in the modern sense, out of them. They’re the Ohio State Buckeyes! Let some of their folk tell it, people change for them, not the other way around. Come to find out, their uniforms are inspired by the 1942 Buckeye team, so even though they changed the look, the tradition and history remained at the forefront, which should satisfy their base just fine.
Alabama, on the other hand, made a tweak here and there, but nothing that takes away from the simplicity and recognizability (I made that word up, alright?) that Crimson Tide uniforms have always had. Their fans probably won’t have a fit about it, and the ones that do will get drowned out by the folks who dig their new Huaraches (their shoes that I absolutely must have), gloves, and other ornaments to throw on this Christmas tree of a uniform.
Everyone had dope uniforms, so it went from merely paying attention to those, to keying in on the presenters, and of course, leave it to The Playmaker, The Greatest Dallas Cowboys Receiver who ever Lived, The Great Michael Irvin, to turn a presentation about the uniform into a recruiting pitch, an infomercial, a comedy show, and anything else under the sun.
As soon as Chris Fowler introduced him and The Playmaker came out from behind the curtain, I immediately knew where it was headed. The man completely abandoned the teleprompter, and hilarity, tomfoolery, chicanery, and utter chaos immediately commenced. It was funny as hell, and you could tell folks were eating it up. The man talked about the gloves, shoes, helmet, jersey, the stripes on the side of the pants; I mean EVERYTHING, and did it in such a way that if a recruit had to decide on a school, he would probably pick Miami, just off the strength of his enthusiastic and unbridled presentation.
Later on, I pulled The Playmaker aside, and we chopped it up about Texas and Florida high school football, and he made sure to let me know St. Thomas Aquinas would do work when they come down to Dallas on Labor Day, for the Herbstreit Classic. It was easily the highlight of the day, and he had, by far, the best pitch, but go figure; that’s what we do. Go Cowboys!!!
Once again, shocking the world left me with feelings that words can’t sum up. There were more conversations with folks, such as Florida Gators legend and former NFL running back Errict Rhett, who gave Rich, CJ, and me plenty of old-school wisdom. There was Aaron Cooper of Nike, a great cat who I had endless conversations with about everything Nike and shoes, and even more people who just showed love. All in all, it was a great experience and something that any and everyone can relate to. There’s no telling where this train is headed, but it’s headed somewhere. We'll simply continue to enjoy the ride as long as possible, and it's all because of everyone who supports what we do.
Click HERE to go to Nike Football to see the new uniforms, cleats, gloves, and more.
P.S. As a reminder, checkout the livest sports talk (and hopefully on the radio soon) show around, "The Unsportsmanlike Conduct Show" as we are live Wednesday's at 9pm Eastern at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/edthesportsfan! Download our podcasts if you missed the live show as well!