Sometimes you shouldn't question what the sports gods put in front of you. Sometimes you should just accept it, embrace it, and understand that these moments don't come around all the time.
On Tuesday, the three-man weave consisting of B-Lew, Ken, and yours truly touched down at Jerry's World aka Cowboys Stadium as the great folks of Nike invited us to the 2010 Nike Football Summit in Dallas, Texas. If you've noticed over the last couple of years Nike has pushed the envelope on innovation with their footwear, equipment, uniform, and sportswear that represents their Nike Football campaign. From high school prepsters, to college stalwarts, to the cream of the crop professionals, Nike has them covered.
Let's make one thing perfectly clear, the revolution of football will not be televised...because Nike's already got it on lock and ready for everyone to enjoy.
So once we rolled up upon the egregious monstrosity that is the Taj Mahal of North Texas, I quickly noticed that we were driving directly into the bowels of Cowboys Stadium. Yep, we were riding right into the player's entrance. From there, we were greeted by one of the lead trainers for Nike SPARQ (Speed, Power, Agility, Reaction, and Quickness) that helps athletes perform to their peak abilities. SPARQ brought the high school players of L.D. Bell High School in Dallas to run the 40-yard dash, test their verticals, do agility and strength drills...all on the field that Jerrah built. Those kids have no idea how lucky they were.
From there, we got sat down in front of the 60-yard screen and got treated to insane marketing muscle that is Nike.
We were first introduced to our emcee for the day, Mr. Desmond Howard, and he quickly informed us that Nike had three key things to show us from a football standpoint. Their new cleat, their new "system of dress", and the brand-spanking new uniforms that their teams would be wearing this bowl season.
First up was the Nike Air Zoom Alpha Talon. The Zoom Alpha Talon Cleat is
Nike Football’s most advanced premium cleat ever, the Zoom Alpha Talon Cleat leverages the most innovative technologies to meet the performance needs of every position. Working with elite athletes, Nike designers delivered improved footing at full speed with an innovative on-demand, adaptive traction system. The interior cleats in the forefoot extend when full pressure is applied for more traction when needed and retract when not. The Air Zoom Alpha Talon cleat also features a Flywire upper for lightweight lockdown, a low-profile cushioning system for comfort, and Nike Pro Deflex padding around the ankle for breathable protection.
“This new cleat gives me the traction and protection when and where I need it most,” said defensive star Ndamukong Suh. “Nike Football keeps raising the bar, giving players the best cleats in the game today.”
I can't front, I wanted a pair just so I could stunt when playing flag football out here in Cincinnati.
Next up was the Nike Pro Combat "System of Dress", which sounds funny at first, but when you see the detail that the boys in Beaverton put into making athletes feel comfortable, protected, and looking fly as hell simultaneously puts everything over the top.
This redesigned base layer and uniform deliver the ultimate in breathable protection for superior speed. Nike designers strategically placed seams, pads and cooling zones to help minimize distraction, while optimizing protection. The uniform design emphasizes thermoregulation (???) by featuring Nike Pro Deflex padding with two-way airflow to cool the body and wick away sweat. The jerseys are made of four-way stretch woven twill that sheds moisture. A Flywire collar eliminates two layers of fabric for improved breathability, providing a more stable anchor to keep the jersey in place.
The uniform also provides enhanced protection throughout the crucial “hit zone”--between the knees and shoulders--delivering robust padding without the bulk. Nike Pro Deflex padding has also been integrated in the hip and knee areas of the pant for crucial impact protection that stays in place. The base layer now features customizable protection, incorporating a thin, incredibly strong carbon fiber plate that comes in two different sizes and can be placed where needed.
I really want to get the baselayer protection system, just so I can wear it in bed with my woman. Haha.
Anyway, Nike has selected four teams to debut their new "system of dress" and flashing some updated looks to new jerseys we saw earlier in the year.
Boise State, Florida, TCU, and Oregon will be rocking the new 2011 Nike Pro Combat System of Dress during bowl games, however the showstopper was Oregon's uniforms. Everyone already looks forward to seeing what Oregon's rocking next, but as you can see, they went with the highlighter yellow ensemble. Seeing it up close, they look awesome, but I wonder what they'll look like in High-Def TV. One of the designers mentioned that they wanted them to "look like a blur" on the field, to show off Oregon's quickness. I think they'll succeed in doing so.
Finally, Nike highlighted their new cleat and "system of dress" by bringing out 5 NFL superstars to show off the new gear. Steven Jackson, Dwyane Bowe, Ndamukong Suh, Clay Matthews, and Felix Jones all graced us with their presence in Jerry's World rocking the new cleats. Of course the three amigos took the opportunity to chop it up with them, and we have now created a new segment on ETSF called, "Three and Out!"
"Three and Out" interview with Steven Jackson by Brandon Lewis
"Three and Out" interview with Desmond Howard by Kenny Masenda
"Three and Out" interview with Felix Jones by Eddie Maisonet
So once everything died down and all the fanfare went away, we were just sitting there on the field and having conversation about different things. Then Mr. Masenda inquired about trying to find a football so we could toss around the pigskin and do all the childish things anyone would do when they're on an NFL field. However, we couldn't find one at all, we kept searching...and searching...and finally, yours truly happened to procure a football from a gentlemen and then all the shenanigans, tomfoolery, chicanery, hijinks, buffoonery, and malarkey occurred.
Somehow, I got made all-time quarterback, and Brandon and Kenny squared off into a mano-e-mano showdown. (You know how we used to do back in the day...one person played receiver, other one played corner. Someone go score or go make a play on defense) Well, after working out the kinks in my throwing motion, we got it going. Kenny hit Brandon with a nice stutter-step, and ran the slant on him...but I didn't put enough mustard on the ball and B-Lew broke it up. Then B-Lew hit Ken back with a similar move but I threw it high. I was out there looking like Romo on his homefield. (Zing!)
Anyway, so we got down to one final play, and Kenny lined up wide on right side. Ken beats B-Lew's jam attempt and broke open over the middle with the slant. I hit the man right in the hands...and the man dropped the ball. B-Lew cheered with excitement, Kenny sat down in the Cowboys endzone with his head hung low. After recuperating from such a tragedy, it was Brandon's turn to score. B-Lew hit Ken with the stutter-step, then broke for the corner of the endzone with the fade route. I chucked that ball up there like Sam Bradford, and Kenny leaped up to deflect the ball. Unfortunately, the ball was thrown so well that the only one could catch it was Brandon. We celebrated, hit that Dougie, hit that Southside, hit that Josephine Johnny, paid homage to Billy "Whiteshoes" Johnson, paid homage to Elmo Wright, and paid homage to Chad Ochocinco by doing every dance maneuver anyone would ever want to do in the endzone. Hell, we even did the Desean Jackson backsplash for good measure. Kenny looked bombed out and depleted like Afghanistan, and was genuinely upset for a good 10-15 minutes.
Anyway, from there we got to get up on some free gear, do the tour of the stadium, and then we parted ways. We showed out in Dallas, plus we got to get some Rudy's chicken. Ask Joslin and Syreeta about it when you get a chance.
To check out more photos from the event, go to the ETSF album on Facebook.
LET US KNOW YOUR THOUGHTS ON THE NEW FOOTBALL LINE FROM NIKE! THOUGHTS ABOUT THAT OREGON UNIFORM? THE CLEAT?
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!