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Nike plans to “have some fun” but “respect traditions” with NFL gear


In 2010, a Nike executive created a stir by suggesting that, once the company inherits the NFL apparel deal from Reebok, dramatic changes will be made to team uniforms. Some were fascinated by this; others feared that the pro teams would begin to operate like the Oregon Ducks and their “snowflake” approach to helmet, jersey, and pants selection.

With the date for the handoff approaching, we recently dusted off those quotes in order to caution folks against buying any of the current Reebok jerseys until the new Nike designs arrive. The league responded by saying that dramatic changes to logos and colors won’t occur.

On Wednesday, Nike CEO and president Mark Parker addressed the situation in an appearance on CNBC.

According to SportsBusiness Daily, Parker said, "[People] are wondering, ‘Well, what are you going to do? Are you going to get crazy with the uniforms?’ We’re actually going to have some fun, but respect the traditions of these teams at the same time.”

It’s unclear how much “fun” Nike will be allowed to have. Still, keep in mind what league spokesman Brian McCarthy told PFT last month: “Logos are controlled by teams and the NFL. That will not change. Teams have to apply to league to make changes to logos and colors.

Thus, while it may be something more than “zero fun, sir,” Nike won’t have the ability to do whatever it wants, and teams that change their uniforms will still need the league office to sign off.

So far, we’ve seen a subtle revision to the Panthers logo, and teams like the Rams and Steelers have suggested that their alternate uniforms could change. (Surely, new Rams coach Jeff Fisher has no interest in the blue and yellow duds that the team wore when beating Fisher’s Titans in Super Bowl XXXIV.) The Seahawks apparently plan something more comprehensive.

We’ll all find out whether and to what extent every uniform changes at some point between now and the draft. Until then, continue to think twice about buying any of the remaining Reebok jerseys.