It has become a topic of conversation on college football Saturdays. Not just in the state of Oregon. Not just on the West Coast. But across the country.
“What is Oregon wearing today?”
What started as a simple logo change has become a national phenomenon.
We decided to dive deeper on the topic in a podumentary titled, Sports Uncovered: The uniform craze that revolutionized college football.
First of all, we should not have an interlocking UO that is often confused with the University of Oklahoma. One of the most important ideas that I had that I did bring back to Phil was that we needed to own the ‘O.’ —Tinker Hatfield, Nike show designer and creator
That could have been very confusing. Just look at Oregon State University and Oklahoma State University: both “OSU” and both school colors are orange and black.
Oregon did not want to look like any other team in the country and to this day, Oregon continues to separate from the rest of the country.
Plus, the “O” is of national relevance now.
How many recruits, coaches, faculty and students do you see all over social media “throwing up their ‘O’?” Answer: a ton. It is easy, doable and is an advertisers dream with how marketable it is. Just ask Phil Knight Nike.
Then came the shiny green helmet, that almost looked like a different shade of green in different lighting. That green paired with the bright yellow “O” on the sides revolutionized college football.
They came out with this O and they put it on a helmet that was this iridescent green that they tried to model after a mallard, right? That was - It was a mallard duck. That was the original inspiration is, you get the back of a mallard duck wet and it just kind of shines and depending on which side you look at it from, you're going to get a different color. -- Joey Harrington, former Oregon Ducks quarterback (1998-2001).
I remember the very time we showed it to Phil and he about fell out of his chair. Normally he's pretty stoic about new ideas, new designs. But literally though, when he saw this helmet in this shifting color he just freaked out. -- Tinker
It seems like when every college football Saturday rolls around, a “I wonder what the Ducks are wearing today” conversation breaks out. And it’s not just on the West Coast. It’s nation wide. The "O" is a recognizable logo everywhere in sports.
Having multiple looks each game may seem silly to some, but you can't argue that it does act as a recruiting tool as well. High school players across the country know the relationship between Oregon and Nike and in a world where social media is bigger and more influential than ever, Oregon remains at the top.
And that's just how Phil Knight likes it.