Sports Uncovered is a six-part weekly podcast series that explores the stories that took the national sports world by storm. The newest episode, The Uniform Craze that Revolutionized College Football, dives into how the University of Oregon ignited a fashion arms race across all sports with its trendsetting Nike Uniforms.
When Oregon Football is brought up, the program's success over the years and fast style of play surely come to mind. But, what most people think of when they hear Oregon is the uniforms.
Over the years, the athletic program at Oregon has taken the uniform game to new heights thanks to its innovative Nike designs. Bright colors, unique patterns and sleek styles have every other collegiate and professional team trying to keep up. Oregon's ability to show off Nike's latest creations stems from its relationship with the brand's co-founder, Phil Knight.
Knight was a graduate of the University of Oregon and has since kept close ties with his alma mater. So when Nike creates new uniforms, cleats, gloves and anything else stylish, the Ducks have become the early adopters. The latest Sports Uncovered podcast by NBC Sports takes a look at how this relationship not only impacted Oregon's success on the field but created a fashion competition in the world of sports. Listen to the full episode below or by subscribing wherever you get your podcasts:
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Though the Ducks may be the most well-known program when it comes to uniforms, their story is similar to the University of Maryland's connection with Under Armour.
Kevin Plank, the founder of Under Armour, is a graduate of Maryland. Another giant in the sports clothing and uniform industry, the Terps have benefited from the personal relationship Plank has with the school. Over the years, Maryland has displayed unique and stylish uniforms on the field as Under Armour provides them with bold looks and brand new jersey combinations.
The looks may not be as bright or flashy as Oregon, but the Terps have certainly rocked some unique looks over the years and become innovators in the uniform game. Here's a breakdown of their looks over the years and some of the best combinations they've had.
Even when Maryland was a member of the ACC, the Terps current design can be seen. Looking at the 2012 look, Maryland was already innovative with the mixing of black, white and red tops and bottoms. In addition, they always made sure that the Maryland flag had a place on the helmet.
Sleek upgrade for B1G
Once Maryland entered the Big Ten, the uniforms continued to evolve. The color scheme remained the same, but the jerseys and pants got a slight change. The Terps opted to get rid of the lining near the shoulders and instead replace it with the flag pattern on both shoulders. That Maryland flag, which many take pride in, also showed itself on accessories.
Since then, Maryland has toned down the amount of flag of the uniform, having it take up less of a presence on the actual jersey. A look at this gallery of uniforms over the past several years shows that the Terps have gone for a sleeker look while still implementing numerous combinations.
That ability to mix and match constantly is what makes them similar to Oregon, a team that rarely wore the same uniform twice for years.
Additionally, the Terps have made sure to keep their helmets as stylish as ever. After having the flag on the sides for years, the Terps now typically rock a helmet that features the flag engulfing the entire area. Smooth and pleasing to the eye, its the best way to give the Maryland state symbol the attention it deserves.
While not many teams can rock these colors like Maryland, their typical uniforms aren't the only thing that compares them to Oregon and Nike. Over the years, the Terps have displayed some alternate designs that steal the spotlight -- for better or for worse.
Black and White Ops
The all-black and all-white looks will never really go out of style, but only a few teams can make it look next-level. Maryland's "Ops" uniforms that are rarely worn make them that much more exciting when the Terps take the field in them.
The uniforms get extra style points for the matching helmets that don't take away from the design.
For the 2019 homecoming game Maryland and Under Armour brought back the old school script for the Terps jerseys and helmet, and it was perfect. This "throwback" jersey was only worn for one game, but it should be added to the rotation.
Even Oregon misses sometimes, but it's more about the innovation. Here, the Terps honored the 125th season of the program went outside the box with a bumblebee type look. It may have not been a fan favorite, but the bright colors and unique design from Under Armour is similar to what the Ducks have done with Nike.
From the sheer amount of colors, combinations and designs Maryland have displayed over the years, it's clear that the Terps are one of the top innovators in the uniform game. That is thanks in large part to their connection with Plank and Under Armour.
Though Oregon will always be the most recognizable, the Terps are pushing jersey boundaries as well on the East Coast.
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