The Bears have a new uniform. Not just a new jersey or a throwback uniform, but a whole new line of uniforms designed by Nike, the newest supplier of the NFL's gear.
The verdict? They're not really different. The jerseys look about the same, but now a large Nike swoosh hangs over the shoulder. The jersey is lighter and tight. It still has the simple color scheme of navy and orange, stripes on the shoulder emblazoned with a GSH in honor of George Halas, and stripes down the leg that make one of the best uniforms in the league. In fact, the GSH is larger than before.
Bears chairman George McCaskey said he is relieved with the look.
“The first thing they assured us was, ‘We’re not trying to change the Bears uniform.’ That was a tremendous relief to us,” McCaskey said. “The look of our team is extremely important to our family. We didn’t want to deviate from the classic, Chicago Bears look.”
Nike used the latest technology in the uniforms.
Lightweight padding is integrated directly into the crucial “hit zones” in the baselayer. New innovations include integrating Flywire technology into the neckline to reduce weight and provide lockdown fit over pads, increasing sleeve articulation for better range of motion, and integrating new four-way stretch fabrication to provide a streamlined shrink-wrap fit. A design that enables speed without compromise.
What that means is players won't be weighed down by jerseys, and they will be able to wear them more tightly than ever. This is particularly important for defensive players who are often held by offensive linemen by their jerseys. Julius Peppers' jersey isn't skintight for vanity reasons. He does it to make it more difficult for tackles to illegally hold him.
My worry with Nike is they will try to sell as many jerseys as possible by coming up with several different designs, like they have done at the University of Oregon. The Bears' classic uniform doesn't need to be changed up every other year. Even the orange jerseys make me shudder as the team looks best in navy or white tops. What the Bears don't need are ever-changing looks, so hopefully Nike will stick with the classics.
Stick with what works, Nike, and this partnership should be just fine.