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Nik…er, UM Unveils New Unis for 2016

UM 550

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[Editor’s Note: Paul is on his annual August break from site. Deputy editor Phil Hecken is in charge from now through the end of the month, although Paul is still on the clock over at ESPN and may be popping up here occasionally.]

By Phil Hecken

After an eight-year run with adidas, The University of Michigan yesterday began a new run with Nike, who will be outfitting the school’s athletic teams to the tune of $127.12 million over 11 years, with a price tag that could eventually reach $173.8 million. Yowsa. It’s the richest apparel deal in college sports. Since the deal was first announced in 2015, folks had been anxiously awaiting what Nike had in store for their teams — particularly the football and basketball teams (who will be outfitted in “Jumpman” uniforms) — but those uni unveilings will have to wait (the football uniforms will be revealed at a private, invitation-only press event in Detroit tonight, while the hoops unis won’t be unveiled until fall — likely towards the end of September). But the school did unveil many other sports’ uniforms yesterday as well as “three primary pillars intrinsic to the university: history, connectedness and family.”

Nike focused on the “Block M” which will be used in “designs that standardize U-M’s renowned block ‘M’ logo and its trademark maize and blue hues.” (For all images below, you can click to enlarge.)


The University of Michigan was founded in 1817, but the use of the solitary letter “M” as a school symbol came later. One of the earliest examples of this expression is seen in an 1888 football team photo. By 1891 the team’s uniform featured a monogram similar to the one used today, and the exact same block emblem presently employed was captured in 1907, worn by a section of the crowd at Ferry Field. Due to its clean, classic lines, the symbol instantly articulates the university’s enduring heritage and authority.

The school and Nike also note “the colors maize and blue are enduring symbols of U-M.” They have standardized the colors throughout the athletic departments and the “maize” has actually been tweaked a bit (it’s a darker gold/yellow than the one used by adidas), meant to return to one of the colors of earlier football programs. Nike is calling the color “Amarillo,” (“yellow” in Spanish), and is PMS 7406.

The school and Nike released some photos of the new uniforms (of course, not football or hoops, so they can get a bigger bang for the buck with those reveals). Let’s take a look:



This appears to be the only image of the hockey uniform thus released. One might assume the school will also have a white and maize version as well. It looks like the blue sweater doesn’t have a hem stripe. Hmmm. However, this is apparently just a throwback.




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Pretty standard (and good looking) uni set there — with white, gray, maize and blue all represented. All jerseys say “MICHIGAN” in what looks to be vertically arched lettering. They are pullovers.




Michigan_6467_60888 Michigan_6397_60883

Much like the men for baseball, a standard set for softball. Jerseys are pullover with an apparent faux-placket on the white jersey.. It’s hard to tell, but the ladies’ jerseys appear to have radially arched lettering.



> Michigan_6041_60874

Blue polo shirt for both men’s and women’s, gray slacks for the men and a gray skirt for the ladies. A pretty solid look here.




Pretty basic blue and white kits here. It’s nice they put a soccer ball in the photos so we’d know what sport it was.




Like soccer — pretty solid, and not flashy. A good look.

Track & Field:



We can probably safely assume the men will also have a gold, er, maize (“Amarillo”) top and the ladies will have a blue one.

[All images via Nike/UM]


A few other bits of information trickled out on the new UM ‘gear’…

. . . . . . . . . . .

Well, that’s all that was revealed yesterday — but from what we’ve seen, it’s a fairly “classic” (read: not flashy) look. And that’s a good thing. But there are still the two “big” reveals ahead — football tonight and hoops likely late next month. They have a lot of history on which to look back for inspiration for those sets.

What say you, Uni Watchers?

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Collectors Corner
By Brinke Guthrie

The seller of this NHL shield rug says it’s from the 1970s, straight from the set of “Hockey Night In Canada.” Looks to be in great shape, and the ad offers no additional info. A legitimate piece of hockey fan history if that’s the case! Alriiighty then, here’s what else we dug up for you this week:

• Love the art on this 1984 NFL helmet poster. Like this Rams “40 Years In Southern California” poster, too.

• This is a 1967 “Commemorative Doubloon” for the Saints first season- this one is for the Cowboys game. Also one for the Falcons game.

• Terrific art on this late early 1970s Dallas Cowboys poster. The seller has more designs here.

• Look at this ad for “Neto’s Lounge,” which billed itself as “Indiana’s Newest Swinginist Nightspot For The ‘Racy’ Crowd!” Your host tonight will be Bob Netolicky of your Indiana Pacers.

• This 1970s Miami Dolphins wall/desk plaque (with the single-bar facemask) is still in great shape.

• Here we have 50% of the classic Chiquita NFL helmet sticker set..displayed where they probably always ended up–on a school notebook cover.

• Is it just me, or does this Green Bay Packers helmet belt buckle look really large?

• Terrific graphics on this 1970 NFL promo booklet, “Everybody’s Big Game: Professional Football” with Bill Brown on the cover.

A couple of more NFL promo booklets from a bit earlier- “This Is NFL Football” and a “Family Guide To Football;” from 1967.

Bucco Bruce stylishly adorns the cover of this 1970s school spiral notebook.

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Grand Rapids Griffins Contest Design Reminder

I’m currently hosting a contest to redesign an alternate jersey for the Grand Rapids Griffins. All the details are here.

The deadline for all submissions is Thursday, August 11th (Midnight Eastern Time).

Remember to send all your entries to in the format described in the article.

Good Luck!

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The Ticker
By Mike Chamernik

Baseball News: The Giants, on the road in Philly, carry extra uniforms in anticipation of newly acquired players. They traded for Matt Moore yesterday (from Brinke). … Mike Napoli has Indians’ team motto “Party at Napoli’s” inscribed on his bat, as you can see with this zoomed in shot. Napoli sells shirts for charity with the catchphrase on it. More info here (from Brendon Yarian). … Elvis Andrus nearly got his clock cleaned on Saturday after he wore a mask and tried to scare Michael Young during his Rangers Hall of Fame induction. … Yankees GM Brian Cashman held a press conference at Citi Field before his team’s game against the Mets. The result was an odd visual (from Pat Costello). … The Great Lakes Loons wore Chewbacca jerseys, as did the New Jersey Jackals. … “Christmas in August” jerseys coming for the Wisconsin Rapids Rafters. … In the middle of this article is a ranking of the uniforms worn in the Iowa state high school baseball tournament, as chronicled here last week. Carlisle’s pullovers ranked first (from Jay Wright, via Phil). … The Lancaster JetHawks revealed 20th anniversary jerseys. … The San Jose Giants will wear uniforms for Elks Night (from OT Sports Baseball, via Phil). … Indianapolis Indians have jerseys for Flash Night (from OT Sports Baseball, via Phil). … The Albuquerque Isotopes are hosting a Better Call Saul Night on Saturday. … Under Armour made a Notre Dame baseball shirt that shows a one-flap helmet, which of course is not allowed in NCAA baseball. … The White Sox are sold out of Chris Sale retro jerseys, the one he refused to wear. … WGN got clever with logos to promote the Cubs-Marlins game last night (from Chris Howell). … Indians P Jeff Manship has padded headgear in his locker (from David Hamen).

NFL News: The Steelers will wear black Color Rash unis on Christmas. … New field for the Ravens. The primary logo is now at midfield and one of the endzones has “Baltimore” in it. Previously, the field looked like this (from Andrew Cosentino). … The Titans are considering a uniform change for 2018. … The Broncos’ Bill Laskey sported a slightly oversize helmet logo in the early 1970s.

College & High School Football News: Since 1996, Nike has created 20 different uniform templates for more than 60 FBS schools. Here’s a very detailed look at all of them (from Phil). … A Redditor created a comprehensive guide for the upcoming season, including schedule wallpapers for every team (from Tony Arnoldine). … A site called ACC Tracker does exactly what its name implies. … UCF showed off its new jersey (from Neal Surrena, via Phil). … Someone ranked the 25 best uniforms for 2016 (from Phil). … The Hamilton High School Yankees in Los Angeles wear a Yankees-esque interlocking HY logo (from Matt Shevin, via Phil). … La Grange (TX) High School has a helmet decal for its 100th anniversary (from John Beck, via Phil).

Hockey News: Kids at a Red Wings youth camp are the first to wear “Farewell to the Joe” patches. The Red Wings will leave Joe Louis Arena for the new Little Caesars Arena in 2017 (from Ryan Shell, via Phil). … The Milwaukee Admirals will give away uniform-clad Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton bobbleheads. The team gave away Barack Obama and Mitt Romney bobbleheads in 2012 (from Ted Arnold).

NBA News: The Pistons have denied they’re changing their primary logo, but this new mark keeps popping up. … Nuggets G Emmanuel Mudiay said that he doesn’t have a new logo, as previously reported.

Soccer News: West Ham will wear pre-1900s Thames Ironworks FC throwbacks against Juventus for its first game at Olympic Stadium on Sunday (from Yellow Away Kit, via Phil). … Chivas released a kit to celebrate its 110th anniversary (from Diego Yanez).

Grab Bag: Good history of some striking flight attendants’ uniforms. I dig the airlines that used their logo as a pattern (from Phil). … New logo for FanDuel.

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And that will do it for today.

Everyone please join me in wishing our Monday Ticker-preparer Alex Hider a very happy 25th Birthday!

Thanks to Brinke for the CC and of course, Mike Chamernik for preparing today’s ticker. I’ll catch you guys tomorrow (possibly with the big Michigan Football uni reveal…), but until that time…

Follow me on Twitter @PhilHecken.


.. … ..

“You could always go with my option, which is a poorly thought-out design and unprofessional mock-up. Of course in my case it’s all I’m capable of doing.”

— Wafflebored, on how he enters uniform design contests

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Comments (43)

    That Broncos helmet appears to be a clear shell helmet…. they always look a little duller, but the decals and paint never scratched off :) Those had the decals applied on the inside and then painted over inside. So I’d guess that one is an older one than the other in the photograph…. they must have reduced the size of the decals at some point, and due to the decal being sealed in by paint on that clear shell, it couldn’t be replaced.

    Love the “late early 70’s” cowboys poster :)

    While I think most of that UM money will be squandered on stupid crap, it’s nice that Nike didn’t do anything stupid with the uniforms.

    Alternate helmets? Doubtful. The Michigan winged helmet is as iconic as it gets in college sports. Any alternative would be a step back. And knowing Harbaugh’s love of tradition, I can’t see this happening. As for the rest of the look, Nike did this pretty well. Less is more nice to see that they can show restraint for some of their marquee programs (did the same with UNC a couple years back).

    i don’t get why people say the Michigan helmet is so iconic.. Princeton used it first and the coach brought it to Michigan.. OSU actually had a variation of the winged helmet before Michigan did

    i don’t get why people say the Michigan helmet is so iconic.. Princeton used it first and the coach brought it to Michigan.. OSU actually had a variation of the winged helmet before Michigan did

    You’d have a hard time arguing another program with a higher profile uses the design. It ain’t what you do, it’s the way that you do it!

    I think they’re deemed iconic because when most people see a winged helmet, it brings to mind Michigan for a majority of them.

    doesn’t make sense to have the big10 logo on the chest of both the soccer and volleyball uniforms. Conference or league logos generally go on the sleeve so that the team’s crest is used on the chest

    If you read the CBS story closely, that pic of the Steelers all-black is just a concept. It’s not the real thing.

    The thing about that concept is that the stripes make no sense to me. Why would the Steelers change their stripes?

    If anything, the Steelers will likely go the route of the Titans and Panthers last season, and just wear an existing jersey – in this case, their regular black jersey – and just match it with black pants and socks. We can only hope that they’ll at least have a yellow stripe on the pants to avert the leotard look.

    But, I was thinking about it, and I spent my downtime whipping up a few variants, which can be found link. (Edited from original images from the GUD)

    I’ve arranged my concepts left-to-right, top-to-bottom, in the order that I would think goes from most likely to least likely. I also just used their current Futura font, even for the throwback-based jerseys, for consistency.

    1. The current jersey
    2. Stripeless version of the jersey
    3. Stripeless with yellow numbers
    4. Yellow “sleeves”
    5. 1962-style stripes w/ yellow numbers
    6. 1966 “Batman”-style

    Anything other than the leaked concept will be better than …. the leaked concept. The World already has one too many teams that suit up with the boring, horrible, always-evolving but always horrible University of Southern Mississippi football uniforms. We truly do not need an NFL team dressing like that, even for one night.

    If anything, those Michigan uniforms are too plain. Which is a pleasantly surprising thing to be able to say about a Nike unveiling. Thing is, if the base uniforms are this plain, then the inevitable alternates don’t have to be all that clownish to stand out, so hopefully this augurs for relatively restrained special-event unis, at least for Wolverines football.

    Lettering is too low on the soccer jersey. Some of the letterforms in the wordmarks and typeface are too dense as well; the normal problem characters like M, W, N, etc.

    Yet they thinned out the 4 and 5 from the prototype that was leaked before the reveal. Interesting.

    Define “too dense”, and/or explain how you would make them less dense.

    Because they look fine to me.

    In typographic terms, the density of a letterform is called “color.” Ideally, all the letters should have roughly the same color, meaning that when you look at the whole alphabet and squint your eyes, you don’t want to see any “dark spots.” The M, W, N, etc. are dark spots in this alphabet. The denser characters need to be thinned out in the center to improve this.

    I would be surprised if that script wordmark didn’t appear on one of the Wolverines’ hockey jerseys at some point.

    A few things worth noting about the Michigan hockey uniform:

    – That “throwback” uni is awful, and nonsensical, as I don’t think I’ve ever seen a team (outside of men’s and youth leagues) wear a dark jersey with white socks.

    – Michigan did reveal another hockey uniform in a link. It looks way better but, from what I could see appears to have sock striping (blue-maize-blue) that doesn’t match the jersey striping (blue-white-blue), which would be very strange and awful if part of the final design.

    – Whatever the final product, it will likely be a downgrade over link, which have been some of college hockey’s best but were very link. (link from a few years back was my favorite.) Then again, anything that keeps them out of the hideous “dazzle” jerseys of the mid-2000s is a win.

    My former colleague, Jamie Weir (even before she moved to Michigan State and became contractually obligated to hate Michigan) called link “bling jerseys.”

    I believe the softball uniforms have the exact same wordmark as the baseball uniforms- vertically arched, not radially arched.

    You’re probably correct — it’s just hard to tell from the photos. Wouldn’t make sense (esp. if they’re doing a department-wide standardization) to have one VAL and the other RAL.

    For the supposed emphasis on the block M, I’m surprised it wasn’t featured on the hockey jerseys as the primary crest, or on the baseball jerseys as a Yankees/Cubs-like left side of the chest emblem (is there a word for that style? I know the Giants have a version of it)

    For sure. Also, while the new color scheme looks great, I kind of miss the brighter yellow that they’ve been wearing since the 1990s. This color scheme reminds me more of Cal now.

    If the Michigan softball team is just going to wear matching pants and socks, then they may as well just go with pajama pants.

    Not uni related but design related nonetheless. Can we move the “Newer entries”/”Older entries” links to the top of the page instead of the bottom? I missed the last week’s entries so trying to get caught up is kind of tedious when you go in chronological order (see the Chris Sale developments). Not bitching, just something that I’ve noticed previously and has become magnified being 5 or 6 posts behind and could benefit others as well

    The Michigan football cleats are just current Nike models in maize (I mean amarillo…) and blue, with a Jumpman replacing the Swoosh. Curious to see how large an M they stick on the men’s basketball shorts.

    Anyone of a certain age who grew up in the NYC metro area, when they hear Christmas in August, will always think of Crazy Eddie.

    Watching the Dodgers/Rockies game tonight and the shade of blue for script Dodgers jerseys looks to be lighter, more of a royal blue. Anyone seeing this or am I batty?

Comments are closed.