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Let’s Take a Closer Look at Nike’s New NFL Jersey Template

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When the Lions unveiled their 90th-season patch earlier this week, they arguably buried the lede by showcasing the patch on a new jersey tailoring template. The new template, which is called the Vapor Fusion, includes some seams in different places than we’ve seen before, but the biggest and most noticeable change is to the collar, which now looks a bit like a bat signal. Here’s a comparison of the old and new collar designs:

While this template is new to the NFL (or at least mostly new to the NFL, as I’ll explain in a minute), it has been worn for several years in college football, most notably by, of course, Oregon, which is the school Nike often uses to showcase new innovations. Oregon began using this template in 2019. Here are some views of how it looked in that season and 2020:

In 2021, Nike tweaked the collar to make it look more feathered or wing-like:

In addition, two schools participating in last season’s College Football Playoff games — Ohio State and Georgia — wore the new template in their CFP games. Here’s Ohio State:

The bat signal was harder to discern in Georgia’s thick black collar, but it was there:

In addition, this template has had a cameo in the NFL. It happened in 2020, when a few Seattle players quietly began wearing the new format during the team’s final few games. Here’s how that looked:


I think that covers it. Have I overlooked any other teams that have used this template?

Overall: I’m not a fan of this collar. It’s not as bad as the dreaded Flywire, but it’s still an unnecessary visual distraction. And the old collar, with the NFL logo sitting within a triangle, looked so simple and clean — I’ll miss it.

Or at least I’ll miss it for the NFL teams that switch over to the new template. It’s not yet clear how many teams will be doing that, but we’ll probably find out at the draft, as players pose with their jerseys.




Premium/Substack Reminder

In case you missed it on Thursday, my Premium article this week is an interview with David Hrusovsky, who’s documenting all of America’s high school baseball fields — many of which, like the one shown above, have very strange field configurations!

You can read the first part of the article here. In order to read the whole thing, you’ll need to become a paying subscriber to my Substack (this will also give you access to my full Substack/Bulletin archives), which I hope you’ll consider doing. Thanks!



Too Good for the Ticker

Twitter-er @john76065 posted photos of this sensational 1950 Air Force football jacket that his dad wore. Gorgeous, right? Here’s how it looks from the back:



Just a Little Thing I Noticed

One of the platforms at my local subway station has an odd design feature: The far wall has a series of five obsolete windows, each of which has been decommissioned in a distinct way. One is bricked over, one is cinderblocked, one is boarded up, etc. One has tantalizing traces of what appears to have been a nicely lettered sign! Here they are:


I’ve use this station on a regular basis for years, but I didn’t notice the distinct window obstructions until recently.

Can of the Day

Goop’s current packaging is somewhat similar to this old can, but the vintage design is definitely more endearing. They should go back to it!

Comments (26)

    Gotham City,
    That is what I was thinking. Would be much easier to do the ’67 throwback with this template.

    I wonder if Nike has been hinting at this for a while, not only because of the jerseys that some Nike college programs have been wearing, but also because of a couple of pullover designs they’ve been selling for a year or two. Without looking it up, Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin has worn it with what Paul is describing as the bat signal collar. I’m fairly certain he’s not alone.

    I’m sure Nike has put out info on why this template is better than prior ones. Would be interesting exactly what the performance improvements are over the older templates. Does the new collar provide better fit and/or movement? Or does the new shoulder yoke allow sleeves/shoulder stripes to look better?

    When has a Nike ‘improvement’ made anything look better? Looks like the shoulder stripes are going to have a weird italic knife edge to them. The stripes just ending before reaching the underarm were bad enough but they found a way to make them worse.

    I noticed that! For once I like that design choice. I miss the mesh look and shoulder yoke, reminds of the 2000’s.

    I wonder how the Bills will look using this template (if they do)? Currently, the triangles are jersey colored, not color matched with the collar. I think the Bills are the only team that had a mis-matched triangle in 2022. But the Bat Signal is much bigger, and I really hope we aren’t heading back to the public toilet seat look.

    Generally, teams with stripes on the collars have had the triangle be the same color as the jersey base color, while teams with solid contrasting colors have had the triangle match the collar color. Of course, most teams these days have just opted to have the collar be the same color as the jersey base color.

    The Seahawks appear to be using a slightly different template. Similar collar, but doesn’t have the distinctive “V” across the chest. I wonder what that’s about.

    True, but the unis that the Lions just unveiled seem to be identical to the template that the ducks wore way back in ‘19. There also appears to be an additional patch around the NFL logo on the Seahawks jersey – maybe for some sort of biometric sensor etc.? Curious indeed!

    I’m curious to see if the Ravens the new Vapor Fusion template. They’re one of the few teams in the NFL to not implement the Vapor Untouchable template.

    It kinda is, considering how they removed the contrasting collar because of the toilet bowl look after they won the Super Bowl. They would look better with a smaller (although not by much) black collar.

    I’m also so happy that they got rid of the toilet bowl look! However, I’m curious to see if they revive the contrasting collar if the move to the Vapor Fusion template. I actually think the non-contrasting collar looks better, especially with the black jersey.

    It’s not a bad thing! It’s just odd that they never changed when there’s no reason for them not to.

    Why is it so hard for uniform suppliers to make a good looking collar anymore? Just stop the senseless gimmicks that look so random and ugly. The old Reebok collars were perfect.

    Looking at other pictures of your subway station – what an interesting design with the plaza and shopping on the ground level!

    I’m guessing that the windows would (if they were open) lead to the basement level of the shops on ground level? Or maybe if the plaza was built after the station those are the basement foundations of those buildings?

    Fascinating. Thanks for sharing.

    The hand forming a G in the Goop can is absolutely-totally-amazingly-geniusly amazing and genius.

    This jersey template is not very nice with that huge V stitch on the front. It looks very cartoonish.

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