When the Lions unveiled their new 90th-season patch two weeks ago, we got our first look at Nike’s new tailoring template, the Vapor F.U.S.E. We saw more of it when the Cardinals revealed their new uniforms last week. Examples of both are shown above.
As I wrote earlier this month, this template has already been used a fair amount in college football and even had an NFL cameo late in the 2020 season. As is the case with most new templates these days, the most visible change is to the collar, although there are other differences. Here’s a good look at how it compares to Nike’s previous template (graphics by Andrew Lind):
So which other NFL teams are changing to this template aside from the Lions and Cards? If you go to NFLshop.com and search of “F.U.S.E.,” replica jerseys for 13 teams come up — the Lions, Cards, and 11 others. In some cases, both white and colored jerseys were available; in other cases, just white or colored, but not both.
Here are the jerseys being sold for those 11 other teams, along with my thoughts on how the new template affects their designs. Since these are replica jerseys, not authentics, we can’t assume that they’ll be a perfect representation of what we see on the field, but they’re a good starting point.
Ugh — hate the way the new collar interrupts the striping. Somewhat incredibly, this will be the fifth different collar/striping treatment the Bills have had since switching to their current uniform set in 2011. Here are the other four:
No appreciable differences, aside from the collar and the “V”-shaped seam on the chest.
Looks like the shoulder stripes may be a bit truncated compared to last year.
The Colts were among the last teams still wearing the old Elite 51 template, so they’ve essentially skipped the Vapor Untouchable and leapfrogged directly to the F.U.S.E. Looks like this won’t result in any appreciable changes.
No appreciable changes.
Las Vegas Raiders
No appreciable changes.
Odd that they have the aqua throwback but not the current aqua primary. Anyway, it looks like the chest wordmarks are positioned a bit lower, presumably because of the new “V”-shaped chest seam.
Again, it’s odd that they have the purple alternate but not the purple primary. And also again, the chest wordmark looks a bit lower than before.
New Orleans Saints
No appreciable changes.
No appreciable changes.
Again, the chest wordmark looks a bit low. Also, the shoulder yoke looks like it might be a teeny bit truncated compared to before, but it’s hard to be sure.
So I think we can safely assume that those 11 teams, plus the Lions and Cardinals, will be wearing the new template this season. In addition, the Panthers have said that they’re changing to Nike’s “new uniform technology,” so I think we can put them in the new template column as well. Of course, it’s possible that other teams will also be making the switch but don’t yet have retail product available. We’ll probably find out more on Thursday night, when first-round draft picks pose with their new jerseys.
Also: It’s notable that those 13 teams do not include the Packers (who’ve been wearing the old Reebok tailoring and fabric for ages now) or the Ravens (now the last Elite 51 holdout, unless we see them making a change on draft night).
Update: I wrote this piece yesterday afternoon, but several additional teams now have retail jerseys available in the new template, including the Eagles, 49ers, Giants, Ravens, and Kansas City.
Meanwhile: The Rams appear to be teasing some sort of possibly uni-related announcement for today. I’ll try to cover that news as it breaks, but I have a complicated day today, so it’s possible that I may not get around to publishing something about the Rams until tomorrow morning. Thanks in advance for your patience.
(My thanks to Jason Greenberg for spotting the new-template jerseys on NFLshop.com, and to Phil for alerting me to the potential Rams news.)
I dislike this V-seam so much. It gives a superhero costume vibe, it makes the wordmark and front number sink lower. And that collar looks like a waffle iron. Really a very bad template for the NFL, Nike!
But it looks very distinctive, almost unmistakably Nike. And that’s the most important thing, right?
I hope the Ravens don’t swap to this template. Seeing the Bills collar I fear for the Dracula collar of the 2012 Super Bowl run on the white jersey.
I absolutely despised that collar!
I don’t think it would look like that. The Texans have a blue collar on a white jersey, and they didn’t use a white block for the collar.
Even if the Ravens do switch to the new template I doubt they would bring back the contrasting collars; 2023 would be their 11th season without contrasting collars.
The Ravens actually are using the Vapor Untouchable template for the purple alternates (the color rush jersey) but use the Elite 51 for their other 3 jerseys- purple primary, white and black.
I never heard it referenced as the Dracula collar! So apt, and not a good look.
As soon as I saw that new template on the Ravens unis way back when I immediately thought of a Bela Lugosi cape. Really makes it easy to ID that SB run.
And now I just immediately thought of Bauhaus.
Interesting that the Vikings appear to be selling new Adam Thielen jerseys despite the fact that he plays for the Panthers now
Giants have one for Kenny Golladay, who was released on March 15th link
Yeah, that’s gonna be in the discount rack in Marshall’s/TJ Maxx any second now
Got another one – Raiders Darren Waller, he was traded to the Giants on March 15th as well.
Looking at the Texans uniform in this cut, I wonder where is the NFL’s quality control with this. Nike is actually changing the design of the uniform by not allowing for the full shoulder stripe. Wouldn’t it make sense for the jersey template to be designed/constructed to fit the actually jersey designs, rather than having to alter jersey designs to fit the cut of this specific Nike template?
We all know the supposed increase in performance based on the template cut is nonsense. Why exactly does Nike make these cuts that don’t allow them to create the jersey designs (UCLA stripes, etc) as they are meant to be? At one point we went from the more loose fitting, actual sleeved jersey cuts to what we have today, but there is no reason these tight fitting cuts cannot have templates that actually allow the jerseys to look as they were meant to.
Can’t speak for football specifically as I followed more soccer and basketball for outfitting teams and basically all the new uniform templates created by Nike and Adidas and what have you would show up to all the high schools in magazines (yeah, I’m old) for them to pick their new uniforms from.
My best guess as we see these uniforms from college to pros is that the same is being done with these templates to be marketed to high schools for purchase.
Fair enough, but what is the point of creating these new templates that struggle, or are unable to integrate with the uniform designs of their customers? I don’t understand why the make jersey cuts that are at odds with the teams’ designs. My guess is that teams like Colts don’t really care that Nike can’t actually make their jersey the way it should look. Nike pays the NFL a boatload to be their on field provider, and likewise the NFL probably thinks they have some sort of culture credibility by working with Nike.
It actually looks like the Texans won with this. You would think the other teams with wordmarks would get the horizontal treatment instead of the V treatment. With that being said, they have a horizontal version and a V version, could they not make one that works better with shoulder graphics. Maybe this will make teams simplify in the future. Hopefully, this translates differently on the game uniforms.
Looks like the Chiefs will also be switching templates: link
Ah, good find!
Looking at the Dolphins vs last year, 5he numbers are smaller as well. Even the tv numbers appear smaller.
Eagles appear to be as well.
Giants as well.
Yup — I just added an update to the text, with the Giants, Eagles, Ravens, and KC all now showing the new template. Those four teams’ jerseys apparently became available in the new template overnight.
The seams on the front of the new jersey template look perfect for the Pittsburgh Steelers’ cape jersey.
It should be worth noting that available templates on retail jerseys have actually never been an indicator of what a team will wear on the field before, since Nike has taken over the contract. The replica jerseys (ink numbers) for the NFL have been the Elite 51 template since 2012 and still are, despite Nike offering a replica version of their Vapor jerseys for many of their college teams for 6 or 7 years now. I’m like 90% sure that a Vapor Elite (sewn on numbers) version was available for purchase for at least a few teams that never switched to the template, like the Colts and Ravens. I’d have dive into it a bit to confirm that though. Will most of these teams switch over to the new template this coming season? My guess is probably…but I’m not sure if the retail availability of the new template for these teams is necessarily hard evidence of that just yet.
49ers are switching, too link
LA Rams announcement: the camper is having digestive issues and is farting blue and yellow. Looks like a joke from one of the Cars movies.
Weird that both Colts jerseys, Bills white, and Texans white don’t have the V shape. But instead a straight across seam that goes through the collar.
Giants need some stripes on the sleeves, looks a bit plain or something.
49ers, such a great look.
odd that the Vikes’ template is modeled by an Adam Thielen jersey – who now plays for Carolina
Are these actual changes to the on field product or just the replicas though?
For instance Green Bay is STILL rocking the Reebok cut but our replicas have been based on the Elite 51 cut since 2012 (they even changed how drastic the angle is on the stitching around the yoke for the home and away in recent years – which is fascinating because the replica throwbacks have the same look as the original elite 51 replicas).
Could it be that the NFL is updating everyone’s replica jerseys to the new cut after keeping the elite 51 replicas over the Vapor replicas for teams that didn’t use the vapor cut? This would explain why some teams have straight yokes (Texans, Colts) while others have that v cut (the straight yoke is for teams keeping the Vapor or the Elite 51 while the V cut is for teams making the switch)… Then again the Bills appear to have the V cut on the blues and the straight cut on the whites… Seems like the Texans wouldn’t be be negatively impacted by the V cut but maybe they aren’t making the switch on the replicas because they’re releasing new unis (maybe) next year anyways and keeping them the same might be cheaper to maintain product in a year they probably don’t expect to sell as many jerseys? (though the Lions are likely getting new unis next year too and they’re they ones who showed off the new cut lol).
Also worth noting the disco collar look was much less egregious on the replicas back in 2012 than on the actual thing… Really hope that isn’t the case again (but even if it’s not this change to the collar is still ruinous to patterned collars, the Vapor collar looked fine, yes it interrupted patterned collars but plenty of patterned collars in the past have had a contrasting color at the point for a logo to be placed on it so it felt less gimmicky even though it was a gimmick, here we’re back to the disco look and I don’t like it).
man, those Cardinals uniforms are brutal
For all of Nike’s artificial hype about “sports apparel technology”, they can’t manage to get stripes or colors right. I genuinely believe the new Cardinals uniforms are Nike finally giving up. They’re admitting that they can’t produce tasteful football uniforms that weren’t already iconic before they produced them, and now they’re just saying, “We’ll just do big bold colors with very few design elements.” The Jazz’s current set are another indicator. The harder Nike tries to flex its style, the harder they fail in the eyes of any consumer who isn’t a shill for the brand, i.e. sane, rational adults.
How do you screw up the Texans’ shoulder stripes? Why can’t anyone there look at the new template and say, “Oh, the stripes look bad, now”? The Texans have such a simple, 101 design that I can’t believe the biggest sports apparel manufacturer in the world just made it look worse. Even when there’s hardly anything to ruin, Nike finds a way to make it annoyingly worse. The worst part is that they’ll never get a clue.
I would guess retail jerseys will have the same template for all teams. Seems easier for them to manufacture. I wouldn’t guess that the template of the retail jerseys will necessarily match what they wear on the field though.
I thought the Eagles had a new font introduced. The one that is painted in their end zones. The old one is still on the new jerseys being sold
Not until 2024, Brian. link
Oh ok. Thx Paul!
This might have been covered before and, if so, I apologize for being redundant! I’m wondering who makes the decision about which template to use for each team and what goes into the decision process.
The Broncos are also showing the new F.U.S.E. template, but only for their Color Rash orange jerseys. link
I remain of the opinion that the technology involved in these new templates is trivial at best. Lighter textiles and tighter tailoring? Sure. But most of these templates is to let Nike say “Look at me!” without having to make it so obvious. But I never really liked the most recent template; the fabric panels always merged beneath the uniform numbers in the back. Not only is the seam disruptive but it went from mesh fabric to non-mesh. It looked sloppy enough that whatever minimal improvement it brought to performance wasn’t worth it.
I wish I had two more hands so I can give the new template 4 thumbs down.