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Meet the Man Who Created Color Rush

For this week’s Uni Watch Premium article over on Substack, I have something very special: an in-depth interview with Tom Andrich, the longtime Nike art director who created the NFL’s Color Rush program. I don’t mind saying that this is one of the best Uni Watch interviews ever! Clocking in at over 5,000 words, it’s jam-packed with insider info about how Color Rush was developed, which teams rejected which design ideas, how Nike managed a tricky working relationship with the NFL (one particular detail of which left me dumbfounded), and more — a lot more. Tons of graphics, too. Most of this has never been published anywhere, and I’m not exaggerating when I say it’s a major contribution to the field of NFL uniform history.

You can read the first part of the article here. In order to read the entire thing, you’ll need to become a paid subscriber to my Substack (which will also get you access to my Substack archives). Subscribing now, even if only for one month, will also get you my annual — and final! — MLB Season Preview, which will be published in two weeks.

My thanks, as always, for your consideration.

Comments (13)


    That was a fascinating interview! I hope you talk to him again before your retirement. I’d love to know more about his thoughts on the current MLB unis if he has them.

    That was an incredible interview and very interesting. As someone who has been highly critical of the “Color Rash” program, do you feel any different about it now?

    I agree with you completely. I’m not a fan of the program, but it was fascinating to see how it all went together.

    Paul, this piece alone was worth the monthly Substack price. Fascinating stuff from start to finish. Would you say Tom “Gets It”?

    This was such a good interview, and so insightful both in terms of the questioning and Tom’s responses. I don’t much care about gridiron football as a sport, the NFL as a league, or gridiron uniforms as sports uniforms, and I can’t stand the modern trends in gridiron fashion, and yet I read the interview with rapt, and indeed mounting, interest. The friction between corporate cultures in the NFL and Nike was fascinating! As Uni Watch nears the age at which a person might be receiving a doctorate, this interview had the feeling of a thesis chapter. Kudos and thanks!

    The part about Nike not having anything to do with the helmets left me completely flabbergasted! Those are the parts of most of the newer uniforms I have had problems with, so to hear that is entirely on the teams and has nothing to do with Nike, is crazy!

    Agreed, Jon — I feel like Paul buried the lead here; this is bombshell information for me. One thing that seems really curious now is how, when the NFL dropped the one shell rule, they also created a rule that the alternate helmet had to be paired with an alternate jersey—so that was a self-imposed restriction since Nike was not involved? It makes the Saints’ wacky black alternate helmet paired with their color rush faux back/throwback make so much more sense. The same could be said for the weird inconsistency of the Panthers’ helmet lacking white/silver, and Jets’ logo on their black helmet being the reverse of the coloring of their numbers, and the Brown’s white helmet having the opposite striped pattern of their white pants.

    Echoing everyone else here, this was a great interview with Tom Andrich (and thanks to him for being open to discuss). Very fascinating and such a good informative read!

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