When Nebraska and Wisconsin take the field under the lights come September 29, they’ll be doing so in specially-designed uniforms for the occasion. These one-time duds are Adidas’ answer to Nike’s Pro Combat designs. While the effort is appreciated, the company finds itself unintentionally going hipster.
Oregon set the uniform trend that’s swept the country for years now that eventually gave birth to Nike’s campaign. The Pro Combat epidemic has invaded schools such as TCU, Florida, Missouri and West Virginia with hit and miss results. Under Armour has done…well, whatever they’re doing at Maryland.
Adidas is trying to play catch-up and didn’t do a poor job during last year’s Notre Dame-Michigan “Under the Lights” game. Nebraska-Wisconsin has been met with groans so far. There were plenty of Husker fans that both enjoyed and hated the alternate look immediately and the Badger camp felt about the same.
Where did Adidas go wrong? While the uniforms aren’t perfect, the Three Stripes didn’t necessarily decide to slap material together and call it a day.
Nebraska’s uniforms take some cues from the 1929 outfits which featured a large cream “N” on a scarlet backdrop. The “W” prominently displayed on the Badgers’ uniforms somewhat resemble a look from the late 1950s to 1960s.
The historic approach is a nice touch, but when trying to shoehorn modern impressions in, the result is often a cluttered or confusing design.
Adidas can rebound in 2013 by examining Nike’s simple formula. The Swoosh seems to go one of two ways – Either stick with tradition and barely modernize it or flip a coin on the outrageous.
Ohio State’s 2011 NPCs look almost identical to what the Buckeyes wore in the early 1960s. An innovative idea, West Virginia’s 2010 look gave a nod to the state’s rich history of coal mining. Virginia Tech circa 2010 is…uh…well, it’s a thing.
The point is, whether traditional, creative or shocking, Nike manages to register on a scale of innovation rather than regurgitation nine times out of ten. I honestly haven’t seen a TCU mock up I haven’t liked over the years.
Maybe we’re selling Adidas short, though. The explosion of negative commentary among the Nebraska fan base following the unveiling of the Huskers’ uniforms died down once the Big Red faithful had an opportunity to see them up close and personal.
Nebraska and Wisconsin may very well look slick in primetime come late September and in the end, we all might take a shine to Adidas’ work. The Notre Dame-Michigan uniforms actually looked sharp, but the game’s theatrics probably had something to do with the memories we took away from it.
Regardless, the designers in Portland need to pool all resources for next year’s models.
If they don’t, schools may begin to weigh the options of a contract buyout followed by an investment in a certain company whose headquarters is located just less than eight miles away.
How can Adidas rebound in the public eye when it comes to alternate football uniforms? Leave your comments below.