FIVE THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT …
(As told by Adidas director of football Mark Daniels)
1. As the official athletic outfitter for both Nebraska and Wisconsin, Adidas selected Saturday’s game for its inaugural “Unrivaled Game,” an annual matchup of top Adidas-sponsored programs.
“We’ve had conversations with Bo Pelini and Tom Osborne on how we drive the Nebraska brand even further than it already is. It’s one of the iconic programs in all of collegiate football. What we’re looking to do is continue and drive that message forward. Alternative uniforming is a unique way to do it, because it increases the already strong relevance Nebraska has with high school recruits.”
2. Adidas has had this project in mind for two years. Pelini and Osborne were involved with the yearlong design process, and had to OK the final uniform design.
“Coach Osborne is an institution, and he is Nebraska football. But Coach Osborne is a very smart guy who understands that he’s got to keep his alums and his coaches and his recruits all happy, and sometimes those can be competing efforts. He’s got a pretty strict filter with us on how far we push the brand, which is a good thing, because it respects the heritage and tradition of Nebraska. At the same time, he allows us to push the borders out to create a unique look that celebrates the heritage and winning traditions of Nebraska.”
3. The uniform could give Nebraska a competitive advantage. Of course, Wisconsin will have the same advantage.
“This is our TECHFIT jersey, which is 30 percent lighter than a standard cut-and-sew jersey, has a 17 percent greater range of motion and it’s compression, which means it’s harder to grab. Anything that is harder to grab is harder to hold and harder to tackle. It’s a competitive advantage of the Huskers.”
4. The players will get their jersey from Saturday’s game following completion of their eligibility and fans will be able to buy apparel that includes elements of the design. An alternative uniform could become a regular occurrence.
“(Adidas) looks at this differently. There are a lot of people out there with so many combinations of uniforms that it makes your head hurt, and I don’t know how you keep up with it all. We’re not going to go out there and put Nebraska in 17 different combinations of uniforms. We’re going to pitch a specific game on a fairly regular annual basis and celebrate Nebraska with an alternative uniform one game a year.”
5. The teams will debut new cleats featuring some groundbreaking technology that the players are impressed with, and Nebraska will wear a black helmet to honor the Blackshirt tradition.
“There are a lot of polls out there that said, ‘Should Nebraska do alternative uniforms?’ It was about a 60-40 mix that said, ‘Yes.’ What people asked for was all black. I don’t think we’re ready to do that at Nebraska right now. But the all-black helmet was definitely homage to the kids. That really gets the kids exited, and tied into the big black ‘N’ on the chest.”
-- Brent C. Wagner