When Tom Osborne revealed that Nebraska was considering an alternative "futuristic" football uniform for a game this season, it would be easy to dismiss it as another "April Fools Day" gag. (Gee, I wonder why people would be skeptical of announcements this time of year...) This is conservative, 75 year old Tom Osborne here, and Nebraska doesn't need to wear gimmicky uniforms to get attention. Or so some people think. Others think that this is the new trend, and that young players want to wear the cool, hip uniforms. It's a trend that began with Oregon and their relationship with Nike, and spread with the Nike Pro Combat uniforms.
Very few people are indifferent to Oregon's uniforms; you either love them or hate them. Frankly, without a classic look like the Green Bay Packers, it's really tough to do "cool" with green and yellow. So Nike adds in a lot of black to mix things up, and then tries new innovations. The polished chrome helmet from the Rose Bowl looks great on the bookshelf, but raised questions as to the legality of the wearing a helmet that puts off a reflective glare in actual competition.
On the other hand, there's no denying that one of the worst uniform ideas was Maryland's "state flag" design last season. But no matter where you go, it seems everybody is wearing special uniforms. Last year, Nebraska unveiled new gloves before the Wisconsin game, but fans gravitated to a picture of a black helmet in the background. Was it a prank by the equipment staff? Probably...but the reaction set the stage for today's announcement.So what will a "Futuristic" Nebraska uniform look like? Here's my take: if it's Nebraska, it has to have red on it...and probably the predominant color. But black is THE color choice for almost every new uniform that's been rolled out in recent years. So I expect a healthy dose of black in whatever is chosen. A black helmet perhaps? Osborne waffled on this one; at first saying the helment was not going to be touched, then backtracking. Adidas is going to push the envelope with Nebraska, and Osborne is going to pull adidas back from the brink. The end goal is probably going to be something in the middle; not quite Oregon or Baylor gaudy (in a Herb Tarlek sense), but definitely not Penn State passe.
The "Red Clad Loon's" Forever Red Facebook page suggested several ideas for a redesign. I'll start off by rejecting the State Flag approach; Maryland was lampooned for it last season, and Nebraska's state flag is, well, bland. And blue. Nebraska can't walk out onto the field looking like Michigan in blue and gold uniforms. The Iron N on the helmet? I think that has promise; I'm not a big fan of the simple N on the current helmet - except for the tradition. No way you could introduce that helmet today, but when Nebraska has worn a helmet like that for over 40 years, it's established.
Where I think something distinctive can be done is in the font for the numerals. I loved the old-school look of the throwback uniforms in 2009 because of the numbers. But that isn't futuristic. Maybe look to something like the Arizona Wildcats or Denver Broncos; a unique, distinctive font.
What would it look like? Well, maybe look at Georgia's "Pro Combat" uniforms...but with a more stylized number. Perhaps a red and black jersey with black pants. But what's your preference? And for what game would you bring out the new uniforms? Idaho State? Or maybe a big game like against Wisconsin or Michigan?