As a former athlete when you look good, you feel good and that translates to playing better in the game. That is a statement echoed all across the sports world by athletes and coaches. This holds true to the University of Oregon Ducks of the Pacific-12 Conference. The Ducks have had one of the most electrifying , eye-popping colors and designed uniforms this decade in college football.
The UO football team has been known in recent years for its unique uniform style, consisting of multiple color combinations of helmets, uniforms (both shirts and pants), socks, and shoes, resulting in a new uniform setup every week (not counting in-season changes to uniform designs). The frequent changes have led to criticism by alumni and football purists, though the changes have been often well-liked and praised by football recruits. Oregon alumnus Tinker Hatfield, an executive at Nike, has coordinated the new uniform schemes since Nike has had the outfitting rights for the Ducks since 1995.
The Oregon uniform underwent a radical change for the 1999 season, where new, Nike-designed gear featuring a redesigned “O” emblem with solid green helmets and jerseys with lightning yellow letters revealed a new look.. This began a period of unusually non-uniform standards for a typical college football team. Since 1999, Oregon has completely revised its uniform appearance roughly every three seasons. The frequent uniform changes and their typically flashy uniform have provoked some controversy. Fans of a more traditional approach to college football tend to ridicule each time new uniform is unveil, while younger fans and players—in particular, potential Oregon athletes—react more favorably to the flashy uniforms.
The football team used nine different football combinations in the 2005 season, but introduced even more combinations in the 2006 season. The new uniforms in 2006 provided 384 possible different combinations of jerseys, pants, helmets, socks, and shoes. A metallic-yellow colored helmet with silver flames, which debuted in the 2006 Las Vegas Bowl, increased the possible combinations. These uniforms were more technologically advanced than other uniforms, 28% lighter when dry, 34% lighter when wet, and greater durability with reinforcing diamond plating patterns at the joints. The Ducks wore the previously announced white helmets for the first time on October 20, 2007 in Seattle, when they played the Washington Huskies. In 2008, during the Arizona-Oregon game, they wore new, all black uniforms nicknamed “lights out”, but instead of the typical metal diamond plated shoulder pads, the new uniforms had a wing pattern of the livery.
Only once has the original “block UO” helmet emblem made a comeback, when worn along with a throwback jersey, against Cal in 2009. However, the neo-throwback green jersey with gold letters and the modern logo instead of the “UO” on the yellow helmet, in the 2009 Civil War.
For the Arizona game in 2008, Oregon unveiled a new uniform design based on the “lights out” design from the previous season featuring the “wings” pattern on the shoulder pads as well as a more simplified uniform design, while retaining the number font style of “Bellotti Bold” and the colors of green, black, white, yellow, grey, gold, and steel. This was the primary uniform design from 2009 through the 2011 regular season.
There was another uniform revision in 2012 at the Rose Bowl and carried forward into the 2012 season, with the “wings” moving from the shoulder pads to the helmets as chrome decals, and a broader “feather” detail with iridescent fabric highlights. Five different helmets combinations were part of the uniform kit.
On October 19, 2013, Oregon wore special Breast Cancer Awareness uniforms in a game against Washington State. In addition to new bold pink helmets, the Ducks wore pink Nike Vapor Talon Elite cleats, pink Nike Vapor Carbon Elite socks and pink Vapor Je gloves coordinated with their black Nike Pro Combat uniform system. The special edition uniforms designed to raise awareness and funds for the Kay Yow Cancer Fund as the helmets became auctioned items.
The morning of the Ducks 2013 Bowl game Nike introduced another new uniform for Oregon, As visitors in the Alamo Bowl, Oregon wore the white uniforms.
It’s all about speed. For the last decade Nike has continually evolved college football uniforms for the country’s best teams. Among these, the Oregon Ducks football uniforms are on the cutting edge of innovation, with the clear goal of optimizing athletic performance and speed on the field. On December 30, 2013 Oregon took the field wearing the latest Nike Pro Combat “Mach Speed” uniform, the most innovative Nike Pro Combat system of dress to date.
The uniform features an all-new chassis including the latest in lightweight fabric innovation built for maximum speed, ventilation and comfort. Drawing inspiration from some of the fastest athletes in the world, Nike has applied research and design across multiple sports to create one of the fastest uniforms on the field. Taking insights from Nike’s Swift Suit technology, the new Nike Mach Speed Football uniform fabric construction features an articulated fit to match the athlete’s motion of play. Ultimately this allows the athletes to move with the uniform fabrics, and not against them. At the waist, an updated griper draw cord locks the pant in place.
“We meet with the team to gain insights into what they need on the field,” said Todd Van Horne, Nike Football VP and Creative Director. “They’ve told us that uniform fit, range of motion, and airflow make a drastic difference on the field, and we are excited to give them a uniform that solves those problems and helps them do on the field.”
The new 2014 uniform design updates the traditional Duck wing pattern to cover the entire shoulder and arm panels. This bold, directional split-wing pattern update spreads out from the center of the chest and helps to give increased abrasion protection across the shoulders. The pant design showcases strong graphic embellishments, reading “Oregon” on the right leg and “Ducks” on the left. Oregon’s latest helmet design features a split wing pattern that mimics the shoulder design.
Steel silver wings that transition to lightning yellow at the armhole highlight the black uniform. Both the base layer top and socks match this lightening yellow color and the uniform’s black helmet features a steel silver wing mimicking the shoulder. Fighting Duck Green takes center stage atop the white uniform, coloring the shoulder wings and highlighting the base layer. A carbon fiber helmet embellished with lightning yellow wings finishes the white uniform look.
In 2016, One of my personal favorite features of the new uniforms are the helmets, with different logos of the Duck on each side. One one side, you have the “Fighting Duck” logo that the athletic department has been using more and more, and on the other, you have the more aggressive looking “Combat Duck” which we saw in some uniform sets last year. Uniform chassis and updated designs integrates into the team’s existing wardrobe for the upcoming season.
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