Nike has once again placed its stamp on one of college football’s greatest traditions with its Army-Navy uniform design for the 2012 game.
The Black Knights and Midshipmen will wear commemorative uniforms for the 113th matchup between the two schools, bringing together traditional elements and new designs to build the new look.
While some may scream for tradition, these uniforms were done well and represent the tradition of this game and services well. It also brings a new edge and draws additional eyes to a game that deserves all the attention it can muster.
Here is a breakdown of the new looks and grades for each piece of the new Army-Navy duds.
Nike outdid themselves with the design of the Army jersey for the coming game with Navy.
The jersey has “West Point” scripted across the back, American Flag patchwork on the sleeves and a WWII Battle of the Bulge "historical re-interpreted battle atlas map" embedded in the numbers and on the sleeves of the undershirt (via Nike).
There is also the traditional Army “A” shield that is at the base of the V-neck on the front of the uniform.
The look strongly represents the traditional Army uniform, but it adds enough detail to be extremely impressive. The mapping in the numbers may be the most unique design Nike has released to date.
The Navy jersey top plays the traditional role completely. There is very little flash when compared to the Army version.
Navy has an enlarged “Navy” scripted across the chest, gold anchors on the shoulders inside blue stripes and a large name patch unique to the player on the back.
Navy will be wearing white in the game, so there is no flashy color change on the top. The look has a service uniform feel, and for that Nike gets props.
Unfortunately, the jersey is otherwise relatively bland compared to its counterpart.
Army will stick with tradition when it straps on its helmets in this game, with the helmet bearing the traditional all-gold look with a black stripe down the center.
While this alone would not render a B+ grade, that the battle map is included in the stripe adds an awesome twist to the lid.
Nike made the right choice by keeping a piece of traditional equipment in the uniform layout, but the small addition on the center stripe is impressive enough to earn this helmet a positive nod.
While Army added flash to its uniforms, Navy saved its distinction for the helmet.
Navy will scrap the traditional all-gold domes to put on a three-tone, anchor-emblazoned masterpiece.
A lot of people are going to hate this look, but I think it screams Navy and is a great addition to the uniform. The anchor represents strength and power, while the solid, shiny gold stripe separating the matte blue and white halves shows flash.
Nike hit a home run with this lid, and the Midshipmen will be thrilled to strap them up this coming Saturday.
Both of these uniforms keep with the traditional looks of both teams, but they also add elements that represent the deeper meaning of serving and playing football at a service academy.
The Army uniform has consistent elements that bring thoughts of strategic movement and battle planning, while the Navy uniform is littered with traditional Naval emblems and colors.
The uniform group at Nike hit it big with these two sets of uniforms. They have served the purpose of bringing eyes to the contest, but Nike did it in a traditional and tactful way for the service academies.
While a major wow factor typically comes with Nike uniform redesigns, this has been one of the more tame releases from the uniform developer.
It will be surprising to see these teams take a step out of the traditional ranks, but just a few years ago Army did wear camouflage duds.
The Army uniform does represent a ton of detail, which is impressive, but it doesn’t do enough to take an A grade for the game.
The Navy uniform looks exactly like a dress whites uniform. Playing in gear that looks that clean and close to my dress uniform would make me a bit nervous if I was a Middy.
The details that are embedded in these uniforms are very impressive. From the map that represents the Battle of the Bulge on the Army uniforms to the signal flags and “Don’t Tread on Me” Navy Jack on the back of the Navy helmet, these duds don’t disappoint.
Nike has done a great job keeping with tradition and adding flair to these uniforms. This game is one of the best traditions in college football, and the addition of these uniforms adds another layer to the tribute paid to the young service members that have paved the way for these guys to play football.
This effort gets an overall grade of A. It has been one of the few uniform changes that has brought good change to the field.