Grading the 49ers' and Ravens' Special Super Bowl Uniforms

Sean Hojnacki@@TheRealHojnackiFeatured ColumnistJanuary 31, 2013

Nike has unveiled the special uniforms that will be worn by the San Francisco 49ers and Baltimore Ravens in Super Bowl XLVII.

Nike released photos of all the gear on their website on Wednesday. 

The Niners and Ravens will both be wearing the NFL Nike Elite 51 uniform, which Nike humbly refers to as the "NFL’s most innovative uniform system to date." A system, no less!

Players who have contracts with Nike will also be sporting Alpha Pro cleats and Vapor Fly gloves.

Here's a complete breakdown of both teams' Super Bowl uniform systems.


Jerseys: 8.5/10

The jerseys are the centerpiece of Nike's unveiling. Baltimore is technically the road team for Super Bowl XLVII, and it will wear its white jersey with black pants.

The 49ers will sport their red jersey with gold pants, reminding all San Fran fans of the good old days with Joe Montana and Jerry Rice. By the way, the Niners are 5-0 in the Super Bowl all time; the Ravens are 1-0.

These Super Bowl jerseys are the cherry on top of Nike's first season since taking over the NFL uniforms from Reebok. Each team's authentic (and expensive) jersey with the Super Bowl patch is a must have for diehard fans.

The 49ers have their patch on the left shoulder. The Ravens have it on their right shoulder.

The special patch features the Roman numerals for the game (it adds up to 47, for all you non-scholars) underneath a gigantic version of the Tiffany-made Vince Lombardi Trophy, placed in the foreground with the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in the background.

Baltimore will also continue to wear the circular "Art" patch commemorating its former owner, Art Modell, who passed away in September of 2012.

While the aesthetics of most teams' jerseys didn't change as a result of the Nike takeover (except for the Seattle Seahawks), the design itself did.

The Nike Elite 51 design features "Flywire technology" on the neckline to fit securely over the pads. It's an integrated design, so the jersey, padding and baselayer are constructed to work in unison.

Think along the lines of how Apple designs its computer components to fit into a certain space, as opposed to PC constructing the elements separately and then making a box to put it all into.

The jerseys are also made with "increased sleeve articulation for better range of motion as well as four-way stretch fabrication to provide a streamlined shrink-wrap fit."

So that means Colin Kaepernick can more easily wind up to throw his fastball passes, and linemen will have a harder time grabbing onto Ray Lewis' jersey.

Nike's jerseys also feature "strategically placed seams, pads and cooling zones." This design facilitates both comfort and "padding without the bulk," which helps protect players through their midsection, also known as the "hit zone."

Both teams have handsome-looking jerseys as well, with the 49ers sporting the classic red and gold and the Ravens featuring their intimidating black and purple ensemble.

Now all they have to do is put them on and play the game.


Cleats: 8.5/10

These are some good looking shoes! If it wasn't so annoying to walk on city sidewalks while wearing spikes, I might actually invest in some Ravens Alpha Pro cleats.

These cleats are made with the same Nike Flywire support structure used on the neckline of the jerseys. They hug the foot and will make it easier for Ray Rice or Frank Gore to stop on a dime and change direction.

They are lightweight, of course, and boast things like a "conical shaped cleat tip" for "easy ground penetration" as well as a "bladed cleat base." You won't find these at Payless.

In the battle for footwear superiority, the edge goes to Baltimore. The white swoosh lined in purple fading into a black backdrop easily trumps San Fran's red swoosh on a gold and red background.

You should've gone with the white swoosh, Jim Harbaugh! Advantage: John Harbaugh.


Gloves: 8/10

Nike surprisingly opted not to use any Flywire technology on their Vapor Fly gloves. Instead, they feature "seamless Nike Hyperfuse construction on the back of the hand."

These gloves are made without cuffs, which allegedly "reduces weight and increases grip coverage." The strap is "molded" and the fingers are "articulated."

Boy, Lee Evans really could've used a pair of these in last year's playoffs!


Helmets: 7/10

There's nothing new about the helmets, but I've got to give the fashion advantage to the 49ers on this one.

That white stripe with red lining down the center of their gold helmet and the oval "SF" logo on each side just looks good. That could be Steve Young out there, but we wouldn't mistake Kaepernick's piercing stare.


Overall: 8/10

Nike's "uniform system" is meticulously designed, and it's thanks to them that the Niners and Ravens will be looking fresh for Super Bowl XLVII.

Now, how else can I possibly occupy myself until 6:30 EST on Sunday? I hope NFL Network is replaying all the old Super Bowls in their entirety!

Or come to think of it, isn't Katherine Webb "reporting" on the game for Inside Edition? Now, what channel is that on? I'll just have to tweet Brent Musburger.



    Julio Jones Isn't Drinking the TO Kool-Aid

    NFL logo

    Julio Jones Isn't Drinking the TO Kool-Aid

    Mike Freeman
    via Bleacher Report

    Brady Hints at Retiring at 45 with IG Comment

    NFL logo

    Brady Hints at Retiring at 45 with IG Comment

    Joseph Zucker
    via Bleacher Report

    Report: Jameis Braces for Suspension

    NFL logo

    Report: Jameis Braces for Suspension

    Kyle Newport
    via Bleacher Report

    Rivers' Offseason Job? Playcaller for Son's Football Team

    NFL logo

    Rivers' Offseason Job? Playcaller for Son's Football Team

    Eric D. Williams