Why the Swoosh Is Backward on Nike's NFL Uniforms

Rick Weiner@RickWeinerNYFeatured ColumnistOctober 28, 2012

FOXBORO, MA - OCTOBER 07: Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots and Peyton Manning #18 of the Denver Broncos greet each other at midfield following the game on October 7, 2012 at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

Is there a more iconic logo than the Nike swoosh?

You could make an argument for the interlocking "NY" of the New York Yankees, or the blue star on the sides of the Dallas Cowboys' helmets, but unlike the logos of sports teams, the Nike swoosh is recognizable around the world, by both sports fans and those who pay no mind to athletics.

With Nike taking over as the official uniform supplier for the NFL this season, it didn't take long after the new threads debuted for people to notice something—that the swoosh was backward on the right shoulders of the jerseys.

Take a look at the picture above, featuring the Denver Broncos' Peyton Manning and the New England Patriots' Tom Brady.

Brady's jersey looks normal, yet the swoosh on Manning's shoulder looks to be backward.

Except here's the thing—the swoosh isn't backward.

ESPN's Darren Rovell tweeted about this back in August when the buzz started:

Nike logo on 1 NFL jersey sleeve is not backwards: Nike style requires swoosh to always face forward.

— darren rovell (@darrenrovell) August 6, 2012

In other words, the pointed end needs to be always flowing back, kind of like how you'd expect to see the swoosh react if it were an actual object and it were blowing in the wind.

This isn't some sort of new marketing technique by Nike, either. They've been doing it with our shoes since the beginning—we just never stopped to notice.

Still not convinced? Go grab a pair of Nikes out of your closet and check it out for yourself.

The uproar over the backwards swoosh is much ado about nothing, and it means one of two things.

Either we pay far too much attention to NFL jerseys, or we don't pay enough attention to our shoes.


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