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The Georgia Bulldogs' Nike Pro Combat Uniforms: A Dispassionate Assessment After Several Hours Have Passed

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The topic du jour here at Dawg Sports, obviously, has been the unveiling of the Nike Pro Combat uniforms the Georgia Bulldogs will be wearing for their season opener against the Boise St. Broncos two weeks hence. This has inspired some strong reactions, to say the least, and, if the poll voting is any indication, public opinion is very much divided upon the question.

The comment threads have included some depictions of the new uniforms, and some links to depictions of those uniforms. In addition to those photographs already posted here on the front page, I also received three more noteworthy depictions, two of which came in the form of an e-mail from Nike.

The communication from the uniform supplier described the new look as "a design that pays tribute to the perfection of the past, including their famed 1980 National Championship season, by adding hints of silver to their red and black uniform in unique and unexpected ways," as well as "honor[ing] the old Georgian traditions" by reintroducing "their iconic 1960's era silver helmets." The e-mail from Nike was accompanied by these photos:

The other shot of the new unis came to me by way of my cousin, who posts here under the user name "Keith Richards" (not his real name, for the record). He was at Picture Day today, and he sent me the following photograph:

As noted above, opinion is divided, and, frankly, I am of two minds myself. Here, after a day’s reflection, are my thoughts on the togs the ‘Dawgs will be wearing in the Dome on September 3:

  • In principle, I love the idea of the Bulldogs wearing silver helmets, but, if we were going to go that route, we should’ve gone straight throwback on the headgear, donning a solid silver helmet with a block red "G." From the side, this helmet looks good, but the ludicrously broad red stripe spilling over onto the facemask ruins the effect.
  • I like the silver accents on the black numbers, but the numerals are too skinny. As evidenced by the "Tron" numbers on the Virginia Tech Hokies’ Pro Combat uniforms in last year’s season opener, Nike just doesn’t know how to do numbers right.
  • The black "V" with the oval "G" at the neck is a neat effect. The black sleeves? Not so much.
  • The original reports about the gloves were accurate; they are cool. My eight-year-old has already asked me where he can get a pair.
  • Nike’s reference to 1980 appears badly misplaced, in light of the pants on this uniform. The red britches ceased to be a regular part of the Georgia uniform after the opening outing of that epic autumn, and, while they were around, they (a) had a broad white stripe down the pant leg, and (b) were worn with a white jersey as part of the road uniform. More to the point, if there is one uniform convention for which the 1980 season is remembered, it is for the restoration of the traditional silver britches following a 16-year absence.
  • This brings us to the fundamental problem with this uniform; namely, the fact that monochromatic uniforms look bad on everyone. Whether it’s the Kentucky Wildcats wearing blue jerseys with blue pants, the Tennessee Volunteers wearing orange jerseys with orange pants, or the Utah Utes wearing red jerseys with red pants, it looks bad. It’s not a question of which color is being overdone; the problem is that it’s being overdone. I didn’t think "too much red" was an actual condition that was capable of occurring in the universe, but this uniform is proof that it is possible to have too much of a good thing.
  • That said, I am encouraged by the fact that, in the picture taken by my cousin of the football uniform in its natural habitat (Sanford Stadium), this get-up looks like significantly less of an abomination than it does in the Nike special effects studio. Hopefully, it’ll look better on the field than it does in a staged shoot.

At the end of the day, of course, the whole goal of the "Nike Pro Combat" look is to get people talking, and this uniform certainly has done that. Do I like it? No; but I have a Knowshon Rockwell Moreno blackout jersey hanging in my closet, and I didn’t mind that departure from longstanding practice, largely because the debut of those jerseys coincided with a thrilling throttling of the Bulldogs’ oldest rivals. I don’t want to see the Red and More Red Black wear these uniforms ever again, but, if the Bulldogs bludgeon the Broncos bloody on September 3, we will remember fondly the one time the Athenians donned these togs, even if we do not miss the uniforms themselves.

Go ‘Dawgs!