Bears unveil new Nike uniforms
BY SEAN JENSEN Twitter: @skjensen April 3, 2012 11:02AM
Brian Urlacher models the Bears new uniform by Nike.
Updated: April 3, 2012 3:23PM
NEW YORK – Count Bears middle linebacker Brian Urlacher among the players most excited about the NFL’s new contract with Nike.
He’s had a deal with Nike since he was drafted in the first round of the 2000 NFL Draft, and he wasn’t thrilled that Reebok outfitted NFL players for the last 10 years.
“I thought it was awesome,” Urlacher said, when asked his initial response to Nike’s new uniforms, which were unveiled in Brooklyn Tuesday. “I love the [Nike] sideline gear. I didn’t like Reebok’s.
“It’s nice to wear stuff that looks good.”
Reebok’s 10-year deal recently ended, and Nike’s five-year contract kicked off Tuesday.
And, naturally, Nike went over the top.
Ultimately, though, the Nike Elite 51 uniforms weren’t as wild and crazy as some had speculated in recent months.
The Bears, however, were among the teams with the most tweaks. There are stripes on the shortened sleeves, as well as a prominently sized GSH – an homage to founder George S. Halas – on the left shoulder.
“Our family’s biggest concern was, we wanted to make sure the GSH on the left sleeve went back to its original size,” Bears chairman George McCaskey said. “It had gotten smaller. Now, it’s restored to its original, 1984 size, so we’re very excited about that.”
Initially, though, a little more than a year ago, McCaskey was concerned before his first meeting with Nike officials, because he’d seen some of the colorful and outrageous college jerseys.
But his anxiety was immediately eased.
“The first thing they assured us was, ‘We’re not trying to change the Bears uniform.’ That was a tremendous relief to us,” McCaskey said. “The look of our team is extremely important to our family. We didn’t want to deviate from the classic, Chicago Bears look.”
Nike worked closely with Bears head equipment manager Tony Medlin, who consulted with the team’s players.
To accommodate the “GSH,” though, Nike moved the TV numbers further up the shoulder.
Aside from the look, though, Urlacher said the jerseys are lighter and more comfortable. Nike utilized Flywire to reduce weight and provide a snug fit over pads with four-way stretch fabrication. Nike also went to great lengths to ensure everything – from base layering to padding, to the pants and socks – all work and blend seamlessly together.
Nike has spent the last two years working to put the NFL’s complete uniforms together, and they may have gone overboard. For instance, they mapped sweat patterns, and they used aircraft-grade aluminum in the d-ring belt to reduce weight.
“They had 10 years to work on it,” Urlacher jokingly said.
CLICK HERE for a look at the Bears' new uniforms and some from the past.