As many of you already know, and because twitter is a wonderful and awful place filled with wonderful and awful things, the reveal for the Nebraska Cornhuskers 2015 alternate uniform happened. As you can see from the tweet, they are definitely something.
In what is the fourth iteration of the flashy alt-uni craze for Nebraska and adidas, it seems that all of the concepts have sort of turned into one congealed mass more or less. Black uniform? Check. Metallic accents? Check. Patterns and stripes? Check. Electric tape? Check.
And really, it's not that this is the worst iteration of the bunch at all. You need not go back too many years to remember the great and terrible that was the electric tape 'N' on the front of the jersey.
But seriously, let's talk a little bit about these uniforms. Remember, these are made for teenagers. They're supposed to be fun for guys in their early 20s. This is fun, wild, and different. So let's at least judge them on that for a moment...
I am on the record saying I like the matte black helmet. Sue me. I understand why people don't always dig a different color, but I think black looks pretty killer, and the matte under the lights will be pretty sweet. I am glad we avoided the two tone top/bottom look from last year as well because that was a little iffy. If this was the beginning of the look, I'm totally on board. It's worth noting that my favorite EPL team is Everton, and my favorite kit they released is their Purple alt unis with neon green. I may not have the best taste. Then again, maybe I have the best taste.
There are so many things going on here. First off, can we stop with the sculpture numbers? I remember when I was a kid, I tried to make bubble letters, but I only knew how to draw straight lines and so they always looked blocky and weird. For four years, Nebraska's alternate uniforms have had blocky and weird numbers. Dear adidas, please stop that nonsense. You can be edgy without looking like we used stencils to make the number.
As for the colors? I'm sort of over the metallic accents. I blame Nike for that entire trend, but it never looks quite as cool as you think it would, and even though I'm totally behind mixing patterns and textures, this might be too much. Speaking of patterns, I'm less frustrated by this in theory. All you need to know about patterns right now is look at what Russel Westbrook is wearing and realize that wild and unique is in. I have no problem with using some form of pattern on the jersey top. That said, this is just another iteration of an adidas theme. Many people have been talking about how this was an inevitability with the design, and that makes me a little sad. Use a corn texture. Use a bunch of corn cobs. Use Herbie's head. I don't really care about the repeating texture so long as it meant something to the school specifically.
Oh, and those diagonal stripes through the numbers? Ridiculous. This uniform feels like something that happens when you have really good designers collaborating without a project manager or account manager. Yes, it does not look terrible out of context, but there is always context and context makes this look bad.
After a certain point, you just have to take it as is, right? I hate the N in the stripes thing because it's a good idea that is executed really poorly. The lack of continuity of the stripe from jersey to bottom drives me crazy. That said, the typeface, stripes, patterns, etc. follow what they were going for so who am I?
However, I love the idea of a black pants option for Nebraska for whenever we feel like it. They're a good look, and I especially like them against the white uniform. This will never happen and makes people angry for me to even say that, but whatever man. For an extra uniform, black is sort of great.
Shoes and Socks and Gloves and Stuff
OTE regular Salt Creek and Stadium with the first comment:
With those socks, the shoes look like rocket ships. Like, something you'd buy for a kid for dress up or Halloween.— Salt Creek & Stadium (@SaltCreekCN) July 23, 2015
I hate the chrome cleats considering the overall look. If we're going black, go black... Or, if we're going black and red, go black and red. This chrome nonsense? It just doesn't fit. The shoe itself looks pretty killer, but with the entire kit, it just looks out of place and like the designer worked in a silo. I do dig the textured socks, though. Like, that's maybe my favorite sock we've had.
Gloves are gloves. We have seen a bunch of versions of this over the years. I am neither here nor there.
Overall thoughts and going forward
So here's the deal. I would generally rate my fashion sense as classic modern, because that's what every 30 year old male who works an office job is forced to be. I do appreciate clean lines, patterns, colors, and everything that adidas was seemingly trying to take on. As far as overall finished products go, this is not the worst thing that they have ever done. The problem for me is the same problem that we saw when they did basketball alternates - and to a lesser extent every other sport they make. Adidas believes in uniformity across its brand. The brand matters first and it feels like the clients matter second. Miami, Louisville, and now Nebraska all feel like different iterations of the same thing. Compare that to Nike - who has generally set the gold standard in this game- and you realize that schools and their traditions are not the focus for the adidas team.
And really, that is where most of this frustration is coming from. These are no more or less flashy than the Ducks, these are not nearly as hideous as some of the iterations UnderArmour has dropped. Oh, and these are, by far, way less appalling than some of the things even adidas has put out over the years. Unfortunately, they're just sort of meh. I'm sure the kids putting on those uniforms love them, and they're going to be pumped to run out of that tunnel with a stadium that will do its best to wear black - they won't do a good job - and we'll all move on with our lives. Still, my hope is that as this alternate uniform thing keeps going, maybe the focus from here on out starts to turn more inward.
Oh, and can we get rid of the guy with electrical tape in his design kit? Because seriously, that has got to stop.