The Syracuse Orange football team has a new look this year, thanks to a jersey revamp with their new extension with Nike. The SU Bookstore has been the first with the new blue, white and orange jerseys, and there have been some questions about different price points and descriptions that are very #BRAND heavy. I figured as the resident jersey nut, I’d review all three jerseys, and explain what some of the Nike jargon means to a fan looking for one of these ‘Cuse jerseys.
When Nike acquired the rights to the NFL apparel, they overhauled how they sell replica jerseys to fans. There’s a deal with Fanatics to allow for quicker turnaround time on gear, and replica jerseys are the biggest driver.
Nike created four different replica jerseys at different price points to ensure on demand production and entice more casual fans into jersey purchases. They are Legend, Game, Limited and Elite, with the prices escalating in that order. Basically, the gist is this:
- Legend — Fancy T-Shirt Jersey, made of Dri-Fit material. This is the Nike workout material you’ll get with certain shirts and sweatshirts.
- Game — A more traditional replica jersey, with certain branding stitched on, but numbers and word marks screen printed.
- Limited — A more high-end replica jersey, with numbers, word marks, and name plates stitched on. For Nike, it means a slightly more athletic fit in the jersey cut as well.
- Elite — A true replica jersey of what the team wears on the field in cut and stitching, including team patches.
So how do the Syracuse jerseys stack up?
This is a Nike Legend jersey, and that’s why it was the first available. These are the quickest to turn around for Nike, which is why on Fanatics you’ll almost always see at least one Legend jersey offering for your NFL team. This is the only jersey I didn’t buy, as I have a Game blue jersey from the last Syracuse design. This is definitely a great option for the summer/early fall games, as the Dri-Fit material breathes well. However, I do not like to buy Legend jerseys, as it feels like an overpay for a Nike shirt with a jersey design on it. I do know people who prefer the concept of the Legend, as the fit and feel is more natural.
The white jersey is a Game jersey, with screen printed shoulder, back and chest numbers. The collar has a screen printed “For the Glory” slogan, Nike swoosh and “Orange” team name on the chest. The sleeve striping is definitely screen printed, however, like with their NFL jerseys, it’s made of a different material that definitely feels more like a traditional jersey. The block S on the navy collar is stitched on, and the collar itself is made out of a material meant to mimic the on field collar.
The biggest difference between this Game jersey and other Game jerseys from Nike? There is no side paneling or shoulder cuts. The jersey is cut the same out of a replica jersey material, but on the NFL jerseys, there’s a side panel that runs from the armpit down the site that’s a stretch-breathing. These jerseys are a single solid shirt with no additional paneling.
The Orange jersey is identical to the white jersey, just with the different striping on the sleeves and number color. The jersey is the same single cut, fit and feel as the white jersey.
Overall, these jerseys are about what to expect in the first year of a new Nike deal. A few of you may be asking where are the Limited and Elite jerseys, and that’s a fair question. I haven’t seen Limited or Elite jerseys for any team outside of Nike’s playoff schools (Clemson, Alabama, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Florida) and Oregon, but it wouldn’t shock me if any kind of throwback was sold exclusively as a Limited jersey. When Color Rush was first announced for the NFL, the jerseys were only available in Legend and Limited.
I purchased the Orange one for myself and it’s similar to my other Game jerseys, so if you want it to last long, only air dry it to avoid the numbers from peeling, and go easy on the fabric softener (it can mess with the colors of the sleeves) when washing.
With how quickly sizes are dropping from the bookstore and Fanatics inventory, it seems these jerseys are a big hit. I would expect this to only help ‘Cuse’s case for alternate jersey sales in the future, too.