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2011 September - Spartan Jerseys
Football players gathering in the tunnel prior to a home game at Spartan Stadium
Football players gathering in the tunnel prior to a home game at Spartan Stadium

Archive for September, 2011

Review of Michigan State’s Nike Pro Combat Uniforms

The highly anticipated Pro Combat Uniforms were unveiled last Tuesday to sky-high expectations from Spartan Nation.

Before we get into my review, we all need to remind ourselves of two things.

  • First – it is an honor for the Michigan State football team to wear the Pro Combat Uniforms, with only the elite schools selected for the privilege to wear them.
  • Second – Michigan State football does not have tradition with a consistent uniform design. We need to stop comparing ourselves to Notre Dame and Alabama and start thinking of ourselves in the same league as Oregon.

The reaction to the design of Michigan State’s Pro Combat Uniforms has been mostly positive. Over 800 readers of Spartan Jerseys gave the uniforms an A grade, more than any other grade combined. The reaction of the players via twitter was an overwhelming support of the design and even Mark Dantonio mentioned that he liked them in his weekly press conference. It also doesn’t hurt that they were seen on Yahoo Sports, ESPN and Washington Post.

Two months ago, I speculated that the design would be a throwback uniform due to Mark Dantonio’s comments in the original announcement. In reality, the unveiled design is a hybrid between a throwback uniform with questionable color selections and, as Michigan State’s online columnist Steve Grinczel put it, a “homage to their ancient Greek warrior namesake.”

Because of this, the uniforms require a lot of explaining. For example, those outside Spartan Nation continue to mistake the bronze color for gold and are scratching their heads wondering what gold has to do with Michigan State. The fact that “gold” needs to be corrected in every national review of the uniforms proves my point.

If Nike’s designers made the jersey black and the pants bronze, they would have made a true throwback design, directly resembling the style worn in 1934-1946. It was during this era when Michigan State beat Michigan four consecutive years in a row for the first time in history – an accomplishment the Spartans are trying to do again this year.

Incorporating a true throwback with the King Leonidas’ influence would have made it easier to answer all the surrounding questions by being able to point to the uniforms worn in our football history and the history of the Greek Spartans. These two changes would make these uniforms the best design among the nine schools in this year’s Pro Combat Uniform class.

I asked my readers on Spartan Jerseys to grade the uniforms and I will do the same. I give the uniforms a strong B. Positives include the helmet design and the King Leonidas elements. Criticisms include the color of the jersey and pants, the overall darkness of the jersey (black writing on dark green), and the confusion caused by the bronze color people are continuing to mistake for gold.

What do you think? Grade the design of the uniforms and share your thoughts below.

2011 Michigan State Nike Pro Combat Uniforms Released

After almost two months of waiting, Nike officially unveiled the design of the Michigan State Pro Combat Uniforms this morning. Pictures of the highly anticipated uniforms can be found here and my full review found here.

What do you think? Grade the design of the uniforms and share your thoughts below.

Michigan State Helmet Logo now on the 50 yard line at Spartan Stadium

After last week’s game without a logo, the Michigan State Helmet Logo is now painted on the 50 yard line at Spartan Stadium. The Block S Logo is now positioned on the 25 yard lines in a much smaller size.

It’s possible this is the first time anything but the Block S Logo has been on the 50 yard line. If you know, please contact me.

Longest Running Helmet Streak to End Tomorrow Night

Tomorrow night, two teams that will hire wear anything to get their struggling programs to resemble their once winning ways will meet under the lights for the first night game at Michigan Stadium.

As everyone knows, Michigan State is the Oregon of the Big Ten, changing its jersey and helmet styles too frequently to count. Just visit the Michigan State Football page for proof.

On the other side of Oregon is Notre Dame and Michigan, who seem to never change their style. Looking closely you can see slight tweaks made to the jerseys every few years, but their helmet style has remained the same for decades. That’s all going to change tomorrow night.

Michigan and Notre Dame will wear retro jerseys, and more importantly retro helmets, which will break their streak for wearing the same helmet style longer than any other football team. After the game, that title will be given to Tennessee who hasn’t changed their helmet since 1983.

I am not going to make a habit about writing about other programs, but it’s not everyday that corporate influences persuade traditional programs to break tradition to get back to tradition.

Helmet Streak according to our friends at Helmet Hut & Helmet Project:
Notre Dame: 1964 – 9/10/11
Michigan: 1976 – 9/10/11
Tennessee: 1983 – Present
Alabama: 1984 – Present
Penn State: 1987 – Present
Kansas State: 1989 – Present
Ball State: 1990 – Present

Three changes I saw in shaky home opener

First Change: As reported earlier this week, the Michigan State Football team wore a #95 decal honoring the late Bubba Smith on the back of their helmets. The decal looked exactly as suspected, except placed to the right side of the center stripe. Big Ten Network reports that the decal will be worn for the first three games and removed after the Notre Dame game, which was the last opponent Smith faced in “The Game of the Century.”

Second Change: The United States flag sticker, which was on the back of the helmets for the 2010 season, was moved to the right side of the center stripe, above the #95 decal.

Third Change: The field at Spartan Stadium looked different, missing the Block S Logo on the 50-yard line. The absent logo was not the athletics department’s doing, but the University’s Athletic Field Operations who didn’t want “heavy paint on the new grass,” according to Joe Rexrode of LSJ.

Bonus Change: The Michigan State cheerleading squad was wearing new outfits that looked very similar to the outfits worn by Oregon’s cheerleaders.

Our hats go off to Joel Foreman who volunteered his starting position allowing cancer survivor Arthur Ray Jr. to start and play in his first college football game. The opportunity was very emotional for Ray, his family and the entire Spartan nation who followed his progress back to the field.

#95 helmet decal honoring Bubba Smith to be worn for first three football games

Spartan Radio Network’s Adam Ruff is reporting that the Michigan State Football team will wear a #95 decal on their helmets honoring the late Bubba Smith who passed away at the beginning of August.

According to Ruff, the decal will be worn for the first three games of the season (Youngstown State, Florida Atlantic, @Notre Dame).

Ruff does not reveal what the decal will look like, but I think it will look like the #44 decal the Michigan State Football team wore last season on the back of their helmet as a tribute to player Josh Rouse, who sustained a season-ending neck injury during the first game of the 2010 season.

This new decal worn for the first three games of the season, along with the Nike Pro Combat Uniforms to be worn against Michigan on Oct. 15, are the only style changes I know about for the 2011 Michigan State Football season.

Photography Credits: Masthead image is courtesy of MSU Athletic Communications. Spartan Jerseys claims no ownership to this image.

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