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Speculation on the Michigan State Football Nike Pro Combat Uniform - 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
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Speculation on the Michigan State Football Nike Pro Combat Uniform

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Since the release of Nike’s Pro Combat Uniforms in 2008, fans have wondered when, or if, the Michigan State football team would suit up in them. Our relationship with Nike has become more intimate due to the two-year rebranding partnership. During this rebranding period, the new football jerseys have contained some cuts similar to Pro Combat, but are not true Pro Combat Uniforms. Fans were teased by Nike when the Spartans ran out on the field wearing the Vapor Jet Premium LE gloves during the disaster of a bowl game vs. Alabama, but the team still has yet to wear Pro Combat Uniforms.

Michigan State’s moment has finally arrived. Nike announced on Wednesday that Michigan State will be wearing Pro Combat Uniforms for our rivalry game against Michigan. This is great news all around. Pro Combat Uniforms are generally reserved for the elite teams of college football. This announcement should help our recruiting because future players love to wear the latest and greatest uniforms Nike has to offer.

The press release detailed when Michigan State will be wearing them and what other teams will be wearing them, but it didn’t divulge what the uniforms will actually look like. Let the speculation begin…

Mark Dantonio is quoted in the press release saying, “Nike has done a remarkable job of creating a uniform that clearly speaks to the Spartan football tradition with a modern-day look and feel.” Which tells me, these will be throwback jerseys and not a modern design featuring the New Michigan State Logo that was shelved.

In my opinion, there are three possible football periods the Pro Combat Uniform design could be inspired by:

  • 1947 – 1955: Green helmets with single white stripe, green jerseys with three stripes on the sleeves, and white pants with a single stripe.
  • 1965 – 1966: Green helmets with the Original Spartan Head Logo, green jerseys with “MICHIGAN STATE,” and white pants with a single stripe.
  • 1934 – 1946: Gold winged helmets, black jerseys with gold numbers and gold pants.

1947 – 1955 is the most likely choice. This is the time period Michigan State won three National Championships, which definitely fits the “football tradition” Dantonio mentioned. This style is also the basis for all future Michigan State jerseys (green helmet with white stripe, green jersey with white numbers, and white pants with stripe).

1965 – 1966 is the more obvious choice, however we have already brought this design back with our throwback jerseys worn in 2006 vs. Notre Dame, celebrating the 40th anniversary of the “Game of the Century” (sorry to remind you of this game). This is the “classic” Michigan State style. It also fits the “football tradition” Dantonio mentions because we won back-to-back National Championships during this period. The green helmet contained the Original Spartan Head Logo with a white stripe, and the jerseys had “MICHIGAN STATE” on them.

1934 – 1946 is an outside shot since Michigan State wore black and gold during this time, not the school colors of green and white. However, this is the period that Michigan State football became competitive. Head Coach Charlie Bachman beat Michigan four times in a row (1934 – 1937). Dantonio is trying to join this elite club of coaches beating Michigan a number of consecutive times and it includes Biggie Munn and Duffy Daugherty, as well. This would also be an opportunity to showcase that Michigan State wore the winged helmet one year before Princeton and four years before Michigan. Even though we wore it before them, the winged helmet is owned by Michigan. Too much explaining of the winged helmet would be needed and if we didn’t pull it off right, the casual viewer of the game would think we are just copying Michigan’s winged. Just as this period’s uniform design has an outside shot of being chosen, so does losing to Michigan on Oct 15. What if we lost to them wearing winged helmets? It would be 2002 all over again.

I expect to see the Michigan State football team run out on the field on October 15 wearing Pro Combat Uniforms modeled from the 1947 – 1955 period. Michigan is also expected to wear special uniforms during the game. Maybe their bumble bee style? And that’s all I am going to write about Michigan, as I only care about the Spartans.

Whatever style Nike and Michigan State come up with, I guarantee it will be a hit with Michigan State fans. This is a prime opportunity for the football program. Creating the most high-tech uniforms based on Michigan State’s storied tradition is a recipe for success for both Nike and Michigan State.

What do you think? Vote for the period you think the Pro Combat Uniforms will be based off of below and comment on the speculation.


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