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A few hours away

Posted Apr 23, 2013

EDITORIAL: Jacksonville Jaguars' cool, stylish new uniforms to be unveiled at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday

JACKSONVILLE – Yes, I’ve seen them.

That answers the question I’ve been getting for the last two months. I could only start answering, “Yes” for the last week and a half – since our small traveling Jaguars contingent returned from NIKE headquarters April 12. Since then, we’ve stayed pretty mum on the whole thing, and if you’ve read the O-Zone in recent weeks you’ve seen my response to those asking about the Jaguars’ new uniforms.

“The new uniforms are cool. I like them.”

And you know what? I do. Really.

And the guess here is most people will, too.

Not all will like them, certainly. That’s not the way things work for new things. New things shock the system and there are those who recoil, but there will be many who like them immediately, and the others – as happened with the new logo a few months back – they’ll come around.

The guess here is that young people will really, really like them. People who like innovation will like them.

Why? Well, it’s because these new uniforms are . . .

I could finish that line, but my computer might self-destruct. At the very least, I’d be violating an embargo agreement with NIKE, and my stance on embargo agreements with multibillion dollar apparel companies is long-standing and well-known.

Let’s just say the new uniforms are different.

And stylish.

And bold.

And unique.

You can also say they’re well-thought out, meticulously planned and immaculately designed. You can say, too, that serious time and effort and consideration went into them. By saying that, you’d be understating it, because that much we learned when visiting NIKE last month.

This rollout Tuesday? It’s a big deal to the Jaguars, and it’s a big deal to NIKE, too.

“We feel proud about bringing their vision to life,” NIKE’s Creative Director for Football Todd Van Horne said.

You won’t find much detail in Van Horne’s quotes in this story. NIKE and the Jaguars want the details to be unveiled today. And they will be. The press conference begins at 1:30 p.m.

And while there’s still a whole lot about the uniforms we can’t share until then – NIKE takes this “embargoed content” thing pretty seriously, as well they should – we can tell you that this an important thing for them. And we can tell you there was a real passion about the uniforms when we visited Beaverton, Oregon earlier this month.

(Quickly, a word on NIKE. It was my first trip to the headquarters. It, like the uniforms, was cool. The NIKE folks showed us cool, high-performance things. They played cool music in a dark room when showing us the uniforms. There were many big buildings named after famous athletes, and many large photos of those famous athletes. There was a time in the afternoon they let us media types “get” on the field. I caught a pass from Justin Blackmon. This is something neither of us particularly wants to speak about much anymore. I flew home on a red-eye in the middle seat. There were positives and negatives to the trip.)

Justin Blackmon, as we mentioned parenthetically, was at NIKE with us. He likes the uniforms. He was the first player to wear the Jaguars’ new uniform, and the new helmet, and others in recent weeks have followed. All seem excited.

What you’ll hear Tuesday at 1:30 is that NIKE is excited, too. And that Jaguars Owner Shad Khan is excited, too.

To hear the folks at NIKE tell it, Khan was deeply involved in the process. There was a lot of back and forth and a lot of effort on everyone’s part for the new look to embody not only the Jaguars, but Khan’s vision for ownership, and what the franchise’s future can be.

“His passion about it just came through,” Van Horne said. “It was a great collaboration.”

You’ll hear a lot about that if you log on to jaguars.com for today’s press conference. You’ll hear buzzwords, and if our experience in Oregon is any indication, it will be an impressive scene at EverBank today. NIKE makes an impressive uniform, and they put on a cool show. You’ll hear NIKE people talk about the process and of trying to put all that embodies the Jaguars and Khan into the uniform.

If you’re into uniforms, it’s cool stuff. If you’re into the Jaguars, it’s cool stuff, too.

“It tells the story of the ownership and what a Jaguar is,” Van Horne said. “That’s what’s exciting to us.”

And that .  . . well, for now – for the next couple of hours, that’s all you’re getting. This is what they call a teaser, and teasing is all you get. What you’ve read here is about the extent of the hints regarding the uniforms and the helmets.

Are they a departure from the old? Yes. Are the differences notable and significant? Yes, and yes. Will you like them? Will you think they’re cool?

Who knows? But I think they’re pretty cool. I like them.

And soon enough, you can find out for yourself if you agree.

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