New U-M Football Jerseys Blend Tradition, Technology

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ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- The University of Michigan and Nike, Inc. have teamed to enhance the Wolverines' classic football jersey, it was jointly announced today (Wednesday, May 18). The high-performance technology and design elements will provide the U-M football team with the most current performance benefits conceived while adding a distinctive touch to the acclaimed jersey. Michigan and the University of Georgia will begin wearing uniforms utilizing the new technology this season, joining Miami (Fla.) and Virginia Tech that used the product for the first time last year.

"We were very sensitive to the esteem and tradition associated with the visual appearance of the University of Michigan football team," said Jeff Johnson, U.S. Director of Promotional Services for Nike, Inc. "Our joint objective in creating this jersey design was to pay homage to that tradition while developing a product that incorporated our best technological and performance advances in weight, fit and ventilation."

To reach those goals, Nike began by replacing the heavy knit fabrics in the previous uniform with new high performance lightweight stretch woven materials reducing the overall weight of the uniform by 30 percent. Stretch mesh materials were incorporated in the areas critical to ventilation for the athletes, under the arms and in the back neck, increasing airflow and allowing body heat to escape. Finally, the key feature of the updated uniform is its tapered fit. The company has developed a tight fitting jersey that importantly eliminates grab points while not compromising any necessary movement by the athletes.

The two most visible changes to the U-M jerseys are the names/numbers and the modifications to the away uniform. The player numbers and names on both jerseys will be tackle twill and are stitched on rather than silk screened like the previous jerseys. The Wolverines away jersey returns to an older version (1976) with the removal of the Block 'M' from the sleeves and the incorporation of the numbers to the sleeve rather than the shoulder. It also adds the maize piping along the shoulder line to separate the two fabrics.

The home jersey makes its debut on Saturday, Sept. 3, when the Wolverines host Northern Illinois. The new look away jerseys will be worn for the first time on Saturday, Sept. 24, in the Big Ten Conference opener at Wisconsin.

The new home and away jerseys can be purchased at local retail locations starting today.

Following are some notes on the history of Michigan's football uniform:

1879 -- White canvas with blue stockings and a belt
1897 -- Canvas and blue jerseys worn
1912 -- All blue jerseys with no canvas introduced
1915 -- Numbers are added to the jerseys
1928 -- Yellow jersey with blue numbers worn vs. Navy
1938 -- Fritz Crisler brings the winged helmet to Michigan
1949 -- White jersey with blue numbers worn vs. Northwestern
1959-68 -- White numbers added on sides of winged helmet
1968 -- Block 'M' added on sleeve of home jerseys for one season
1969 -- Numbers added to the sleeve of the jersey during Bo Schembechler's first season
1974-75 -- White pants worn on the road
1976 -- Numerals taken off the sleeve and put on the shoulder of the away jerseys
1980 -- Names added to the back of jerseys
1994 -- Michigan enters into agreement with Nike as official apparel supplier
1997 -- Home jerseys have Block 'M' hologram on the shoulder
1997-2004 -- Away jerseys have Block 'M' added to sleeve and numbers displayed on shoulder

Media Contacts: David Ablauf, Jim Schneider (734) 763-4423
    Rodney Knox, Nike (503) 671-4698

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