Starting this off with maybe the most fashion-forward team out there- the University of Oregon Ducks. In 2005, the Ducks had nine different combinations. In 2006? They had 384 possible uniform combinations. Thank you, Nike!
This rather unpopular helmet was unveiled at the 2006 Las Vegas Bowl (when Oregon got creamed). The metallic yellow creation with silver ghost flames expanded the Ducks’ combinations to 512. When Nike took over as their designers they became almost their prototype models. In fact, these uniforms with the diamond plated patterns are more durable and apparently 28% lighter when dry and 34% lighter when wet. Science!
In 2007, they introduced white helmets:
In 2008, at the Arizona game, Oregon introduced their new uniforms, dubbed “Lights Out” which featured a matte black (or green) helmet, black socks, black and lightning yellow arm sleeves, and black and yellow cleats (which look like a duck bill from this angle.) The pants were plain black, and the jerseys were black with lightning yellow names and numbers, but they lacked the usual diamond plating, and now featured “steel” wings.
2009 kept the wings and added two blinding options; the awful neon yellow/black everything else combination, which is enough to make you puke. Yellow should almost always be and accent, people! Hear me, Redskins? But the other was an option that I’m still not sure how I feel about: “carbon-dipped” helmets. (Nike, you can’t dip carbon-fiber. You mold it.) Now this thing looks awesome in the picture above, but it can make you nauseous up close:
It’s mostly cool though, so it’s a win. It’s nice to see something out of the box. The first helmets said “Go Hard. Go Oregon. Go Ducks.” but later helmets (away from 2009 and into 2010) said “WTD. Fast. Hard. Finish.” In this case, WTD means Win The Day. Or so I read.
2010 also brought in more of their gray “steel” color. I love this one. It’s so simple. The neon yellow and green are brought in to highlight the numbers and wings. It also kept the carbon fiber helmets.
The highlight of this years uniforms are the matte black ode to their “lights out” style before. This one features glossy wings, and kevlar stitching.
Then came the Rose Bowl. Ringing in 2012 right, the Ducks unveiled their “Darth Duck” look — green with armored wings, and a completely unique helmet:
They are black with “LiquidMetal” finishes creating the winged armor look on the jersey, as well as a chrome-like face mask. Now this is the future of football uniforms.
I love the Ducks partnering with Nike Pro Combat for their uniforms. This can only lead out and up from here.
Many of the “old-schoolers” don’t like the fact that a team switches everything up every single game, but I think it gives a heightened sense of morale. All the Oregon fans I’m sure hold their breath to see what they wear next. It’s a sense of pride and I’m glad it’s more of a flashy thing rather than boring old striped uniforms. It’s nice to see.