Update: The LSU Nike uniforms in their full abominable glory.
The super-marketeers of Nike are still waiting until Monday to officially unveil the abomination of a “Pro Combat” special uniform they’ll inflict upon Tiger fans who attend the Arkansas game next weekend, but they continue to drop clues in their source code.
The theme is, in fact, “cochon de lait”, which Nike explores thusly:
The Bayou Bengals are planning an old-fashioned pig roast, complete with an updated dress code inspired by the legendary LSU teams of the 1940s. Toggle through the views below to explore the innovation and heritage behind the new uniform. Then get the “Cochon de Lait” T-shirt in time for gameday.
OK, so we’re wearing this for the Arkansas game, and they are Hogs. Ha, ha – good one. Nike produces audio descriptions of the uniforms (and accompanying theme t-shirts – on sale soon!), and LSU’s is embedded below.
Biggest problem I have with their description is “it says winners get to wear gold, and they also get to wear white. And it says no one can hold them Tigers when they’re wearing this getup.”
Yeah, we already wear gold and white guys. And that’s “gold” as defined by LSU in the 1950s, not what some Nike designer in Oregon perceives as “gold”. We’ve done just fine without the help of your “getup”, Nike. Real winners would tell Nike to shove off when they talk about messing with a 50-year-old uniform design to promote the company’s new line of football gear.
Update: Hat tip to And The Valley Shook for digging around in Football Fanatics and uncovering a t-shirt that shows the full design of this horrible helmet:
This really has me incensed. Nike is trying to play this off as a 1940s “tribute” (because of the different type of gold color), but uses the helmet logo that LSU adopted in 1977. What they are doing, in fact, is saying they like the shades of purple and gold used by Washington better than the shades LSU uses. And LSU let them do it. Absolutely inexcusable. My anger level is up 300% now.
It’s hard to say whether the worst thing LSU is letting Nike to do our program is this helmet or this uniform that inverts LSU’s purple and gold stripes and reduces them to an almost-invisible element.
On the gold helmet, Nike says:
Gold helmet is a tribute to the storied LSU teams of the 1940s, and a nod to the “Golden Boot” which LSU battles for.
Let’s just back up a bit. Nike says the uniform is inspired by the “legendary LSU teams of the 1940s” and the gold helmet is a tribute to the “storied LSU teams of the 1940s”. Really?
If you’re not well-versed in LSU football history, this is what the 1940s looked like:
1940: 6-4; 3-3 in the SEC
1941: 4-4-2; 2-2-2 in the SEC
1942: 7-3; 3-2 in the SEC
1943: 6-3; 2-2 in the SEC
1944: 2-5-1; 2-3-1 in the SEC
1945: 7-2; 5-2 in the SEC
1946: 9-1-1; 5-1 in the SEC
1947: 5-3-1; 2-3-1 in the SEC
1948: 3-7; 1-5 in the SEC
1949: 8-3; 4-2 in the SEC
National titles – 0; SEC titles – 0; Bowl Games – 3; Bowl Game Wins – 1; Years finishing in the Top 20 – 3; Highest ranking – 8 (1946); All-Americans – 0; All-SEC picks – 8; Decade winning percentage – .600.
The only really notable year of the decade was 1946, with a team that featured Y.A. Tittle that ended the season with a 0-0 tie in the “ice bowl” Cotton Bowl game – against Arkansas. Maybe Nike could build their marketing gimmick around that, but they’re going with “legendary” and “storied” for LSU’s very forgettable decade of the 1940s.
If Nike wants “legendary” and “storied”, LSU has it. They could have gone with a “throwback” (a generous term for this uniform) to 1959 and rolled that out on Halloween for the 50th anniversary (to the day) of Billy Cannon’s punt return. Or a tribute to the 1958 National Championship team. Those seem like the obvious choices, especially given that the Ohio State “throwback” is to their 1954 National Championship and the Oklahoma “throwback” is to their 1955 National Championship. The 1958 & 1959 LSU teams would be in that mold, but I guess a “throwback” to our same-colored helmets with numbers on them isn’t enough of a change for Nike (their “throwbacks” of Ohio State and Oklahoma both mean the helmet color changes).
Likewise, a tribute to the Tigers of the 1960s (SEC championship, four Top-10 finishes, two Sugar Bowl; two Cotton Bowl and one Orange Bowl win; 10 All-Americans) wouldn’t be a radical enough shift for Nike. And if they wanted a cool “throwback”, the Bert Jones-era helmet logo was pretty sweet. But also on the same-color helmet we wear now. That wouldn’t pass Nike muster, I guess.
But the “throwback” notion is a joke anyway. And Nike doesn’t try to call it that – just a “tribute” or a “nod” in this “updated dress code”. Kind of an oxymoron, but we don’t need our “dress code” “updated” anyway.
So what else will be worked into LSU’s Nike commercial next Saturday? It says “Tigers” on the back of the pants and “Team” inside the jersey collar and on the gloves.
“Team” is a current LSU mantra, but it would be cooler if they put “Damn Strong” or “Have a Great Day” inside the collar – seriously, that would be cool.
The undergarments of this uniform do contain a pretty cool design element. It’s the face of a tiger with “LSU” above it:
Hey, where have I seen that before? Right – it’s the logo Nike took off of LSU’s helmets. Good enough for the underwear but not for our helmets? Put it back.
Then there is what I guess is the whole point of this – the t-shirt Nike wants you to buy.
Oh yeah, that’s awesome. Dude can wear that to a Nickelback show after the season is over.
So those are so more details. I expect full images of the uniforms to be findable before the official release, so I’ll put ‘em up when I get ‘em. Hat tip again to Friends of The Program for initially sniffing out this stuff.