Nike Jump-Starts NFL Alliance By Getting In Gear With College Football

NFL players show off Nike's new Pro Combat System.December 14, 2010: College football teams across the nation are ready to do battle in the plethora of bowl games being played over the next few weeks. And so is Nike.

The sports giant has unveiled its next generation of Nike Pro Combat uniforms and cleats, which football teams from the University of Oregon, Boise State University, Texas Christian University and University of Florida are scheduled to wear when they appear in upcoming bowl games. The gear includes the Zoom Alpha Talon Cleat and Pro Combat jerseys and pants featuring Nike Pro Deflex padding, which provides extra protection and a two-way airflow that cools the body and wicks away sweat. 

The new goods were unwrapped on Dec. 14 as part of the 2010 Nike Media Summit at Cowboys Stadium in Texas,. The occasion also helped to jump-start Nike's recently signed a deal to replace adidas as the official outfitter of the NFL beginning with the 2012 season. Among the crowd were NFL players Ndamukong Suh, Clay Matthews, Dwayne Bowe, Felix Jones and Steven Jackson. They and other Nike endorsers will be able to wear the new cleats beginning with games this week and weekend.

“Nike, Inc., is the leading, most innovative football company in the world and the top choice of football athletes at every level,”  Kris Aman, vp-athletic training for the Beaverton, Ore.-based company, said during the event. “Our success is based on creating breakthrough products and experiences unmatched in our industry, helping write the next chapter for Nike Football.”

The Boise State Broncos will wear the new Nike gear during the MAACO Las Vegas Bowl against Utah on Dec. 22;  the Florida Gators will don their uniforms and cleats at the Outback Bowl against Penn State in Tampa Bay on Jan, 1, 2011; TCU will debut the new Air Zoom Alpha Talon cleat with a new version of their current 2010 Nike Pro Combat uniform at the Rose Bowl presented by Vizio against Wisconsin in  Pasadena, Calif., on Jan. 1; and the Oregon Ducks will display their Nike offerings at the Tostitos BCS National Championship Game against quarterback Cam Newton and Auburn on Jan. 10 at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Az.

All four games will air on ESPN.

“This new cleat gives me the traction and protection when and where I need it most,” said Ndamukong Suh of the Detroit Lions. “Nike Football keeps raising the bar, giving players the best cleats in the game today.”

According to Nike, the Zoom Alpha Talon is the company's "most advanced cleat ever featuring] improved footing at full speed with an innovative on-demand, adaptive traction system. The interior cleats in the forefoot extend when full pressure is applied for more traction when needed and retract when not. The Air Zoom Alpha Talon cleat also features a Flywire upper for lightweight lockdown, a low-profile cushioning system for comfort, and Nike Pro Deflex padding around the ankle for breathable protection."

"Our success is based on creating breakthrough products and experiences unmatched in our industry, helping write the next chapter for Nike Football."

Regarding the Pro Combat System, Nike offered that the "redesigned base layer and uniform deliver the ultimate in breathable protection for superior speed . . . The uniform design emphasizes thermoregulation by featuring Nike Pro Deflex padding with two-way airflow to cool the body and wick away sweat. . . The uniform also provides enhanced protection throughout the crucial 'hit zone'  between the knees and shoulders, delivering robust padding without the bulk."

Nike's five-year deal with the NFL, which begins in April 2012, gives the company official on-field exclusivity in uniforms and gear worn by players and coaches.

NFL Refashions $2B Apparel Category With Nike, New Era Deals

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