Sure, things have been weird this year. And with just an eight-game season and no fans, it’s not going to stop being weird.
But there are some constants in the universe. One of those is Nebraska getting an alternate uniform. And adidas found an amazing way to announce this year’s alternate threads
<insert squeals of joy>
Full disclosure, I’m a sucker for horror movies, Hallowe’en, and pretty much all things spooky. When FOX came out with its “Cornfield” promo for Nebraska, I was over the moon.
(“Then you remember … this is where the sacrifices are made …” <squeeeeeeeeeeeee>)
So, yeah, I’m probably the target audience for the new promo video. But given how unique Nebraska’s Blackshirts secondary mark is, I think it’s pretty genius to lean into it.
So let’s grade this year’s version of the alternates. As always, we will use the “good or stupid” metric pioneered by the legendary Paul Lukas at Uni-Watch.
It’s last year’s alternate helmet. Which looked awesome. So, pretty easy “good” there.
Much like we were promised, it’s an away version of last year’s model. Still, the solid black numerals on the white shirt really are bold. There’s nothing really fancy or complicated about this set, and that’s what makes it work. “Good” all the way.
A smart and particularly handsome analyst has railed for some time about how solid-colored football pants suffer from “yoga pants” syndrome, and how Nebraska would be so much better served by putting those beautiful stripes back.
This apparently is an exception. The solid black pants with the bright red N … somehow works. Maybe it’s the simplicity of the jersey, maybe it’s just the transgressiveness of a solid black pant, but these really do look amazing as part of this whole setup.
The next frontier, of course, is for Nebraska to go full Darth Vader and pair this year’s pants with last year’s jersey. Maybe that’s for 2021. Either way, a surprising “good” on this one too.
NEBRASKA ALTERNATE UNIFORM POWER RANKING
Images courtesy of the Lincoln Journal-Star
The infamous trash bag uniforms, which had numerals which literally couldn’t be read from the stands. The two-toned helmets were pretty cool, but overall the unis were a disaster.
Mystifyingly, adidas took its disastrous 2014 concept and made just a slight tweak, putting it on a black background instead of a red one, and made the uniform only marginally less horrific.
These original throwbacks get far more hate than they deserve, especially how well they combined with Wisconsin’s to make a truly memorable spectacle. (Although, in the interest of full disclosure, Wisconsin had the better unis that night.)
The first road alternates Nebraska has worn ended up making good use of the trash-bag silver, working them into an ice concept that ended up very sharp.
The concept was brilliant, to pay homage to the 1997 team by replicating the mesh uniforms. And while it came out great, it was also hard to tell the unis apart from normal ones on the field during the game. (In full disclosure, this picture is also my avatar on an unsettling number of websites).
Even early in the process, adidas got this one right. The basic black uniforms, the different-but-legible stencil numerals, and the overall simplicity gives this one a place of honor in the Nebraska alternate uniform pantheon. The unique stenciled numerals and (of course) the stripes on the pants give 2013 the nod over 2019.
After a year to process and accept the Blackshirts logo being worn by the offense as well, I’ve come to realize that this concept is really, really sharp. The white isn’t quite as amazing as the black – although those black pants with the red N are pretty amazing – so last year’s gear gets a slight nod. But, dang, did adidas get this right.
OK, I admit it, these things have grown on me to the point where they surpassed the 2013 set, something I didn’t think would happen. Now, if Nebraska goes the full Darth Vader and rolls out with these shirt and the 2020 black pants …
Anything that involves old-school numerals, a shout-out to the Stadium Clock, and the full In the Deed The Glory inscription is going to be hard to beat. If it wasn’t for the silly helmet, this one would be the one to beat. Also, adidas, why could I not buy an “18” jersey with the cool 8 numeral, instead of getting stuck just buying a “1.” Just take my money already!
Because of the three-year hiatus, these gorgeous threads frequently get left out of the alternate uniform consideration. That’s a shame, because these throwbacks, with the curly-Q numerals and numbers on the helmets, have yet to be surpassed. Quite honestly, Nebraska could go to these uniforms as their regular ones tomorrow and I’d be quite happy (as long as they put the stripes back on the pants, natch).