In what might have been the most don’t-blink-or-you’ll-miss-it events, Nebraska last week announced their alternate uniforms for the 2022 season. Here’s the announcement on Twitter.
The uniform is an homage to the 1983 “Scoring Explosion” team, which is utterly appropriate. You can see above what the new threads look like. Ordinarily we’d go into a piece-by-piece breakdown of the uniform.
Except … we’ve kinda seen it before. In 2017, Nebraska wore an homage to the 1997 team that had the same mesh numeral concept. Really all that’s different is the sans-serif N on the sleeve and the stripes on the pants (more on that in a moment).
That’s it, that’s the list. And I can tell you from experience, the mesh on the numerals is not at all visible live and barely visible on TV. So basically we’ve got the same concept as 2017, and including the N that Nebraska already puts on its practice jerseys.
As a result, we aren’t going to waste your time breaking this thing down. Let’s just talk about what should be obvious.
Bring. The. Stripes. Back.
Look, I know I’m a bit of a radical on Nebraska uniforms – I think they should change the numeral font on the jersey to match that on the back of the helmet, and the original scoreboard clock, of which there is a replica inside Memorial Stadium (if you’ll pardon that dope and his kids standing in front of it). Fer crying out loud, they had a proof of concept in 2018 and it looked awesome (and would have been so much better without the silly helmets).
I get that’s not going to happen. But the stripes can happen. The stripes should happen. Heck, the team already has striped pants to practice in.
I understand that Frost wanted to change something in the uniform to bring it back to the glory days when he won a national title here. But, honestly, 2022 feels like an opportunity to reboot from the first three years of Frost’s time in Lincoln.
What better way to do that then to get rid of the white yoga pants and put the stripes back where they belong, all the time.
Once we get that sorted out, we can then work on getting “The Cornhusker” and “Thunderstruck” played at proper times every home game.
NEBRASKA ALTERNATE UNIFORM POWER RANKING
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 (well, except for 2009) 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).
Yes, the 2022 version is entirely derivative from 2017. But the N on the sleeve makes it just the tiniest bit cooler.
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.
Yes, Nebraska has never actually worn this outfit, but it doesn’t make it any less sharp (especially with the scary Hallowe’en motif for which I am a total sucker). Once you’ve swallowed the concept that the Blackshirts logo is for the whole team – which took some work – then it’s hard not to love this set.
I really do love a monochrome uniform set as an alternate (or unless you’re the Seahawks). And mainly because you can’t really see the camo unless you look hard, this set is incredibly clean. The old-school NU logo on the helmet is a nice change of pace without the helmet looking dramatically different, and the typeface on the numerals is unique and sharp.
And then there’s the stripes. Those blessed, amazing, gorgeous stripes matching the shoulder sleeves and making the uniform connect rather than wearing yoga pants. Hopefully a bellweather of things to come.
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).