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New Era, the new official NFL licensee for all head gear, launched their new NFL product line over the weekend on April 1st. Tuesday was Nike's turn as they unveiled their new Elite 51 uniforms for all 32 NFL clubs in a major reveal event in New York City.
Bills safety George Wilson represented the Bills as a player from each NFL team was on hand to don the new on field attire.
Buffalo's uniform and those of most of the 32 NFL clubs contained only minor alterations by Nike in terms of look. Nike's innovations dealt more with material enhancements. The one most noticeable on Buffalo's jersey was the neckline, which now contains Nike's Flywire fabric in the 'V' of the neckline. It allows the jersey to stretch but not slide preventing the jersey from slipping off the shoulder pads when a player is tackled.
The wire-like threading gives the jersey added strength, but can only be manufactured in a solid color. So on the royal blue home jersey at the 'V' of the neck line the color has been changed from a royal, red, white combination to just royal blue. On the white road jersey the 'V' portion of the neckline will be just white.
Changes to the Bills' game worn pants include mesh down the outside of the legs of the pants where the striping is located for enhanced thermoregulation as Nike calls it. Lightweight padding was also integrated directly into the crucial "hit zones" in the base layer of the uniforms.
Nike's material enhancements to the uniforms make for a lighter weight and tighter body-contoured fit to help amplify speed. The league's new uniform outfitter claims the jersey fabric has four-way stretch capability providing players with a shrink-wrap type fit.
In an interview with CNBC, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell talked about the groundbreaking new partnership for the league.
"It starts with two partners coming in with other licensees to re-launch our whole apparel line," Goodell told CNBC's Darren Rovell. "We believe in better. We believe our products can become more innovative and we're doing this around the transition into their licensed products and also around the draft. We're just three weeks away from the draft and this is a time when fans are starting to focus on the next season and the merchandise that goes with it."
Official Team sites, such as buffalobills.com, will begin taking pre-orders for the new Nike jerseys beginning on April 15th. Official Team Stadium Stores, such as The Bills Store, have exclusive rights to begin selling the jerseys on April 26th, day one of the 2012 NFL draft.
The Bills Store will be open from 10am-10pm on April 26th and fans will have the first opportunity to purchase the new Bills Nike jerseys.
"We think fans want quality. They want innovation," said Goodell. "They will see that in the products, in the hats, in the jerseys. They will see that in all of the apparel."