Can Nike Propel Oregon to a College Football National Championship?
One could say it would not be classified as a flashy region. But yet they are the trendsetters in all of College Football. While teams such as Alabama, University of Southern California, and Oklahoma pride themselves in their traditions, Oregon takes pride in NEVER settling. Embracing the unordinary, Oregon loves pushing the fashion limits in College Football.
Starting in 2011, Oregon really pushed the envelope with the unveiling of the “LiquidMetal HydroChrome.” These metallic helmets were on display during a practice before the Rose Bowl game in Southern California. Keep in mind; the successful unveiling of the sweet helmets was on an overcast day in Eugene, Oregon. Packed and shipped to California, the helmets were very bright and had a powerful glare to them, leaving a couple of the equipment managers on edge. “I was nervous for that game,” Oregon’s football equipment administrator Kenny Farr said. “We were worried about the legality of it, blinding our quarterbacks and thinking about a Plan B if we couldn’t wear them. But thankfully everything worked out.” Not only did it work out, it worked out on the scoreboard as well. The Ducks claimed their first rose bowl win in 95 years, winning 45-38 against Wisconsin. Naturally, Oregon wants to move on because everyone is doing it now. Farr states, “It’s onto the next thing.” Therein lies Oregon’s unspoken mantra.
The process is unlike any other. The ideas float around from equipment managers, to Nike, then over to the students as Nike sends over some of their creative specialists to Eugene. This is what makes the integration SO unique. Player involvement is an integral part of the completion of the limitless combinations that Oregon presents. After the chalkboard talks are done between Nike and Oregon, the easy part is done and it’s on to the testing. Taking months to undergo the product development, it is an intricate process to make sure the jerseys are “game ready”. This just makes it an extra enticing reason for athletes around the nation to be compelled to come to Oregon. Player involvement makes this part exciting, and it apparently translates to the football field. Look good, play good.Crazy to imagine the start-up of Nike was $35. Yup, that is not a typo. Paying a student to design what would be one of the most iconic sports logo of all time. Phil Knight’s flexibility and generous funding to the University of Oregon, has led to one of the greatest sports partnerships of all time. Always innovating, Phil Knight loves to push the limits.
Knight just recently donated around $70 million so Oregon could boost their facilities. In one year, a $21 million incline for athletic revenue speaks true volume to where the program is heading.
Oregon’s program has reached new heights and is still climbing. The mutually benefiting entities have done wonders for both their brands and for all of College Football. Setting trends and goals for Universities across the nation to follow, it will be interesting what Oregon does next.
Blog Post Written by Samford University student Michael Moye.
photo credit: google