Seahawks' new look leaves other players longing

Posted Apr 3, 2012

Even before Nike unveiled its innovative NFL uniforms on Tuesday, the Seahawks' new-look design modeled by Pro Bowl strong safety Kam Chancellor had other players green with envy.

NEW YORK – When Kam Chancellor strolled onto the stage, there were a few oohs, a couple of aahs and even a smattering of applause.

But then the Seahawks’ Pro Bowl strong safety and his even stronger statement of a uniform already had stolen the show that was the show to unveil Nike’s new design for all 32 NFL teams on Tuesday. All the teams will have new uniforms, as the innovative minds at Nike take over as the apparel supplier for the league, but only one team got a complete makeover – from tweaking the colors in the logo, to incorporating the culture and colors of the Pacific Northwest, to honoring the Seahawks’ 12th Man fans.

Chancellor and his new duds created a stir in the dressing room, as the 31 other players representing their teams could not mask their envy – and even jealously.

“That was one of my questions when I went in for my orientation: Why do the Seahawks get the cool uniforms?” Buffalo Bills strong safety George Wilson said after the presentation at Steiner Studios in Brooklyn.

“I like changing it up and not doing the unexpected. Seattle is really taking some risks in their uniform. But from hearing the other guys talk about it in the back, I think their uniform was the overwhelming player favorite in the dressing room.”

All the teams will have the design innovations Nike has developed. Lighter, stronger, rain-repellent jerseys. Better fitting pants that also are designed to provide better protection. High-tech socks that protect the feet and ankles.

But only the Seahawks got the total makeover – their first since switching uniforms in 2002, to coincide with the move into their new stadium.

There are strips with feathers down the sides of the pants and along neck of the jersey – 12 each, for the 12th Man. There are feathers on the jersey numbers, as well as the helmet. The colors now are College Navy, Action Green and Wolf Grey.

The Seahawks also have white and grey uniforms to go with the blue one Chancellor was wearing, and they can be mixed and matched into a variety of combinations.

Running back LeGarrette Blount was here to represent the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and came away from Tuesday’s event a bit resentful after seeing the Seahawks’ uniform.

“Look at the Seahawks, they got the whole new uniform,” Blount said, casting an envious glance at Chancellor. “I’m kind of mad. I’m upset. I like that look. That’s sweet.”

All of which left Chancellor wearing the widest of smiles, and not just because Tuesday was his 24th birthday.

“That’s just a coincidence. This event just happened to fall on this day,” said birthday-boy Chancellor, who is planning to celebrate this evening with a party at a Manhattan club – with several of his fellow, and envious, models scheduled to attend.

“This feels good. I feel privileged, especially because it’s on my birthday. It’s a fun event, and I’m just having fun out here.”

Nike and the NFL went all out on this one, with the Beaverton-based company returning as the league supplier after a 10-season absence. They transformed a warehouse on the Hudson River into Nike Stadium, complete with aluminum bleachers and one video after another playing on the large screen behind the stage.

Those players participating represented a Who’s Who of the best the league has to offer – quarterbacks Michael Vick (Eagles), Ben Roethlisberger (Steelers), Alex Smith (49ers) and Andy Dalton (Bengals); wide receivers Larry Fitzgerald (Cardinals), Wes Welker (Patriots), Percy Harvin (Vikings), Dwayne Bowe (Chiefs) and Victor Cruz (Giants); running backs Ray Rice (Ravens) and Darren McFadden (Raiders); tight ends Jason Witten (Cowboys) and Jermichael Finley (Packers); and Pro Bowl defensive players Brian Urlacher (Bears), Champ Bailey (Broncos) and Ndamukong Suh (Lions).

But the spotlight definitely was on Chancellor, because he was the first player to step upon the stage – because the Seahawks are the one team that went all-in on the uniform redesign.

Intimidating? Hardly. “Nah, not at all,” Chancellor said after the presentation. “It felt good, being able to let everyone see the new uniform and me being the first one to show it off. It was more fun than anything.”

Chancellor didn’t just love what he was doing; he loved what he was wearing.

“I first saw them when I got a chance to put the whole uniform for the video (they showed Tuesday),” Chancellor said. “At the end, I didn’t want to take it off. I wanted to wear it out of the locker room. It just feels like it’s me.”

As for the best part of the new uniform, Chancellor offered, “Just the representation of it. How the whole uniform is made specifically for the 12th Man – our fans. The 12 features we’ve got down the side of the pants. The 12 feathers we have up here by the neck. The 12th Man (patch) on the back.

“It’s all for the 12th Man.”

With an eye to the cultural heritage of the Pacific Northwest, as well. Nike designer Todd Van Horne envisioned a totem pole as he was putting together the Seahawks’ new look. The colors represent the blue water; the lush green landscape; and grey for the mountain ranges.

“It’s all tied in together,” Chancellor said. “It’s all good.”

As Chancellor was about the leave the stage – and his birthday moment in the limelight – during the presentation, he was asked if there was anything he wanted to add.

“Oh yeah,” he said. “There’s one last thing: Go Hawks.”