Don’t forget we’ll have our mock draft live chat later today at noon, so I hope you can join us.
From my story today, the good folks at Nike provided a rare, behind-the-scenes look at the company’s research lab to reporters this week, discussing the process on how they came up with the concept of the Seattle Seahawks uniforms.
It was an informative visit, including a 45-minute discussion with Nick Van Horne, Nike creative director for football and baseball.
Van Horne explained to us the new materials used in the uniforms, which are a stretch-woven, single layer that allows jerseys to be snug against players, limiting the ability for opponents to bring them down by the jersey or to get inside your shoulder pads and control your mobility.
Van Horne also said he uniforms have hydrophobic qualities, which means athletes don’t have to worry about uniforms getting soggy and heavy in wet games, which is the reason many players wear uniforms a couple sizes too small to get the snug feel. Nike also offers new, lightweight padded protection, including girdles with lightweight flexible padding already built into the garment, which can be custom made to provide padding where the player needs it
The company also has created carbon-fiber hard shell thigh pads – thin, lightweight protection that can be attached to the outside of girdles by velco anywhere the player wants protection.
Van Horne couldn’t provide an estimate of how less the uniform and padding weighs to older versions, but getting a chance to feel both the uniform and the pads, I would say they weight about half as much as the equipment I used playing college football 20 years ago.
Because there had been some grumbling on the blog, I asked about the placement of the Nike logo on the shoulder pads, and Van Horne said that the positioning is determined by the company’s contract with the league – which means the NFL had control of where the logo goes.
Nike’s research group, headed by Matthew Nurse, includes an environmental chamber where the shoe company can test apparel in conditions as hot as 130 degrees and as cold as minus-15 to see how the clothes affect the athletes wearing them in adverse weather conditions.
The room even includes a mannequin named Hal that sweats like a human, allowing the research group to accurately simulate human reaction to apparel when they aren’t using real athletes.
Clare Farnsworth of Seahawks.com has a report from John and Traci Schneider’s first charity event to raise awareness for autism.
More Farnsworth: He wraps up the first week of offseason conditioning for Seattle.
Peter King of Sports Illustrated has Seattle selecting South Carolina defensive end Melvin Ingram in his latest mock draft.
It’s no surprise that according to Football Outsiders, former Seahawk Aaron Curry has missed the most tackles among linebackers. But two other interesting names show up on the list – Kam Chancellor for safeties and new addition Barrett Ruud for linebackers. Brandon Browner is among the surest tacklers for corners. And as a team, Seattle is rated among the top 10 best tackling defenses in the league.