Posted: Apr 14, 2012 4:34 PM by Amanda Macias
Updated: Apr 20, 2012 2:04 PM
COLUMBIA - Missouri athletes from five different sports modeled new Nike uniforms at the Black and Gold game on Saturday. The new uniform designs were teased exclusively on Mizzou Network. A total of ten online videos under the headline '4-14-12,' the scheduled date of unveiling, appeared on the website over the course of three months.
Current players were reluctant to talk about the new uniforms at the spring game before the official presentation at halftime.
One of the biggest differences is the loss of the nondescript block M logo on the helmet.
"We were very sensitive about taking the M off the helmet. We did all the research we could possibly do," said MU Coordinator of Athletic Equipment, Don Barnes.
A survey of 35,000 season ticket holders and consultations with brand and marketing experts led Head coach Gary Pinkel to nix the traditional M logo. Barnes said Mizzou's move to the SEC requires stronger brand recognition to a wider audience.
"There are seven different helmets in the country that have some kind of M on them. That's great in the state of Missouri but when you go East that's Michigan," Barnes said.
The block M logo was first placed on the MU football helmet in 1971. An older design is the 64-year-old traditional tiger stripe running from the front to the back of the helmet. Since 1948 there has always been a tiger strip on all 18 different versions of the helmet.
MU linebacker Zaviar Gooden said the brand change came at the perfect time with Mizzou's transition to the SEC later this fall.
"I think it was great because there was a couple of schools with M's and sometimes you could get them confused. There is only one tiger head logo and so everybody recognizes Mizzou as being the tiger head," Gooden said.
The new uniform concept took 18 months of collaboration between the MU Athletic Department and Nike. Mechanically the uniforms provide better protection and for every sport they are significantly lighter.
"We are taking weight off their back. If that means they are a little bit fresher late in the game to make that shot to win the game to get us in the sweet sixteen. We are going to take that chance," Barnes said.
Traveling with lighter equipment provides another advantage for equipment managers. On average the MU football team travels with 18,000 pounds of equipment. The cost of transporting gear is expected to decrease with these more lightweight uniforms.
MU defensive back E.J. Gaines said the uniforms will definitely help his performance on the field and boost his confidence for SEC teams.
"We are going in there with a little bit of swag and show them that we can do things differently too. So the kids in the SEC aren't the only ones that can do it," Gaines said.
Former MU receiver and current NFL starter Danario Alexander saw the new uniforms in advance.
"These days I kinda wish I was back in college because I would love to wear these things. We are going to be like the freshest team in college football this year," Alexander said.
Volleyball, soccer and men and women's basketball program sported their new uniforms during half time as well. All of these uniforms have a consistent custom gold color as well as a font called 'Mizzou bold."
The new Mizzou brand image will continue to expand to more sports as well as their athletic arenas. At Faurot field the tiger logo will be enlarged, sidelines painted gold and both end zones will read "Mizzou" instead of "Missouri."