First Oregon, now the pros: Nike takes on the NFL

By Anne M. Peterson

Associated Press

Published: Monday, April 2 2012 2:16 p.m. MDT

FILE - In this Nov. 12, 2011 file photo, members of the Maryland football team huddle before an NCAA college football game against Notre Dame, in Landover, Md. The roots of the uniform craze in college football can be traced to 1998 when Oregon and Nike began tinkering with tradition and going with a high-tech look.

Patrick Semansky, File, Associated Press

PORTLAND, Ore. — Back in 1998, Oregon and Nike teamed together to tinker with the Ducks' traditional but tired uniforms. Out went emerald green and lemon yellow, in came spruce, mallard and a little something called "lightning."

That was just the start. The gaudy uniform craze that began with Nike co-founder Phil Knight's alma mater has gripped every school from Maryland to Boise State, hitting Notre Dame and Michigan along the way.

Is the NFL next?

Nike is taking over the pros from Reebok with a gala uniform unveiling set for Tuesday in New York City. The design details are a closely guarded secret at the Beaverton-based shoe and apparel maker, but some images — there's no way to know if they're real or fake — have circulated on the Internet.

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