Shamrock Series: Uniform review
Jimmy Kemper | Monday, November 23, 2015
Saturday, Notre Dame beat the Boston College Eagles at Fenway Park, taking the classic Holy War rivalry to the heart of Boston for the seventh annual Shamrock Series game. Having officially started in 2011 (and later including the neutral site games in 2009 and 2010), the Shamrock Series is a great opportunity for Notre Dame Football. It’s about more than just what should be an easy win in a neutral site — it’s about bringing the experience of a South Bend football game to major cities across the country. It’s about historic traditions, giving back to the community and serious marketing.
That’s right: the Shamrock Series is one of the best recruiting tools in our arsenal, putting Notre Dame Football on a national stage for all of its top recruits to see. While the game itself was important for a number of reasons, one of the biggest aspects of this recruiting campaign is the alternate uniforms. The Shamrock Series has already produced a number of crazy looks in its short history, ranging from 2011’s throwback theme to last year’s “God, Country, Notre Dame” concept. This year’s uniform took it to a new level, matching the famous Green Monster of Fenway Park, and showing us that Under Armour can truly go anywhere with the Shamrock Series concept. So while we all wait for the inevitable Mendoza-themed uniform, let’s break down Saturday’s efforts.
Saturday’s helmet builds on Under Armour’s excellent efforts from last year, creating a sleek, modern update to the storied history of gold helmets at Notre Dame. Thankfully, these helmets are the right kind of gold, unlike 2011’s ridiculously shiny gold helmet for the Maryland game, which blinded everyone at FedEx Field. The paint used this year gives off a brighter look than that used for regular season games without being too flashy.
Speaking of flashy, the leprechaun head on this year’s helmet is one of the best logos we’ve seen yet. It’s a bold piece of tradition on an otherwise current helmet. Combined with the blue and green stripes across the top, the logo creates a great sense of balance, especially when compared to past Shamrock Series works like 2012’s painful 60/40 blue-and-gold split pattern. adidas definitely had a rough start with these alternate looks.
The only concern about this year’s helmet is the blatant lack of a massive Under Armour logo. How are fans supposed to know we have the biggest contract in college athletics if their corporate emblem isn’t plastered everywhere?
Going for the bright green jersey was a pretty crazy idea, especially considering that the last time Notre Dame rocked green against Boston College was in 2002, when another fourth-ranked Irish team was upset 14-7. ND traditionalists already have a tough time swallowing the looks of a modern uniform. Throw in some bad luck and a loss would have had them crying for a return to Knute Rockne’s Notre Dame.
You know what else is crazy? Putting the leprechaun on the sleeves of the jersey AND the shamrock directly below it on the players’ performance shirts. I guess we had to make sure Bostonians know we’re more Irish Catholic than they are.
Questionable over-branding aside, Saturday’s jersey is sharp, with more than enough style points to make up for this weekend’s struggle of a victory. The 11 stripes, representing all those National Championships, is a subtle reminder for the playoff committee of that tradition of dominance. And the cursive “Irish” across the top of the jersey with the understated shamrock? That’s every Notre Dame dad’s dream.
This is where Under Armour threw all our precious tradition under the bus. When did we change our slogan to “All Green Everything?” Seriously, the pants took this way too far and morphed the players into Gaelic Power Rangers.
Initial shock aside, the pants looked great in action in Fenway Park and really contributed to the overarching (and somewhat overwhelming) Green Monster theme. If shock and awe was the goal, the pants nailed it in a way our offense could not this week. It’s also a nice evolution over last year’s great pants, with better stripes across the knee pads and a really cool vertical going down the side.
When you’re on a stage as big as the cable-only NBC Sports Network, looks really do matter. And overall, this year’s Shamrock Series uniform does a great job of that. It embraces its theme of the Green Monster really well across all of its major pieces, while the small details, such as the mostly green socks, shoes and gloves, build upon that image without going too far overboard.
It’s not the best Shamrock Series uniform we’ve seen (that title still belongs to 2013’s all-white uniform), but it’s a very close second, and the best look we’ve seen from Under Armour so far. With the upward trend on uniforms, next year’s Shamrock game against Army gives us something to look forward to.