This weekend I flew out to Dallas Texas for a Nike Media Summit where Nike unveiled some of their newest innovations from Nike Football.
The whole thing went down at Cowboys Stadium or Jerry World as it is so often called. Seeing the new Cowboys stadium was certainly impressive as was the show Nike put on to unveil their new products.
I didn’t really know what to expect as we were bused from the hotel to Cowboys Stadium. All I knew was that Nike would be rolling out some new products and that a few NFL players would be there to help out, including WR Dwayne Bowe of our beloved Kansas City Chiefs.
Upon arriving at the stadium, we drove into an underground tunnel that made me feel as if we were going in to some secret underground government compound. It was pretty dark down there but we eventually pulled into a dimly lit corridor. I hopped off the bus with the other media and followed the group through a big steel door. Suddenly we were in the same entry way that the Cowboys players use when entering the field. If you haven’t caught any Dallas games recently, the players enter through a bar area that is lined with fans on either side.
We were stopped by a Nike official who explained a bit about their Sparq program. Nike holds Sparq events at different times throughout the year that are free to youngsters as longs as they can get there. These events are for young athletes to test their physical skills in a number of different drills. Think the NFL combine for high school kids. Upon completion of the drills, athletes are given their “Sparq Rating.” They are able to compare their results to other athletes around the country to see where they stand among their peers and how far they need to go to be elite. Athletes that can’t make a Nike Sprq event can do the drills on their own with information from the Nike website.
We entered the field of Cowboys Stadium where we found a group of local high school athletes going through Sparq drills while their marching band played and cheered them on.
Cowboys Stadium was just flat out amazing. Normally when I see something on TV and then I see it in person I always find myself thinking that it looked bigger on TV. That is not the case with Cowboys Stadium. It is massive and the TV that hangs above the field is not done justice on the small screen. I couldn’t even get the entire thing in one frame for a picture from the field level. Jerry Jones must have some really great movie nights.
After roaming around the field for a while and watching the athletes go through drills, we made our way to a stage where Nike unveiled their new Pro Combat uniforms as well as the Nike Air Zoom Alpha Talon, a new football cleat. Nike talked to a lot of NFL players to find out what they wanted in a cleat in the Talon is the result of those findings. The shoe has a number of key features that would be attractive to football players including ankle protection and, get this, Kevlar laces. The most interesting feature are the “talons” in the middle of the bottom of the shoe. The talons are like raised spikes that plunge down into the ground when the athlete puts pressure on them in a certain way. The idea here is that the shoe gives the player extra traction when he needs it but not when he doesn’t.
After talking about some uniform innovations, Nike demonstrated their new cleat on some very impressive models. Dwayne Bowe, Clay Matthews, Felix Jones, Steven Jackson and Ndamukong Suh helped roll out the new kicks as well as Nike’s re-working of their Pro Combat uniforms.
The new uniforms feature carbon fiber plating which allows for customizable protection. They also feature advance materials for optimal thermoregulation as well as Flywire in the collar to help keep the jersey in place while decreasing bulk.
After the show the media members were invited to spend some time interviewing the players. I was able to speak to D-Bowe and I will have more on that, including some video, later today.