Meriwether Lewis and William Clark introduced the nation to Oregon. Now the Ducks will pay homage to the two 1800s-era explorers with an "Oregon Pioneer" alternate uniform from Nike that Oregon will wear against Washington State on Oct. 10.
The Oregon Trail takes center stage on the uniform, with each jersey top featuring a sublimated, tonal pattern of the path that Lewis and Clark traversed in the early 1800s. To highlight Oregon, the map covers northeastern and southern Oregon, as well as Eugene and Mount Hood.
The uniform’s grey base was inspired by the achromatic look of a vintage map, with black numbering laid overtop. The topographic rendition covers the entire jersey, and Nike used a printing method that ensures each player’s uniform offers a different pattern. “Salute the State” is embroidered on the inner back neckline of the top.
While the travels of Lewis and Clark fill the uniform, the pioneers’ silhouettes move to the helmet, alongside a pioneering duck—all facing westward, of course. The graphic wraps both sides of the helmet with the back featuring a 33-star flag to represent the United States’s official flag after Oregon’s acceptance into the Union in 1859. A handshake on the front bumper signifies the handshake found on the Indian Peace Medals that Thomas Jefferson provided Lewis and Clark to give to those they met along the path. The lines on the helmet represent the principal legs of the 2,200-mile-long Oregon Trail.
Even the socks have a little Oregon Trail fun, with the same trail pattern and a Lewis and Clark-inspired Duck pointing west.
“We have many discussions with the Oregon athletes, equipment staff and coaches,” says Todd Van Horne, creative director for Nike Football. “For this inspiring new uniform, we want to celebrate the state and its great founders and innovators.”
Tim Newcomb covers stadiums, sneakers and training for Sports Illustrated. Follow him on Twitter at @tdnewcomb.