Pat Tillman was a star at Arizona State. Then he was a star for the Arizona Cardinals. After that he became a star for the United States, leaving behind his football career to serve in the U.S. Army and ultimately dying while deployed in Afghanistan.
As part of Arizona State’s Salute to Service week, the Sun Devils will wear special PT-42 uniforms Thursday night at home against Oregon.
The uniforms throw back to the 1996 look that Tillman and his teammates took to the Rose Bowl after an undefeated regular season. Adidas recreated the Arizona State font on the chest and placed a PT-42 badge on the collar. Adidas also tweaked the Sparky logo and the helmet to get more period specific. Through special permission from the NCAA, every jersey will have Tillman’s name on the back.
To further the theme, the baselayer players will wear features a photo-realistic image of Tillman leading players onto the field and the back has a Tillman quote: “Passion makes life interesting, ignites our soul, fuels our love, carries our friendships, stimulates our intellect and pushes our limits.”
As part of the complete uniform package, Arizona State will wear the Adidas Army Rangers-inspired Dark Ops cleats constructed from flexible canvas, similar to what is worn in the military. Embroidered stripes pay tribute to the details on elite forces uniforms, and Kevlar stitching provides added reinforcement to go with a Kevlar-reinforced plate.
A portion of the proceeds from the retail sales of the PT-42 gear will support the Pat Tillman Foundation.
Tim Newcomb covers stadiums, sneakers and training for Sports Illustrated. Follow him on Twitter at @tdnewcomb.