Florida State’s famed pregame ritual, in which Chief Osceola rides Renegade onto the field and spikes a flaming spear into the turf, has become one of college football's most recognizable stadium traditions. Now, it will become an integral part of the Seminoles' on-field look.
The defending national champions unveiled new uniforms on Friday which use the Seminole tribe’s symbols for arrow, man on horse (which, conveniently, looks an awful lot like a lowercase 'f') and fire. “The power of that [pregame] symbolism was part of the story,” Todd Van Horne, Nike’s football design director, told SI.com.
Van Horne says traditional Seminole clothing used symbols in quilted patterns to tell stories. “That was very much the inspiration,” he said. “How do we further cement and embed this beautiful relationship and tell the story of the pregame?
“There is not a pregame ritual that is even close to this that authentically tells history in present day. We worked with the tribe to make sure we were telling it in an authentic way, to represent history the best way we could.”
Nike and Florida State say the Seminole tribe has been involved throughout the two-year process of updating Florida State's logo and creating new imagery for the uniform.
“The elements that went into the design changes are all based on our unique history and that’s an important part of the story,” said head coach Jimbo Fisher. “In fact, we went to the tribe right away and got their opinion and permission before we took the first step.”
Expect to see gold lettering on all three jersey tops, whether garnet, white or black. Florida State will retain the gold helmet as its lead look, but also has a helmet that fades between garnet and black. The Seminoles will have white, black and gold pants.
“I heard a quote from Buck Showalter last month that is a pretty good message related to this,” Fisher said. “He said, ‘Never confused change for a lack of respect for tradition.’ We have kept tradition at the forefront throughout this process.”
Tim Newcomb covers stadiums, design and gear for Sports Illustrated. Follow him on Twitter at @tdnewcomb.