In less than four weeks we will watch as Roger Goodell shakes hands with, and inevitably hugs, the NFL’s newest group of employees. All of the players will be carefully dressed to the nines for the occasion, the 2019 NFL draft, with that look finally complete when each drafted player puts on a cap bearing his new team.
New Era has long overseen the designs of the official draft-day cap for the NFL, and this year the hat group has integrated local flags of each city into individual team hats, which go on sale at 10 a.m. ET on Tuesday, April 2.
Last year New Era decided to feature team slogans on the front, and the group kept the local theme this year. One thing that really stands out: these hats, more often than not, give off the vibe of “you have to be from here to get it.”
“This idea as we go through to celebrate the past of the NFL and innovation of where it’s moving, we really wanted to start with where the game began within each local community,” Ryan DiNunzio, New Era’s director of football, says. “It’s a unique way to say this is where we started, this is who we are, this is what we’re about, this is the community we represent. At the same time it tells a separate story of welcoming a new member into that community. Really trying to tell this message of this is where we’re going, this is who we represent and welcome into the community.”
As for my favorites, in alphabetical order I’ll go Arizona, Cleveland, Denver, Jacksonville, New Orleans, Pittsburgh, San Francisco and Seattle. You can view the 31 hat designs (the Jets will release theirs with their new uniform reveal on Thursday) after the below Q&A with DiNunzio.
This interview has been lightly edited for clarity.
SI: How did this idea for integrating the local flags with the team logos come about?
RD: For us, it really started around the brainstorming for the 100th season of the NFL and telling a cohesive story from the beginning of the season, which for us starts at the draft, all the way through Super Bowl LIV.