NASHVILLE, Tenn. —** The big reveal was a big hit.
On Wednesday night, on a stage in downtown Nashville, the Titans unveiled their new uniforms – and a new-look navy helmet -- before an enthusiastic crowd on Broadway by First Avenue.
In the coming years, they’ll be on display on Sundays at Nissan Stadium and in NFL stadiums across the United States, and this October, in London. This is a story about the new, unique uniforms, including the background during the long process to get to this point.
The Titans unveiled three primary uniform color combinations that consist of: Navy blue jersey (home), White jersey (away), Titans blue jersey (light blue, Color Rush).
The helmet, formerly white with two navy blue stripes, is now the Titans’ primary navy blue with one two-toned silver stripe, which mimics the sword from the team’s logo. It includes a metallic silver face mask, and the logo decal now has a silver outline. The sword-inspired center stripe starts at the back of the helmet and comes to a point at the top front.
There’s a sword element on the pants and jerseys as well.
The shoulders of the jerseys feature the two-toned silver in the shape of a sword to mimic the sword from the team logo.
The color red accents the uniform, including the red stars on the inside back of the neckline -- inspired by the three stars from the Tennessee state flag. These also tie to the fireball logo.
The number fonts are dramatically different – the custom, angular number fonts were designed with Greek or Roman lettering in mind. Every number on each jersey is shaped in a way that exemplifies the Northeast corner of Tennessee as the state appears on a map, a subtle ode to fans in the state.
The contrast insert on the under-arm of the jersey is a new addition to the uniform, and the two-tone silver stripe on the uniform pant signifies the sword in the team logo. The sword-sheath inspired design on the stripe of the pants is angled much like a sheath would hang. There’s a fireball logo on the left and right hip.
The color palette navy, Titan blue, red, silver and white remains unchanged. A second silver/gray has been added to give dimension to the sword as a more prominent design element. The Nike swooshes add red into the overall design to make the color palette pop.
The unveiling – and the entire process really – was a proud moment for Titans controlling owner Amy Adams Strunk, who said leading up to the event she wanted it to be “fun.”
“Everything I do, I always have the fans in mind,” Strunk said. “To me, it is going to be fun.”
The uniforms have a look that should inspire, Strunk said leading up to the big reveal.
“You take our name, the Titans, and in Greek mythology they were gods, giant gods,” Strunk said. “The thing that Nike started from the beginning was, Titans, it’s superiority. So we wanted that feel. It is going to be what you think of a Titan.”
“Titans fans are going to be proud of what they see. They are going to kind of honor our great state. … That gives a little bit of something.”
In a video that played leading up to the reveal, officials from the NFL and Nike explained the history in making the uniforms. The designers of the uniform traveled to Nashville and visited The Parthenon to get a sense of the mythology before moving forward with the design, while remaining in contact with Strunk.
NFL Creative Director Shandon Melvin said the Titans uniform project began in 2014. It took a two-year halt before starting again, and being completed in time for the 2018 season.
“That team name is so powerful,” Melvin said. “We thought, ‘Wow, there’s an incredible amount of iconography and imagery and myth around the Titan that we could explore.’”
Nike Senior Product Director Kelly Morris said the project started with Nike, the NFL and the Titans getting together. Chris Stackhouse, NFL Art Director, said the Titans provided a unique challenge.
“One of the things that gets me most excited about doing this work for our clubs is to craft the why behind what creates the story and the mythology of a uniform and a club’s brand,” Stackhouse said. “The Tennessee Titans, in my opinion, have a truly incredible mythology. They have a literal mythology, they are Titans. And one of the challenges brought to us by Amy was to take your brand and to infuse meaning into it, in a new story.”
Johnathan Wright, NFL Director of Uniforms and Product Development, said the NFL, the Titans and Nike “all collaborated to come up with what the next generation of the Titans uniform is.”
The Nike Vapor Untouchable uniforms are 29% lighter (jerseys and pants) than the last version of the uniform, said Nate Retzlaff, Nike Apparel Design Athletic Director.
“What’s really unique about this new uniform is the minimal amount of panels and seams that are built into the garment,” Retzlaff said. “With the breathability element, we have been able to utilize technology called laser perforation, where the fabric actually gets laser burned holes where we can strategically place those holes, keeping them cooler, drier and more comfortable. So for all you fans out there excited to get your new jersey, I will share that the elite level jersey, which is our top quality, is exactly what is on field that your amazing athletes are wearing.”
Fans can purchase the jerseys on Wednesday night on Broadway, and at the Titans Locker Room store at Nissan Stadium.
The much-anticipated reveal was quite a spectacle on the streets of downtown Nashville.
Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota, linebacker Brian Orakpo, tight end Delanie Walker, safety Kevin Byard, defensive lineman Jurrell Casey and tackle Taylor Lewan walked onto the stage to reveal the uniforms. At the same time, images of Casey, Lewan and Byard were released from a photo shoot they took part in leading up to the reveal.
Former players who were a part of the unveiling of the old Titans jerseys in 1999 also took part in Wednesday night’s event, along with Strunk, general manager Jon Robinson and head coach Mike Vrabel. Titans play-by-play man Mike Keith served a emcee of the event, and Titans cheerleaders and T-Rac were also part of the show.
A concert by Florida Georgia Line kicked off just after the uniforms were unveiled.
The Titans will wear their new uniforms for the first time in a preseason contest in August. The light blue alternate uniform can be worn twice per season, as well as the Color Rush games.
The Titans will kick off the regular season in September. The NFL is expected to release the 2018 schedule later this month.
Activity built up in downtown Nashville as the Titans got set to unveil their new uniforms. (Photos: Donn Jones, Kayla Schoen, Gary Glenn)