NEW YORK — The New York Jets have a new coach, new big-name players and, now, a new uniform, which was unveiled Thursday night at a Manhattan launch party that drew former and current players, celebrities and an estimated crowd of 500.
The Jets, who last changed uniforms in 1998, will have a new, all-green helmet. Their home, away and alternate uniforms, designed by Nike, will include a shade of green that was developed exclusively for the Jets — Gotham green. The other colors are spotlight white and stealth black.
“It’s just a different swagger,” said star safety Jamal Adams, one of seven players who modeled the new uniforms onstage before a roaring crowd. “It’s something this team needed. Obviously, the past years haven’t been going well. To have something new, a fresh start, I think it’s just what we needed.”
The white helmet is gone, replaced by one that includes “JETS” in stylized white letters over the Gotham green. The design actually resembles the helmet they used from 1978 to 1997, sans the Concorde-style jet pictured above the letters.
“New York” is emblazoned in small white letters on the chest, the first time in team history the city name appears on the uniform. It may not please folks in New Jersey, where the Jets practice and play their games.
CEO Christopher Johnson said he considers New York his home, adding it was personally important to have the city appear on the jersey.
Three new logos will appear on the team’s helmets, fan gear and related memorabilia. A new linear design, resembling a jet’s flight trail, runs across the shoulders and down the pant legs. The numbers also have been updated with a new font that uses sloped angle, intended to evoke motion and force, according to Nike.
“Hey, look, I really feel like this is an amazing moment in Jets history,” Johnson said. “No one wins games [because of] new uniforms. …This is done at a moment when the Jets are changing course in a good way. It’s a good symbol of that change.”
Quarterback Sam Darnold, the new face of the franchise, said he loves the new look, but added, “If we don’t play well, the uniforms are going to look crummy. If we play well, they’re going to look awesome.”
The Jets were stunned and dismayed that a photo of the new uniforms was leaked on social media on Wednesday morning. Johnson said he doesn’t know the source of the leak.
“Sure, it was a little bit of a disappointment, but it’s not the end of the world,” he said. “It doesn’t change the jersey. I think the fans are going to love it the same, as if it was a complete surprise. But, yeah, it’s disappointing.”
The leaked photo, which included Adams, Darnold, Quincy Enunwa, Robby Anderson, Leonard Williams and Chris Herndon, was actually shot a few months ago. Before posing in the new uniforms, the players were asked to turn over their cellphones in an effort to protect the secret.
The Jets have generated a lot of buzz this offseason, hiring coach Adam Gase and signing star free agents C.J. Mosley and Le’Veon Bell, who was absent from the launch party.
“It feels like a whole fresh start, with the talented players we brought in and the new coaches we brought in,” Enunwa said. “It feels like a new team in a way.”
The party drew several former Jets greats, including Hall of Famers Joe Namath and Curtis Martin. The emcee was comedian J.B. Smoove.
From a historical perspective, the Jets change uniforms every 20 years, give or take.
From 1978 to 1997, they went with kelly green and white colors. In 1998, then-coach Bill Parcells wanted a return to the old-style uniform made famous with their Super Bowl III season in 1968. So they changed to a hunter green jersey, with a white helmet that includes two parallel green lines down the middle and a modified version of the 1965-1977 logo.