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Say, does this jersey make me look fat?

Published November 3, 2012 5:26 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

The NFL's new form-fitting uniforms are a big hit, especially among players with sculpted physiques.

"It makes you look like you're playing out there with nothing on," Denver Broncos safety Rahim Moore said. "It makes you feel like you're free, like you're wearing a napkin it's so thin."

That's precisely the problem for players who don't have the Adonis-like bodies. The shrink-wrap fit of the new lightweight, body-contoured uniforms doesn't look so flattering on the jelly-belly linemen.

"Big guys don't like it when they fit well. We don't like the tight stuff," 314-pound New York Giants guard Chris Snee said. "You know, stuff's falling all over, your stomach is hanging out."

Still, Snee is like many other players with beefier bodies or swollen stomachs who say they, too, like the new uniforms, because there's less material for opponents to grab.

Most of the league's huskier players don't seem too worried about appearances anyway.

"If you're going to put a lineman in it, there's not too much you can do with a tight jersey and tight pants," said B.J. Raji, the Green Bay Packers' 334-pound defensive tackle.

New York Jets tackle Austin Howard, who packs 333 pounds on his 6-foot-7 frame, called the new Nike uniforms "a little more trendy, I guess you can say."

"They're a little tight, a little snug, but they've always been a little tight," he said. "They were even like that last year, but these have different material so you don't sweat like you would with the other ones. I mean, you can't wring them out. It kind of just rolls off. The old jerseys, you would sweat and they would weigh you down."

Justin Bannan, a 305-pound defensive lineman for the Broncos, said he was thrilled when Nike signed a five-year partnership in April with the NFL, which had been outfitted by Reebok for the last decade.

Even though he looks like a guy trying to fit into his old tux for his 20-year high school reunion, Bannan said he wears a smaller-sized jersey anyway to try to thwart grabby offensive linemen.

"It doesn't look good on us. I look like a fat you-know-what, but it is what it is, nothing I can do about it," Bannan said. "I try to get mine as tight as possible because they hold so bad. It's just the way it is."

Nike spokesman Brian Strong said the new "Nike Elite 51" uniform that features such things as zoned mesh ventilation and materials to help increase range of motion weren't designed with just the svelte guys in mind.

"The thing is we understand that the linemen are part of the game, too, so we built the Elite 51 uniform in a variety of sizes, a variety of cuts with players of all shapes and sizes in mind," Strong said. "So, the idea is to enhance performance across the board."

Holding penalties are, well, holding steady.

"In my confines, offensive linemen will still find a way to hold you. You know what I mean? It's not like that's going to change," Raji said. "Throughout the game, one of those guys will still find a way to hold."