Trading jerseys: The latest trend in NFL fashion

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National Fail League: Week 12 Flops

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. (AP) -- The Minnesota Vikings had returned from a road trip, and their long-time equipment manager Dennis Ryan was bustling as usual in the back of the locker room preparing the team's gear for the next practices and game.

He pored over a clipboard, check-marking the piece of paper listing players and numbers to log the arrival of each white jersey used by the Vikings the day before.

"To make sure that we got 'em back," Ryan explained.

No, the charter airline didn't lose the luggage. This, rather, has become a weekly ritual for Ryan and his peers around the NFL. Post-game uniform trading among players has become quite the league trend.

"Most of the time, it's guys that you know really well. It's already kind of understood: 'If I don't have your jersey, I want it,'" Washington Redskins left tackle Trent Williams said. "And most times, they want yours. And so you just swap."

Whether a childhood friend, a college teammate or a challenging opponent, there's a simple guiding principle behind the exchanges: respect. The first uniform Williams snagged among the dozen-plus he's collected was Denver outside linebacker Von Miller's after a game against the Broncos two years ago. Some are framed at home. Others hang in his cubicle at the team facility.


NFL Power Rankings - 12/1
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Trading jerseys: The latest trend in NFL fashion

32. Cleveland Browns (2-9)

Last week: 32

(Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)

31. Tennessee Titans (2-9)

Last week: 31

(AP Photo/James Kenney)

30. San Francisco 49ers (3-8)

Last week: 29

(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

29. New Orleans Saints (4-7)

Last week: 27

(Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)

28. San Diego Chargers (3-8)

Last week: 30

(Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

27. Miami Dolphins (4-7)

Last week: 24

(Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

26. Baltimore Ravens (4-7)

Last week: 28

(Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

25. St. Louis Rams (4-7)

Last week: 23

(AP Photo/Frank Victores)

24. Philadelphia Eagles (4-7)

Last week: 18

(AP Photo/Rick Osentoski)

23. Jacksonville Jaguars (4-7)

Last week: 22

(AP Photo/John Raoux)

22. Dallas Cowboys (3-8)

Last week: 21

(AP Photo/Brandon Wade)

21. Detroit Lions (4-7)

Last week: 26

(AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

20. Chicago Bears (5-6)

Last week: 25

(AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps)

19. Oakland Raiders (5-6)

Last week: 19

(AP Photo/James Kenney)

18. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-6)

Last week: 17

(AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

17. New York Giants (5-6)

Last week: 10

(Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

16. Buffalo Bills (5-6)

Last week: 12

(David Eulitt/Kansas City Star/TNS via Getty Images)

15. Washington Redskins (5-6)

Last week: 20

(Photo by Toni L. Sandys/ The Washington Post via Getty Images)

14. New York Jets (6-5)

Last week: 16

(Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

13. Atlanta Falcons (6-5)

Last week: 13

(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

12. Indianapolis Colts (6-5)

Last week: 15

(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

11. Houston Texans (6-5)

Last week: 14

(Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)

10. Pittsburgh Steelers (6-5)

Last week: 8

(Photo by George Gojkovich/Getty Images)

9. Green Bay Packers (7-4)

Last week: 6

(AP Photo/Morry Gash)

8. Kansas City Chiefs (6-5)

Last week: 11

(Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

7. Seattle Seahawks (6-5)

Last week: 9

(Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

6. Minnesota Vikings (8-3)

Last week: 7

(Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)

5. Cincinnati Bengals (9-2)

Last week: 4

(Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

4. Arizona Cardinals (9-2)

Last week: 3

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

3. Denver Broncos (9-2)

Last week: 5

(Photo by Steve Nehf/The Denver Post via Getty Images)

2. New England Patriots (10-1)

Last week: 1

(Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)

1. Carolina Panthers (11-0)

Last week: 2

(Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)


That's where New York Jets cornerback Dexter McDougle has been keeping a jersey from Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Nolan Carroll, his former teammate and mentor at Maryland.

"I'm just collecting guys who mean something to me or impacted my life," McDougle said, adding: "I'll probably get them framed or something, one day when I have a man cave."

Tennessee Titans wide receiver Harry Douglas boasted more than 30 opponent uniforms procured over eight NFL seasons for his, uh, wardrobe. Third-year Vikings defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd is on track for an even higher total, a hobby he's so enamored with he thanked a reporter recently for asking him about it.

"I spend so much time away from my family and friends that I've got to have something to look back and say, 'Yeah, this is why and this is what it's been,'" Floyd said. "It's more of a remembrance thing for me."

Former Florida Gators are Floyd's priority, in honor of the alma mater, but Vikings star Adrian Peterson is also on his to-do list. One's own teammate ought to be the low-hanging fruit of this pastime, but Peterson is predictably a man in demand.

"It seems like every game someone is asking me for it," the NFL's rushing leader said. "Previous years, of course every now and then, but it seems like even more so this year people have been asking."

Floyd makes a preseason list of his trade targets and presents it to Ryan, as a planning courtesy for the equipment staff. The collection is not on display yet, just folded safely out of sight at home. That's to keep his family and friends, Floyd said, from greedily asking for giveaways.

These collections come at a cost.


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Trading jerseys: The latest trend in NFL fashion
32. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

At one time, Tampa Bay has a good look. When Warren Sapp was in town, the Buccaneers had the pewter look with a cool logo and some pretty standard font. Now? The logo is massive, the numbers look digital and the uniform is too jumbled. A word of advice would be to return to the days of Bucco Bruce. What’s old is always new again, and those original Tampa Bay uniforms are sweet as sugar. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

31. Cincinnati Bengals

This team has never really gotten it right. Originally, the Bengals had the word “BENGALS” across the helmet from their inception in 1967 until 1981. Then, they shocked the football world by going for stripes on their helmets, which they still have today. Look, the helmets are alright, but the pants are brutal. Please stop will all the stripes and get a cleaner appearance. It might help Andy Dalton play respectably in the playoffs. (AP Photo/AJ Mast)

30. Atlanta Falcons

Another uniform which needs an overhaul. The helmet is one of the worst in the league. Why not get an angry Falcon on the side or maybe some color in that bad boy? Go back to the red helmets and change the number font to something readable. Also, those pants. Either commit to the stripe or completely change the pants. Stop sitting on the fence. (AP Photo/Dave Martin)

29. Arizona Cardinals

So much of what was said above for Atlanta can be said here. The helmet for Arizona is beautiful, but the jersey is a wreck with all the lines and little details. Get rid of the damn logo on the neckline. We don’t need it. Also, the same complaint as above with those freaking pants. Stop it. You aren’t a high school team. Just give us a stripe to break up the color and move on. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

28. Carolina Panthers

Alright, the Panthers are a team that values tradition. Normally, that gets big points in my book, but not these uniforms. The Panthers need to ditch that all blue top forever and use that only as an accent. The black and white tops are fine, and the logo isn’t bad. However, the helmet stripe is terrible and the colors are too passive. Give me a deeper blue and something to catch the eye. Just a bland look. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)

27. Jacksonville Jaguars

The complete opposite of a bland look, taken way too far. Jacksonville has nice colors, but the helmet is ridiculous and the pants are atrocious. Teams are always trying to be edgy and hip, and it ends in total disaster most of the time. The Jaguars looked good in the days of Mark Brunell and Jimmy Smith. They also won back then. Don’t be afraid to have a basic helmet with some pizzazz in the top. (AP Photo/Gary McCullough)

26. Houston Texans

Houston is basic, but gets downgraded for that huge collar they are totting around. The Texans could also try to spice up the helmet a bit. It seems like they wanted to be really conservative and didn’t want to make any errors. While Houston succeeded on that front, the uniform lacks anything to remember it by. Overall, it’s simply another jersey that nobody wants to buy except hardcore fans. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

25. Tennessee Titans

Tennessee has a weird uniform. They have alternating shades of blue and a helmet that doesn’t really display who they are as a team. The Titans would do better to alter the helmet, especially with that crappy stripe. When you have a stripe that goes halfway, it’s like you didn’t commit. Don’t be a quitter, Titans. Figure out the helmet and then work on getting the blue shades figured out. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

24. Philadelphia Eagles

This uniform has the simplest fix in the world; go back to the original shade of green. Look at those old shots in the 1950’s and 60’s of Chuck Bednarik. See that? It’s beautiful. The green pops and shimmers in the sun, giving life to those uniforms. Now, the uniform looks dark and sometimes doesn’t even appear green. The sleeve patches also need to go. (AP Photo/Michael Perez)

23. Minnesota Vikings

The Vikings have great colors, but the pants and sleeve piping knock it down some. Minnesota has enjoyed the same purple and gold color scheme since coming into the NFL in 1961, changing the look just a bit over the years. Still, the pants have that nonsense striping and the sleeves look strange. It would be nice to see the Vikings fix these issues so we can get them back into the top half of the league. (AP Photo/Reinhold Matay, File)

22. New England Patriots

The Patriots may be the Super Bowl champions, but the uniforms aren’t getting the job done. The logo is alright, neither great nor terrible. The colors are fine, although there really isn’t much to write home about. The piping on the sides needs to be eradicated as well. However, the pants are solid and the numbers look nice, so they get style points there. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

21. Cleveland Browns

This would be much higher except for two things: the asinine “BROWNS” on the pants and “CLEVELAND” across the chest. Did anybody see those uniforms and not realize it was the Browns, who happen to play in Cleveland? I hate that. It’s like when people have empty space on the wall and jam a crappy picture up there. LEAVE IT ALONE. We all like a little wall space. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)

20. Denver Broncos

Denver has a decent uniform, although those pesky pants once again hurt the grade. You need to commit, folks. The helmet logo is pretty cool and the blue and orange colors are excellent. While the old helmet logo of the horse jumped through the “D” was awesome, these uniforms are solid. So why 20th? The stripes are garbage and the numbers are bulky. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)

19. Baltimore Ravens

The purple and black is a really solid look, but the number font is very odd and the pants are a tire fire. Instead of having all black with some “B” logo, get rid of that craziness and put a nice accent on them. The helmet is nice for the most part, giving us a raven who looks like he means business. Still, there is work to be done in the other aspects of the uniform. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)

18. Seattle Seahawks

The Seahawks have some really cool lime green parts to the uniform. It also has a great helmet, one of the best in the NFL. The bird looks appropriately angry and takes up the right amount of space. However, I really have issues with the team when it goes blue-on-blue. It just looks washed out and like a pair of pajamas. Get rid of that combo and move up the list. (AP Photo/Matt York)

17. Miami Dolphins

I loved the look when Dan Marino was there. Now? The helmet has that ridiculous stripe down the middle and the pants have a futuristic look to them. Stop trying to reinvent the wheel and just go simple. The Dolphins have a nice teal look with a hilarious dolphin on the helmet wearing a non-matching helmet. It was great. Today, it’s just another face in the crowd. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

16. Buffalo Bills

The Bills have taken massive steps forward since the days of Drew Bledsoe. They got rid of the ugly piping, changed the helmet from red to white and made the numbers much more simplistic. Buffalo would move into the top 10, without question, if it decided to go back to the rogue, grazing buffalo on the side of the helmet instead of the bootleg logo it has now. (AP Photo/Gary Wiepert)

15. San Francisco 49ers

This is a great uniform. The logo is great. The colors are great. The pants are great. So why the ranking? Because of the f*****g alternate uniform they rolled out. Why? Why would you ruin such a great thing with those ridiculous black and red things that should be donated to the Salvation Army? Please, somebody step in and stop the madness that is those ugly rags. (AP Photo)

14. New Orleans Saints

The Saints have always had one of the better logos in the league on their helmets. It is understated yet makes a statement about where the team is from. New Orleans needs to do something about the lack of gold in the jersey, though. The Saints have gotten away from having a stripe on their pants and the jersey has too much black. This is a uniform with ample potential.

(AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

13. Detroit Lions

For the most part, this is a jersey that has never changed. The lion looks happy and ready to play (maybe not what you want as an NFL team, but I digress), the silver and blue is terrific together and the pants are generally solid. The Lions could make the numbers a little less funky and the get rid of some of the excess lines, but overall there is little to complain about. (AP Photo/Rick Osentoski)

12. Washington Redskins

Washington is in controversial discussions all the time because of its name, but the jersey is an absolute beauty. The helmet is classic and has the best striping in the league. The jersey has awesome colors in burgandy and gold, something that shows up throughout the socks, pants and tops. It is one of the few things the Redskins have gotten right in recent years. (AP Photo/Richard Lipski, File)

11. New York Giants

Back in the glory days of the 1950’s and 60’s, the Giants wore their current uniforms and looked classy. Fast forward to now, and they are still great. The “ny” on the helmet has a certain timelessness, and the blue uniforms are simply fantastic. The Giants could get rid of those red jerseys for the rest of time and probably never be criticized, although they haven’t worn them recently. (AP Photo/Brandon Wade)

10. New York Jets

The Jets had great uniforms when they were busy winning the Super Bowl in 1968 with Joe Namath at the helm. Then they were to a ton of dark green and the “JETS” logo on the helmet for 20-plus years, before finally going back to the originals under Bill Parcells and almost winning a title. There is nothing special, but the green and white colors are terrific along with the logo. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

9. St. Louis Rams

The Rams were the first team to have a logo painted on the side of their helmets. Betcha didn’t know that. St. Louis has kept the look through the years, changing the horns from white to yellow to gold over the years. Still, it is a beautiful scene. Also, the blue and gold of today has class and pizzazz, something that is hard to pull off. It needs to be appreciated. (AP Photo/Whitney Curtis)

8. Indianapolis Colts

The Colts have done it right since the days of Johnny Unitas and Lenny Moore. There is nothing more clean and crisp than the blue and white color scheme along with the horseshoe on the helmet. It should also be acknowledged that the Colts haven’t panicked for some extra sales and created a crappy alternate uniform. These are truly one of the best. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

7. San Diego Chargers

If the Chargers would ever do the right thing and make the powder blue kits their actual, full-time jerseys, there would be no need for a power ranking. Instead, they continue to insist on the nice but not-as-perfect dark blue uniforms with gold trim. San Diego also has lightning bolts down the pants, something I’m not totally against. I like the look, but would love it with the powder blues. (AP Photo/Denis Poroy)

6. Chicago Bears

The Bears have done a great job with their uniforms over the years. The “C” on the helmet has gone from white to orange over the years, and the GSH has been added since the death of founder George Halas in the early 1980’s, but those are the only changes. In fact, the initials are absolutely fantastic, adding class and substance to an already glowing uniform. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

5. Kansas City Chiefs

Speaking of class, the Chiefs uniform exudes it. Kansas City has a wonderful helmet and the shade of red throughout the uniform is perfect. The white and red pants are both good, and the numbers/letters are clean and legible. The Chiefs also have a sublime patch to honor both their founder and the creator of the American Football League, Lamar Hunt. It’s right over the hearts of the players. (AP Photo/Ed Zurga)

4. Dallas Cowboys

If you walked up to a random person who knows nothing about sports and showed them the Cowboys’ helmet, they would know which team it belonged too. Dallas has done an incredible job of coming up with a perfect uniform and marketing the heck out of it, getting itself known as America’s Team. Give the Cowboys all kinds of credit for getting the job done. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

3. Oakland Raiders

The Raiders have been really, really bad since going to the Super Bowl in 2002. Yet, they have been able to continually look good with those classic silver and black uniforms. Oakland is known as the renegade stop for football players, and those colors embody that. The Raiders also have a fantastic helmet, showcasing the angry raider ready for battle. (AP Photo/Joe Mahoney)

2. Pittsburgh Steelers

The Steelers are so unique by only having one logo on their helmet. Additionally, the black and gold is just awesome, playing off each other so well. It would be great if the uniform numbers went back to the Terry Bradshaw-era style, but that probably is just a pipe dream. The pants and tops are perfect, and the number on the front of the helmet is a really cool touch. (AP Photo/Mark Zaleski)

1. Green Bay Packers

The Packers are tops. Green Bay has a classic look that has not changed, at all, through the years. The pants are simple, the helmet has a traditional logo and the jerseys are easy to read and beautifully done. The best part? The incredible combination of green and yellow. It is perhaps the best uniform in all of sports, looking amazing against the backdrop of Lambeau Field. (AP Photo/Tom Lynn)


Each player is issued one home and one road jersey per season, but they're on the hook for replacements that run, according to Ryan, around $225 each. Vikings linebacker Chad Greenway, playing perhaps the final season of his career, decided ahead of time to buy all 16 so he could have plenty of keepsakes. Granted, these guys make a lot of money, but a jersey for the collection clearly trumps the cash in these cases.

"At least I'm putting it in something that I'm keeping forever," Floyd said.

Ryan tracks his inventory and sends replacement tallies to the team's finance department for billing. The team has a bunch of blank jerseys on hand from manufacturer Nike, and each week Ryan visits a local seamstress the Vikings work with to get the names and numbers put on. Usually there are a few per week, maybe five at the most.

Even a couple can cause a headache for the equipment staff, though.

"I was talking to a colleague on another team earlier in the season. He was out in the middle of the field watching it all go on and telling me how angry he gets just watching this," Ryan said. "I said, 'You should do what I do.' He said, 'What's that?' I said, 'Don't watch.' Just wait to check it off on Monday, and your blood pressure will be much lower."

Most of the Vikings players, like Floyd, give Ryan advance warning of their pending trades. But sometimes this is an impromptu act.

"I've had a number of guys come in on Monday apologizing," Ryan said. "I know the pressure they're under as well with some college teammate or somebody they grew up with and they want to make the switch."

Jersey swapping is common in soccer and rugby. Some date the tradition back to 1931, when France beat visiting England in soccer and the winning players were so happy they wanted a keepsake to remember the night. The ritual took off at the 1954 World Cup in Switzerland, according to FIFA, and has become routine practice since.

Like almost any trend in the world, it's fueled from attention originated on social media.

"Now you see every time someone jersey swaps," Seattle Seahawks linebacker Bobby Wagner said. "Just like you see every time a quarterback handshakes with the other quarterback."


NFL week 12 best photos
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Trading jerseys: The latest trend in NFL fashion
Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson (81), defended by Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Eric Rowe (32) catches a pass for a touchdown during the second half of an NFL football game, Thursday, Nov. 26, 2015, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Rick Osentoski)
DENVER, CO - NOVEMBER 29: Wide receiver Chris Harper #14 of the New England Patriots fumbles a punt return while wide receiver Cody Latimer #14 of the Denver Broncos tackles in the fourth quarter at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on November 29, 2015 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)
Detroit Lions tight end Eric Ebron (85) is upended by Philadelphia Eagles strong safety Walter Thurmond (26) during the first half of an NFL football game, Thursday, Nov. 26, 2015, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Duane Burleson)
Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Marvin Jones (82) leaps over St. Louis Rams cornerback Marcus Roberson (47) in the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 29, 2015, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Gary Landers)
Tennessee Titans defensive back Perrish Cox breaks up a pass intended for Oakland Raiders wide receiver Michael Crabtree (15) in the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Nov. 29, 2015, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Zaleski)
Seattle Seahawks' Thomas Rawls (34) jumps after scoring a touchdown as Pittsburgh Steelers' Mike Mitchell lies in the end zone in the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 29, 2015, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
KANSAS CITY, MO - NOVEMBER 29: Marcus Thigpen #11 of the Buffalo Bills is tackled by Daniel Sorensen #49 of the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium during the third quarter of the game on November 29, 2015 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
LANDOVER, MD - NOVEMBER 29: Wide receiver Odell Beckham #13 of the New York Giants scores a fourth quarter touchdown past cornerback Will Blackmon #41 of the Washington Redskins at FedExField on November 29, 2015 in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
DETROIT, MI - NOVEMBER 26: Matthew Stafford #9 of the Detroit Lions hands off the ball to Ameer Abdullah #21 in the third quarter during the game against the Philadelphia Eagles at Ford Field on November 26, 2015 in Detroit, Michigan. The Detroit Lions defeat the Philadelphia Eagles 45-14. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TX - NOVEMBER 29: Ryan Griffin #84 of the Houston Texans jumps and lands on the pylon to score a touchdown while Vinnie Sunseri #43 of the New Orleans Saints defends on the play on November 29, 2015 at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
DETROIT, MI - NOVEMBER 26: Eric Ebron #85 of the Detroit Lions is tackled by Walter Thurmond #26 of the Philadelphia Eagles after a second quarter reception at Ford Field on November 26, 2015 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Kamar Aiken (11) sores after a reception in the second half of an NFL football game against the Cleveland Browns, Monday, Nov. 30, 2015, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane)

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