Thanks to this thing we call life, I am bringing back the rare but occasional feature of AM News, PM Reactions. This is where I offer my thoughts and opinions about things that happened during the day when I am able to get to them in the evening. I know I am far from first but given my past opinions about jerseys, I feel compelled to give you my opinion about the 2024 Stadium Series jersey for the New Jersey Devils.
At first glance, it seems like a simple inversion of colors. It is a red and black jersey with barely any sign of white. However, this is very much a functional jersey for the situation. This is for a game at MetLife Stadium. That is an ~80,000 seat football stadium. The vast majority of the people watching this game are going to be some distance away. Therefore, a jersey that catches the eye at a distance, with a strong contrast with its numbers, letters, logo, and striping, and bigger numbers than usual is very useful for the viewer. It should be easier to make out who has the puck, who is skating forward, and who is going to be yelled at for being out of position for when that inevitably happens.
While adidas certainly continues their streak of designs they did appear to work to hard on, this honestly could be used as a base idea for a future third jersey. Flip the colors, reduce the size of the numbers, add some white accents to help make the red lettering “pop” a bit, and there you have a black-base New Jersey Devils jersey that many of the People Who Matter may be interested in buying. It would be a step up over the Jersey jersey, which has worn out its along with the “Hat” hat, the “Winter Hat” winter hat, “Car” car sticker, and so forth.
Now, as a solace for being late to this party, allow me to give you my clearly expert-like opinions about the other three jerseys.
An even better look at the Stadium Series jerseys— B/R Open Ice (@BR_OpenIce) January 26, 2024
Clearly, the Devils jersey is the best of the foursome. Sure, I may be biased given this entire site. And, yes, the Devils have the distinct advantage of having the best logo in sports. But its simple, functional design works a lot better than these three. Let me run it down in order of value. You know the Devils are the best.
I would argue the Flyers - New Jersey’s opponent on February 17 at MetLife - have the second best of the bunch. It is, well, a Flyers jersey. This could have easily been a jersey design from the 1990s or early 2000s. With the way the colored striping is set up, their white base looks like a football jersey was pulled over an orange-and-black uniform. The numbers being on the shoulders instead of the forearms furthers the football jersey look. It is not bad. Maybe a bit boring.
At least they kept their logo. Our Hated Rivals got hit with some Shortening. The old diagonal RANGERS is replaced by a larger print NYR. Now I am certainly not going to complain about less Rangers. However, the oldest team in the area got hit with the same movement of Dunkin’ Donuts reducing from a DD to a D as in Dunkin’. The same that turned Kentucky Fried Chicken into a simpler KFC. At least they did the smart thing by making the lettering - and their jersey numbers - bigger for the stadium viewers. And their style is on point. However, like the Flyers, the colored sleeves make it look like a white t-shirt with NYR letters was just put over a uniform. A white football jersey is at least thematically appropriate. So I give the Second Rate Rivals the edge in looks over Our Hated Rivals.
The New York Islanders jersey has been slammed online and off since its reveal. And why not? Navy blue is not unfamiliar to the organization jersey-wise. It was their base blue in the 2000s. But it is not common for a team that has been all about royal blue and orange for the most part since 1972. And the orange is somehow muddy looking instead of something bright to make it stand out. As far as a logo goes, what logo? Their hated rivals in Manhattan have had words on their jerseys for years. Who at adidas thought that would work for the Islanders? The last time they had “Islanders” on their jersey, the word was flanked by an angry cousin of the Gordon’s Fisherman. This is also the laziest way to do it. Worst of all: this is not even a new design! This is basically Nashville’s stadium series jersey! But with a more boring word mark and worse colors! Bad, adidas designers! Someone tell Lou he had the juice to just make them wear a slightly modified version of the jersey they wore during their dynasty. Maybe ownership overruled him? Either way, this is bad.
What is also bad is the league and Fanatics when it comes to selling these jerseys. You may be interested in buying one. Especially if you’re planning to go. Given that they announced these today, then you should surely be able to buy one today, right? Nope. Per the league via Ryan Novozinsky, they will be available on February 5. Which is a mere 12 days before the Devils take to the ice in East Rutherford. They will be available at team stores (OK), the NHL Shop in NYC (sure), and at NHLShop.com. In these modern times, the online shop would be my preferred option. It probably is yours. There is plenty of Stadium Series style merch. Including an expensive but boss looking Devils women’s bomber jacket. But no jersey option for the moment. This is annoying because you (or I) may like the Devils jersey and would want to buy it now. Yet, the NHL, Fanatics and adidas want me to wait to give them money for some reason.
Can you pre-order a jersey? I cannot through the Devils’ team store online. But you can for the Flyers. You can begin to mentally throw down $260 for, say, an Owen Tippett authentic jersey (he got paid today) until you read at the page: “Due to supply chain issues 2024 adidas Authentic NHL Stadium Series jerseys are expected to arrive on/around March 15th.” March 15! Which is well after the game on February 17! Granted, that is for a personalized authentic jersey. But no replica options are available at this time. And it does not take nearly a month to attach the letters and numbers to a jersey. If that lead time is true for Philadelphia for one kind of jersey, then this could very well be true to New Jersey and the two New York teams. So unless you’re going to a game, going to go to the NHL Shop, or even going to the Stadium Series game, those may be your best shot buying a jersey before the games at MetLife. Of course, they may not be available by the time you get there, so good luck either way. Luck, by the way, is not a good way to do business.
When fans lament that the league is stupid or it is the worst league, it is with stuff like this. Say what you want about professional wrestling, but they really have nailed down the idea of selling merchandise. A wrestler comes out with a new shirt or gets popular with a phrase, and the shirt is made available for the public as quickly as possible. Often on the same night when it appears. Buying through a major company like WWE or a minor company like AEW is straight forward. They normally do not make you wait over a week to buy a shirt or a hat or something like it. It would take a piece of merch to be really, really hot or really, really unpopular to not be available. That is with a predetermined action stage show. And with organizations that are not billion dollar ventures that have billionaires want to join the league. If they can figure out their supply chain issues, their inventory issues, and other such issues to make merch available for people who want to spend money now for it, then surely the people between Fanatics, adidas, and the NHL can figure it out too.
Anyway. That is my rant amid the AM News, PM Reaction to the 2024 Stadium Series jerseys. Again, the Devils jersey is the best of the four. It could and maybe should be used as inspiration for a superior third jersey than the one they have now. The rivals’ jerseys are OK if boring. The Islanders jersey is garbage. As is the league’s failure to strike while the iron is hot to make some money and sell some jerseys now.
Now I want to know your take, late as it may be. What do you think of the Devils’ jersey? Or the other three? Would you buy one? If so, are you willing to wait to buy one since you have to anyway? Please leave your thoughts and other reactions to the jerseys in the comments. Thank you for reading.