Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Draftees Get Jerseys in Record Time

Photo credit: Andy Lyons / Getty Images
The latest edition of the pro football draft just wrapped up this past weekend, with 254 individual players realizing their dream of being drafted to a team. The bulk of those players celebrated in the comfort of their homes with friends and family, but the marquee names were on-site in Nashville to cross the stage and receive congratulatory hugs from the league commissioner. They also got to pose with a jersey with their name on it. Ever wonder how they got a personalized jersey in a matter of minutes? We did too.

In regular-season games, player names are either screen printed and then stitched onto the back of a jersey or embroidered directly onto the jersey itself. In the few minutes the jersey team has to screen print a jersey and get it in the hands of the draftee, they don’t have any time for sewing. Here’s how it works:

  • All prospective first round draft picks have their surname nameplates stylized in the font and color of all 32 teams.
  • This is, at minimum, 960 nameplates made ahead of time if all 32 selections plan to be in attendance.
  • Once the pick is selected, the jersey-printing team is informed before the commissioner walks out on stage to announce the pick to the audience.
  • The printing team immediately grabs the appropriate jersey and the player’s nameplate in the correct font and screen prints the jersey. 
  • The jersey is removed fresh from the press and passed along to be given to the draftee as he arrives on stage.

This whole process must be done in a little under two minutes. Imagine the pressure of doing it right under a tight deadline! To account for the unexpected, the printing team keeps extra jerseys on hand just in case teams make trades to acquire more picks in the opening round. Word has it they’ve had to pull spare jerseys off mannequins when they ran out of jerseys!

Photo credit: Phil Velasquez / Chicago Tribune
What do you think of the practice of players holding up jerseys when they’re drafted? Would it be cooler if they held a team-branded football or helmet instead? We don’t know about you, but a pair of color-coordinating game bibs would be just the ticket! Let us know what you think in the comments below, and best of luck to your team this upcoming season!
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