Kenny Farr has worked as an equipment manager only at Oregon, and without another program for comparison he acknowledges his sense of normalcy has been warped like a rubber sole. Last season Oregon football chose its uniforms from a pool of eight jerseys, eight pants, six helmets, seven cleats and 6 socks. Then add helmet decals and gloves. Finally, multiply that by about 100 players. Farr, now answerable for solely football, is a master of spreadsheets.
"I guess I like the organized chaos of it," he says, "If you just had one helmet it seems like it would be kind of ... boring."
It wasn't always like this. He didn't always have a row of NFL helmets on his shelf signed by everyone from Ducks in the pros to Ray Lewis and Howie Long. Cornerback Darrelle Revis - who played at the University of Pittsburgh -- once shipped a New York Jets helmet west in thanks for receiving one of many "care packages" Oregon sends its alums who make an active NFL roster, as well as special VIPs.
Farr came to Eugene from Grants Pass in 1997 and found his way into the equipment room as a student manager. It was only one year earlier that Knight asked his famous question of football coach Mike Bellotti: "What do we need to go to the next level?" It was only three seasons after Oregon wore a mix of Riddell and Nike uniforms en route to its first Rose Bowl berth in 37 years.
Knight and Oregon ultimately reshaped this program with glass, steel, speed and the spread offense. But with rubber, leather and air cushioning, the Ducks have gone a step further, creeping to the forefront from the imagination of sneaker collectors around the world, some of whom have likely never watched a single Ducks game.
Looking beyond Bowerman's waffle trainers and the typical, retail sneakers Nike has co-opted into Duck colors, Oregon's the recent past of customized player-edition Nikes began in 2003. Home white and road green versions of LeBron James' second signature shoe were instant hits.
"That kind of exploded," DePaula says.
It wasn't until 2009, however, that Nike's Air Jordan model, its flagship shoe, met Oregon, its flagship school.
The idea's genesis is hazy but what's clear is Knight, former head coach Chip Kelly and Tinker Hatfield -- Nike's VP of Creative Concepts, an original Jordan designer and a former letter-winning Duck pole vaulter -- were the driving forces. Now, Hatfield designs the Oregon Jordans largely by himself.
Although the designs for every Jordan are intended at least two decades ago, the updated colors and accents made them unlike any previous iteration. Each time the sneakers are revealed to the players, two things happen: They go wild and Farr's popularity skyrockets.
"My phone blows up those days with (Ducks) in the NFL, 'How can we get some?'" Farr says. "For the right people and former players we want to take care of them but there are a lot of calls from people who are friends of guys and it's like, I can't do that. It's nothing personal against them but it's not my stuff to give you. There needs to be a line drawn."
The Oregon Jordans will in all probability never be released at retail and with such limited supply comes delirious demand. DePaula says he's seen pairs of recent Oregon-edition Foamposite Ones that retail for $250 selling for $700, and they are available in select stores. For a rare UO Jordan, price can stretch into the thousands. Ten Oregon Jordans were recently on eBay with asking prices exceeding $3,000.
Oregon's degree of security over its Jordans stockpile can seem to be akin to a government's watchful eye over a valuable arsenal. To minimize players' temptation to promote, the Ducks issue Jordans sometimes only for a certain game before requiring these shoes checked in until Nike and Oregon want them worn again. Shoes also have identifying details such as a player's number often attached to, though motivated sellers can simply cover the marks with tape, for example, when advertising them online.
Also the Jordans that celebrities and special Nike athletes receive are sometimes logged.
Statistics: Posted by vaspalali — Sat Aug 23, 2014 6:06 am