Could we see return of Denver's 'Orange Crush'?

Mon, Dec 27

Remember when NFL defenses had snappy nicknames? The Cowboys had the Doomsday Defense. The Jets had the New York Sack Exchange. And the Broncos had the Orange Crush.

Of course, that last name had to be retired once the Broncos stopped wearing orange jerseys in 1997. But it could be making a comeback, at least judging by a small line buried deep in the middle of this article: "And the Broncos are planning to bring back the orange jerseys full time in 2012."

There's a certain irony to this, because 2012 is also when Nike will be taking over the NFL's uniform contract. And it was Nike that designed the Broncos' current uniform set -- including the navy home jersey that replaced the team's longstanding orange look -- in the first place. So after engineering Denver's color change over a decade ago, Nike will now be asked to change it back. Will they go with the Broncos' classic shade of orange, or will it be a new Nike-ized orange? That remains to be seen.

And as long as we're talking about the Broncos and Nike, consider this: When the Nike folks designed that 1997 Denver uni set, fans quickly noticed that they'd embedded a not-so-subtle calling card into the pants: giant swooshes that became visible whenever a player extended his leg forward. So when Reebok began making the Broncos' uniforms in 2001, they were put in the bizarre position of manufacturing a uni that featured a built-in ad for their biggest corporate rival (a situation that has now continued for a solid decade). It'll be interesting to see what Nike does with the swoosh stripes when they reclaim the Denver uniforms for 2012. But it seems like a safe bet that they won't be returning the favor by studding the design with built-in Reebok vectors.