Less than 30 people have seen the Cleveland Browns' new uniforms.
Equipment manager Brad Melland is one of them.
After all, he should. Nobody in the organization will be handling the sleek jerseys and the colorful football pant combinations as much as Melland and his tireless equipment staff.
While the Dawg Pound and the players will be frenzied about the fresh look, Melland initially marveled at the overall design change Nike established for the Browns.
"The cut of the jersey itself is better fitting, especially around the upper torso and shoulder areas," said Melland, who is now in his 10th season with the Browns. "The jersey has evolved from being regular to being a body-hugging jersey that still allows for movement. Nike has just done a phenomenal job."
Melland's first glimpse of the uniforms came last summer on the team practice field in Berea. When new jerseys are created, the NFL and Nike work together in what's called a TV testing to ensure all of the colors look in sync with high-definition cameras. From the testing, a slight tweak was made in the coloring of one of the three jerseys, Melland said.
An influx of work appeared on Melland's plate when the Browns updated their logo and color scheme back in February. T-shirts, shorts, gloves, socks – any piece of Browns apparel marked with the old logo has been boxed up and saved for a later date.
"It's really been out with the old and in with the new," said Melland, who has worked in football equipment with the Seattle Seahawks, the CFL, Arena Football and the World Football League.
In the recent weeks, Melland and his staff got their hands on the uniforms. They wanted to wash the jerseys to see how they would react. They wanted to play with the twill – the actual number and lettering part – to see how it would change their workflow when a new player arrived.
Per NFL rules, each NFL team must designate a home jersey color by July 1 and must wear that jersey for six of the eight regular season home games. Last season, Cleveland declared Brown as its home jersey choice, but white has been chosen in years past, too.
An alternate can only be worn two times throughout the season. But here's the catch: An unlimited number of pant combinations can be used.
After two years of precise planning and laborious execution, the world will finally get to see the Cleveland Browns' new uniforms.
"I like them a lot," Melland said. "Kevin Griffin, Alec Scheiner and Mr. and Mrs. Haslam put a ton of work into this. It's time to show them to the public."
A look at Browns uniforms, from the franchise's inception to current-day.