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Terps' Under Armour Unis a Fumble?

. . . or brilliant marketing?

Photo: Jeff Fishbein/Icon SMI

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Like something Edgar Allan Poe (a Baltimore resident at the time of his death) might have hallucinated in the midst of a laudanum bender, the new University of Maryland Terrapins uniforms are, to traditionalists, profoundly hideous. A deconstruction of the state flag’s clashing heraldry, the team’s new garb certainly got people talking about Maryland football, something that hasn’t happened outside College Park since Boomer Esiason was there in the early ’80s.

When the uniforms debuted last Monday, Maryland became a worldwide trending topic even before the opening kickoff, and head coach Randy Edsall saw his Twitter following soar to more than 4,500 by week’s end, an 80 percent hike from 2,500 on the night before the game.

Gleeful football fashion critics should know that dozens of similar permutations are in the works for the Terps. Under Armour says it has developed 32 different color combinations.

Engineered to steal marketing thunder from Nike—which has produced its own wide variations from uni tradition for the University of Oregon—the Under Armour gambit makes human billboards out of the players while generating millions in free media exposure for itself. That said, the gulf between the two companies is vast. Under Armour last year posted $1.06 billion in sales. That’s less than half Nike’s marketing budget.