Buying a cheap NFL jerseys as an anniversary or birthday gift generates clicks on E-Bay, individual team’s websites, and numerous other on-line retailers. But depending on where you search for these, you might learn that they are cheap for a reason. The ability to know the difference between an authentic jersey and a fake can be the difference between money well-spent and money wasted. The differences are few but they make knock-offs easy to spot.
Letters and Numbers on NFL Jerseys
While the tiny holes or “mesh” in jerseys add a certain appeal to the apparel, they appear for a reason. The holes are meant to give the player ventilation during a game and therefore part of what makes the jersey authentic. If they jersey does not have this mesh then it is fake.
The names and letters should be stitched onto the jersey and not pressed. The term for names and letters on a pirated jersey is “screened”. Real jerseys worn by players, including throwback jerseys, always have names and letters stitched on. Some styles may vary, such as jerseys worn in the 80s. This is the exception to the rule, as those jerseys had a thick screen printing, and not all of the jerseys were stitched.
NFL Holograms on Jerseys
The first and easiest way to know an authentic jersey is by reading the labels. These are the extra bells and whistles that you peel off and throw away the minute you get the jersey out of the store. Then again, the game changes if you don’t buy from a traditional retailer.
These labels include the NFL hologram that you can also find on hats. Jerseys also come with a card attached by a piece of plastic wire that bears the NFL logo. Again, these things sometimes seem like an afterthought, but they are actually a statement of authenticity by the NFL.
NFL Jerseys Manufactured by Reebok
If you can buy a jersey from a specific season (and/or from a specific team) than it should often have patches on it. For example, during the 2008 season, all teams wore a black patch with “GU” to mourn the loss of Gene Upshaw. Every team wore this on their jersey for the entire season. Also, a Steelers 2008 jersey will have a 75th anniversary patch on it, and so on.
Another way to know a fraud jersey is to check the numbers for shadows. If the numbers don’t have shadows then you don’t have a real jersey. Check the sleeves as well because the team logo and manufacturer logo (NFL jerseys are currently manufactured by Reebok) should be stitched on.