I was doing some digging around on the Packers Pro Shop website this morning, killing a little bit of time, when I had a thought to myself, "I wonder if they have any of the Packers' rookies' jerseys available yet." To my surprise, both Datone Jones' number 95 and Eddie Lacy's 27 jerseys are already available for order and immediate shipment from the Pro Shop, as well as from NFL.com.
If you're a jersey collector, this is your first crack at getting the gear for one of the Green Bay Packers' first two 2013 draft picks. However, read carefully when determining which jersey to buy.
As was the case last season when the NFL switched over to Nike, there are two jersey styles available. Both the Pro Shop and NFL.com have the "Game" jersey in stock. This style has the name and number screenprinted on, and though they're better quality than the mesh material that Reebok used for their replica jerseys, it's still not a true duplicate of what you see on the field.
That exact replica is called the "Elite" jersey, and currently only the Packers Pro Shop has Jones and Lacy available in that style. The Elite jersey has sewn-on tackle twill name and number. It is a much heavier-weight material that should hold up better over time. The sewn numbers definitely look and feel more authentic.
Oh, there's of course a significant cost difference to go along with the difference in quality: the Game jersey runs $99.99, while the Elite has a price tag of $249.99. (Does anyone else remember ten years ago when replica NFL jerseys ran $50 apiece? Those were simpler times.)
Feel free to discuss in the comments your feelings about the ways the NFL has monetized its merchandise in the past several years. Here's a question to leave you with: would you consider buying a player's jersey before he played a game in a Packer uniform?