NFL Jersey Guide

If you're not a complete jersey geek like I am, you probably have some questions about the different brands and models of jerseys (e.g. "What's the difference between Reebok and Nike jerseys?"). Below are some helpful comparisons and general observations of some of the different NFL jerseys sold on Grail Snipes. If you still have questions, feel free to contact us using the "Chat With Us" feature on grailsnipes.com, DMing us social media, or email us at contact@grailsnipes.com. 

Here is a list of terms that are used to describe football jerseys. Generally speaking, these are listed from most from most valuable on top, to least valuable on the bottom.

 Term Description
Game Worn Worn during a game (obviously). The name and number on the jersey reflects who actually wore it. Can also be practice/scrimmage worn or media event worn, but this will be specified in the item's description. If a game worn jersey is stripped and re-customized, this will also be specified in the item's description.
Game Issued The jersey was made specifically for the player on the jersey, sometimes for a specific game or event, but was never actually worn by the player.
Team Issued A pro-cut jersey which was made for the team (these are not for sale in retail). While technically all Game Worn and Game Issued jerseys are also considered "Team Issued", the name/number on a Team Issued jersey doesn't necessarily reflect who the jersey was made for. For example, a Team Issued Tom Brady jersey may have been blank or customized with a different name/number, and then re-customized as a Tom Brady jersey.
Retail Authentic Top of the line fan jerseys. Material and detailing is the same as what NFL players wear, but the cut of the jersey is meant to fit fans in a more relaxed way.
Replica It is a common misconception that Replica=Fake, but these are still officially licensed jerseys!! They are more casual feeling jerseys. There are several tiers within the "Replica" designation. For example, Nike has "Legend", "Game", and "Limited" model Replica jerseys, which each have different features and quality levels.
Fake Counterfeit jersey. This tier will never be sold on Grail Snipes. Generally, these jerseys will run you around $40, but in this case you get what you pay for. The quality is terrible and they often look very different than what is worn in the NFL.

 

 

Nike (2012-Present)

Nike NFL jersey tiers:

  • Authentic (Retail Price: $334.99-$369.99)
  • Limited (Retail Price: $149.99)
  • Game (Retail Price: $129.99)
  • Legend (Retail Price: $99.99)

The majority of modern Nike jerseys sold on Grail Snipes are authentic "Nike Elite" jerseys, so that's what this section will mostly focus on. For other models (Limited, Game, and Legend), please refer to Dick's Sporting Goods Fan Jersey Comparison Guide.

Corresponding Lettered Size Numbered Size
M 40
L 44
XL 48
XXL 52
3XL 56
4XL 60

 

Nike Elite jerseys can be categorized as follows:

Nike Elite (2012-2016)

  • Straight sleeves
  • White rubberish NFL shield at the front neckline
  • Many teams have built in flywire as shown below

Nike Vapor Elite (2017-2022)

  • Short elastic sleeves
  • Boxy fit in torso
  • Metallic chrome NFL shield at the front neckline
  • Chainmalle mesh grill neckline as shown below
This video from Jersey_Jaguar on YouTube provides a fantastic deep dive into the differences between regular Elite vs Vapor Elite jersey styles.

 

To go even further, Nike jerseys can be divided into:

Retail Authentic: These Jerseys are made in Honduras and are made to fit fans, meaning there is no space for shoulder pads, and the mid section is much more relaxed compared to the skin tight pro cut jerseys. The one exception in my opinion is the elastic sleeves on the Nike Vapor Elite jerseys. This is what most players wear on the field (except for mostly QBs and kickers), and are much shorter than your typical fan jersey (see sleeve comparison between regular Elite and Vapor Elite below). The material and detailing however, is exactly as NFL players wear on the field, generally with proper kiss-cut customization where applicable.


Sleeve length comparison of Vapor Elite (top) and regular Elite (bottom). (Photo Credit: Sports Fan Focus)

Team Issued jerseys: These are pro-cut jerseys made in the USA at the Ripon Factory in Berlin, Wisconsin. They are designed to fit shoulder pads and fit tight as to not give the opponent something to grab on to. If you're looking for a collectable, like a jersey to display in your sports cave, then Team Issued is the only way to go in my opinion. While I have seen fans wear these jerseys before, they can look a little wonky.

Team issued jerseys come in many different cuts, and can even have custom modifications for specific players. For example, Patrick Mahomes has the Chiefs equipment manager add elastic to the sleeves of a typical open-sleeved Q-BK cut jersey, which sits tight on the arm, but leaves a bit more room in the sleeve itself than a SKILL cut jersey.

Types of pro cut Nike Elite jerseys include (listed from longest sleeve length to shortest):

  • Q-BK
  • SKILL
  • L-BK
  • LINE

 

 

Reebok (2001-2011)

There's plenty of conflicting info online about Reebok NFL jersey sizing, and in all of my searching I haven't been able to find a reliable source with conclusive answers. That said, this is what I think the numbered sizes correspond to. Unfortunately for you smaller NFL fans, Reebok jerseys run pretty large, and I haven't seen anything smaller than a size 46.

Corresponding Lettered Size Numbered Size
M-L 46
L 48
L-XL 50
XL 52
XXL 54
3XL 56
3XL-4XL 60

 

NFL jersey tiers:

  • Authentic (Retail Price: $250-$275)
  • Premier (Retail Price: $100)
  • Replica (Retail Price: $75)

While there are three tiers of officially licensed Reebok NFL jerseys including Authentic, Premier, and Replica. This section will focus on the Retail Authentic Reebok NFL jerseys, which are the vast majority of Reebok jerseys sold on Grail Snipes.

Reebok Retail Authentic jerseys were manufactured in El Salvador, Korea, and Vietnam. There may be exceptions for Nicaragua, Honduras and Guatemala, but from what I've seen, I believe the only Reebok jerseys made in Nicaragua, Honduras and Guatemala were Premier and Replica jerseys. As far as I know, Reebok jerseys were NEVER manufactured in China. Some Chinese fakes look extremely convincing, and I've even seen a few reputable sellers sell Reebok jerseys made in China, but to my knowledge, if the size tag says "Made in China" it is a confirmed fake.

 

Size/Wash Tag:

Many size tags (but not all) are formatted as shown below, with the "04" Circled in red representing the year that it was made.

 

If the jersey doesn't have this Style # format, there are still ways to narrow down the year. First, there were three NFL shield styles used during the 2001-2011 Reebok Era as shown below.

NFL Shield Logo:

Jock Tag:

Jock tags can also help you narrow down the year(s) of a jersey. Here are the Reebok jock tag styles by year (at least my best guess). This is what I've been able to confirm, but it's possible this list changes from experience and from user input (email contact@grailsnipes.com if you have any corrections).