Different Types Of NFL Jerseys (Buyers Guide 2023)

Different Types Of NFL Jerseys

There is something about an NFL jersey that just works. It might be that every franchise in the league is immediately recognizable from their (generally) unique color palette. It might be that they require less work to make look good than basketball jerseys (you have to have gym rat arms). Or it might just be that the NFL is so popular that team jerseys get you a knowing nod of respect anywhere in the world. 

Whatever it is, NFL jerseys are the one jersey from the Big Four sports in the US that has an appeal that crosses generations. Millennials love them, but so do Boomers. That is the power and reach of the league.

This buying guide will look at the different types of football jerseys and walk you through elements like sizing and how to spot fakes. We bought each jersey type to give you a more detailed ok at each jersey and by reading this article, you should feel more comfortable buying the right NFL jersey for you.

The Different Types of NFL Jerseys

It is amazing to think that it took until 2002 for the NFL to sign with a jersey manufacturer to make jerseys for every team in the league. Before Reebok was awarded that contract, teams were on their own to source out the company that gave them the best deal on their game day and training apparel.

Those 80s and 90s years were like the Wild West, with nothing like the uniformity in design and style you see in uniforms today. Reebok lost the rights to jersey manufacturing to Nike in 2012. Since then it has been the Swoosh kitting up the 32 NFL squads. Here are the different types of football jerseys a fan can buy in 2022.

NFL Jersey Types

Nike NFL Legend Jerseys

Nike nfl legend jersey
Nike Legend Jersey Details

These are the lowest price point Jerseys. The Nike Legend jersey is almost a hybrid between what an NFL jersey is and a true t-shirt fit. There is nothing fancy here as the graphics are all printed on using a process called “Sublimation”. It is lightweight and although it is much sharper looking than you would expect from the cheapest NFL jersey that Nike makes, the legend jersey does feel and look cheaper than some of the other jerseys types that Nike produces.

Nike Legend Jersey Pros:

  • Reasonably priced
  • Dri-FIT sweat wicking fabrication
  • A nice tailored fit

Nike Legend Jersey Cons:

  • Lacks a premium quality look and feels

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Nike NFL Game Jerseys

Nike NFL Game Jerseys
Nike Game Jersey Details

The Nike Game jersey is the typical NFL jersey type that you will find in a store. It is made of polyester and the numbers, letters, and logos are all screen printed on the fabric. The materials aren’t as durable as the higher price point jerseys and the numbers can crack and fade over time if not taken care of properly.

Nike Game Jersey Pros:

  • Well priced
  • Nice Mesh-ventilation for better breathability

Nike Game Jersey Cons:

  • The of the jersey differs in comparison to the more authentic jerseys. It’s missing the team logo above the number
  • Screen printed numbers and letters aren’t as long lasting and could crack/fade in the future

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Nike NFL Limited Jerseys

Nike NFL Limited Jerseys
Nike Limited Jersey Details

The limited jerseys are again made of polyester, but they are more tailored to fit than the cheaper Nike Game jerseys. The Nike Limited jersey features Dri-FIT technology, which is engineered to keep you cool and dry, even if you’re sweating during close games, and the tagless neckline reduces any irritations.

The jerseys also have some stitching as opposed to complete screen printing and they are a great hybrid between a jersey to wear purely for fashion and one that you would feel safe to tailgate in.

Nike Limited Jersey Pros:

  • Durable twill name, number & team graphic details
  • Dri-FIT fabric
  • Nice regular fit, meaning that it isn’t too slim, or too loose

Nike Limited Jersey Cons:

  • Can be seen as an expensive option
  • The heat-sealed graphic elements like the team logo will be susceptible to wear and tear

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Nike NFL Elite Jerseys

Nike NFL Elite Jerseys
Nike Elite Jersey Details

The Nike Elite is the top-level jersey that Nike produces. Designed to be as authentic as possible, this is a fully stitches jersey with a fit that stretches to movement thanks to the nylon and spandex construction. These are the jerseys with Nike’s best Dri-FIT technology – they are water repellent and designed to prevent stretching – and their look and feel clearly sets them apart as a premium product.

Nike Elite Jersey Pros:

  • Closest jersey to what the players wear on match day
  • Flexible twill name and number details giving it a premium quality feel
  • Water-repelling fabric

Nike Elite Jersey Cons:

  • A very expensive jersey option
  • The fit isn’t a loose fitting and is snug around the chest and shoulders, which might not be ideal for some

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Mitchell & Ness NFL Jerseys

Mitchell & Ness NFL Jerseys
Mitchell & Ness Jersey Details

The king of the throwback jerseys in Mitchell & Ness. Their NFL Legacy jerseys are slightly more expensive than the proline retros, but they are made from higher quality materials all around. They also sell costly authentic throwback jerseys that are very much for fashion only.

Mitchell & Ness Jersey Pros:

  • A mixture of twill name and numbers for durability and screen printed accents
  • Throwback vintage designs
  • Premium quality feel

Mitchell & Ness Jersey Cons:

  • It’s expensive
  • The screen printed accents could crack/fade in the future

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NFL Pro Line Jerseys

This is a looser-fitting jersey at a low(ish) price point. It is not made by Nike, but the jerseys are official and are most often of retired legends like John Elway and Kurt Warner. All logos, etc are screen printed on.

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What is the difference between Nike NFL jerseys?

NFL Jersey Comparison Chart

NFL Jersey Comparison Chart

NFL Jersey Sizing

The Nike NFL sizing is done in two different ways depending on if you buy the cheaper Nike Game or Limited line of jerseys, or the more expensive Nike Elite.

The cheaper jerseys coming (for men) in the traditional lettered sizes from S-3XL or so. The Elite jerseys do away with the lettering and are instead sized by number. The tags on the front of the jerseys have these letters or numbers and are another way to tell the difference between the different jersey styles.

Note that with the Elite the sizing of the numbers basically works with 40 = M, 44 = L, 48 = XL, and so on.

NFL Jersey Size Chart

SizeChest (in.)Back Length(in.)

Women’s NFL Jersey Size Chart

SizeChest (in.)Back Length(in.)

Kids’s NFL Jersey Size Chart

SizeChest (in.)Back Length(in.)

Here is a basic guide to how the jerseys fit:

  • NFL Nike Legend Jersey – Exactly like a regular t-shirt. Size based on how loose you like your t-shirt game to be.
  • NFL Nike Game Jersey – Looser and more relaxed fit compared to other true jersey options (ie. not Nike Legend).
  • NFL Nike Limited Jersey – Fits true to size. 
  • NFL Nike Elite Jersey – Most athletic fitting of Nike’s NFL jersey lineup. If you like a loose fit then size up one size.
  • Mitchell & Ness Replica – Fits true to size so stay with your normal upper body sizing option.
  • Mitchell & Ness Authentic – Sizing is a little random based on the era as the jerseys are designed to look like they did on the field. Usually a little loose but be sure to check the website to see exactly how the specific jersey you want is going to fit.

When it comes to women’s sizes the advice from Nike is simple. The women’s jerseys come with a more slender and tapered cut. This is as opposed to the much more boxy cut of the men’s sizing. The advice is that the jerseys fit true to size but ordering up for a more loose fit is a good option. This is especially true for those wanting to wear a t-shirt or hoodie under their jersey.

Children’s sizing works the same way, but trying before buying is especially recommended to make sure a child doesn’t grow out of a jersey in a matter of months.

Different Types Of NFL Jerseys: Is it Fake or Real?

How can you tell if an NFL jersey is real or fake? There are a number of basic rules to follow. Here are some of the keys to ensuring your jersey is as real as that Matt Stafford/Cooper Kupp chemistry.

  • Cheap prices – If a jersey deal seems too good to be true then it probably is. Know how much a jersey should be selling for at retail and beware of the online scammer trying to push a Nike Elite on you for half the price. It will be fake.
  • Use verified outlets – Stick to spaces like NFLshop.com online or retailers that you trust brick and mortar. Auction sites like eBay are always a risk – make sure you aren’t just looking at a stock photo of the jersey – and markets on vacation in the Caribbean or Latin America are just a big-time no.
  • Country of origin – A collar tag that says “Made in China” means you need to put the jersey down. That is not where the Nike (or Reebok) jerseys come from. Guatemala and Honduras are good,
  • Materials – Trust your eye. Maybe the jersey is too shiny. Maybe the stitched-on numbers are bumpy and not flat. Maybe the numbers look too big or too small for the jersey. If it just doesn’t look right then step away and do some research before shelling out that hard-earned cash.

Basically, the takeaway here is to do your research. Know what a genuine collar tag looks like and exactly how the NFL Shield logo should align on a jersey. Nike is meticulous about its quality control, so if you see a different font on a collar tag then the jersey is not going to be real.

Different Types Of NFL Jerseys FAQs

What are the different types of football jerseys?

Reebok manufactured NFL jerseys until 2012. Since then it has been Nike in charge of the league’s uniforms. Nike offers NFL jerseys at different price points (Legend, Game, Limited, Elite) and qualities. Officially licensed throwback jerseys are made by Mitchell & Ness.

Authentic vs Replica NFL jerseys. What is the difference?

Authentic jerseys are as close as fans can get to the quality of jerseys that players wear on the field. Replica jerseys are a step down in quality (printed numbers not stitched) but are cheaper to buy.

How do you find the right size football jersey?

The best way to find the right size football jersey is to find one to try on. Go to your local sports store if possible. Even if they don’t have the team or player you want, you can size the jersey and then buy it online. If you can’t make it to the store, follow the manufacturer’s size chart and directions.

What’s the difference between the old Reebok and new Nike NFL jerseys?

The Nike jerseys are newer and have more modern technology for a better fit. These include flywire tech in the collar and newer materials that make the jersey 20-30% lighter.

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