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Real vs. Fake NFL Jerseys

Buying a new NFL jersey can be a stressful decision. Plenty of sites out there promote "authentic" jerseys for cheap, but in reality, they're far from authentic or official. Counterfeit NFL jerseys are undoubtedly tempting to fans who crave the lower price point and best deal, but don't get burned. Let's review your choices before you call that play and purchase a fake NFL jersey at wholesale price. Of course, counterfeit football jerseys are cheap, but are also a prime example of "you get what you pay for". If you plan on remaining a fan past this season - yeah, we thought so - then it's worth it to invest in the real deal, rather than cut corners on a $20 jersey that falls apart after one wash. Whether it's a lack of fabric quality, color schemes being off, sizing issues or other issues, so much can go wrong when you buy that fake NFL jersey. When you're the butt of jokes at the local sports bar while fans point and laugh at your faulty, fake jersey, you'll likely wish you spent a few extra dollars on your threads.

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Common Issues with Fake NFL Jerseys

Low Quality Stitching
    Most counterfeit sites only offer poor-quality images of the jersey for sale, which is a tell-tale sign that the stiching quality will be lacking. Beware when you see this; they use these pictures on purpose so you can't see the low quality of their stitching and lettering. Look for up-close detail shots of the embroidery, like you'll see on Fanatics or NFL Shop jerseys.
Bad Color Schemes
    Having the right color scheme on your jersey isn't exactly a minor detail. Teams are often times more synonymous with their colors than with anything else. Official NFL jerseys ensure your threads have the perfect colors that won't fade after a couple of trips through the washing machine. But rest assured, even the silghtest difference in color will be noticed by fellow fans at the stadium.
Non-Durable Materials
    Fabric styles on official NFL jerseys will vary based on the style you select (Limited, Game, Elite, etc.), but any officially licensed threads are built to last. On top of the aforementioned faulty color schemes and issues with stitching that are prevalent among fakes, fabrics on counterfeit jerseys don't typically wash well and will wear down much quicker than an officially licensed product. There's nothing better than breaking out that decades-old jersey for a big game, but that won't likely be possible with a counterfeit.
Inconsistent Sizing
    The sizing on cheap jerseys is typically way off from the normal sizing chart as well. There are plenty of examples available online that compare an authentic size large jersey to a size large purchased from a discount jersey shop, and the difference is staggering. Not only are the jerseys much larger than they should be, but the hem can be cut unevenly or feature a drop tail in the back which is not consistent with authentics.
No Authentic Tags or Holograms
    A tag on your jersey should have a hologram sticker with the official NFL shield on it. If it doesn't have one, it's not official. Even if your counterfeit jersey does have a hologram, it will often all be one color instead of multiple shiny colors like the official NFL stickers.

NFL Jersey Price Points

It's no secret that the price points are the easiest way to tell if a site is selling real jerseys or fakes. As far as stock prices go, licensed NFL jerseys begin around $79.99 for Nike Legend styles, $99.99 for Nike Game styles, and slight increases for higher-quality stitched options. It's certainly not as cheap as a t-shirt, but you get what you pay for - a high-quality piece of official gear that will last a long time, and will ship to your door within days with a forgiving return policy. Now, weigh that against the rigors of ordering a counterfeit jersey from China. You'll be lucky if that jersey lasts you through the season and a couple of washes. Heck, you'll be lucky if the jersey gets to you at all, coming from an unverified vendor and a shipping process that may take over a month. Low price equals low quality. If you want an authentic look but don't want to pay the huge price points, Nike makes replica game jerseys as well that offer the same look as an authentic, but feature screened letters and numbers instead of sewn-on twill lettering. These replica jerseys are a cheaper alternative to the authentics but still offer a quality alternative that'll give your wallet a break. Don't think you'll fool your fellow fans with a fake jersey on gameday either. Any loyal fan will be able to spot the difference between your knockoff and the real jersey the guy next to you is sporting. So do yourself a favor, buy a licensed Nike NFL jersey from an official retailer like Fanatics and rest assured that your new jersey will last you through many tailgates and seasons to come.

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