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Notes: Disney licenses Star Wars and Marvel themed NFL apparel

One of the strangest cross-promotions we’ve seen the Lions take part in.

Minnesota Vikings v Chicago Bears Photo by Kena Krutsinger/Getty Images

If you’re a Lions fan who also happens to like the Disney-owned Star Wars or Marvel superhero franchises and for whatever reason, you wish you could have a shirt with the Lions name stamped in front of your favorite heroes, you’re in luck! According to NFL Communications, Disney and the NFL have “joined forces” with Junk Food Clothing to launch an apparel series for the draft. The official release from the league describes the product line as being retro designs as follows:

“The Mickey QB” Tee - Mickey Mouse strikes a quarterback pose in heritage NFL team uniforms.

“The Avengers Throwback” Tee - 1970s-era comic book character art of Captain America, Iron Man, Thor and The Hulk accompanies NFL team names in the iconic slanted font.

NFL team names are redrawn to honor the title script font from Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back on two different designs:

“The Rebels Team” Tee highlights the characters Luke Skywalker, Han Solo and Princess Leia,

“The Empire Team” Tee features the characters Darth Vader, Boba Fett and stormtroopers.

Edward Pevos from MLive explored the Fanatics shop site to pull examples of all of the items available. His story embeds images of all of the products. While the designs are all relatively tame and inoffensive, none of them seems to make much sense as a collaboration product. Only the Mickey QB tee actually has any kind of mixing of the properties, with the famous cartoon mouse dropping back to pass while wearing a Lions uniform. The other shirts are merely group shots of the Disney franchise characters with team names in front of them.

What makes Darth Vader juxtaposed next to the name of an NFL team cool? The Hulk and Thor? I understand cash grabs and can respect companies trying to see what they can charge money for, but the explanations given in the NFL Communications release are amusing:

“We are always looking for ways to engage with our fans in new and unexpected ways, and this collaboration with the NFL allows us to do just that,” said Josh Silverman, Executive Vice President, Third-Party Commercialization, Disney Consumer Products, Games and Publishing. “Fans can now celebrate their favorite teams and characters from Disney, Marvel and Star Wars, and all in time for the 2021 NFL season to begin.”

Obviously, there have been such mashup products offered in the past, but at least in those, there was some effort to mix the themes to play off the franchise being partnered with. For example, there was a sheet of multi-use decals from a few years ago that I actually bought a couple of copies of (they were price-killed and on clearance, I can’t imagine why) in the Fanatics store a long time ago. In those decals though, at least they were trying to make jokes like “play like a Jedi” or “Come to the Lions side” instead of the Dark side. Even the bootleg stuff at least tries a little.

This stuff though? Not so much. On to the rest of today’s Notes:

  • The Detroit Lions still need a bunch of wide receivers, and a good one who might be available in the middle rounds of the upcoming draft is D’Wayne Eskridge from Western Michigan. The Athletic’s Nick Baumgardner wrote an in-depth profile on Eskridge (subscription required) that got some attention:

  • Our own Erik Schlitt was a guest on WNSP 105.5’s Wednesday late afternoon sports talk radio show The Game Plan with Dave Schultz and Stephen Root to talk about what the Lions will do in the draft. You can listen to the entire program from that day in a web player online. The segment with Erik starts at the 1:21:10 mark and is like 12 minutes long, so it’s a good chunk of fine draft content to consume.

  • In case you were worried:

  • Interesting side note from the “players can wear crazy numbers now” rule change: