While Reebok first introduced its collaboration with Realtree on a line of jerseys and other gear way back in February, it's only now when a new NFL season is about to begin that many fans have cottoned onto the rusticated horrors waiting for them at their local sporting goods store.
While your level of repulsion to these creepy mud people shirts is likely to be determined by your own personal urban/suburban/exurban/reasonable snobbery, there's no getting around the fact that there are people out there who will sadly gravitate to this line.
And no, that isn't meant to debase those involved in hunting culture, to which Realtree, Reebok and the NFL are taking dead aim at, but rather people wholly invested in wearing stupid, ugly things when stupid, ugly things are not called for.
From the horribly written press release announcing the line:
Realtree has joined forces with Reebok and the NFL to develop a line of clothing designed especially for those who love to watch a pro game on the field when they’re not hunting or fishing in the field.
That's a cute little thing you did with the prepositions and the fields. However, the things worn when hunting and fishing are the way they are for pragmatic reasons. NFL apparel is not that way because there is nothing pragmatic about it. It is created to stupidly celebrate the frivolous love for a football team. But by wearing the Realtree jersey to a game, you are loudly proclaiming "HELLO, I AM A HUNTING ENTHUSIAST MAKING A SMALL ALLOWANCE FOR THIS HUNTING UNRELATED EVENT WE ARE ENJOYING! WHAT NEXT SHALL WE KILL?"
Now, the intersection of camouflage and fan apparel is hardly a new phenomenon. Far from it. Most, if not all, teams have some sort of merchandise that combines military camo with team logos and colors. Baltimore Ravens fans, embracing fully the city's noted penchant for overt tackiness, have made purple camo pants a de facto part of the official fan uniform in Charm City.
However, as asinine as that is, at least it conforms to the often referenced idea of football as warfare. Except for when Brett Favre and Jared Allen are concerned, football is not hunting. Many people who enjoy hunting also enjoy football and vice versa. But they are not spiritual kin. Hunting metaphors are not constantly invoked during an NFL broadcast, at least not to the extent that warfare is. Therefore a jersey steeped in hunting imagery is weirdly out of context. It's like wearing a beekeeper's outfit with a team logo on it to the stadium.