Knockoff jersey stores are everywhere online, and counterfeiters are getting so good that it’s getting harder and harder to tell if the jersey you’re looking at is real vs. fake.
And even though authentic NFL jerseys can hurt the wallet, you don’t always end up saving money in the long-run if you buy a knockoff.
Why? Because counterfeit jerseys have the tendency of breaking down, sometimes weeks after purchasing.
On top of that, most counterfeits simply look off, especially if you’re at the stadium with fellow fans.
So before you go buying that jersey at a 50 percent discount with the exception of clearance sales, here are some tips you can use for how to tell an authentic NFL jersey from a fake.
Read this guide for our recommended NFL Jerseys stores.
There are some obvious first impressions you can make of a jersey which will tell you if it’s real or fake.
The first thing you should do is check the inner tag for the manufacturing country.
If it says anything other than “Made in Honduras” or “Made in Guatemala”, it’s a fake.
How do we know this? When the Baltimore Ravens were refunding Ray Rice jerseys, they checked the inner tag for manufacturing country as the first way of spotting a real from a fake.
Another easy tell is to look at the NFL shield on the collar.
If the shield is embroidered on the collar, it’s a fake NFL jersey, as Nike has developed a new rubberized NFL shield that counterfeit manufacturers cannot mimic.
The reason that the NFL has sewn in the neckline labels is to prevent them from flipping up and rubbing against your skin.
You can also check that the Nike Swoosh patches on the shoulders of the NFL jersey are facing forward.
These are the most common signs of a fake jersey, but there are a few more, which I’ve curated for you below.
What Is An Authentic NFL Jersey?
An authentic NFL jersey is the jersey essentially worn by players on the field, though there can be different versions of an authentic NFL jersey.
These options can be categorized as replica and authentic jerseys, which are offered at different price points.
The Nike Elite NFL Jersey, which is the version worn by players on gameday, usually sells at a retail price of $250.
The replica version comes in at a lower price point but has less decals, and the numbers printed on the jersey are silicon as opposed to hand-sewn.
The replica NFL jersey typically retails for $100.
At these prices, it’s no wonder many NFL fans resort to websites other than the NFL shop for jersey purchases.
If you’re buying a jersey from an officially licensed distributor like Fanatics or NFL Shop, you have nothing to worry about.
But if you’re buying your jersey at a discount from a vendor you’re not sure you can trust, here are some signs of a fake that even counterfeiters overlook.
Read: Fanatics Jersey Review & Fanatics Breakaway Jersey
3 Signs To Tell If A Jersey Is Real Or Fake
Sign #1: Jersey Numbers
Counterfeiters have a tough time replicating the exact look and feel of the numbers on the jersey.
If they appear shiny, or don’t lay evenly flat and “bubble” underneath the number, you are most definitely looking at a fake jersey.
Then, there’s the matter of font.
Most counterfeiters don’t follow every team as religiously as their fans do, and so fans can notice if the font is off by a mile away.
If you’re unsure, check to see if everything lines up with an image of your team’s jersey on gameday or from the NFL shop.
Sign #2: Product Tag & Hologram Sticker
When you’re buying a jersey, is the actual tag of the product on the left sleeve or the right sleeve?
Authentic NFL jerseys always have the tag on the left sleeve of the jersey.
Moreover, the tag is always black with the NFL shield and Nike logo on the front.
There should also be a hologram sticker with the NFL shield shining in multiple colors.
If the tag is simply one, mono-chromatic color, you’ve spotted a fake NFL jersey.
In particular, check to make sure that the shield is multiple shining colors and not just one, mono-chromatic color – that’s another giveaway.
Sign #3: Hemline Tag
The hemline tag on an authentic NFL jersey is embossed into the jersey, meaning that if there is any wrinkle, or if the material seems papery or raised in any way, then it’s a fake.
This is the hardest sign to spot, because counterfeiters have gotten good at making the hemline look real.
But sometimes the tells are pretty obvious. The hemline tag should have everything spelled properly, including spacing between the words NFL Players.
Moreover, the stitching should be the same. In counterfeits, these will be contrasting and easy to spot. For more tips, you may refer to this walkthrough video from Hustler Hacks which has done a great job on explaining how to tell real NFL jerseys from a fake.
You may also find this article useful – How To Spot A Fake NFL Jersey