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How to Tell If an NFL Jersey Is Authentic

By Andrea Cespedes

About 800,000 counterfeit NFL jerseys are sold online each year, National Public Radio reported in 2011. If you want to ensure yours is the real deal, avoid purchasing it from an unauthorized retailer or an auction site. An official jersey usually costs between $100 and $300. If you get one for much less, chances are it isn't authentic. Since 2012, Nike has been the official provider of NFL jerseys, but you may find vintage Reebok jerseys that are authentic will have an embroidered vector graphic on each sleeve.

Examine Logos and Branding

Look first as to whether the jersey has the official black sales tag with the NFL shield and a Nike logo on the front. The tag also features a color-changing hologram in front of a green field background with yard markers. These tags and holograms can be faked, but real jerseys will have these tags attached to the left sleeve. Nike jerseys have a rubberized NFL shield present on the collar -- most knockoffs embroider this logo onto the same place. Look for product tags inside the collar, too. If they're there, it's not authentic. Nike always places the tags lower in the shirt or prints them onto the fabric. Inauthentic jerseys may even misrepresent the Nike Swoosh symbol. Look at the patches on the shoulders of the jersey to find these Swooshes and ensure they both face forward.

Quality Control

Confirm that the team colors or NFL logo colors are true; in fakes, the blocking and hues may be off. The font used to print on the jersey is another clue -- if doesn't match your team's font, the jersey is clearly a fake. Misspelled player or team names are another clue that the jersey isn't authentic. Counterfeit jerseys usually have shoddy construction with loose threads and material that doesn't stand up well to washing. Fake jerseys often feature numbers that are shiny, rippled and bubbling. You are unlikely to find a jersey for a new player who began midseason, as it takes several months to produce jerseys and get them to stores.

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