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How To Detect GENUINE REEBOK NFL JERSEYS from the thousands of fakes and counterfeits on eBAY

I would like to share with EVERYONE on eBAY the following information on FAKE/COUNTERFEIT NFL Jerseys.  The first thing you need to do as a fan of your NFL TEAM is GET TO KNOW your TEAM'S JERSEY!  If you study your jersey and know the details of the real thing, you will be empowered as a buyer.  I have so much information compiled that I don't want to fit it all here in this guide.  You can email me sales at frogolf dot com for a lot more information about detecting fake jerseys.  I'm not allowed to post a link here, but I do have a comprehensive webpage created to help you out.  The information in this guide is a good start, but there is much more to know, and many visual comparisons to share.

First to note, there are MANY MANY sellers offering counterfeit jerseys on eBAY.  And there are also MANY MANY buyers that knowingly support these sales.  There are also many buyers that vehemently oppose guides like these because they feel they could eliminate the source of their cheap alternatives.  I can guarantee that those rating this guide as "not helpful" are predominantly these sellers and buyers trying to protect the counterfeit industry (either that, or they hate the Chargers :)  My point in writing this guide is not to convince you to buy a $250 Reebok jersey, but only to provide you with some knowledge so you can make an informed purchase.  Buying jerseys on eBAY is Buyer Beware -- so I say, "BUYER BE AWARE"


PLEASE NOTE: The NFL has contract NIKE as the new equipment provider for the 2012 Season and into the foreseeable future. This guide will still serve for helping with REEBOK jerseys, of which there will continue to be thousands out there being sold (particularly on eBAY). I will create a NIKE guide as soon as possible. Please do not email me asking for help with NIKE jerseys.



Sadly, every time I visit this guide, the jerseys advertised AT THE RIGHT (see under: items from eBay sellers) ----> are almost always counterfeits...so, become informed!
For more detailed information and an eBAY REPUTABLE SELLERS LIST, see thumper300zx.com/jersey/fake_vs_real.htm


If you would like to report a seller that is offering counterfeit items as genuine, you can do so with this REPORT COUNTERFEIT ITEM link.

BE AWARE, filing PayPal claims against a seller when you claim the item is NOT AUTHENTIC, is quite a process.  If you won't settle for a fake, then I strongly suggest you trust what you read in this guide, and become very informed before making your purchase.  I'm not sure how much it would cost you to get it done, but here is the kind of email you will likely receive when a seller doesn't comply with a simple refund:

"To continue with the investigation of your complaint, we must request documentation to support your claim that the item is not authentic. Please obtain a document from an unbiased, third-party, such as a dealer, appraiser, or organization that is qualified in the area of the item in question (other than yourself), which clearly identifies the item as not authentic. The document must specifically state how the item received differs from an authentic item and must include a detailed explanation of how the person evaluating the item determined that it is not authentic. If possible, the document should include a serial number, and must be on letterhead that includes the name, address, and phone number of the business or organization so that PayPal may contact them if necessary."

Briefly, it's important to know the following things before you buy.  REEBOK is the current manufacturer of NFL jerseys, since 2002.  Reebok makes several LICENSED varieties of NFL shirts, jerseys, hats, and other team accesories.  There are THREE MAIN jersey types.  1) SCREEN PRINT REPLICAS 2) EQT/PREMIER REPLICA (a.k.a Replithentic), and 3) AUTHENTIC. The term "AUTHENTIC" does NOT mean MADE BY REEBOK.  An AUTHENTIC is the top of the line, expensive REEBOK jersey.  To denote something MADE BY REEBOK, and not to confuse the word AUTHENTIC, I prefer to use the word "GENUINE".  So, you have a "GENUINE" AUTHENTIC, a "GENUINE" EQT, and a "GENUINE" SCREEN PRINT REPLICA.  Got it?  Good. 

These three jersey types made by Reebok's use the ON FIELD designation.  This term can be ignored, as all of them use it.  Fake jerseys all use a tag that says ON FIELD.  Don't be confused by this, or by sellers claiming their jerseys are real since they are made in Korea or El Salvador.  Reebok does make their jerseys there, but tags are easily replicated.  If you see an AUTHENTIC jersey "MADE IN CHINA", you know it's a fake.  If a seller offers a large volume of jerseys from overseas,  it's a fake.  Reebok makes the jerseys overseas, but they are first shipped into the U.S. before being distributed to their authorized retailers. 

TO KNOW if the jersey is AUTHENTIC, you need to learn what an AUTHENTIC looks like.


These are the EXPENSIVE jerseys -- they are supposed to be just like the ones on the field, except not custom cut for the player.  They are sized 46, 48, 50, 52, 54, 56, 58, and 60.  They tend to fit loosely because they are made to be like the real thing, loose enough for pads.  They are typically 1" longer and a bit wider than the REPLICA jerseys (so, a size 48, which is supposed to be an "M", will run a bit bigger than an "M").  The price is $249 - $349 and some places price them a little higher.  All names, numbers, and logos are sewn on.  Number are "tackle twill", which means multi-colored numbers (white outlined with black, for example) are all made up of separate, full pieces of cloth, then layered and sewn on.  These are heavy, and often the numbers are quite stiff.  They don't exactly fit like a glove, which is one major complaint with them, aside from the enormous price.  AUTHENTICS are high quality and have consistent construction.  Stitching on AUTHENTICS is accurate, EXACTLY along edge of tackle twill layers on Authentic (left in left picture below). I have seen only a few AUTHENTIC jerseys with a length of poor stitching, while fakes have TONS.  Fakes generally have inconsistent stitching with mismatched thread colors. AUTHENTICS have true, deep colors.

Note: Hopefully the pictures in this guide will show enough to help you make an informed purchase.  However, I would not use the pictures in this guide alone for your FINAL determination of what may be real or not.  MANY PICTURES including closeups, scans, and side-by-side comparisons are available on my complete site.  GET TO KNOW YOUR JERSEY!

Below are pictures of the front and back of a GENUINE Authentic Reebok jerseys (2006, and 2007 Chargers).  Use the following description as a guide while looking at these jerseys:

Left Two Pictures (in each set): Notice the form the jersey takes.  Most fakes are made of ligther, flimsy material.  They will not take on this consistent form.  The 2nd picture shows the color difference in the BOLTS (obviously only applies to Chargers).  Notice how rich the colors are on the right vs. the dull color of the Bolt on the left.  The last picture (right) is of a GENUINE Reebok jersey next to a fake.  You can see the difference in size and form, even though they are EQUALLY SIZED, respectively.  The sleeves on the fake are a dead giveaway (which is why many sellers HIDE the sleeves on their fake jerseys).  The colors on your team's fake will likely have the same kind of problems.  Fakes are dull, not vibrant.  The only problem is that it can be tough to tell without having the jerseys side by side like this. 

2006 Chargers (Below) - Alone, a fake will look pretty good.  Next to an Authentic, they are inferior.

2007 Chargers (Below)

Reebok EQT/PREMIER REPLICA (Replithentic)

EQTs are the middle ground, middle priced  jersey type (between AUTHENTIC and SCREEN PRINT jerseys).  They sell around $100 - $125.  These have single layer, sewn on letters and numbers.  It is NOT a TACKLE TWILL.  Instead they are single layer numbers of printed cloth, then sewn on (see example below).  Team logos are SCREEN PRINTED on EQT jerseys.  The material is a special diamond weave -- it is heavier than screen print jersey material, but lighter than AUTHENTIC.  They are sized S, M, L, XL, XXL, 3XL, 4XL etc.  They do run a bit larger than normal shirts.  For a normal shirt fit, go one size smaller.  But for the jersey look, you stick with your normal sizing.

Example of EQT screen printed single layer tackle twill -- note only the outer stitching is real (yellow).  The inner stitching (on blue and white) is SCREEN PRINTED:


Is designed to look MUCH like the real jersey, but uses different materials and thermally printed numbers and letters.  This is your classic "cheap" jersey, and the numbers and letter tend to fade or peel off over time.  (suggestion for longevity: don't dry in a dryer -- let air dry).  Sized like PREMIER.

Example of screen print -- these are the cheap jerseys by Reebok:


You will find COUNTERFEIT jerseys all over eBAY.  The COUNTERFEIT jerseys you are supposed to be just like the Reebok AUTHENTIC (the expensive ones).  If you do a search for AUTHENTIC [TEAM] JERSEY, I would estimate in the area of 95 to 99% of the results will be for FAKES.  Some of the fakes LOOK pretty good.  If not for the fact they are illegal, they are a great buy for the money.  Many sellers of fakes are even great sellers, willing to work with you.  However, if you by a fake, you never really know what you're going to get.  There are a lot of fakes of different quality, and there is NO QUALITY control because a lot of different places in the world make these fakes.  Some look great, some are horrible.  And even some from the same place can be different because there is no tolerance control between jerseys.

HOW DO I KNOW if IT'S FAKE?  I believe you can break down most fakes with two simple criteria: 1) PRICE and 2) QUALITY

PRICE: The number one reason you know a jersey on eBAY is fake without being able to tell with your eyes?  THE PRICE.  NOBODY is making money selling AUTHENTIC jerseys for $40.  Pretty much, if it's under $100, just forget about it, or KNOW that you are buying a fake.  Don't forget this.  You are NOT LIKELY to get lucky and buy a REAL jersey for under $100.  And most will be more than that.  Last time I searched, only a handful of true, genuine AUTHENTICS were actually being sold on eBAY.  Most genuine Reebok tops are SCREEN PRINT REPLICAS, and there are a handful of EQTs that sell.  The VAST MAJORITY remaining are FAKES, fake AUTHENTICS, selling in the range of $9.95 - $40 with an occasional seller trying to lure you into $100+ (particularly on items like ALL-PRO jerseys and THROWBACKS).  Though I suggest not buying fakes to begin with, DON'T PAY MORE THAN $40, shipping included, for what you think could be fake!!!  If there is anyone selling HUNDREDS of "authentic" jerseys at a low price, BE GUARANTEED, they aren't real.  The only sellers I've seen that offer GENUINE AUTHENTICS on a regular basis (in volume) are asking over $200.  But still, be careful, as some sellers to try to sneak in an overpriced fake.  GET TO KNOW YOUR JERSEY and the SELLER!

QUALITY: Since fake jerseys give themselves away in the details, the sellers of fakes are likely take low resolution photos, so it is very tough to tell VISUALLY if what you are looking at is real or not.  My webpage explains this all VERY VIVIDLY, though your favorite team jersey you would be wise to learn about specifically (mine is the Chargers, but my page should still help you detect other teams' counterfeits).  If a seller takes GOOD photos with closeup details, you will generally be able to make out what makes them a fake.  Now you see why they would prefer low-res photos :)

There are other typical "tells" you should be aware of.  Avoid sellers selling from overseas -- they are selling fakes.  Avoid sellers with HIGH, NON-REFUNDABLE shipping costs.  They are gonna make money on  you EVEN if they have a liberal return policy.  Note also that many eBAYers that buy AUTHENTICS, only to then find out they are FAKE, feel that they are o.k. to jump back on eBAY and sell them as AUTHENTICS, passing them on to the next "victim".  Though I understand their pain in getting ripped off, it's too bad they feel it's o.k. to sell them again.  If you find a seller offering only one or two jerseys, check their recent purchase history or feedback to see where that jersey came from.  It's most likely from a full-time seller of FAKE jerseys.

There is also the FEEDBACK game going on.  Just because a seller has 99.9% positive feedback, doesn't mean what they are selling is GENUINE.  Many buyers know they are buying fakes.  Many buyers think what they got is real.  And you well know the problem with RETALIATORY feedback on eBAY.  An honest buyer might not leave a negative for receiving a fake because they know they'll get one back.  SO again, watch that price (#1 tell) and GET TO KNOW YOUR JERSEY!

There is an interesting read (help guide) here on eBAY.  It explains that the reason people can sell fakes on eBAY is because there is a market for it to exist.  DON'T LOWER YOUR STANDARDS and keep that market going!  If you can't afford a real Reebok Authentic jersey, no big deal.  They are RIDICULOUSLY priced.  But don't give in to supporting counterfeit crime just because you want to look cool at the game.  You can buy other products at great prices if you look around.


Counterfeit jersey makers even went to far as to copy the Reebok HOLOGRAM of Authenticity.  However, like with the jersey, they failed to make a perfect copy.  The pictures below show the FAKE OLD HOLOGRAM (LEFT), OLD REAL HOLOGRAM (MIDDLE), and NEW REEBOK GENUINE HOLOGRAM (RIGHT).  All fakes I have seen to date still use the fake old holograms (which I believe date to 2005).  Fake holograms are fuzzy and the helmets remain one color when held flat in the light. In contrast, REAL hologram helmets (2005, 2nd) are different colors in the same light (making them more dynamic, and harder to copy).  Then, in 2006 (3rd) it went to LEATHER color footballs.  Then in 2007 (far right) the footballs are different colors and it has the AFC and NFC logos in the background.  Some sellers like to show the hologram on the fakes.  If  you see the one with a helmet perimeter on a CURRENT jersey...you know.

I won't go on longer here.  YOU CAN VISIT MY WEBPAGE for endless details and feel free to email me with any specific questions.  PLEASE BE SURE TO UNCHECK the HIDE EMAIL ADDRESS button.  I will not login to respond to questions without email addresses attached (I'm doing a favor, so I'm not gonna do extra work :))  I do not sell jerseys for a living, though I do occasionally sell a person item or some jerseys when I find a good deal, since I hoard more than I need.  Though I may not be able to help you with details about your teams' jersey, I should be able to help you detect a fake from an authentic.

You can email me sales at frogolf dot com for a lot more information about detecting fake jerseys.  I'm not allowed to post a link here, but I do have a comprehensive webpage created to help you out.  The information in this guide is a start, but there is much more to know.  THANKS!  Be Careful, and HAPPY BIDDING!

PLEASE DO NOT WRITE ME ASKING WHERE TO FIND THE JERSEY YOU ARE LOOKING FOR. If you want to show me a link, great. I'll give you my opinion. But I'm not a jersey search engine.

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