MASONTOWN, Pa. (KDKA) — Have you ever noticed when NFL commissioner Roger Goodell announces a team’s number one draft pick on Draft Day how quickly he comes up with the team’s jersey with the player’s name on the back?
“It’s all magic in the fan’s eyes, right? Because the player is selected and all of a sudden, the jersey appears with the player’s name,” said Josh Ellsworth, the Vice President of Sales at Stahl’s Hotronix in Masontown, Fayette County.
Turns out, it’s anything but magic. After seven years, Stahl’s Hotronix has perfected the process of personalizing jerseys on NFL Draft Day.
This is a hot period for NHL and NBA fans who may purchase a jersey made by Stahl’s, but the company’s main focus this week is the NFL Draft.
Before the Draft, Nike sends team jerseys and names of prospective draft picks. A giant laser cutting machine prints the names, and name plates are sewn on the back. The company sends a mini-operation to AT&T Stadium in Dallas with a heat press with about 1,400 combinations.
“When you take the [number of] prospects times the number of teams times eight jerseys that we prepare for each potential combination, you arrive at 1,200 to 1,400 individual names ready to go,” Ellsworth said.
Then they wait for the commissioner to announce the draft picks.
“From the moment we get notice and the commissioner makes his way over to pick up the jersey, we have two minutes to pick the right name, the right jersey and heat print those together,” Ellsworth said.
The player gets to live the dream of having a jersey with his name. We saw it happen with TJ Watt last year, and we’ll be waiting for the Steelers number one pick this year.