For years, a Michigan-based company has been the top choice for swiftly customizing new NFL jerseys for draft picks

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Brent Kisha

The staff at the Michigan-based company, responsible for quickly customizing jerseys for each first-round NFL draft pick as they’re announced, won’t have to travel far for this year’s event in Detroit.

STAHLS’ headquarters in St. Clair Shores, Michigan, is just 17 miles away from where NFL commissioner Roger Goodell will announce the draft picks, making it convenient for them.

“This draft being held in Detroit is particularly special for us,” said Brent Kisha, the company’s vice president of strategic sales.

The STAHLS’ team has less than two minutes from the time each pick is announced until Goodell greets the player to personalize the jerseys backstage at the NFL Draft Theater.

The draft starts on Thursday at Campus Martius Park downtown. This is the 13th year the company has been involved behind the scenes at the draft.

NFL (Yardbarker)

STAHLS’ started handling the heat-pressing tasks in 2012, quickly adding top pick Andrew Luck’s name to an Indianapolis Colts jersey in New York. Since then, they’ve worked at drafts in various cities, including Chicago, Philadelphia, Dallas, Nashville, Cleveland, Las Vegas, Kansas City, and now, their hometown.

“In the past, jerseys only had a ‘No. 1,’ so putting a player’s name on it was like magic to the fans,” Kisha said. “When the pick is announced, we have less than two minutes to add the name on the back of the jersey. How do we do it? The heat press is the key that allows us to react quickly to the pick.”

The “secret sauce” they use is a Hotronix Fusion IQ heat press, a machine with a high-resolution touchscreen controller commonly used by custom apparel businesses.

STAHLS’ prepares two jerseys for each draft pick, one given to the player onstage and another used for their rookie playing card pack.

They create nameplates for every potential first-round draftee, with fonts and colors matching each of the 32 NFL teams. Additionally, they have eight jerseys per team on standby in case of last-minute trades.


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