I started collecting baseball and football trading cards in the 1970s and got my first subscription to Sports Illustrated on November 22 1982. Those were the days before I had access to cable sports shows, so these outlets were my only access to seeing the various arrays of colors donned by sports teams everywhere. Most of the time all that I could see was black-and-white images in the local newspaper. Magazines and cards were how I knew who Warren Moon of the Edmonton Eskimos was. Back then I wondered why he (clad in green and gold) was wearing a weird Packers outfit. So, basically, I was enthralled by uniforms. A few months later, the USFL arrived with their garish array of colors to add to my overloaded brain. It was glorious.
In high school, my buddy Jim and I, would track uniform changes throughout the various sports leagues. We were more interested in the sports end, but the laundry still seemed cool. Those were days where having a replica jersey was a big deal and not as easy to acquire. He was from New York and hated Pittsburgh teams, but we shared a fascination to sports and the color designs all the same. His four older brothers used to call him Serge in these moments, as a rip about him being like a fashion designer or something. But I identified as a Serge too. A few weeks ago, I talked with Jim on the phone and within catching up, the conversation topic turned to the Jets new uniforms. We laughed about the uniform thing from back then and still agreed that our stance on that topic hasn’t changed.
Recently, I ranked the 32 best helmets from worst to first here on BTSC. I decided to take a different course of action with uniforms though. Taking a look at the NFL, I categorized each team’s jersey option as best full-time as wearing a specific throwback, a Color Rush or sticking with what is being primarily worn now. It was tough with some teams for me. The Steelers and Bills had incredible Color Rush choices, but I went in a different direction with both. So a disclaimer, you won’t agree with my tastes and that’s cool. That’s the glory of discussion.
Let’s take a look.
Back In Time - The Throwbacks
The garb the Saints wore from 1967-1969 featured the golden numbers and were delightful. The Saints look now is modern and pleasurable to the eyes, but I like these classics that overemphasize the gold.
The white lid with Pat Patriot hiking the football was perfect. But the red ensemble is gorgeous and was also worn in a less objectionable time for New England from 1961-1992. I would hate them a tad less in these awesome jerseys.
The throwbacks to the 60s with the gold helmet and white pants was absolutely awesome and the famed bumblebees (but not the tan pants) were cool in their own right. The all-black Color Rush informs were very close to perfection, and they are 4-0 wearing them, but I love the classic Steeler uniform they wear today, but only with the block numbers. I think the 70s, 80s and 90s digits look more formidable. It’s only a slight change back to yesteryear, but one for the better.
Creamsicles make the Dreamsicles work. I don’t know what that means, but Bucco Bruce protecting the players’ head and the classic 1976-1997 throwbacks are aesthetically pleasing. Ditch the pewter and go back in time to awesome.
These were the best jerseys that the sunshiny Miami franchise ever wore. The aqua tone made you feel like you were diving into the ocean, while the cheerful double-orange striping in a field of white makes this piece even more vibrant. Plus, the helmeted dolphin logo is a lot cooler than the dead mammal and the less glowing sun of today. The Dolphins wore these unis during glorious times in the 70s and 89s until 1989. But when they wore them against New England last December, they pulled off a Miami Miracle.
I’ve recently been critical of Cleveland’s droll helmets, but when you combine them with the old school brown with traditional striping and the orange pants...this garb is far from boring. The Browns have recently tried to modernize this look, but they should go back in time and don these classic wonders worn mostly from 1975-1983.
I like Seattle’s wardrobe choices of today, even the occasional trip to the bizarre with the neons...but there’s something about the simplicity of the uniform worn in the Emerald City for the first 25 years. After 1983, the logo was added to the sleeves and it just looked perfect. Even though the look now is a fantastic modern design, these would be cool for a retro 50th Anniversary and that isn’t too far away.
The Eagles have had great uniforms in their history, unfortunately the midnight green shade that the franchise integrated in 1996 is the least appealing. The Eagles depart from that from time to time with the slick black jerseys, but even they’d be better with Kellly Green helmets and trim. I love the Ron Jaworski versions from 1974-1984, but there’s something about the ten years from 1985-1995 with the kellys. Can we get a petition for this?
The throwbacks from 1966 have great contrast with the red helmets and the sleek black jerseys. These would work just as well now as they did back then.
The Vikings uniforms never quite changed too drastically over the years, just modernizations here and there. But the best example would be the 1968-1992 classics with gold and white double stripes accenting a field of purple. Plain and simple and nothing too fancy, but these would translate very easily in 2019.
The Washington jerseys now are still pretty decent after all of these years, but there’s been an outcry from certain political correctness circles over the Native American logo. If they choose to relent and indeed make a change, they could always harken back to the Sonny Jurgensen days and adjust to a letter and a feather and that fantastic retro look.
Yes they are considered classic and timeless, but I always found the Colts uniform quite boring over the years. The throwbacks from 1955 that saw some action in 2010 are simple but sharp. I’d like to see these get some first-line run.
Colour My World - The Color Rush
I hate Denver’s helmets and uniforms that have been around since 1997. When they decided to sport an updated and darker version of the “smoking bronco” resting in the D, I was elated. The fabric color is darker from the “Orange Crush” days, but this is a good look that they look smokin’ in. Keep these.
I’m going to get most of my negative comments from loving the Jaguars’ Midas Touch with black and teal trim, but I think it pops off of the screen and into your hearts. They should adopt these dandies full time on the double.
While the all-black Raven jerseys would be a great full-time representation for the team, there’s something really attractive about this particular purple from collar to cuffs. The gold and white stripes and numerals really fly off of the fabric, highlighted by a “B” on the pant legs. The black is really cool, but if they want to stay purple...this is way flashier than the monotonous home jerseys they have been sending out forever and a day.
The Chicago Bears wear a uniform that has transcended the years. In fact, they didn’t really need to stray at all. The Bears flirted with change by trying to incorporate more orange, whether it be as a jersey or switching their numerals over from white, but adding dark blue pants to the jersey modernizes a classic oldie in an outstanding new millennium manner. This needs to be the norm.
I make no bones about my abhorrence of the Cincinnati Bengals personal dress code since 1981. I actually loved the old school and conservative uniforms and helmets with the name on the helmets from the 60s and 70s. When it came time to figure out Color Rush, I figured Cincy would look even more like a velvety pimp lair from the 70s. However, the color-absent white and black ensemble was actually one of the more understated but brave choices. These would make a perfect road choice going permanently forward.
The garb that clothes the footballers from Motown is pretty nice and classically unique. But they scored big with their Color Rush grey outfits with the Honolulu Blue trim. Critics hated them, but I view these brilliant rags as kings of the jersey jungle. Gotta see this creation more.
I’m not a fan of the uniforms donned by the New York Football Giants at all, especially the grey pants with the blue jerseys. They are the most boring in all of football. However, the Color Rush phenomenon basically reintroduced the white uniforms from the 1980s. They were close to perfect. Switch out the throwback helmet for the “NY” logo, and perfection is realized.
The Texans always look good. You gotta love the Navy or the lesser-worn red jerseys with the white pants, but the Color Rush added red numerals outlined in white with blue pants. These are aesthetically a fiesta to focus on.
New York Jets
I absolutely love the new Jets getup that was unveiled in April, as I did their uniforms of the 80s and 90s. Even though the throwbacks that they sported first-line from 1998-2018 were loved by many, they were too drab for me. Their Color Rush combined vibrant all-green finery with the classic white helmet and was made complete with a brighter green trim. This is nice new-millennium stuff.
Even though I prefer the Cardinals in cardinal red, this is a really radiant look that excites with the helmet of white. This should be the course of uniform action for the new era starting with Kyler Murray.
Love The One You’re With - Classic or Current
The Raiders actually started with black and gold but switched in 1962 to the classic ensemble that has a badass mystique to it. I’m hoping a move to Vegas doesn’t effect this legendary look. You might hate the Raiders, but sharp is sharp.
The Chiefs duds, with a field of red trimmed with white and gold, have been virtually unchanged since 1963. Originally the Dallas Texans, Team President Lamar Hunt wanted his team to represent wearing Columbia Blue and Orange. However, Bud Adams of the Oilers chose that very shade of blue and the Texans/future Chiefs turned to the color red. It’s hard to think of the stands of Arrowhead being immersed with anything but red clad minions.
The 49ers look of the 70s and 80s was such a phenomenal vision for those with eyes to behold. Then they modernized it too much and destroyed the legacy by outlining everything with black and switching to white pants. But the attire made famous by Montana to Clark (red with white blocks/gold pants with red/white stripes) is almost all the way back to the way it always should have been (with the exception of the name on the front). Let’s hope the lessen has been learned and these become mainstays.
The Rams actually wore throwbacks (with permission) in the Super Bowl. It’s a good thing because the glad rags that they bandied-about in from 2000-2016 just weren’t right. Even though the royal blue and gold design wasn’t primary last year, they wore it more than most teams ever wear throwbacks in a single season. The Rams should wear these sublime seams at home and continue their blue and white ensembles on the road.
Green Bay Packers
You don’t really want these classics to ever change. If you like the Steelers gear with block letters, it’s basically the same design. You don’t tug on Superman’s cape and you don’t mess around with these green and gold masterpieces.
The Cowboys jerseys are iconic. They’ve played around with alternate versions and Thanksgiving apparel, but when it comes down to it...these uniforms can’t change. They’re the Yankee garb of the NFL.
I’m in the minority here but I’m more partial to the 1974-1984 Dan Fouts era look. However, the powder blue gems are a big time favorite and are finally the primary uniform for the Bolts. Throw in a yellow face mask and you’ve got the ultimate winner. Now, if they could just move back to San Diego.
I’ve always hated anything Tennessee has worn on the field of football battledom. That is until now. The switch to a darker blue hat and the handsome array of shades is pretty snazzy. This will curry much debate, but I’m loving me this look so much. Because of that, you get both home and away images.
Although I hate the logo, I really think the silver helmet paired with the all-black and process blue is the epitome of lustrous and smooth. They’ve had different combos with a blue jersey as well, but these are like the montage music for The Karate Kid...”The Best Around”. Just start from scratch with a new logo and they will be looking at Purrrr-fecrion.
The Bills have had nice duds over the years, like the awesome all-red Color Rush and even the crazy navy blue look of the early 2000s. But the modern version of the throwback with the blue pants as a primary uniform makes everything right for those rabid maniacs known as Bills Mafia.
Last week in the helmet comment section, Taari quipped that we have different tastes and the need for a reminder to never decorate a room with me. Since those dreams have been shattered, let’s state where all of our tastes lie in the comments section. Maybe Taari will give me another chance.