What is this, my third or fourth football uniform ranking post? It’s been firmly established that I, who enjoys this violent game of men running into each other for fun, also care greatly for how it looks. No, not the plays, the players. Uniforms, that is. With this upcoming season, which may or may not be played until 2021, a total of seven teams have tweaked or outright changed the overall look of their players’ outfits. I am here to tell you why I like or dislike them, because I enjoy talking visual aesthetic. It’s a passion.
To reiterate: Yes, I am going to include the Indianapolis Colts on here, despite the very minimal changes to their uniforms. Changes are changes, and even the smallest ones can alter the entire look or tone of a uniform. That said, no filibusters from here on out.
7. Atlanta Falcons
The absolute easiest choice for last place are the poor Atlanta Falcons. I despise these uniforms so much, in fact, that I almost made an entire post about just them, explaining why I loathe them. A wordy piece about the Falcons’ uniform history and what they had on before, I quickly realized it was turning into a lot of build-up for a little criticism. Probably better suited for a collective piece, such as this one.
When I look at the Falcons’ new uniform, sans the throwback one to the far-right, which is beautiful, I see an out-of-touch designer that is trying really hard to appeal to the BIG AND BOLD movement of this generation. Everything has to be big, blocky, solid, edgy, and sleek. That is the epitome of the Falcons’ new uniforms. A whole lot of one color, with lazily-imprinted stripes down the side that suggest… something. And the faded red-to-black jersey? Oh, goodness; get me a barf bag. Did they learn nothing from the Jacksonville Jaguars? Just a total mess of laziness, desire to overcompensate, and a lack of anything really creative. These aren’t just the worst uniforms on this list, they may now be my least favorite uniforms in the whole NFL.
6. New England Patriots
When I was compiling this list in my head, this being so low on the list kind of surprised me. The Patriots’ new home jersey is actually pretty good, and the navy base actually looks really good with the red and white highlights, along with the silver glow of the helmet. Well, I say “new,” but these uniforms have actually been around for the last few years as New England’s alternate “Color Rush” jerseys. The home uniform, specifically—I can’t recall if the away version was ever unveiled.
It is the away uniform that actually ends up making the Patriots’ new threads rank this low on my list. While the home jersey is good, there’s something about the away jersey, specifically, that irks me. Perhaps it’s the shoulder stripes, which overpowers the navy with the red, making it clash with the color balance. Maybe it’s the helmet to jersey to pants progression of silver to white to navy, which looks kind of jumbled from that angle. Whether a combination of both or one overpowering the other in “Ugh,” the away uniform is kind of hideous to me, which is unfortunate considering the really successful interpretation of the home outfit.
5. Los Angeles Chargers
Fun fact: Based on my perspective of the feedback to all the new uniform changes, the Los Angeles Chargers seem to be the most popular. I can understand to some degree, given the sheer amount of variety and its adherence to updating a classic look. Frankly, a lot of these uniforms are simply “inspired by history,” which means “Let’s just do what we did before with a couple modern touches.” Sure, you give the old fans a nostalgia kick, but I kind of want actual change, even if it results in the #7 spot on this list. Makes things interesting.
When it comes to my genuine thoughts on these uniforms, I come to a conclusive “Meh.” Yeah, they look neat enough, but they also give off a stench of ultra-retro that kind of makes me squint. Pretty simple in design and almost mirrors the uniforms the Chargers wore near the start of their inception in the AFL. The ones that get my attention are the alternates to the right, with the navy in particular (I seem to like navy) probably my preference among the six. Just wish it kept the yellow face mask, though. Those are really nice and unique.
4. Los Angeles Rams
Fun fact: Based on my perspective of the feedback to all the new uniform changes, the Los Angeles Rams seem to be the least popular. Initially, I was more on the negative bandwagon, as the specific image above makes the saturation to these uniforms seem disgustingly high. However, seeing them worn in better lighting made me realize something: I actually really like the (home) jerseys.
The away uniform is still putrid, though. They decided to go with a “bone” color to overtake the standard white option, similar to the Seattle Seahawks’ alternate away uniforms. That shade of blue with that hue of gray looks absolutely terrible. Add the barely visible yellow and white stripe down the pants and you have yourself a pretty bad color scheme. Don’t personally like the face mask being that saturated, either, similar to how I didn’t like the old Colts face mask.
Yet the effectiveness of not one, but both of the home uniforms gives this just a slight edge over the Chargers. Hell, I almost considered putting them together in one spot. Nevertheless, despite its apparent low popularity, I applaud the designers for going in a bit of a different direction here, even if it still kind of just looks like what the Rams have always worn.
3. Indianapolis Colts
Apologies to those who don’t know what the traditional uniforms look like, as there are very few images of side-by-side comparisons that show the whole thing. I will provide this as a basis, though.
What changed? The number font, the color of the Nike swoosh, and a new secondary logo being printed on the inner collar of the jersey. So basically, not much. Nevertheless, it is a change, and as such qualifies for this list.
Basically, do I like the Colts’ uniform? Yes. It’s iconic and has a timeless color coordination of white and blue that’s worked since its inception. Do I like the Colts’ uniform with more horseshoe-like number fonts? Sure… they barely look any different, anyway.
2. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Do these look familiar? They should, because they’re the uniforms that the Buccaneers wore from the late ’90s to early 2010’s. Some little distinctions here and there give them a little more flair, but the big draw here is whether or not you liked the Buccaneers’ look from that timeframe. Did I? Absolutely.
The only real difference here is the pewter alternate to the right, which I think looks decent. Doesn’t necessarily pop in the same way as the other two outfits do, though I appreciate the effort to make some difference for the new generation. As they are (and were), the red and pewter color combo was a really unique look that couldn’t be found anywhere else in the NFL. Lots of teams use a combination of blues and greens and reds and blacks, but pewter? That’s neat. That adherence to history I mentioned above is in full force here, so much so that they almost literally retconned the uniforms they wore for the last six or seven years (and thank the football gods for that).
The Buccaneers used to have my least favorite uniform in the entire league, and now they might be back in the top ten best. I’m only a tad disappointed that they didn’t, y’know, try and actually change something. I guess their last uniforms (read: least favorite in all of the NFL) were a result of trying to change, so…
1. Cleveland Browns
And the Cleveland Browns did the exact same thing as the Buccaneers. “New uniforms? What new uniforms? We’ve always had these uniforms. Don’t know what you’re talking about.” They converted back to the timeless look of the Browns from ye olden days, and I loooooooooove them for it.
Now, some perceptive folks might call me out on something. “If you’re so keen on change, why are the #1 and #2 spots on this list teams that just went back to old uniforms?” Well, sir or madam, that is because their recent uniforms were garbage (mostly Buccaneers, Browns’ mid-2010’s uniforms were fine) and their previous uniforms were awesome. The Browns, especially, sported one of my favorite NFL uniforms ever. To go back to it is a no-brainer, because it’s iconic, it’s beautiful, and it should’ve never been changed in the first place. Like the Packers, Bears, Colts, Chiefs, and Giants, the Browns’ old (and now current) uniform is a perfect look to represent the identity of the teams’ history and prestige… well, old prestige.
The only substantial difference I see is that they decided to keep the face mask brown instead of the old gray. Not a huge thing, though my preference for the picture-perfect uniform of Cleveland has that odd, but unique gray to it. Regardless, the old Browns are now the new Browns. Perhaps they’ll start playing like them, too. (Highly doubtful.)
What do you think of my selections? Are they dumb? Do they make you question my fashion sense? What do you think the order should be?
For more opinion pieces on this topic, feel free to check out the associated archive.
Thank you for your time. Have a great day.