Tuesday, September 29, 2009

ranking NFL uniforms, 1-32

Due to the popularity of my Ugliest NFL Uniforms Ever post, I figured it was time to take a break from blogging about the UN and the amusing things that happen there and take some time to rank the NFL's 32 teams by their uniforms, best to worst. I care deeply about football jerseys and have since I was a little kid, which is funny because I care very little about fashion and certainly not what I myself am wearing. But at age 6, I was already quite convinced I wanted to root for the 49ers over the Broncos in the first Super Bowl I watched, and the coolness of San Fran's helmets and the crappiness of Denver's was a not insignificant factor.

So here we go. Because there's so many teams, I've divided them into 5 tiered divisions. While I've ranked them according to my order of preference, you can make a strong case for any team within a division topping out another. So if you're a cheesehead and want to explain to me how the Packers uniforms are DEFINITELY better than the Bears, fine, I'll hear you out. Vikings fans, however, shouldn't even try.


You'll notice that I like old school uniforms. Teams that wear exactly what they wore in the 1950s and 60s generally get major bonus props with me. Except for the Steelers changing lettering fonts a few years back (for the better, I think, if you compare old vs. new), these are all as old school as they come.

Most controversial on this list will be the Browns, because of their odd team colors and logoless helmets, but I've always been a big fan of this look. Anytime I watch any of the teams on this list play each other, it takes me back to my childhood, curled up on the couch watching December football and old NFL Films videos with the Chicago blizzards pounding against the windows of my parents' house. It'd do the same for my parents, if they had ever given a damn about football.


Of teams with recent (last 10 years or so) uniforms, the Patriots, Falcons, Titans and Buccaneers are clearly the best. The Jets get props for their switch in the late '90s back to the Joe Namath style, which was vastly superior than the shlock they wore in the 80s. But occasionally they wear these Pop Warner League green pants which are unworthy of pro ball. The 49ers also went retro this year, which are far classier than their recent uniforms. The Ravens' uniforms are excellent and I ding them only because it's hard to tell the difference between the purple and black. The Redskins' uniforms, though fine, were better in the 70s. (And of course, there's the whole name controversy thing.) The Cowboys' uniforms, though classic, annoyingly have a completely different color blue on the numbers than they do on the helmets. (This has bothered me since I was about 8 years old watching Troy Aikman and Emmitt Smith lay waste to the Buffalo Bills year after year.)


These teams have generally inoffensive but meh uniforms. Whether it's general boringness, weird design weird alternates, or a new look that's worse than the old look, all of them could be better than what they are.


Now we're getting into unfortunate territory, teams who look like they belong in NFL Europe or Arena League. Denver's helmets, for example, have the best logo in the team's history (some of their past ones are, um, best forgotten) but the jerseys are a bland betrayal of the team's identity. Denver's primary color is and has always been orange, and there's more than enough teams with navy as their main color. I would rank Denver far higher if it wore these alternates all the time. The Jaguars, meanwhile, need to go back to 1998. The Rams need to go back to LA. The Lions' slightly improved uniforms are still irrelevant, and the Dolphins' wacko colors could only be pulled off by a Miami drug kingpin.


These are the only teams where I literally do not want to watch the game if they are playing, because the uniforms are so dreadful. Minnesota's bizarre and spacy design makes me miss the Fran Tarkenton era. They look like storm troopers from Star Wars except with purple helmets. The Bengals' uniforms, never the best, have in recent years acquired garish accoutrements, and their alternates are epically awful. The Buffalo Bills took a great thing and turned it into a hideous thing (yet another team trying to use multiple shades of blue and failing). And then there's the worst of the worst. Seattle's regular uniforms are actually pretty good, although the home uniforms make them kinda look like giant condoms. So why the worst ranking? This is why. The Seahawks entered heretofore unknown territory with their ectoplasm-green Power Ranger/GI Joe Eco-Warrior/traffic cop alternates they trotted out on Sunday Sept. 27 against the Bears. (See the Worst NFL Uniforms Ever post from Sept. 28.)

Got a gripe? There's a comment page below. Let's hear it.

No comments: