NFL uniforms are forever changing. Sometimes teams want to capture the flavor of the past, other times they’re trying to shake off the bad luck and create a new identity.
The designers behind those outfits often nail it, but occasionally they really miss the mark. Check out all the NFL uniforms, both good and bad.
The only reason a person wears a uniform this detestable is because they are getting paid millions of dollars over a multi-year contract. True, the team is called the Browns. I get it. But why take the most hideous shade of brown from the brown palette and cover the players in it from head to toe? Do you think they like that? For practicality’s sake, the number is stamped on the jersey in orange. Because had they stuck with the all-brown color plan, it would be rendered invisible.
So, they went with orange, but not just any orange. Oh, no. Again, they chose the most horrid possible version, Halloween pumpkin orange. And that’s their accent color? Perfect. Ugly on ugly. What is worse? Suiting up in the eyesore of a uniform or looking at it? I’m not sure. One thing is certain, the Cleveland Browns won this contest. Ugliest NFL uniform, ever.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Browns uniform is truly unpleasant, but the Tampa Bay Buccaneers come in a close second. The Bucs uniforms are so bad the editorial board over at the Tampa Bay Times felt the need to plead with the club. “It’s time for a historic change.” We think the helmets might be passable if it wasn’t for the overinflated pirate flag. But, here’s the thing, red and orange clash and the result is an affront to the senses. On top of that—as if the color scheme was not bad enough—those numbers!
Are those even numbers? They’re more like a bad trip flashback to the prehistoric analog home screen. Then again, not exactly. Maybe designers thought creating their own number font would look cool and fierce like a lightning strike, instead, it just looks dumb. But here’s the bottom line, “Fans have suffered enough,” the Tampa Bay Times summed up, “They deserve a better-looking product that is worthy of their hard-earned dollars.”
Thank goodness for the tiger stripe helmet, it’s a strong presence. But, again, we have trick-or-treat orange to contend with. The use of it on the V-neck is hard to look at while adding nothing to the Bengals jersey. Some Cincinnati fans blame Nike who took over the uniform contract from Reebok in 2012. Others say it goes back further than that. The two design flaws that are most offensive to fans are the wide white stripes going down the player’s side and the shadowing on the numbers.
The designers of the uniform claim the white stripe represents the white underbelly of the ferocious Bengal tiger, but critics argue, they don’t see it (I don’t see it, do you see it?) They also say it is pointless and distracting. (Agreed.) The shadowing on the numbers adds nothing, no sleekness, just weakness. Finally, in short, according to the sports aesthetic pros at Uni Watch, the uniform is a “Bengalian” mess. I think they are on to something.
We’re going to get nitpicky with the Cardinals uniform. It’s not that bad, it could be much worse, but the deficiencies scream for revision. For starters, the chalk-white helmet is so old school. Same with the grey facemask. Why not red or black? The jerseys, a modern design, clash with the old-fashion lid. Cut from a fine cardinal hue, they might look pretty sharp. But, no. Instead, random splashes of black swipes mar the jersey.
Additionally, the team’s alternate jersey is black. Why? This worsens all the nitpicky issues of the standard cardinal uniform. And, frankly, dressing the Cardinals in a black shirt for game day makes no sense, this is a team name that clearly evokes all shades of crimson red. If you’re still not convinced, a market research poll by FanJuicer ranked the Cardinals uniforms dead last.
New England Patriots
The New England Patriots may be the winningest team in the league but they’re not winning any fashion shows. The team’s biggest problem is the logo. There are some amazing logos in the league; you’ve got the Chargers bolt, the New England Saints fleur-de-lis, the Cowboys star, but just look at the abomination the Pats wear! What in the heck is it?
If you stare at it long enough, a face with a long, unrecognizable head stretching back into a point like a wing of a bird becomes apparent. But by then, you don’t even want to look at it anymore. It’s terrible. Team logos are important, and the New England Patriots have a lot of work to do in that department.
The Jacksonville Jaguars have a very fine logo, but don’t bother looking for it on the team’s upgraded “Nike Vapor Untouchable” jerseys. The fierce jaguar image is simply not optimized. A tiny logo is stitched on like a name tag sticker over the front breast. And that’s it. The Jags uniform is, quite possibly, the plainest and most boring in the entire league, and it’s all because of the jersey.
It comes in three colors, white, black and teal, but none of them stand out, they’re all just as plain. One saving grace is the new-generation helmet. It’s a sleek all-black shell with a black face guard, emblazoned with a stunning jaguar logo. It’s a huge improvement over the last, which was a half-gold, half-black shell, spray-painted with the blending aesthetics of a graffiti artist.
The Houston Texans give the Jaguars a run for their money when it comes to uninteresting uniforms. The Texans jerseys implement some red accents but to negative effect. The player number outlined in red is, at the very least, somewhat effective, but the reds filling in the wide V-neck and arm stripes are just distracting. The helmet, on the other hand, beautifully employs the horned logo against a backdrop of a solid and tasteful blue.
Though the new brand by Nike has introduced many of the worst unis ever to the NFL, the Texans are spared. Suiting up in the all-navy blue Color Rush with red accents looks rather impressive. Unfortunately, it is worn sparingly, and only at very few games. Last season, the team was allowed to wear it just three times.
This look is not as bad as the time the Detroit Lions ditched the bright blue jerseys altogether for bright red, but it leaves room for improvement. The numbers, for instance, barely pop in that washed-out shade of grey. On television, the numbers downright fade.
The helmets are sleek, and the logo is effective, but nothing works when they dress in the monochrome grey uniform. The infamous all-grey Color Rush uniform is a total disaster, it’s just plain ugly. It would be better suited for pajamas.
In general, when we’re talking about the Denver Broncos, Halloween orange is back to haunt us. But what we have here is the alternate blue uniform featuring that offensive shade of orange filling in the collar of Nike’s new “Nike Vapor Untouchable” look that looks remorseful on any jersey.
The Broncos have had their fair share of uniform changes, some good, some bad, but in the 1980s and early-1990s they shined, and not just because John Elway was killing it. The 1987 NFL MVP delivered two Super Bowls and a string of divisional playoffs. But those uniforms were classic. Maybe a switchback would bring the team some old school Broncos NFL dominance.
Let’s start with FanJuicer’s market research poll of uniform preferences. The Tennessee Titans are ranked 27. Out of 32 franchises in the NFL, the Titans sport the 27th least favorable uniform, according to fans. Why is this? Well, critics say it starts with the logo. The Titans logo, a reference to the monstrous mythological giants, shows no resemblance.
Some think it is one of the worst NFL brands. The helmet is promising at first but then marred by the big “T” logo. Again, when they try to bring Titan themes to the uniform, it doesn’t make sense. On the sleeves, a grey triangle shape is supposedly representative of a sword, but no one sees it. And, finally, the numbers. The font is a clash of the Titans; analog trying to look modern.
We like the silver horn logo emblazing the helmet, it’s the highlight of the uniform. It endows it with character. But why would they choose black for the facemask when there is literally not a drop of black on the uniform? The jerseys are capped nicely at the sleeves, but beyond that, they’re so dull and boring they put us to sleep. The number is plainly stamped.
A gold outline would have surely made it pop. Better options are available. Most Vikings fans prefer the nostalgia of the pre-2006 classic uniforms, why not bring some of that greatness back?
New York Giants
The New York Giants uniform is decent. Ranked at 21, other NFL uniforms are worse. The thing that pulls it behind is not so much the current iteration, but the fact that the older, fan-favorite Color Rush throwback uni was so great. The Color Rush jersey is awesome, all other variants pale in comparison. Everyone loves it. It is the jersey style fans look for at NFL gear shops.
Designated for away games, the shirt is white with a tidy red trim. Blue numbers and stripes finish it up. The Giants logo, with the name written out, brightens the blue helmet. Designed to pay homage to the Big Blue Wrecking Crew of the 1980s, the throwback uniform represents the Giants looking their best. Why not go with that?
Some fans in Atlanta would like to see the Falcons go back to their red helmets and silver pants. The all-white uniform just doesn’t cut it. Others say the Atlanta Falcons uniform is one of the best in the league. In January of 2020, the organization announced a brand-new look lined up for the 2020 season. It will be the first time in 17 years that the Falcons will implement a full-scale change.
Team owner Arthur Blank announced in a letter to season ticket holders, “Time and again, we’ve heard you ask for new uniforms over the years. We’ve listened to your feedback and worked closely with Nike and the NFL over the past two years to create a look that represents you and reflects Atlanta’s culture, pride and unity.” How exciting! We can hardly wait for fan reaction to the new uniforms once they are unveiled.
The Carolina Panthers celebrated their 25th year in the NFL during the 2019 season. After all these years, management has not once significantly altered the club’s look. Just recently, the team upgraded to the new Nike “Vapor Untouchable” uniforms, the last team in the league to do so besides the Packers. The players reportedly love the lightweight jerseys.
Panthers equipment manager Don Toner said, “It’s kind of like shrink wrap on you. Very form-fitting. But you can move well in it.” The only problem is that the uniforms themselves got virtually no upgrades. Slight changes include removing the panther head patch from the pants for flexibility and switching out the dazzle cloth on the shoulder to make room for the Nike label. One thing is new, a 25 NFL seasons patch adorns each jersey.
Los Angeles Rams
The Rams uniform ranks 29 on FanJuicer’s poll. That’s pretty low. We’re keeping them in the middle ground because the team is in transition and no one knows what the new look will entail. The Rams have bounced around from Los Angeles to Orange County, out to St. Louis, and now back to Los Angeles to play in the brand-new SoFi stadium in Inglewood, CA.
Uniform styles have rolled with the punches, the most recognizable being dark blue with gold horns. But there is no word yet what the uniforms will look like at SoFi. There is some speculation that the franchise will bring back the old 1980s colors, considering the current white uniform ranks so low with fans.
Pictured here in forest green uniforms, with the iconic wing blazing across Eagles helmets, is what fans love. Since 1933, the dark green uniform has defined the team. For some reason, management moved them to a lighter shade of green in the 2000s. Fans complained. Across the board, the new look was not well received.
Even star players DeSean Jackson and Fletcher Cox and others want the classic Philadelphia Eagles uniforms back.At the NFL Annual Meeting, owner Jeffrey Lurie eased anxieties saying they are working on bringing the kelly green jerseys back as an alternate uniform.
New York Jets
Since the New York Jets broke into the NFL in 1960, they have had four different looks. But in 2019, the Jets donned a new one, their first makeover in over 20 years. After the new style was announced, the news triggered a minor Twitter meltdown. Fans reacted, dissing the new look with Tweets like, “They’ve played like a high school team long enough. Might as well dress like one.”
Jets president, Neal Glat claimed the new digs should provide the team a strong home-field advantage. By the time the season started, fans warmed up to the “Gotham Green” helmets featuring an updated logo, and they started to see the bright side of the latest jerseys. The official colors of the Jets jerseys are, “Gotham Green,” “Spotlight White,” and “Stealth Black.”
The Washington Redskins got lucky with their colors. Burgundy, gold and white deliver a robust presence on the field. Unfortunately, these uniforms bring something less welcome to the line of scrimmage as well. A culturally insensitive logo emblazons the deep red helmet, and many people feel Native Americans deserve better.
But not the ever-famous NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. Last we heard, he announced the Redskins will not be changing their logo or their name any time soon. He said Redskins owner Dan Snyder agreed. So, there you have it. The NFL maintains its right to disregard concerns over culturally sensitive issues.
The Seattle Seahawks unveiled a new look in 2018. Pictured here, we have dark jerseys with white pants. This uniform combo is not that hard to look at. But, do you see that slime green accent? Now, imagine the player dressed head to toe in radioactive alien green. You don’t have to. They actually exist. The “Action Green” uniforms were unveiled at a Monday Night Football match against the Vikings in December of 2018.
Immediately, fans pilloried the uniforms, comparing them to neon highlighter pens. One NFL fan Tweeted, “Those Seahawks uniforms are comically bad.” Each time they bring the neon Color Rush uniforms to the field, fans freak and protect their eyes with shades.
Putting aside the controversy over the latest Miami Dolphins logo, let’s look at the 1966 throwback uniforms. Fans adore the old look. The turquoise numbers on the white jersey pop triumphantly. The orange outline provides the perfect accent. These uniforms remind fans of Super Bowls, Shula and Dan Marino; an era of greatness.
When the Dolphins wore their aqua jersey throwbacks, as we see here, they scored back-to-back wins, including overcoming the insurmountable New England Patriots. But, here’s the thing. Even if they lose wearing the fan-favorite throwback uniforms, at least they look great and fans are happy. Maybe one day the team will switch to the throwback jerseys for good.
The Baltimore Ravens rocked their best look in a black-on-top uniform, perfectly suiting the aggressive nature of the club’s feathered obsidian moniker. Those uniforms had white numbers with gold and purple trim set upon a sleek black jersey, it’s the look of dominance. Purple-on-purple, not so much. They also tried purple jerseys with gold pants. It wasn’t much better.
Here’s what’s best, black or purple jerseys and white pants, topped in the existing black Baltimore Ravens helmet, the one that is inscribed with a golden raven graphic. This is excellence. This is the look of the Ravens. The Color Rush monochrome style is detested league-wide, and, to be honest, a purple-people-eater look on the Baltimore Ravens was never going to fly in the first place.
The Pittsburgh Steelers uniform has always commanded a strong presence. Even the Color Rush uniforms, monochrome black on black, never cease to stun. In 2016, Uni Watch ranked the Steelers in the No. 1 spot. They had two words for the uniform: “First-rate.” The three stacked stars logo makes it one of the most recognizable logos in the league.
The only complaint fans have had over the years is when the franchise changed jersey number fonts from bold to italics. This seemingly slight alteration happened 20 years ago. They’re still complaining. Last year FanJuice ranked the Steelers uniform at 6. And while these ratings are very subjective and based on personal preference, the Steelers in black and gold are a force to behold.
Green Bay Packers
Another high-ranking, ever-popular uniform comes from the Green Bay Packers. FanJuicer put it at No. 2. The greatness of the franchise could probably make any uniform look great, even so, the team’s green and gold ensemble is a cut above. But, look out. A 2020 uniform shake-up may throw a wrench in the system.
The Packers are scheduled to introduce a throwback uniform for the coming season. Team president Mark Murphy confirmed the news. The throwbacks will be an all-white or all-green optional jersey based on the 1937 uniform. You never know. Fans will either love it or hate it, and we will hear about it for sure!
Kansas City Chiefs
Red, white, and gold are winning colors. The Kansas City Chiefs bring it. This year, the Chiefs uniform took them all the way to Super Bowl LIV, which they won, so there is hardly a complaint to make. Meeting up with the Giants in February, the Chiefs chose red jerseys and white pants. Smart move.
That uniform combo won the day, making the team 2-0 Super Bowl champs. In 1970, they beat the Vikings at Super Bowl IV wearing the red-on-top combo. White on top with red pants triumphs as well. It’s a winning uniform in any combination. It’s got great colors, a fearsome helmet, and an enduring logo. The uniform has remained the same throughout the history of the club, and it’s for a good reason. If it’s not broke, don’t fix it.
Yes! Blue and white and an effective logo. The fine blue hue of the Indianapolis Colts makes the Colts one of the only NFL teams who look stupendous in the Color Rush uniforms. Blue-on-blue was a bold move for a traditional club that has changed little through the years. But not everyone agrees.
We rate the Colts at 8, but Todd Haislop at Sporting News put them way down on the list at 25. That’s eighth-worst. His biggest gripe? Black cleats. Haislop, who calls the traditional franchise boring, suggests white or blue cleats. (Rolls eyes.) Naturally, these uniform rankings are very subjective, but we’re going to stick with eighth-best for the Colts.
San Francisco 49ers
The San Francisco 49ers came this close to donning their iconic throwback uniforms to face the Chiefs at Super Bowl LIV. The fan-favorite throwback uniforms have had a solid history of dominance for the 49ers at the Super Bowl—undefeated for three separate titles. But, no.
Instead of the all-white uniform of champions, they showed up on the football field in Miami on Super Bowl Sunday in their regular away uniform, which is a white jersey with gold pants. The 49ers colors, red, white, and gold, are performance-grade, classic, a winning combination, and they had a great season, but not this time. Too bad. The Kansas City Chiefs suited up as winners and took the championship.
The Chicago Bears uniforms have been top-notch from day one. Make no mistake, navy, and white and orange accent will rock any stadium. What could be better? Check this out. The club has recently introduced its new 1936 throwback threads. Running back Tarik Cohen aptly noted, the new uniforms are “Swaggy.”
The franchise hit 100 just last season. In 1920, the Bears dressed in red, but by 1925 the team color went navy and never went back. The throwback uniforms revisit a white jersey with navy and orange stripes, gold pants, and coordinating striped socks. The Bears.
In the NFL, few uniforms rival the distinction of the Dallas Cowboys’. The Cowboys entered the league in 1960 and have become a pro football powerhouse. Equipped in white and steel blue pants with a silver helmet and blue star, you know a Cowboys player when you see one. Since their inception, the Texan franchise has always worn white jerseys at home, but in 1968 the team tried out blue jerseys.
After a couple of key losses, fans and team management developed a sense that the blue shirts may be cursed. For unknown reasons, those blue jerseys were reintroduced in 2019 for six regular-season games. In the very first match, Dallas was pitted against the New York Jets, and the jinx rang true! The Cowboys succumbed to the Jets in blue. Will the blue uniforms come back for the 2020 season?
You’ll hear very few complaints about the uniforms coming out of the Buffalo Bills locker room. What can go wrong with slick royal blue jerseys and a charging bison logo? The team’s alternate uniform for away games looks just as snazzy rocking white jerseys and blue pants. The uniforms have altered little since the Buffalo Bills’ inception, and for good reason!
On the other hand, all red from shoulders to cleats is a bit taxing to look at, but we can blame Nike for that. The Bills were one of the first NFL teams to suit up when Nike first unveiled the Color Rush uniforms in 2015. Stellar uniforms have yet to bring the Buffalo Bills a Super Bowl appearance this century, but the team did manage a 10-win season in 2019. Quite a feat. Their last 10-win season was 20 years ago.
New Orleans Saints
The New Orleans Saints place 3rd for best uniform in the NFL. As one of the top three, this team could have easily contended for first place. The Saints uniform is so unbelievably awesome it’s hard to stop looking at it. Jet black and regal gold pair an unstoppable look. Topped off with the classiest logo in the league, the Saints arm themselves with the noble fleur-de-lis.
The black symbol of black fleur-de-lis on a gold shell and is a symbol of French royalty that made its way to the Louisiana territory and now defines New Orleans’ favorite team. The fact that the team represents dominance, commanding a consistent presence at the playoffs, only emphasizes the incontrovertible truth that the Saints honor the greatness of their formidable attire.
Los Angeles Chargers
The Los Angeles Chargers first suited up as the San Diego Chargers in powder blue jerseys emblazoned with yellow bolts. Those old school uniforms were nothing short of iconic. In 2012, the NFL Network named the San Diego Chargers organization “best uniform of all time.” The light blue look harks back to the Sixties when the Charges dominated with Hall of Fame receiver Lance Alworth. And now, the baby blue look is back.
Pro Bowler cornerback Casey Hayward gushed when he heard the classic uniforms were coming back. “Maybe because it’s so soft. That blue, it’s so soft. So it’s not too heavy on the eye. And it’s light. You can look up—it’s sky blue right now—and it just reminds you of it.” Hayward had been rooting for the uniform change for years. It’s just what the Chargers need to settle into their new home at SoFi Stadium in L.A.
The Oakland Raiders are on the move again, but they look as strong as ever. The team’s inaugural season in 1960 was launched in Oakland, but a move to Los Angeles in 1982 made them the L.A. Raiders for 13 seasons until the team moved back home to the Bay Area. Now, the Raiders are leaving California altogether and will henceforth be known as the Las Vegas Raiders.
The team will play in the incredible, state-of-the-art Las Vegas Allegiant Stadium. The state of Nevada is thrilled to get an NFL team for the first time ever. (Maybe MLB will be next?) In January, the franchise announced it will retain its legendary black and silver uniforms. Whew! Fans were relieved to hear the same awesome uniform and iconic logo will greet Raider Nation from the team’s new location. Why mess with perfection? Up next: Some of these teams have since got their act together but we still can't forget these terrible NFL uniforms of the past.
New York Jets Went Mad Green in 1998
The classic New York Jets outfit from the '60s was for some odd reason brought back to life in the year 1998 - with some horrible tweaks. A few seasons later, on looking at the green shirt, the team felt it necessary that more green would really drive home the point, whatever that point may be. So in 1998, the New York Jets were gloriously, and ridiculously green.
Thankfully they toned it down. Nowadays you can see only a few splashes of what they refer to as "Gotham Green", perhaps as a symbolic reminder of their sordid past. Never go monochrome. Let that be remembered.
Atlanta Falcon's Had to Mix and Match in 2003
It was a year that the Falcons were trying to re-invent themselves and add something wildly uniqe, maybe to overcompensate for something, we're not sure. Since no one could settle one particular item, the team decided to create options. And thus the problems began. The Falcons had far too many options, black pants, with black jerseys, and then red jerseys,
It all seemed a little...high school. Especially with the brightness and intensity of the colors. Thankfully the Falcons learned from this and have since not been mismatching like they were.
New Orleans Saints Overdid it in 1999
When the Saint added the black pants, they tried to make it a little flashier with the gold stripe. Unfortunately, the gold that ran down the side was just a tad too chunky and didn't exactly fit the sleek and royal look they were aiming for.
That look only lasted a season as the next season they followed it with all- gold, a slight upgrade. But still not quite hitting the look that they wanted to, which, from what we can tell is some sort of French-Louisianan royalty. But at least now, we can rejoice, for the black pants with the gold piping are no longer
Chicago Bears: The Travesty of 1994
What is going on here? This bizarrely striped jersey with totally contrasting colors is simply an eyesore. First off, pick a side, vertical or horizontal. Also don't just 'draw in' in a V-neck. The number placement is also disorienting, either slap it in the middle or leave it out. The whole thing just sort of resembles a kind make-shift Halloween football costume for a 9-year-old. odd.
For some reason, the team thought this look would be appropriate to celebrate their 75th anniversary. We suggest that the next time you celebrate your team with this uniform, it's for retirement.
2004 - When the Cleveland Browns Weren't Brown
With the word brown in, you would think they would try and incorporate this particular shade into the uniform. Apparently not. It seems like whoever designed this might have viewed that as merely a suggestion and opted to just go for orange, Why orange? Well, we have no idea. It would be an understatement if fans felt a little confused that year.
Sadly, the Browns, it seems have been fighting with their name for years. They may have since dropped the orange, but their choice for the particular shade of brown they have now is...upsetting. Don't overcomplicate it, guys. Brown is brown.
The Denver Broncos Weird Color Scheme in 2009
We shall get to those socks in a minute but first. Why mustard? How does this horrible shade evoke the image of winning athletes? If ever there were to be a football team made from those forever relegated to the benches, brown and mustard would certainly be the appropriate colors for them. Also, that sad attempt at brightening up those brown pants with two ugly yellow stripes is disheartening.
Okay, now for the socks. Not only are they so badly misplaced, but they also just got their own random colors. They didn't even bother to keep with the brown and yellow on the top. Perhaps they thought that different color socks would salvage it. Well, the answer is no.
When The Green Bay Packers Looked Like Cartoons in 1994
To celebrate their 75 years in the league, the Packers thought it might be fitting to don bright yellow. In the spirit of the celebratory throwback outfit, the team brought back the original tan pants and yellow-colored shoulder blades. Fans said it seemed like they were trying to recreate the Michigan Wolverines.
Thankfully they wore it for a single season in 1994 and they have not looked back on this 'Acme' themed disaster since. And today, they look pretty good!
When The Giants Tried To Turn Back The Clock
The Giants have long since transitioned from the original red uniform to the now very flashy blue one. But in 2016 they decided to bring it back and go red. Fans didn't like this so much as they had grown accustomed to their blue giants over the years. Still, changes happen and people had to accept. It seemed out of character but sometimes you just gotta switch it up.
Now they can still be proudly called the "Big Blue". So long to this two-year experiment. At least they kept their helmet blue, even if the colors clashed a little.