There’s something fun about an NFL team unveiling a new uniform. There’s a level of anticipation that tiptoes the ever-so-thin line between nervousness and excitement.
Some uniform changes are a home run that captures the exact desires of a fan base. Others are faceplants that get tangled in their desire to be modern or different.
A slew of teams, particularly in the 80s and 90s, really nailed their initial uniforms. Simplicity and fun colors helped set their uniforms apart and become timeless pieces of NFL history. Some teams have mostly stuck with those strong looks.
The Packers, Steelers and Raiders all stand out as teams with good uniforms that have mostly stuck with their look over the last 50 or so years.
Other teams like the Vikings and Cardinals strayed far from their original, classic, clean looks to don more piping and paneling to include more splotches of color. The trend quickly wore off, though, and those uniforms became outdated. They’ve since returned to something closer to their classic threads.
Then there are teams, like the eight we’re going to discuss, that have changed their uniforms at least once and still haven’t reached something as good as what they wore in the 80s or 90s (when NFL uniforms peaked, if we’re being totally honest).
This group of teams needs to rebrand to a full-time throwback:
There’s something so easy about black and red and white. It’s a terrific color scheme, but it doesn’t need all the accoutrements of piping or paneling or color gradients. Atlanta needs to go back to something more plain and let the black, red and white be the star. Doing this would immediately lift bits of whatever curse is hanging over the franchise.
The dark blue and orange is not that good of a color scheme to begin with. Couple that with the fact the design looks like a default create-a-uniform look from ‘Madden 2002’ and Denver has a truly rough getup. The good news is the royal blue and orange were one of the best looks in football, so going back to them will once again make the Broncos uniform set elite.
It’s undeniable that some teams got it wrong with their rebrands in the 90s. The 49ers, for example, had some truly abysmal uniforms in that stretch. For the Jaguars, they knocked it out of the park with their initial uniforms in the 1995 season, making a couple of slight adjustments a few years later (most notably stylized numbers instead of block). It’s an undeniably 90s look with the Jaguar on the sleeves, the gold and black shadowing on the numbers, and the thick striping on the pants, but it’s a good look that carries a ton of nostalgia. They’re the rare team where simplifying their uniforms didn’t make it better.
Honestly, the current uniforms are fine, but why did they change their logo? The Dolphin wearing a football helmet is iconic, and they changed it for a logo that looks like it was designed for a football team in a movie where there’s a football scene but it’s not about football. Ultimately, the Dolphins’ new uniforms are significantly worse than the old ones, even if they’re not egregiously bad.
They’re so close! They brought the Kelly Green in as a throwback this year, which is terrific. It is an A+ uniform. That needs to be the full-time look, though, especially because of the white road joints with the gray pants. Philly has good uniforms and the dark green isn’t a bad look, but it pales in comparison to the lighter shade. A permanent switch back to Kelly Green would turn an Eagles jersey into one of the most desirable in the sport.
Every iteration of the Seahawks uniforms since their switch away from the original royal blue, green and silver has been bad. Their current set is serviceable, but there’s still a lot going on, and the “action green” is just a touch too cartoonish for us. They’ll be doing the royal blue throwback jersey in 2023, and it wouldn’t be a surprise if people loudly begin clamoring for a full-time return to what is easily the best uniform in team history.
The Creamsicles are elite. Debate your uncle who pours his milk before his cereal.
These belong to the Titans. It doesn’t matter that the Texans are the Houston team now. The Titans were the Oilers for two years in 1997 and 1998, plus the franchise history of the Houston Oilers belongs to the Titans. With that out of the way, the Houston Oilers uniforms are way better than anything the Titans have put out since 1999. They could keep the current Titans logo, just slap it on a white helmet with the light blue and red colors. It would immediately become the best uniform on the field almost every Sunday.