Looking to celebrate a groundbreaking event for your franchise? Wanting to promote your team?
If you said “yes” to either of these questions, do yourself a favor and don’t show it by making special edition jerseys like ones I’m about to show you.
They’re only around once—or once in a blue moon—and that’s definitely for the best.
Stare too long into the star-covered warp field that is the 2008 NFL Pro Bowl jersey and you’ll fall face-first into the third circle of Hell—which is the circle where you fall asleep every night to the sound of Skip Bayless talking about his favorite bedtime stories.
“Forget the critics, and forget how fast the hare is—all the tortoise is does is win.”
Nike introduced a line of “Hyper Elite Platinum” unis to a variety of college basketball teams in 2012, but the result fell disappointingly short of the adjectives in the uniform's name.
The Platinum series gear was dominated by flat gray, with little customization for each individual team outside of light watermarks on the back and splashes of team color down the sides.
The overall thrust of the design said, “We’re with Nike” instead of “We’re a college basketball team with a time-honored tradition.”
Go Michigan! Or Notre Dame! Whoever is wearing this garbage.
It's not hydrochloric acid in your eyes, but the “Shamrock Series” uniform Notre Dame wore against Miami in 2012 was incredibly similar to the gear the Michigan Wolverines wear on the field.
The jersey itself features a ridiculously oversized number, apparently embossed with golden door knob polish. Like I said, not the worst, but it definitely wasn’t Notre Dame’s style.
‘Twas the season for indiscernible lettering during the NBA’s 2012 Christmas Day games.
The uniforms all featured a lot of redundant overlaying of colors that made reading the team’s logos almost impossible for people with poor vision, but the worst by far was the Oklahoma City Thunder’s blue and orange get-up.
You can barely read that when it’s on your computer screen, so how would anyone be able to make it out from distance?
Put away your wands, nerds. I like me some Harry Potter.
On the other hand, you can imagine that most of the people who frequent minor league baseball games probably didn't understand what was going on when the Fresno Grizzles took the field in Hogwarts-themed jerseys in 2011.
You try asking those guys if they want to drink some "warm butter beer" and they’ll get the wrong idea and leave you leaking in the parking lot.
They aren’t the Memphis Tams. They don’t need to do this to us.
The Memphis Grizzlies tried to commemorate their ABA predecessors in 2012 with this special edition uniform, but it’s likely people just thought these green-and-yellow eyesores were part of some John Deere/NBA cross-promotion.
Paid for and approved by hip-hop artist Flo Rida in 2012, these visually destructive uniforms were given to the Miami-Carol City high school football team in celebration of its 50th anniversary.
A proud alumnus of the school, we can only assume Flo Rida was trying to give back to his alma mater. Unfortunately for the Chiefs, they probably weren’t able to return these graphic-soup outfits and exchange them for something that doesn’t scream “lock me in a room with padded walls.”
The Canadiens broke out these striped nightmares in 2009 to celebrate their franchise’s 100th anniversary.
In retrospect, burning a forest of maple trees would’ve been a less heinous way to honor their predecessors.
[Insert Denim Dan/Canadian tuxedo joke here]
Great if you’re a drunk fan trying to be ironically out of style in 2013—not so awesome if you have to wear it seriously while playing against other teams in 1994.
In 1998, the Seattle Mariners had this wacky idea to begin designing a jersey for their franchise’s 50th anniversary. The only problem with that was the fact the program had only been around for about 20 years at the time, so that would require a little imagination and a big fast forwarding of the clock.
The Mariners went through with the idea, and the result was this “futuristic jersey” from 2027. It wasn’t the worst thing sports ever did to fashion, but it set a precedence that other Major League teams would take down a dark, dark path in 1999.
The whole ensemble is downright wrong, from the pink neon-izing of the Cincinnati Bearcats jerseys to Notre Dame’s radioactive Care Bear look.
Forget the fact that the shorts look like they’ve been fed to a cornered she-badger—they have SLEEVES! Built-in sleeves not attached to shirts.
Kill it. Kill it with fire.
The Steelers thought they’d commemorate their 60th anniversary by reviving the uniform design of the original 1933 team.
The result was a jersey adorned with a coat of arms, diagonal stripes and sadness.
This is just perfect, and so ugly.
Playing off the theme of “ugly Christmas sweaters,” the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins hit the sweet spot with these custom Christmas jerseys in 2011.
I don’t know anyone on the team, and I don’t care—I want one.
Camouflage jerseys have been worn time and again by sports teams in the name of paying respect to America's armed forces, but the look rarely works.
First of all, it only works in earth tones—you know, your surroundings. Second of all, it's used as a tactic for increasing stealth, and ultimately, survival.
When the pattern shifts over to the blues of UNC and Marquette, or Ohio State red, it's not a good look.
You either love the Toledo Mud Hens for celebrating Star Wars Day with special edition Chewbacca jerseys or you want them to fly their pod racers into a burning brick wall.
That being said, of all the publicity stunts put on by minor league baseball teams to attract attention, this has to be the goofiest.
Excuse me, your bars are showing! Bumblebee tuna!
The Steelers went full bumblebee in order to celebrate their 80th anniversary as a franchise in 2012, donning the goony Dijon mustard and black barred uniforms that were the team’s standard playing attire in 1932.
As James Harrison himself said, “There’s a reason these jerseys were from 1932...it’s 2012 now, so send them back.”
The 2013 McDonald's All-American game was a joyous experience if you had the eyes of a red-tailed hawk and could tell who the players on the West team were.
Zubaz ended for a reason, everyone.
The Milwaukee Admirals “asked” sportscaster Bob Uecker to design their jerseys for a special promotion, and they paid for it in spades.
I don’t know what it’s promoting—besides Bob Uecker and apparently mothballs—but just looking at these jerseys makes you want to eat pancakes.
Here’s the television spot they ran for the Admirals’ jersey remake:
See, you’re dipping your shoulder.
The 1979 NBA All-Star jerseys look like they started being made correctly, but then a textile worker’s arm got tired.
Hockey jerseys: Now with mistletoe! And regret!
Worse than any probing done by any alien ever.
The New York Mets changed their name to the “Mercury Mets” for a “Turn Ahead the Clock” game against the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1999.
The game has been called “the worst uniform matchup between two baseball teams.”
The price is wrong, Fresno.
They’re so much uglier than the other camouflage jerseys that they deserve their own slide.
Oregon’s decision to don these patch-ridden charcoal abominations during their 2011 spring game was not only an affront to the eyes of the general public, but could easily have been considered a slight on the men and women of our armed forces.
Seriously, there’s a steep slope of diminishing returns on uniform patches, and this one threatens to outdo a NASCAR driver’s race suit.
To protect and serve is the calling of the law enforcement officer.
But even the long arm of the law couldn’t shield the general public from the Quad City Mallards “Police Appreciation Night” jerseys. They’re cops. Not Billy the Kid impersonators.
To be fair, had they won a modern cop-themed uniform the team would’ve looked like some kind of Chippendales flash mob on the ice.
Go home, the '90s. You’re drunk.
Like it or not, there was a good 10 years that occurred between the '80s and the year 2000. It was a strange time period, and it produced a lot of regrettable fashion, notably this kit worn by Mexican goalkeeper Jorge Campos during the 1994 World Cup.
It’s considered by some to be the “worst jersey ever”, and you will never un-see it.
Racist. Insensitive. Stupid.
There’s no shortage of words you could use to describe the controversial “Latino outreach” jersey designed by the Rockford Icehogs in 2012.
Perhaps the first reason this jersey never should’ve been made is because it’s one of the ugliest things ever sewn together by man.
The Pirates turned ahead the clock into a future where pirates are still pirates, because piracy as a trade doesn’t change much with time.
The Tuscon Padres are the Triple-A affiliates of the San Diego Padres, and for one night only this coming June they will be wearing these hamburger-sunrise throwback jerseys for “Disco Night.”
Mark your calendars accordingly.
I’m not considering alternate jerseys as “special edition” for this list. Except for this one.
The 1995-96 St. Louis Blues alternate jerseys were made and ready to be worn for play, but never ended up being used. According to legend, Blues head coach Mike Keenan refused to take the ice with his team wearing this grease fire of fashion terribleness.
This isn't a jersey. It's a war crime that thankfully never happened.