The Worst Uniforms in the History of Every NFL Team
The NFL is filled with a great history of amazing players, legendary teams and memories that will last a lifetime. Of course, with these memories, there are also some moments in time in which we would like to forget.
This is a list of the worst uniform ideas for every single franchise in the NFL. The only qualification for this list is that the team has to have worn the uniform for at least one official game in the NFL.
Some teams like the Dallas Cowboys and Chicago Bears have uniforms that have been virtually untouched in their team history. But within every franchise, there is at least one uniform set that just makes you wonder "why?"
Here is the list of the worst uniforms for every NFL franchise.
Arizona Cardinals: Team Decides to Wear Black in 2010
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The Arizona Cardinals unveiled a new black alternate jersey for the 2010 season. Along with it, they added black piping to their pants and added black socks as well. For a team that has never in their history had black as one of their main colors, this was a confusing move.
Somehow, it seems that Reebok told the Cardinals they needed to make more in jersey sales, and they decided to put together this mess. Anything for the almighty dollar.
The problem with the entire set is that it clearly doesn't match. The cardinal bird itself has red feathers. Only a little part of its head has black. Other than that, black doesn't really fit. The helmet looks out of place with the entire uniform set.
And worst of all, the lasting memory of this uniform is Derek Anderson's infamous postgame meltdown after losing in that uniform. That will probably be the only association this uniform will ever have...and that's no laughing matter.
Dishonorable mention: Whenever the Cardinals wear red on red, it just looks too heavy. It's not very visually pleasing to look at on TV, either.
Atlanta Falcons: Identity Crisis Forces Them to Mix and Match
In 2003, the Atlanta Falcons decided to change their image and add a very unique look to their uniform set. These black tops would only last for two seasons as the red alternate jerseys ended up being the main look for the team.
The problem that came with this was that the team had options for uniform combinations. The team had already introduced black pants to go with the black jerseys, and someone decided it was good to throw that with the red jerseys.
One of the problems with this combination was that it looked like something that a high school team would do. Whenever a colored jersey is brighter than the pants, it is best to avoid putting those two together. Fortunately, the Falcons no longer wear this set, and the black pants are now only reserved to go with the black jerseys.
Dishonorable mention: Something about the Falcons in silver pants just doesn't look right.
Baltimore Ravens: Inaugural Season Is One to Forget
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The Cleveland Browns moved to Baltimore in 1996, and a uniform change was in need for the name change. The Ravens decided to go with purple and black for their new look but failed to execute.
Adding a purple top with black pants gave the fans in Baltimore a misleading feeling. Aren't Ravens supposed to be black? Why is the team wearing purple jerseys?
The team's first helmet logo was too big. Much like the uniform numbers, it just looked too heavy on the players. And the white piping down the pants really was too much of a contrast to the pants to work.
Fortunately, the Ravens now wear a much more visually pleasing uniform look. Even though the team should switch to their black jersey full-time, it's an upgrade over what they first wore.
Dishonorable mention: The team went back to purple tops and black pants this season. I hope this was a one-time thing.
Buffalo Bills: Current Uniforms More Painful Than 4 Straight Super Bowl Losses
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How could a team with this gorgeous uniform set stick with what they currently wear?
When the Bills introduced this uniform set in 2002, I was left confused as to who would approve such an atrocity of a football uniform. The imaginary shoulder pad outline looked like something a child would have drawn up. The piping down the jersey doesn't match the piping down the pants at all.
And if you look closely at the helmet stripe, you can locate five different colors on it. That's just too busy.
Their road uniform version of this set is just as bad.
Dishonorable mention: None. All other uniforms in their history are way better than what they currently wear.
Carolina Panthers: Why Are the Road Pants White?
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The Carolina Panthers have only the three uniform sets they have had in their entire franchise history, so there weren't many options to choose from.
The team's main home jersey is black, which is the color of the cat the team is named after. The blue tops are the exact color of the blue that North Carolina is known for. Both these jerseys are paired with silver pants. It matches the helmet. It works.
But when the Panthers are on the road, they wear white pants. Why is that? The uniform set would look so much better with silver pants. Continuity is always a plus.
It's been this way since the team was created back in the 1990s, and it doesn't look like they're going to change it.
Dishonorable mention: With only three sets in the team's history, they don't have one that qualifies.
Chicago Bears: Stripes? Let's Never Do That Again
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The Chicago Bears haven't done much to their uniforms for a few decades, and that actually is a very good thing. But when the NFL celebrated their 75th anniversary in 1994, the Bears decided to go throwback.
More like throw it away.
It looked like the team was ready to go to the Kentucky Derby. It was a one-time thing, and I'm glad the team no longer wears it. Bad idea to allow the blue and orange stripes to make their way onto the football field.
Dishonorable mention: Monochrome works for some teams, but for the Bears it doesn't. When the helmet, jersey and pants are all the same dark color, it just doesn't look good.
Cincinnati Bengals: No, Those Aren't the Browns
In 1968, Paul Brown was given the OK to be a part of the expansion Cincinnati Bengals. But with a very nasty departure from the Cleveland Browns, Brown decided to make his mark again in the league.
The Bengals needed a new uniform set in their first season, and Brown decided to model his new team after his old team. From a distance, both the Browns and the Bengals' uniforms looked nearly identical. Brown wanted to recreate what he had in Cleveland but instead, he created a very confusing situation for the state of Ohio.
It wasn't until 1981 that the team decided to add stripes to their helmet. That season, the Bengals went to the Super Bowl. Sometimes change is good. Imagine the team's luck if they had changed that set sooner.
Dishonorable mention: The entire current uniform set is pretty bad. But this is the worst combination of it.
Cleveland Browns: Shouldn't the Browns Wear Brown?
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The Cleveland Browns are known for wearing brown. It's in their name. So when they decided to wear this orange jersey back in 2004, it left fans confused.
Were they ditching the brown to be the Cleveland Oranges? Not really. The team eliminated this orange jersey and went back to the brown tops.
The Browns are the only team without a helmet logo and the only team that wears brown. It's a unique look and a great homage to Paul Brown's time with the team. It's something that should be kept.
They're the Cleveland Browns. They need to stick to brown, not orange.
Dishonorable mention: But brown doesn't need to go to their pants. The poo stain look was experimented with by head coach Eric Mangini during the 2009 preseason. It was heavily criticized, and it was never worn during the regular season.
Dallas Cowboys: There's Actually a Bad Cowboys Jersey?
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The Cowboys wear their white jerseys at home because they want to enhance the colors on the TV with the opposing team's dark jerseys. It's a nice look that is one of the most classic designs in all of sports.
But because they wear white so often, their blue jerseys are considered unlucky. Sometimes, teams will wear white at home to force the Cowboys to wear their blue tops.
Also, with the blue jerseys, the team has to switch to silver pants (compared to their home greenish blue pants). The set is unlucky to the team, and it isn't seen often. If the Cowboys could somehow wear white all the time, that would be best.
Dishonorable mention: The home whites. The silver helmet doesn't match the silver pants. There are three shades of blue on the entire set. Plus, the template is totally different from the blue uniforms. Consistency helps.
Denver Broncos: Would You Like Some Mustard with Your Chocolate?
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Not much explanation needed for this one. Honoring the past is a great thing. But there's a reason why the team no longer wears this set—it's very ugly.
The colors are not the best to use of a uniform. Plus, some players twisted their socks so it would look like the front door of a barbershop. Overall, it was just a bad idea to let the Broncos wear this.
Let's hope we never see this again.
Dishonorable mention: In their current uniforms, when they line up, it's like a bunch of commas. It was an experiment started by Nike when they were the outfitters of the NFL back in the late 1990s. It's time for a change.
Detroit Lions: Nothing Seems to Go Right for the Lions
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Like the Cardinals, the Lions tried to make black happen. A few years ago, the team decided to trot out the black alternates. Clearly this was not a good look as black had never been part of the team's main colors.
With this look, the jerseys clashed with the helmet, which featured very few black elements. And since the Lions are the Lions, the uniform change didn't help their success on the field. The team ditched the black jerseys and now have a new set.
But they still are the Lions, and their new set hasn't given them any new luck.
Dishonorable mention: Barry Sanders in blue pants? That wasn't a good idea. It only lasted for one season.
Green Bay Packers: Tell ACME to Pack These Uniforms Away
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Can one of the most storied franchises have a bad uniform set? Yes they can, if they go throwback.
Going along with the 75th league anniversary throwback craze in 1994, the Packers brought back the tan pants and broad yellow shoulder blades to the scene. They wore it only for that 1994 season, and it was really an eye sore.
Plus, a logo-less yellow helmet wasn't very appealing to the eyes, either. It looked like they were trying to create a Michigan Wolverines uniform but never finished.
Their current set is a classic, and it should remain that way forever.
Dishonorable mention: All their other uniforms look really great, since they haven't changed anything since the 1960s. Even their 1929 throwbacks they wore this year weren't even that bad (but weren't that great). I'll let that slide.
Houston Texans: Houston, We Have a Red Problem
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For the past few seasons, the Texans have tried to promote "Battle Red" to the fans. The team introduced red jerseys a while back, and it just doesn't seem to fit. It first started with just a red top along with white pants. But in the past couple seasons, the team decided to add red pants into the mix.
The team's entire uniform set consists of blue being its main color. When they added red jerseys and pants, it really stood out. The helmet just doesn't seem to fit with the rest of the set.
Navy blue on bright red really doesn't turn out too well on the television, either. Maybe it's time to eliminate the entire set all together. A fresh look could be what the team needs to stop blowing games late.
Dishonorable mention: All their other uniform sets. They're not that well designed.
Indianapolis Colts: Let's Not Mess with a Good Thing
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For one game in the 1995 season, the Indianapolis Colts wore blue pants. It actually wasn't too bad, really. The issue that I have with this look is that they tried to make something different from their classic look.
The Colts have worn white pants for their entire franchise history. Trying to change it up was something new but not memorable. The team never wore the blue pants again, and the Colts still maintain one of the best uniform sets in the NFL.
Imagine if they wore the blue jerseys with the blue pants? Disaster.
Dishonorable mention: There really isn't any other set that the Colts have that can be considered to be bad. But because of the age of tighter uniforms, the team has truncated their shoulder stripes significantly.
Jacksonville Jaguars: Doing a Little Too Much Too Early
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In the team's brief history, the Jaguars made minimal changes to their jersey way too often. They first started their inaugural season with one number font. Two seasons later, they changed the number font and added a very unnecessary black stripe down the side of their jersey.
The black piping down the jersey didn't connect with the piping of the pants. In fact, it really had no place on the uniform at all. Aesthetically, it just didn't feel like it belonged.
The team would ditch it the following year, and the Jaguars would continue to wear one of the most underrated uniform sets in all of football.
Dishonorable mention: In 2009, the team decided to introduce the NFL world to a new uniform set. It had no sleeve logo and a weird stripe that began from the chest and went to the back. That's the kind of stuff you see in college.
The Jaguars' current set doesn't really fit well with the linemen, however.
Kansas City Chiefs: Do They Even Have a Bad Uniform Set?
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The Kansas City Chiefs actually do not have a bad uniform set. In fact, they can't, because they have only had two looks their entire franchise history.
Their current set is simple, and it has to be considered a classic. Even when the team went throwback last season to their Dallas days, it looked so similar to their current set that there wasn't any real fault to find with the uniform.
Change is good. But in the Chiefs' case, change isn't necessary.
Dishonorable mention: Not applicable.
Miami Dolphins: Did They Really Think That Was a Good Idea?
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In 2002, the Miami Dolphins decided to try going teal on teal for a game. Such an idea was bound to happen since the team had teal jerseys and teal pants. It was hard to grasp since the team had never worn the combination before.
Ultimately, the teal on teal action never was worn again. For the Dolphins, they now often just go all white at home and on the road these days. It's a much cleaner look.
Now only if they can completely eliminate the dropshadow from the numbers.
Dishonorable mention: The following year, the team introduced the world to their orange tops. For a team that's been known for their teal colors, this was a look that took a while to getting used to. The Dolphins rarely wear this look, but one of their greatest games in team history occurred when they wore the orange tops.
Minnesota Vikings: They Look Like Grapes on the Field
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To set the record straight, the current Vikings uniform set is one of the worst in the league. But when they decided to go monochrome with purple on purple, then it just got a whole lot worse.
I don't know if making a team look like a bunch of mobile grapes on the field is a very good idea. In sports, it seems that the average fan can only handle so much purple at once. When it's the entire team wearing that combination, it doesn't look pleasant at all.
Looks more like something the Purple People Eaters threw up after seeing that uniform on the field.
Dishonorable mention: No other uniform set in the team's history is as offensive as this current set. So more unnecessary purple gets this dishonor.
New England Patriots: Flying Elvis Has Entered the Building
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Adding the logo on the shoulder pads was one thing. But to make it so large clearly was a sign that the team wanted to make sure fans knew what team was on the field. Not a very good decision as the uniform set would only last a few seasons.
What made this jersey unique was that if you looked closely at it, it actually had some form of pinstripes. Was it their attempt to imitate the stripes of the American flag? Whatever their reason was, it was scrapped.
New York Giants: Big Blue Is Wearing Red?
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Somehow that team that's known as "Big Blue" decided to wear red. The team's current road uniforms are majority red but making a red alternate? Come on G-Men!
The red alternates were only a two-year experiment before the team decided that it was not a good idea. The Giants are blue, and that's the color they need to stick to. I'm sure they made the Giants wear red just because Reebok needed more jersey sales.
The clash of the blue helmet on the red jersey is too similar to when the Texans trot out their red shirts. Let's put those away in the closet forever.
Dishonorable mention: If I am going to be critical of the Giants wearing red, then I should go back to 1933, where it all began.
New York Jets: Gang Green Is Too Green
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The classic New York Jets uniform of the 1960s was revitalized in 1998. After a few seasons, the team decided to add green pants into the mix. Combining the pants with both the white and green jerseys, the Jets added a modern touch to their uniform set.
I suppose that changing something that already is considered a classic is something that doesn't sit well with me. The Jets wearing all green reminds me a little of Boise St. going all blue on their blue turf. Granted, it's not the same with the Jets playing on green grass, but it's pretty close.
The Jets don't wear this monochrome look too often. In fact, the Jets don't even wear the green pants more than a couple times a season. It's a trend that took in effect when Rex Ryan was hired to to be the new head coach.
Dishonorable mention: All the other uniform sets the team has had have been pretty simple. Their jerseys of the early Keyshawn Johnson days were pretty basic, and their Titans throwbacks are really nice. With that said, no dishonorable mention is required.
New Orleans Saints: Less Gold, More Black
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The Saints decided to add black pants to their set in 1999. The problem with these black paints is that the gold stripe down the side was too big. Obviously, they were using the template for their gold pants, but it just didn't seem to turn out that great.
The team currently has black pants without any side piping. That's slightly better, but with the Saints, I think the gold pants should be worn all the time.
These pants were worn for only one season as the team decided to go back to gold pants the following year. Also in 1999, it was the first time the team changed their numbers from gold to black.
Dishonorable mention: Somehow I feel like this could have been avoided.
Oakland Raiders: A Classic Design That Looks Good the Whole Way
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The Raiders' uniforms are classic. Silver and black is an identity that, in my opinion, may be the best uniform in all of football. The Raiders have kept that look for their entire franchise history. It's a look that's so good, there is nothing wrong with it.
You add on the history of the team from the Super Bowl years to its move down to Los Angeles and to its return, the uniform is a classic. Can't go wrong with it.
Dishonorable mention: Doesn't apply to the Raiders if you want to ignore that one time they had gold and yellowish in the early 1960s. And that looked OK, too.
Philadelphia Eagles: Cover Your Eyes, You Don't Want to Be Blinded
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This throwback/throw it away was introduced for only one game in September of 2007. It's an homage to the city and the team's history. But did they really have to take the color of the city flag and make it into a uniform?
The colors are too bright. The socks look terrible. The helmet is atrocious. Just a bad idea all around.
Pittsburgh Steelers: Adding Some Flapping Wings to Their Sleeves
From 1962-1966, the Steelers featured this very odd sleeve which was a blotch of yellow. It really had no place being on the jersey. The team still had its classic helmet, but the sleeve looked like bird wings. That's not a good image the Steelers want to have.
Soon enough, the team ditched this design and went with their classic look. But before the Steelers began winning Super Bowls in the 1970s, they didn't look very intimidating with the yellow flaps.
Dishonorable mention: In 1994, the Steelers went throwback to an era that had stripes, a logo crest in the front and tan pants. It was a one-time thing. Very strange that the Steelers wanted to look like bumble bees on the field.
San Diego Chargers: You Got Rid of the Powder Blues for This?
The San Diego Chargers' powder blue jerseys are probably the best uniforms to ever hit the NFL. But in 1974, the team decided to make navy blue their main color, and the NFL world cried.
The new duds didn't feature any classic powder blue. It had the classic lightning bolts, but the pizazz was gone with the navy blue. Navy blue isn't very much a San Diego kind of color. The beautiful skies are power blue, and that's what the Chargers lost out on.
Ever since 1974, the team has kept navy blue as their main color. Only every once in a while, the powder blue makes an appearance during a game. But it's not often enough. This uniform set is the worst ever in Chargers history because it ended an era of a classic.
Dishonorable mention: Once again, the monochrome look shows its ugly head. This was from a Monday night game in 2003.
San Francisco 49ers: Your Uniform Should Have Gold, Right?
Back in the 1950s, the 49ers featured no gold on their uniforms. Very strange for a team named after gold miners.
With no gold helmet, there were, of course, no gold pants. The 49ers would then correct this issue and win Super Bowls. But for one short period of time, the 49ers had no gold whatsoever in their uniform set.
Dishonorable mention: Some fans have complained about the Super Bowl throwback uniform from 1994. Well, not much can be said when the team wins in that uniform. But the following years saw the jersey get darker, and the 49ers success started to disappear.
St. Louis Rams: Let's Try That Again, Shall We?
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Fortunately for the St. Louis Rams, images from their game against the 49ers in 1994 are a rare find. This was another throwback game from the 1994 season, and the Rams went with the yellow tops.
Normally yellow tops aren't too bad as we've seen most of it in the college football scene these days. But back then, it was a new thing, and it was bright. The jersey was too plain, and the sleeves didn't have the classic ram's horn.
One good thing about this uniform set was that the Rams decided to not wear their normal yellow pants. Imagine a team of bananas on the field. The Rams did right by going with white pants.
Dishonorable mention: Have I mentioned how much I dislike it when teams have the same color helmets, jerseys and pants on at the same time?
Seattle Seahawks: Highlighters Are on Sale in Aisle 12
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For years, the Seahawks have tried to make their neon green a happening color. Their sideline wear isn't even the team's main color anymore. So when they introduced these jerseys in 2009, the entire NFL world was shocked.
Earlier in the year, there was an Internet hoax about a green jersey. It didn't seem realistic that a team would wear such a bright color. But the Seahawks did make it happen because they wanted to honor the Seattle Sounders FC team. It was a one-game thing as the jerseys were scrapped to be never worn again.
It's just too ugly.
Dishonorable mention: The team's monochrome set isn't too bad, but it's still too boring. The Seahawks should bring silver back into their color scheme.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: The Orange Creamsicle Is So Bad That It's a Classic
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Bucco Bruce is one of the worst logos of all time. Creamsicle orange was a bold choice for an expansion team. Overall, the uniform set was too wild for the time. Plus, the Buccaneers didn't win much either.
Over the years, the team has embraced their roots and have brought back the uniform set as a throwback. It wasn't the most visually pleasing uniform out there, but it was so different that fans had to take notice. Adding orange and red, two very similar colors, was a huge risk. The Buccaneers pulled it off though.
Maybe if the team had a better logo, there wouldn't be so much criticism for the set. But remember, it is the Buccaneers.
Dishonorable mention: In the light, sometimes the pants look brown. In some other light, it looks silver. The pewter color of the Buccaneers is a very confusing color.
Tennessee Titans: So What Are Your Team Colors Again?
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When the Houston Oilers moved to Nashville to become the Tennessee Titans, they changed their uniform set. They kept the same team colors but emphasized navy as their main color. Then after that, they decided to make powder blue their main color.
Now, they're fully committed to have both. For most of their home games, the Titans wear their powder blue tops with the navy blue pants. It's a clash of colors along with their white helmet. As mentioned before, jerseys that are lighter than the pants doesn't make for a real good look. It's something a high school team would do.
The Titans need to commit to one or the other. Don't try to mix and match the different possible combinations. They should stick with white pants full-time to clear up this mess.
Dishonorable mention: Too much powder blue.
Washington Redskins: Bury the All-Burgundy Idea
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On the night before election day in 2008, the Redskins decided to be bold with their choice of uniform. The team had employed burgundy jerseys and pants for years, but they were never worn together. They wore it on that Monday night and lost to the Steelers.
As mentioned before, monochrome from top to bottom is very hard to take in. Plus, the socks are also burgundy, so there isn't a break in color until you get to the shoes.
The Redskins have had good uniform combinations over the years, and this is not one of them. Fortunately, this set has never been used again. Now, the Redskins have introduced yellow pants into their team set. It's a clear upgrade.
Dishonorable mention: Fortunately for the Redskins, all their other uniform sets in their history are pretty good. So they don't have any other bad ones out there. Although, I wouldn't mind them going back to this one full-time.
What Does the Future Hold for the NFL Uniform?
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In 2012, Reebok will no longer be the provider of the NFL uniforms. Nike will take over, and the company has promised there will be changes made.
It is uncertain whether the changes made will have to do with newer, technologically advanced fabric or an entire overhaul on uniform design. It's a mystery that we'll have to wait to see unraveled...if there is any more football in the future.
At least now, we know what styles have worked and what styles should be avoided. Not everyone is going to agree with this list, but at least it does bring up some common trends in the history of NFL uniforms.