Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Baltimore Ravens Top Rankings of NFL Uniforms
As a full-time retail graphic designer and a moonlighting sportswriter, this article is right in my wheelhouse.
I spend most of my life working with color, composition and trends while daydreaming about hot reads and zone blitzes. No, I'm not an expert on NFL uniform designs. Nobody is—this is still purely subjective.
Here's how I think all 32 teams visually stack up.
32. Indianapolis Colts
I can appreciate tradition, and maybe we've been blinded by a decade of excellence, but the truth is these jerseys were outdated before they even left Baltimore.
31. Buffalo Bills
30. Dallas Cowboys
Get out your pantone book, Jerry Jones, these uniforms are a mess.
The rarely-worn darks get a pass—navy, silver and white. Boring, but no confusion.
But what the heck is going on with the Dallas whites?
The blue in the jerseys is a different shade from the navy in the helmets. Not a defined, intentional two-tone, but a gaffe that clashes just enough to momentarily divert our attention away from the more glaring flaw.
Turn down the cyan on those pants, they're not close to the silver helmets! Are they supposed to be? There's a noticeable mismatch, yet it's close enough to look accidental.
There's only two colors in Dallas' white uniforms, and they botched them both.
Like the Cowboys' 2010 season, this is horrific execution.
29. Kansas City Chiefs
I don't necessarily dislike the McDonald's color combo, but where some longstanding uniform designs have a nostalgic feel, this one seems outdated and crusty.
28. Detroit Lions
The design is mundane, but everyone knows that "Honolulu blue" is the Motor City Kitties' calling card.
Unfortunately, these uniforms are Downy soft.
Put it this way—how tough would Megatron look in something like black and silver?
27. Washington Redskins
Aside from their politically incorrect mascot, there's really nothing to say about the Redskins' uniforms.
The design is boring, and every high school conference in America is represented by a burgundy and gold squad.
In short, this uniform is a yawner.
26. Seattle Seahawks
As much heat as the Seachickens get about the neon green, that's really all they have going for them.
I realize I'm on an island here, but I'm absolutely crazy about the way the green accents pop against the steely blue. It's more daring than Don Draper with a new secretary. However, the rest of the uniform is incredibly bland.
Say what you want—these rock.
25. San Diego Chargers
I'm sorry, Chargers, but if you want to win this contest you need to come with your best. The dopest (copyright Randy Jackson) jerseys in all of sports are hanging in your closet, and until you permanently dust off the powder blues, you'll be punished with a poor ranking.
Is the egomaniacal A.J. Smith calling the shots in the equipment room, too?
24. Denver Broncos
This is an expected, carbon copy redesign solution—make the team colors darker, ramp up the saturation, and add a few aerodynamic swoosh elements. It's solid execution plucked straight from the pages of Uniform Redesigns for Dummies.
Uniforms like this always make a splash, but are generally over-designed and experience short lifespans.
23. Pittsburgh Steelers
22. Chicago Bears
These babies don't even look right without dirt on them. Dripping with blood, sweat and tears, the Bears still sport the "Monsters of the Midway" vibe.
Like Pittsburgh, I wouldn't touch these classics. If it ain't broke, don't fix it. The look is simple and generic, but there's pride in every last fiber.
21. Atlanta Falcons
So they're red and black.
Long a fan favorite, I think these are one of the more overrated uniforms in the league. I dig the helmets, but nothing else about the design sets them apart from anyone else. The leg swoosh has become a standard among newer designs, and the shoulder treatment is below average.
I think Michael Vick's cool factor gave us a false impression of these uniforms. Once the human highlight film left the A-Town, they were exposed as ordinary.
20. Green Bay Packers
Very basic, but oozing with nostalgia.
It doesn't take a trained eye to realize that these uniforms are unspectacular, but the Packers let their trophy case do the talking.
The unassuming look is a perfect fit for a small town team that's owned by the people. They won't win any beauty contests, and that's fine—they don't want to.
19. Houston Texans
18. San Francisco 49ers
In 2009, the 49ers returned to their throwbacks.
We're instantly taken back to the '80s dynasty, when putting on one of these jerseys meant you'd earned something. The design is plain, but the colors are as unique now as they were when Joe Montana was hoisting the Super Bowl MVP trophy above his head back in 1981.
17. Arizona Cardinals
These are slick, and they have some staying power.
16. Carolina Panthers
15. New Orleans Saints
14. New England Patriots
These colors don't run.
While the current uniforms get high marks, the throwbacks would rank even higher on this list. Featuring a center in your logo goes against the grain, and scores big points from people like me.
13. New York Giants
I love that the blue home jerseys skip the shoulder stripes. Very modern.
The same treatment is given to the numbering for both jerseys—no dated outline. I dig how the subtle, progressive design concepts blend perfectly with the old school block lettering. It's brilliant.
There's a right way and a wrong way to do a redesign, and the Giants nailed it. They salvaged the equity built up by the "Big Blue" squads of yesteryear, yet they're as fresh as any team in the league.
12. New York Jets
Like their crosstown rivals, the Jets did a lot of things right with their redesign.
I love the simplicity—their minimalist approach doesn't waste a thing.
This design would work in 1950 or 2050.
11. Minnesota Vikings
The Vikings own purple, and they cranked up its brilliance in the redesign.
The beauty of these uniforms is the balance of new age design elements, a classic color combination, and the horn.
I don't care what anyone says—never lose the horn.
These uniforms sparkle, regardless of venue.
10. Jacksonville Jaguars
A personal favorite.
The teal, black and gold have a "flavor of the month" feel, but 15 years later they're still holding up very well.
Unique colors, a custom design, a regionally relevant logo and a splash of alliteration—this uniform just "works."
Too bad nobody's there to see it.
9. Cleveland Browns
8. St. Louis Rams
The Rams went from blue and yellow to navy and gold, but they did a very nice job of retaining the core principles (specifically, the curled horn).
The Rams have averaged 13 losses per season over the past four years, and they haven't had a winning record since 2003.
Flip that record upside down and these uniforms start to look a lot better.
7. Miami Dolphins
6. Tennessee Titans
The two-tone blue is a bit soft, but it's complimented sweetly by the red accents. Overall, this uniform is crisp, clean and very easy on the eyes.
I consider this a fantastic redesign that does proper justice to the Oilers.
5. Cincinnati Bengals
As a design snob, I'm going against my better judgement here, because in a lot of ways I think the Bengals' uniforms are corny, tacky, gaudy and busy.
However, they're funky fresh, and they get loads of points for uniqueness.
These are without a doubt the most identifiable uniforms in the league.
4. Philadelphia Eagles
3. Oakland Raiders
2. Baltimore Ravens
1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
These uniforms were all the rage back in 1998 when they were unveiled, and they're still killing it. The color scheme of red, black, a hint of orange and the defining pewter is completely out of the box.
I'm a big fan of the creamsicles, but while many teams go backwards with redesigns, the Bucs upped the anti.