NFL: 9 Jerseys We Never Want to See Again
It could be argued that it doesn't matter what uniform a team wears. A jersey comprised of a hideous combination of colors is a pretty distant second to competitive spirit, in determining whether or not a team will win.
Bill Parcells, for one, would surely disagree. The legendary coach instituted uniform changes for the New England Patriots and the New York Jets. This thinking was no doubt based upon the idea that a new culture requires a new image. Parcells wanted uniforms that made his teams look tougher, lending weight to the idea that 'perception is reality.'
Mike Shanahan did the same thing with the Denver Broncos and did anyone ever really take the Tampa Bay Buccaneers seriously before they unleashed 'pewter power?' If fans find it difficult to stomach the site of their own team's jerseys, imagine how the players must feel wearing them?
Ultimately, a team's talent level will determine its wins and losses. Some franchises have regularly made the playoffs wearing some truly awful uniforms. Here are nine NFL jerseys that in an ideal world, will never be allowed to see the light of day again.
9. Buffalo Bills
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In the early nineties the Buffalo Bills offered definitive proof that a uniform can never really prohibit success.
The Bills made it to four consecutive Super Bowls wearing their staid royal blue jerseys and scarlet red helmets. Despite being a perennial contender for the Lombardi trophy, the Bills jerseys always made them appear a plain and bland team.
The irony was that the Bills were anything but bland. Built around Jim Kelly and their wide open, 'K-gun' offense, the Buffalo squads that snared four straight AFC conference titles, produced some of the most exciting games in NFL history.
Attempts were made during the last decade to jazz up the design. Finally it seems that general manager Buddy Nix and head coach Chan Gailey want a new image for their rebuilding project. The Bills intend to incorporate some of their original AFL design into their uniforms in 2011.
8. New York Giants Red Jersey 2007
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It's not so much an aesthetic indictment, but the New York Giants decision to adopt red jerseys during their 2007 Super Bowl season, still warrants a place on this list of shame. The reason is that the red jerseys represent the baffling decision some teams make to interfere with a tried and true formula.
The New York Giants are one of the league's flagship franchises. The blue jerseys are synonymous with the Giants. Hence the nickname 'Big Blue.' It somehow seems deeply wrong to seem them wearing anything else.
Yet for some reason attempts to change this classic NFL uniform are allowed to creep in from time to time. Some changes are more subtle like the increased amounts of red trim or the red numbers on the road uniforms. The Giants had last worn red jerseys in the early fifties, crucially, before the advent of televised games. Why change back?
There is an element of comfort in the permanence of some NFL jerseys. No matter what else goes on in and around the league, Giants blue will always be a part of the NFL landscape. The combination of colors may be as old as the franchise itself, but that's not necessarily a reason to change.
7. Chicago Bears Orange Jersey 2006
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This is a similar argument to the one made against the New York Giants. Why alter something that works? When the Bears made the decision in 2005 to alternately adopt orange jerseys, they were needlessly messing with a classic formula.
The navy blue jerseys have been as much a part of Bears lore as the 'Monsters of the Midway' nickname. Going with orange jerseys briefly undermined the marauding toughness commonly associated with the Chicago Bears.
Thankfully the orange jerseys were eventually ditched and Chicagoans got to see their beloved Bears return to their traditional, more fierce look. The orange jerseys serve as an important reminder that when something has endured for so long, there's probably a good reason.
6. New York Jets Kelly Green
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The 1997 season was all Bill Parcells could take of the New York Jets kelly green jerseys. In 1998, the tuna thankfully made the decision to bring back the uniforms worn by the New Yorkers in Super Bowl III.
It was the kelly green jersey combined with a helmet of the same shade of colour which gave the Jets an altogether uncomfortable appearance. For years the New York Jets toiled away in this cheap and garish excess of green.
These lent the Jets a cartoon look and contributed to the image of them as New York's inferior NFL franchise. Since reverting to the colours of their glory years, the Jets have managed to maintain the appearance of a contender, largely performing as a much more professional and efficient team.
5. Green Bay Packers Throwback Worn in 2010
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The most shocking sight of the 2010 NFL season was not a bone jarring collision or a spectacular, leaping catch. The honour was easily secured by the atrocious throwback uniforms worn by the Green Bay Packers in a week 13 showdown with the San Francisco 49ers.
It is a measure of how much the 49ers didn't want to play for the overbearing Mike Singletary, that they were unable to take advantage of this Packers eyesaw. The abominable jerseys alone should have been motivation enough.
The fact that the Packers won handily while wearing uniforms that made them look like some kind of liquorice mutation, was a testament to the talent and desire of Mike McCarthy's eventual champions.
4. New York Jets Throwback Worn in 2008
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Brett Favre's tenure in the Big Apple divides opinion. But the fact that he managed to hurl six touchdown passes in a single game, despite wearing this bizarre jersey, means his talent should not easily be forgotten.
Similar in style to the throwback uniforms the Green Bay Packers subjected decent people to in 2010, the Jets 2008 connection to the past, just might have been worse. Bringing back a jersey which combined deep blue with numbering of a gold shade, more closely resembling mustard, made the Jets barely recognisable.
Resembling a cross between a Packers throwback and something the San Diego Chargers might wear for a bet, this is one jersey the Jets should be duty bound to warn us about in advance, the next time they feel the need to wear it.
3. Denver Broncos Throwback 2009
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A team with a rocky history with uniforms, this Denver Broncos AFL original narrowly shaded the more famous orange and royal blue worn during their first four Super Bowl trips, to come in at number three.
Words barely serve to do a person's gut reaction justice when casting eyes upon this uniform. The yellow jersey is certainly no innocent in this horrendous crime. When combined with the brown trousers you wonder how it ever gained the approval to be worn on a football field in any age.
But the toughest sentence would surely have to be reserved for the troubling sock design, somehow managing to give bumble bees everywhere a bad name. This kind of scary cartoon uniform can't have helped eradicate the early derogatory image some football people had of the AFL.
2. Tampa Bay Buccaneers Original Orange Uniform
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It may seem as though a personal vendetta against the colour orange is being played out here. But you wouldn't find many who would disagree that changing uniforms was one of the best decisions the Tampa Bay Buccaneers ever made.
In 1997, the Buccaneers finally decided to ditch this camp combination of colours which had come to embody the ongoing failures of the franchise. Pairing the Florida orange with the winking pirate served to make the Bucs seem the natural whipping boys of the league.
Wearing these uniforms Tampa Bay looked out of place in the rough and tumble NFC of the day. Although still wearing these uniforms, while competing in an NFC Central known as the 'black and blue' division, must have taken some guts.
It may surprise many that this jersey didn't comfortably top the list. But in 2009, NFL fans were cruelly subjected to a far greater horror.
1. Seattle Seahawks 2009
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O' dear. You knew it would take an impressive effort to look worse that the original Tampa Bay Buccaneers uniform. But in 2009 the Seattle Seahawks easily brushed aside the winking pirate with this blinding catastrophe.
It would be nice to think that then head coach Jim Mora jr's typical wide eyed enthusiasm wasn't the sole determining factor behind the Seattle Seahawks baffling decision to send their players out looking like this. If so, it should be the last time the franchise ever gives that much power to a coach.
This jersey is so bad it makes the fact that the Seahawks changed a perfectly good uniform immaterial. Seattle could have previously been wearing the Broncos throwback and this jersey would still have succeeded in lowering the tone.
The luminous celtic green didn't last long. Some kind soul within the Seahawks organisation eventually took mercy on the public. Yet the painful memory emblazoned from the sight of this jersey threatens to linger for a long time to come.
There were many candidates which didn't quite make the list and some that were maybe a bit harshly treated, given the decade in which they appeared. Thankfully though, design strategies have evolved with the times. A good thing in a league which often believes that image can breed success.