August 10, 2004

Frinklin’s Fashion Show- The NATIONAL! FOOTBALL! LEAGUE! Volume 1

Think of this as a sequel to the Best of College Football uniforms. All rankings are purely subjective, though if you disagree you are almost certainly wrong.

AFC East
1-New York Jets
It took the J-E-T-S JETS-JETS-JETS nearly 30 years to figure out their best uniform had been abandoned in the 1970’s. The current look, a throwback to the Joe Namath years, is slick and distinctive. It also beats the hell out of those bland 80’s greens.

2-Miami Dolphins
The Dolphins, while often ridiculed for somewhat less than ferocious mascot, perfectly fit the area in which they play. It’s hard not to get a tropical vibe when you see the aqua uniforms and white helmets. They’ve been experimenting lately: adding the all-aqua look and the alternate orange uniform. They shouldn’t, what they have works.

3-New England Patriots
According to the New England Patriots, red, white and blue is perfectly acceptable for the Stars and Stripes or Captain America, but just not good enough for the Super Bowl champions. Yep, the Patriots have upgraded to Navy, Silver and Crimson, and if Captain America were a happening, with-it fellow, he would do it too. As for the uniforms themselves, they’re okay. Nothing particularly special, and ten years down the line the Flying Elvis helmet is still goofy. The all-silver alternate is awful.

4-Buffalo Bills
Still, the Patriots look better then this mess. The Bills switched to a darker blue a couple years ago, and decided to add some odd shapes and stripes, because hell, Buffalo is dull, it can use some perking up. The overall look is awful, topped by the most ridiculous uniform piece in the NFL: the mismatched stripes. Yep, when the Bills wear their blue pants with the blue jerseys, the stripes up the side don’t match. The pants have a thin red stripe with tiny white and silver stripes on either side; the jersey has a solid red stripe. That is all you need to know about these uniforms.

AFC South

1-Tennessee Titans
These are probably the best looking of the new-school NFL uniforms, unless we’re talking of the dark blue pants and light blue jerseys, less said about them the better. The look is distinctive and modern without being goofy or too jarring. The different colored shoulders work, and the helmet logo, while rightfully derided as a flying thumbtack, is at least memorable. Still, the team wimped out when renaming them the Titans: the Tuxedos or Hound Dogs work better, and would be a hell of a lot cooler. How “Titanic” is Nashville anyway?

2-Houston Texans
The Texans might be a bit on the bland side, but the Texans have a clean and functional look. This is another team that does almost-red, white and blue, though they’re closer than either the Pats or Bills. I like the steer head logo too; cool and instantly recognizable. Almost as important: the Texans do the alternate jersey right. It is the same as the blue, just red. Not to garish, not too goofy.

3-Jacksonville Jaguars
Speaking of garish and goofy… Actually, the Jags have a nice basic uniform: the greenish teal jersey with white pants and black helmet look good. They just go overboard on the alternates. Is anything uglier than the teal jersey-black pants combo? Maybe the black on black on black is. As anyone who has read my previous Fashion Shows, know: I hate the overuse of black in sports uniforms, and you can’t do much worse than these.

4-Indianpolis Colts
Then there are the Colts, a 180-degree turn away from Jacksonville. These unis are almost offensively bland. We have lots and lots of white, some blue and a couple stripes: that is it. I like tradition, I like it a lot, but this goes too far. Jacksonville finishes ahead due to better base jerseys.

AFC North
1-Pittsburgh Steelers
Now these are uniforms: good use of color scheme, easily recognizable, and (most important) a name and logo that strongly identifies with the city. The Steelers get extra points for the inexplicable but cool fact the logo is only on one side of the helmet. Pittsburgh also manages to look both traditional and modern. A-Plus uniforms.

2-Cleveland Browns
There admittedly isn’t much you can do with Browns, but the name and look of this team fit the working class city they inhabit. Notice when the team was reborn in 1999 there was no talk of updating the uniforms in any way. Still, the uniforms are dull to anyone who is not a diehard Brown fan. They also have a misguided orange alternate uniform. Here’s an idea: resurrect the nearly forgotten Brownie.

3-Cincinnati Bengals
From the department of full disclosure: When I was eight, I loved the tiger stripes. So much so, I persuaded my parents to buy me a Ken Anderson jersey and helmet in time for the 1981 Super Bowl. I was heartbroken by the evil of Joe Montana, and in a couple years the hometown Seahawks hired Chuck Knox, drafted Curt Warner, and my loyalties drifted there. My love the tiger stripes has waned, as I got older, though it may be the most distinctive look in sports. The uniforms are tweaked a bit this year. The look better, but it is all about the stripes. If you like them, you love these uniforms. If you don’t….

4-Baltimore Ravens
Quoth the Raven, “Why the hell am I wearing purple?” Considering that this team used to be the Browns, and the city followed the Colts for decades, you would think that the Ravens would trend toward conservative and traditional. You’d be very, very wrong. Vibrant purple jerseys, black helmet and white pants with a giant black stripe down the side is what you get. Add in the ever-changing Raven logo and you have awful, ugly uniforms.

AFC West
1-Oakland Raiders
This is the Silver and Black, the original and still the best bad guy jersey in sports. Every team that has added black to its uniform in the last 20 years is ripping off the Raiders. Plain black jerseys, silver pants, silver helmets and the coolest logo on the planet. And no, I’m most definitely not a Raiders apologist. In fact, I hate them. But I appreciate a kick-ass uniform

2-San Diego Chargers
If the Spanos family had any brains, the Bolts would have the best uniforms in sports. Those would be the alternate throwback mid-60’s uniform that everyone loves. Well everyone loves them except for Alex Spanos, the Chargers’ clueless owner. He much prefers the dark blue togs they currently sport. There isn’t anything wrong with those, other than they are a tad bland, but really, don’t enough teams (Patriots, Bills, Texans, Titans, Broncos, Cowboys, Rams) wear dark blue?

3-Kansas City Chiefs
These fall into vast middle ground between good and bad. The Chiefs uniforms are too bright for my taste, but there isn’t anything fundamentally wrong with them. KC strives to have the same kind of iconic look about them as Cleveland or Pittsburgh, but I think they fall a little short of the mark.

4-Denver Broncos
Now these people had an iconic look about them. Remember the Orange Crush? The Bronco’s had some of the most distinctive uniforms on the planet, but they junked them for these current Nike togs. The current unis, while initially recognizable, have lst their luster quickly. It isn’t Denver’s fault that this look spurred on the oddball stripes movement, but once it started, the Broncos lost a little bit with every new uniform. It would be easy to get back though, just resurrect the old uniforms. At least they have an orange alternate.

Don’t you love that I don’t like Cleveland’s orange but I do Denver? A touch hypocritical, but I don’t care.

AFC Best
3-New York Jets
Alternate-San Diego Chargers

AFC Worst
1-Buffalo Bills
2-Baltimore Ravens
3-New England Patriots
Alternate-Jacksonville Jaguars

Posted by Frinklin at August 10, 2004 06:31 PM

Oh, Frinklin, Frinklin, Frinklin... how can you be so right about so many things, and then turn around and praise the uniforms of the Titans, which look like something a caffeinated sixth-grader created in art class? Say it ain't so, brother. Say it ain't so.

Posted by: Mediocre Fred at August 12, 2004 11:34 PM

Yeah, I know some people don't like the Titans, but I do. They aren't great by any stretch of the imagination, they are in the AFC South, home of Ugly and Bland, but I'd put them middle of the pack overall.

Posted by: frinklin at August 13, 2004 06:46 PM

Where is Volume 2?
Don't rip us off man!

Posted by: Zygote at August 17, 2004 09:27 AM

Don't worry, it's coming...eventually.

Posted by: frinklin at August 17, 2004 02:45 PM

right on. our bills went from best to worst in one move - more infuriating is that no one here seems to get it. ditto San all time uniform is the old one with the baby blue and numbers on the helmet

Posted by: billsfan at December 1, 2004 11:18 AM

Well, where's the NFC, then CFL? What do you think of the new (not so now) Seahawks uniforms? Arizona Cardinals? I totally agree on the old school chargers!

Posted by: Charlie at June 16, 2005 07:45 PM

Just a side note on the steelers logo....the reason it is only on one side is because they decided to try a helmet logo and didnt want to waste time putting it on both sides in case they didnt like it....they then had one of the best seasons they had ever had and decided to keep it that way for was originally on a yellow helmet and they didnt like the contrast...another reason to just try it for a while on one side...the next season they went to black but just kept it one sided....they have also had the same stripe set on their unis since 1936....that time because they put them on the uniforms for a trial and had their first ever .500 season....been unchanged since \m/....some of these facts could be a little sure some others know more about the history of their uni...feel free to correct me if im wrong :)

Posted by: SkEpTiKaL at August 24, 2005 10:50 PM
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