By Phil Hecken
Waaaaaaaay back in 2009, my buddy Jimbo Huening helped me out with a project that involved the participation of the Uni Watch readership, in which we sought to determine the worst uniform ever (which Paul picked up over on ESPN. Your finalists were here. That contest asked for submissions from you guys, and looked for the worst uniforms across the uni-spectrum. In perhaps not a shock, the readership determined the worst uni was that worn by the Caribous of Colorado (a look that was ‘lovingly’ brought back by the Colorado Rapids a few years ago).
If you look back at the nominees link, you’ll note there were a lot of categories: the major sports, plus Hockey, Short-lived unis, Soccer, College Football and Basketball, and Miscellaneous pro football (XFL, NFL Europe, WFL, etc.). I’d like to revisit this again, but let’s lessen the categories (perhaps adding sub-categories: alternates, one-offs, special/holiday unis) and timeframe: this time around, I’d like for you guys to submit to me your worst uniform nominees for 2010-2016 in just six categories:
MLB, NFL, NBA, NHL, MLS and NCAAFB.
In the comments, or in an e-mail to me (subject: “Worst uni nominee”) or in a tweet (hashtag #worstuni), I’ll ask you for your submissions. If possible, please include a photo and the year(s) worn — remember, I’m looking for uniforms from 2010 to 2016.
Major League Baseball
Baseball might seem like a slam dunk for the Diamondbacks (but which one of their 7 combos?), but over the past seven years there have been a bunch of stinkers (or beauties, depending on your perspective) worn in baseball. Whether it’s the awful camo-pander some teams went with, or some eye-searing throwbacks, there have been a bunch of awful uniforms worn this decade. And of course some teams just have bad regular uniforms, but it will be hard to top the 2016 Diamondbacks in that category. Let’s get some nominees.
National Football League
Since the NikeFL added color rash last year, we have a surprisingly large pool of bad unis from which to choose, including the as-yet-to-be worn all neon/lime numbers from the Seahawks. But whether it’s really awful CR, or bumblebees or Acme Packing Company harkbacks or just really, really bad regular unis, this category should yield some good choices. Let’s have em.
National Basketball Association
I’d argue that NBA uniforms have gotten better over the years, and some of the looks in the league are as good now as they have ever been. But that doesn’t mean we haven’t seen our share of turds in the past seven years, including the Hawks we-forgot-our-regular-pants look above (Jim Vilk will disagree with me vehemently on this one). And if that unmatched set isn’t your cuppa, don’t forget the Hickory High School fauxbacks the Pacers sported. But don’t forget the Chinese New Year unis or the Christmas Day tee shirts that have been thrown into the mix. We can also throw the ASG unis in there too. Give me some good nominations, please.
National Hockey League
Like the NBA, the NHL seems to have gotten its act together, uni-wise, in the past few years, but they’ve still produced a bunch of bad unis, so we’ve got plenty to choose from here too — including the Buffalo Sabres gold front/navy back numbers above. But don’t forget the Barber Poles (I say these count since they were worn during the 2009-10 season), those really shiny Stadium Series numbers, or perhaps you don’t like stripes. Maybe not as many good choices here as if we could bring the ’90s and aughts into the equation, but still…there are some bad unis out there. Let’s have your sections.
Major League Soccer
I admittedly don’t watch much soccer, and when I do, it’s usually Olympic or World Cup — but there are no doubt some bad MLS kits out there, right? I’d almost be willing to go back to the gloriously so-bad-they’re-good unis of decades past, but I’m sure we can find a bunch in the 2010’s too (including the Rapids/Caribous throwback), and anything that’s all purple or looks like an NFL color rash uni or has ads on it has to be bad, right? Help me out here, people.
Clearly, this will give us the most choices (since there are so many NCAAFB teams, and they all seem to have so many unis); I’m thinking this may need to have some sub categories, but for now, I just want you guys to let me know the worst ones, whether they be “regular” unis, “tribute” unis, alternate atrocities or Bowl unis turned regular unis. There are literally thousands of choices here. Choose well.
OK there you have it — the categories — just submit your choices to me, either via the comments section below (again, try to have a photo and year), or to my e-mail or tweet at me. I’ll compile the best nominees (perhaps running it via a select sub-committee) and we’ll have some voting on these in the coming weeks. The voting will likely focus on one discipline at a time, and possibly be as sub-ledes, depending on content. OK? OK.
UW’s Friday Flashback
In case you missed it on Friday, hundreds of NFL players will be wearing custom-designed cleats to support various nonprofit foundations and other charitable causes this Sunday. Paul had hoped to have an ESPN column about some of the people who actually designed and painted some of those cleats, but some very annoying circumstances conspired to make that impossible. So instead he still has a great piece in which he showcases some of the more notable designs (like these seen here).
T-Shirt Club reminder: Paul here. In case you missed it a few days ago, the Uni Watch T-Shirt Club’s final design of 2016 is now available for ordering. The design is a mash-up of uniform elements from all of our previous 2016 shirts (click to enlarge):
The only new element is the baseball cap (which didn’t appear on our baseball-themed shirt because the player was wearing a batting helmet). It’s comes in four color options — our usual grey, black, green, plus a new “military green” (that’s what the manufacturer calls it, although I’d just call it light olive) — and is also available with either short or long sleeves.
The shirt will be available through next Friday, Dec. 9. The shirts are due to ship right after Christmas, so they should arrive in time for you to wear them on New Year’s Eve. (I had hoped to have them delivered in time for Christmas, but it just wasn’t possible to get things finalized in time for that. Sorry.)
If you’ve ordered all five of this year’s previous shirts and also get this one, you’ll be eligible for our year-end “Collect ’Em All” prize, which will be a patch based on the jock tag design used on this year’s shirts. To qualify, please send me proof that you’ve bought all six shirts. The proof can either be (a) a photo showing all the shirts or (b) screen shots of the “Thank you for your order” emails you received from Teespring and Represent.
Big thanks, as always, to my creative partner, Bryan Molloy, who executed this design and then patiently endured my dozens of picky fine-tuning requests.
This is our final shirt of the year. Will we do the T-Shirt Club again next year? I’m not sure. I’d definitely like to do some more shirts, but maybe in a more random, less programmatic way. We’ll see.
Uni Watch News Ticker
Baseball News: The settling of the possible baseball strike has yielded some positive changes (like the ASG no longer determining home field for the World Series). There’s also this good development: “The annual ritual of rookies having to wear dresses or costumes may be over. There’s an anti-hazing and anti-bullying implemented in CBA” (thanks to Mike Chamernik). … You won’t find a much better photo (or a better looking uniform) that the one Stan Musial is posing in (thanks to Bruce Menard). … Tweeter MBD Chicago has quite a Cubs’ jersey collection, and one of them includes a World Series patch with a “Champions” patch underneath. That’s probably not official. … The Atlanta Braves will wear this jersey patch for their inaugural season at Sun Trust Park (from The Emblem Source). … Those World Champion Chicago Cubs know a hot dog is not a sandwich. When you’re right, you’re right (from Griffin Smith). And that was Cubs play-by-play man Pat Hughes handling the Twitter account, not just some intern. … And now, the moment we’ve all been waiting for: LeBron James in a full Cubs uniform (he’d lost a bet to Dwayne Wade over the World Series), from Robert Hayes. … Here’s your first look at the new uniforms for the Northern Kentucky University Norse (from Andy Kroeger).
NFL News: This is interesting: ” I ordered a customized Tervis Tumbler on Monday,” says Joseph Bailey. “I sent in a photo of an old school Browns logo (from a bumper sticker I own). Sadly, they won’t make it for me. They have a contract with the NFL, but they don’t use old logos. I had hoped to get this. Sadly, they won’t allow it.” That’s sad. … People tend to forget just how red the reddish-orange pants sported at one time by the Denver Broncos were (photo from Sports Paper). And it’s not just the photo — the orange worn by the Bengals in that photo is pretty…orange. … The cool cleats you’ve seen in the NFL? The epicenter of the trend is a store in the Walden Galleria. … Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. will be wearing these sweet soled shoes for the “Make A Wish” foundation in Sunday’s #MyCauseMyCleats game (from Megan Brown). … Now that the Seattle Sounders’ season has ended, the endzones at Century Link Field are Seahawks blue (they do this every year, and I love it — kinda like the Raiders playing on a dirt infield or other old-school, early-season quirks). From Chris Englund.
College/High School Football News: I’m always curious why helmet logo stickers come loose. Is it more of a factor of the weather than anything? Seems like we seem them more when the weather gets colder, but clearly they happen in all weather. In that vein, Ty Chandler from MBA in Nashville, TN had a bit of a helmet logo issue during the DII State Championship game Thursday night (from Anthony Shiffman). Google tells me the high was 53 and the low was 35 there yesterday, so it doesn’t *seem* like cold was the issue. … Would you buy a custom jersey for a player who never attended the University that is selling it? Well, if you’re a LeBron James fan, you might. … Someone has gone to the trouble of ranking Kansas’ uniforms for games seven through 12 of this year. With the exception of the “Limestone Throwbacks”, they’re all awful. … Almost as bad (and it’s worse if you include quantity over quality) is this article which ranks ALL 12 Syracuse uni combos for the 2016 season (from Bryan Prouse). … The B1G Championship is tonight in Indianapolis, so the Indy Cars at the Indy Motor Speedway were decked out in Nits & Badgers colors/logos (from Charles Weiss). … The MAC Championship was played last night — Terry will have more on the unis in SMUW tomorrow — but neither team wore school colors and the endzones were also in neither team’s colors (from Paul Braverman).
Hockey News: The San Jose Sharks played the Montreal Canadiens last night, and it was “Star Wars” night — so naturally the Sharks came up with a special logo just for the occasion (from Jared Buccola). Here’s how they were promoting the event on social media. And at morning skate yesterday, they wore these sweaters (from Joe Farris)…. “Ugly” is of course, in the eye of the beholder: “A friend of mine who works for the Youngstown Phantoms hockey team posted himself in his ugly sweater of the year,” writes Alex Dewitt. “Very uni-like without being a uni one.” … Toronto Maple Leafs fans are (justifiably) upset after learning the league’s online store couldn’t ship custom Centennial Classic jerseys to Canada. … The Vancouver Giants, a junior hockey club, will be wearing special Ugly Christmas Sweater jerseys for a pair of home games at the Langley Events Centre this month. And these are pretty ugly. … The Reading Royals had these KISS sweaters made for them by OT Sports. … a.g. sent this graphic he says is “a small sampling of elements the Vegas Golden Knights have ‘borrowed’ for their generic logo.” … The Orlando Solar Bears wore these ugly Christmas sweaters last night for their Teddy Bear Toss, and will wear them again on December 22nd. Those jerseys made for a color vs. color game with the Florida Everblades last night (from Ian Anderson). Here are some more photos of that ugly sweater. … Williams College has new sweaters (from Hockey in the ‘CAC). … Wow — the Indy Fuel wore some beautiful “bicentennial” jerseys last night (from Jeff Tasca).
NBA News: “Do you know who won a championship ring with the Lakers as a player and then played for the NFL Eagles 2 years later?” asks Douglas Ford. “Badass Bud F-ing Grant, that’s who! Behold Bud in his awesome striped tube socks rocking the #20 uniform! (since the picture is B&W you won’t have to suffer through any purple). Bud, of course, became an HOF coach in both the CFL and NFL.” … Are Disney’s CGI guys subliminally inserting NBA logos into their movies??? (interesting observation from thA Pandabear).
College Hoops News: This may be a repeat, but it bears repeating: Those UMKC uniforms, with the city skyline on the pants hem, are sweet. They’ll wear those on December 10th for “Kansas City Day.” … The UNC Tar Heels women’s team are giving away this Charlotte Smith bobble head on Sunday when Carolina hosts Elon (from James Gilbert).
Soccer News: Italian club AC Milan is honoring Chapecoense after the Brazilian club lost the majority of its players and officials in Monday’s horrific plane crash in Colombia, with 71 deaths in total, including flight crew and journalists. The club said it will be wearing a special jersey in Sunday’s Serie A match against Crotone. … Christopher Jaques noticed this new North Carolina FC logo and wonders what league they be in. It turns out it was the Carolina Railhawks owner who filed for that trademark (from James Gilbert). … I know we’ve seen these before — but you can’t unsee this crazy German soccer fashion show that’s vaguely reminiscent of the porn of that era, only with clothes (from Derek McCord). It’s especially creepy if you like seeing stirrups without sanis.
Grab Bag: Chicago Cardinal (Catholic leader, not football player) has an updated coat of arms, notes Kenneth Traisman, who adds, “Blase Cupich was recently elevated to Cardinal by Pope Francis.” … I didn’t realize this until Steve Johnston sent this item in, but the attack on Pearl Harbor is celebrating a special anniversary this year: “Came across this logo via a my town’s newsletter. Checked and there is an official website that also includes it. … According to the National Lacrosse League, “A HISTORIC moment in #NLLHistory will take place on 12/17!” They’ll reveal a new logo (from Griffin Smith). … From reader Scott Stoddard we have this “Epic vintage curling sweater.” Scott adds, “It sounds like the seller has no idea about the motif. No mention of curling in the title or description.” … American Airlines rolled out new uniforms to more than 70,000 of its frontline workers in September. The appearance of the uniforms was well-received, but now American’s flight attendants union is calling for a total recall after saying the outfits have sickened more than 1,000 workers, after complaints about itching, rashes, headaches and hives surfaced within the first few weeks of the uniform roll-out (from Brinke). … Did you ever wish a thread existed on a message board where the best track uniforms were discussed? Me neither, but here ya go anyway (from Alex Harris).
And that will do it for today. Hope everyone has a great Saturday — lots of big NCAA football games throughout the day to enjoy, as the regular season begins to wind down. I’ll be back one more time with the Sunday Morning Uni Watch crew (as a unit — but we’ll still have contributions from them throughout he remainder of the season).
Don’t forget to submit your nominees for the worst uni of the 2010s!
See ya tomorrow, but until then you can …
Follow me on Twitter @PhilHecken.
“The Cowboys pants with the grey stripe would look great with their blue jerseys. If the Cowboys would let go of their wacky mismatched colors tradition they could have some great uni combos.”