A few weeks ago I explored the topic of whether throwbacks and older uniform designs were really better than current designs by asking a simple question: “How many teams’ current uniforms are their best uniforms ever?” I began by answering that question for all 30 MLB teams. Today we’re going to turn our attention to the NFL.
One ground rule, which I alluded to last time: I preferred football uniforms when the jerseys had sleeves, but that’s more of a performance/style issue, not a design issue. So I’m not going to hold today’s tailoring styles against today’s uniforms. I think it’s entirely possible (if not common) for a modern uniform with almost no sleeves to look better than one from 30 years ago, when the jerseys had sleeves — it all depends on the overall design.
Again, here’s our operative question: Is the team’s current uniform set — for the sake of this exercise, we’ll stick to primary whites and colors — the best the team has ever worn?
Here’s my team-by-team answer to that question:
Cowboys: Yes, but it’s an old design that they’ve been wearing for decades.
Washington: Yes, but it’s an old design that they’ve been wearing for decades.
Bears: Yes, but it’s an old design that they’ve been wearing for decades.
Packers: Yes, but it’s an old design that they’ve been wearing for decades.
Panthers: Yes, but it’s the only design they’ve ever had. I guess you could say that some of the new mix/match combos they’ve worn this season have improved things, so that would be sort of like being a “Yes” with a new design.
49ers: Yes, but it’s essentially an old design that they moved away from and then revived.
Bills: Yes, but it’s essentially an old design that they moved away from and then revived.
Jets: Yes, but it’s an old design that they moved away from and then revived.
Ravens: Yes, but it’s essentially the only design they’ve ever had (the short-lived “lawsuit logo” helmet design notwithstanding).
Colts: Yes, but it’s an old design that they’ve had forever.
Texans: Yes, but it’s the only design they’ve ever had.
Chiefs: Yes, but it’s an old design that they’ve had forever.
Raiders: Yes, but it’s an old design that they’ve had forever.
So from my perspective (which I realize may not necessarily match yours), not a single NFL team is currently wearing a new or new-ish uniform set that qualifies as its best ever. The only one that sorta-kinda comes close is Carolina, which has sort of reinvented itself this season with some new mix/match combos, most of which I think have been net positives.
Most of the other teams fall into one of four categories: Either their current look sucks (Falcons, Cardinals, Browns), or they got it right decades ago and have been smart enough to stick with it (Packers, Colts, Raiders), or they got it right, then veered off-course, and then saw the error of their ways and righted the ship (Jets, 49ers, Bills).
So again, the reason throwbacks often look better than current uniforms is that the older designs are better than the current ones. At least to me.
I realize many of you may disagree. Once again, feel free to debate any or all of this in today’s comments, but with one condition — for today, please restrict the discussion of “Is the current uni the best uni?” to the NFL. We’ll cover the remaining Big Four leagues shortly.
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Cast a shadow in my direction: We have lots of stray cats in our neighborhood, and a few of them will occasionally visit our porch. This one, which the Tugboat Captain has named Jackface, stopped by yesterday morning, casting a silhouette on one of our (very dirty) living room windows. A nicely spooky way to start the day.
By Yianni Varonis
Baseball News: Yesterday there were multiple sightings, at different locations, of the same design that could be the Marlins’ new logo (from multiple readers). … The Cardinals may be hinting that they’ll wear powder-blue throwbacks next season, and this writer isn’t pleased. … From Phil, here is a short video on the evolution of the Cardinals’ logo … Amateur teams adopting logos from the professional ranks is common, especially if the club is local. But Chipola, a Junior College in Florida, used not one, but two professional logos from Cleveland—the Indians’ Chief Wahoo and the Cavs’ “C,” in its baseball national championship rings (from Matt Burgess). … Speaking of which, here is a photograph of a baseball recruit whose high school mimics the logo of the college (BYU) he is signing a letter of intent to play baseball for (from Matthew Salt). … The Green Bay Bullfrogs, a collegiate, summer league baseball team, will now be renamed the Green Bay Booyah and have new colors and logos (from local reporter Brian Kerhin). … Here’s a piece on the history of Korean baseball team names (from @wetcasements).
NFL News: The Seahawks will go mono-navy against the Packers tonight. There had been some speculation that they might wear their neon alternates. … Recently acquired Saints WR Brandon Marshall will wear No. 15 for his new team (from Mike Chamernik). … Steelers players raided the locker of former teammate Le’Veon Bell, who will no longer report to the club this season (from our own Brinke Guthrie).
College Football News: This Sports Illustrated article asks, “Why Does Notre Dame ever deviate from its iconic uniforms?” … Virginia Tech will go mono-maroon this week vs. Miami (from Andrew Cosentino). … In another example of sports word-art, this piece is an on-campus tribute to the victims of the Marshall plane crash that killed 75 players, coaches, boosters, and administrators 48 years ago yesterday (from Brice Wallace). … Good interview with a former football coach who now makes mini-helmets of high school teams (from Hayden Kyle Barber). … Here are this week’s uni combos for Air Force and Baylor. … Ohio RB AJ Ouellette scored a touchdown last night while wearing one shoe.
Hockey News: Michigan Tech will wear “Copper Country Strong” jerseys on Nov. 23, with the jerseys being auctioned off to benefit the victims of devastating floods that took place earlier this year. All the jerseys will have the nameplate “Thatcher” to honor Thatcher Markham, a 12-year-old boy who died in the floods (from Dave Ellis). … The Blackhawks’ home ice still has the season-opening “NHL Face-Off” logo, which other teams have removed. … Here’s an old shot of Queen frontman Freddie Mercury wearing a Canadiens cap (from Alan Kreit).
NBA News: From Phil, the Thunder debuted their new Native American-themed alternates last night. … Also from Phil, here’s the schedule for the Lakers’ City alternates. … Also in the baseball section: Amateur teams adopting logos from the professional ranks is common, especially if the club is local. But Chipola, a Junior College in Florida, used not one, but two professional logos from Cleveland—the Indians’ Chief Wahoo and the Cavs’ “C,” in its baseball national championship rings (from Matt Burgess). … Nets G Spencer Dinwiddie wore sneakers that paid homage to Stan Lee, the late comic book legend (from Mike Chamernik). … The Suns’ gorilla mascot and cheerleaders went G.I. Joke last night (from @NerdDadAZ).
College Hoops News: North Carolina State will rename Reynolds Coliseum “Valvano Arena” after former men’s basketball HC Jim Valvano (from Andrew Cosentino). … Amazingly, Nebraska has four starters who have JrOB (great catch from @Edsidemanor).
Soccer News: English Premier League clubs will support the LGBT community by featuring multiple rainbow-themed pitch and uniform elements during games between Nov. 30 and Dec. 5 (from Mark Johnson). Here is a list of other participating leagues (from our own Jamie Rathjen). … Which teams have worn the most kits in a single season? Look here (from Mark Coale). … New uniforms for the Kansas City Comets of the MASL (from Marc Viquez). … Adidas has accidentally revealed the ball for the 2018 Club World Cup and the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup (from Josh Hinton). … Like other Polish teams, Lech Poznan will wear a jersey commemorating the 100th-anniversary of Poland’s independence (from Ed Zelaski). … An English referee has been suspended for using a game of rock/paper/scissors to determine which team would kick off a women’s Super League match after he forgot the coin he was supposed to flip (from Alex Hider). … Manchester United MF Marouane Fellaini has cut off the afro he’s famously worn for more than a decade (also from Alex Hider). … Steve Ramsey has been traveling in Ascoli Piceno, Italy, where there’s been an exhibit of uniforms worn by the local soccer team, Ascoli Calcio, which plays in the Serie B Italian league. He took a bunch of photos. “What interested me was the evolution of their logo, and their mascot — the woodpecker,” he says. “Ascoli was settled six or seven centuries BC (way pre-Rome) and legend has it that the Piceni people were led to this area by a woodpecker.”
Grab Bag: Amid the wildfires that have devastated communities throughout Northern California, there have also been countless acts of kindness, including a local high school that sought donations to pay for an opponent’s volleyball uniforms and gear before a playoff match. … The North Melbourne Australian-rules football club will celebrate its 150th anniversary with a commemorative uniform featuring elements of the club’s past eight logos. More photographs here (from Will Pike). … For the next six months, American Airlines will field test flight-crew uniforms from its new vendor, Lands’ End. … Louis Vuitton will now let you customize its menswear and sneakers for the first time.