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Let’s Rank All 20 of This Season’s NFL Throwbacks

A whopping 20 NFL teams wore throwbacks this season. For this week’s Uni Watch Premium article on Substack, I’ve ranked them from worst to first and also weighed in on what each team should do with their throwbacks going forward (keep them, scrap them, promote them to primary status, etc.).

You can read the first part of the article here. In order to read the entire thing, you’ll need to become a paid subscriber to my Substack (which will also give you full access to my Substack archives). My thanks, as always, for your consideration and support!



Cap Reminder

In case you missed it earlier this week, our Uni Watch strapback cap is available once again after a long absence. You can order yours here.



Mascot Watch




Can of the Day

Oh my — spectacular design, but is a “pink meat” lime? And why would lime juice be marketed as “lem’n tang pure”? Gorgeous and puzzling in equal measure.

• • • • •

I’ll be visiting my mom today. Play nice while I’m away, okay? Peace. — Paul

Comments (34)

    Pink flesh lemons were a new discovery in the 1930, and they did resemble limes more than lemons in outward appearance. And they were the source of the then-novel pink lemonade. Pink flesh lemons have a sweeter, less tart flavor than normal lemons (and therefore taste nothing like limes) but the trees that produce the fruit aren’t as productive as normal lemon trees and they’re harder to harvest. Anyway, the can probably contained lemon juice from fruit sourced from lemon trees, but it may speak to early confusion as to what exactly the new mutant fruit really was. I would love a highball glass with that can art screen printed on it!

    Hey, Scott, that was pretty cool…I have an orange tree in my yard and every year friends come over to pick them green just before they ripen, they say they love the taste… never tried them like that, maybe next year…
    Btw, there are some pretty nice glasses in the merch store here, got to look around a little but they are some gorgeous ones

    On the Substack article it says Eagles last wore the Kelly throwbacks in 2010. Those were somewhat different – they represented the 1960 team. Helmets had silver wings, simple green jersey with white numerals (slightly different style for the TV numbers) and white pants with a green stripe. For me as an Eagles fan, 2023 is the first and only time the current throwbacks have been worn.

    It sure would! And it’s also great content for my Substack, which is where I’ve been putting my rankings-based work for the past couple of years.

    If you really think it’s “great content,” then perhaps you’ll consider paying for it! If you’d rather not, of course that’s fine too. Up to you. As always, thanks for considering it!

    One thing almost every throwback has in common is that it’d be a better primary uniform than the actual primary uniform. Dolphins & Seahawks are perhaps the most glaring example. On the flip side, the only instances in which I think the primary has the slight edge are the blue Giants, the 49ers, and the Saints (although either works tbh).

    If you look at all 20 teams that wore throwbacks this season, I think you’ll find quite a few more that are not superior to the current primaries.

    My opinion

    Throwback Better:
    Titans/Oilers (they’d have to design a new helmet to make it perm)
    Steelers (the old school block font)

    Primary Better:

    Both Equally Good:

    Not sure which two I’m missing but I’ll also add, throwbacks that should have returned and been made primary include Cardinals and Broncos.

    Lol whoops, I was thinking of the Lions but was looking for Tigers.
    Packers and…Raiders?

    I really liked the Lions throwbacks when they first debuted in 1994 (and their first game was very memorable, with that OT win in Dallas on MNF). When they brought them back for Thanksgiving games in the 2000s, I was happy, especially when the opponent also wore throwbacks (especially in 2002 when we got color vs. color with New England’s Pat Patriot red throwbacks). Then I was disappointed when they dumped them in 2005 for BFBS jerseys. Then they brought them back twice in the Megatron era (including another NE color-on-color game), Then they came back with the current set in 2017, but then 2019 saw the gray Rash unis on Thanksgiving, and the throwbacks getting scheduled at seemingly random points.

    Then there’s the record on Thanksgiving with the throwbacks – only one win (2003 vs. Green Bay).

    So, yeah, it was novel when it started, but it’s time to go. If they do another all-new look for their primaries, they should bring the Sanders-era unis back as the throwback going forward. (Of course, I’d prefer the classic styling as the primaries…)

    Curious as to why the Niners and Dolphins are considered to have two throwbacks, but the Cowboys


    (throwback jersey only — and considered to the their “icy whites” — or CR uniform)

    and the Giants


    (80s’ throwbacks including throwback helmet — specificially worn with this uniform this year)

    weren’t included as “throwbacks”

    I can see not including the Saints


    since they now pair their white throw/fauxback uniform with the new black (and decidedly NOT a throwback).

    Not saying excluding those was wrong, but it seems a bit inconsistent when you include the Dolphins and 49ers, both of whose “throwbacks” are not considered throwbacks (or “classics” in NFL parlance), but CR uniforms.

    Actually, I don’t think the Dolphins’ or Niners’ white throwbacks were ever considered CR — at least not to my knowledge.

    But if your point is that some of these terms are somewhat subjective/elastic/etc., I’d agree.

    Sorry for all the separate replies: Cowboys non-throwback white combo has non-throwback helmet logo (i.e., the outlined star as opposed to the non-outlined star) and is specifically NOT designated as a throwback. It’s an alternate.

    Giants: Fair point!

    Cowboys: They didn’t wear that this season. They wore the outlined star and the white facemask (i.e, the alternate uni), not the plain star and grey facemask (i.e., the throwback uni).

    I have to go to my mom’s now!

    Right, I forgot the Niners wore both colors of the throwback this year and assumed he was talking about the Dolphins and Giants.

    1. Bucco Bruce.
    2. Cleveland.
    3. Seattle.
    – I’m waiting for Cincinnati to throw back to the Ickey Woods-era unis. Or better yet, their original helmets.

    From the Substack article, Paul makes a suggestion that Houston and Tennessee play an annual derby game, the winner of which has the right to wear Oilers throwbacks the following season. That’s my favorite NFL suggestion maybe ever. I don’t much watch or care about the NFL any more, and I super don’t care about the Houston or Nashville teams, but I would make a point to watch the throwback-rights-awarding Texans/Titans game every year.

    To add to that…Whoever earned the uniform the previous year gets to wear it at home and that game is designated as the derby, since they play twice a year. That way you have to take it back from them on their own turf.

    Such a game should be held each year inside the Astrodome (I’m sure Houstonians wouldn’t mind ponying up the money to get it game-ready, right?).

    Add in to that perhaps they each “own” a throwback from a different year? Tennessee wears the final Oilers uniform (their current throwback), and should include the Tennessee Oilers patch on they wore when playing as the Oilers in Tennessee. While Houston wears the 1960 AFL championship Oilers throwback with the blue helmet.
    So we get different version of the Oilers depending on who wins the rights to the throwback for that season.

    This is all so funny… a couple weeks ago I suggested here that they both wear Throwbacks each time they play each other Home and Away…. I figured that would solve the problem but I like all these ideas better…

    My grandmother (1924-2005) referred to the inside of a grapefruit as “pink meat,” but I don’t recall her using the term with a lime. I think the can is interesting.

    I’m surprised how many people prefer the Lions throwback. It’s boring to me. The primary, with Honolulu blue or white jerseys and gray/silver pants, is a great look. Ditch gray shirts and blue or white pants. The shade of blue on the jerseys and the shade of gray on the pants paired with white jerseys are both enough different from Dallas that it doesn’t look like a duplicate.

    As for throwbacks, they would benefit from a stripe or two, in my opinion. I’d like to see something like 1961, with a darker jersey, Northwestern stripes, and the non-outlined lion logo. That to me is a nice uniform. The GUD link shows the old look, which was worn in preseason, and the change is clearly superior to my eyes, even with striped socks shown with the old uni.


    I think they prefer the Lions throwback, regardless of how plain it is, because the current Lions look has too many gimmicks. I bet everyone would be happy if they just went to the Barry Sanders era uniform but with the modern logo on the helmet. Perhaps also do a custom, but not awful number font?

    My rankings:
    1. Seahawks (my favorite uniform in the whole NFL right now)
    2. Eagles (I hate midnight green)
    3. Titans/Oilers
    4. Bucs
    5. Bears
    6. Dolphins

    But the Seahawks and the Eagles are so heads above everyone else that it’s hard for me to even rank anyone else

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