Deion Sanders famously said it best. “If you look good, you feel good. If you feel good, you play good. If you play good, they pay good.” The dynamic cornerback and flamboyant two sport-athlete was a 90s trendsetter both on and off the field and diamond.
Despite “Primetime’s” claim, jerseys don’t necessarily affect the way a team or even a player performs. Yet, the majority of teams on this list—those from the NFL especially—continue to struggle as much in the fashion department as they do on the field, or hardwood. Perhaps those stuck in the cellar of their respective standings have left a poor taste in the mouths of fans, and their uniform provides the lasting memory associated with losing.
Recently, many teams have incorporated throwback uniforms in the major North American sports leagues. For some of those squads like the San Diego Chargers and their powder blue jerseys in the NFL, the move has provided a nostalgic look that has appealed to even the young fans, who are seeing their favorite players where them for the first time. On the flip side, the Green Bay Packers and Denver Broncos’ maroon throwbacks were utterly atrocious, turning the organizations into laughing stocks when they opted to wear them on Sundays.
Some sports enthusiasts believe team uniforms do not impact the wins and losses columns and therefore, do not matter. However, the beauty of a uniform may determine whether or not loyal and casual fans purchase it and subsequently support the franchise; whereas an aesthetically weak shirt may make the individual less willing to do so. Nevertheless, like Deion said, before you can play well, you’ve got to look your best. And the following teams need to take some advice from one of the all-time greats. Here are the top 15 sports teams that need a fresh injection of beauty in their uniforms.
15. Orlando Magic
The Magic jersey has gone through as little change as any in the NBA over the years. The striped look has remained, though the beauty of the uniform has perpetually regressed. The modernized look with little contrast between the team name and stripes makes Magic fans and those across the league crave the 90s black jersey that had the Magic star replace the “a” in Orlando. It’s time for the Magic to perform some wizardry on their shirts.
14. NFL throwbacks
Who could forget the Denver Broncos’ maroon-coloured throwback uniforms with striped leopard print type socks, or even the powder blue and yellow Eagles look? Those retros made for some of the worst looks in all of sports and teams need to think long and hard about bringing back a remodeled retro uniform. When done the right way like the Rams did, as well as the Chargers’ gorgeous powder blues (heck, they should make that their actual uniform again) the retro theme is one of the most appealing to fans.
13. Houston Rockets
Since the Yao Ming era began in Houston, the Rockets’ jerseys have taken a major blow. The team introduced red and white uniforms with “Rockets” across the chest in an attrocious font, and added distracting circular lines extending from the shoulder to the waist. Worst of all, Houston decided to create its own short-sleeved jersey, despite fans around the league making it clear they didn’t approve of them. The jersey features Houston’s “R” logo and little else.
12. New Orleans Pelicans
The team’s name, logo, and most importantly on this list its jersey were given a thumbs down by fans across the league when the team emerged as the Pelicans in 2013. New Orleans Saints owner Tom Benson purchased the club and incorporated some of the gold found on the football team’s uniforms. However, the Pelicans’ combination of red, blue, and gold colors simply don’t blend well together. Despite the lackluster uniform, the Pelicans snuck into the Western Conference playoffs this year with a late-season run. All that’s left now is adjustment to the uniforms.
11. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
In March of 2014, the Bucs revealed their new team uniforms. The team was thrilled to share it via twitter but after it was released, nobody else was. The orange and red Bucs colors just didn’t mesh well together on the new uniform. Additionally, the awkward number font made it even more difficult to digest. Lastly, the brown-heavy pants and shoulders make this one of the league’s newest and worst uniforms. Finally, the logo on the side of the helmet seems over-sized.
10. NHL All star teams
The metallic NHL logo at the centre of the jersey, and the neon green stripes along the sides made this one of the most distracting looks in sports history. Like the state of the actual All-star game, the league has struggled to find the right solution for the uniforms. The games’ 2001 jerseys, and those within the 15 year window to today’s were just as bad as the 2014-15 versions. The league failed in its attempt to make the game, and its jerseys flamboyant. And as a result, the game continues to be one of the worst All-star games in sports.
9. Real Salt Lake (Home)
Real Salt Lake’s abnormal color scheme in its logo and uniform has made it difficult to design the perfect home shirt. The blue and red coupled with the yellow stripe across the chest look like the team tried too hard to take the shirt to the next level. From the back, it looks as though each player is wearing the captain’s armband. Luckily for the claret and cobalt, its away kit was revamped in 2015, and the new look is sleek, modern, and most importantly it isn’t busy. Time to remodel the home kit.
8. Philadelphia Union
The huge stripe of gold down the front of the home shirt makes this one of the worst looks in Major League Soccer and in all of sports. The logo of Philadelphia’s main sponsor is much larger than the team’s logo, and since it is positioned directly under it in the centre, it completely overshadows it. Unfortunately for the Union, its away kit doesn’t fare much better than its home look, unlike Real Salt Lake.
7. Jacksonville Jaguars
Like the Tampa Bay Bucs and Cleveland Browns, the Jags finally decided to shake up their uniforms. However, similarly to those teams, the modernized versions have not gotten the job done. Each team opted to merge too many colors on different areas of the uniform rather than select a sleeker one-tone look with a secondary color. Jacksonville has laid down the foundation for a rise to prominence in the coming years, but its jersey needs to follow suit.
6. Cleveland Browns
While Cleveland has finally decided to wear new uniforms for this coming NFL season, it doesn’t look as though they’ll be much of an improvement over their previous ones. Many argue the “classic” brown jerseys with orange helmets were drab, and yet people are still up in arms about the new ones. They feature “Cleveland” across the chest like a college uniform would, and the white and orange colors of the numbers are too prominent. Nice try, Cleveland.
5. Milwaukee Bucks
One of the worst teams in the league over the last decade, the Bucks jumped back into the playoffs this season with the help of head coach Jason Kidd and a gritty style of play on the defensive end. Despite a bright looking future with promising young players on its roster, Milwaukee would still rank in the bottom half of the league if the NBA decided to implement a uniforms ranking. It’s time the Bucks get on Giannis’ pace and redesign their uniforms.
4. Phoenix Suns
Aside from the alternate “PHX” jersey the Suns wore in the midst of Steve Nash’s back-to-back MVP awards, they’ve continuously worn old-looking uniforms. The overuse of grey in their road uniforms during those days was horrendous. The team decided to showcase a modified version of their retro look in 2014, but the jerseys are just as bland as they were during Nash’s heyday. Perhaps it’s time they go back to more of a bold look like they had when they were battling for NBA championships back in the 90s.
3. NBA short-sleeved jerseys
In an attempt to revitalize the look of its jerseys, the NBA designed short-sleeved jerseys in 2013. After being showcased first by the Golden State Warriors and then by a number of other teams, the jerseys didn’t sell well and ignited talk about getting rid of them. Not only have a number of marquee players including LeBron James and 2015 NBA MVP Stephen Curry complained about the feel of the jerseys, but others have reiterated how dull they look. The short-sleeved look has to go.
2. San Diego Padres
The Padres haven’t drastically altered their uniforms in 30 years. They continue to go with the dull name across the chest on a generic looking baseball uniform that could easily be mistaken for a dozen of teams if the team name was removed. San Diego also decided to keep its second alternate “camouflage” jerseys, which haven’t been a great look among any sports franchise. The Padres are in desperate need of a home run, or even base hit for that matter in the uniform department.
1. Tampa Bay Rays
Much like the Padres, the Rays jersey game is far from strong. The team gave birth to its current uniforms in 2008 when it changed logo. However, the slight alteration hasn’t changed the state of the jersey. It continues to look like a 90s team’s uniform, and it was clear the Rays didn’t place any importance on revamping its look back in 2008. It’s time for a brand new NFL and MLB look in Tampa, and the Rays better hurry since their name continues to be mentioned as one that may be relocated.
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