The concept of National Football League teams wearing their colored uniforms while facing each other isn’t a new thing. This was often noted from the earlier days of the NFL after World War II. However, the design of uniforms and team colors have changed over the years. It used to be that the older NFL teams like the Bears and Packers used to have a similar hue to their jersey, but with 32 teams in the league currently, teams have a wide variety of color options.
There has always been an interest in changing up uniforms and some teams had the chance to do that back in 2012, including the Cleveland Browns, Jacksonville Jaguars and the Seattle Seahawks, but in 2015, the NFL started tinkering with the idea of the Color Rush – where Thursday Night Football games would feature a monochrome uniform match-up.
Some teams flourished, like the New York Jets with a uniform reminiscent of their original design that started in the 1960. Others, not so much. Consider Jacksonville’s all-gold uniforms from 2015. For this season, all 32 NFL teams received a bit of an upgrade to their uniforms to reflect the all-color concept. Some look good, others haven’t seen much of a change and the rest look wrong on a variety of levels.
This list is a chance to rank all 32 NFL teams based on their Color Rush uniforms for the 2016 season.
32 Jacksonville Jaguars
The Jacksonville Jaguars have had a rough decade in terms of wins and losses. While things might be on the upswing, there has been a lot of criticism for some of their recent uniform changes. This year’s color rush uniforms are still that awful gold color that a lot of fans have complained about. It’s just not a flattering shade of yellow to make a primary jersey color.
It’s barely acceptable the way it is used for the back half of the helmet, but it really should be a secondary color. Since some teams have been allowed to use their normal primary colors, and it would have been better to go the teal route, but that poor gold color puts them at the bottom of the rankings.
31 Miami Dolphins
The idea of having orange uniforms isn’t necessarily a bad idea. They used to have orange jerseys back in 2004 and they didn’t look terrible. However, the Dolphins have made some slight changes to their uniform colors. That orange uniform will now be a lot brighter, almost like a highlighter used by college students getting ready for an upcoming exam or term paper. There is a good chance that the players are going to look like they are doubling as construction workers during the day.
It would have been better if Miami would have been able to go with a darker shade of orange for their color rush uniform. A better choice would have been to go with a uniform similar to the one they wore in the early 1990s, which was either all white or all aqua with the classic orange trim around a number that has a white space before the orange number.
30 Washington Redskins
Ketchup and mustard should be on the hot dogs you buy on the concourse, not on the field of play. The Color Rush kit for the Washington Redskins make the team look like giant-sized tins of Coleman’s dry mustard powder. This was one of the moments where the NFL should have allowed a team to utilize a primary color instead of the alternate color.
There are only so many times when an all-yellow uniform will look good on a team. This is one of those moments. The Redskins would have been better off with a black uniform (but that’s overdone), or even the primary burgundy hue. The one thing the team could do is use this to market their concession stands with a hot dog and bratwurst special.
29 Los Angeles Rams
It might be a better all-yellow uniform that has been released for the NFL Color Rush promotion, but there’s still a limit when it comes to how much yellow is on the field. The Los Angeles Rams only have one of two options for their uniforms between blue and yellow, and they are playing the Seattle Seahawks for their Color Rush match on Dec. 15.
It does help that there is some blue that helps break up all of that golden yellow, which is still a lot better than the shade used by the Jacksonville Jaguars. It’s also a much better combination than the earlier mentioned Redskins kit. However, the uniform is going to hurt the eyes, especially when you consider what their opponents are going to wear themselves in that game.
28 New York Jets
This is one of those NFL Color Rush kits that actually won’t be on the field since their Thursday Night Football match-up was planned against the Buffalo Bills. Last year, there were a lot of complaints regarding how the Kelly green and all-red uniforms of their game last year really made it hard for colorblind fans to track the game on television.
However, it’s probably a good thing that the Jets aren’t going to use these uniforms on the field. They aren’t really bad, per se, but the uniforms really don’t feel like anything special. This was a chance for the team to do something different, but it essentially looks like their home jerseys with their road pants. A lack of creativity brings the Jets down on this list.
27 San Francisco 49ers
It’s okay for some teams to go with the black uniform kits, but there are some times when you have to wonder why the NFL didn’t decide to take the opportunity to model something based on a previous uniform. The San Francisco 49ers were given that all-black combination with the red numbers instead of going with the all-gold jerseys.
It’s fine they didn’t go the gold route since it hasn’t worked for other teams, but why couldn’t they have a white or red uniform with numbers similar to their jerseys from the 1990s – back when Steve Young was throwing to Jerry Rice? It was cool to see the numbers have the gold trim and the black shadow effect. This was a missed opportunity for the 49ers to bring back some nostalgia for fans – even if the offense couldn’t replicate a Young-to-Rice production.
26 Cleveland Browns
The Cleveland Browns don’t really have the best color combination to have work for this type of uniform promotion. An all-brown option was probably the best that they can do for the Browns. Going with an all-orange uniform would have fans making comments about the Circus Peanuts candy being on the field. There’s nothing wrong with the brown uniforms with the orange numbers and helmet. Maybe the helmet could have been brown with an orange stripe to make it feel complete.
The bad news is that these uniforms are not going to be used. Because of their Color Rush game going to Baltimore, the Browns will have an all-white option. However, for those who liked these uniforms, they might be used in 2017 if they have a Thursday Night Football game next season.
25 Indianapolis Colts
Once again, there is a lack of creativity since the Indianapolis Colts already wear this type of jersey top. It’s just adding blue pants that aren’t seen in their normal uniform combination. This is a franchise that hasn’t really had a lot of changes to their look – not even when the team moved from Baltimore to Indianapolis in 1984. However, even with that in mind, they could have done something different.
Maybe the Color Rush uniforms could have included some more white with the shoulder lines going down to match the pants. Instead, we have a combination that makes players look like giant Smurfs on the turf. If they were going to go all-blue, it wouldn’t have hurt making the helmet blue and the traditional horseshoe white.
24 Dallas Cowboys
Destined to have struggles without starting quarterback Tony Romo, at least the Dallas Cowboys will have some decent threads for their upcoming Color Rush game against the Minnesota Vikings on Dec. 1. It makes sense for Dallas to have an all-white jersey since that’s essentially what they do for every game – both on the road and at home. It’s nice to see some blue in their shoulder pads.
Unfortunately, this is not an original design. It is essentially what the Cowboys had when they were part of the Color Rush promotion in 2015 during a Thanksgiving game against the Carolina Panthers. The only reason they are listed this low on the list is because it’s nothing new. Nothing really pops except that little bit of blue on the jerseys.
23 Green Bay Packers
The good news for Green Bay fans is that they are not going to wear all-yellow uniforms when they face the Chicago Bears on Oct. 20 in Lambeau Field. The bad news is that there really wasn’t anything special when it came to their Color Rush kits. Green Bay will wear an all-white uniform – at home, mind you – with the classic green numbers and the yellow and green stripes on the shoulders, neck and pants.
Nothing special was done. Granted, with Chicago wearing all-blue, someone had to wear white because of the color blindness factor mentioned earlier. Still, they maybe could have done something different with the helmet, or at least considered an alternative yellow uniform that would have been bright against the darker Bears uniforms.
22 Philadelphia Eagles
The Philadelphia Eagles are a little limited in what they can do with their Color Rush options. They essentially wear dark green, black and white as their colors. This year’s uniform will be all-black, with that dark green color trim on the numbers and neck line. It doesn’t seem as original as some of the other teams have gone.
Maybe the Eagles could have considered going towards the shade of green they used to wear back in the earlier years of their team history, something like a green uniform with the return of the older Eagles logo near the shoulder, similar to the uniforms worn in the early 1980s. However, the black uniform kit just screams complacency and a lack of originality. Another missed opportunity for bringing some throwback flair.
21 Baltimore Ravens
The Baltimore Ravens have traditionally worn the purple jerseys as a home uniform set, but having an all-purple uniform for their game on November 10 might seem a little too much. The shade of purple that the Ravens have had feels more like there will be giant grape soda bottles out on the field. This might have been one of the times where an all-black uniform would have been the best option.
The Ravens wouldn’t really have been able to pull off an all-gold uniform, which is a tough lesson other NFL teams have learned last year and with the release of this year’s uniform kits. It’s not among the worst of all of the Color Rush kits, but it sits in the middle with many fans split on how they feel.
20 Houston Texans
Having an all-blue uniform is nothing new for the Houston Texans, but the combination shown during the recent Color Rush announcement actually is slightly different. This uniform has red numbers instead of white numbers. It’s a more conservative look that actually makes sense for an alternate uniform set.
It’s certainly not one of the worst, but we have to be a little disappointed that these will be one of the uniform kits that doesn’t see the field this season. That’s because the Texans’ Thursday Night Football game on Sept. 22 is against the New England Patriots and their all-blue combination. The NFL allowed the Patriots to keep theirs since they will be the home team. Maybe Houston should have swapped the red and blue for a new look.
19 Oakland Raiders
By default, the Oakland Raiders have broken the top 20 on this Color Rush uniform ranking. There are some flaws with the uniform. A team that has commonly worn a black uniform and silver pants could have benefited from the change. Fans certainly are getting one with an all-white combination that features silver numbers with black trim.
That trim will be needed since they could be hard to see on television or live, otherwise. However, the Raiders could have stuck to having an all-silver combination with the numbers going black. That would have provided a more complete uniform look with the silver helmet. The Raiders were close to something, but still missed the mark. Maybe they can try again next year with the potential move to Las Vegas.
18 Buffalo Bills
There were still some fans who weren’t happy with the Buffalo Bills wearing an all-red uniform kit last season against the New York Jets’ all-green combination, but this year’s Jets-Bills match-up had New York wear all-white, while the Bills will essentially keep the same uniform from the previous year.
Otherwise, there really isn’t anything wrong with Buffalo’s Color Rush kit. It’s not too much in terms of being bright or dark. It’s also a little unique from their usual home uniform. The only reason it isn’t higher on the list is because it’s the same as last year. Some fans might have been let down by not seeing something new for the Color Rush, maybe something like all-white to match the helmet next year with red numbers and blue trim.
17 Chicago Bears
When the initial color pairings for the 2016 NFL Color Rush were leaked on social media, some Chicago Bears fans were concerned with the possibility of an all-orange uniform for their Oct. 20 game against the Green Bay Packers. Some were relieved to see that the possible orange-yellow match-up would have happened prior to the Halloween festivities this year.
However, the Bears decided to go conservative with the all-blue combination with the traditional blue home jersey featuring white numbers and orange trim. The blue pants are their common road uniform pants, so there really isn’t anything new or exciting with this option. It’s certainly a better case scenario for the Bears, but some may have liked an orange uniform with blue numbers, similar to their uniforms from 1935.
16 Seattle Seahawks
There seems to be quite the divide among some of the fans in Seattle. On one side of the argument, the uniforms are a very bright green color that resembles one of those earlier mentioned highlighters used by college students. At the same time, it is a big improvement from when they last wore green uniforms – a 2009 game hosting the Chicago Bears.
However, these uniforms do look like one of the better NFL Color Rush kits in the entire league. Even some players have commented that they love the kits. One improvement would have been to use some of that dark blue more, but it’s definitely not among the worst throughout the entire league. It will be tough for fans to watch the Seahawks’ bright green and the Rams’ all-yellow in their Dec. 15 game.
15 Cincinnati Bengals
One would have thought that the Cincinnati Bengals wearing an all-orange uniform wouldn’t have been terrible, but give credit to the Bengals for doing something a little bit different. The team unveiled all-white uniforms with Bengal tiger stripes at the top of the shoulder pads. It does make a lot of sense since there are some Bengal tigers that are only white with the black stripes.
The only thing that would have made this better is if the helmets would have matched. The Bengals are going to keep the traditional orange helmet with black tiger stripes. It’s not a terrible choice, but having the white and black helmet would have made this feel more complete. It certainly would have earned Cincinnati a higher spot on the list.
14 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
One of the NFL teams to have completely changed their look in recent years has been the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Long gone are the Creamsicle uniforms as the team has embraced the red and dark silver combination for nearly two decades. The current uniform is a hybrid of different options for a Color Rush uniform. They could have gone with pewter, red or black. While there is a tiny hint of orange, it wouldn’t be accepted by fans.
The all-red combination with the futuristic number font is certainly a decent option. What would have been a better look is going with pewter as the primary color option and have red numbers. It would have fit more uniformly with the pewter helmet. The most important thing is that they stayed away from the orange option – unlike other teams.
13 Arizona Cardinals
It feels like there are a lot of NFL teams who have decided to go with an all-red or all-black option. The Arizona Cardinals could have easily gone with either option, just as long as they stayed away from the tertiary yellow team color. Instead, the Cardinals went with an all-black option that has cool red lines going through the jersey. It definitely looks unique for a generic option.
However, this will be one of the uniforms not worn this season to avoid the dual-colored problem that was an issue last season. This once again brings up the question of why they even announced Color Rush uniforms for all 32 teams if they weren’t all going to be used. The Cardinals’ concept was great to see on a promo, but it’s sad it won’t be seen on the field.
12 Detroit Lions
According to Sports Illustrated, there was a rumor that the Detroit Lions were thinking about wearing red uniforms for the Color Rush promotion. However, the team decided to go with an all-black option with blue numbers and white trim outlines. They are certainly a much better option for the Lions than going all blue or all silver.
While it is one of the better uniforms shown on the list, the bad news is that the Lions won’t wear these Color Rush uniforms this season. However, team president Rod Wood said in an official statement they look forward to possibly using them in 2017. That doesn’t help fans who wanted to see them worn in 2016, which is why these uniforms are not in the top 10.
11 Atlanta Falcons
Once again, here is a great Color Rush uniform concept that fans aren’t going to be able to see worn during a game in 2016. The Atlanta Falcons made a big change to their uniforms for the Color Rush promotion with a much more conservative red uniform featuring black numbers and white trim and a matching line down the pants. Paired with the modern Falcons helmet, it’s a great look.
It reminds fans of a time before the current Falcons uniform from the 2004 change when Michael Vick was the quarterback. The only thing that would have made it better would have been a throwback red helmet with the current Falcons logo, but Atlanta is one of the teams who will not use these on the field. Fans can buy them and hope they come in use for the 2017 NFL season.
10 Kansas City Chiefs
There is something to be said about tradition being tried and true. If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it. While some teams have, and should, make some changes to have a decent Color Rush uniform this season, the Kansas City Chiefs have played an extremely conservative move. The Chiefs have chosen to go with an all-red combination for their Dec. 8 game against the Oakland Raiders at home.
It is the same uniform they’ve used in previous prime-time games since 2013. While some were disappointed in the result, including star tight end Travis Kelce, it is better than going an extreme route with an all-yellow uniform. It’s classic and not over the top. It also is a complete uniform with the red helmet to match the red jersey and pants.
9 Denver Broncos
Something has to be said about a team deciding to bring back something from the past. The Denver Broncos look like they’ll have a special look for their game at San Diego on Oct. 13. Fans are happy to see a return of the “D” helmet with the horse in the middle that was a familiar look from years past. While it is a traditional look from the past, the Broncos are not making the complete shift as they keep the same colors they’ve had since 1997.
One reason is because the NFL has a one-helmet rule they started instituting in 2013, which is really a silly rule to be honest. Another reason is because these uniforms wouldn’t have the same positive reaction with the lighter orange and powder blue combination from before the color shift in 1997.
8 New England Patriots
The New England Patriots made a subtle nod to their uniform history with their Color Rush kit this season. The team wears an all-blue uniform with red and white strips on the shoulder of the jersey. The team used to have a similar pattern that dates back to their first season of operation in 1960 – as part of the American Football League.
However, that was a red jersey with white and blue stripes. These uniforms allow it to be different while still having a throwback feel. Maybe it would have been cool to replace the current Patriot logo on the helmet with something from the past as well. New England fans won’t have to wait too long to see their team wearing them on the field, as they are scheduled to wear them Sept. 20 against the Houston Texans.
7 Tennessee Titans
A lot of teams in the NFL have a darker, royal blue shade to their uniforms. The Tennessee Titans, however, have not one, but two shades to their color scheme and the brighter blue will be the primary choice for their Color Rush game Oct. 27 against the Jacksonville Jaguars. It is a slight change from last year’s powder blue uniforms that were also seen in a game against the Jaguars.
The concept has been used as an alternate uniform in the past, but the Titans had made the move to a darker uniform when the Oilers first moved from Houston in the late 1990s. So there’s a little bit of old-school flair with a lighter blue color that sort of reminds fans of their days as the Houston Oilers.
6 Minnesota Vikings
Unlike the Baltimore Ravens, the Minnesota Vikings were able to succeed with an all-purple uniform kit for the 2016 NFL Color Rush promotion. These uniforms are a deep purple hue with golden yellow numbers and letters on the jersey. It also doesn’t have anything too crazy or over the top. The lines for the pants are somewhat conservative with a cool design that keeps them looking very sharp.
It is certainly a million times better than the potential all-yellow uniform with the purple numbers and stripes. This option goes well with the already established purple helmet. It’s also worth noting that it is a perfect fit for the home team of the recently deceased Prince – who had a big hit album in 1984 called “Purple Rain.”
5 Carolina Panthers
It might be the same type of Color Rush uniform used last year, but the Carolina Panthers seem to be hopeful that they will provide some good luck. The all-blue uniforms make a return when the Panthers host the New Orleans Saints on Nov. 17. The last time Carolina wore these uniforms, they defeated the Dallas Cowboys 33-14 last season.
It’s a great look that doesn’t make too many changes for what they’ve worn in the past. The uniform highlights their unique color while still maintaining the silver and black with the trim on the numbers, letters and helmet. Considering how the New Orleans Saints’ uniforms look, as mentioned later, this might be one of the better uniform match-ups of this season’s Color Rush promotion.
4 San Diego Chargers
The San Diego Chargers have had a couple of different looks based on the shade of blue for their uniforms. They’ve had dark blue and powder blue, which could have been a great option for their Color Rush uniforms. However, there’s nothing wrong with the royal blue colored uniforms that were chosen for their Oct. 13 game against the Denver Broncos.
The team announced on their official website that the uniforms were inspired by a Air Coryell era that featured star players like quarterback Dan Fouts and tight end Kellen Winslow from the 1980s. There are lightning bolts on the shoulders and down the legs, along with a gold facemask on the helmets. The only thing that would have been better is a return to a powder blue uniform for a one-time-only appearance.
3 Pittsburgh Steelers
Whenever the Pittsburgh Steelers announce they are going to have a special uniform, many fans cringe at the thought of the throwback “Bumblebee” uniforms based on the 1960 uniforms. So when fans saw their Color Rush uniforms for their Christmas Day game against the Baltimore Ravens, there was some excitement.
While maintaining the traditional black jersey, the all-black uniform kit features yellow numbers and lines. It is a simple, yet effective uniform that shows a perfect mix of a traditional look with a simple twist that doesn’t go over the top. There are many fans who feel this should have been one of their uniform options before this season. The only thing that would have topped this is going back to the golden yellow helmet they used in the 1962 season.
2 New Orleans Saints
Gold is definitely not a color that should be a primary option for an NFL uniform, as some teams have learned the hard way. While the New Orleans Saints didn’t go that route, gold was certainly the primary focus of their Color Rush uniforms. The Saints received an all-white uniform kit with gold numbers and lettering on the jersey.
There are also lines of black and gold at the arms and a line going down the side of the pants. Having the gold accents was a good way to make a color other than black the star of the uniform without looking too weird or over the top. It’s going to be a cool uniform to see on the field when the Saints play the Carolina Panthers on Nov. 17.
1 New York Giants
The New York Giants won the Color Rush game by going back to the past and pulling something memorable out of the closet. The Giants decided to go with an all-white look with a uniform that goes back to the 1980s and 1990s with great players like Lawrence Taylor. The blue helmet will have the memorable “Giants” instead of the “NY” logo. Additionally, they will have the blue numbers with red trim for a complete nostalgia win by the Giants.
This is the type of move that other teams should have considered. Instead of trying to do something completely new, there’s something to be said about bringing back something from a team’s history for a special event. The only negative is that we have to wait until the Giants play the Philadelphia Eagles on Dec. 22 to see these uniforms on the field.
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