In the countless analytics, stats and roundabout discussions about pro football, one thing often goes unnoticed. That’s the team uniform. Uniforms are what unite us as fans. They’re like battles lines being drawn in the sand. It isn’t just an efficient way of separating teams and figuring out who’s who, but a symbol of what that team is supposed to represent as a franchise. Uniforms change over time, aesthetically they’re the most eye pleasing aspect about football. Some uniforms change more than others though and that isn’t always a bad thing. Some teams actually benefit greatly from a new look, while others – especially older franchises – like to keep the design consistent in most aspects.
So what makes a good NFL uniform? Well for starters, it has to stand out from other uniforms in the league. We’re not talking about colors or anything like that, we’re saying it has to look unique. You can have five blue uniforms but only have one of them really catch your eye with its design. How recognizable these uniforms are is another good aspect to hone in on. What they do with their color schemes, images used, how well it relates to the team – all that and more are what goes into a great uniform. So let’s get into it. Here’s every NFL team’s uniform ranked worst to best.
32 Cleveland Browns
The Browns are perennial losers, and while we’d like to see them come out from under the bottom, that isn’t happening any time soon. But as they say, you have to look the part – and one looks at these uniforms is all you need to grasp that there aren’t many victory parades in Cleveland. The orange and brown combination the Browns go with is an eyesore as the two colors don’t exactly create the most aesthetically pleasing sequence. Whether it’s the solid brown of their home jerseys or the white and orange away colors, Cleveland ranks last in the league in terms of style. Well that and many, many other things. But let’s not be too hard on them, their time’s bound to come eventually.
31 Jacksonville Jaguars
Jacksonville came into the league as an expansion franchise and though they’ve found limited bouts of success in their short time in the NFL, the Jaguars are yet another down and out franchise in football. Jags fans should be optimistic this season with a new regime in place, but we’ve seen just how quickly that kind of optimism can die in sports. One thing Jags fans have the displeasure of being stuck with is those horrific uniforms. The teal and black mixture doesn’t do the eye any favors. While that isn’t bad enough, their helmets don’t do them any favors. The gold puke finish makes the players stand out in the worst possible way, making the entirety of the uniform seem like one big uncoordinated mess of colors.
30 Miami Dolphins
The Dolphins have more or less had the exact same color scheme for their uniforms for the last thirty plus years, and it’s getting kind of stale. It might’ve been a refreshing look in the 70s, but Miami’s uniforms have long outstayed their welcome. The Dolphins have a long history in the NFL and those uniforms are forever attached to them. But the damn things look something awful. The aqua green color scheme is one of the weakest among NFL uniforms. When you think of football you think tough, this just comes off as slightly effeminate if anything. While we do admit that these uniforms definitely had their time in the sun that was a long while ago. Time for a change.
29 Philadelphia Eagles
Apart from being perennial losers, never winning a Super Bowl and having one of the most toxic fan bases in all of pro sports, the Philadelphia Eagles also have one of the leagues crappiest uniforms. Philly fans probably won’t take all too kindly to it but if you compare them to some of the more creative uniforms on our list, then the Eagles threads really don’t stand out as anything more than a stale color pallet. The Eagles tout themselves out week in and week out in a sickly solid green that seems like it was just thrown together, with little to no effort at all. Maybe Philly gets some new uniforms in the near future, maybe they win a championship. Maybe not.
28 Tennessee Titans
For those of you at home struggling to remember what the Titans jerseys look like, let’s give you a quick reminder. They’re blue. That’s it. Well, not entirely, but that’s the main color being used here. You can give the Titans kudos for at least mixing in colors that work well together unlike the Jags. But Tennessee’s uniforms fail to pop off the screen. The Dark and light blue colors muddle each other rather than do anything to complement one another. They’ve got the standard white pants on, so not much to say on that one. But all in all the Titans jerseys are pretty weak especially when you compare them to some of the more recognizable ones around the league.
27 Atlanta Falcons
The pain of loss stings. It’s a lingering pain, but that Falcons loss to the Patriots in Super Bowl LI is bound to cause some prolonged stress among the fan base. The Falcons were not only beat by the best team, but also the best dressed team. Atlanta’s home uniform is an absolute assault on the eyes. While their away uniforms look pretty plain, the bright red and white uniforms they’re rocking aren’t that great. Historically, Atlanta has never really had great uniforms and they continue that tradition to this day. Plenty of great players have worn those threads, but that’s about it. Man that loss though, it’s still hard to swallow.
26 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Falcons’ NFL South rivals share the dishonour of having some of the worst uniforms in the NFL. If you were to go back to the Buccaneers early years then you’d truly be at a loss for words. You think these are bad, look at those. It was like a menagerie of neon lights and sickly vomit. Bright, bright orange is not a good choice for a football uniform. Though the Bucs have settled on the much more suitable red uniforms we’re used to seeing them in no, those aren’t much better. Either way, you're looking at the Bucs in some not so pretty uniforms as they continue to struggle along in the NFL.
25 Houston Texans
Houston is another young franchise on our list. The team hasn’t been around for very long, and so they’ve gone through the typical problems expansion teams go through in their adolescence. Things don’t look like they’re getting better right now for Houston, but who knows, that could all change with one solid offseason. One thing that won’t change is those uniforms. The Texans uniform has been more or less the same thing since they came into the league. The primary navy blue along with the red collar isn’t the worst thing the NFL’s seen. But it certainly isn’t the best. Houston’s uniform doesn’t do that much in terms of style. It’s kind of “meh” in that regard. At least they J.J Watt, though. So, at least they have a beast wearing this uniform.
24 Detroit Lions
The Lions are one of the most prominently snake bitten franchises in the NFL. They have a long history of getting completely and utterly screwed over. This little bit of history is a testament to the tenacity of Lions fans. They’ve suffered the most here. But perhaps the biggest verification of their fandom is how they continually fill Ford Field wearing those ugly jerseys. The Lions’ uniforms aren’t very inspiring – much like the franchise itself. The weird powder blue and grey color combination does nothing special and really seems to be just as dull as the Lions themselves on a given Sunday. The uniform has been amended and changed over the years, but something tells us any future changes are going to building off much of what we’re seeing here.
23 Arizona Cardinals
The Cardinals are next up on our list. Arizona has had some up and down years over the last decade. They aren’t the league’s best unit, but they can be an elite one when they’re playing off each other successfully. The Cardinals current uniforms aren’t too great if we’re really being honest about it. The Red’s nice, and the way that a piece of the torso bleeds into the side of the legs actually looks pretty good. But for some reason they just look a little bit too much like those early 2000s Cards uniforms. The things looked like the color had been washed out and looking back on it now, look way older than they actually were.
22 Carolina Panthers
Some colors don’t mesh that well. It’s not that they’re incompatible together, but more that we’d be better off not seeing them together. The Panthers uniforms are a perfect example of just that. Blue and black usually go great together, but in this case it just feels off. Maybe it’s the powder blue? There’s something about NFL teams and mixing various shades of colors that’s just weird. Why not use the solid color, you’re not painting a landscape – there’s no reason to get too out there with your team colors. All that said the Panthers jerseys certainly aren’t the leagues worse, but they’re at the bottom in terms of style. Well back to the drawing board, eh?
21 Indianapolis Colts
The Colts don’t have terrible uniforms by any stretch of the imagination. But they certainly don’t have anything worth remembering. It’s that simple. Like a lot of the lower tier uniforms on this list, Indy’s just doesn’t do it that well. Some uniforms can pull off the simple look while others can’t. Sadly for the Colts, they’re one of those teams that have failed to do so. White helmet’s, blue tops, while bottoms and just to add insult to injury here – unnecessarily mind you – a pretty plain as hell logo. Seriously, it might be one of the worst in the NFL. Luckily for the Colts they have some talented players that with a little help, can really make a push next year. In those plain as a cracker uniforms.
20 Los Angeles Rams
Looks like the Rams are getting new uniforms for 2017. While it might be a technicality, despite these things being revealed they haven’t seen the field yet. So for this article we’re going to go ahead with their 2016 uniforms and judge them based on that. Just for the record, the only thing that looks appealing with the new design is that awesome spiraled horn helmet. But either way the Rams would fare the same. White, blue and gold. They’re the colors of sadness for lots of Rams fans but ultimately they’re not all too bad. These aren’t terrible uniform colors but rather, they’re associated with terrible teams. That just leaves a bad taste in people’s mouths. Hopefully the new uniforms give the team a fresh start.
19 New Orleans Saints
There was a time in history where the saints were one of the worst teams in the league, consistently making the case to be the league laughingstock on a yearly basis. Well that was years ago and now the Saints are one of the best teams in the league. Well, most years anyways. While the team is successful they’ve got a bit of an awkward color scheme going on. It’s tough to explain, but the quickest way to say it would be that the gold and black don’t make for the most exciting color combo out there. It’s a little boring to see the Saints in home uniforms. Actually they look way better in there away jerseys. They might as well just make those the default.
18 Buffalo Bills
Here we have an interesting team uniform to analyze as we reach the midway point of our list. The Bills – like many teams on our list – have had their fair share of uniform changes and modifications over the years. These modern uniforms might not rank as the favourite among Bills fans but they’re certainly some of the better ones. If you’ve noticed by now, a lot of NFL teams like to use the color blue in some way with their uniform designs. It’s kind of interesting once you think about it. The Bills have a lot going on here, with the primary blue intertwined with shades of white and red, it’s not one of the best ones on this list by far – but one of the better ones we’ve seen up to this point.
17 Minnesota Vikings
The Vikings uniform doesn’t leave much to the imagination. You’ve got two main colors going on there. White and purple. The white (shockingly enough) goes to the bottom half of the uniform while the purple top is what stands out the most. Aesthetically it doesn’t do that much, and doesn’t contain the subtle differences that a uniform such as the Bills’ does. They didn’t call them the Purple People Eaters back in the 60s for nothing right? But while other uniforms on this list have been criticized for their use of single solid colors, the Vikings get a pass. Purple is such a rare sight in the NFL that it’s actually kind of refreshing to see them hit the field.
16 Kansas City Chiefs
Okay, so we’re at the midway point of our list, finally. At this point we’re going to be a little more balanced as we get to the end. No more ragging on uniforms. Well no, we will say what’s wrong with them. But we’ll say some nice stuff too – promise. The Chiefs are one of the oldest AFC teams around and played a pivotal role back in the early years of the conference – while the old AFC vs NFL war was raging on. Their light red jerseys and arrowhead helmet logos are some of the most recognized in the league. While there’s not much to look at, it’s one of the most recognizable among NFL fans and a uniform with a ton of history.
15 Baltimore Ravens
We’ve gone over what does and doesn’t work with NFL uniforms in terms of color. A uniform can be pretty much any color, nothing wrong with that. But some combinations just don’t pop. It’s happened with the more conservative colors which is weird right? You’d think that teams like the Bucs who tried out some weird colors would be the ones failing at this but that’s not always the case. Baltimore, like the Vikings don a purple uniform. That in tandem with their black secondary colors actually come out looking pretty fearsome – which is strange when you look at similar uniforms on this list that ranked lower. But something about these just makes it seem like you’re going to get smashed in the mouth.
14 Washington Redskins
The Redskins had a pretty bad year last season. The team struggled coming off a division title and now look to be in flux. Depending on how things go in the next couple weeks, they might be without Kirk Cousins next season. Of course, they could retain Cousins – but that has its own problems. But for now let’s just look at their uniforms. They’re some of the better designed one’s we’ve seen on this list so far. The sea of red and orange mixes in well with each other creating a very unique look for the Redskins. Their name might be controversial but their uniforms are one of the league’s most recognized. No matter your opinion on the team's name, you will always know the colors of Washington's football team.
13 Chicago Bears
The Bears are one of the oldest franchises on this list. They’ve been around for nearly 100 years and have a long rich history with the NFL. It wouldn’t be that much of a stretch to say that Chicago is one of the NFL’s most iconic franchises. Of course, players and championships are responsible for a large portion of that – but let’s not forget the role that uniforms play in retaining the memory of greatness. The Bears navy blue and orange jerseys are some of the most simplistic we’ve seen on this list. But as it stands, they’re pretty great. They haven’t changed all too much in the last thirty years or so. That’s because it works, for Chicago, for the NFL, and for everybody.
12 Pittsburgh Steelers
We’ve gone over it before. Why black and gold aren’t that great of a uniform combo, but this is an acceptation. The Steelers, like the Bears, have some of the most recognized uniforms in the NFL. Another simple design, the Steelers rely on a solid black primary color to do most of the work. It isn’t that creative but it gets the job done, with a hint of yellow and white in there as well. For some reason, this just works for the Steelers. It’s a uniform that fits the team well, from the hard nose football to the cold late season weather. The uniforms match up with everything we associate with Steelers football and compliments that perfectly.
11 Denver Broncos
It’s a little bit of an unconventional color scheme, but it works out good. The Broncos have a long history of uniforms and uniform changes. They too have had some pretty ridiculous examples we could bring up. In fact, if we were judging those uniforms you can bet that you might see some iteration of the Broncos colors at the bottom of our list. But in recent years the Broncos have put together a pretty solid set of uniforms. Opting to go with orange as the main color, the Broncos splash onto the screen whenever they’re on TV. Their primary jerseys look a lot more like they’re alternates but make no mistake, that’s what the team goes with when they’re defending home turf. And they look cool doing it too.
10 New York Jets
The Jets’ uniform hasn’t changed all too much in recent years to be honest. The green staple of their image has always been there, in fact it’s what you’d most likely associate with the team. There were some weird uniforms in the 80s and 90s but it now looks as though the franchise is staying with the more popular traditionally inspired look for the team. This is another one of those that passes off on its history more than its genuine look. The Jets go with a green and white look that the fans love. It’s very similar to the uniforms that saw them win their first Super Bowl back in the day. Anytime you see these colors they inspire a sense of greatness.
9 San Francisco 49ers
The 49ers like many other teams that you’ll see going down on this list have something we’d call a classic uniform. While it’s gone through some minor changes over the years, the general look and colors used have remained the same. Why is that? Well to be honest, why fix something if it ain’t broke? The gold and red colors of the 49ers are synonymous with victory in the NFL. They’ve seen teams do the impossible and dominate all weaning those colors on their backs. Obviously San Fran isn’t too hot right now, but things could turn around. Once they do, it’ll be those same familiar uniforms looking as they did back in the day – completely dominant.
8 Cincinnati Bengals
The Bengals uniforms might not seem like the top choice here but they really are great uniforms. Cincy has gone through some look changes over the years, but the team’s always managed to retain its wild side. It shows beautifully on these uniforms. The orange primary colors coupled with the plain white might seem a little too wish washy, but they give the team a more animalistic vibe. Witch works because those guys do not play nice – especially on the defensive side of the ball. The kicker though is the stripes on their helmets and shoulders. It looks like they’re ready to tear their opponents apart. If they can hold onto that mentality for a full season there’s no reason why they shouldn’t get their first Lombardi.
7 New York Giants
The Giants are another one of those older franchises that get a pass for their otherwise plain looking uniforms due to the franchise’s history and the recognition that those uniforms bring. The Giants’ colors can be summarized in one word; blue. There’s some white and red in there – all very patriotic and stuff – but they aren’t called Big Blue for nothing. The jerseys, helmets and logo all feature it prominently. It does really make them seem rather larger than life at times as the somewhat lighter than usual shade they use allows them to stand out in the crowd. They’ve had some interesting alternate uniforms, but their recent color rush jerseys were nothing short of a disappointment. Seems that you really just can’t do much with it, but you know, that’s ok.
6 Seattle Seahawks
Seattle has come onto the elite NFL scene with a bang in recent years. Their defense is among the best in the league and they’ve got a very efficient offense that can bite you where it hurts. It’s no surprise to see them gaining popularity. But among all other things the Seahawks have ditched their old dorky baby blue uniforms and opted for a more modern look that fits them much better. The Seahawks’ navy blue and grey/neon green uniforms really hit you when you take a look at them. It’s a sleek look for a young team, embodying the talented players that drive the franchise. Who knows how much longer until they change uniforms, but these are by far the best they’ve had.
5 New England Patriots
The Patriots uniform design isn’t particularly complex, but it isn’t so simple either. After starting out in the NFL with a very bright red and white color scheme, the Pats look has evolved over the years. It’s now a look of dominance, known by any and all NFL fans – as their recent Super Bowl upset victory has proved – and in essence is one of the most known looks in pro football. The dark blue and grey colors serve as a warning to all teams that play them; don’t let your guard down. That’s how they get you, and when they do they dominate you. If you’re the majority of sports fans, “fun” wouldn’t be the word used to describe this dynasty. But it’s been a historical one nonetheless.
4 Los Angeles Chargers
The Chargers are in the middle of a big move right now, so it’s with a heavy heart that we examine them in their last instances as the San Diego Chargers. The Chargers aren’t the flashiest team in the NFL but you can bet that they had some great players back in the day and they could get the job done. Their jerseys are solid and while not too spectacular – are certainly better than those weird powder blue ones that they’ve got. If anything, those actually make the collective of uniforms weaker as a unit. As we wait to see what will transpire in LA, one constant will definitely be those great uniforms. Keep an eye out this season for the iconic bolt that will represent the Chargers in a new city.
3 Green Bay Packers
This is hands down one of the most unique uniforms on our list. The Packers have a long and celebrated history in NFL lore. The first Super Bowl winners, along with one of the all-time great franchises in NFL history, Green Bay has amassed a loyal following. The “cheese heads” up there are passionate about their football, and the Packers are at the enter of it. Their strange but pleasing mixture of green and yellow are instantly recognizable among the NFL fan base. They’re certainly unconventional colors, especially in the NFL. But it’s been that way for the Packers for years. Not many uniform changes here. Just a ton of history.
2 Oakland Raiders
The Raiders of old were legendary for their hardnosed football and rather questionable way of playing the game. They were the NFL’s bad guys and loved it. They were raiders, taking all they could from the league and parading off in their own contingent worlds. The thing that symbolized it all was their colors. The Silver and Black is the moniker which was coined for these gridiron felons. The Raiders will always be the toughest franchise in NFL history, their colors signify their physical presence winning attitude. They’re anti-heroes, rebels and they revel in it. You might not like them, but they sure as hell don’t care. It looks like the Raiders are going to be a good football team for a long time, so get used to seeing these guys in the limelight.
1 Dallas Cowboys
Our final entry might’ve been a predictable one but hey, what can you do – it’s the Dallas Cowboys, they’re one of the most popular teams in the NFL for fans and bandwagoners alike. Dallas has definitely had their moments and made their mark on NFL lore. And throughout it all they’ve always worn the same uniforms (tradition is key in Dallas). The plain white tops with blue numbering and let’s not forget – the star on the helmet. They’re given the moniker of “America’s Team” precisely because of how recognizable and you’ve got to attribute it to their success. How else would a jersey that plain become so popular? They could’ve been pink on the shoulders and still have had the same impact as they have now.