There’s a Lot to Like About the NFL’s New Uniforms

Illustration by Keir Novesky, Photos courtesy of New York Jets, Detroit Lions, Denver Broncos

As the NFL gears up for this week’s draft, a few teams have already made significant additions for next season. The New York Jets, Denver Broncos, Houston Texans, and Detroit Lions all recently announced that they’ll be wearing new uniforms this fall, each set bringing something that caught our eye.

Conversations about uniforms are always divisive, and we’ll let you decide which of the three is your all-around favorite, but each has a distinct flavor. Here’s what we’re digging about each.

Most necessary change: New York Jets

The Jets needed some new energy after…whatever last season was, starting with Aaron Rodgers’ season-ending injury on the first series. And the team seems dead set on putting 2023 behind them. At least, sort of.

The Jets’ legacy collection—which will be their primary uniforms moving forward—were technically introduced last year. Ironically, they’re the uniforms that Rodgers got injured in. But! That was last year, when these were merely alternates. They’ve been moved to the main stage now, and the Jets are better for it.

The “Sack Exchange” logo, a nod to the team’s primary logo from 1978-89, is here to stay. That beloved logo and wordmark will appear on every helmet, including the always controversial black one. There’s not much to say about the green and white jerseys, other than they’re better—greener and whiter, respectively—than the greens and whites they’ve been wearing in recent years. And while the Jets have had black uniforms for years, the ones they’ll debut this year are a bit different than the previous iterations.

The green face mask is undeniably fire, and getting rid of the weird, unnecessary stripes across the front of the shoulders make this version much better than the old version. Having Sauce Gardner, one of the swaggier players in the league, wearing these will also help tremendously. The team admin is correct: the green jerseys with white pants is hard to say anything bad about.

We’re digging the white uniforms, too, and while your mileage may vary on jerseys that are black for the sake of being black, at least the Jets made improvements to theirs. Luckily, and perhaps most importantly for the grizzled fans still chanting J-E-T-S, this officially closes the book on this era.

Best throwback: Denver Broncos

The Broncos’ also altered their uniform closet in an extremely necessary way. Their most recent uniforms were, somehow, the same ones that John Elway won back-to-back Super Bowls in during the late ‘90s. (Sometimes winning is the worst thing that can happen to a team’s wardrobe. Just ask the Patriots, who were stuck wearing the same blah uniforms for the entirety of the Tom Brady era.) As such, the Broncos’ on-field aesthetic had gotten pretty outdated. The new threads finally bring Denver into the 21st century—if in a somewhat muted way.

Orange is just a tough color in general, and it’s clear that they weren’t ready to completely overhaul their entire art, but the Broncos did good things here. The font used for the numbering is a noted improvement, and while it’s simple, the new white jersey with blue pants seems like it’ll work both in-person and on television. Getting rid of the horn-shaped stripes on either side was long overdue, and adding a white helmet atop the alternate jersey brings something new as well.

The best part of the Broncos’ announcement, though, is the gorgeous homage to the team’s 1977 Orange Crush days. The throwback look has all the classics: the old school horse logo, the extremely evocative stripes that scream ‘70s, and a lighter shade of blue for the helmet that really makes the entire uniform pop. Last season, we championed the Seahawks, Titans, Buccaneers, and Vikings for rejecting modernity and embracing tradition. The Broncos, who are entering what might be a strange period for the franchise, were wise to do the same. The first part of look good, feel good, play good (at least on the days they wear the throwbacks) has been expertly taken care of.

Biggest swing: Houston Texans

The Texans made waves on Tuesday by releasing the uniforms they hope will define a long, fruitful period in team history. With instant breakout quarterback CJ Stroud—one of the most exciting talents in the league—teaming up with Stefon Diggs and a host of other offseason acquisitions, the Texans are shaping up to be one of the NFL’s flashiest teams for years to come. They finally have the jerseys to match that energy.

Strikingly, Houston has worn the same uniforms since the franchise’s first game in 2002. They’ve scrapped those for a brand new set that is H-Town to the bone. The team didn’t do anything crazy with their standard blue and white joints, apart from modernizing the wordmarks and numbering. The ones that people will really be talking about, though, are the other two uniforms.

Starting with the Battle Red alternates, the Texans went all-in on newness. In the process, they made history: The Texans are now the first NFL team ever to introduce a new logo on an alternate helmet, and they went above and beyond, introducing not just one, but two new helmets! The Battle Red one comes with a bullhorn logo on top of candy red paint, while the Color Rush uniform is adorned up top with a steel blue helmet featuring the team’s new secondary logo.

The Texans are also incorporating a lighter shade of blue for the first time, calling to mind the primary color the Houston Oilers wore before moving to Tennessee. They’re calling it “H-Town blue,” and it opens up a world of beautiful possibilities for glove, sleeve, and cleat options. Dark blue and red is unquestionably the most rote, uninspiring combo in sports, so kudos to the Texans for adding some splash to their version of the colorway.

The franchise’s bullhead logo remains, but pretty much everything else about the Texans’ wardrobe has changed. Like with any huge swing, these will take some time to get used to, but every single uniform (Texans and otherwise) can be improved around the edges by using powder blue effectively. We trust the always stylish Diggs to demonstrate that well.

Most aesthetically pleasing: Detroit Lions

Over the last few years, the historically downtrodden Lions became one of the league’s darlings—and came a score away from a Super Bowl appearance. They have now turned things around in another way, too. The Lions will now look even sharper when they hit the field in 2024.

While the white jerseys didn’t change too much, swapping in a blue face mask for the incumbent silver one is the type of subtle refurbish that makes a big difference. That same helmet will be worn with the home blues, which got a makeover as well. Replacing the silver numbers with fresh white ones is a nice touch, and the stripes borrow from the Ford Mustang, a loving nod to the city’s auto industry.

Despite the lack of a Super Bowl championship, the Lions are a historic member of the NFL (first game in 1930!). Because of this, it’s easy to understand why the team didn’t want to make any massive departures from the staples that fans have come to know and love. Blue and silver is already a great color scheme. The Lions didn’t need to reinvent the wheel here, and they didn’t, but they managed to make themselves look better without doing anything outlandish. Adding an all-caps DETROIT on the front of the white jerseys—which, like the blues, ditched the numbers that looked modern to a fault in favor of a more classic look—is also a win.

The real stunner here, though, is the black set. Slightly ambitious, but perfectly executed, these are immediately in the conversation for best alternate uni in the league.

Even better, they come with a fun backstory! Head coach Dan Campbell—who played for the Lions from 2007 to 2008, when they had a black alternate—reportedly made a cheeky little agreement with team president Rod Wood. “We win the division, I’ll bring the black jerseys back,” Wood told him. Lo and behold, the Lions won the NFC North, giving them their first division title in 30 years, and this year they’ll be outfitted in a black-and-blue ensemble they’re calling Motor City Muscle. If jersey appearance was part of the scoreboard, the Lions would start every game up 7-0 when they combine the tough-looking black top with the icy blue helmet.

Originally Appeared on GQ