A couple of NFL teams have been making fashion changes in the past few weeks.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Atlanta Falcons recently unveiled new jerseys. The Cleveland Browns followed suit. The Indianapolis Colts revamped some of their team branding (and the Los Angeles Rams “revealed” a new … logo) for the 2020 season.
For the most part, the changes have been a mixed bag among the football community. The Bucs underwhelmed (although their new color-rush look isn’t bad). The Browns hit the nail right on the head, honoring the past and present. The Falcons’ new jerseys ... well ... at least they have a good offense!
As someone who loves jerseys probably more than he should, it got me thinking as to why teams would mess with a good thing — or worse, how, when trying to upgrade an outdated look, they more often than not end up with a polarizing product that ruins everything in the process.
Sure, it’s subjective, but so is being a fan. And no one wants the team they root for to have ugly, boring jerseys.
So, this all begs the question: If you had the No. 1 pick in a sports jersey fantasy draft, which would you take?
Here’s my crack at an NFL jersey power rankings list, 32-1. Every team will have its best look (in this editor’s humble opinion) represented here.
Agree? Wholeheartedly disagree? Let us know in the comments below and hit us up @YahooFantasy!
No. 32: Jacksonville Jaguars (teal, 1995-2001)
I don’t know what the hell is going on with the Jaguars’ uniform situation but I can’t say they had a lot to work with in the beginning. Normally, I try to find the good in funky-colored jerseys, but this relatively young franchise seems to still be finding its look. That’s fine.
No. 31: Cincinnati Bengals (black, 1968-1980)
This has never been a good jersey, but you gotta give it to the team for staying true to its namesake. Few animal-based teams (across all sports) match that creature’s color more than the Bengals. (Let’s just be thankful they never went with orange pants).
Maybe one day they’ll find the middle ground between the more muted look of yesteryear, and the “Hey, our mascot is a tiger, in case you didn’t know!” look of today.
No. 30: Carolina Panthers (white, 1995-2001)
Not sure whose idea it was to go with sky blue, silver and black all in one jersey, but, hey, it could be worse.
No. 29: Houston Texans (navy, 2002-present)
You kind of have to give such a young franchise like the Texans a break. There’s nothing especially wrong with this jersey, but you can tell from their countless variations of the same red/white/navy blue that they’re trying to see which look is best. I expect a major change sometime in the near future.
No. 28: Washington Redskins (burgundy, 1979-1993)
Washington’s look hasn’t really changed over the years. It’s not a terrible jersey, but it’s not life-changing either, hence their spot on this list. Their look during the 80s/early 90s, however, is best, donning a cleaner look and dropping the yellow/mustard pants.
No. 27: Phoenix/Arizona Cardinals (cardinal red, 1980-1989)
The muted red of this jersey was super sweet, and it looked even better when paired with the white helmet and the defined logo.
No. 26: Atlanta Falcons (black, 1990-1996)
Let’s get this out of the way: The Falcons blew it with their jersey redesign. They should have looked more to the past, like the jersey chosen here.
No. 25: New Orleans Saints (color rush white, 2016-present)
This jersey is proof that a new look can be better (and it hearkens back to the brief period the Saints went with all-whites, too; can’t be successful in the future if you don’t honor the past).
No. 24 New York Jets (green, 1978-1997)
It irks me that the Jets’ look in this span so closely mirrored the Eagles’, but that’s neither here nor there. The Jets had a good, clean style going during this time (and that logo seemed ahead of its time, too).
No. 23: Seattle Seahawks (blue, 1976-1999)
Hey, I’m as confused as you as to why the Seahawks went with neon green in recent years. It would’ve been better to tap into the look chosen here, which is clearly Seattle’s best. (One note: I prefer the smaller letters of the late 70s than those of the mid-80s/early 90s).
No. 22: Baltimore Ravens (black, 1997-2008)
The introduction of a black jersey took this team’s look to the next level. This jersey is further proof that the right colors can mesh well when done correctly — and they fit perfectly with the team’s logo and mascot. With that said, the enhanced gold numbering of recent seasons seems a tad too much (but the font of that numbering is iconic).
No. 21: Detroit Lions (Honolulu blue throwbacks, 2017-present)
Here’s something you don’t see every day: A modern take on a throwback look ... that somehow might be better than the original.
No. 20: Tampa Bay Buccaneers (“creamsicle,” 1976-1996)
This jersey has become something of a punch line over the years. Laugh if you like, but the “Creamsicle” look of the late-70s/mid-90s was fearless and, maybe most importantly, it grows on you.
No. 19: Kansas City Chiefs (red, present)
Aside from a shrunken logo and a couple technical changes here and there, the Chiefs jersey hasn’t really changed since they became the Chiefs. Do we think they need an upgrade?
(Hint: Probably not)
No. 18: Chicago Bears (navy blue, 1974-2003)
Count me in as “Team Orange C” on the helmet, but this is a jersey list. You can’t go wrong with such a clean look, as the dark blue muted the orange well (although they got a little wild with the very-loud-all-orange jersey of later years).
No. 17: Denver Broncos (orange, 1980-1996)
Orange is a tough, tough color to work with on a jersey — especially if it’s the main color of the look. The Broncos, however, made it work for many years. With that said, most of the nostalgia and love for this look comes from the old helmets/logos, and not the jerseys themselves. Still, a fantastic jersey nonetheless.
No. 16: Miami Dolphins (aqua, 1966-1997)
There’s a reason this jersey spent so many years with only subtle changes to numbering and color. It’s so clean, which is not an easy thing to do when you’re working with aqua and orange, so Miami deserves recognition for this.
(Quick side note: Always found it hilarious that the dolphin’s helmet seemed always a bit too big for him on the logo).
No. 15: Cleveland Browns (Brown, 1960-1974/1985-1995)
I’ll keep this one short. It’s not often you see brown as the main color of a jersey. It’s even rarer to see that brown done right. Put some respect on this look.
No. 14: Minnesota Vikings (Purple, 1996-2005)
Arguably the best use of purple on a jersey in all of sports. Period.
No. 13: Pittsburgh Steelers (black, 1968-present)
Black and yellow isn’t the greatest color combination for a jersey (the Boston Bruins probably do it best) but the Steelers’ clean look has been virtually unchanged for over 50 years. Just stay away from the hideous, oddly striped throwbacks (looks like a bumblebee stuck in peanut butter).
No. 12: Green Bay Packers (green, 1975-present)
Why haven’t they dropped a yellow version of their jersey in the modern era? Just go full Oakland A’s with it! Until then, the classic look will have to do (and it’ll do just fine — just keep those damn throwbacks away from me).
No. 11: Tennessee Titans/Houston Oilers (light blue, 1972-1992)
Probably the easiest pick of this list, as the Oilers jersey completely blows the modern Titans one out of the water. Pro tip: If you start your jersey off with a soft baby blue, you’re already winning.
No. 10: Baltimore/Indianapolis Colts (royal blue, 1972-2010)
The Colts’ look is simple — maybe even to a fault. But there’s clearly nothing wrong with a classic look. I especially like the subtle brightening of the blue, but they’ve reverted to a more muted blue of late, which isn’t bad either.
No. 9: New York Giants (white, 1975-1998)
The white version of this jersey is simply perfect.
No. 8: Philadelphia Eagles (green, 1985-1995)
Full disclosure: I love every iteration of the Eagles’ look over the years. They’ve somehow changed things while keeping the soul of their look intact (I said I take jerseys seriously, didn’t I?). Their throwback threads from the late 80s/early 90s — the simple green and white, which went perfectly with the clean, winged helmet — wins out here.
No. 7: Buffalo Bills (royal blue, 1973-1985)
One word: CLEAN.
No. 6: St. Louis/Los Angeles Rams (yellow/blue, 1973-1999; present)
They went back to these uniforms and the world rejoiced. It’s one of the few instances in sports where two bright, loud colors jerseys blend seamlessly.
… And then they changed the logo. Let’s just try and focus on the jersey and not the logo, I guess.
No. 5: Oakland/Las Vegas Raiders (black, 1964-present)
Arguably one of the top five or top three most iconic logos in sports, the powers that be behind the Raiders undoubtedly knew what they had here, so they kept things simple with the jersey. Subtle changes over the years, but the grayish silver-and-black stayed true.
Let’s hope they do in Vegas as well.
No. 4: New England Patriots (red, 1973-1992)
I was extremely torn here. I am a huge fan of the Patriots’ current look (and they have one of the better color-rush uniforms in the league). Their 2003-present jersey nearly edged out Patriot Pat here, but the relatively new addition of a jarring silver on the shoulders gave the simpler throwback the edge it needed to win out.
It’s hard to make a bright red jersey work, but the Patriots, as they’re used to doing in all things, made it happen.
No. 3: San Francisco 49ers (scarlet, 1994-2008)
And to think, there was a rumor floating around of the team trying to completely change this perfection. The 49er red is probably the cleanest in all of sports; the white stripes on the sleeves are just icing on the cake.
No. 2: Dallas Cowboys (white, 1985-present)
America’s Team also has one of the nicest jerseys in all of sports — forget football. The all-white, the blue stripes, the giant numbers; football to the tee.
No. 1: San Diego/Los Angeles Chargers (powder blue, 2000-present)
This, people, is the epitome of everything you could want in a jersey. It exemplifies the contentment simplicity brings and the attention subtle details attract.
It’s easy on the eyes; the powder blue is electric enough to catch those eyes, but not so loud as to make them hurt. The yellow of the bolt pairs well with the blue, and the logo on the sleeves is a welcome respite from the stripes found so prevalently in football.
The best thing the Chargers did was make this a regular instead of just a throwback. Even their revamped version of the powder blues look great.
This is a jersey done right.