Best and Worst NFL Uniforms

Last week, we took a quick look at the three new uniforms being donned by NFL teams this year (we were fans of only the one).  Well, we’re another week closer to the official start of football season, so let’s take a look at the other 29 uniforms, too, and pick the three best and the three worst of them.

BAD

Cincinnati Bengals

257452-cincinnatti-bengals-2012-nike-elite-51-uniformThis one is always controversial.  Some people love it, some people hate it, and no one is in-between.  We actually like the colors and the basic lines…  But the stripes.  Oh, the stripes.  This uniform makes the team look like they came onto the field via a time warp hidden inside your trapper keeper in 1987.  Considering the Bengals’ history since the ’80s ended, maybe that’s not surprising.  The helmet stripes aren’t that offensive, but using the pattern in place of stripes, like some kind of unholy union between football and the female cast of “The Jersey Shore”?  No, no, no.

GOOD

Oakland Raiders

257459-oakland-raiders-2012-nike-uniformYeah, we’re pretty much required by football law to have this one on the “best” list.  It’s just a classic in every way.  Virtually unchanged in 40 years, and with good reason.  The colors are fantastic, the use of them is great, and balanced, the lines and fonts are old-fashioned, but in a wonderfully classic way, not a way that feels “old”…  Even the borderline absurd pirate logo is perfect (can you imagine what horrors would have come out of some ’90s or early 2000s redesign?).

TERRIBLE

Carolina Panthers

257457-carolina-panthers-2012-nike-uniformSo, so dated.  The Panthers uniform is another that has barely changed over the years…  And that is not a good thing.  The Panthers debuted in 1995, and boy, does it show.  The stripes are too wide and awkwardly placed, and that fluorescent blue is eye damaging.

GREAT

Green Bay Packers

257456-green-bay-packers-2012-nike-uniformThe Packers uniform almost always tops these sorts of lists.  They are, like the Raiders uniform, a perfect example of only making minor tweaks to an otherwise unchanging design over the decades to amazing effect.  The color combo of deep green and yellow is surprisingly pleasing to the eye (we dare you to try wearing street clothes that color and making it work), and the logo is as perfect as sports logos get.  The image of the uniform by itself automatically brings to mind images of Brett Favre, Bart Starr, Aaron Rogers, and the entire state of Wisconsin.

HORRIFYING

Jacksonville Jaguars

BIjcNWpCQAANBKG.jpg largeOh, yes, here it is again.  Just like last week, this one is just the worst.  The worst of all 32, in fact.  As we said then, the almost embarrassing attempt to be “XTREEEEEM” is terribly done, with the absurd shoulder stripes, chest badge, and insane two-toned helmet.  It looks like something a supervillain in a comic book circa 1994 would wear.

FANTASTIC

Chicago Bears

257453-chicago-bears-2012-nike-elite-51-uniformPerfect, in every way.  The wonderful, old-fashioned stripes, the great combo of navy blue and burnt orange with white, the “GSH” label honoring George Hallas…  Classy from top to bottom.  The logo isn’t quite as good as the Packers logo, but it’s close.  And, a special bonus, it looks just as good in its road colors as in its home colors, something you don’t see often in the NFL.

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Color Commentary on the Color Commentators

In case it isn’t obvious from our blog and our Facebook page, we’re kind of big on football here at Joseph’s.  And this is the time of year when we’re most excited about it: just as the preseason starts!  Preseason means football on television again for the first time in months!  It also means that in just a few weeks, those wonderful, cozy Sundays spent in front of the TV with friends and family watching America’s favorite game will be here again.  What does any of this have to do with us, custom suit designers?  Well, for one thing, a lot of our customers are NFL players and people associated with the League.  Which is a big reason football season is so exciting for us, especially based, as we are, in the hometown of the defending Super Bowl Champions!  But another fantastic pastime is returning along with the football season: the pre-game shows and their commentators, who are always, ALWAYS decked out in top-of-the-line suits and accessories.

If we’ve said it once, we’ve said it a thousand times: just because a suit cost a lot or was made by a great company doesn’t automatically mean it looks good or that you’re wearing it right!  With that in mind, let’s take a look at the “big three” NFL pre-game broadcasts and their lineup of sartorially-minded sportscasters.
CBS – The NFL Today

CBS’ broadcast has the feel of being the most old-fashioned of the three.  While FOX, being FOX, is somewhat flashier, and NBC is full-on epic, complete with a John Williams-penned opening theme, CBS still feels like the broadcasts from the halcyon days of the Steelers and 49ers in the ’70s and ’80s (somewhere out there, a Baby Boomer Packers fan is rolling their eyes).  And their lineup of hosts is no exception.  Featuring the always stalwart Boomer Esiason, Dan Marino and James Brown, the group is perked up by “The Chin” himself, Bill Cowher, and the always energetic and hilarious Shannon Sharpe.  This is reflected in the way they dress:

Left to right: Sharpe, Marino, Brown, Cowher, Esiason.

Nice, all of them, but a little “run-of-the-mill broadcaster” in some cases.  Esiason and Brown could pass for Senators.  Marino spices it up a little with unusual ties.  This works sometimes, like in this picture, where the seemingly mismatched colors work with the pale blue undershirt.  Other times, not so much.

But check out Coach Cowher, who seems to have embraced the power of the pinstripe wholeheartedly. For a guy best known for this…

AAAAHHHH!!

He certainly cleans up well:

It’s very easy to overuse pinstripes and end up looking like a ’20s gangster. Cowher never does this, and always wears pale, subtle pinstripes, that accentuate his fit form, and make him look quite dashing.

But the winner on CBS?

He wears pink ties and pocket squares without a care in the world.

Shannon Sharpe take elements that would look garish and over-the-top on many people, and makes them WORK.  Mostly because he carries himself with a comfortable, happy, easy confidence.  If he felt awkward, he’d look awkward.  As is, he just looks classically flashy and suave.  And pocket squares can make an outfit all on their own, but only if they’re used right.  Sharpe uses them right, picking the right suits to add them to, and the right colors of squares to add.  Just look at this guy!

He KNOWS he looks good.

We cannot stress this enough, all the money and tailoring in the world doesn’t mean anything if you don’t have the confidence and swagger to make it a part of you, like a second skin.  Sharpe does this in spades.

FOX – The NFL on Fox

FOX, flashy as it is with its orchestral hard rock theme and big, yellow graphics, would seem to be the perfect place for a bevy of Shannon Sharpes.  Instead, they have a group of more old-school names…

Left to right: Menefee, Bradshaw, Long, Strahan, Glazer, Johnson.

But they dress a lot flashier than their opposite numbers at CBS.  Colorful ties abound, as does a spectrum of suit colors, through blacks, blues, greys and even a touch of violet.  Some with pinstripes, some without, some with pocket squares, some without…  The experimentation looks great on the very, very tall Howie Long, who towers over everyone but Michael Strahan.  A three-piece black suit with a pale violet pocket square and tie?  Up-scale flashiness.  Nice.  But the crew cut isn’t doing him any favors.  Strahan has the same kind of comfortableness with color and style experimenting.  They both work, really, so it’s a tie here.

All bow before The Gap.

Gotta love the hatched lines in the fabric.

NBC – Football Night in America

Ah, NBC.  Poor NBC.  It’s getting torn a new one for its Olympic coverage right now, and the golden days of Must See TV are long gone.  But say what you will about the occasionally awkward Faith Hill intro sequence, NBC Sunday Night Football is probably the slickest sports production on TV right now, and the pre-game show is no exception.  Headlined by Bob Costas, the analyst team is an unusual mix of sportscasters, former players and coaches of extremely varied ages and styles.

C’mon, he’s been the voice of the Olympics for 20 years, Costas deserves his own picture!

Left to Right: Patrick, Dungy, Harrison.

Really, all of them do it well.  Costas, despite his small frame, always wears great color combos and well-tailored suits for his build.  Rodney Harrison has a lot of fun with his suits, bounding between traditional and blindingly unusual from week-to-week, and Tony Dungy and Dan Patrick are always sartorially solid, dressed perfectly every week.  So who wins this round?  The guy who isn’t there yet.

This guy.

Hines Ward will be joining Football Night in America this season, and a quick look at some of the more fantastic suits he’s worn over the years tells us he’ll be bringing a Sharpe-like fun and confident tone to the show.

Just leave the dance moves at home, Hines.