Nostalgia makes everyone take stock of where we are and how far we have come. How much value these articles of retrospect have is a barometer of how much everything has changed. Some are considered classic, while others are gaudy, tacky, or just plain ugly.
Throwback uniforms are not immune to being objects of disgust. Styles change as well as tastes and, unfortunately, the NFL has more fashion duds than not in their old school collection. For a sport that has uniform origins that are rooted in the time of leather helmets and wool sweaters, the clamoring for 1930s throwbacks is nil. However, every once and awhile, these rejects escape from the back of a football franchise’s closet and are adorned once again well past their short-lived prime.
There are many options for the ugliest of the born again uniform set. However, these throwbacks will surely burn themselves into your corneas in all of their chromatic cruelty. We have narrowed it down to fifteen of the worst blasts from the past to make a comeback to the gridiron.
15. Detroit Lions
These dark blue and silver duds are as cold as a Detroit winter. These bland, non-descript uniforms are a fit for the days when the Lions would have enjoyed anonymity. However, they lack inspiration for the bright future that this perpetually futile franchise hopes to have.
14. Cleveland Browns
At first glance, not much has changed in terms of presentation. They are the same Browns jerseys you have come to know over the last half century. However, the helmets are a lighter orange with the player’s number scribbled on the side. It looks as if the equipment manager took a Sharpie to each player’s helmet and decided to call it retro.
13. Denver Broncos
Mustard yellow with muddy looking numbers, the Broncos aim for the rough, leatherhead look. However, they miss the mark completely with this nauseating combination. The earthy brown relates to the soil beneath the stomping heard of wild horses, but the golden rod yellow is not as threatening. Unless your opponents are snapped into a psychological fit over their hay fever, this pollen scheme is weak.
12. Buffalo Bills
The Bills have been sporting their former AFL look for a while now. However, besides the stampeding logo on the helmet, these uniforms are largely uninspiring. Plain as it can get with full-on white jerseys and pants to match, the only subtle difference are the red and blue stripes on the shoulder pads. On the plus side, on a typical Buffalo Sunday in late December, these non-descript uniforms would disappear in a snow squall. Other than that, this retro look is one big yawn.
11. Chicago Bears
The iconic dark blue with white numbers that Walter Payton made famous are replaced with traffic cone orange numbers. Inexplicable as a Jay Cutler interception, these jerseys are confounding. They in no way fit the bill for the monsters of the Midway.
10. Dallas Cowboys
These two-tone jerseys are not stars. They are just plain tacky. Every Thanksgiving, Dallas wears these patchwork schemed jerseys, hoping America is in a tryptophan-induced coma by the time kickoff rolls around.
9. Green Bay Packers
Dark blue jerseys offset by a splotch of yellow containing their numbers, the Packers are not the Packers in these drab uniforms. Green, yellow, and white are what we associate with the Pack, but all the vividness of these iconic uniforms is replaced with these lifeless throwbacks.
8. New York Jets
This tribute to the New York Titans franchise is unwarranted. Dark blue jerseys with greenish-yellow pants just don’t seem like a titanic combination. This awkward mess of colors is a fitting look for the Big Apple’s second fiddle. The Jets need to pitch these toxic throwbacks into the nearest landfill.
7. New Orleans Saints
There are too many shades of yellow here to be processed on the shoulders of these black jerseys. Gaudy and garish go hand in hand with the over the top presence of New Orleans. However, this attribute should geaux away and never come back again.
6. Washington Redskins
If they were aiming for an earthy look, Washington’s ode to mud and clay is as low as it gets. The colors burgundy and brown both mix together poorly in a monochromatic mess. Fortunately for Robert Griffin III, these leatherhead-esque get ups are a facsimile of a bygone, brutal era in the course of safety in the NFL.
5. Kansas City Chiefs
Ugly is not the correct term to categorize these throwbacks. Geographically perplexing would be the correct category. Honoring their origins as the Dallas Texans, the Chiefs sported these plain red jerseys with helmets baring the Lone Star State on them. Besides the fact that they are now a thousand or so miles away from Dallas in the present day, these uniforms are not that far removed from their current red and white duds.
4. Washington Redskins (Again)
The overwhelming amount of yellow on the pants overtakes the senses. For a franchise that vehemently defends their name choice with claims of it being a tribute to the heritage of Native Americans, Washington is doing every proud tribe another disservice with these cowardly yellow uniforms.
3. Pittsburgh Steelers
The Steel Curtain would be laughed out of the stadium if this yellow jacket inspired number stuck as Pittsburgh’s look. Honoring the inception of the Steelers franchise in 1933, this yellow and black striped disaster, with numbers that appear to be pasted on, is not a look that anyone is looking forward to seeing again any time soon.
2. Philadelphia Eagles
To better understand this yellow and light blue look by the Eagles, consider that the city of Philadelphia’s roots have a strong Swedish origin. However, this homage to the former Frankford Yellow Jackets is as perplexing on the eyes as an IKEA chair is to assemble. Luckily, the Eagles wore these once in 2007 and never again.
1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Where to begin with the infamous creamsicle unis that Tampa once adorned? Nevermind the obvious hideousness of the orange lite coloring for a moment. These uniforms are the lasting image of one of the most futile seasons in professional sports, their infamous winless season in 1976. It is no coincidence that not long after the Bucs changed over to the scarlet red look; their luck changed and resulted in a Super Bowl victory. Looking at the arena league reject style they are sporting now, a change should be in the offing.