Back in the day (in this case before 1990), pro football uniform designers had a major challenge facing them. That challenge was making a football jersey that was both reflective of the team in question and pleasing to the eyes. It seems that they failed miserably on both counts. Having said that, here are the 5 worst uniforms in NFL history (these choices do not necessarily reflect the views of NFL GRIDIRON GAB):
1 – Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1976-96): In 1988, Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Vinny Testaverde threw 35 interceptions. The Bucs’ front office was horrified that the young quarterback they had just a year earlier selected with the first pick in the NFL draft was having so much trouble distinguishing his own receivers from the opposing secondary that they tried something drastic: They switched jersey colors. Rather than wearing orange at home and white on the road, Tampa Bay switched to wearing white in every game, thinking that would make it easier for Testaverde to find his receivers downfield. That was the right move, but not because it would make Testaverde a better quarterback. It was the right move because those orange jerseys are hideous.
2 – Denver Broncos (1960-61): The story has it that, for the Broncos’ inaugural season, general manager Dean Griffing purchased what were considered “compromise” uniforms, light colored jerseys and drab brown pants along with socks with vertical stripes that could be worn at both home and away games. Reputed to be extremely frugal (cheap is more like it), Griffing reportedly bought these used uniforms from a defunct organization in Tucson, Arizona.
Research indicates differing accounts as to the exact origin of the uniforms. Some sources have indicated that the uniforms were purchased from a defunct college bowl organization (Cooper Bowl College All-Star Game), while coach Jack Faulkner has suggested that the uniforms came from an Arizona semi-pro organization “the Rattlers” with whom Griffing had been previously employed. With a team that looked like that, it’s a wonder the American Football League lived long enough to merge with the NFL.
3 – Buffalo Bills, (2005-2010): Simply put the loudest clash of red, blue and whatever colors came to mind in the NFL. Perhaps they gazed lovingly at the duds of the CFL teams to the north or they saw the success that met the Patriots and the Broncos soon after they donned their new ugly suits. I’m not sure. Thank goodness, the team finally saw the light and are in the process of putting these unis to rest, and will have new uniforms in 2011.
4 – Green Bay Packers, 1937: When the NFL wore throwback uniforms league-wide to celebrate its 75th anniversary, Brett Favre put on the Packers’ 1937 duds. Ophthalmologists were overrun with emergency calls as fans everywhere gouged out their eyes. I can see why. I mean, imagine this: a solid yellow helmet, minus logos and stripes. Add to this a dark green shirt with yellow numbers and Grey Poupon-colored pants. T-Shirts Plus should be envious.
5 – Everything in the Pro Bowl: A Packers helmet on top of a blue-and-white NFC jersey, a Raiders helmet on top of a red-and-white AFC jersey, every combination looks horrid. The uniform manufacturers should be arrested – for impersonating uniform manufacturers.
An honorable mention should be mentioned here; this uniform is from the NFL’s 75th Anniversary. It is:
1 – 1925 Chicago Bears. Nice combo here. Helmets with no logo and jersey tops with blue and orange stripes (I call this the Tank Johnson collection). Coincidence?