Uniforms have always been a fascinating aspect of sports to me. What I never could understand was why an organization would ever screw with a good thing, outside of the easy money made that comes with introducing anything new. Some NFL teams, unfortunately, have gotten away from some of their best color combos and fonts (I'm talking to you, St. Louis) in all of sports. But which teams still get it when it comes to attire? Here are 10 worthy candidates:
— Joe Concha
The only expansion team of the modern era to embrace the simple concept of simplicity: Navy, battle red, white. Perfect. No crazy roller derby number fonts, no over-the-top helmet logo (in fact, arguably the coolest in the league outside of the Raiders and Redskins). Look at the best uniforms in college: Alabama, Michigan, USC. Bold colors, nothing fancy. That's the Texans. Now if they can just win some games in December.
Relegated to No. 9 on the list because of the slight change from the Terry Bradshaw rounder, block numbers variety (left) to the ones you see now. Basically, Jack Ham will always look bigger than James Harrison because of said change. It is cool, however, that Pittsburgh is the only city to wear the same colors (black, white, gold) for all its major sports teams, if counting the Pirates as a professional organization, that is.
Boring. You bet! But I'll take the bland brown and orange over what the Oregon Ducks are wearing this week. (They're green, they're black, they're yellow, they're silver ... make up your damn minds!) The Browns did go through a Saints-like era in the '80s of wearing white at home even in the dead of winter playoff games (See: Elway's drive in '87), but now they seem to be back to realizing not everyone is the Cowboys or Lakers at home on Sundays. Not crazy about the brown pants for road games, but who's to question a team that has beaten a defending Super Bowl champ three straight seasons?
New Orleans Saints
Would be higher on this list if not for their curious insistence on wearing away whites at home. As my buddy Bopper says, "If it's a hot day early in the year and you want to wear white at home to somehow stay cooler, fine. But NOT when you play in a dome. Plus their black unis are great: Don't mess with it. I don't like teams that can't decide what to wear at home: Philly, Carolina, Miami. Just take one dip and end it!" The Seinfeld reference at the end seals the argument.
Again, nothing spectacular ... just classic: Royal blue, white. That's it. No third color working its way into the mix (like Jacksonville, which is morphing into the San Antonio Spurs with each passing hour). No change in the uniform since 1955, and even that move was subtle. Throw in the fact that Peyton Manning is oddly one of the only quarterbacks to still wear No. 18 (another classic number hijacked by young receivers) and you have a team that wisely doesn't battle tradition.
What a pleasure it was to watch the old silver and black go into the former home of the Orange Crush and crush the Broncos wearing their still-patently-ridiculous navy duds. I'll be brief: They suck. The orange, royal blue and white combo in Denver until 1997 (left) was as awesome as the Yankees, Celtics and even Red Wings uniforms. Back on topic, even when the Raiders are bad (32-87 since their last Super Bowl appearance) they always look good at home or on the road. And as long as Al Davis is running the show (estimates vary, but a popular consensus is until the year 2057), they will never, ever, ever change for no apparent reason, unlike the Broncos.
Green Bay Packers
Like the Raiders, the Packers know not to screw around with what works. They play on the same field Lombardi and Starr used to dominate on, there are no receivers wearing teen numbers, just good ol' green, white and yellow with bold numbers. But wait! The Packers will defy logic and sport a navy third jersey against the Niners in December. Noooooooo! The apocalypse is officially upon us.
San Francisco 49ers
Welcome back, San Fran! You were relegated to "worst" status during the decidedly-lame red-white-shadow black era (left) after the team made that dubious switch in '94. But since the team went back to the classic unis (minus the black), it's been a pleasure to watch. Embracing a history that includes four Super Bowls in the '80s should always lead to good things ... unless Alex Smith or Troy Smith is your quarterback.
Why aren't the Cowboys No. 1? They have tweaked their uniforms oh-so-slightly since the true glory days of Staubach/Dorsett/Pearson. The numbers: Slightly more shiny, a lighter blue hue, a little smaller, sleeker. The slightly green pants have changed this year as well due to HDTV. Green you say? Yup. Tex Schramm designed them that unique shade because, before HD, it came across blue-gray-silver. Weird, right?
San Diego Chargers
Rarely does a team revise an already-awesome uniform and make it better, but the current version is outstanding simply due to the yellow lightning bolt on the helmet and sleeves. Few teams wear white helmets (Jets, Dolphins, Titans come to mind), and the Chargers pull it off best. What makes little sense is that fans across the country ALL LOVE the powder blues, but the Spanos family seems to allow them to appear only once or twice per year. Should San Diego make the move permanent? E-mail me at email@example.com. I'm willing to bet my Wes Chandler away jersey the results are 90 percent or above in favor.