Here we are, still stuck in that nether-world between the start of preseason (yawn) and the beginning of Real Football (yay), when it feels like all is right with the world, yet when you look up, Caleb Hanie is under center for the Denver Broncos… In an effort to fill the void, I present to you this year’s Wardrobe Malfunctions — the team in each division that really (and in some cases really REALLY) needs to do something about its threads.
Let’s kick it off with the AFC, shall we?
They may be the division snowball, but I’ve got to hand it to the Cleveland Browns — they’ve held the line (so far). Likewise the Steelers, whose logo-on-one-side helmet has been around long enough to be considered cool rather than annoying. Also, the thick black stripe on the pants is sweet.
Then there are the Baltimore Ravens, who managed to ditch one of the worst logos in the history of sports, only to end up with one of the worst logos in the history of sports. Add to that the purple-and-black color combination, which does get pity points for originality, and you’ve got the recipe for a full-blown wardrobe malfunction. However, luckily for the Ravens, they share the division with…
The Cincinnati Bengals.
When the Bengals first unveiled their striped helmet in 1981, I was a huge fan. I mean, anything is an improvement over the word “BENGALS”, but the stripes were inspired. In retrospect, I should have taken note of the additional tiger stripes over the shoulders and down the pants — they were a harbinger of things to come. First, the tiger patches in 1997; then the expanded stripes on the shoulders, the white lines down the sides of the jerseys, and the orange nameplate across the back — seriously? Less is more, my friends.
The AFC South makes me wish I could pick two teams from a different division — all four teams here are solid on the uniform front. From the classic look of the Indianapolis Colts, to the sleek modern design of the Titans’ duds, there’s not a stinker in the bunch. The Houston Texans are hampered by the blue-and-red color scheme that I’ve never liked (two primary colors? tsk tsk…) yet manage to (mostly) pull it off. Thus, almost by default, we come to…
The Jacksonville Jaguars.
To be fair, the Jacksonville uniforms are not ugly, just rather boring (which is probably a good thing, since teal as a primary color is about as adventurous as a football team should get). About the only concrete suggestion I have is getting rid of the piping. It serves no purpose, and just looks wrong on 300-pound linemen.
This one was going to be easy — possibly the easiest choice in the entire league — but then the Bills went and updated their uniforms. Curse you, Buffalo! (Also, good job, Buffalo; about time. Now, let’s talk about those primary colors…)
The Dolphins are perfect the way they are; here’s hoping the rumors of a logo update are just that — rumors. We’ve seen what can happen in south Florida. Meanwhile, while I prefer the New York Sack Exchange, I have to agree the Jets’ current look is the best option for today’s game. So, once again, almost (but not quite) by default, we end up with…
The New England Patriots.
The New England uniforms have improved somewhat since Flying Elvis was first unveiled — but not by much. They get credit for the gray shoulder stripes, instead of red (see above for what I think of that combination). But one Elvis is bad enough; why is there another on the sleeve? Frankly, I think the old Pat the Patriot needs to make a comeback… But what makes this more than just a default pick are the horrid gray (silver?) pants. On one hand, I give the Patriots credit for being different — but with the faded blue and red stripes, the end result just looks like something that hasn’t been washed since 2005.
Okay, so whatever I have said in the past about the Oakland Raiders (suck), I have to admit the black and silver kicks ass. (In light of what I said about the Patriots’ pants, above, I should note the Raiders’ pants are actually silver, one of the team’s primary (only) colors. With New England, it comes off as just an excuse not to use white.) Similarly, whatever faults I find with the Chiefs (suck), their uniforms should never ever change, nor should they ever give in to the temptation of an “alternate” jersey. Arrowhead is as close to a college atmosphere as you’ll get in the NFL; it would be horrible to dilute that sea of red by trying to mix in some other color for the sake of selling more jerseys.
San Diego (sucks) would be close to perfect if they went all in and made the power blue jersey their primary. (I’ve never liked white jerseys at home.) However, the switch (return) to white helmets in 2007 was a welcome change. I’d love it if they added the uniform numbers, too, but that might be too much to ask. Which means, by process of elimination, the astute reader will have determined that the wardrobe malfunction in this division belongs to…
The Denver Broncos.
Let’s give the team some credit, here — they have returned to orange as the main jersey color. And the team has won two Super Bowls with the new bronco logo, so it’s grown on me a bit. Nevertheless, there is room for improvement: (1) do something about the curvy swooshy stripe on the pants, and (2) ditch the half-hearted stripe on the helmet. It looks like the equipment manager ran out of paint.
Anyway, that’s what I’ve got. What do the rest of you think?
 Which is weird, because their alternate logokicks ass.