Ranking & Grading New NFL Uniforms

Ranking & Grading New NFL Uniforms

By Graham Tuck

April 24, 2020

Uniforms are one of the greatest things about sports.  They allow teams to graphically express their team identity, and they give the fans a sense of unity.  Six teams have new uniforms or uniform adjustments so far, and some hit the mark while others were just off.  The LA Rams are also rumored to be releasing new uniforms at some point, but they are unreleased at the time of writing so they will not be included in the rankings.

6) Atlanta Falcons

Without question, these are the worst changes made to a uniform so far this offseason.  The helmets aren’t much of a change, and the silver facemask seems trivial.  Having the “ATL” wordmark on the chest is a questionable move, because to casual fans it may be difficult to tell who the team is.  This is why teams with uniforms that aren’t classics (like the Packers, Cowboys, and Raiders) put either the team name across the chest, or the full city name.  Either option would be preferable in this case.  The white jerseys are the best of the new sets in my opinion, and it goes downhill from there.  The number font seems like they’re trying too hard to be the Oregon Ducks’ older brother from the south.  The drop shadow is a great idea, but not when it’s at a right angle from the numbers.  I understand that this may be a hot take, but I think the Browns had the drop shadow right when they did it on their uniforms, more on them later on.  The black jersey is fine, no huge complaints but it doesn’t pop like the white does.

The nausea hits when you see anything red.  The red-black gradient jersey should’ve died with the 90’s Hawks, but the Falcons took it upon themselves to make it worse.  A red jersey would’ve looked great by itself, but the gradient looks like it was done by a middle schooler trying to slap something together in his graphic design class.  The red pants don’t do the white jersey any favors either, as both the all-white set and the white-on-black look are much cleaner than the white-on-red.  The throwback is pretty much the only thing that comes over from the old uniforms, and it’s desperately needed as it’s the best combo they’ll suit up in next season.

Home Sets: C-

Away Sets: C

Alternate Sets: F-

Throwback: B+

Overall Grade: D+

5) Cleveland Browns

I’ll be the first to admit it, I liked the uniforms in Cleveland before these.  The fans may not have liked them as much as I did though, and pleasing the fanbase is a must.  All in all, these aren’t GREAT, but they aren’t awful.  Nothing new going on with the helmets and facemasks, but the jerseys are much more simplistic than the previous set.  For starters, the shoulder striping is back to double stripes except on the color rush jersey, compared to single striping on the most recent jerseys. The new number font is much simpler than the block numbering, and the most obvious change is that the drop shadow is gone.  Nike’s maker’s mark on the shoulder is now orange on all three jerseys, instead of white on the brown jersey and orange on the white and color rush jerseys.

There is a noticeable absence of wordmarking on the chest, but considering how much of an NFL establishment the Browns are, I don’t have too much of a problem with it.  Keeping the color rush set was a good move, because that uniform had become a fan favorite. The biggest mistake Cleveland made with these new uniforms was not bringing back the orange alternates.  Orange is one of the most vibrant and unique colors possible for a uniform, and they would’ve been a splash of color on their otherwise dull uniform combinations.  Overall, I’d say the Browns didn’t quite hit the nail on the head, but it could’ve definitely been worse considering what we saw from Atlanta.  I think the set is a step backwards rather than forwards, but the Browns have been doing that for decades so we shouldn’t have expected anything different.

Home Set: C

Away Sets: C+

Alternate Set: B-

Overall Grade: C+

4) Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Following the trend of moving forward by stepping backwards, the Buccaneers scrapped nearly everything from their last uniform set and went back to the set they used when they won the Super Bowl.  The helmets haven’t changed at all, and there wasn’t really anything wrong with it in the first place.  The number and trim styles are identical to the early 2000’s uniforms, at least on the red home and white away jerseys.  The Bucs got rid of those god-awful all red color rush uniforms, and replaced them with an all-pewter set.  The pewter is at least better than the previous jerseys, but they still aren’t incredible.  All in all, these jerseys are definitely an upgrade from the Jameis Winston-era threads, but they aren’t anything special by any means.  At least we can look forward to the return of the orange creamsicle jerseys when the one-helmet rule is abolished.

Home Set: B-

Away Set: C+

Alternate Set: C-

Overall Grade: C+

3) Indianapolis Colts

The Colts are another franchise with an iconic look, and it’s probably a good thing that they didn’t change too much.  That being said, I think the new secondary logo is one of the best in the league.  Combining state outlines with team logos is almost always a good idea, and it’s marketing genius.  Adding black to the color scheme for nothing but the maker’s mark seems tacky, but it’s almost unnoticeable.  The biggest and most apparent change is the new font for the numbers, and I couldn’t love it more.  It makes the jerseys look more unique, and less like something you could find on the youth rack at Goodwill.  The wordmark decal on the front of the helmets is another incredibly minor change, but it’s not a glaring mistake.  All in all, Indy made some nice adjustments to uniforms that didn’t really need them, and it’s not a bad look at all.  Phillip Rivers isn’t likely to have a comeback year in his first with the blue and white, but they’ll look pretty good while putting together an 8-8 record.

Home Set: B+

Away Set: B

Overall Grade: B+

2) New England Patriots

Speaking as a Patriots fan, I love this change.  The color rush jerseys from years past are now the official home jerseys, and we get a MUCH needed facelift with the new white jerseys.  The uniforms as a whole are largely unchanged, and while we won’t see an all white look anytime soon, the shoulder striping on these jerseys are far better than the bland nature of the previous uniforms.  Something that is interesting to note is that the number font is different from before.  It’s a minor change, but the number 1 no longer has the underscore, for lack of a better term.  See what I mean here, the old jerseys are on the left and the new is on the right:

Beyond this, the actual aesthetics are identical, and the new whites are gorgeous, in a word.

Home Set: A-

Away Set: A-

Overall Grade: A-

1) Los Angeles Chargers

Oh, yeah.  The Chargers made the most of their rebrand for sure.  Making the powder blue jerseys the official home was a long-overdue change, but a welcome one for sure.  The shoulder logos come a bit too far down the chest, but it doesn’t destroy the look as a whole.  I think the helmet numbers are unnecessary and make the helmet look too crowded, and I don’t like the lack of a wordmark on the chest.  All of that being said, the chargers color scheme makes it next to impossible to mess up.  Adding yellow pants to the home and road sets is a great move, and the all white is an eye-popping look as well.  The number font is odd, but it fits the uniform.

The alternate uniforms are just as great as the standards.  The royal blue color rush jersey is a returning favorite from last year’s lineup, and it’s everything a jersey fanatic could ask for.  The navy blue is not as eye popping, but it’s still a good addition to the lineup.  The look would be more appealing if the bolts on the shoulders and pants weren’t simply outlines, but the uniform works nonetheless.  When the Chargers take the field in 2020, wherever or whenever that may be, they’re going to be sporting one of the best looks in the league.

Home Sets: A+

Away Sets: A+

Alternate Sets: A-

Overall Grade: A