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Ranking the NFL’s seven new uniforms

There’s no accounting for taste, but the Sun-Times’ Patrick Finley and Brian Sandalow try, ranking the NFL’s seven new uniform sets unveiled this offseason.

The Rams unveiled their uniforms Wednesday.
Courtesy Los Angeles Rams

There’s no accounting for taste, but the Sun-Times’ Patrick Finley and Brian Sandalow try, ranking the NFL’s seven new uniform sets unveiled this offseason.

Patrick Finley

1. CHARGERS

Not even the angriest San Diegan would burn these uniforms, which have everything: the classic powder blue; the return of yellow pants for the first time since 1984; and the yellow facemask the Chargers embraced last year. Helmet numbers will help identify players from the press box, given that the team axed TV numbers atop the shoulders.

Their all-royal alternate is Dan Fouts-era cool. The all-navy set —surely ticketed for a televised night game — beats the pants off most second alternates. One fun detail: the team will change the color of the helmet bolt and number to match its alternates.

The Chargers are moving into a stadium they don’t own in a city that hasn’t embraced them. At least they’ll look good doing it.

2. BUCCANEERS

Getting rid of the pewter shoulder yokes and alarm clock-inspired glow-in the-dark numbers returns them to their modern classic design, complete with orange number accents saluting the “Bucco Bruce” days. Even Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski will find it hard to look cool in the pewter alternate uniform, though.

3. BROWNS

Pay attention, Falcons. In five years, you’ll do what the Browns just did: scrap the giant jersey word mark, gimmicky alternate set and unnecessary doodads from the side of your pants. The Browns’ uniforms are sacrosanct — as they found out when they messed with them in 2015.

4. PATRIOTS

The Brady-era jerseys proved winning makes even the ugliest uniforms sexy. The new ones are better, even if the navy home set falls victim to the Monochrome Monster plaguing the league. By pure coincidence, they come at the right time in franchise history — we won’t have to see Jarrett Stidham wear Brady’s jersey.

5. COLTS

First, do no harm: the Colts changed merely the word mark, number font and — no joke — color of the Nike swoosh on their classic jersey.

6. RAMS

This is the result of St. Louis interlopers trying to cosplay Southern California. The team says the “bone” road uniforms are inspired by the color of beach sand and ram horns. The gradient is supposed to mimic a sunset, as if the St. Louisans had never seen one before moving the team.

When they redesigned the horn, the team Rams said they “discovered nature’s beauty unfold with the golden ratio [aka Fibonacci Sequence] in its curvature. This same ratio underpins the perfect spiral and the perfect wave.”

Like, totally, dude.

The road jersey has sleeve numbers but the home doesn’t, and that inconsistency is annoying. But the Rams finally got their jerseys and helmets to be the same shade of blue, and the Fibonacci horn looks just fine on the helmet.

The Rams’ set ranks in the top half of NFL teams. It’s the rationale behind it that’s embarrassing.

7. FALCONS

A real-life NFL team — not one from the CFL or XFL or that other league we’ve already forgotten — will wear an alternate jersey that starts out red at the top and gradates downward into a black, blood clot-like cummerbund. You’ll know who they are by the comically large three letters they’ve plastered across all three jerseys — “ATL.”

Add a boxy number font and jersey side panels that promise to never exactly line up with the pants, and you’ve got the worst redesign of the offseason.

When the Panthers mock your uniforms, they must be awful.

Brian Sandalow

1. BROWNS

Just thinking about these uniforms makes me feel all warm and happy inside. The Browns look like the Browns again. No more ridiculous imagery that was supposed to represent Cleveland but actually condescended to the people.

It was disappointing that orange pants weren’t part of the unveiling, but they feel inevitable and will only add to the NFL’s best new uniform, and maybe the best overall.

2. CHARGERS

Let’s start with the negatives: no powder blue pants yet, no TV numbers, and maybe one too many combinations with royal and navy blue. And that’s it. The Chargers have won the uniform battle for Los Angeles. The yellow pants — if used sparingly — will be a great change and add even more color to a unique look. The best part is that the Chargers didn’t overthink the standard home and road sets.

No unnecessary frills; instead they let their colors and new bolt speak for themselves.

3. BUCCANEERS

This is pretty much the same uniform the Buccaneers wore for their only Super Bowl title, and if anything it’s not as good as that version. Back when Warren Sapp and John Lynch were with Tampa Bay, Nike knew how to provide pants with a gloss finish to match the pewter helmets, which for whatever reason they can’t now. But in comparison to the monstrosities the Bucs just dumped, the new/old set is fine.

The Buccaneers look like an NFL team again.

4. COLTS

The switch to the vintage-style numbers is welcomed, and the horseshoe logo was tweaked so subtly only the most seasoned uni watchers will notice. The new Colts wordmark and Indiana-inspired secondary logo are fine and don’t clash with the franchise’s aesthetic heritage.

The only concern are the black Swooshes on the white jerseys. Let’s hope that isn’t paving the way for an unnecessary black alternate.

5. PATRIOTS

The biggest question is why no silver/gray pants? Unless a surprise is coming, the Patriots will wear navy blue pants for all 16 games. Yuck. That’s a dark and dank look, and makes the silver helmet stick out in a bad way. The white jersey has red-blue-red stripes when it should be the other way around. A couple tweaks and this set will be an upgrade.

6. FALCONS

Atlanta went from a dated uniform to one that will feel dated in three years. But can we just talk about the red jersey having a gradient? I’m not even bothering to see if there’s an explanation for that idea. It’s not something that looks like an NFL team and hopefully gets ditched as soon as possible.

7. RAMS

Woof. The new logo was received poorly and acted as a warning that the uniforms would be bad. And they’re even worse than I thought possible. The iconic helmet horns have been changed, and the blue jersey is a tire fire with gradient numbers and a weird patch on the left shoulder.

But that’s still better than the “bone” away set.

Yellow and white shoulder horns, a white patch, TV numbers when the blue jersey doesn’t include them, and a yellow tag on the back of the neck. The matching pants aren’t any better. The bone set is the worst uniform in modern NFL history.