The glory, the joy, and the unmitigated madness of the NFL Playoffs are upon us. Across the board football fans see trendy underdogs or opposing overachievers, and brace themselves for the possibility of utter disgust and disappointment. The cost of being a diehard fan does not come cheap.
The same can be said for the licensed representation of your beloved team. That is to say, as NFL jerseys don’t come off the rack, it is clear that a lot of thought and care are taken in their design, or at least that’s the impression. Respect is deserved beyond the dapper athlete stylings of postgame press conferences.
Each NFL uniform aims to pay homage to not only the city in which they reside (at the time anyway—see the ever-changing shuffling of California franchises), but to the loyal masses pouring their physical and emotional capital into their team. The amount of pressure applied to each squad’s designer rests heavily on those shoulders unadorned with pads. Like the game of football though – you win some, you lose some.
The following is a ranking of the uniforms you will see these respective teams wearing specifically during the Divisional Round this weekend. They are judged on originality, visual appeal, and boldness of color choice (teal, you say?) because let’s face it…some of these colors wouldn’t often see the light of day (office setting or tailgate gala) if they were not slapped upon your favorite paid super-humans.
There are some who are going to make the argument that this list isn’t fair because most organizations have better looking home uniforms, which this writer will not argue. What I will instead counter: tell your team to play better for home field advantage next year 😉
8. New England Patriots
NFL fans know that there is no arguing against that nearly nauseating consistency with which the New England Patriots make the postseason. Much like the steady management tactics of Bill Belichick, nothing about a Patriots’ uniform really surprises you. While the unflappable Tom “Terrific” Brady may impress you with his poise and accuracy year after year, the gear jumps out at you in the same composed manner as TB12 pajamas. While there is nothing particularly terrible about the uniform, there is an equal measure of the unextraordinary soaked throughout. I guess they’ll just leave the glitz and glam for Robert Kraft’s ring collection (minus 1).
7. Atlanta Falcons
So here is the one aspect within the game the Falcons can say they’ve bested the Pats. That’s not saying all that much really, seeing as they suffer from the same unremarkable presentation value as their SB LI bettors. Where New England’s bland color palette mesh into the abyss, Hotlanta at least pops with a little bit of color. The jerseys’ subdued flashes of red catches the eye to go along with some of the subtle pattern placement in the pants and shoulders. Honestly, I’d say the biggest critique would have to be a rather bored-looking falcon perched on those helmets.
6. Tennessee Titans
It takes a lot of guts to pull off the lightish, sky-baby-blue the Tennessee Titans rock on their uniforms. That said, in the same way that the Titans snuck into the playoffs this January with their exotic smash-mouth offense, they minimally exude the confidence and panache warranted to pull off these colors. Couple that with a flaming hot-rod “T” on their helmets and you have something like a fine-tuned vehicle in a local car show. Perhaps it’s not exactly the best-in-show automobile, but still good enough to be present. Also, remember when some of our fave celebs showed their Titans love?
5. Philadelphia Eagles
Give credit where credit is due: would any of us really know what midnight green looks like were it not for the Philadelphia Eagles? While you’re busy thinking about that, feel free to take a look at the Eagles home unis. They rock the colors across a solid pattern broken up nicely by white numbers and black outline, and of course a fierce, screeching eagle. I can’t really say, however, whether it hurts or helps that their helmets almost pop out like bushy winged eyebrows. Just ask stand-in quarterback Nick Foles and he’ll tell you everything is just fine all the time.
4. Minnesota Vikings
While in recent seasons the Minnesota Vikings haven’t exactly been playoff royalty, the deep purple found in their jerseys has been associated with monarchy for literal centuries. I’d also like to take a moment to mention that the Vikings do in fact have the freshest looking helmets in the NFL. Period. As where most teams prefer a high gloss sheen to their helmets, the Vikes go with what almost appears to be a matte-vinyl layering that give them a unique texture and appearance. Slam a couple of Scandinavian horn decals on the side for good measure and you have headgear ready for battle on any continent, in any echelon.
3. New Orleans Saints
2. Pittsburgh Steelers
The next two picks on this list earned their spots for the old adage “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. It’s easy to imagine that the readers here at SprezzaBox have a decent understanding of why certain fashion trends have made their indelible marks as tried and true classics.
To me, the New Orleans Saints away attire is exactly that. They are like the well-fitted white button-down every man needs for a black tie event. The white of their uniforms is cut oh so well with the gold outlined black numbers. Not to mention the fact that the fleur-de-lis insignia on their domes stands out like an elite pair of sleekly designed glimmering cuff links.
Where the Who Dat Nation rocks the “black tie, white shirt” with classic ease and comfort, the Pittsburgh Steelers complete the ensemble of the perfect suit. The Steelers are one of professional football’s oldest franchises, and while there have been some odd points of experimentation in Steel City’s history (i.e. Bumblebees), their uniforms as we will see them this weekend have remained a staple of hard-working steady excellence. Even beyond that, how many professional sports institutions and cities can claim that they have a Billboard Top 100 hit dedicated to their very color scheme? [Black and Yellow! Black and Yellow! Black and Yellow! Black and Yellow!]
1. Jacksonville Jaguars
Not unlike the surprise some (read “the vast majority”) of NFL fans may have (read “with utter certainty”) been shocked to see the birth of Sacksonville, the same mindset could lead some people to be quite astounded by the Jacksonville Jaguars’ placement atop the style rankings. Let me first refer you to Shad Khan, the team’s owner. Once you’ve marveled at the magnificance of that man’s mustache, you may ask me “What does that have to do with the Jag’s uniforms?” to which I say, good reader: there was no chance that a man with that much swagger and fashion acumen was going to let his team wallow in the dregs of pro-sports fashion.
From the bold choice of teal crossed with a midnight black, to the vicious jungle cat roaring across a blended color transition of darkness to light, this uniform boldly goes where none before it dared to tread. It remains to be seen where this team’s Super Bowl chances will go, but for now the Jags are recipients of Best Dressed honors. Share with us YOUR own picks in the comments below for this weekend’s action, both on the field and along the fashion line of scrimmage.
James F. // The Guide