Today, the newly anointed New Orleans Pelicans unveiled their uniforms for their first season with the new name. They certainly aren’t horrible, but they’re extremely boring. This got me thinking: What’s the worst uniform in sports? Note that I focus on primary jerseys; every team seems to have a hideous alternative jersey.
The MLB is tricky because so many teams have run of the mill jerseys, white at home, gray on the road, with a basic script for their team name and basic text for names on the back of the jersey. However, that doesn’t mean there can’t be stinkers.
UniWatch.com and ESPN allowed fans to vote on the best MLB uniform using a bracket-style system, with the Tigers and Cardinals getting a first-round bye. I’ll do no such thing to determine the worst jerseys, but it was an interesting experiment. The biggest first-round drubbing was the Pirates over the Padres, and I must say I agree. The Padres’ unis are boring, but they aren’t the worst in baseball. The worst go to…
The Miami Marlins. They’re ugly, there are too many colors, and none of them are particularly attractive for a baseball uniform. Their previous uniform gave them an identity, a unique set of colors with classy pinstripes. Much better than their current design. Still not a great uniform, but not as hideous as their current ones.
But hey, at least their cool unis helped to attract fans to games, right? Oh, wait.
There are a lot of bad uniforms in the NHL. There are also a lot of uniforms that look exactly the same. In fact, by my count, six of the 30 NHL teams have primary uniforms that feature red and black. Now, I won’t pick any of them for worst uniform, since I’m partial to red and black hockey jerseys. I just find it annoying. Lots of teams have light blue on dark blue alternate jerseys with a circular logo; I find this annoying too.
For background, Uniwatch ranked the Avalanche as the worst jerseys in the NHL. I can’t really argue with that decision. But my choice for worst NHL unis is…
Yes, yes, you may say this isn’t that bad, that black and white isn’t offensive, that the logo is kinda cool and blah blah blah. I’ll admit I deducted points because THIS could be their uniform. But it isn’t. They chose a black uniform over a purple one in the HD TV era. You’re the Kings! Wear PURPLE! They could own an identity, but instead they’re just a boring team wearing black and white laundry.
I may be wrong, but I feel like the NBA has the most uniform changes from year to year than any other sport (aside from maybe the NHL). As a confessed non-NBA fan, I’ll admit that I had to look a few of these up before I could hand out a judgement. I’ll also admit that the NBA has the most uniform parity out of all the NBA teams; that is, more teams have a “unique” set of colors in the NBA than in the NHL, MLB or NFL.
I stated earlier that the Pelicans have a boring uniform. It is boring, and it’s probably a bottom-five uniform (I need to watch it in action to decide) but since they have such an awesome nickname I’ll let them slide for now.
I don’t love the Brooklyn Nets‘ jerseys for the same reason that I don’t like the LA Kings’, but I won’t choose them because they don’t have an obvious alternative. The unis I’ll choose are…
You would think such an artsy town would come up with some better threads, but this design is stuck in the 90′s. It doesn’t stand the test of time like the classic unis do. It’s just not a good jersey. The stripes across the torso do not help things.
Dishonorable Mention: Phoenix Suns (going throwback for 2013-2014, bad move), Milwaukee Bucks
The NFL has the most jersey sales of all the sports leagues in the US (citation needed), so bad uniforms is possibly the biggest problem for the NFL. Today’s NFL has an odd mix of ageless jerseys that have barely been touched since the beginning of the league (such as the Green Bay Packers or Kansas City Chiefs, while others have changed their uniforms drastically over time (such as the New England Patriots and the San Diego Chargers.
In general, the uniforms that have been around forever get a free pass; personally I don’t like the 2-tone Oakland Raiders jerseys (with no trim around the numbers); it looks incomplete. But I won’t give them the title of “worst uniform” because I figure I’m in the minority in that opinion. For some reason, the lack of a trim outline looks fine if the jersey or numbers is white.
But the worst jersey? The Cincinnati Bengals. Look, you’re the Bengals, and Bengal tigers are orange and black. Tons of teams have black jerseys, and no one had an orange primary jersey until last season. An orange primary jersey would have at least added some personality, but instead they’re left with a black jersey, just like the Steelers, who they share a division with, only much uglier.
So who has the worst jersey in sports? I’m going to have to go with the Miami Marlins. Like signing an all-Latino team last year, and building a stadium (with taxpayer money) in the heart of Little Havana, these monstrosities were just another gimmick that didn’t work.