NFL Uniform Analysis - Part 3 (The Close)

(PART 1 HERE and PART 2 HERE)

Welcome to part 3 of my uniform analysis and the most difficult category for me to assign teams to. This category is designed for teams that either have bad uniforms with some good overall aesthetics and teams with good uniforms with glaring problems. This is the largest category and the only one where the order I discuss them really matters. The teams that are first on this list are closer to “Bad” than “Good” and vice versa.

--THE CLOSE--

ATLANTA FALCONS

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A team that once I started writing more in depth on made me realize that I probably should have had them in the "bad" category. There are so many elements that just don't work and look like a more elaborate Cardinals uniform. I think I was just looking at them with rose colored glasses because I did really like these uniforms when they first came out.

The Falcons have an awesome logo. A Falcon that also makes an F? That's clever. A black logo on a black helmet… not so much. This logo looks so much better on a red helmet. If they want to keep black helmets then the main logo should be red to create the proper contrast.

The helmet isn’t their main problem though. The main problem is the same problem that the Cardinals have. They have an awful Reebok template that they need to change. Black and Red are so good together that it’s hard to make it look bad, but these uniforms have too much going on. I don’t understand how this piping in the mid 2000's was ever a thing. The piping combined with the random color blocks gives me a weird clown outfit vibe or what others have called a circus tent sleeves.

There are a lot of things the Falcons could do to have an amazing uniform. A lot of people will just say “go back to the old uniform”. Which would work, but I also think they could do better. If you’re going to have a mostly black logo on a black helmet then own that look. Go mostly black and white with red used as an accent color.

I don't understand why they didn't update their look when they moved into their awesome, robot butthole stadium.

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS

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I went back and forth on the Patriots uniforms several times. On one hand there are so many things to dislike about this uniform. The random piping all over these things, the redundant logo on the helmet and sleeves (made even worse with the fact that it's almost the same size as the helmet logo), the sock stripes on the away uniform that match nothing (I usually love sock stripes), the fact that their color rush jersey is superior, and half the fan base wants to bring back their old uniform.

The thing that really pushes them towards the bottom end of “close” is the wild inconsistencies in the shoulder stripes. On some players it’s thick, on others it’s thin, and with some unfortunate players their numbers overlap onto the stripe. It’s just mind boggling that there is no real uniform structure with these things.

Why aren’t they listed in “bad” then? They have a solid brand identity and own it. The silver helmets with navy jersey’s and silver pants is a good combination, not as good as their throwbacks, but still solid. Their away uniforms leave a lot to be desired, but the fact is they have no reason to change uniforms. They’ve been good for so long in these things that they’re kind of a symbol of success. They're clearly superstitious or they wouldn't have chosen to wear their away uniforms in the Superb Owl. I'm also old enough to remember [how bad their uniforms can really be. Dear god.

How to fix it? Bring back the old, bold template, and no flying elvis. Instead how about something that represents Boston or something that is symbolic of a patriot without actually using the literal patriot. I feel that animal logos are better symbolised with the actual animal, but people logos are better symbolised with the things that represent them.

They clearly need to be changed, but I don’t see anything happening until Tom and BB leave in 100 years.

BALTIMORE RAVENS

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Not a ton has changed with the Ravens since they came into the league, but I’ve never been a huge fan of the dark purple with black and a gross shade of gold. There isn’t enough contrast between the colors for me.

My real issue is the whole uniform is kind of a mix of aggressive and cartoony. The number font is a bubbly and the Raven logo matches that.

They also have the same issue the Saints have with their black pants. They look like yoga pants on grown men. At least give them contrasting socks to help alleviate the issue.

Now a lot of fans love these jerseys simply because they like all black football jerseys. Apparently everyone likes to pretend they’re the team from Any Given Sunday. This is all fine, but it would greatly benefit from more contrast with the other colors they use. Did you even know they had a purple drop shadow?

That all said I don’t hate the look. At least it follows a theme and style. I just happens to be one that I don't enjoy. It’s fine and the fan base seems to loves it so they’re not going to change, but a slight font change and logo tweak would go a long way. Just please NEVER bring back the gold pants again.

DENVER BRONCOS

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The Broncos changed the way we looked at NFL uniforms back in the day. When this design came out it was something new and totally different. It was really cool. Even if you didn’t like it at the time it was great for the NFL because at that point teams were in a real rut design wise.

Flash forward to today and if they would have tweaked the design to fit more modern uniform cuts it would still be great, but they didn’t. Then they come out with their color rush uniforms and they're glorious. You change those pants to white and you have a real bold look.

I love that the Broncos have decided to go back to using orange as their primary color. That is something that defines your team and moving away from that was a bad idea. I also like both the throwback logo and their current logo so I’m really torn on these. I would love it if they did a slight update, went with a more throwback style, or decided to go all out like they did back in the 90s.

The overall design just hasn’t aged that well, but it's not an awful look.

LOS ANGELES CHARGERS

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Chargers, why you do dis? You know we want the throwback jerseys, helmets, and pants. No other NFL team has their numbers on their helmets. No other NFL team has decided to take real ownership of that beautiful baby blue. Sure some teams will taunt us with it, but they won’t make it their standard home jersey. Your beautiful use of light blue and lightning yellow looks so perfect against that clean white base.

Why do you insist on wearing navy and just outlining things in light blue? The alternates are by far your best look, but it's just a tease.

I hate your stupid Chargers wordmark above your numbers. I hate your even more stupid royal blue color rush jerseys (you know we want light blue you sons of bitches). Oooooo you just make me so mad.

Please, just give us the beautiful jerseys that you’re holding hostage in some storage closet and tell me that you’re going to release them once you move into your new shared stadium.

MIAMI DOLPHINS

Aug 24, 2017; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Miami Dolphins quarterback Jay Cutler (6) and tight end Julius Thomas (89) celebrates after a touchdown during the second quarter against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

I don’t want to waste too much time on the Dolphins because they’re going to be releasing an updated look sometime this offseason and I didn’t have a lot to say about their current jerseys anyway.

Their all white look is the most Miami look they have and I love that white helmet with facemask. I hate the Miami wordmark on the pants because it reminds me of a girls high school basketball team. I do love their throwbacks.

I can't wait to see how Miami updates these uniforms.

HOUSTON TEXANS

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Almost right smack dab in the middle of my analysis. With such a bland name, logo, and uniform it’s right where it needs to be. The Texans took zero risk or real styling choices when they created their team. There is nothing you can really get upset about with these uniforms, but there is also nothing to get excited about either.

There is a very fine line between being bold and being generic. If your team comes into the league in 2002 and there are already several teams rocking the navy helmet, navy jersey look (too many that have jumped on the navy band waggon) then you’re a little generic.

They’re so close to being good, but I don’t see any personality in them. They are close with their color rush design. They’re just a step away from being a team that you see on a TV show that didn’t want to pay for the NFL licensing.

--WRAP UP--

Overall a real mixed bag of uniforms. Some teams in this category have some glaring problems while others are fine. Some problems I have aren't actual design flaws, but just aesthetic that I personally don't like.

TOMORROW: PART 4 - THE GOOD

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