5 Most Iconic NFL Uniforms

By Aaron Cutteridge
April 10, 2012 12:05 am
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Of course, with any new sports wear company taking over uniform responsibilities for an entire league, the concern for that company attempting to make changes to the teams uniforms will surface.  Nike is now the official supplier of uniforms and on-field apparel for the National Football League, and they bring with them new technology for the uniforms, and have already made changes to one teams jerseys, the Seattle Seahawks.

All of us, though, begin to get that sick feeling in the pit of our stomach that someone might get the bright idea to change one of the icons. You know who I’m talking about. The iconic jersey design of a franchise that the moment you mention the team name, it invokes an image in your head.  The menacing black helmet with the team logo on one side.  The dark blue helmet with the large C.  The red and gold uniforms of the team of the ‘80’s.  The green and white uniforms of the team with the brash, former quarterback that predicted a Super Bowl win, though a heavy underdog.  Finally, the most iconic image of a football team, the stunning green and yellow colors of the team from Title Town, USA!

Every single description of a team list above instantly put in your mind: Pittsburg Steelers, Chicago Bears, San Francisco 49ers, New York Jets, and the Green Bay Packers. All icons, all timeless, not a single change needed, Nike. Thanks, but no thanks.

Reports that surfaced the day after Nike unveiled the new uniforms stated that the Green Bay Packers already told Nike that no changes are necessary to their original uniform design.  Allegedly, the Steelers are open to possible changes.  These comments were reported the day after the new uniforms were introduced.

The Pittsburgh Steelers iconic look, especially with the unique look of the logo on only one side of the helmet, is an image of a football team on a mission, with a demeanor of a menacing creature unleashed from the depths of hell. The all black jersey with yellow stripes on the sleeve has been one of those looks that catches the eye, and when you’re at the sports bar, scanning the dozens of televisions to check scores, your eyes are instantly drawn to the black and gold imagery of the Steelers.

The San Francisco 49ers classic red and gold look have an edge of a team that carries themselves in a manner above others, and wants to exude that attitude with the clean lines and color combination they have come up with.  The original 49ers uniforms were red and gray, like a particular college team from Ohio, but changed to the gold accents in the 60’s, and have had a stunning look since.  The 49ers run through the 80’s and recent return to the upper echelon of the NFL carries that history of the days of Roger Craig, Joe Montana, and Jerry Rice as today’s stars like Patrick Willis, Frank Gore, and Vernon Davis share the same jerseys.

The New York Jets traditional green and white jerseys are the same uniforms Joe Namath took to the field in Super Bowl III for that improbable win over the Baltimore Colts.  Today, Mark Sanchez and yes, Tim Tebow take the field in those iconic uniforms, constantly doing battle in the AFC East, challenging for another run in the playoffs, and a return to the Super Bowl.

The Chicago Bears have been wearing the same dark blue and orange uniforms for almost 50 years.  The NFC North is home to four teams rich in tradition, and only one other team has a deeper tradition that the Bears.  Chicago has long been known for making their opponents as dark blue with bruises as their uniforms, and the orange C on the side of the helmets is timeless.

The Green Bay Packers are the last iconic team uniform under discussion here Is perhaps the most iconic uniform in the NFL. Green and yellow, with a bold white G on the side of their helmets, one is never mistaken when they are witnessing the Packers take the field.  There has probably never been a team uniform so revered, with so much history as the Packers uniforms.  The Packers green and yellow is timeless, and the design of the uniform is one of professionalism, as well as a no-nonsense look on the field.  A simple G on the helmet is not flashy, and not brazen, but just that, simple.  No flashy designs and no gaudiness like some of the horrendous alternate uniforms that the NFL marches out from time-to-time, just a simple elegance that belies the brutal violence of the game.  Green Bay, whether you like them, or not, is the one team when you see them on the field, you always think to yourself; “Damn, they look good.”

There it is, folks.  Five iconic uniforms that need no alterations, and hopefully will receive no new designs from Nike. The teams might not be your favorite teams, but you will never deny that watching one of these five teams on Sunday, they have that look like they are the class of the National Football League.

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2 years ago
Omitted: Dallas Cowboys and Cleveland Browns, two of the three most-recognizable uniforms in the NFL (along with the Steelers). The 49ers and Jets both had different jerseys they can be remembered by, and they have nearly the following as the other threes over the decades.

I'm comfortable in saying Cowboys, Steelers, Browns, Packers and Bears for this one.
2 years ago

Adam,
Thanks for the great insight. My take on the iconic jerseys are the teams that Nike should leave alone!
The Browns are timeless, but I would like to see some modifications made to their jerseys.
The Cowboys have had some minor changes to the sleeves of their uniforms over the years, but they are also one of those mainstays in the NFL, and also a uniform I would like to see modifications to.
I know I'll start a real whirlwind of a discussion this evening with the upcoming article; "5 NFL Uniforms Nike Must Update."
Keep an eye out for it, should post this evening sometime.
Thanks again, Adam.
2 years ago
In that respect, I agree. The Browns can keep their classic feel but make it modern with some white in the rib cage area. Meanwhile, I've always been a navy blue or Thanksgiving jersey fan for the Cowboys.

I definitely like what you have to say for tonight's article! That one can go many ways.

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