Ranking the NFL's best and worst alternate jerseys

When NFL teams switch up their normal uniform schemes, things can either go very well or very, very poorly. 
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The 2016 NFL season will be the year of the alternate jersey. A few teams wore special “color rush” uniforms last season and every team received color rush designs this year, though a few of them will not be worn. 

But it doesn’t stop there. The few teams that have alternate jerseys will also be wearing them again this year. The Steelers, for example, are sporting their ultra-recognizable alternates in Week 5. (For a full breakdown of who’s wearing what when, check out SportsLogos.net.) Some of these alternates are pretty nice, some are disastrous. Let’s rank the five best and five worst. 

The Best

5. Cardinals

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Sure, it doesn’t make much sense for the Cardinals to wear a color other than red, but this black and white combination with red accents looks pretty sharp.

4. Bengals

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Orange is a tough color to pull off, but the Bengals have improved on some earlier disastrous attempts. They used to wear black jerseys with orange pants, or orange jerseys and black pants. The white pants they wear now make these much more palatable. 

3. Texans

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The Texans call these their “Battle Red” jerseys. In a league dominated by muted colors—like Houston’s usual navy blue—this is a welcome change.

2. Panthers


Carolina’s color rush uniform is this jersey with the matching pants. The Panthers will wear it again in Week 11 this year, but it’s a bit over the top. This blue jersey, grey pants combo (coming to your TV screen in Week 5) has just the right amount of color.

1. Dolphins

dolphins miami herald_0.jpg

These 1966 throwback jerseys made their debut last season and will be back for two games this year. Their other aqua jerseys look too much like a minor league baseball team, but these are a shade or two darker. It’s the stripe on the pants that really does it for me. 

The Worst

5. Eagles

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These jerseys are like that time you went to a friend’s Bar Mitzvah wearing black shoes with navy blue pants. Black and dark green don’t mix.  

4. 49ers

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The Niners fall victim here to the NFL rule that requires teams to use the same helmets all year. A black helmet (matte black, preferably) would have made these pretty sharp. 

3. Packers

packers stacy revere.jpg

It never works when teams try to wear uniforms styled after what they wore back when jerseys were made out of potato sacks, or whatever. 

2. Steelers

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Again, I bet this would look pretty cool as a sweater, but it doesn’t work as a form-fitting jersey. 

1. Browns

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 Being named after the dullest color in the world makes designing a uniform tough, but this one is especially bad. The orange jerseys actually look better when paired with the brown pants. When the Browns revealed their new jerseys before last season, one of the color combos was an unholy orange on orange. Let’s just be glad they haven’t worn that combo yet.