By Phil Hecken, with James Huening
Worst Uni Ever? Been there done that. But, recently Jimbo and I were trading E-mails and we came upon one of those “worst uni” angles we don’t believe has ever been explored. Worst Uniform Combo of all time.
How’s that different from “worst uniform” you may ask? Well, quite simply, those ‘worst’ uniforms stand alone, on their own, as awful. But there are some teams who possess different tops and bottoms, which, when worn independently, don’t look too bad. But when you combine them…well the results are predictably bad.
There are probably dozens of examples of this, and of course, some are all a matter of opinion. We thought this might be an interesting topic to explore on a holiday weekend. We’ll get the discussion started with a bunch of bad combinations, then you guys can come up with your own. This will, of course, probably lead to a poll. But today, we want nominees.
We can probably break this down into two categories that aren’t necessarily mutually exclusive. But, for purposes of this discussion, we won’t. Those would be teams who possess multiple combinations, and we’ll suggest the worst of the bunch, while other would comprise teams who really didn’t have multiple combinations, but the tops and bottoms just looked so wretched together that we’re including them in the discussion. We’ll just look at them as one bad combo.
Lets take a look at some nominees:
• Cincinnati Bengals Orange over Black: The Bengals unis are pretty attrocious (save for the black jersey over the white pants), but this one is just color overload. Unless they’re wearing it on hallowe’en. Then maybe. They do slightly redeem themselves by wearing orange socks (which they should do ANYWAY with the black pants). But not enough.
• Clemson University Purple over Orange: It’s bad enough that they have an all-orange combo and an all-purple combo. But purple over orange is somehow the worst choice. Pick a lane and stay in it, fellas, you’re not Oregon. Besides, everyone knows the best look for Clemson is orange over purple.
• New York Jets green over green: The Jets have great classic uniforms, but when they added the green pants a few years back, we knew the tempatation to ‘go mono’ would be too great. Green over white — beautiful. White over green — still pretty sharp. green over green? Um…no. At least they have the good sense not to wear the green undersocks. That would be really bad.
• University of Oregon green (and black) over neon yellow: There are about 2,345 different combinations the Ducks have or could trot out, so, there may be many different opinions as to the worst. But these three colors don’t do the eyes well. Sure, the pants pick up the Belotti Bold numbers, but really — it’s just too much. Feel free to pick a different combo here — you really can’t go wrong.
• Minnesota Vikings purple over purple: What, you thought we were gonna bring up the modern version? OK, we will. The 2007 version is probably even worse because the uniform itself is so much worse. Plus, they’re wearing purple socks for that whole Violet Beauregarde thing. Wow.
• Seattle Seahawks neon snot over blue: OK, so they never paired the ‘electric’ green jersey with anything else, but it would have looked better (a relative term) over white pants. Much better. Lime over navy with monochrome socks? Ugh.
• Washington Redskins burgundy over maroon: Our final submission in the NFL portion. Not that this combo could ever look good, but wearing a burgundy helmet, burgundy jersey, AND maroon pants is bad. Adding burgundy socks to that rivals the Vikings all purple for “what were they thinking?”
• University of Minnesota gold over gold: Why not?
• Southern California Sun: Magenta over orange?
• Pittsburgh Pirates white pinstripes over yellow pants: Well, there were at least 10 different combinations worn by those “bumblebee” Bucs of the late 70’s-early 80’s and you could make a good case for a bunch of them. But the white pinstripes over gold pants was really the worst possible look out of all.
• Oakland A’s kelly over kelly: The monochrome baseball experiment taken to its extreme. Seriously, this combo makes one question Charley O’s sanity. Not that the green pants could have looked better with a white top or a gold top, but when paired with a green top and green stirrups? Too much green. If that’s possible.
• Cleveland Indians blue over red: The all-red blood clot was bad enough, but at least it was uniform (which in baseball is very important — not so much in hockey or football). But to pair the blue with the red. A bit much, no? Yes.
• Colorado Rockies black (and purple) over gray pinstripe: The Rockies have nice uniforms. They also have some bad looks. This is the worst. The purple sleeves under the black vest is bad enough. Pair it with road pinstripes and you’re seriously sporting a bad combo. Even stirrups can’t save that.
Only three nominees here, for the sole reason that there really aren’t a lot of “combos” teams can wear (or haven’t…yet). But we think most of us agree on one thing: when you’re wearing a tank top and shorts, they probably should be the same color. When they’re not…it’s not good.
• Chicago Bulls (Stags) red over blue: This was some kind of throwback or something. Either that or half of their throwback uniform was lost in transit.
• Washington Wizards gold over black: “Hey, let’s have a gold alternate.” “No, black!”…yada yada yada. They compromised. Compromise is not always a good idea in sports uniform design.
• Kansas State lavender over purple: If you thought that 1981 look was bad and should have been retired, you’d be wrong. At least then their shorts were a decent length and they wore white socks and kicks. The lavender over purple redux put the early 80’s look to shame.
Another sport where mix and match isn’t really practiced. But there have still been some bad combos.
• Los Angeles Kings gold over gold: Yes, they really did wear that. Monochrome in hockey isn’t always a bad thing. Monochrome gold…that’s another story. The Kings quickly realized that really light colored breezers weren’t such a bright idea and went to the purple shorts. But they still gave us that all gold look.
• Washington Capitals red over white: There is historical precedent for white breezers in puck. But the sporting world hadn’t seen it in decades when the Caps thought it would be a good idea to bring them back. Um, no. Hockey has some of the best uniforms in all of sport, but really, it’s pretty much a given that the pants will be dark.
There are probably a dozen submissions you guys can offer. We have only one. It will be tough to top.
• Seattle X-Boxes neon over neon: Not even sure what color that is, maybe…”bright”? Is that a color? Their regular combos are no picnic, but this is just overkill. Even Jim Vilk wouldn’t wear that, would he?
OK, there are our possible suggestions for the worst uniform combinations of all time. But there have got to be more. Let us know what you think of what we nominated and give us some of your own.
Jimbo adds this final thought: “Well, I think that’s a fairly comprehensive list. But we’re probably just scratching the surface. I’m sure the Uni Watch community can give us plenty more fuel for another poll. And I need to give a
shout out reprimand to my alma mater. The black helmets were bad enough, but then they went and did this? Thank God the game where they wore the one-and-done black jerseys wasn’t televised.
“Oh, and orange over white is by far the Bengals’ best look.”
Yeah…if you like side panels on a jersey.
Eyes on the Prize: With the NHL Finals beginning tonight, Jason Levine is here to give us the important matchups for the Hawks vs. Flyers finals…the goalie mask matchups, that is. Here’s Jason:
I know Uni Watch often likes to evaluate the uniforms of teams facing off big series or tournaments. But with the Stanley Cup Finals slated to start Saturday, I thought I’d go in a different direction and evaluate the way each team is represented by what I believe is the coolest piece of sports equipment out there – the goalie mask.
Here’s my take on the starters’ masks with a little insight on the backups’, too. After all, you never know when a netminder will get hurt or pulled. If I’m not mistaken, Michael Leighton is the 35rd man to play net for the Flyers in the last six weeks alone.
Antti Niemi, Blackhawks: Any Chicago goalie faces the fact that they’re wearing one of the nicest sweaters in all of hockey. Few mask designs can compete, which may be why the only Chicago goalies I remember are Tony Esposito and Murray Bannerman. Niemi’s mask is almost too “off the shelf.” The hawk face over the cage is nice in its detail and color, but what’s with the black and white flame treatment on the sides? If it’s symbolic of anything, it’s far too subtle while being visually not subtle at all. From the side, the contrast of the black and white elements against the red is more curious than engaging. The flames morph into hawks along the bottom of each side. Again, that’s just “kinda” interesting, but I don’t get the sense Antti is really all that engaged in his mask’s design. The standard white cage looks like it was grabbed by an equipment guy at the last minute, though we’ve seen what happens when cage colors get out of hand, right Tuukka Rask? While I’m not a huge fan of personalized masks, some explicit identifying graphics would be nice here. How about a “31” in the chin logo. Or “The Niemisis” woven into the flame design. The back plate features a small Finnish lion decal but is otherwise red. Snoozefest.
It’s a whole other story for Niemi’s backup, the veteran Cristobal Huet. Now this is anything but off the shelf. Grey base color, awesome headdress on the forehead, silver cage, flowing hair graphic along the side. Hell, even the chin graphic is cool. This design complements the Hawks sweater as well as a mask can. Too bad Cristobal has seen action in only one playoff game this season.
Michael Leighton, Flyers: Leighton came to the Flyers with his Hurricanes mask in December. Rather than take the ice with enemy colors, he taped over his entire mask to the point where he looked like he was wearing a plaster paris replica. When it comes to personalization, Leighton is the anti-Niemi (get it?). The “Leights” across his chin is adorned with snow and a Winter Classic logo. I’ve grown to like the basic color scheme here, with a white base and an orange stripe bisecting the top of the mask. The white helps blend the cage nicely. It’s a clean look. Although if you take the back plate into account, the word “jockstrap” pops into your head. Unfortunately, what adorns the color scheme is a bit cliché. Leighton falls into the Flyers goalie trap of depicting landmarks. From the Liberty Bell to the Liberty Place skyscrapers, it’s been done. The Flyers logos on each side are too big and really not necessary. That’s where having an alternate or secondary logo, a la Chicago, might help.
Leighton’s backup is Johan Backlund, whose primary experience is adjusting his baseball cap on the bench. Backlund goes with a black base and a white stripe bisecting the top of the mask. Like Niemmi’s, this looks like a street hockey replica design, though I do like how the Flyers logo is blended into the design rather than simply placed like a decal. As it turns out, Brian Boucher may back up Leighton.
Who wins? I give the edge to Leighton for what appears to simply be more effort. But if Huet has to step in, Chicago drinks from the Cup.
Ol’ Eddie may be old, but he sure does know how to pick ’em. Here’s Rick:
Heroes are important, perhaps even essential. Many of us latch onto them in childhood and hold the best of them so tightly they become a touchstone for our entire belief system, an intrinsic part of our who we are for a long time. Sometimes a long, lonnnnnnnnnng time.
Enjoy your Saturday Benchies.
Teebz hates Cox (NTTAWWT). More puck. Joining us today, it being the opening night of the NHL playoffs, is the President of the Hockey Wing, Teebz. And he’s not happy about how the PC police are taking issue with the logo of the Western Division champions. And he’s got something to say:
There was an article that appeared in Friday’s Toronto Star and on their website that was written by Damian Cox. Cox is a Toronto sportswriter who covers the hockey beat quite a bit. He proposed that the Chicago Blackhawks logo is offensive, and that the team and the NHL should look at changing it to something less offensive.
He cites several sports teams who have changed their names in recent years from the NCAA, and includes examples of more offensive names such as the Washington Redskins. He even links the name change for the University of North Dakota Fighting Sioux as a good reason for the Blackhawks to consider doing the same. I’m going to put a stop to this right here.
The fact is that the Black Hawk name and logo came about thanks to some very honourable people. Cox even states that “the name came from the wish of founder Frederic McLaughlin back in 1926 to honour his battalion from World War I, which was nicknamed after Chief Black Hawk of the Saux Nation, who fought on the side of the British in the War of 1812”.
Being that this is Memorial Day Weekend in the USA, are we now saying that soldiers who served bravely in previous wars should not be honoured? More importantly, are we saying that a brave Native American warrior who fought to save Native American lands from the Europeans shouldn’t have recognition? There are statues, roads, schools, and military helicopters all with Chief Black Hawk’s name on or in them. Are those offensive too?
Enough is enough. Team names like the “Redskins”, the “Indians”, and the “Redmen” can be considered somewhat offensive. The Chicago Blackhawks name is neither offensive nor is it insulting in anyway. It honours brave military men from the past, and the Black Hawk name is used extensively in American culture. To remove it from Chicago’s hockey team would be, in my view, like taking apple pie out of the mouth of a red-blooded American.
Back again with more Uniform Tweaks, Concepts and Revisions today. Lots to get to, and if you have a tweak, change or concept for any sport, send them my way.
Once again, everyone’s favorite ex-pat, Mike Engle, is here with some tweaks, for a team that once was and may (never) be again:
As an almost-Canadian, I got so excited about the potential for the re-emergence of the Winnipeg Jets, I made a tweak. (And a new blank canvas for future tweaks, to boot.) Just as I finished the black-and-white (which I copy, color one white, and the other in team colors), I heard about the Glendale vote. So oh well, won’t have any hope to see my Winnipeg Jets tweaks (white and blue) any time soon, but I spent too much time on them not to share.
And now for a few words:
• The crest has been tweaked. I like the way I incorporated the plane into the J. I also basically ignored the updated crest (as worn by Tkachuk, Selanne, et al), except for the fact that “Winnipeg” remains over “Jets,” and not vice versa.
• Stripe systems: The jersey splits the difference. Hawerchuk sleeves, and Tkachuk hem.
• I picked Helvetica for the numbers and the NOB’s because jets remind me of airports, and airports remind me of jets. No outlines because I thought they would be unnecessary. Vertical arches on the NOB’s because the NHL needs more of them.
• Shoulder patch for the sake of a shoulder patch. This is purely original. At the risk of stating the obvious, it is a W, a J, a plane, and a hockey stick all at once.
Next up is Andrew Cramer, who has a few Royals logo concepts:
I don’t see much wrong with the Royals unis, (although the powder blue cap should go) but I feel their sleeve patch logo could do with some updating. I started just by adding the powder blue to the shield, since they have fallen in love with that color as of late, but that made the whole thing look to blocky (It also made it look like the White Castle logo). So I rounded out the edges and got rid of that pesky drop shadow and there you go! I also made one with the colors reversed and one in solid royal, just to see how they would look.
Rounding out today’s tweaks is Matt Malinowski, who has some concepts for the Washington Nats and the Boston Sawks:
I have attached a couple of tweaks, one for the Nationals and one for the Red Sox.
The Nationals have that great Senators cap, but the rest of the uniform doesn’t match at all. I eliminated gold, and I developed “Washington” and “Nationals” scripts based on the Senators’ script. I also used serif numerals once used by the Indians and Philadelphia A’s.
From 1951 to 1978, the Red Sox had great-looking letters on their home jerseys (and in the seventies, the road jerseys too). However, when they switched to Wilson in 1979, the lettering became sloppy looking. My tweak for the home uniform is to bring it back to 1967. That includes blue undershirts, the classic striped socks, two rows of thin (not as thick as it is now) soutache and sleeve piping, and the elegant “B” on the cap that was used from 1967 to 1974. For the road uniform, I used the same style lettering as on the home jersey, except with the colors reversed, and without piping. I reworked the jersey typeface into the team logo as well.
Great job everyone on those tweaks/concepts/revisions. Check back next time for more.
No ticker today, but I received a bunch of submissions late last night, so I’ll run one tomorrow (I hope).
Everyone have a great Saturday.
I really thought I’d be long buried when they started saying my name around the Blackhawks again. — Bobby Hull