Lets get one thing out of the way: The 70’s and 80’s spawned some of the worst uniform ideas imaginable. Yes, fashion was a low point all around, and we don’t need to look much further than our professional sports teams to realize that decadence and illegal chemical substances were rampant during those times. Thankfully, we all came to our senses around the time that big hair bands died out and the major sports franchises hired marketing directors with fashion sense to overhaul their team’s look.
You’ll notice a common theme: Orange rarely makes for a good choice in uniform color. Some teams can get away with it, but pair it with brown, yellow, or more orange and things go south pretty quickly. Without further adieu, the top 10 worst sports uniforms of all time:
10. Quebec Nordiques, 1972 – 1995
The Nordiques sported these fashionable jerseys with minimal changes, throughout their franchise history, which began in the WHA in 1972 and ended with the team’s move to Denver prior to the 1996-97 NHL season. At first glance, you may notice the team’s logo and ask, “What is a Nordique, and what does it have to do with that elephant in the middle of their jersey?” Rest assured, that’s no elephant, upon further review we can see that it is an artist’s rendition of a letter “N” next to a hockey stick. As for the name the Nordiques…well, some things were meant to remain a mystery.
9. Philadelphia Eagles, 1932
The Eagles brought these uniforms back during the 2007 season in recognition of the NFL’s 75th anniversary. I don’t think many people were upset that it was only a temporary change. These powder blue and yellow threads renewed the appreciation for the green and silver in the City of Brotherly Love.
8. Hartford Whalers, 1979-1990
Hartford was, and is, a great hockey town. Many were sad to see the team pack up and leave after the ’93-’94 season. However, it couldn’t have been too hard to let go of these uniforms. Nothing strikes fear in your opponent like a giant whale’s tail across your chest.
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers 1976-1995
The Buccaneers lost their first 26 games as a National Football League franchise after entering the league in the 1976 season. Unfortunately, the players got to hit the field in these dapper cream sickle-colored uniforms that didn’t earn them any additional respect. The color scheme was finally changed to red, white, and pewter prior to the 1996 season.
6. Syracuse University Football, Current
The Syracuse football program hasn’t garnished much media attention the past few years, and as such, I hadn’t realized they had switched from their long standing home uniforms featuring navy blue jerseys with orange numbers until researching this list. I think I almost had a seizure when I saw the all-orange uniforms. I’m all for school pride, but, WOW! You could line these guys up on the highway to keep construction workers safe. I can’t imagine this fad will last very long.
5. San Diego Padres, 1983
Not many professional sports franchises have been daring enough to dawn the brown, orange, and yellow combo that the Padres wore in the early 80’s. Surprising? Absolutely, perhaps someday teams will realize that this is how you build a winner. At least is was an upgrade from the 70’s yellow mustard and brown uniforms.
4. Vancouver Canucks, 1978 – 1984
It took courage to take the ice wearing the “flying V”. I can’t say that the current Canucks uniforms are much better, but this was definitely rock bottom.
3. Pittsburgh Pirates, 1976 – 1986
The Pirates of the late 70’s and early 80’s set the uniform standard for adult slow pitch softball leagues across the country. Unfortunately, the 1979 Pirates were the last to make it to, and win, a World Series pennant. To make matters worse, the Pirates are in danger of finishing this season with a losing record for the 17th straight season….how much longer before fans in the steel city start dusting off the throwback uniforms in an attempt to end the drought?
2. Denver Nuggets, 1982 – 1993
On second thought, maybe incorporating a rainbow and the city skyline into the uniform wasn’t as good of an idea as it looked on paper.
1. Houston Astros, 1975 – 1993
“Rainbow Guts”, “Tequila Sunrise” and “Creamsickle”…nicknames abound for these uniforms that almost lasted two decades in Houston. I like to believe that whoever designed these jerseys knew that Will Ferell would someday be on top of the comedy world, and hoped and prayed that he would dawn an Astros jersey in a movie spoof about Major League Baseball in the early 80’s. Here’s to hoping….
Our children’s children may never see a sports uniform hideous enough to unseat the Houston Astros jerseys from the top of the “bad idea” mountain, but we can all be glad that color photography was invented before these gems hit the field, so that we may learn how not to dress our sports teams for generations to come.
Submitted by Russ Clay