Wardrobe Malfunction? Sports’ Most Unusual (Mostly Hideous) Uniforms
These uniforms you are about to see aren’t necessarily confined to throwbacks or retro fan favorites (although, by default, they are all retro to an extent). They don’t need to be attached to the gaudy, ludicrous jerseys that typified the 1990s – another fad that’s making a comeback among fashion-conscious sports fans.
These uniforms are relics of the past, and are mostly forgotten. They may be an eyesore to some, making even the most passionate of fans saltier than a bag of pistachios. Or, to some, they can be a gem, a sweet memory of the past.
However you look at, these jerseys and uniforms didn’t last long and are usually remembered only by the most die-hard of fans.
Patriots Alternate Silver Jersey
The New England Patriots have had a few great uniforms in their storied history and a few absolute eyesores (read: any uniform from the mid-90s). But, when people look back at their uniform history, the Pat Patriot logo is fondly remembered, their ugly 90’s ones do a good job of sticking out, and their current look is defined by the Tom Brady Era.
So, what is their forgotten jersey? The silver jersey that was dubbed a third jersey and a member of the Pats’ current uniform collection. The silver jersey lasted four seasons and wasn’t memorable for much, other than Teddy Bruschi wearing it while throwing snow at Gillette. Overall, it’s too similar to their whites and, if you’re not paying close enough attention, is hardly noticed as an alternate jersey.
Mariners Turn Ahead the Clock Night
When you think of the Mariners, a highly-palatable teal, blue, and silver color scheme should come to mind. If you are of an older generation, blue and yellow would be more familiar.
But what’s not familiar to anyone, and never should be, is a black, red, and silver triad that the Mariners donned during their 1998 Turn Ahead the Clock Night.
Not only was the color scheme distressing, players wore sleeveless jerseys with nothing underneath them, backward hats in the field, un-tucked jerseys and had their names placed below their numbers — all one giant, serious slap in the face to tradition and style.
Fortunately, this trend quickly came and went, until MLB revitalized it some 20 years later.
Royals Turn Ahead the Clock Night
Another team that was scarred by the Turn Ahead the Clock Night theme, the Kansas City Royals were forced to give up their classic and iconic look for a dumpster fire of a uniform set.
Against the aforementioned Mariners, Kansas City scrapped their royal blue digs for a heinous futuristic look that was abhorred by the masses. They rocked a nearly-reflective gold vest that shimmered like a teenage girl’s bedazzled jeans. Their helmet went from blue to gold and included a skewed Royals logo that looked more like an unintentional mistake than a purposeful design element.
When the Royals decided to update their futuristic jerseys 20 years later for another rendition of Turn Ahead the Clock Night, the result was no better, and thankfully for us fans, these sorry excuses for a uniform concept appear only once every 20 years.
Cavs Lose Their Identity
The uniforms during the LeBron James era of Cleveland Cavaliers basketball have been very consistent. Although the designs have been altered and tweaked several times, a consistent color theme has remained in place: burgundy, gold, and navy blue.
That same color theme has been a fairly consistent staple throughout Cavs history, aside from an era where the Cavs decided to mimic the New York Knicks and adopt an orange and blue color scheme. This color scheme evolved into their mid-to-late 90s disastrous attempt at a uniform.
The odd colors and designs were purely 1990s and lacked any significance or ties to team history. Thankfully, the team only wore them for five seasons before they evolved into something less pitiful before finally evolving back into the classic burgundy and gold we’re so accustomed to seeing.
Seahawks’ Original Green Jersey
When Nike took over the NFL’s uniform system in 2012, the Seattle Seahawks became the face of the redesign. For most teams, changes were small. For Seattle, the changes were radical.
Yet before Nike swooped in and made the Seahawks the Oregon Ducks of the NFL, Seattle was on the forefront of jersey innovation.
With a blinding neon green, the Seahawks debuted their eyesore of a jersey during the 2009 season. The uniform was widely denounced by the locals and lasted only one game. Green did make a comeback during the NFL’s color rush series years later, but that original green will forever live on as an awful member of Seattle’s uniform family.
White Sox Softball Unis
Basketball shorts. Running shorts. Board shorts. See, shorts have a special place in sports, but not on the baseball diamond. Baseball pants are the name of the game. Think about it, you are sliding on hard dirt or diving on it. Your legs want nothing less than to get cut up by some hard-packed, coarse dirt.
Well, back in 1976, the Chicago White Sox and their promotional-oriented owner Bill Veeck never got the memo and decided to scrap the traditional – and practical – pants in favor of shorts, a look more fitting for softball players or the other aforementioned sports.
The look received mixed reviews but undoubtedly increased press and publicity for the team, something Veeck desperately needed. So, despite the look lasting only a handful of games and being the brunt end of many jokes, the result was a success, and the White Sox even managed to win some games wearing them.
The 2015 White Sox brought the look back for a Throwback Thursday, but pitcher Chris Sale decided one time was more than enough. When the team tried to bring the look back for the 40th anniversary of the softball uniform in 2016, Sale was so offended by the prospect he broke into the team’s clubhouse the day of the game and sabotaged the plan with help from a pair of scissors. Sale was traded to the Red Sox that offseason.
Redskins “Leather” Lids
Back in the day, leather football helmets ruled the land. Then, the violent game of football saw a need for increased player safety and leather helmets were phased out in favor of hard plastic ones with facemasks.
Back in 2012, the Washington Redskins decided to pay homage to the glory days of Redskins football and opted for a more classic look.
Their helmets were specially designed and painted to replicate the looks of the original brown leather helmets of the 1920s and 30s.
The look only lasted one game but set a precedent for the endless helmet possibilities while creating a unique look that hasn’t been seen since — at least in the NFL.
New York Islanders Fisherman Jerseys
The people of Long Island may be angry due to all the traffic that impedes just about anyone’s route to get nearly anywhere, yet nothing made a generation of Islanders fans angrier than when their iconic jerseys were scrapped for an angry fisherman design.
The classic blue and orange look that saw the team win four Stanley Cups in the early 1980s was suddenly ditched in favor of a total redesign. The new uniforms opted for a sea-foam green and dark blue color scheme with its centerpiece being an angry fisherman holding a hockey stick guarding a net. Soak all of that up for a moment.
Fans were not pleased and made no attempt to hide their displeasure. The awful redesign lasted all of two seasons before management realized their mistake and corrected it.
L.A. Kings x Burger King
During the 1996 season, the Los Angeles Kings were stuck amid an identity crisis. They were a few years removed from a Stanley Cup Finals loss and were inching closer towards unloading star player Wayne Gretzky.
So, like a mid-life crisis, the Kings went through their own mid-season crisis. But instead of buying a shiny red Corvette, the Kings added one of the ugliest jerseys in NHL history to their wardrobe.
A local L.A. design and marketing agency concepted a logo that highly resembled the Burger King mascot. The king looked like a slightly more aggressive version of the fast food chain’s highly loveable King mascot, and the jerseys were adorned with tacky gradients and strange lines.
Like many other duds (pun intended) here, this set-up only lasted one year before the Kings jettisoned it forever.
Oilers Oil Drop
The Edmonton Oilers have a storied history and some pretty sweet uniforms. Their orange and blue color scheme is iconic, and their logo is a smooth representation of Edmonton’s oil-rich history.
Yet, from 2001-2007, the Oilers had one of the strangest alternate jerseys the NHL has ever seen. Designed by minority owner and comic book creator Todd McFarlane, the “Oil Drop” or “Spawn” logo looked like a creation straight from a comic book.
It contrasted with the Oilers traditional colors and was a revolutionary split from a “normal” sports logo. Although the concept lasted six seasons, the innovative designs and abandonment of the Oilers’ classic color scheme made these threads widely unpopular.
Tampa Bay (Devil) Rays Go Green
The glory days of baseball in Tampa Bay – which isn’t much – came during a time when the ball club was referred to as the Devil Rays, or D-Rays for short. Then, they became too sensitive to the word devil and abandoned half their name, leaving them with just the Rays — a name that’s hardly innovate or intimidating. Might as well become the Tampa Sunshiners.
But when the club’s name was Devil Rays, they had some of baseball’s coolest uniforms. Their stingray logo was paired with sleek black jerseys complete with a rainbow gradient that filled the letters on their chests. The design popped and shined; it was instantly recognizable, even though the team was utter garbage.
Then, the team went for a directional change and opted for an alternate green jersey that lasted all of two years. The design fell flat and was out of style quickly. It’s mostly forgotten and will most likely never be worn again, thanks to yet another stylistic change the club made when they opted to change their entire color scheme to multiple shades of blue.
How to Mighty Have Fallen
Thankfully, the Mighty Ducks style uniforms will be making an appearance this upcoming NHL season. It’s about time Anaheim revived one of the corniest and coolest logos in hockey history, a design that was straight out of Disneyland. With the Disney era of Ducks hockey, however, came the oft-disregarded “jumping duck” third jersey.
Its design featured a duck triumphantly emerging from the ice and a scribbled font that was designed to look hand drawn but came out looking like an awful, generic type font from Microsoft Word.
Sadly, this glorious design that exemplified everything 90s only lasted one season on the ice before becoming a prized collector’s item on eBay.
Coyotes (Scary) Original Third Jersey
When the (then) Phoenix Coyotes entered the league back in 1996, they brought with them jerseys that fit with the times. They had elaborate, bold designs, a chaotic appearance, and minimal symmetry.
With those emphatically 1990s designs came their third jersey, a sweater worn for five seasons down in the desert. The design was emblazoned with desert landscapes that matched the quality of a middle school art class painting. The logo was a coyote head (sans body of course) with Native American-inspired design elements. Overall, the designs and abrasive color scheme was just a bit much for the eyes.
Although that era of Coyotes hockey is fondly remembered as the start of hockey in Arizona, their original third jersey is usually an afterthought for fans who align more closely with that era’s standard home and away jerseys — which, in fact, are making a comeback as the team’s third jersey this upcoming season.
Nothin’ But Net
Sky high, acid-washed blue, or uncomfortable and forced gradient fade.
However you’d like to describe the Nets uniforms that – not shockingly — lasted only season, one thing is certain: the design failed in every sense and, fortunately, the franchise picked up on this and ditched them immediately.
For most of the franchise’s history, blue and red represented the pride of Jersey. Although the shades of blue and red varied by the decade, a common theme was easily identifiable. All of that changed during the 1990-91 season when the Nets introduced to the league a gradient, tie-dye, acid washed look to their away uniforms. For the only time in Nets history, the traditional royal or navy blue became a hue of powder blue that faded from blue to white.
It was an ugly attempt at injecting style into an otherwise decent uniform and, although gradients have since been used in uniforms, this acid-washed look has never appeared again on NBA jerseys.
Pistons Steal the Teal
Zoom out on the uniform history of the Detroit Pistons and you’ll notice a commonality: their colors, throughout their history — with the exception of an ugly five-year period– have been blue and red.
They’re a legendary franchise with an iconic color scheme but for five seasons starting in 1996-97 and ending in 2000-01, the Pistons tried to hop aboard the trendy teal ship.
The logo wasn’t horrendous and implemented some nice elements that reflect Detroit’s rich automotive history, yet the choice in teal jerseys was as random as it was bad.
It remains a mystery as to why the Pistons would jettison their color scheme for something so unrelated like teal, yet what we do know is it crashed and burned like the auto industry during the 2008 recession and the team reverted to red and blue.
Mavericks Gun Metal
Opening night of the long-awaited 2003 NBA season. The Dallas Mavericks are playing their pseudo-rival Los Angeles Lakers. The Mavs weren’t (aren’t) a team steeped in history, but over the years they’ve worn some pretty respectable uniforms and have had some Hall of Fame players stop by in Dallas.
But on that opening night, the Mavericks made one of the biggest uniform blunders in NBA history. Rather than sticking with their traditional blue and white look, they went for a silver, satin look comprised of Nike dri-fit material.
The jersey crammed the team name (Mavericks) across the front. It looked squished and out of place. Yet, that was, by far, the least of the jersey’s concerns. The shiny silver look turned to an ugly gray/copper look when sweat was introduced.
After just one game playing in them, owner Mark Cuban decided to trash them, a telling sign that those jerseys are best left forgotten in the minds of the masses.
Gold is usually a color associated with royalty. It’s precious and is at the center of nearly ever treasure hunt. But when the Sacramento Kings incorporated gold into their jerseys for two seasons, the gold proved to be more trash than treasure.
Ditching their lofty purple and black uniforms for a third jersey seemed like a potentially successful idea. The problem was the Kings hired a middle schooler to create the jerseys. Complete with an asymmetrical design and shade of gold that is more fit for a kid than a king, these jerseys never fell into favor and are often listed among worst jerseys in NBA history.
Sacramento, having gone through a complete jersey upgrade, fortunately decided to keep these short-lived jerseys as a not-so-fond memory stored deep in the annals of their team’s history.
Checkered Flags and Pinstripes
Pinstripes on a basketball jersey are a tough sell. Checkered racing stripes running down the sides of a jersey is another tough sell. The two together makes the combination an impossible sell.
During the 2007-08 season the then Charlotte Bobcats tried to defy the impossible. They tried to alter the status quo. And it backfired horribly.
For one season during the franchise’s pathetic existence, the Bobcats rocked a charcoal-gray third jersey complete with vertical pinstripes and checkered black and white flags running down the sides — a clear nod to Charlotte’s passion for stock car racing.
Like the Bobcats themselves, this look didn’t last long and is an oft-forgotten part of a highly forgettable era of basketball in the Queen City.
Orange You Glad These Are Back
Ok, these jerseys aren’t like some of the others on this list. They didn’t crash and burn after a season or a game. They weren’t hated by the masses. But, the Bears orange jerseys that lasted only seven seasons as the team’s third jersey aren’t widely remembered by most NFL fans.
When people think of the Bears, navy and white jerseys symbolize Chicago’s favorite (and only) NFL team. Then, when Nike re-did the NFL, Chicago was given their Monsters of the Midway threads, which weren’t orange, either.
However, starting in the 2018 season, the orange look that became notable for those few seasons as the bright alternate, will be making a comeback — a truly needed revitalization of a saddened fan base still reeling from the destruction Jay Cutler caused.
Double Star Swagger
Woah, these uniforms were in your face. They were loud and cocky like the players who wore them.
After the Cowboys won back-to-back Super Bowls in the early 1990s, the franchise decided it would be fitting to rub that achievement in the faces of fans and opposing players everywhere. For the 75th anniversary of the NFL in 1994, the league directed each team to employ throwback uniforms from their inaugural season.
So with that mindset, Jerry took from the 1960 look and decided to throw two massive stars on each shoulder of the jersey. To punctuate the already-noticeable stars, the shoulders were set in a different color from the body of the jersey, making the design unmistakable even from the nose-bleeds at the old Texas Stadium.
The jerseys haven’t been seen in a while and that 1994 design has since been modified as an alternate third jersey or Thanksgiving day special jersey, making fans crave that classic look more than cornbread and turkey.
We’re Seeing Red
This jersey’s look wasn’t bad but, at the same time, wasn’t popular, and that’s why it lasted only four seasons.
Introducing the Giants’ red jersey, worn occasionally as the team’s alternate jersey from 2004-07. Traditionally, the Giants rock two jerseys: blue or white, and to find an instance of them wearing red before the ’04 season, you’d have to go all the way back to the mid-1950s.
Although this jersey wasn’t obnoxious and an absolute eye-sore like many others on this list, the reception it received must not have been too positive among big blue faithful. With each passing year, the Giants red jersey becomes more of a distant memory forgotten by most.
Fear the Spear
The Washington Redskins’ spear-helmet nod to their squads of the 1960s is a thing of beauty, so it remains an absolute mystery as to why they are not worn more frequently.
Replacing the politicizing current logo on the helmet with two spears accomplishes two things: it instantly makes the Redskins a less blatantly offensive franchise and still looks just as good.
For the 2002 and ’03 seasons, Washington donned their throwback uniforms and helmets in a combination that was aesthetically pleasing and (slightly more) politically correct. But politics aside, this helmet looked great, and for the Redskins to stuff it back in the closet after only two seasons is a travesty.
Talk about consistency. The Indianapolis Colts have rocked nearly the same uniform since the early 1950s. This is a great thing if you’re a fan of the uniforms or a massive problem if you don’t like them, because down in Indy, change seems hard to come by. Yes, there have been slight variations to their classic, simple design, but the overall theme has been virtually untouched.
However, during the 2010 season, the Colts defied tradition for just one game. Just. One. Game. They donned throwbacks in a tribute to the 1955 Baltimore Colts, with the most notable change being the dark blue helmets on their heads, rather than the classic whites.
Mistake by the Lake
The mid-to-late 1990s was a time of absolute identity crisis for the Milwaukee Brewers. Before the mid-90s, the Brewers had some sweet threads, complete with a cool logo and complimentary color scheme.
Skip ahead to the 2000s, and the Brewers also have some nice uniform designs that pay homage to their brewing history and a color scheme that’s easy on the eyes.
Well, starting in 1994, the Brewers made an awful mistake of re-designing their uniforms and brought in a highly generic yet overly complicated M and B logo. Their colors turned into a facsimile of the Seattle Mariners, and their identity was lost. Completely. But, the focus is on the cap that lasted only two years from 94-96.
It was a dark time in Brewers history when the marketing team decided to abandon everything that made the Brewers the Brewers. Gone were the good colors; gone was a logo that made sense. Fortunately, the 90s came and went, and with it went those awful jerseys that are, decidedly, best left forgotten.
The Teal Appeal
The Miami Marlins screwed everything up. They ditched the awesome uniforms of the Florida Marlins and lost their identity that was a part of two World Series victories.
Most people do remember the Marlins original getup. The flying fish, black and teal color scheme, and pinstripes or vests. But what most people don’t remember is that during that inaugural 1993 season, Florida rocked all-teal hats and batting helmets, a style that lasted only two seasons.
The caps and batting helmets were a blinding shade of teal that fit perfectly with the South Florida vibe the team was catering to. Although the hats looked nice, management opted to change them to a black hat with accents of teal, a move that also worked nicely.
The Stars Align
We’re going to let you piece this puzzle together yourself, but take a close look at these third jerseys and think what mooterus rhymes with, and a logical conclusion will likely be found.
Back in 2003, the Stars opted to get creative with the heavens and the stars by designing a jersey that aligned stars in the night sky to create a bullish constellation.
However, the bull logo is problematic for a few reasons. First, the bull is an imaginary constellation that doesn’t exist on this planet at least. Second, the bull itself has nothing to do with the stars logo. And lastly, the logo looks like an utterly awful representation of a female organ. Let’s leave it at that.
Lightning and Thunder
Sorry, Tampa. This jersey is often forgotten for good reason. It was hideous and tried to do way too much.
For three seasons starting in 1996, the Bolts decided to introduce a third jersey that debuted to much criticism and little fanfare.
The design was an attempt at honoring Tampa’s illustrious history of bad weather. On the bottom of the jersey was a set of wild waves that represented Tampa’s less-than-notable beach culture, while on the sides, yellow bolts of lightning raced down for fans to see. Oh, how intimidating.
To boot, the font on the numbers was jagged, because, after all, lightning makes things so jagged and sharp. Just a few too many design elements thrown onto one jersey.
The Buffalo Sabres uniform history has a checkered past. Some good with some bad, a nice variety of sweet and sour. But nothing tops the Sabres third jersey from 2013-15.
This jersey, colloquially referred to as the Turd Burger (even by the owner himself), was the worst Buffalo had to offer.
The picture here summarizes why this jersey was so bad and short lived. Since then, Buffalo has moved on to another jersey set, which, thankfully, is an awesome upgrade on the turds.
Angels in the Outfield
These jerseys aren’t awful, but they do scream Disney (just like the Ducks jerseys mentioned earlier). To some, these might be a nostalgic reminder of the mid 1990s, but to the masses these jerseys represent the forgotten era of Angels baseball.
Compared to their current setup and anything prior, this uniform combination was out there, in the clouds so to speak.
They lasted for five seasons before the Angeles toned down their flamboyant, cartoonish uniforms and reverted to a classic-ish style more suitable for the tamer looks usually found in baseball.
Lean, Green Machine
Atlanta Hawks. Red, yellow, and black. Maybe some blue. Those are the traditional colors that have represented the Hawks for all but two seasons.
Back for two seasons from 1971-72, the Hawks scrapped tradition and logic and opted for green jerseys with a groovy blue stripe that curved around them.
Although the design was funky and matched the era they were worn in, the green was quickly nixed as the Hawks elected to revert back to their more traditional color scheme.
Today, green is being re-incorporated into Atlanta’s color scheme, a slight nod to the days of the all-greens.
Colombian Cycling Team
Cyclists are known to be absolute animals with quads of steel and super-human lungs, but their choice in fashion is highly questionable. Just look at their spandex leotards, goofy hats, and aerodynamic helmets that make them look like athletes from the future. However, a cycling team from Columbia decided to redefine the meaning of ugly.
With one of the most atrocious, laughable uniforms in sports history, this women’s team decided to make an oddly specific part of their uniform the same color as their skin. This skin tone matching section – originally intended to be gold — of the uniform gave off the appearance, especially from a quick glance, that the cyclists were nude from the waist down.
Needless to say, this foolish design received much criticism from the cycling community and internet scroungers alike.