10 NFL Throwbacks I’d Like to See
The last two seasons have seen a bumper crop of new NFL throwbacks, but there are still plenty of good retro designs that deserve to be revived.
If you’re a fan of NFL throwback uniforms, these are heady times. Thanks to the lifting of the one-shell rule, 10 of the league’s 32 teams have introduced new throwbacks over the past 15 months or so, and that’s in addition to the teams that already had throwbacks in their wardrobes. Pat Patriot, Bucco Bruce, and the Kelly-clad Eagles are all back in circulation. If you’ve been hoping for the league to hit Peak Retro, you might be thinking, “Okay, our work here is done.”
But is it? Not from my perspective. There are still some very worthy designs from the NFL uni archives that I’d like to see on the field at least one more time, and I’m going to list a bunch of them for you today — a throwback wish list, so to speak.
When compiling this list, I set two ground rules for myself. First, I stuck to uniforms that have never appeared before as throwbacks. And second, I limited myself to the modern pro football era, which in my opinion began in 1960. That’s when the AFL was born, and it’s also when we reached the tipping point of most pro teams having logos on their helmets.
With those guidelines in mind, here’s my throwback wish list, in rough order of preference.
1. Jaguars, 1998–2008
The Jags’ original uniforms, worn in 1995 and ’96, had block numbers and looked very solid. In 1997, they switched to a very nice custom number font (yay!) but also added an unsightly black side panel on the jerseys (boo!). In 1998, they finally got it right, scrapping the side panel and keeping the custom font. This design, which they kept for the next decade, was a huge favorite here at Uni Watch HQ, and I often said it was destined to be a modern classic if they could just have the good sense not to mess with it. Unfortunately, mess with it they did, and the team has been among the league’s aesthetic cellar dwellers ever since. I’d give anything to see them go back to this design — not just for a throwback game or two, but full-time.
(As an aside: Some of you may be thinking that it would be fun to see the Jags revive the “leaping jaguar” design that was showcased at a 1993 press conference. But that was a prototype that was scrapped before the team’s first season, so it’s more of a “What if…” design than a throwback design. I’ll do a separate article on “What if…” designs soon, but this article will focus on reviving designs that actually made it onto the field.)