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The best looking year


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I started a similar thread but it never really took: http://boards.sportslogos.net/topic/100721-the-golden-era-of-insert-sport-uniforms/?hl=%2Bgolden+%2Bera

My picks:

  • Major League Baseball
    • My Pick: 1993
    • Why: Because that is the first year that MLB was rid of powder blue and pullovers. It's not perfect; the Padres had ditched the Brown and the Reds, while finally dumping the 70s look, looked goofy with the front number on the wrong side of the road uniform, etc. I almost picked 1992, but the Reds were still in pullovers. 1993 has the advantage of the Mariners in their current look as opposed to their previous soul-less look. And, of course, while alts were creeping in, they had not taken over. Too many alts worn too often now...1993 is only four years before the Twins "DQ" jersey, so this is a good time right between the bucking of tradition and the explosion of too many looks.
  • NBA
    • My Pick: Late 1980s/early 90s:
    • Why: Tough call...the shorts were still too short but not as bad and it's before the trend of logos on the front (e.g., Houston). Miami, Charlotte, Orlando, and Minnesota were entering the league with nice uniforms overall (I like all but Orlando) and teams like the Lakers and Celtics still only had two jerseys.
  • NFL
    • My Pick: Mid/Late 1990s:
    • Why: When I look back at photos of the 1980s, the jerseys do look a bit like pop warner. In the mid-90s, they had a better fit, but still had sleeves and a decent palette for stripes and sleeve logos. Teams like the Bengals, Falcons, Cardinals, and Vikings still looked like they ought to. The Bengals once-risque helmet was a modern classic but nobody was trying to top it. We had several manufacturers yet they were not trying to "out-clown" each other. A few teams had taken bad steps (the Eagles), but the real craziness had not started.
  • NHL
    • My Pick: 1987-88:
    • Why: We still had the North Stars, Nordiques, Whalers, and original Jets. The Flames had yet to add black. The Devils still had a great, unique scheme. I picked it over any later years because the Kings were still in Forum Blue (purple?) and yellow. The 1980s iteration of that look, while very Flyers-like, was beautiful. We had 21 teams and almost all looked great. The only nitpicks are that the Caps logo was growing stale and the Blues had some red (which I hate for the Blues) but there is not a bad-looking team there. I suppose some will criticize the lack of non-horizontal stripes, but I love it. They all look like hockey teams should.
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In baseball it would be 1993, with 1992 as a close second. By then all the pullovers were gone except those of the Reds.

  • The Angels still had their best wordmark.
  • In 1993 the Marlins came in with their best-ever set which emphasised teal.
  • The Brewers still had a nice script wordmark.
  • The Mets' 1992 set is marred by the racing stripe; the 1993 set by the tail under the wordmark. 1993 wins on that.
  • Seattle looked terrible in 1992 but improved drastically for 1993.
  • The only teams that looked bad in 1993 were the Padres and the Reds.

Nominees from the pre-doubleknit era are 1969 and 1970.

  • The pullover phenomenon had not come in yet. The first one was the 1970 Pirates' new jersey, which actually looked good.
  • The four 1969 expansion teams (Royals, Pilots, Padres, Expos) all came in with beautiful looks.
  • The 1970 Brewers still had the nifty Pilots stripes on the sleeves.
  • The Red Sox had gotten rid of the piping, which is a negative.
  • The 1969 Indians had vests.
  • The White Sox had sharp piping at home, white-on-black lettering on the grey road uniforms.
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I mentioned in the Unpopular Opinions thread that my favorite era in NFL Uniforms was about 1998-2002, but if I have to narrow it down to one year, I'd go with 2002.

It was the Texans' inaugural, so we had their beauty of a set add to the score, and although we did have Buffalo's poor set, the rest of the league looked really great. In going through the league team by team in my head, the only team that had a bad uniform in my opinion that I could honestly come up with was Buffalo. That's (again, in my opinion) 31 out of 32 teams sporting a great or good uniform. That's much more than can be said for today's NFL.

The rest of the leagues are a little tougher for me to pinpoint, because changes seem to be a bit more scattered and occurred at various times, and sometimes good looks didn't consistently stay together in a league. So I might be a bit more general with the rest.

With the NBA, I'm going to go with 2001-2003ish. Teams that went wacky in the 90's tamed their identities or went back to traditional looks by then, while some teams like Memphis and Toronto were wearing their best colors while updating their uniforms to (successfully) fit the times. I went over a span of time for this one because what I think were the best looks of the times didn't always coexist in the same season.

For the MLB - this one's super tough - I think I'll go 1969. The league still looked traditional and classic, but featured a little more color and that year's expansion teams each hit home runs on the first try. Late 90's comes a close second, though.

For the NHL, it may be 90's kid bias but I've always been a sucker for the way the league looked from around 1999-2004. Actually the league still looked really good until the EDGE takeover, but the year before that, my favorite look in all of hockey history (Mighty Ducks) got canned to make way for the identity I hate most in hockey history. So I'd say around 2006-2007 was when that glory run ended. Of course, your original six teams clean up well in just about any era, but so many other teams looked their best at that time. Colorado, Florida, Dallas, Tampa Bay, Phoenix, Anaheim, Washington, Ottawa...the list goes on, with others - while maybe not looking at thier upmost best - still looking really good (San Jose, Los Angeles, Edmonton, Philadelphia, Calgary, etc).

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1994 for the NFL, as it really was my first introduction to 'throwback' jerseys as a kid. Sure the White Sox and a few baseball teams had done it, but to see ALL the teams do it was really neat. It spurred my love affair with uniforms from a quirky hobby to an obsession as a teenager. But that choice obviously has some emotional connotation involved.

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My pick for best NHL year would be 1993. The Mighty Ducks and Panthers enter the league with a pair of great jerseys, the Flames hadn't switched to their awkward striping yet, you have the O6 teams still looking good with Detroit, Montreal, Chicago, Toronto, NYR, and Boston (Although I prefer the current set). The Sabres didn't switch to black and red until a couple years later, the Oilers hadn't added any unnecessary colors to their scheme, the Sens didn't use a click-and-fill template. The Jets hadn't moved to the desert yet and had a solid look, the Flyers, Nordiques, Isles, and Devils all had very solid sets (although I prefer the green Devils), the Kings weren't too bad, but they should've stuck with forum blue and gold. I personally liked those Canucks jerseys and the colors, but I know that's either a love it or you hate it set of uniforms. The Capitals had a good uniform, but the logo was dated, and the striping was a bit too large. My least favorite uniforms from this year IMO were Dallas, St. Louis, Tampa Bay (I'm preparing for hate), Pittsburgh, and Hartford. Dallas was too boring and plain, and had strange striping on the away jerseys, St. Louis should never had added red to their colors, Tampa had a very weird font and I just was never a fan of the design (I prefer their current set), if Pittsburgh would've stuck with the uniforms right before these then they would definitely be one of the best looks, and Hartford should've kept the classic green uniforms.

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NHL's best year, IMO..... even with the tacky alts, was 03-04/04-05.

Everyone had a good look during that bit. Yeah, not every look was spot-on, but the league had it's memorable jerseys for both good and bad reasons. Every set had at least 1 good jersey, most had 2.

The only flat-out bad jersey set of that time is Nashville's IMO.

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For NHL, I'll just repost what I had put up on a similar topic earlier this year on a hockey forum (HF Boards):

Looked though many but far from all of the years.

Pre-expansion: May not be the best but 1925-26 looks like a good one.

Nice variety of styles and colours (green with name wordmark and some minimal striping, yellow with script name and complex city logo on arms, maroon with the simple big M and some thin white stripes, the Senators barberpole, the multi-striped bruins that includes a lot of yellow and brown striping and the simple bear surrounded by the name and the flamboyantly patriotic Americans jersey)

If going with post expansion (since 1967-68) after looking through many seasons 1979-80 looks pretty good.

The Kings still have their gold and purple with the crown logo along with the simple single wide stripe, the rest of the first expansion teams haven't got too far from their roots and any changes are likely improvements - the Blues have the improved shoulder treatment on the darks to match the whites. For those that like the double blue of the Penguins we have those jerseys, and for those that like the black and gold they are there too. While I prefer the 1970-72 (especially the whites) of the Canucks, but unlike most I do like the V's. Along with the former WHA teams there is the Atlanta Flames logo with the flame inside and the Rockies jersey with the great logo of the mountain with the city flag elements incorporated in the middle.

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NFL: Um...I'll go with 1993, the year I first started watching. Broncos, Eagles, Rams, Falcons, Cardinals, Vikings, Bills all years away from downgrading their looks. Cardinals had the Arizona flag on their white jersey sleeves, which I (unlike most) think looked pretty good. Buccaneers, Jets, Oilers, Cardinals, Chargers, Dolphins had all joined the Bears and Redskins in wearing dark-jersey-colored pants with their white jerseys, giving the league a more colorful look. Seahawks still had the giant logo on their sleeves, a detail I've since come to appreciate. Bengals looked the best they ever have.

Honorable mention goes to 1994, with the throwbacks, especially the Rams' yellow throwbacks which were a thing of beauty. Also 1997 and 1998 with the Bucs and Dolphins making appropriate changes (one drastic, one not) to fit with the times, and the Falcons under Dan Reeves adding a splash of red to an already excellent set.

MLB: I actually like the powder blues, so I'll go early-to-mid 1980s here. Honorable mention to 1993 with the Mariners, Rockies, and Marlins all debuting very solid looks.

NBA: 1995-96. Yes, the uniforms were goofy and many look dated today. However, the Hornets, Heat, and Magic, while still in their original design, both sported wonderful road alternates; the Grizzlies and Raptors both debuted fun, vibrant looks (I never quite forgave the Grizzlies for switching from teal to black for their main road unis); and the Pistons hadn't yet switched to that horrible teal look, and had actually introduced a pretty good red alternate the previous year (not sure if they wore it in '95-96, though); the Spurs had that fun "fiesta" logo which looked great on their court (wish they'd experimented with those colors on their uniforms, though). There were some not-so-great looks, to be sure: the Cavs' goofy paintbrush jerseys, the Hawks' (not bad but not great either) gradients, the Mavericks' blue (as opposed to the green of the '80s), the Bucks' purple-and-green (actually a solid enough color scheme, but a downgrade from the absolutely iconic Irish rainbow), the Kings' purple-and-black (would've been better if they'd used more purple and less black, but either way a downgrade from the baby blues of the '80s), the Nuggets' navy blue (yes, the rainbow skyline was dated, but I loved it). I actually didn't mind the Rockets' cartoonish look from that year. Honorable mention goes to the late 1980s with the classic Mavs (green), Cavs (orange), Kings (baby blue), Rockets (red-and-yellow, which wasn't very rocket-y but looked good), Bucks (Irish rainbow), Hawks (Pac-Man), Nuggets (rainbow city, baby!), etc. Actually, probably a toss-up between '95-96 and...oh, let's say '89-90.

NHL: I haven't followed the NHL as closely. Some of my favorite looks include the original Mighty Ducks; the old Winnipeg Jets; the green Hartford Whalers; and the pre-fisherman New York Islanders. I had NHL '93 on CD-ROM and liked most of the uniforms in that game, so maybe I'll go with 1992-93.

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For the NHL it's definitely the 2005/06 season.

It was before the Reebok debacle and the suffocating 'retro fad' of today and a perfect balance of traditional and creative looks was achieved. The original six still looked like the original six, while the good things to come of the 90's (Anaheim Ducks, Avalanche, Panthers, etc) were retained. You also had teams like the Oilers and Islanders toning down their garish palettes for something more palatable. Most importantly, alternate looks were actually creative instead relying on the throwback crutch of today.

That being said there are a few teams whose looks have massively improved since then. The Bruins and Canucks astoundingly came out of 2007/08 with their best looks yet while Dallas has their best uniforms since the 1990/91 season.

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For football, I would nominate 1983. The only truly bad NFL uniform was that of the Bengals, who have consistently looked various degrees of clownish after 1980 when they dropped their dignified uniforms and brought in the wacky stripes. The only other questionable ones were the Giants and Jets, who were still stuck in their unfortunate diversions from their true looks, and the Chargers, who nevertheless looked OK in dark blue instead of powder blue.

But every other NFL team was flashing its best look. Buffalo were in the last year of their white helmets until 2012; New England still had their real helmets. There were no goofy number fonts; only the Bears had their beautiful distinctive rounded font. And jerseys still had sleeves; as a result, the Colts' (the Baltimore Colts') shoulder stripes were fully intact.

And joining us that year was the USFL. The Houston Gamblers, the best looking team in that well-dressed league's history, did not exist yet. If we want to include them, we'd have to take 1984 or 1985; but then we'd be saddled with the Bills' red helmets. And, if we took 1985, we'd lose the Washington Federals and the Arizona Wranglers. So, on balance, I'll take 1983.

All USFL teams had block number fonts. All of their helmet logos but two (Chicago and L.A.) were beautiful; Michigan's and the Boston Breakers' were untraditional but excellent. Honourable mention to the Philadelphia Stars, who employed a 70s rock aesthetic for their helmet logo, and made it look good.

And the colour palette was gorgeous, from the bright red and white of the Generals, to the bright green, black, and white of Washington, to the bright blue and gold of the Oakland Invaders. Both the Stars and the Birmingham Stallions used a kind of pewter with red; and Michigan had the most unusual colours: maroon and a kind of gold.

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For football, I would nominate 1983. The only truly bad NFL uniform was that of the Bengals, who have consistently looked various degrees of clownish after 1980 when they dropped their dignified uniforms and brought in the wacky stripes. The only other questionable ones were the Giants and Jets, who were still stuck in their unfortunate diversions from their true looks, and the Chargers, who nevertheless looked OK in dark blue instead of powder blue.

I think the Bengals have the best overall look that year.

But the rest of your post is pretty much on the money. Everyone with block numbers (save the Bears) is just fine by me. I don't neccesarily think everyone else looked their best, but most quibbles are minor:

  • Don't love the gray-trim colts era (and give 'em blue masks!)
  • I think the Patriots looked better when they adopted the shoulder stripes.
  • I actually like the 90s mostly-black Falcons look.
  • Vikings looked better in the 90s
  • And I think the Jets addition of black to this set was their best look.

But so many positives:

  • I actually really like this Giants look.
  • The Bills look great...I am just a bit young to have much memory of that look, but it's really sharp.
  • That's still my favorite Cowboys blue jersey (though the pants numbers are a negative)
  • The Eagles color scheme is a thing of beauty (and had they kept it the over-the-top stripes would be long gone) and that is easily their best helmet.
  • And of course teams like the Broncos, Lions, Browns, Rams, and Cardinals still look how they are supposed to look.

Teams that looked better then than now: Falcons; Bills, Bengals, Browns, Cowboys, Broncos, Lions, Oilers/Titans, Rams, VIkings, Dolphins, Pats, Giants, Jets, Eagles, Steelers (block #s), Chargers, Cardinals, 49ers, Seahawks, Bucs. Some of these teams, though, have improved upon 1983 but have since dumped their looks in favor of worse looks (Vikings, Chargers, Falcons, Seahawks, Pats shoulder stripes)

Teams that look better now: Saints (but by a pretty small margin), Colts (almost put them in the above list because of facemasks)

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