With the NBA set to unveil their newest set of alternate Christmas jerseys and socks (the best xmas unis thus far, by the way), it made me think back to some of my favorite alternate uniforms of 2015. While I tried to dwindle down my list, I had to set a couple guidelines for myself otherwise it would have been too hard to pick. First, the uniform had to be worn (or be scheduled to be worn) during the 2015-16 season. If we could pick any year, Pat the Patriot would be far and away the winner. Best uniform in history. And second, they could only be of the four major sports (NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL). There are so many alternate unis in college football, soccer and rugby, the list could have been twenty long. So without further ado, here are my top 5 alternate/throwback jerseys and uniforms of 2015:
#5 Boston Celtics St. Patrick’s Day Gold:
Introduced during the second Big 3 era, it was the second ever alternate uniform for the Celtics (aside from the black-numbered away jerseys). The C’s decided to celebrate their Irish ancestry with gold and white-trimmed numbers and a “BOSTON” across the front, instead of the usual “CELTICS”. They’ve worn this jersey every St. Patrick’s day (and/or the games surrounding the closest weekend) since the introduction. It’s rarity of use makes it even more of a special occasion.
#4 Tie (because I couldn’t decide which I liked better): The Edmonton Oilers/Anaheim Ducks Orange Alternates:
Gotta say, I’m loving the recent rush of orange alternates for teams like the Oilers, Ducks, Broncos, Suns and even the Mets. But nobody did it better in 2015 than the NHL with the Oilers and Ducks 3rd jerseys. The Oilers reversed the blue and orange on their classic home jerseys and made them 1,000 times cooler (and WAY better than their last alternate uniform attempt — I still have nightmares about this sweater — I mean, what is that thing supposed to be anyways?), and the Ducks reintroduced the original Mighty Ducks logo making their alternate sweater the must-have for any Anaheimite during this holiday season. Although they’ve yet to wear them, look for them in early 2016.
#3 Buffalo Bills Color Rush Uniform:
While the NFL and Nike have taken a lot of well-deserved criticism for their new Color Rush line of uniforms, making debuts on Thursday Night Football, I think they got one right. Even though many color-blind people couldn’t tell the green-men-looking-Jets apart from the all-red Bills, for those of us who could see the colors clearly, you have to admit the red of the Bills, contrasted with the white numerals and helmets, with the bold, blue outlining and Bills logo looked pretty damn sharp. Maybe I’m partial to it because it sort of looks like the old Pats 80’s throwbacks, but for all the Rams yellow, Titans sky blue and Jaguars whatever that was, you had a pretty sleek looking Bills uni.
#2 Miami Dolphins Throwbacks:
This past year the NFL instituted a rule that each player would be given only one league-approved helmet to help with concussion issues in the NFL. While that doesn’t seem like a big deal, it means that it rules out a lot of throwback options for a lot of teams. For the 50th anniversary of the Dolphins organization, the team decided to remove the 2015 decals from all helmets and adhere throwback decals for one game, thus making the uniform authentically complete. The throwback aquamarine with orange outlines is a classic that has stood the test of time.
#1 New York Mets Blue with Silver Numeral Alternates:
I hadn’t seen a Mets game yet this year where they wore these uniforms until Game 1 of the World Series. I remember vividly a shot of Curtis Granderson emerging from the dugout to open the game and saying to myself “Good god those uniforms are sexy.” I don’t know what it is about them. I think it’s the contrast of the bold blue and shiny silver numbers. The orange outline is a perfect highlight as well. I originally thought they were a special World Series alternate uniform, which would have made them preposterously awesome, but after doing some research I found they had been wearing them all year. Still, they belong in the uniform hall of fame.
With all the options in college football this year, I decided I wanted to pick a winner and have to go with the Tennessee Volunteers’ alternate orange on pewter.
They had worn these in years past, but never changed the helmet, so the bright white helmet with gray uni didn’t look quite right. This year they fixed the drapes to match the carpet. This is what the Tampa Bay Bucs uniform should really look something like.
Worst Uniform of the Year:
While discussing the best unis, you have to include the worst. I’m going to have to go with the opening night 49ers all black uniforms with red numbers.
There are a few things wrong with this uniform. First, you can’t see the numbers. They needed some sort of outline around the numbers and names. On TV you knew Colin Kaepernick was throwing the ball and Carlos Hyde was carrying it, but you could barely tell who the role players were. Which leads me to my next point — no gold. There wasn’t an ounce of gold (pardon the pun) to be found. The 49ers franchise is based on gold, and they decided to leave it off the uniform all together. Gold outline around the numbers would have been perfect. And finally, the black alternates are so 90’s. In high school I had a black alternate Charles Barkley Suns jersey. That was the late 90’s. And that’s where the black alternates belong.
Happy Holidays, everyone!
Mike Lovasco – @BSMike
Boston Sports Analyst, Spark Sports