Style over substance: Ranking every USFL team based on their jerseys

Style over substance: Ranking every USFL team based on their jerseys

The teams don’t have player yet, so this is the only/best way to evaluate themStyle over substance: Ranking every USFL team based on their jerseys

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Screenshot: USFL

If you’re like me, looking for anything football-related to fill the void that the end of the NFL season left in your soul, then you were probably jumping for joy when the USFL revealed their uniforms for their first season since 1985.

Sure, the XFL and AAF may not have worked out, but as long as there is live football happening that I can watch and root for, I’m a happy man. While the pessimists among you might think this league has no chance, the people who absolutely love the game are just happy to watch something, anything when the NFL and college football seasons have ended.

We still need to wait more than a month for the USFL season to start, but at least it’s something, right? It’s an appetizer, teasing what’s to come, to keep our palates alive and begging for more before the season ultimately starts. With coaches like Jeff Fisher and Kirby Wilson, it’s hard not to get at least a little bit excited at the possibilities a league like this brings.

The league will also feature players like… well, we don’t know because the league refuses to release their player pool prior to the draft. I don’t know if that’s a good or bad sign, but at least it’ll add a little bit of mystery to draft night and perhaps some shock as well should we see someone well-known opting to take their football talents to this new league. There are some recognizable names that have been announced such as running back Kelvin Taylor and defensive tackle Toby Johnson, but we don’t really know the level of talent that will be on every team’s draft board yet.

Nonetheless, in order for the draft to be more entertaining, we need to have a team to root for. What fun is seeing players get picked if you have no affiliation, no bias toward a specific team and the players they pick? With the draft just three days away, fans need to pick a team they can get behind. That’s why I have compiled this list ranking every team based solely on their jerseys, because unless you’ve already got a geographical or personal connection to any of these teams, their game day fits are the best way to determine who to root for, obviously.

Before I get started, I want to point out that I have no nostalgia for any of these teams that were around in the ’80s. I could care less how well these jerseys represent the teams’ pasts or how closely they resemble the jerseys from nearly 40 years ago. These are my personal rankings, unburdened by nostalgia.

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2 / 10

8) The Pittsburgh Maulers

8) The Pittsburgh Maulers



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Screenshot: USFL

Purple and orange? Really? When has that ever worked, and don’t say the Phoenix Suns and Clemson Tigers. Those don’t count. You want to know why those don’t count? Their purple and orange color scheme focuses solely on one color while leaving the other almost entirely in the background. There’s a reason Clemson’s primary uniform is entirely orange. Their purple alternate dons barely any orange aside from the helmet. Meanwhile the Suns’ jerseys are either entirely orange or entirely purple with orange numbers. I’ll admit neither of those look bad, but still, it’s very clearly leaving one color out of the fold for the most part. The two colors just don’t look all that great when put next to one another.

I like the whole “tough guy” vibe that the name Maulers brings to the table, but when you’re wearing those two colors, instead of thinking about the game at hand, I’m thinking about Otter Pops and soda pop. That’s not intimidating. That’s childish. You’re not Gene Wilder’s Willy Wonka. Stop trying to make this color scheme work!

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3 / 10

7) Philadelphia Stars

7) Philadelphia Stars

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Screenshot: USFL

This just feels like Arizona State, but worse. The striped side panels? Gross. Horrifying. Those side panels should come with a viewer discretion advisory. It’s that horrendous. However, what really rubs me the wrong way about these uniforms is the star on the side of the helmet.

WHY ON EARTH WOULD YOU PUT A STAR ON A PHILADELPHIA FOOTBALL TEAM’S HELMET?! The Cowboys and Eagles are mortal enemies, so deciding to create a helmet that reminds Philadelphia fans about the team that loves to brag about all of their Super Bowl victories while failing to mention their lack of success over the past 25 years is not the best way to get the City of Brotherly Love invested in a new franchise. Yes, the original team also had a star on their helmet but that was before the Cowboys ran through the NFL three times in the ’90s. The old design also stood out much differently from Dallas’s logo than the new design does. The word “Stars” was written on the helmets with multiple stars layered on top of one another. This new helmet design still has the layers, but lacks the same depth that the original design had.

If that wasn’t enough, the team also had to put the star on the left collarbone of all of its players, too. Why? It’s so small and insignificant that hardly anyone would see it, so why put it there in the first place? Sometimes simplicity is best. A straight red line would’ve been better than the red striped pattern and leaving the left collarbone blank instead of filling that space with the logo probably would’ve been a better decision as well. That’s just my opinion though. If you dig it, power to you.

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4 / 10

6) Michigan Panthers

6) Michigan Panthers

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Screenshot: USFL

The home jersey is gorgeous. I love everything about it. From the helmet to the minimal use of blue to the pants, everything about that home jersey is phenomenal. Then the away jersey ruins the entire vibe. Whose bright idea was it to put a hint of the Buccaneers’ creamsicle jerseys into the team’s away pants. It looks awful. That orange hue isn’t found anywhere in their logo at all, and that’s what you decided to wear on the road? Terrible.

If they’d kept the pants the same for both the home and away jerseys, this might have been my favorite of the bunch. Instead, my palate is ruined looking at that hideous orange.

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5 / 10

5) New Orleans Breakers

5) New Orleans Breakers

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Screenshot: USFL

Now, we’re getting into the jerseys I generally like. The Breakers name and logo as a whole don’t really do it for me considering the fact that the nearest surf spot to New Orleans is an hour and 45 minutes away in Port Fourchon, but the color scheme is nice. Is it a total rip-off of the AAF’s Salt Lake Stallions? Absolutely, but the colors worked there, and they work here too.

The only reason this jersey ranks so low is because of their secondary logo. Their primary logo looks great, so why not display it anywhere on the uniform? Instead, they opt for a giant wave on the helmet and shoulders. The wave on the helmet looks fine, if not slightly worse than how I imagine the primary logo would’ve looked. However, the shoulders look abysmal.

I mean, what is that? On the home jerseys, it looks like a cartoon glacier or some sort of snow you’d see the abominable snowman hiding inside of. On the away jerseys, it looks more like a shark fin than a wave, and sharks are the absolute last thing I want to think about while surfing.

All in all, great jerseys, poor logo choice.

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6 / 10

4) New Jersey Generals

4) New Jersey Generals

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There’s nothing wrong with these jerseys. They’re just bland. Too bland. I’d expect this kind of blandness from an old-school collegiate program, but a professional football franchise? Come on, get a little wacky with it. Take some risks.

If you like this jersey, you also probably like vanilla ice cream and consider The Godfather your favorite movie of all time. Yes, those are both very valid opinions, but they’re super basic. Nothing wrong with liking the classic color scheme and simplicity of these logos, but geez. Your logo is almost entirely gold, yet there’s no gold in the jersey design at all? I just feel like more could’ve been done with these.

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7 / 10

3) Houston Gamblers

3) Houston Gamblers

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Screenshot: USFL

I almost placed this one at No. 2 because a black primary and red secondary never fails to look good, but I can’t look past the side panels on these jerseys. If you’re going to have a different color drape down the players’ armpits, at least keep that color running on the pants as well. The Gamblers didn’t listen though. They have a gray side panel that turns to black for their home jerseys. Meanwhile, their away jerseys go from black to black with a red stripe down the middle.

Don’t get me wrong. I like these jerseys a lot, but I’m nitpicking at this point to justify my rankings. The Gamblers’ original design was definitely better, but that doesn’t take away from how good these new jerseys look.

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8 / 10

2) Tampa Bay Bandits

2) Tampa Bay Bandits

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Screenshot: USFL

I like everything about this jersey. Yes, they have side panels, but they keep them consistent throughout the entire uniform. From the helmet to the secondary logo to the drop shadow on the numbers… everything is just *chef’s kiss* magnificent. The only reason this one doesn’t place at the top of this list is because there’s just a lot going on. When you have a great design, you want to plaster it everywhere, but in this case it’s a little detrimental. There’s so much good stuff to look at that you can never focus on and appreciate every little detail long enough before a different feature catches your eye. That’s not the case with my top pick.

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9 / 10

1) Birmingham Stallions

1) Birmingham Stallions

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Screenshot: USFL

The Birmingham Stallions took everything that was great about the team’s original uniforms and turned every knob up to 11. They no longer look like a minor league affiliate for the San Francisco 49ers. They look like their own thing. They don’t bother with showing off a secondary logo, opting instead for placing their colors on their shoulders. The red, gold, and white work flawlessly together.

Am I biased? Absolutely, considering I have family in Alabama, but you can’t deny how solid these look as a whole. It’s simple with a great color scheme and great logo. It’s fitting for the smallest market of all to unveil the greatest logo. Alabama has a knack for creating some ideas when it comes to their professional sports teams. They have a Minor League Baseball Team called the Biscuits () for goodness sake, but it’s nice to see them take a step back and create something so simple, stylish, and all-around great. They’re the best. No one can tell me different.

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