Ranking of the 15 best vintage jerseys in the history of the league

Look good, play good. The sports psychology behind these four words is fascinating. There is a real merit behind this shot. NFL homecoming uniforms provide some of the best and worst examples of aesthetics. The best NFL homecoming jerseys are so good they may make non-franchise fans want to hang one up in their man cave. But who has the best?

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Bottle that nostalgia – let’s rank the best homecoming jerseys in the NFL!

15. Dallas Texans

They had the state of Texas on their cover with a star signifying the city of Dallas on the map. It’s an incredible touch, even though the team was awful. Let’s pay homage to the great Lamar Hunt for this fantastic piece of history before we finally move the franchise to Kansas City.

Photo credit: Getty Images

14. Cleveland Browns (dark brown mesh)

Is there anything more Dawg Pound than a mesh training jersey worn on Sunday? Looks like they’re about to punch you in the mouth wearing the darkest shade of brown they can find. The white numbers almost merged with the white epaulettes peeking through the mesh. Classic whites look great too, but the spirit of Cleveland is in the mesh.

Mike Pruitt (43) runs with the ball in a game against the Los Angeles Rams.

13. Bison Notes (1994)

1994 was a great year for uniforms, and the Buffalo Bills were no exception. Red, white and blue will always be a winning combination. But the red helmet with the blue tops and the white pants were the best look the Bills have sported in their history (and the ’60s white helmets with the all-red buffalo were amazing, too). What makes this jersey one of the best in NFL history is the beautiful color coordination and the success of the team that has accompanied them.

Photos: Buffalo Bills uniforms over the years

12. Los Angeles Rams

Los Angeles uniforms have always been stellar. But there’s something about Eric Dickerson’s oversized No.29 that resonates the best. The number was too big on the front. The number was too big on the arms. The yellow on the sleeve was enormous. But all that glitz was perfect for a city like Los Angeles. The Rams’ Horn Helmet is the best persistent helmet in the league.

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11. Denver Broncos (Elway era)

This could very well be the best helmet ever outside of “Bucco Bruce’s”. The massive “D” on the helmet with the horse framed is an amazing look. It looks like the horse is blowing smoke as well, which would suit a Denver-area team in 2021. The orange crush makes this NFL uniform one of the biggest throwbacks of all time.

Cowboys safety Brock Marion (31) knocks down Denver Broncos quarterback John Elway in the first half of their game at Texas Stadium on September 10, 1995.

10. San Francisco 49ers (1994 edition)

I don’t know how the NFL allowed the 49ers to have such big numbers on these comebacks. The three red stripes on the sleeve were perfect, and even the most short-sighted fans could see everyone’s numbers from the nosebleed seats. There is something incredibly stylish about all white tops and bottoms too.

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Photo credit: Getty Images

9. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (cream to the crop)

They’re ugly, but they’re iconic. Red and orange blend into each other to create a sort of color scheme if you are more than 10 feet apart. However, what makes this one of the best returning uniforms is “Bucco Bruce” on the helmet. The man has a blade in his teeth – it’s cool there. For what it’s worth, the uniform looks good up close. The colors just don’t contrast enough at a distance.

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8. Atlanta Falcons (all black)

Black tops. Black helmet. Deion Sanders in his backpedal, preparing to snatch another pass from the opposition. It is the look. Paired with the hawk wing that descends to naturally follow the lines of the face mask, you get the meanest homecoming uniforms in NFL history. The subtle red outline on the numbers is perfect and the silver pants complete the set.

Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

7. Philadelphia Eagles (Kelly Green)

The wings of the helmet no longer strike as before. There was a nice lack of definition when the fenders were silvery with no outline. The eagle on the sleeve was a nice touch. But the best thing about those was that the white tops were just as cool, if not cooler, overall. There was something about the sparkle we got when the light hit the green numbers which hit all-green highs differently.

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6. Dallas Cowboys (white shoulders)

When you played Madden as a kid (or adult) you picked out these NFL Cowboys homecoming jerseys. If you didn’t, you missed it. If you don’t, fix it. The white shoulders that frame the back perfectly accentuate the name on the back. Unique is the way white and blue meet at mid-sleeve and soar sharply to the middle of the collar. The star on the shoulder and the helmet is beautifully simple. The numbers do not have an outline. Like the daily Cowboys jerseys, this is a classic and simple design, which contrasts perfectly with such a brilliant franchise.

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Photo credit: USA Today

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The cream of the crop is upon us.

5. Miami Dolphins (Marino era)

The Miami uniforms of that time were like Dan Marino. They posted big numbers but failed to get the job done to secure the championship. White tops with teal numbers contrast beautifully with the tertiary orange used by Miami. The marked difference between the bottom and the top due to the teal based bottoms worked perfectly. In addition, the logo on the side of the helmet completes the design. An orange ring framing a bit of a dolphin wearing an old-fashioned helmet? I’m in.

Photo credit: USA Today

4. Denver Broncos (originals)

The first scorching take on the list lands at the top of the list at # 4 on the list. Bright yellow tops and brown bottoms ooze football. They are one of the best NFL homecoming uniforms of all time because of their simplicity. The brown helmet has a single white line on the top and white player numbers on the side. The yellow jersey has brown numbers with no outline color. The brown pants with two yellow stripes are an incredible reverse of the tops and pair perfectly with the helmet. Still, the socks could go as the Steelers comebacks seem to want to go – jail.

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Photo credit: Getty Images

3. Houston Oilers

The sky-blue Houston Oilers tops with white numbers and red outlines are among the most beautiful comebacks in NFL history. They have also teamed up with an exceptional collar on the sleeve with two outer red lines surrounding it. Then two more bold white lines curled up. And it ended with the sky blue stripes that wrap around the center.

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Photo credit: USA Today

2. New England Patriots (Pat Patriots)

NFL teams knew how to do red, white and blue. The “Pat Patriots” uniforms come second because the most superior color around the grounds comes out on top. The Reds, in particular, are one of the best returning NFL uniforms of all time. Paired with white pants and two red outer vertical stripes, and a blue vertical stripe down the middle, this allowed for the most thoughtful color coordination the league has ever seen. How did the Oilers and Patriots find this specific combination? Have they tried it with the blue and red swapped out on the stripes?

New York Jets vs. New England Patriots
Photo by Jim Rogash / Getty Images

1. Los Angeles Chargers (Powder Blues)

Even the name is No. 1. “Powder Blue” falls right on. What makes these NFL homecoming uniforms the best ever is looking at how unfairly cool LaDainian Tomlinson looked, causing guys to miss while wearing them. The uniforms of the Chargers have always been exceptional. The best part about these NFL homecoming jerseys is that they went through a lot of changes from the 1960’s until the team mistakenly opted for a navy blue color. Their only championship was in 1963 when they wore the powder blue jerseys. Coincidence? I do not think so!

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Roy C. Plante

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