Avert Your Eyes! The Top 5 Ugliest Uniforms in Sports History

By TK Kelly February 6, 2013 View all posts (58)
Let’s be honest, beyond marginal things like championships, athleticism and leadership, what we as fans care about more than anything is that our teams look good. You can win all you want but if you look like a schmuck doing it, how can we possibly be expected to root for you?
This is an issue that has long affected the innocent eyes of sports fans everywhere, and it’s time we call out the culprits. Here are the top five ugliest uniforms in sports history.

5 New York Islanders – 1990s

Say what you will about the Islanders being a futile franchise that hasn’t won in years (seriously, say it, it’s true), but at least they can say they have always had nice, clean cut uniforms. A solid blue, orange and white color pattern with crisp imagery has represented New York’s “other team” positively, well, except for that whole time in the 1990s when they for some reason decided to add teal to the mix and feature a cartoon fisherman who looked like a mix between the Sea Captain on the Simpsons and the killer in ‘I Know What You Did Last Summer.’

4 Houston Astros – Late 70s

The idea for this uniform felt like someone watched a sunset and asked “How do we get every single one of these colors on a Major League uniform?” The result was an eye-raping 27 different shades of reds, yellows and oranges mashed onto the Houston Astros disco-era jerseys. Oh and just for good measure, they made sure it wasn’t just the tops that garnered criticism by unnecessarily adding each players number in stitching on the pants, right next to his balls… because apparently baseball players aren’t already drawing enough attention to their junk by constantly adjusting it throughout the game.

3 Vancouver Canucks – Early 80s

Have you ever gone out to play night hockey on a pond lit by car headlights? If you have, you know the importance of differentiating one team from another in the dim light. Sometimes, the best thing to do is to use reflective tape on your jerseys. The time not to do that, however, is when you’re playing professionally in the NHL! Apparently, no one explained this to the 1980s Vancouver Canucks though, since they showed up to games looking like they made their new jerseys in the basement using carefully placed red and yellow gaffer’s tape. This horrific embarrassment may have actually topped the list if anyone actually cared about the Vancouver Canucks enough to get that angry about it.

2 Houston Rockets – Mid 90s

What better way to follow up back-to-back NBA Championships than to make your players wear cartoon pajamas? Well, there is none, according to the people in charge of the Houston Rockets in the mid-90s. Rather than sticking with their classic red, white and gold unis in which they had begun to form a dynasty, the Rockets elected to make the switch to a navy blue uniform featuring an angry cartoon rocket orbiting planet basketball. Wait. What? Yes, that happened. Basically, they were forced to wear jammies in public, and their title streak came to a screeching halt. Coincidence??

1 Pittsburgh Steelers – 2012 Throwback

Image credit: Nflcomsteelers.com

It’s hard to pinpoint exactly who is responsible for these Steelers throwback uniforms, but from the look of them the pitch was “Let’s come up with a way to honor our past, while simultaneously embarrassing ourselves to such an extent that we will forever put a blemish on the franchise moving forward.” These uniforms mimic the ones worn by the 1934 Pittsburgh (football) Pirates, which is nice in theory. The major problems however, are the fact that the top looks like a Halloween jailbird outfit, and the flesh colored pants make every white guy on the team look like he’s naked from the waist down. Other than all that though, they’re pretty cool.

Well, now it feels as though apologies are in order. We sincerely regret exposing your eyeballs to these graphic images, but someone had to take these guys to task. And if we forgot to include some cheesy, tasteless unis that still haunt your brain to this day (perhaps the Denver Nuggets rainbow jersey), how about throwing together a list of your own?
Be cautious in your research though, one person’s eyes can only take so much.

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