The Super Bowl is meant to decide who is best at football — not who is best–dressed. This is fortunate, because the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks will tangle in Super Bowl XLVIII in a battle of epically great teams and epically ugly uniforms. The bright orange of the Broncos and the neon green of the Seahawks could have actually induced seizures in viewers had not slightly more reasonable heads prevailed.
Let us start with Denver. The Broncos were famed for their orange uniforms and “Orange Crush” defense in the 1970s. In 1997, the design was changed to feature more of the purply-dark blue, with a design that looked like it was stolen from the arena league. It worked, however, since the Broncos won Super Bowl XXXII and XXXIII. The design has continued, with minor tweaks, to this day. The team introduced an alternate jersey which featured an orange shirt with blue pants, as opposed to the blue shirt with blue pants combo that was so unbecoming. (According to Wikipedia, the fashion faux pas was John Elway’s fault.) The Broncos will wear this orange uniform (left, modeled by Duke Ihenacho) to the Super Bowl.
Seattle, as the nominal visiting team, will wear the white shirt with blue pants, which is reasonable given the options. The Seahawks home uniforms feature helmet, shirt and pants in metallic blue, with bright green stripes and often bright green sneakers. Even worse is the alternate jersey from a few seasons ago, featuring the shirt in green. It was an abomination that was expunged from the Earth, but not from our memories.
The logos are not great, either. The Broncos used to feature a letter “D” with a majestic stallion charging out of it; now it’s just an angry clip art horse. Even worse is the alternate logo, which looks like Super Saiyan Horsey sitting on the toilet. Perhaps the real reason Knowshon Moreno cries is that he sees his awful uniform on the JumboTron.
The Seahawks, at least, have improved the colors, adding a “Wolf Gray” to the design, but it’s still the logo that has brought mostly shame in the franchise’s 38 years. Scavenging waterfowl are not particularly intimidating, unless a horde of seagulls is about to dive-bomb you. Is that the message Seattle wants to send? Perhaps it is – Richard Sherman certainly talks plenty of pigeon poop – but he actually has the talons to back it up. Why has no designer thought to feature the positive aspects of the osprey or skua, like the majestic wings and sharp claws?
Not every NFL uniform is a winner, but Denver and Seattle truly are two of the worst. Why does all this matter? There is actually a lot at stake here. The Super Bowl is the most-watched event in the world, and the teams representing the best in the world need to look the best in world. Cheesy college-style designs, ridiculously bright main colors, and faux-menacing animals evoke a circus atmosphere, not the dignified warzone the NFL claims to be. Make no mistake, this game will be hideous to watch – and it will have nothing to do with the play on the field.