Patriots All-Time Uniforms: A Definitive Ranking

Where does the Color Rush look rank? How have the classic Reds held up over time? Here we go, ranking the Patriots uniforms worst to first

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The Patriots blue Color Rush uniforms will make their season debut Thursday night against the Giants, making it the fourth year in a row the Patriots wear their alternate jersey. Overall, the Patriots have had 9 distinct uniforms in their 50 seasons (with numerous minuet changes in between). The Color Rush look hasn’t been the Patriots only uniform related news lately either. The Patriots Pro Shop recently brought back the 90’s ‘Flying Elvis’ jerseys for select players, almost immediately selling out. With there actually being a buzz around jerseys recently, I figured this was the perfect chance to take a look back at the Patriots uniforms. Where does the Color Rush look rank? How have the classic Reds held up over time? Here we go, ranking the Patriots uniforms worst to first.

9Blue With Red Numbers (1993)

Uniform graphics via The Gridiron Uniform Database

The road version of this jersey is bad not awful, but the home blue one is a disaster. It was the first blue jersey they ever wore, and the first of the post-Pat Patriots era. The red numbers make it look like one of those cheap knockoffs you’d buy from China, and somehow the white TV numbers (numbers on the shoulder) make it even worse. On top of that, the grey facemask on the helmet makes it look incomplete. Thankfully, these only lasted one season. 

8Color Rush (Alternate, 2016-?)

This look has been wildly overrated by Patriots fans, perhaps because it’s the first true ‘alternate’ look the team has ever had. Instead of truly embracing a throwback look, they just put the old-school shoulder stripes on a modern color jersey. And instead of staying loyal to the old-school look by putting numbers on the shoulder, they replaced them with the Flying Elvis, eschewing TV numbers all together. Also, the white stripe down the side of the pants just seems forced.

7Silver (Alternate, 2003-2007)

It’s not so much that these jerseys are bad, they’re just forgettable. They look like the current home white jerseys just got dirty, especially when seeing them on TV in standard definition. It didn’t help that the team almost always wore them late in the year, back when they had a grass field and most of those games were muddy. I wouldn’t be opposed to seeing the team bring them back, but at the same time, I don’t need to see them again either. These were cooler to own (I had a Bruschi one) than see the team wear.

6Blue With White Numbers (1994)

The Patriots second attempt at a blue jersey went way better than the first, although that isn’t saying much. They made all of the numbers white, and added a red outline which is a good touch. They also went away from the Flying Elvis style striping on the pants, which was a good idea. The reason this ranks well above the similar 1993 uniforms though? The team switched from a grey facemask to a red one giving them a great helmet look the team is still using 25 years later. 

5Red Jersey With Arm Stripe (1969-1983)

Before you come at me with pitchforks for having the red jersey ranked fourth, keep in mind there are TWO red uniforms the Patriots have worn (with each having minor alterations over time). The one most Patriots are familiar with has the striped over the shoulder, but the Patriots actually wore this one with the stripe on the arm exclusively for 14 years. So why did I rank this one significantly lower? First off, it’s just not as good of a jersey. It looks more like a rugby uniform than an American football one. Secondly, because I know the Patriots agree with me. When they decided to add a throwback uniform in the 2000s, did they go with this version of the jersey? No, they used the shoulder stripes. 

4Red Jersey With Tricorn Helmet (1960)

This Patriots uniform is often forgotten because they only wore it in their inaugural year, but it’s one of their best. It has the shoulder stripe version of the red jersey, but that’s not the only reason I’m ranking it this high. That hat design is fantastic. I wish it would have hung around longer as a secondary insignia or something. Add in the number on the helmet, which is such an old-school collegiate look, and this is a look the Pats should definitely consider recreating in some form in the future.

3Flying Elvis Shoulders (1995-1999)

Probably the most polarizing uniform in Patriots history. Maybe it’s just 90s nostalgia that makes people love the cartoonishly big Flying Elvis logo on these jerseys, maybe it’s actually a good look. We may never know. I have these as high as I do because they’re fun, and ultimately that’s what this is all about. That being said, I could see these getting really old watching a team wear them week-after-week, year-after-year (I was 5 when the Patriots abandoned this look, so unfortunately I don’t have a first-hand memory of doing exactly that). Because of the NFL’s “One Shell Rule”, this is the only ‘throwback’ the Patriots could actually wear on the field, which I’m all in favor of. They had the perfect chance to do so in 2016, when they hosted the Jaguars, the team they had defeated in the AFC Championship game 20 years before while rocking the giant Flying Elvis. They’re scheduled to play the Jags in 2021, which would be the 25th anniversary of that AFC Championship team, so maybe all hope isn’t lost. That being said, I see no situation where it’s a good idea to revive these as the full-time look.

2Current (2000-?)

When a uniform sticks around for 20 years, you know it’s a good one. The current look may be the only one in the Patriots catalogue where the road jersey is better than the home option. I know the white jerseys can be a point of contention, but I’ve always thought they are the better of the two. It’s a very clean look, and I’m a fan of the blue panel on the side. However, I wouldn’t be surprised if this uniform is nearing the end of its lifetime. I could see the Patriots going with a overall rebrand when Tom Brady retires (whenever that is), sort of like the Cavs did the first time LeBron left. Let these be the “Brady Uniforms” forever.

1Red Jersey With Shoulder Stripe (1961-1968, 1984-1992, Alternate 1994, 2002, 2009-2012)

Saving the best for last. This uniform, worn more than any in Patriots history, is the classic red we all know and love. Save for the NFL’s “One Shell Rule”, this probably would have become the Patriots Color Rush look, if not more. Like I mentioned above, I could see a uniform rebrand in the Pats near future. Could they be aiming to return to this look. The only downside, and there is one, is that the team was absolutely dreadful for the majority of the time this was their look, as any old time Patriots fan will tell you. I guess ‘look good, play good’ isn’t as much of a lock as many would like to think.

BONUS

The Patriots have worn three different versions of the white Pat Patriot helmet, changing the facemask between grey, white, and red. Including each of these changes as a separate uniform would have been too much, since it would give me multiple versions of both red uniforms, but they each do deserve recognition. So, real quick, let’s rank those three helmets… 

3. Grey Mask (1960-1981, 1994 and 2009 alternates)

It’s ok, but it doesn’t pop. Not good, not bad. It’s just there

2. Red Mask (1991-1992)-

The red facemask actually debuted on the white Pat Patriots helmets, not the silver Flying Elvis ones. It was a short, yet strong run.

1. White Mask (1982-1990, 2002 and 2010-2012 alternates)-

White helmet = strong look. White facemask = strong look. White helmet PLUS white facemask? That’s a fine looking helmet. This is the best looking lid the Pats have ever worn, and hopefully it returns in the near future.

So there you have it. Do you agree with these rankings? Think I’ve made an egregious mistake? Let me know on Twitter at @RealAlexBarth. And make sure to be following @PatriotsCLNS on Twitter as well for full coverage as the Patriots take on the Giants Thursday night.