NFL jerseys are badges of honor among fans, who proudly rock their teams' colors every Sunday (or Monday and Thursday). Topping the NFL’s jersey sales list is akin to climbing atop the Billboard charts with a hit single, a signifier of popularity for the game’s top players. These charts also indicate when fan bases are hungry for a rebirth, as team’s usually see an uptick in sales after a jersey redesign or drafting of a highly touted college player. While it used to be a scavenger hunt to find jerseys on sale, you can now purchase one for almost any player on a team in a variety of colors—and even personalize it with your own name.
To celebrate the NFL’s rich history of style, Stacker compiled a collection of iconic jerseys past and present for each NFL team, using photos from Getty Images. We used a variety of primary news sources, team websites, the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and databases that specifically track jersey history to come up with 64 slides that include all the colors on the rainbow and then some. The photos in the slideshow not only provide a trip down memory lane, but also the evolution of teams and vital chapters in their histories.
For example, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers definitely stood out in their orange-creamsicle jerseys, but for fans of the Bucs, the threads also signify losing—and a lot of it. The Bucs lost their first 26 games in the NFL. Often, a new team jersey means a new stage, whether that be of a legendary player moving on, a franchise-saving quarterback arriving, or just a wish to relive past glory days. The Atlanta Falcons, Cleveland Browns, Los Angeles Chargers, Los Angeles Rams, New England Patriots, and Buccaneers all introduced new jerseys this offseason, showing that there’s much more history to be written. Find out how your team has changed (or hasn’t) over their NFL tenures.
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When the Falcons revealed their new jerseys in April, the major theme was “back to black.” For years, the Falcons wore red jerseys at home, but the new black uniforms harken back to the days when Deion Sanders shut down receivers regularly at the Georgia Dome, as well as when the "Dirty Birds" made the Super Bowl. Matt Ryan has thrown for 321 touchdowns in the new versions.
The Ravens’ jersey has not changed much since the team's inception in 1996, except for smaller numbers and a different crest patch on the sleeves. The helmet has undergone redesigns, but the dominant purple, white, or black jerseys without many stripes or accoutrement are staples. In an interesting twist, some Ravens have had special pockets sewn into their jerseys at times.
The Bills jerseys worn by Jack Kemp (yes, the former Congressman) were simple yet effective. Blue with white and red stripes, they gave the team a classic look, one the team would adapt in the years to come.
The Bills made a big change at the turn of the century, ditching navy blue and going back to their blue, red, and white roots. The current set isn't that different from the 1990s glory days which featured Jim Kelly, Bruce Smith, and Thurman Thomas, with the most noticeable difference coming in the team's use of white helmets again over red.
Many jerseys in the 1990s sported huge numbers on the front, a style which has been toned down since. This classic look with blue and silver stripes remains today. Frank Reich, who started the first game in Panthers history, now coaches the Indianapolis Colts.
The Panthers’ uniforms haven't really changed since their inaugural season in 1995. Aside from different sock combos and mixing-and-matching pants sets (and the lack of commemorative patches), the team has retained the same style for 25 years. Recently, under Cam Newton, the Panthers have often worn an all-black uniform at home, but Newton was released by Carolina in March.
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The vintage Bears uniforms didn’t really resemble modern football jerseys at all. Still, Red Grange, nicknamed “The Galloping Ghost,” ran his way all the way to the Hall of Fame in leather and long sleeves.
Cris Collinsworth is now the lively voice of NBC’s Sunday Night Football, but the jerseys he wore with the Bengals were pretty bland. Black with white numbers, they lacked the bengal stripes that have now become a trademark of Cincinnati football.
In the early 2000s, the Bengals began adding more flair to their jerseys, which not everyone agrees is a good thing. The white side panels, striped sleeves, and black body make Cincinnati's jersey one of the more active designs, and it was worn by Chad Ochocinco and Andy Dalton. With first overall pick Joe Burrow now in Cincy, the team could look for a new design to signal a new era.
For most of the Browns’ history, the team has kept their uniform designs pretty simple. Without an actual mascot, there’s no need for patches—just the color brown. The award for college football’s best kicker is named after legendary Browns kicker Lou Groza.
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The Dallas Cowboys have never featured an actual cowboy on their jerseys, but shades of blue and white, and a large star, have been ingredients. The star is supposed to signify “The Lone Star State,” the nickname of Texas.
Love 'em or hate 'em, it's hard to deny that the Cowboys’ jersey is one of the most recognized in the NFL. The simple striped-sleeve look hasn't changed since the late 1960s, except for a brief detour in 1995 during the NFL's 75th season, which harkened back to the star shoulder design.
Since 1997, Broncos jerseys have had the same layout, with fang-like stripes running up the sides. The franchise won their first championships in these uniforms when John Elway and Terrell Davis led Denver to wins in Super Bowls XXXII and XXXIII. Later, Peyton Manning preferred wearing the orange variation of the jersey at home, which has remained the standard worn by Denver at Empower Field at Mile High.
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Although the Packers’ colors are now solely green and yellow, the team previously sported blue as a primary color for parts of 30 years from the 1920s to 1950s. Through the ‘50s, the team also wore long sleeves.
Much like the Cowboys, the Packers have an iconic look that they’ve rarely ever tweaked over the past half-century. The same green, yellow, and white threads worn by Aaron Rodgers were sported by Reggie White and Brett Favre. One slight change Green Bay has made on the road is occasionally wearing white jerseys with white pants.
The most notable aspect of the Texans’ inaugural jersey is the commemorative patch on the left chest. Although navy and red aren’t the most bold colors for an expansion franchise (the 1990s saw a lot of turquoise), the combo has become a trademark for Houston football, not a flash in the pan.
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Many teams have stripes around the shoulders, but the Colts have kept this look throughout most of their history, from Baltimore to Indianapolis. They were even included in a Johnny Unitas appearance on “The Simpsons.” These jerseys have numbers that are a bit more jagged than the rounded versions the team has worn for most of their time in Indiana
The next time the Colts take the field, their jerseys will have a slightly altered look. The numbers on the classic blue-and-white jerseys are a throwback to the 1960s Colts teams, meaning new quarterback Philip Rivers will be rocking a style similar to that worn by Johnny Unitas.
The Jaguars’ first jerseys were notable for their striped-cuff sleeves and the jaguar logo above them. The use of a full black collar is another design perk that didn’t stand the test of time. Mark Brunell, who took over as starter during the Jaguars’ first season, made three Pro Bowls in nine years in Jacksonville.
In 2018, the Jaguars introduced a more simplified look with no outline around the numbers and a lack of stripes (as opposed to their big-cat brethren, the Bengals). The Jaguars are one of the rare teams with a primary logo on the chest of the jersey.
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Older Chiefs jerseys did not have multi-stripes on the sleeves but did have yellow outlining on the numbers, which remains today. The Chiefs began play in 1960 as the Dallas Texans.
Silver and black have been the Raiders’ norm for over 50 years, worn by Bo Jackson, Ken Stabler, and Derek Carr. However, with the team’s move to Las Vegas this season, could a change be in the cards? A return to gold would fit in with the Vegas theme.
As the Chargers prepare to open a new stadium, they’ve broken out some new duds this spring. The jerseys have bigger numbers and italicized names on the back and draw inspiration from every era of Chargers football. During the Philip Rivers era, the team frequently wore a lot of powder blue, as seen in this photo.
The Rams’ 1950s jerseys were missing a notable design. The team, which originally played in Cleveland, didn’t add ram-horn stripes until the 1970s.
When the Rams returned to Los Angeles in 2016, they slowly began integrating their classic blue-and-yellow jersey look that had disappeared while in St. Louis. The jersey style worn by Eric Dickerson and other Rams replaced a gold-and-navy style made popular by Kurt Warner, Marshall Faulk, and Torry Holt. The team recently unveiled new uniforms which include numbers with various shades.
The Dolphins have always worn clean-looking jerseys with the combination of light blues and orange which exemplify the style of south Florida. These beauties were worn by Nick Buoniconti and the rest of the 1972 Dolphins, who remain the only undefeated champions in NFL history.
Vikings jerseys have always been linked to purple, white, and yellow. Mick Tingelhoff, seen here, played his entire career in those colors and later made the Hall of Fame.
The Vikings ditched the outlining on their numbers and changed to more simplistic stripes with their 2013 reboot. These were the last jerseys Adrian Peterson wore in the purple and gold, now sported by Adam Thielen and Peterson's heir, Dalvin Cook.
The early Saints jerseys had the same colors as today but lacked a few noticeable tinges of decor. Gold outlining on the collar was absent, and striped sleeves played a more prominent role in the uniforms worn by Billy Kilmer, who played four seasons in New Orleans.
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The Saints jerseys worn by Drew Brees and Alvin Kamara remain very much the same from when the franchise came marching into the NFL over 50 years ago. In 1996, the team added a patch of the fleur-de-lis on the sleeves, although one had appeared in earlier versions inside a Louisiana state outline.
The Giants have always kept a pretty basic look, and these 1950s-era jerseys are as basic as you can get. During this period, the team played its games in the Polo Grounds and Yankee Stadium. Blue, white, and red remain the Giants’ primary colors today.
In 2019, the Jets went to a more traditional shade of green (called Gotham green) and added black lining to their jerseys and “New York” across the chest for the first time. Of course, this neglects the fact that the team trains and plays its home games in New Jersey.
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Sonny Jurgensen, seen here, began a Hall of Fame career littered with highlights in Philadelphia, but his jerseys were pretty basic. Green and white numbers don't leave much to the imagination, but the team would eventually incorporate stripes onto the sleeves.
Older Steelers jerseys were notable for the yellow stripes on the sleeves which remained for much of the ensuing years, although sometimes with the addition of white outlines. Bobby Layne donned this look while finishing a Hall of Fame career in Pittsburgh.
Franco Harris wound down his career in Seattle, wearing these blue jerseys that featured a large Seahawks logo on the sleeve. Silver, green, and blue were the team’s primary colors through the 1980s, when Steve Largent led Seattle in receiving.
The Seahawks made big changes to their jerseys in 2012. From the neon green outlining to the unique shoulder design, the Seahawks stood out from the rest of the league and wore these jerseys when Russell Wilson and company captured the franchise's first championship in Super Bowl XLVIII.
Anybody in the mood for a creamsicle? The Buccaneers’ first jerseys were nothing like the NFL had seen before, openly garish and bright. The team wore orange, red, and white throughout the mid-1990s but only made 10 playoff appearances since entering the league in 1976.
The new Buccaneers jerseys are supposed to evoke the ones worn by the 2002 championship team. The new threads are less busy than the previous versions, which were multicolored with jagged numbers. With Tom Brady ready to take the field for the first time with Tampa Bay, his jersey is already a big seller.
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The Houston Oilers (now the Titans) were one of the first teams to wear light blue as a primary color on their jerseys. Although the road-white jerseys had red numbers, red stripes wouldn’t be added to the blue jerseys until 1966.
Sammy Baugh was a rugged player throughout a Hall of Fame career, although we’re pretty sure that rips in the sleeves were not standard on every Washington football jersey during his playing days. The use of outlined numbers is somewhat rare, and the team occasionally wore navy jerseys, which are no longer a primary color for Washington.
Washington's jerseys haven't changed much over the past 50 years. Older versions had more prominent stripes, but a reliance on burgundy and gold has always been a staple. The team nickname, which is featured across the chest, is increasingly a point of conflict.
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