Ranking NFL’s top 5 throwback jerseys in 2023: From Kelly Green Eagles to the Oilers

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National Football League

Nov. 1, 2023 10:45 a.m. ET

We’re halfway through the season and it’s time to look back — way back. NFL teams have been sporting throwback or alternate uniforms throughout the 2023 season. Week 8 featured the Tennessee Titans wearing Houston Oilers-inspired uniforms and the Seattle Seahawks taking us back to the Grunge era.

In all, 16 NFL teams have worn alternate or throwback uniforms so far this season. Here, we rank our top five.

The Los Angeles Chargers are not included in the rankings because they have the best throwback look in the league as the team’s primary uniform. The Chargers’ powder-blue jerseys and gold pants recall the days of Hall of Fame receiver Lance Alworth and Hall of Fame quarterback Dan Fouts. 

That said, let’s count down the top five of 2023.

5. Atlanta Falcons

Atlanta brought back the classic red helmet and black jersey from the days when quarterback Steve Bartkowski led the team in the 1970s and ’80s. 

The Falcons wore that uniform combination in the team’s 25-24 Week 2 win over the Green Bay Packers. The Falcons wore red helmets from the franchise’s inception in 1966 to 1989.

I also like Atlanta’s black helmets and black jerseys, but the red-and-black combination of the old-school uniform pops. It also brings back some nostalgia from when the Falcons played in the geographically incorrect NFC West Division with the Los Angeles Rams, New Orleans Saints and San Francisco 49ers.

4. Philadelphia Eagles

How can you not like these Kelly Green uniforms that harken back to the days of Randall Cunningham and Reggie White dominating during the 1990s?

The Eagles wore Kelly Green for one game in 2010 and finally brought the look back for the team’s Week 7 victory over the Miami Dolphins

3. Seattle Seahawks

The Seahawks jumped back into a time machine of Nirvana, Seinfeld, parachute pants and the Kingdome with a return to the team’s classic silver helmets and royal blue jerseys. Think Steve Largent, Kenny Easley and Jim Zorn. 

Seattle wore this uniform combination from the team’s start in 1976 to the implosion of the Kingdome after the 1999 season. Geno Smith & Co. sported the bright throwback uniforms on a surprisingly sunny October day in Seattle, in last Sunday’s 24-20 victory over the Cleveland Browns at Lumen Field. 

2. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Buccaneers wore the Creamsicle uniforms with the winking Bucco Bruce helmet logo from 1976 to 1996, then transitioned to the current pewter-and-red color combination.

Earlier this season, Tampa Bay returned to the uniforms worn by quarterback Doug Williams and defensive lineman Lee Roy Selmon in the days of Disco, Funkadelic and bell-bottom pants. The Bucs broke out the Creamsicles in Week 6, a 20-6 loss to the Detroit Lions at Raymond James Stadium. 

1. Houston Oilers/Tennessee Titans

One player instantly comes to mind when I think of the Oilers: Hall of Fame running back Earl Campbell. Watching Campbell run was one of the reasons I started playing football as a kid. He was a force of nature in the backfield.

Of course, the Oilers had an entire cast of interesting characters over the years, from head coach Bum Phillips to quarterback Dan Pastorini, kick returner Billy “White Shoes” Johnson, ironman offensive lineman Bruce Matthews and Hall of Fame QB Warren Moon.

Houston had good teams during those years as well, but the Oilers never could seem to get past the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The Oilers started in Houston in 1960. Owner Bud Adams moved the team to Tennessee in 1997 and changed the name to the Titans in 1999. 

Is it weird that the Tennessee Titans wore Houston Oilers uniforms last Sunday in the team’s 28-23 victory over the visiting Falcons? Yes, but it’s still good to see the iconic uniform of one of my favorite teams of my youth back on the field. And the baby blue, red and white combo with the oil derrick is a unique combo that is tough to beat. 

Honorable mention throwbacks: New England Patriots, Cleveland Browns, Dallas Cowboys, Denver Broncos and Miami Dolphins

Eric D. Williams has reported on the NFL for more than a decade, covering the Los Angeles Rams for Sports Illustrated, the Los Angeles Chargers for ESPN and the Seattle Seahawks for the Tacoma News Tribune. Follow him on Twitter at @eric_d_williams.

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