Ugliness in the Xtreme


As the WFL proved in the ’70s and the USFL reaffirmed in the ’80s, there’s nothing like a new football league to bring out the worst in uniform designers. So Uni Watch was itching to see what sort of aesthetic train wreck might emerge from the supposedly rebellious XFL, which debuted last weekend—would they try long pants? Maybe a unitard? But as it turns out, they’re sticking to football’s standard jersey-knickers-stockings template. And with six of the eight teams wearing purple, teal, or black, the XFL is following more trends than it’s bucking. Better pay close attention to the following rundown—if the WFL and USFL are any indication, these unis won’t be around long.

  • XFL uniforms are made by Champion, whose logo appears on jerseys and pants. But in a development that conveniently reflects the level of play, the jersey logos appear on the upper chest—just like in college football (as opposed to the NFL, where they’re on the sleeves).

  • The league’s best-dressed team is clearly the Los Angeles Xtreme, whose sharp helmet design and classy blue-and-white jerseys are NFL-worthy. This team should win the XFL title, if only because their players will be the only ones who can suit up with any sense of self-respect.

  • With so many deserving candidates for worst-in-show honors, its hard to pick just one, so let’s call it a tie between the curiously similar home unis of the Chicago Enforcers (purple jersey with black trim, black pants with purple trim) and the New York/New Jersey Hitmen (black throughout with purplish blue trim).

  • Uni Watch’s deepest commiserations go out to anyone working as a spotter for the Orlando Rage, who’ve cleverly chosen a near-illegible typeface for their jersey numerals.

  • More fun for spotters: XFL players have been encouraged to put nicknames or slogans, instead of their surnames, on the backs of their jerseys—not a bad idea, since nobody cares who they really are anyway.

    This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on February 6, 2001

  • The primary job requirement for XFL mascots appears to be psychosis, at least judging from the Rage’s helmet design and the sleeve patches worn by the Hitmen and the Memphis Maniax, all of which depict raving, wild-eyed crackpots. Why are these figures so agitated? Just guessing, but maybe someone showed them the XFL uniform designs.
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