(Logo above courtesy of The Buffalo Sports Museum)
In nearly three weeks the Sabres will officially grace the world with their new third jerseys. Yes, the gold and blue, painfully leaked and over-designed uniform will finally hit the ice on November 24.
This is approximately the 350th different jersey the Sabres have donned in their nearly 50 years in existence – I actually count 12 different designs between home and away – and it is easily the worst of all of those jerseys. In fact, it also takes the cake over the horrible, awful Bills jerseys of the early 2000s.
Looking back on the jerseys, and uniforms in some cases, the Bills and Sabres have managed to both mangle and hit a few home runs when it has come to the designs they’ve donned in the past. Included in the findings are the Bandits and Bisons as well.
1) Sabres original home uniforms (1970-1996): The primary logo in the two-toned shoulder yoke set this jersey apart. It is the perfect highlight of the team’s colors as the white base serves as an excellent canvas for such a great crest and color scheme.
2) Bills away jerseys with blue pants (present): This is my favorite combo of their current uniform set. The blue pants are awesome and work perfectly with the rest of the uniforms. Full marks every time they wear these.
3) Bandits home whites (1991-2012): Prior to their re-design for the new Reebok uniform they wore last season, the Bandits home uniforms were awesome. The black and orange trimmed stripe down the sleeve and horizontal hem stripes worked perfectly. It is a shame they got away from these jerseys.
Best of the Rest
4) Sabres home uniforms (present): When these were first introduced as the third jersey for the 2008-09 season, people were ecstatic. The silver additions were understated and only the odd apron piping offered any sort of quizzical reactions. The darker navy appeals to many despite calls for the team to return to the original royal blue.
5) Buffalo Braves: Baby. Blue. PS – Thanks to Joe for reminding me to include these beauties.
6) Bills home blues (1984-2001): The scarlet helmet will always be my personal favorite of all the Bills’ helmet designs. The basic royal blue home uniform worn through the glory years of the last 80s and early 90s looked great on Sundays. Just a great, basic uniform design.
7) Sabres road blacks (1996-2006): The black version of the red and black jerseys were terrific, this coming from someone who typically prefers white jerseys due to the way the colors stand out against the white base. However, the lack of the shoulder yoke and the way the red and sliver accents worked on the black unis were great. This is truly an awesome jersey.
8) Bills throwback alternates (various years): Different iterations of the Standing Buffalo-era throwbacks have shown up each season dating back to the JP Losman era. The royal blue throwbacks worn during the horrid CFL jersey era were always a welcome change from the brutal primary jerseys. But even the white throwbacks worn this season look great. The Bills do throwbacks well.
9) Sabres road uniform (present): The return to the original uniform design is awesome. Why they chose to keep the smaller crest off the shoulder is beyond me. Had they included that design feature these would be amongst the best in team history.
10) Buffalo Bisons hockey: The Pepsi Cap logo with the Buffalo script, you really can’t do much better.
11) Bills home jerseys (present): Nothing to see here really. I like the white helmet (don’t love it) and the return to a more traditional look is welcome.
Along for the Ride
12) Bills road jerseys (1984-2001): Simple, classic design, awesome team. Nothing more to say.
13) Sabres red alternate (2000-06): I never disliked the “butter knives” jerseys. Including “Buffalo” on the hem stripe was an odd choice, but this was a perfectly executed third uniform. It utilized the team’s alternate color, kept within the scope of the team’s identity while being different in many different ways from the home and away uniforms.
14) Bills home and away (1960-1983): This includes a handful of different designs including the original Standing Buffalo and the white helmet with the blue facemasks. The uniforms remained pretty much the same with the only change coming to the helmet. Nothing special and nothing horrible in these sets.
15) Buffalo Bisons original home and away jerseys: The uniforms that helped make the Bisons a staple downtown. Great logo, color scheme and overall design. They’ve yet to be beat with any of the subsequent uniform designs for the Herd.
16) Sabres home whites (1996-2006): A good looking jersey overall. The shoulder yoke always looked kind of odd to me, but there was nothing wrong with these either.
17) Bandits black uniforms (1991-2012): Not as stellar as the home whites, but still solid jerseys. A little more orange or white would probably make these awesome, but the basic black uni was nothing to complain about.
18) Bandits throwback alternate (2011-12): A return to the original jersey design with the diagonal Bandits wordmark. A great take on the original design (let’s include those in this ranking as well) without going overboard.
19) Buffalo Bisons green uniforms (1998-2008): I really liked these uniforms. They screamed 1990s but worked on a number of levels. It helped that the Bisons enjoyed some really good seasons in these colors.
20) Sabres 40th anniversary alternate (2010-12): Portions of this jersey were awesome. Namely the Buffalo script and royal and gold color combo. The striping pattern was great and I didn’t hate using a vintage color for the letters. However, the cross-stitching on the letters and the brutal two-toned name plate killed the overall appeal of this jersey.
21) Bandits “eyes” alternate (2009): A very different take on the alternate uniform. Personally, I was a fan. These were really out there, though. Like roller hockey out there. It was weird but certainly doesn’t rank amongst Buffalo’s worst ever.
22) Bisons Mets era (2009-2012): I didn’t hate going with the color scheme of the big club. But the cheesy Buffalo and cartoony logos didn’t work for me.
23) Bills 75th anniversary jerseys: Only worn a few times. These were weird.
24) The Slug (2006-2010): The infamous Slug logo is panned by just about everyone in Sabres Nation. The logo was a little too dynamic and simply didn’t work for most. While the pattern of the uniforms was actually really cool, the logo killed any redeeming qualities.
25) Bisons current home and away uniforms (present): They tried to hearken back to the glory years when the MLB push was at full force. But the logo is amateurish and doesn’t even sniff at the awesome uniforms from the 80s and early 90s.
26) Bandits current homeand away uniform(present): Just a busy, overthought uniform that ruined what was the lone remaining line of jerseys in Buffalo pro sports that hadn’t been sullied by a brutal jersey design.
27) Buffalo Bills home and away (2002-2010): These were cast off CFL jerseys. It’s the only explanation. The white uniforms were particularly horrible as the odd shoulders looked like complete garbage. I didn’t hate them as much when the team started wear blue on blue or white on white, but the overall look of these things was so god awful.
28) Sabres new third (debuts November, 24): The abomination that is the new Sabres third jersey cannot be overstated. The blue cape effect is just brutal, just as the randomly placed sliver accents. A modern design would have been welcomed for this jersey, even a gold based jersey would’ve been just fine. However, this is an over-designed and overthought hodgepodge that looks ridiculous. The end of the two-year minimum run for these cannot come soon enough.
Joe's note: Next to 3rd Man In and probably Beardo, Chris is someone who takes jerseys very seriously and I respect his opinion about it because he's always talking about it.. However, I HATE HIS TOP 5. I'm sorry to undercut his piece, but the home Sabre whites are not elite and the Bandits?? Get that shit out of here. I kid, Chris. But my goodness, don't ever dress my unborn kids in Buffalo gear!
Anyways My top 5 is simple…
1) The Pepsi cap logo- I mean, that shit is sick.
2) The Braves uniforms- The powder blue were ahead of their time for it being in the 70s. You can rock that uniform today, tomorrow and 100 years from now.
3) The Bills current white throwbacks- Cant go wrong with the whites and standing Buffalo.
4) The 3rd Sabres jersey from 2010-2012- Why on God's green earth would the Sabres decide to retire them after sporting them for only 3 years I'll never know. Wait! They retired them so they can make more money on those pieces of shit they plan on wearing this year. Awesome! From the day forward, the Sabres sole reason for existing is to design uniforms.
5) The Sabres original blues- I hate the Sabres current blue jerseys. It isn't even blue. It's like faded black. When you see the original blues, those are blue like the sea.
Now, I do agree with his bottom 5. No debate there.