While sports fans in Tampa are still basking in the glory of a Super Bowl title, it’s a good time to remind ourselves that playing well on the field (or court or ice) just means more when you look good doing it. Tampa sports has seen its fair share of fresh looks and an equal portion of ghastly gear. Here are some of the best and worst uniforms in Tampa sports history for your viewing (dis)pleasure.
Clean: Lightning Home Jersey, 1992-1993
When the Lightning took the ice for their inaugural game in 1992, they looked ’90s-style clean in their debut home white uniforms. Inexplicably, the sweaters on top featured three distinct fonts and two capitalization styles between the “Tampa Bay” and “LIGHTNING” text on the front and the broken lettering for the player name on the back. Still, from a 2021 perspective, they represent a period style that stands up well – even the questionable “victory stripes” on the underarms that stuck around far longer than we might have expected.
Foul: Lightning Alternate Jersey, 1996-1999
Looking at the Lightning’s alternate jersey from the late ‘90s is a miserable experience. Clumsily conceptual, replicating a super-ugly storm on the seas, with furry numbers, and very confused lightning bolts (we think) on the arms – this uni is a mess, from top to bottom.
Clean: Buccaneers Home Jersey, 1979
Even if we’re being kind, we’d have to say not all of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ uniforms have been winners. They’ve never achieved a higher level of professionalism than with the 1979 home orange look, marked by classic, minimal detail, clean lines, and cool color balance. The rich orange on top reads better than some of their other iterations, while the white pants with the orange stripe and red lining keeps the detail tight and contained.
Foul: Buccaneers Color Rush Jersey, 2016-2019
Perhaps they were designed for baiting bulls, but the Buccaneers’ red Color Rush jerseys angered all reasonable sports fans instead. When a full team of large football players donned these suckers, it was simply too much of this shade of red for a person to take in.
Clean: Rays Home Alternate Jersey, 2010-2011
The Tampa Bay Rays hit a home run with their light blue home alternate jersey set, which joined the mix for the 2010 season and has stuck around in some iteration since then. Paired with white pants and complemented by a cap with the clean, simple “TB” logo introduced in 2008, the blue uniforms became a fan favorite for a reason. The sweet powder blue hue is right on, striking a vintage chord that’s been hard to find for a franchise launched in 1998.
Foul: Devil Rays Home Alternate Jersey, 2001-2004
Back in the days of the Devil Rays, a few mistakes were made. The sleeveless home alternate jersey they trotted out from 2001-2004 makes onlookers wipe their foreheads in exasperation just like pitcher Ryan Rupe. This uniform looks like a sad button-down basketball jersey and is both uninteresting and unflattering. Thankfully, the Rays have moved on – and we can too!
In sum, all of us can surely agree on one thing: We love the look of sports in Tampa! If you’re looking for more ways to enjoy the entertainment, arts, and culture in our great city, make sure to check out the Olympus Harbour Island blog.