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The Good, The Bad and The Ugly – Miami Football’s Uniforms

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Which Canes’ looks have soared and which have fallen flat?

Notre Dame v Miami Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

We can all admit some bias here but it’s difficult to argue that Miami has had some of the best uniforms ever since Howard Schnellenberger put the U on the helmet. Since that time, Miami’s unis have often been simple yet effective in their charm. But of course, they can’t all be winners either. We’ll take a step back into the 80’s and 90’s while also remembering the uniforms of the 2000’s and break downs which ones were good, bad or just plain eye sores.

The Good

1980’s Dynasty

Alonzo Highsmith

The birth of the U came with some damn fine uniforms. Most programs didn’t have intricate designs on their unis yet and Miami was no exception. But their clean and uncomplicated look meshed well with the South Beach aesthetic. Something about those orange home jerseys scream defense to me. It’s not hard to picture huge swarms of orange flying to take down ballcarriers. And the aways with their white tops and dark green numbers conjure up images of Michael Irvin catching darts from Steve Walsh and Vinny Testaverde.

2000’s Rebirth

Rose Bowl X

Winning makes a uniform look good. The 2000’s unis were the first to look a little more advanced than their counterparts from 10-20 years ago. The numbers favored a rounder font and the thick to thin stripe across the top of the jersey differentiated the 2000’s Canes from the 80’s and 90’s ones. If the 80’s are the original, the 00’s are the remix. Hard to hate a uniform worn by your greatest team ever.

Present Day

Adidas has done a great job of combining the sleek, simplistic look of the vintage Miami uniforms with some new-age designs and patterns. The colors are classic, stripes are clean and are a great look in their simplicity. Those strange stretch-marks are perhaps the biggest flaw in the jerseys but Adidas returned the U’s uniforms to greatness in 2016. And those all-black Miami nights uniforms aren’t bad either.

The Bad

2005 Throwback

These 1960’s throwbacks were dusted off for only one game, against UNC in 2005, so at least that’s good. They might be from Ted Hendricks’ era but it’s not like the football team was any good then. Besides the hurricane flags on the helmet, absolutely nothing about these scream Miami, at least the Miami we have come to know and love. If anything, they look more like Baylor unis then something the Canes should be wearing. Probably a mistake bringing these back out.

Adidas’ First Uniforms (2015-16)

Miami v Duke Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images

When Adidas debuted the first set of Miami uniforms, they looked more like classic Canes gear than what Nike had done the year before. But still, they were not quite all the way there. The round, elongated lettering and weird feathered design on the side of the jerseys just didn’t look Miami. While these were a mistake, Adidas quickly got it right, debuting the cleaner, classic uniforms midway through the 2016 season and haven’t looked back since.

The Ugly

Nike’s Swan Song (2014)

Miami v Georgia Tech Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images

God these were so bad. Green and Orange helmets? Blech. There was far too much solid color in these, making them look clunky and downright ugly. Some especially bad combinations included the nearly all-orange combination, all-grey, ugly orange and green jerseys with white pants, and so on and so on. Nike seemed to try and bring Oregon to Coral Gables and instead ended up with a Frankenstein’s monster of a uniform in what would be their last year as the official gear provider of the university. Hopefully we’ll never see anything as ugly as these, ever again.