The NFL draft is a little more than two weeks away. You know what that means: a new wave of merchandise.
The caps that players wear onstage later this month will go on sale Thursday, and so far the internet has trashed them.
The idea of including team phrases on the caps is a creative one, but some caps are better executed than others. The sports fashion analysts at the Times gathered to critique all 32 caps. Here are their grades:
Atlanta Falcons: B+
Good slogans on the crown and sweatband. Not too crowded. Solid cap all the way around.
Arizona Cardinals: C-
“Rise up, Red Sea” is interesting. “Cardinals football” is not. Makes you wonder what slogans they rejected.
Baltimore Ravens: C
An Edgar Allen Poe reference might have been too obvious, but what about a catchphrase from The Wire? Maybe “You best not miss”? Speaking of not missing, kicker Justin Tucker calls the team specialists — himself, the punter and the snapper — “The Wolfpack.” That’d be an upgrade over “Play like a Raven,” even if no one outside Baltimore gets the reference.
Buffalo Bills: C-
For the better part of two decades, the Bills gave their fans zero reason to “Billieve.” One 9-7 season is supposed to change all that? Somehow “Hey, hey, hey, hey, let’s go Buffalo” beat out “Circle the wagons.” Why? Because they’re the Bills.
Carolina Panthers: D-
Sometimes the obvious thing is the right thing. “Keep pounding” should have been the slogan on the crown of the cap. Instead, that gets bumped to the sweatband for … “Two states. One team.” The show of unity is commendable. Accepting difference is a big step forward for North Carolina. People are still people, even if they’re from South Carolina. Right?
Chicago Bears: B
“Monsters of the Midway” might be the best slogan on any of the caps. Problem is, it’s too long. The type overwhelms the logo.
Cincinnati Bengals: B+
Take notes, Saints. This is how you do a draft cap. Keep it simple, and go with the slogan your fan base takes pride in.
Cleveland Browns: B
Nothing says “Dawg pound” like … a helmet?? Too bad the Browns didn’t go with their snarling dog logo instead.
Dallas Cowboys: D
I’m not surprised they went with “America’s team.” Sure, it’s delusional, but to be fair, “Haven’t won a Super Bowl in more than two decades” wouldn’t have fit.
Denver Broncos: C
For a cap that’s selling out to bright orange, “Broncos Country” is an underwhelming choice. As generic as it gets.
Detroit Lions: B-
“Defend the den”? How about you stop the run first?
Green Bay Packers: B+
When you look at this cap, you can hear the Lambeau Field crowd chanting, “Go, Pack, go!” “Titletown, U.S.A.” on the sweatband pushes this one into the upper tier of draft caps.
Houston Texans: F
Thank you for the clarification, Texans. You are, in fact, Texans. Captain Obvious approves.
Indianapolis Colts: D
“Colts forged”? What? Doesn’t make sense, but at least they tried, unlike the Jaguars and Dolphins. Should have put “2014 AFC finalist” on the sweatband instead.
Jacksonville Jaguars: D
Come on, guys. “Jags” on the sweatband? No cap feels more mailed in than this one. Imagine if the Bucs cap just said “Bucs.” Actually, maybe it should have ...
Kansas City Chiefs: C
“Chiefs kingdom” is an odd choice, mainly because of the slogan’s redundancy. You’re chiefs. We get it. You rule. Except in the playoffs.
Los Angeles Chargers: C
Usually, you can put “super” in front of anything and make it better. This is one case where you can’t. In a word, the Chargers’ slogan is superfluous.
Los Angeles Rams: C-
This is a cap with a personality disorder. “Mob squad” sounds aggressive, nasty and tough. Great cap … until you flip it over and look under the brim and read “City of angels.” First thing I think of is the gloriously ridiculous 1998 romance starring Nicolas Cage and Meg Ryan in which an angel falls in love with a heart surgeon.
Miami Dolphins: D
Pssst, hey, Dolphins. The “#Fins” hashtag on the sweatband isn’t fooling anyone. We can still tell that you copied the slogan on the crown and slapped a hashtag in front of it. Instead, you should have printed an apology: “We’re sorry we signed Jay Cutler.” I’d gladly hand over $40 for that cap.
Minnesota Vikings: B-
“Defend the North” works well. As for “Skol Vikes,” sorry, Vikings fans. That’s not your slogan anymore. Eagles fans hijacked it during the NFC championship game and made it their own. Continue chanting “Skol” if you wish, but it will never be as good as “Foles.”
New England Patriots: D
Gah! Even the Patriots draft caps are insufferable. By pumping up the point size of “your,” New England manages to make an annoying slogan even more annoying. Just shut up already.
New Orleans Saints: F
There’s room for two slogans, and neither of them is “Who dat?” “Big Easy football” and “NOLA”? Seriously? This cap is an abomination. I felt bad for the Saints after they allowed Case Keenum to complete a game-winning 61-yard touchdown pass to Stefon Diggs in last season’s playoffs. Not anymore.
New York Giants: A
The “Big blue” presentation really pops. Clean. Classic. Iconic.
New York Jets: B-
When the Jets visited Tampa in November, their fans filled Raymond James Stadium. I didn’t hear a single one say, “Jet up.”
Oakland Raiders: B+
Solid cap, though I wonder whether it would have been better if “Just win baby” were on the crown instead of “Raider Nation.”
Philadelphia Eagles: B
The Eagles’ grade takes a hit because of the offcenter logo. If “Fly Eagles Fly” appeared like “Go Pack Go” on the Packers’ cap, this one might have been one of the best. “Go Birds” is fine on the sweatband, but why not “Super Bowl LII champions”?
Pittsburgh Steelers: A
The Steelers don’t always get these things right (the bumblebee throwback jerseys, for example), but they nailed this cap. It’s exactly as you would have imagined it, and in this case, that works. It’s Pittsburgh. No need for embellishment.
San Francisco 49ers: C+
“Niners” isn’t exciting, but it’s better than forcing something. (Looking at you, Colts.) I get that 49ers fans call themselves the “Faithful,” but putting that slogan on a cap feels a bit like they’re trying to talk themselves into believing it, sort of like a “Ball is life” shirt. If you have to say it, it probably isn’t true.
Seattle Seahawks: A+
The best cap of the bunch. The 12 flag is a surprising and creative touch.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: B-
“Fire the cannons” is the right choice here. You wonder, though, who signed off on the slogan on the sweatband. “Raise the red flags”? Really? You have to be kidding. Where do we start? Oh, here’s one: YOUR QUARTERBACK HAS BEEN ACCUSED OF SEXUAL ASSAULT AND IS UNDER NFL INVESTIGATION.
Tennessee Titans: C
This is fine, I guess. It’s not ugly, but it’s not memorable, either. Kind of like the football team.
“HTTR” would have worked, but the progressive thinkers in Washington/Maryland/Virginia decided to fully commit to the team’s derogatory name. Way to go, guys.
What do you think? Share your grades in the comments section below.
Contact Thomas Bassinger at email@example.com. Follow @tometrics.