Well… that certainly was a year.
In this post, I’ll look back on what made news in the world of sports logos and uniforms over these past twelve months and some of our historical dives, presented chronologically, broken down month by month.
We had an entirely new NFL identity, the birth of a couple of new football leagues (they’re really serious, this time), the Reverse Retro program returned to the NHL, Major League Baseball gave us another round of City Connect (before dropping the prospect of jersey ads on us), and the NBA suffered from leaks as the NBA typically does.
Let’s dive right in as we take a trip all the way back to…
In football, the month started when the Washington Football Team announced their new name and logo would be coming in early February; the month ended with their former quarterback Joe Theismann leaking the new name would be Commanders.
Over in baseball, I looked back at when Ted Turner almost changed the name of the Atlanta Braves. Minor League Triple-A team, the Sugar Land Skeeters, changed their name to the Space Cowboys, along with a new logo.
In hockey, the Buffalo Sabres’ plans to surprise us all with the return of “The Goathead” was spoiled with a leak.
We welcomed the Minnesota Aurora FC in soccer as the USL W League team announced their name and logo. In international play, an emergency Comoros Goalkeeper taped a number to his jersey; the team would eventually be fined for this.
Starting with football, the Washington Football Team made it official and announced they were changing their name to Commanders while also unveiling their new logos and uniforms. Super Bowl LVI gave us a bunch of Bengals and Rams uniform stuff to discuss. We got our first look at the logo for Super Bowl LVII to be played in February 2023. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers announced the “creamsicle uniforms” will return in 2023. Finally, USFL 2.0 released their inaugural season team uniforms.
In international soccer, a substitute who couldn’t find his jersey led to a game-tying goal in a fairly important World Cup Qualifier match.
There was a Winter Olympics this year; remember that?? Here’s what the hockey teams wore for their tournament. Sticking with hockey, in the NHL, the Toronto Maple Leafs released their Heritage Classic uniforms which featured a blue-on-blue crest.
In what was probably the biggest single uniform leak I’ve ever seen, the NBA had nearly 40 new jerseys for their next season, all shown off several months before their intended release dates.
Starting with hockey this time, the Toronto Maple Leafs had their new black third jersey leaked by Martha Stewart of all people. Two weeks later, it was officially released, and we learned that it could be turned inside out! The NHL released their new Stanley Cup Final and Playoffs logos, ending a template which had been used for nearly ten years. I went down to the Heritage Classic and had all sorts of moments; I shared my story here. Jersey ads for the next season also started being announced regularly; the Blue Jackets were the first in 2022 to do so.
In football, the CFL’s Edmonton Elks removed the antlers from helmets after just one season, the classic EE logo returned. The Philadelphia Eagles made everyone excited by announcing Kelly Green would return as an alternate set in 2023.
On the ball diamond, Minor League Baseball returned proper names to each league. The new “trucker-style” caps worn for Spring Training made their mark with sunburns on a bald player’s head, the Boston Red Sox announced they’d honour Jerry Remy with a memorial patch, and the Washington Nationals kicked off City Connect ’22 with pink and grey Cherry Blossom uniforms (the NBA’s Wizards joined in with a similarly themed City Edition set one day later).
The baseball season started with a bang — the league joined the NBA and NHL by announcing jersey ads would be permitted starting with the 2023 season; a few weeks later, the San Diego Padres became the first to announce they’d wear one. Followed up quickly with a special logo marking the 75th anniversary of Jackie Robinson’s Major League debut. The league permitted a #21 patch on the back of caps of those who had won Roberto Clemente Awards. The Houston Astros blasted off with extraordinarily popular “Space City” City Connect uniforms; the Kansas City Royals paid tribute to the fountains around their city with theirs. And I took a trip back in time to look at the invention and implementation of the batting helmet in Major League Baseball.
In hockey, rumours swirled around the return of the Washington Capitals “Screaming Eagle” logo for the 2022-23 season; it would indeed return on their Reverse Retro sweater in October. Dropping down to the minor leagues, the ECHL’s Iowa Heartlanders announced a new third uniform featuring a pink wild prairie rose crest.
On the gridiron, the new new XFL released their league logo ahead of the 2023 season, and a week later, they were faced with a lawsuit because of it. The NFL’s San Francisco 49ers announced throwback uniforms in 2022.
Elsewhere, the USL W League’s expansion side Minnesota Aurora revealed their kits, the NBA brought back their ’90s style NBA Finals logo for 2022, QR Codes replaced player numbers on UCF Knights Spring Game uniforms, and the National Lacrosse League welcomed the Vegas Desert Dogs, owned by Wayne Gretzky, Steve Nash, and Dustin Johnson.
Over in the NBA, May saw the San Antonio Spurs release a new slate of alternate logos, including a few “SATX” designs. The league itself re-designed their championship trophy and other major playoff awards. Finishing up basketball, I looked back at the history of the WNBA’s All-Star Game logo.
In baseball, the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants announced they’d wear Pride-Themed caps and logo patches for select games in 2022. The Tampa Bay Rays wore a green ribbon throughout the month for Mental Health Awareness following the suicide of one of their own, and the City Connect series continued with the Colorado Rockies’ new green license plate-inspired set.
An auction rocked the soccer world when Diego Maradona’s “Hand of God” Argentina jersey from the 1986 World Cup quarterfinals sold for £7 million! Major League Soccer’s CF Montreal scrapped their logo after just one season; they’d introduce their new look for 2023 three weeks later. The NWSL’s Kansas City Current and Racing Louisville released new kits for their opening matches.
Finally, in the NCAA world, the Akron Zips released their new set of athletic logos.
In the NBA, two teams revealed simplified and frankly disappointing rebrands, with the Cleveland Cavaliers starting things off by bringing back gold with their new logos and uniforms; and then the Utah Jazz following up two weeks later in black and yellow.
Two more City Connect sets were released in baseball. First, the Los Angeles Angels hit the waves for their vintage surfing-inspired uniforms and then the Milwaukee Brewers went powder blue with a “Brew Crew” design. Away from City Connect, the Toronto Blue Jays’ original USA-flag heavy “Stars and Stripes” cap design got a slight makeover before ever seeing any game action. And black and gold mesh-backed caps for the All-Star Game in Los Angeles were first revealed.
In hockey, the 2023 NHL All-Star Game logo was revealed, set to be played in South Florida in February. And during the Stanley Cup Final, I looked at the sock designs of the finalists for every Stanley Cup Final from 1918 through 2022.
The last City Connect uniform of the 2022 season is released as the San Diego Padres celebrate the relationship between their hometown and Tijuana, Mexico. Major League Baseball continued with the gold-infused jersey designs its All-Stars would wear at the Mid-Summer Classic, and then the logo for its 2023 All-Star Game, to be played in Seattle. Finishing up baseball, we got out first look at the Tampa Bay Rays’ commemorative 25th anniversary logo for 2023.
In hockey, the Edmonton Oilers reverted to their classic colour scheme, dropping their orange home uniform in the process. Adidas and the NHL announced they’d be parting ways following the 2024 season.
Alternate helmets from around the NFL are released in rapid succession: the Houston Texans in red, Cincinnati Bengals in white, Carolina Panthers in black, New York Giants throwbacks, Dallas Cowboys white throwback, New York Jets black, Philadelphia Eagles black, Chicago Bears orange, and Arizona Cardinals black are all unveiled within a few days in mid-July.
In basketball, two new uniforms are released as the San Antonio Spurs announce a new alternate “SATX” Statement uniform, and the Detroit Pistons bring back their 1990s teal uniforms.
In college, the Brown Bears released their new logo set.
A busy month in the NBA gives us the Golden State Warriors new “Statement” uniform, the Milwaukee Bucks new black uniform and purple throwbacks; the Washington Wizards celebrate the 25th anniversary of their switch from the Bullets name with 1997 throwback uniforms; the Houston Rockets throw it back to the green and gold unis of the San Diego Rockets. League-wide, Bill Russell’s number 6 was retired, and it was announced all teams would wear a number 6 patch on the front of their jerseys in memory of the eleven-time NBA Champion.
On the ice, a brand new AHL team for 2022-23, the Calgary Wranglers, revealed their name and logo; the Carolina Hurricanes switched to black as their primary home uniform colour, and the Buffalo Sabres made that January leak official, announcing “Goathead” will return in the fall. Finally, we got our first look at the 2022-23 NHL Reverse Retro program as several designs leaked via a series of t-shirts.
In baseball, Vin Scully was remembered by the Dodgers with a memorial jersey sleeve patch, and the Cincinnati Reds and Chicago Cubs turned the clock back over 100 years for their Field of Dreams Game uniforms.
More new looks announced in the NBA include (but aren’t limited to), the Miami Heat 35th anniversary jersey, Detroit Pistons “DET” alternate, the Minnesota Timberwolves “Wolfpack” black set, and the Phoenix Suns “PHX” black design.
In the NHL, the San Jose Sharks released a new teal-heavy uniform set. What many consider sacrilege, the Montreal Canadiens add an advertisement to their classic red, blue, and white home sweaters — it doesn’t take long for two other Original Six clubs, the Maple Leafs and the Bruins, to follow.
Finishing up with football, the Calgary Stampeders announced a new black alternate uniform, Brownie the Elf got painted at mid-field in Cleveland following the results of a fan vote, and the NFL permitted players and coaches to honour their heritage with flag decals on helmets.
The NHL and Adidas released all 32 editions of their second Reverse Retro campaign — tributes to the old California Golden Seals and Colorado Rockies were among the highlights. Calgary’s popular “Blasty” logo returned on a new black Flames third uniform.
More around the NBA: Damian Lillard was heavily involved in the design of the new red Portland Trail Blazers uniform, the New York Knicks went back to black for their new Statement design, and the Boston Celtics remember Bill Russell with their new City Edition uniform, Russell was involved in the design of the jersey prior to his passing.
In baseball, Minor League Baseball and Marvel teamed up for a series of 96 new superhero-themed team logos. After a one-year disappearance, World Series patches returned to the jersey sleeves of the pennant-winning teams. With the Phillies earning a spot in the Fall Classic, I took a detailed look back at their logo history. A few days later, I did the same for the AL Champion Houston Astros
The biggest news of baseball’s uniform year came as the Minnesota Twins released their brand new logo and uniform set featuring a simplified but cohesive version of some of their historical looks. The Arizona Diamondbacks will celebrate their 25th anniversary in 2023 with a special jersey patch. Another MLB jersey ad deal was announced when the Boston Red Sox revealed they’ll wear MassMutual sleeve patches in 2023. In the Minors, a slightly new look was released for the International League’s Charlotte Knights, and the Grand Junction Rockies changed their name to the Jackalopes.
In football, the XFL’s return was made a little more official with the reveal of the team names and logos for the 2023 campaign. The NFL paid tribute to legendary coach and broadcaster John Madden with a series of on-field Thanksgiving tributes.
The NHL’s Buffalo Sabres’ drawn-out return to the “Goathead” finally reached its peak with the unveiling of the uniform. The Boston Bruins and Pittsburgh Penguins revealed their historic-inspired uniforms for the 2023 Winter Classic outdoor game at Fenway Park. The Toronto Maple Leafs remembered the life of hall of fame defenceman Borje Salming with a striking memorial patch worn on their shoulders but disappointed many when it was revealed they’d only be worn for three games.
Soccer took centre stage across the entire globe when the 2022 FIFA Men’s World Cup got underway in Qatar; we followed along with a match-by-match kit tracker throughout the entire tournament. Elsewhere in soccer, Major League Soccer’s Seattle Sounders confirmed they’ll undergo a brand evolution for their 50th anniversary season; Aston Villa released a new team logo following a fan vote; and the Man City women’s club shelved their white shorts due to period concerns.
Argentina bested France in the FIFA Men’s World Cup Final; they celebrated by adding a third star to their jersey crest.
White facemasks returned for a single game for the Cleveland Browns; the team then created quite a stir when they announced they might go back to them full-time. The Pittsburgh Steelers celebrated the 50th anniversary of Franco Harris’ “Immaculate Reception” by wearing throwback jerseys and a commemorative patch. The Denver Broncos and Los Angeles Rams pranked their players by showing them the Ugly Christmas Sweater style uniforms they would (NOT) be wearing for their December 25th contest against one another. XFL clubs unveiled the uniforms they’ll be wearing should the league actually get underway in 2023.
In “That Didn’t Last Long” news, the Utah Jazz are already considering new uniforms. Another new set of NBA awards are released as the league completely made over and re-named the hardware given out for regular season honours. Finally, the logo for the 2024 NCAA Men’s Final Four to be held in Phoenix was released.
And that was that.
Before we depart for the year, I’d like you all to know my 2022 plans for SportsLogos.Net were much grander than what was realized. This was the 25th anniversary year of SportsLogos.Net; we were going to do some big things, add new features to the site, and exciting new partnerships were being discussed, all of which were to be in celebration of this quarter-century milestone. Due to some personal struggles, none of these ever materialized, but I truly appreciate and thank you for your understanding and continued support over the last year.
Here’s to a step forward for all of us in 2023.
So, what were your favourite and least favourite sports uniform moments of 2022? Did you like the NFL’s alternate helmet program? What about the return of Reverse Retro in the NHL? How do you feel about jersey ads on baseball uniforms? Let me know in the comments! If we get enough, I might feature some in a future post.