The Arena Football League (AFL) announced a complete, new slate of uniforms for its six teams to use throughout the 2019 season in a new partnership with up-and-coming provider Phenom Elite.
The company has a rich history in indoor football having produced uniforms for multiple teams in the IFL, including the Wichita Falls Nighthawks and one-off jerseys for the Iowa Barnstormers.
“Phenom elite has designed exciting uniforms for the AFL that fit perfectly with the league’s fast-paced, exciting, high-scoring games,” AFL Commissioner, Randall Boe, said in a release.
The move featured a little bit of everything.
The Baltimore Brigade and Washington Valor’s uniforms featured little changes, while the Philadelphia Soul saw a complete re-design.
We’re taking the opportunity to feature looks at each uniform set and rank them from 1-6 in advance of the 2019 year, which kicks off April 26.
No. 6 – Philadelphia Soul
Enter now for your chance to win our Home Opener Sweepstakes presented by @IBX!
— Philadelphia Soul (@soulfootball) April 5, 2019
The Philadelphia Soul saw the biggest changes to their uniform set, and they weren’t for the better.
The new look features the iconic Soul logo plastered across the front of the jersey and wrapping around from the left to right side.
It ruins what was a solid look for a championship franchise that now looks like something a little pro team would run onto the field with.
The outline on the numbers took a turn for the worst as well, featuring what an obnoxious, bold outline and an odd, flatter font.
These are a complete miss.
No. 5 – Albany Empire
The 2018 @OfficialAFL Defensive Player of the Year is coming back! ??
— Albany Empire (@Albany_Empire) March 28, 2019
— Phenom® Elite Brand (@PhenomElite) April 8, 2019
The Albany Empire uniforms took a bold shot, much like the Soul’s jerseys did, but I thought it came out better.
I’m not a huge fan of the “Empire” stripe on the pants, and wish – if anything – they would have put that down the side of both pant legs.
The uniform went in a different direction than the basic design from 2018 – which I thought was solid, too – and liked the direction they went.
It’s number five on the list, but I think these are alright, all things considered.
No. 4 – Washington Valor
Locked up our ? down D.
— Washington Valor (@WashingtonValor) April 3, 2019
Fresh threads. pic.twitter.com/c1Jme6Zu1J
— Washington Valor (@WashingtonValor) April 8, 2019
The Washington Valor saw minimal changes to their 2019 uniforms compared to last season, rightfully so. They just won a championship (disregard the 2-10 regular season record), and that’s something to be proud of.
It’d be wrong for me to say that it’s good to build tradition on uniform design that the team is 7-22 when wearing, but I like the lack of adjustments.
The look is clean, the number font is unique, and the colors mesh together well. It’s a pretty solid look.
No. 3 – Baltimore Brigade
— Baltimore Brigade (@BMOREBRIGADE) April 2, 2019
— Baltimore Brigade (@BMOREBRIGADE) April 8, 2019
These Brigade uniforms are dope.
And that speaks a lot for the teams below (or above) Baltimore on this list.
The team is bringing back the helmets for 2019 and added a slick, blue trim to what was already a fantastic number font.
The addition comes in the shoulder stripes that features a blue-and-grey version of the Maryland state flag.
Is it overused? Yes, but the Brigade did a great job with it in this case. I love how these turned out.
No. 2 – Columbus Destroyers
Uniforms = ✔️
— Columbus Destroyers (@AFLDestroyers) April 8, 2019
The top two looks in the league don’t have anything to go off of, since they both belong to expansion teams. I think that makes it all the more impressive.
Columbus selected a black, white, and grey color card that isn’t the easiest thing to work with, but I think their helmets hit the nail on the head.
Matte black looks clean on any football helmet that I’ve ever seen in person. No really, I challenge you to find a matte black lid that missed its mark. You wont find one.
These jerseys are simple, they’re clean, and the striping on both the helmet and shoulders are really original.
Columbus fans got a treat.
No. 1 – Atlantic City Blackjacks
— Atlantic City Blackjacks (@aflblackjacks) April 8, 2019
Atlantic City won me over with quantity. They are the only team to feature three different looks that combine to make nine different combinations.
More of that, please.
The jerseys and pants are solid, but the word marks make the uniform set tie together.
Putting “A.C.” on the white jerseys is fantastic marketing. Before the team has even played a game, they’ve established a brand that is easy to remember and recognizable as well.
Putting that phenomenal logo on a matte black helmet, too? These are a home run.
Overall I thought Phenom Elite did a fantastic job with the uniform set. I know I ripped the Philly jerseys enough, but for the most part this is a really well put together slate of looks.
The presentation and press conference was a hit, as well.
I can’t wait to catch these things in action starting April 26.