Imagine all the years of up downs in sticker fields, busted purple chins from blindsiding pulling guards, plastic trash can puking, 600 pound squat maxes, and all the sacks, catches, touchdowns, or passes it took to build up to this moment. Walking across the stage. Greeting the commissioner. Smiling and waving. He hands you a hat. You oblige. You put it on. And it looks like this.
For a brief second, you wish you had just played video games instead. It’s amazing what millions of dollars can do to one’s attitude.
The NFL released their hats for the 2019 NFL Draft. The hats are bad, folks. To celebrate, Uprooted Texan and I ranked them, combined the scores, wrote about how we felt, and then we ranked them again. The rules are simple. The score is the combined placement. The hats are ranked lowest to highest. The tiebreaker went to the hat with the highest individual score. Hold onto your guts and tighten those cheeks. It’s about to get gross.
1.) Arizona Cardinals (3)
UT: Oddly enough, this might be my favorite hat on the list. It incorporates the Arizona state flag nicely without being too weirdly hideous. (1)
MW: The big Monster Energy sunset is all over Arizona. Hats, license plates, stickers, National Park memorabilia. You name it. It’s on it. At least it invokes something. It reminds me of all that time, that Grand Canyon, puking and sweating, and surrealism. I also love the placement of the Cardinal. It evolves from a terrible nickname and pesky backyard creature into some great firebird, a mythological god, that should be inscribed into rock with other rocks by some ancient peoples. (2)
2.) Tampa Bay (4)
UT: Busy as hell, but I don’t hate it for some reason. It seems to keep all the noise on the brim where I can easily ignore it if I want. (3)
MW: I’ve spent the offseason slowly becoming a Bucs fan. I love deep passing games. Bruce Arians is the captain bringing the party down to the Hawaiian shirt and cigar smoke bay. Mike Evans wins the Jackpot Pro Bowl competition every year. Chris Godwin is a hilariously sized slot receiver. The tight end combination is awesome.
Oh yeah, the hat. The hat is kind of like something a pirate would wear. ARRRRRR! I like it! (1)
3.) Washington (14)
UT: I’ve seen worse hats. It could be a lot worse than it is and they do an okay job of incorporating the DC flag in it. (9)
MW: No matter what, I’ll always love the maroon and yellow combination. (5)
4.) Houston (15)
UT: I wasn’t going to go homer here, but the more I look at it, the more I think it’s not a terrible looking hat. You get the impression of the Texas flag without having it stare you in the face, like some other hats I could mention—like Dallas. (4)
MW: Yo dawg, I heard you like Texas, so I put some Texas in your Texans hat. (11)
5.) Denver (16)
UT: It’s fitting the Broncos logo is in the valley between two mountains because it represents Elway’s success with finding quarterback talent not named Peyton Manning. (12)
MW: The convergence of continental plates. There was a lot of that in Colorado, and there are now the remnants of it. In hat form. (4).
6.) Dallas (18)
UT: Incorrect state flag used. That is not the Oklahoma state flag. New Era should be ashamed. And even if they were going with the Texas flag, which is wrong and they should have charges brought against them for it, this is way too literal an interpretation for me. (6)
MW: Thousands of people are going to buy this hat. Texans love the Texas flag. They love to wear it on everything. TEXAS. TEXAS. TEXAS. I can’t wait to giggle at all these awful hats when I go watch hellscape outside baseball in Arlington and savor the end of our beautiful ballpark. (12)
7.) San Francisco (21)
UT: I’ve seen worse. It’s clean, and it works. I kind of like the star in the corner for the state flag. (2)
MW: When scientists bring back the extinct animals, they should leave the dinosaurs, the carrier pigeons, and the great ground sloths alone in their infinite slumber. They should bring back the golden bear instead. Let it free. Give them a chance for revenge. Maybe California will be livable once again. (19)
8.) New Orleans (22)
UT: I like it because it’s simple, but I give it points off because it doesn’t seem particularly special. Like someone just C&P’d the fleur de lis a couple of times and made them smaller. (7)
MW: The Dugtrio of hats. They should have put four of these little fellas on there instead. 1. 2. 4. 8. 16. 32. 64. 128. 256. Mitosis. I wanted another excuse to watch Annihilation again. (15)
9.) Pittsburgh (25)
UT: I thought the checkerboard design was to signify the end of the Steelers as a relevant team now that they’ve lost Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown this offseason. (11)
MW: You’ve got a fast car. I wanna ticket to anywhere. Maybe we can make a deal. Maybe together we can be somewhere.
Oh, no. I’m crying again. These are going to be hilarious when these hats are paired with the bumbling buzzing bee jerseys. (14)
10.) Philadelphia (27)
UT: I take it back. Forget the Vikings’ hat. This one feels like it should be worn by a future rear admiral. Also, putting “Let Brotherly Love Endure” on anything Eagles related is like putting marshmallow Peeps on a pizza. You COULD do it. The two things are completely incompatible with one another, but you could do it. (10)
MW: This isn’t a hat. It’s a tattoo. (17)
11.) Baltimore (29)
UT: You know, I kind of wanted a garish, ugly as sin Ravens logo because of the Maryland state flag. And while you can kind of see it, it’s not the wild mix that I was hoping for. I’m not mad, New Era, I’m just...disappointed. (5)
MW: Someone fell asleep making this and they never hit the rumble strip. (24)
12.) Miami (30)
UT: Two halves of a palm tree and that’s it, huh? I...I guess that’s a design, or something. Yawn. (22)
MW: It’s the best the Aquafresh toothpaste squirt dolphin has looked. They should have done all the hats like this one and Arizona’s. Stick the team logo into some backdrop that matches. This hat pairs perfectly with a pair of Corona flip-flops straight from your local Target. (8)
13.) Cincinnati (31)
UT: The three wavy lines represents both the number of dollars Mike Brown spends on his team and the effects of Skyline chili on a person’s digestive system. Also, Skyline chili tastes like suicide. (18)
MW: Ah. Yes. Cubism. It’s not about what you see, but how it makes you feel. I feel nausea. I taste spaghetti chili on stuffy, long car drives, and this is coming from someone who likes the spaghetti chili. (13)
14.) New England (33)
UT: This might be the most boring one yet. I feel like Bill Belichick is responsible for it. Like I imagine the original design was some drunk cartoon Southie screaming about disrespect, but Belichick said no and after 80 revisions this was the one he was okay with. (26)
MW: It used to be so, so, so, so much worse. (7)
15.) Buffalo (34)
MW: Boom! POW. Kaboom. HI-YA, AMERICA. (6)
16.) Oakland (34)
UT: Why the American flag? I mean, I get it’s hard to do any local thing for a team stuck between Vegas and Oakland, but this doesn’t work for me. Maybe if they’d designed the hat to look like a hobo’s bindle that would be more in keeping with the Raiders’ true essence. (13)
MW: It sucks the Raiders are moving from Oakland. Last year’s Raiders-Steelers game was one of the best games of the season. The crowd was drunk and ridiculous. It was like if Purgatory was a costume party. Haze hung over the entire stadium. Ben Roethlisberger couldn’t find the x-ray machine. The Steelers lost when their kicker slipped, and they kind of missed the playoffs because of it.
The Raiders are stuck in Oakland for another year and are slowly tearing the parasites off their scalp. They are now a nationalist organization, begging for all of America to give them money. Cowards. Put an oak tree on the hat, or just rip the ticks off and stick some dice and cards on it. (31)
17.) New York Jets (34)
Hate to say it but the new Jets logo is pretty clean pic.twitter.com/FQYDkXlWEk— Pete Blackburn (@PeteBlackburn) April 2, 2019
UT: Pretty much the same as the Giants, except for the fire sale. (14)
MW: No one can run from the shame. I swear I’ve seen this hat at the flea market before in between a Battle Red Jamie Sharper jersey for $20 and a Blackhawks jersey with no name on the back. (20)
18.) Cleveland (36)
UT: The Browns’ helmet takes the place of the O, huh? I didn’t realize New Era was so petty that they’d bring up the Browns unwinfeated season like that. That’s cold. (8)
MW: Let me play Gerald Murnane real fast. In first grade, my teacher put a square of stars in organized columns on the upper right hand corner of our desks. Each column was a different color. When you did something good, she would hole punch out a star. You received a prize after all the stars were knocked out. I selected a Cincinnati Reds mini helmet after pissing the empty room carpet in indecision.
That’s this hat. (28)
19.) Kansas City (36)
UT: When your city has nothing more going for it than fountains, this is the kind of hat you get. You’ll note they decline to put any KC barbecue on their hat, probably as a tacit admission of “Yeah, we know it sucks, too.” (27)
MW: I want a lower back tattoo. I want it to hurt really bad. That’s how I know. I know it’s real. A real tattoo. (9)
20.) New York Giants (36)
UT: Meh, I guess it’s okay. Although the ring around the hat looks a lot like a victory laurel which, given the Giants’ fire sale of an off-season, feels downright comical. (15)
Replace the New York City flag’s orange with Giants, reinstall that distinct ring around the seal, and you get this hat. The Giants logo replaces the Native American and colonists “working” together in “unity” at the center of the flag.
I mean, I guess so. (21)
21.) Tennessee (36)
UT: Thanks, I hate it. It’s boring, this might be the most boring one of the lot. Of course I don’t expect much imagination from a team based on incestuous child- eating mythological figures. (20)
MW: The NFL Draft is in Nashville this year. Man, they really pulled out all the stops on this one. Mediocrity breeds mediocrity. (16)
22.) Seattle (37)
UT: I’ve lived in Seattle for almost 15 years now and until today I’d never seen the Seattle city flag. There’s really not a whole lot to work with. So it makes sense, even if the 12th Man thing has gotten really tedious over the years (because it is EVERYWHERE). The only thing I’d change is to make it that gaudy lime green just to really make it stand out. (17)
MW: College Station is composed of animals, maroon, children, conservative professors, and a sea of chain restaurants. I’m sure if you went to school there, you’d love it, but as an outsider, I believe that Texas A&M is lame. I’ve always hated copycats, and copying the lame is the lamest thing of all. The Seahawks should have made one of those cool guy early 20s National Park type hats with Mount Ranier and the hawk on it instead. (30)
23.) Jacksonville (41)
UT: They stoke this design off of the upholstery of a chair from a McMansion owned by someone who has more money than taste, which seems to sum up Jacksonville pretty nicely...except for the having money part. Baltimore could’ve learned something from this. (31)
MW: HEY. JACKSONVILLE. ED HARDY CALLED. HE WANTS HIS HAT BACK. (10)
24.) Indianapolis (41)
UT: The reason Indianapolis is “The Crossroads of America” is because everyone who ends up in Indy is looking to get out as quickly as possible. As for the hat itself, it’s a St. David’s cross away from making a full-on Union Jack. (19)
MW: A hundred million plus in cap space only to spend it on one-year contracts and retaining one’s own talent. The blandest franchise in sport stays bland. This is a blue and white hospital glamorizing a roundabout. (22)
25.) Minnesota (42)
UT: I dunno, seeing all those stars on the brim makes me think someone’s trying to pretend to be a rear admiral or something. Feels kind of like stolen valor, you know? (16)
MW: See Cleveland. (26)
26.) Los Angeles Rams (42)
UT: Lazy! The same design for both hats (LAC/LARM). I guess they’ll assume nobody will notice just like nobody in LA noticed the Rams were in the Super Bowl. Also, let’s put the Chargers back in San Diego; at least then they might get a unique hat. (24)
MW: This is an iron-on pattern you stick to the back of a jean jacket. Three glasses of wine in, and I feel like bedazzling. (18)
27.) Los Angeles Chargers (44)
UT: See Los Angeles Rams, (23)
MW: Some people are scarred from something mundane. A smashed elbow after someone jumped on their back, a missing toe from a dropped pickle jar, poisoned skin from a car battery. The Chargers got this after their glove was caught in a saw. Just say it was from a shark bite. No one can fact check you. (21)
28.) Green Bay (48)
UT: HOW DO YOU NOT GO WITH CHEESE HERE?! It’s a Green Bay hat! Make it yellow with black spots for holes, and you’re done. Why am I doing your job for you, New Era? (25)
MW: I’ve seen this hat at Hot Topic next to the Cookie Monster and Elmo hats where the puppets’ eyes are on the front, its mouth is on the bill, and it’s colored the same as their fuzzy skin. I suppose the hat does kind of look like cheese in the microwave if you look at it hard enough. (23)
29.) Chicago (50)
UT: They based this on the Chicago city flag, but you’d never know it unless the wearer was looking somewhere other than at you. Otherwise, I’d never know this was supposed to be some kind of fancy hat. (21)
MW: Every gym in America has someone with these same stars etched below their collarbone. (29)
30.) Atlanta (57)
UT: Um...okay New Era guy, let’s dial it back for a minute. This is the hat y’all designed. Looks okay. Based on the Georgia flag, you say? Okay, let’s take a look at that.
Fine, it looks like the Georgia flag. Still, this looks kinda familiar.
Oh, wait, here’s why.
This is the first design of the Confederate flag. ”That would have been tough to work around in 2019.” You think? The only way this could be more of a Confederate design is if there were a burning cross where the Falcons logo is. This took me all of two minutes to research on Google, New Era. (32)
MW: Geez. Uh, I just didn’t like the stars. It made me feel nothing. I was an existentialist 17 year old staying at the bottom of the swimming pool for too long. (25)
31.) Detroit (57)
UT: Forget GM closing all the plants. This flag is why people are leaving Detroit. It’s too busy and I feel like I’m a half step away from having a seizure looking at it. (30)
MW: Bawitdaba da bang da bang diggy diggy diggy! Kid Rock looooves this hat. (27)
32.) Carolina (61)
UT: Pick a Carolina. It’s not the Carolinas Panthers. We all know you’re North Carolina’s team. If South Carolina wants a football team, they should do what Tennessee did: steal one. Or just merge into one state. As for the hat itself, it’s just too busy and feels rushed; as if they needed a design and couldn’t come up with one they liked so they just jammed in as much as they could at the last second. (29)
MW: If the Panthers draft me, I’m putting this hat under my shoulder before I shake Roger Goodell’s and get to waving and smiling. This is horrendous, obscene, and awful. I’m delirious.