Stupid/Ugly/Inexplicable Buffalo Bills shirts


By Justin Rybinski
2/3/04


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By writing this article, I am assuming the reader is aware of these two things: 1) The Buffalo Bills are a professional football team based in sunny Buffalo, NY and 2) The Buffalo Bills won a shitload of games in the early '90s, but not any of the four Super Bowls they went to. With that massive revelation out of the way, let's talk Bills shirts. With the team being so good, every halfwit football fan living in Buffalo wanted to show their team pride by wearing it on their size 56 chest. Not everyone could afford or cared for the officially licensed team merchandise, so there were approximately three fucking huge assloads of bootleg Bills shirts created from 1989-1994. Not to mention all of the hideous, yet somehow authentic, shirts that leaked into public consumption.

Thanks to the magic of thrift stores and their tendency to mark down certain items of clothing to 25 cents, I have quite a collection of these disgusting shirts. I've always dreamt of taking pictures of them and posting them on the internet for all to see. Tonight, this illustrious dream becomes realized.

Let's start with a shirt featuring a likeness of the Thurmanator, Thurman Thomas. Everyone loves shirts with stats on them! Now you can settle those bar-room disputes over how many carries Thomas had in 1989 by a simple lift of the sweater. Oh, and judging by this picture, Thurman is a horse of some kind.

I don't understand the next shirt. It says "Next feeding frenzy" and the helmet-shark hybrid is eating a piece of paper that says 1989-1990 Seasonal Attack." What the hell is that supposed to mean? I guess people had different ideas of what was acceptable clothing in 1989.

Oh lord. This is probably the most recognizable shirt here today, as I think every Amherst soccer mom wore this to Rich Stadium in the early '90s. This of course, is a direct parody of the fucking appalling "You've got the right stuff baby, uh huh!" Ray Charles Diet Pepsi ads of that same era. Right stuff or right one? Who knows/cares? Reich was a pretty good quarterback, but off the field, he morphed into an obnoxious Jesus-freak who eschewed easy women and drugs. I thought that was why football existed in the first place--to have those things handed to you on a platter. Regardless, Reich was embraced by the community, apparently enough so that shirts like this were allowed to be created.

Let's stay with Reich for a couple shirts. Remember those insipid Looney Tunes shirts with Bugs Bunny and two other cartoon characters dressed in Afro-centric baggy clothes and backwards "Cross Colours" hats? That's what comes to mind when I see this shirt. That's Cornelious Bennett with the wife-beater and carrying a basketball from the '40s, Bruce Smith with the excessively greased up face and lazy eye, Reich wearing his big brother's hand-me-down sweatsuit and two-sizes too big Kangaroo sneakers, and Thurman with starving African child legs and knee-high Weezer-style colored socks. If you're lucky enough to see the back of the shirt, you get to see some high-quality professional football player ass shots. I like how Reich isn't cool enough to wear his hat backward. And why the hell is he in the shot anyway? I don't think Biscuit and Bruce would hang out with Godboy while clubbin'.

Don't forget that these four guys are "back like that." Back like what? I fucking hated that phrase a decade ago--cool like that. Wow, did the early '90s blow.

This next shirt proudly exclaims that it's Officially Licensed by the NFL Players' Association. Too bad that's all the licensing they got, because they couldn't use the word "Bills" on this shirt legally. For some reason, whoever made this shirt called this the "Collector's Edition," which I don't think stuck with the buyers of the shirt, since I see about 40 of them a week in thrift stores. They also couldn't say "Super Bowl" so they stuck with the word Showdown instead, which sounds a lot more retarded. If you're not going to get an NFL license, why not make the shirt 100% bootleg? Say "Bills," say "Super Bowl," say whatever the fuck you want. You're already breaking the law by producing and selling NFL merchandise, so you might as well make a shirt that doesn't suck.

And boy, does this shirt suck. The players look like they're wearing UB uniforms, Duke at best. Not to mention that every player's head was cut and pasted onto a generic football player's body, so it looks goofy as hell. Click on the photo to enlarge it in a new window. Awww...look at James Lofton's cute li'l head! Look at Shane Conlon's (front row center) left arm (our right). Please tell me you see a hand sticking out of his elbow, because I certainly see it and I need to make sure I'm not completely batshit nuts. Am I missing something or is there a serious problem there? (UPDATE: I realized this optical illusion is created by Thuman Thomas' foot. It still looks strange, even when I know it's a foot.) Oh, and they spelled Darryl Talley's name wrong. I'm sure he was pleased about that.

It gets worse. If a licensed shirt can be that ugly, a bootleg shirt must be 10,000 times worse. And it is. No kidding. Same idea--we're back. But this time, "let's piss 'em off." Look. And click for a close up. I insist.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

It's essentially the same shirt as above, but replace Reich with Hall of Fame QB Jim Kelly. Unfortunately, the "artist" who drew this shirt must have mixed up Bennett, Smith, Thomas and Kelly with a couple of crack addicts on Jefferson Ave. Kelly looks more like a hobbit doing an Eminem impression. I really dig the stonewash jeans and the mesh hats. I really do. AND WHY ARE THEIR FEET SO BIG? Are they trying to be that happy guy from the Levitra ad? Nice bowling shoes, guys. Way to go.

Let's move on to shirts where we don't have to look at people. At least for a little while.

This shirt was presumably only sold in London for the Bills-Eagles preseason game there in '91. So what moron fan would travel all that way, buy a shirt and then donate it?

If football stats on a shirt isn't cool enough for you, then a newspaper front page must be. Click the pic for what I think is the real story of the day.

Don Beebe was a pretty decent (if not fragile) receiver for the Bills for most of their successful years. When he retired, he set up a training camp meant to make slow kids fast(er) in Buffalo. Certainly not a bad idea, since there's a lot of chunky fatass children running around, but he had to spoil it. Click on the shirt to see what I mean.

While not as lame as bible notations, the back of the shirt is pretty idiotic. "Special People Expressing Extra Determination"? Yeesh, that's pushing the limits of coherence. How does one express Extra determination? Is that even possible? I think Beebe's House of Speed is a funnier concept if you think of the drug instead of the running ability.

Above is the ugliest Bills shirt I've ever seen. Wait, it's the ugliest shirt of any kind I've ever seen. I'd say stop reading now, because the article has peaked, but shirts get plenty more nonsensical coming up. You can't tell from this photo, but this shirt is HUGE. It's a XXL but looks more like something you'd force a trained bear to wear. Can you imagine some 300-pound oaf oozing down the street with this shirt on? With a pizza in one hand and a porno mag in the other? That's 90% of Buffalo guys, ladies, so don't all rush to this lovely city at once now. Producers of this shirt stole the font from Tecmo Bowl, which is an unforgivable sin.

What? Bury the Bear? Not bearS? Why are we only burying one of them? That doesn't make any sense. Are they a one-man team or something? I never knew the plural of bear was bear. Anyway, you'd think there would be a pretty intense rivalry between the Bills and the Chicago Bears to warrant such an obviously bootleg tshirt to exist. Sadly, no, the teams play each once every decade or so. The Bills won this game in 1991, 35-20, in front of 80,366 fans, of which a healthy 25% or so were nattily attired in this shirt.

While there was no rivalry with the Bears, there certainly exists one between Buffalo and the Miami Dolphins. It all started in the '70s, when Miami bitchsmacked Buffalo for an entire decade (20 straight wins). Finally, almost 20 years later, the Bills became good enough to win against the Dolphins most of the time. This rivalry led the way to truckloads of bootleg anti-Miami tshirts.

The Bills won this game, no thanks to this ugly, obviously homemade shirt. I'd bet $500 the previous owner of this shirt was a sweaty old guy with an excessively hairy back.

This handsome little shirt features ex-Dolphin linebacker Bryan Cox. Known around the league as a bit of a cock (Cox Sucker = Cocksucker...Get it?!?! HAHAHAHAHA Hilarious!), Cox was hated in all non-Miami cities, especially Buffalo. Fans would throw beer and trash at him, and he'd respond with flipping them off and spitting in their general direction. It was a wonderful relationship, and it was all documented on this fine piece of clothing. Why is there an apostrophe in the word "Da'" here? Is da' short for some other, more eloquent word? I always thought it was a lazier way of saying "the."

Eventually heroes die, however, and Cox was traded to the Bears. Or he wasn't re-signed. Either way, he was sent elsewhere, along with Hall of Fame coach Don Shula. Miami's new coach was colossal waste of life Jimmy Johnson. This irresistible shirt says what I just said in picture form, except they decided to use a third-grade potty joke. Well done, Bills fans. I'm proud to be one of you. Why is the buffalo thinking this in a Garfield-esque thought bubble? Is Miami losing Bryan Cox a little too real for tshirt-makers? I guess so.

Another classy Bills shirt to add to the mix is this disaster. Whenever I see this shirt and read the "Yes We Are!" I think of a creepy old lady talking to her little ugly dog. "Are we the cutest little doggy in the whole wide world? Yes we are! Yes we are!" Buffalo was starting to develop a serious complex about going to all these Super Bowls and losing, because the shirts became more and more defensive and angry as time went on.

Unmatched in its sophistication, this shirt reigns supreme over the mighty land of shitty bootleg Bills shirts. Only the most articulate of minds could have envisioned writing "piss 'em" in letters made of piss. I'm sure a team of Yale professors argued long into the night about the buffalo taking a leak into a urinal for all to see. Indeed, I am a lucky boy to contain sole ownership of such a wonderful, thought-provoking article of clothing.

Normally, on any other list, this shirt would be Number One. However, this is only the second worst shirt on this webpage. What is about to come is such a ridiculous shirt, having it NOT be #1 would be an insult to all things football (and humanity). Jesus Christ, just look at this monstrosity. It's a SILK SCREENED off-white tshirt with SCOTT NORWOOD kicking a Washington Redskin PLAYER through the goalposts! And it says KICK BUTT! and SUPER BOWL 26 CHAMPIONS in large letters! Holy shit! I have actually tried wearing this shirt in public, but it's just way too goddamn small. I just can't cram my body into this without damaging it forever. If someone in the area wants to actually wear this around, I'll allow it, as long as you agree to receive the beating you'll get from townsfolk and me photographing the scene instead of coming to your aid. How can a shirt be better than this? How??

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How about an NFL-approved Super Bowl Champions shirt?

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Yah, that'll do...

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No, I don't believe they won this game.

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