Anyone that knows me knows that I have an obsession. Some people are sneakerheads and others collect weird things like stamps. I am hat head? Cap head? I like hats is what I’m trying to say. The kids these days say “no cap.” I say “yes cap.” Pride Of Detroit has allowed me to use this useless obsession of mine to start talking hats here on the site.
With the NFL Draft fast approaching, I’ve decided to start all the hat talk off by ranking the top 10 Detroit Lions draft hats of the last ten years. But first, let’s talk a little about the history of draft hats.
To do that, we need to talk about the draft itself. The NFL Draft that we know today wasn’t always like this. There wasn’t always pomp and circumstance at a fancy building with TV cameras everywhere. The draft used to be a bunch of guys in a hotel conference room sitting at tables with team names on them. The players weren’t even there. Check out this video of the 1983 draft. It looks more like a trading floor on Wall Street than what we see today.
As the 90s approached, the draft started to become more of a spectacle and players began attending the draft. With that came the tradition of the player posing with the NFL commissioner holding a team jersey wearing a hat. I have been obsessed with critiquing those hats ever since.
With all that out of the way, let’s jump into our countdown.
What the hell were they thinking? On the 100th anniversary of the NFL, the league and New Era had a chance to do something really cool. They could have done a throwback style with the teams original logos, or they could have taken a chance and did something old school looking with the current logos on it. Instead they did this weird American flag thing and it just looks as ugly as possible. It was very easy to have this come in at number 10 on this list. In fact, I don’t know if the league could ever top this.
I don’t know what New Era was thinking when they dropped these universally-hated draft hats with team slogans on them. The only thing they got right here is the heather grey. The giant letters in blue piping is just hard to look at. Plus, it overshadows the team logo and it makes the slogan seem more important than the team. Now if they would have replaced the slogan with a bigger logo of the team and put “One Pride” on the back, we might have had ourselves a decent look here. instead we’re stuck with this hat that everyone wants to forget.
New Era almost nailed a nice crisp and clean look here in 2014. Unfortunately they went through this weird period where they couldn’t just leave the bill alone. Some of them worked out, but this one didn’t. They chose to put the team name on the bill in several different sizes, and it just really takes away from what they could have done. The hat would have been great without it. Even if they decided to do dark grey bill and leave it blank, it would have been worth a buy. Like this it’s not.
I’m down with the 2016 metallic look of the 2016 hats. There’s a two tone type of deal there with the bottom paws and it gives the hat a cool look. Again, the issue here is with the bill. Not so much the top of the bill, but the bottom of the bill.
I won’t lie. This looks pretty cool. The problem is that nobody can see it when you wear the hat. It’s a great hat to display, but I like to wear these things. I feel like New Era missed out on a chance to do something wild here. What if the whole hat looked like the bill? I could get behind something like that.
Oh, Reebok. This was the last year the NFL partnered with the brand. I like this look. I mentioned how the Lions logo popped against white, I think it pops more against black. This hat makes me wish the old black alternate jerseys would come back. But that’s a story for a different article. There’s not a whole lot going on here besides the blue piping and the white under the bill, but it works. I like it.
This works for me. I know I said I wasn’t totally in on the bill being too much, but I’m in on this one. New Era brought back the metallic look from the previous year and put it on an eggshell white hat. It looks even shinier than it looked before. It looks like a real piece of metal is sitting on the hat.
Then there’s the bill. I love the decision to over enlarge the logo here. The only real knock on this hat is that the bill, while it looks cool, it’s a weird pleather-like material that I’d be afraid to ruin. Plus, if it wasn’t hard enough to wash a hat, this material makes it harder.
The 2012 hat takes the idea the 2018 hat had and did it right. Or did the 2018 hat take the 2012 idea and do it wrong? I digress.
New Era chose to go full color here and hide the team logo behind big embossed letters of the team’s city. It’s a cool look that isn’t doing too much. The only knock here is that the they could have embossed the logo a little bit too. If you look at it really fast, it just looks like you’re wearing a hat that just says Detroit on it.
I love this hat. There’s a reason for that love. It reminds me of the 90s and being a kid. There’s a real Starter jacket feel to this hat. It looks like something you’d see Luther Ellis wearing as he rolled up to the Silverdome for a game. I like all the choices New Era made here, except I would have loved for the Lions name to be all silver.
The only time that New Era got the metal look completely right. Instead of going full metal on the logo, they did this cool dimple look that reminds me of diamond sheeting. Also I’m a sucker for the light grey. I have several hats with that color in my collection. It just works so well with the Lions’ Honolulu Blue. This hat is a must-have for collectors.
New Era absolutely nailed it with 2020’s draft hat. They went all black and a logo that looks like a neon light. The logo is bordered in white rubber with little pieces of blue rubber on the inside. It’s perfect, if you ask me. I even love the multicolored “Motor City Football” on the right side. New Era restored my faith in their abilities with this hat. It’s just too bad that they may have possibly gone completely backwards in 2021.