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Bracket Challenge: Roma's Best-Ever Kit

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16 challengers and only one can win. You decide.

AS Roma

Roma may not have Italy's most glamorous trophy cabinet, but you can bet your bottom dollar the Giallorossi will be among the best dressed clubs in the league each and every season. From the old days with Adidas and Asics to the Kappa era to their recent partnership with Nike, Roma has always been one of the best looking football clubs on the planet.

As part of SB Nation's Jersey Week, we're going to celebrate as much of Roma's aesthetic history as possible. From reveling in great looks of the past to laughing at some of their more forgettable moments, we're going to run the garment gamut.

To kick things off, we're going turning it over to you. Throughout the week, we're going conduct a bracket challenge to see which is the greatest Roma kit of all-time. Not an easy task for a club as stylish as Roma, but we've selected what we think are 16 of the club’s best looks and are pitting them against one another in a March Madness-style bracket.

We'll progress one round each day and unveil the best shirt in club history on Friday evening. Voting starts today. Right here. Right now. There will also be voting via Twitter polls.

Without further delay, on to the match-ups. Use the image slider to get a side-by-side comparison of the kits.

(1) 2017 Derby ‘SPQR’ Special vs. (16) 2014-2015 Away

Photo by Matteo Ciambelli/NurPhoto via Getty Images

We'll start with the top seeded shirt in this bracket, the derby special from 2017. Worn only once, against Lazio on April 30, 2017 (the fall derby had the same colors but not the marking on the chest), the dark maroon and gold accented kits emblazoned with SPQR were dripping in Roman symbolism. The contrast between the deep maroon and the true gold was jaw dropping, while the nod to the ancient Roman republic put this shirt over the top, so it was no surprise that it won our kit of the decade contest in a landslide.

Pitted against this classic is the understated beauty of the 2014-2015 away shirts. Using the classic sash look—seen across a variety of sports in the early 20th century—Nike knocked it out of the park with their first Roma away shirt. A post-modern version of these would surface in 2019, trading the sash for a bolt of lightning.

Poll

What was the better kit?

This poll is closed

  • 90%
    SPQR Derby Special
    (346 votes)
  • 9%
    2014-2015 Away
    (36 votes)
382 votes total Vote Now

(2) 2001-2002 Two-Toned vs. (15) 1999-2000 Away

Any Roma shirt with the Scudetto badge deserves to be a high seed in this tournament, but when you set it on such a stunning two-toned shirt, it looks even better. Throw in the dark blue shorts and you have a classic, classic look.

On the flip side we have an interesting look from Diadora, who kitted out Roma with a crisp white away shirt with an almost satin-like sheen. Pair it up with those beautiful black shorts and you have one of the sneakiest best away looks of the past few decades.

Poll

What was the better kit?

This poll is closed

  • 87%
    2001-2001 Two-Toned
    (329 votes)
  • 12%
    1999-2000 Satin Whites
    (45 votes)
374 votes total Vote Now

(3) 1978-1979 Home vs. (14) 2012-2013 Home

AS Roma and Photo by Paolo Bruno/Getty Images

Don't quote us on this exactly, but the '79-’80 home shirt may have been the first shirt sold to fans...and, man, what a debut it was. It doesn't get much sharper than that shirt. No frills, no extraneous bull-shit, just straight Roman red and yellow with the lupetto standing gloriously alone over the heart. Throw in the striped trim on the sleeves and the two-toned collar and this could be the cleanest Roma shirt ever, and one that could play in any decade.

Going up against that work of art is the 2012-2013 home strip, the last to feature the old ‘ASR’ badge. Using a deeper shade of red than any of the prior Kappa kits, this shirt looked particularly great with long sleeves, while the slightly curved and somewhat large fonts on the back were simple but effective. This shirt may not have blown you away, but it hit all the basic marks of a classic Roma kit.

Poll

What was the better kit?

This poll is closed

  • 66%
    1978-1979 Home
    (251 votes)
  • 33%
    2012-2013 Home
    (129 votes)
380 votes total Vote Now

(4) 2019-2020 Third vs. (13) 1994-1995 Home

Photo by Matteo Ciambelli/NurPhoto via Getty Images

In all my years covering Roma, I'm not sure I've ever seen a shirt produce as much as hype as this season's third kit. An homage to the blue unis of the past, most notably the 1991-1992 third shirt, this version kicked it up a notch, injecting the shirt with a lupetto watermark throughout the body of the shirt, while the bright yellow lightning-style fonts were the perfect contrast to the deep blue.

The 13 seed goes to the 1994-1995 home shirt made by Asics. Featuring a unique yellow/orange font and the lupetto badge without it's usual circle enclosing, what really tied these shirts together was the lace-up, hockey-style collar.

Poll

What was the better kit?

This poll is closed

  • 90%
    The 2019-2020 Retro Blue
    (347 votes)
  • 9%
    The 1994-1995 Home
    (36 votes)
383 votes total Vote Now

(5) 2014-2015 Home vs (12) 2006-2007 Third

Photo credit should read JOSE JORDAN/AFP via Getty Images

Roma's first home shirt of the Nike era gets the nod as our five seed. With timeless look, a classic collar and a sponsor-free chest, this is a shirt for the ages. The deep maroon body is countered with a bright yellow/orange accent on the sleeves and a simple font/number combination. No fuss, no muss, but a killer shirt.

The 2006-2007 third shirt isn't terribly impressive in and of itself, but the club mastered the gray and red shirt-short combo this season. All future gray shirts should consider this look before heading to the design table. The whole range of shirts this season included an almost perfect Roman style font as well.

Poll

What was the better kit?

This poll is closed

  • 72%
    2014-2015 Home
    (277 votes)
  • 27%
    2006-2007 Third
    (106 votes)
383 votes total Vote Now

(6) 1979-1980 Away vs (11) 2013-2014 Home

Forza27 and Photo by Paolo Bruno/Getty Images

Yes, that's Carletto. Yes, that's a fucking dope shirt. And yes, it's very likely the inspiration for Roma's 2020-2021 away shirts. I'm not sure we even need to explain what makes that shirt so great, but the red to orange to yellow spectrum on the shoulders is amazing. Notice how they mirrored that look around the lupetto badge and the sleeves; it's precisely that symmetry that makes this such an appealing shirt.

On the flip side, we have Roma's DIY kits from 2013-2014, the first to feature the new ‘Roma’ logo. I didn't fully appreciate these shirts at the time, mostly because I think I was so confused as to who made them, but my love for this kit has grown exponentially over the years. I love the buttonless collar, the font, the 1927 in Roman Numerals on the back. All of it. Even the socks were pure perfection. Well done to the in-house designers on this one.

Poll

What was the better kit?

This poll is closed

  • 55%
    1979-1980 Away
    (210 votes)
  • 44%
    2013-2014 Home
    (168 votes)
378 votes total Vote Now

(7) 1991-1992 Home vs (10) 1998-1999 Home

Photo by Neal Simpson/EMPICS via Getty Images and Photo by Matthew Ashton/EMPICS via Getty Images

Adidas stripes can sometimes cloud other design elements (and by sometimes I mean always), but with the minimalist look on this shirt, they're a great complement to the overall aesthetic. In an odd twist, the Roma badge was moved to the left shoulder, ceding it's normal chest space to the Coppa Italia badge. I ordinarily hate sponsored shirts, but what better benefactor for an Italian club than the world's largest past manufacturer?

The 1998-1999 home shirt owes much of it's reputation to how well it draped over Francesco Totti's magical shoulders. Coincidentally enough, this was the shirt Totti wore when he officially became the club's captain—the youngest in Serie A history at the time. With a large collar, a baggy torso and lupettos dripping down the sleeves, this shirt couldn't be anymore 90s if it tried.

Poll

What was the better kit?

This poll is closed

  • 58%
    1991-1992 Home
    (218 votes)
  • 41%
    1998-1999 Home
    (153 votes)
371 votes total Vote Now

(8) 2016-2017 Away vs (9) 2012-2013 Third

Photo credit should read GIUSEPPE CACACE/AFP via Getty Images and Photo by Dino Panato/Getty Images

For such a simple shirt, it's hard to precisely describe what makes the 2016-2017 away kit so jaw-droppingly beautiful, but this might be the best white shirt the club has ever worn. Sandwiched in-between the red shirt with the weird horizontal stripes and the creamsicle third kit, which I absolutely loved by the way, this off-white/cream shirt was—to quote Outkast—so fresh and so clean, clean. And, fuckin’ hell, look at it with the red shorts! If I could only choose one away shirt for the rest of time, it'd be these.

This is perhaps the toughest match-up in the bracket. Kappa had a few black shirts, but the piping around the color and the lupetto logo on the shirt and shorts was just too much to resist. I could do without the giant Kappa logo on the shoulders, but beyond that, this was a shirt to treasure. Roma has gone black since then, but Nike hasn't quite captured the same color balance as Kappa did repeatedly during their tenure as Roma's kit outfitter.

Poll

What was the better kit?

This poll is closed

  • 71%
    2016-2017 Away
    (268 votes)
  • 28%
    2012-2013 Third
    (105 votes)
373 votes total Vote Now

Believe me when I say this: narrowing this down to 16 shirts was incredibly, incredibly difficult, and we tried to be respectful to different eras in club history, at least those for which color photography is available. No club in the game is consistently as fashionable as Roma, so this bracket could have expanded exponentially, but make sure you cast your votes each day, and if there are any we forgot, drop ‘em in the comments.

Come back tomorrow to see which kits made our elite eight. And throughout the week, we're going to hit you with a variety of textile-themed articles.