Now that the league has loosened its uniform restrictions, some classic NFL throwback jerseys are making a comeback, including the Eagles’ Kelly Green and Bucs’ Creamsicle getups.
The NFL‘s “single-helmet rule” is no more. As the league announced in a memo last year, beginning in 2022, teams will be able to wear a secondary helmet for home games to pair with their alternate, classic, or Color Rush uniforms.
This undoes a rule instituted in 2013 mandating that teams use only one helmet in order to ensure proper fit and to keep players from cycling in and out of multiple versions that have the potential to be less safe. Now, as long as each helmet complies with the NFL’s specified safety criteria, the rule has been loosened to allow players to don helmets that better correspond with throwbacks and alternates.
Here’s everything we know about the teams that plan to take advantage in 2022 and beyond.
New Orleans Saints
Black helmet (2022)
The Saints had a litany of options, but their choices ultimately boiled down to black, gold, and white. The team chose a black design with their logo emblazoned the side and a Fleur-de-Lis stripe down the middle. The helmets will accompany the Saints’ all-white Color Rush jerseys, notes Mike Triplett of ESPN.
New England Patriots
Alternate red throwback uniforms (2022)
After a decade-long hiatus, the Patriots’ red throwback uniforms will return later this year. The uniforms are identical to the original red, white, and blue that the team wore from 1960 to 1993. Starting in 2000, the Pats switched over to the colors and patterns we know today, but later this year, fans will rejoice at the opportunity to celebrate the past in the present.
Completely new primary uniforms (2022)
Alternate black uniforms (2022)
After a year without a proper mascot, the football team in our nation’s capital formerly, temporarily known as the Washington Football Team rebranded itself as the Washington Commanders. To mark the beginning of a new era, the team unveiled new uniforms that provide a style update while preserving the club’s traditional burgundy and gold as their primary colors.
Fans can also expect a new twist — an alternate black jersey that uses burgundy and gold as secondary colors.
Black helmet (2022)
Kelly Green throwback uniforms (2023)
Like many other uniforms on this list, the Eagles have not worn their iconic Kelly Green jerseys and helmets since 2010 due to the NFL’s rules. That will change next year, as the team announced in March that one of the most beloved NFL throwback jerseys would return. In the meantime, the team is also set to debut a black helmet later this year, though we haven’t seen photos yet.
The franchise also has plans to update its official logo, keeping the Eagle mascot but introducing new lettering.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
“Creamsicle” throwback uniforms (2023)
Though they were originally planned for a 2022 return, global supply chain issues pushed the Buccaneers‘ orange creamsicle throwback uniforms to 2023. The Buccaneers originally wore the love-them-or-hate-them uniforms for two decades, from 1976-1996, before eventually adopting red, pewter, and black in ’97 and adding orange back into the mix in 2014.
The Bears’ secondary color, orange, will be front and center on Oct. 13. Chicago will wear orange helmets for the first time in the franchise’s 100-year history, with the Chicago ‘C’ decal appearing in navy blue.
“We believe we have the best uniforms in sport, certainly among the most iconic,” said Bears Chairman George H. McCaskey in a statement on the team’s website. “So, we’re not looking to overhaul it. We just want to make enhancements to the existing look from time to time and we think this is a great enhancement. I’m very excited for this modification. I like that it’s staying within the traditional Bears look. We’re excited about them and hope the fans will be too.”
White Bengal helmet
Bengals fans’ demand to see an all-white helmet will finally end in 2022. Last month, the reigning AFC champs announced that for the first time in franchise history, the white helmet is imminent. Before the announcement, Bengals fans sounded happy enough with the team’s new uniform designed, but the “White Bengal” is something else entirely. The team is scheduled to wear the helmet on Thursday, Sept. 29 against the Dolphins. Cincy’s traditional orange will be used to outline jersey numerals and other small details on the uniform.
Battle Red helmet
To the surprise of many, the Houston Texans joined the proverbial new helmet club with a “battle red” colorway. When the Texans wear the helmets on Nov. 3 against the Eagles it will mark the end of a 7,361-day streak of only wearing navy blue helmets. The uniforms that will be aligned with the helmet have not yet been revealed.
New York Jets
Stealth Black helmet
The New York Jets will take a similar approach to the Carolina Panthers on Oct. 30 when the Jets debut a new “stealth black” helmet alongside their black uniforms. According to the team’s website, the look of the helmet is literally inspired by a stealth fighter jet. As sophomore wideout Elijah Moore said, “our alternate helmets are the definition of swaggy.” This marks the first time the Jets will sport a black helmet.
The Dallas Cowboys’ throwback helmet will return on Thanksgiving (Nov. 24) later this year against the New York Giants. The helmet, which is primarily white, features a single navy blue star with no outline and the traditional stripes down the middle of the headgear.
“The white helmet, along with the throwback uniforms honoring our teams from the 1960s, have long been a fan favorite, and we’re thrilled to bring back the tradition of wearing those helmets and uniforms on Thanksgiving again,” said Dallas Cowboys Chief Brand Officer Charlotte Jones on the team’s website.
Red throwback helmet
The old-school Dirty Birds will fly again in Atlanta with the team’s throwback red helmet returning with a classic Falcons logo on the side. Atlanta will wear the helmets on Oct. 16 when they play the San Francisco 49ers, pairing them with black jerseys.
As cornerback AJ Terrell said in a team video, “Definitely, [I] like looking at all the throwback uniforms. This one always comes to mind. It’s very rare seeing a red helmet with the gold stripe down the middle so I can’t wait to put this on.”
New York Giants
Classic blue uniforms
The Giants will pay homage to the ‘80s and ‘90s for two games this season in donning their classic blue uniforms twice this year.
“This uniform represents a significant part of Giants history, and we have often been asked by our fans if we would ever wear it again,” Giants Chief Commercial Officer Pete Guelli said on the team’s website. “We started the uniform process with the NFL two years ago, and we’re excited to see it come to life for two games this season. These Legacy Games will connect generations of Giants fans.”
The Arizona Cardinals have only sported white and red helmets in the past, but that will change this year this season with the debut of a black cap. Fans have begged the team for a uniform overhaul, so some will be cautiously excited to see the Cardinals looking new from the shoulders up.
“I like that it’s new and different,” defensive end JJ Watt said on the team’s official website. “It’s cool. It’s going to look good under the lights with the black uniforms.
Coming Soon: Detroit Lions
There will be no change to the Detroit Lions’ uniforms this season, but as team president Rod Wood told reporters in March, “We’re actually starting a process to look at a possible change for next year. It’s really like a year-plus lead time, so we just convened a committee. I know we get a lot of things tweeted at us and suggestions about what fans want, so we catalogue all those and we’ll take them under advisement.”
From Motor City and beyond, stay tuned for more on NFL throwback jerseys. Thanks to a much-needed rule change, the floodgates are officially open.