Vintage-Inspired Uniforms & Helmets Are Coming Back to the NFL With New Rules Change

NFL teams are celebrating the official beginning of football season with training camps getting underway this week. Along with getting pumped for the 2022 season kickoff, players have something else to be excited for this season — the reintroduction of throwback uniforms.

Thanks to a recent shift in NFL rules, teams are now allowed to add throwback uniforms into their rotation of jersey and helmet styles, bringing classic fan-favorite uniforms back to the field for special occasion games. Thirteen teams have decided to bring back alternative helmets in reaction to the rule shift, according to the NFL.

The NFL first banned the use of a second helmet in 2013 over safety concerns, effectively banning throwback uniforms in the process. The NFL’s position was that a worn-in helmet is safer for a player than a brand new special occasion helmet that hasn’t yet conformed to a player’s head. As those concerns have eased in recent years, the NFL decided in June 2021 to allow clubs to bring back their throwback uniforms for the 2022 season, paying tribute to the rich history of the league.

Many teams phased out entire throwback uniforms after the 2013 ruling, seeing helmets as a core part of the tribute looks. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers, for instance, haven’t worn their famed Creamsicle uniforms for over a decade, discontinuing the uniform because the orange and white jerseys didn’t match the team’s standard pewter helmet. The team now plans to bring back the fan-favorite vintage look for 2022.

As training camps for the 2022 season begin, some teams have posted promotional videos celebrating their new alternate looks, including the New York Jets, the Dallas Cowboys, the Chicago Bears and the Carolina Panthers. Perhaps the most flashy celebration comes from the New England Patriots, with the team debuting their red uniforms and white helmets with the classic “Pat Patriot” logo through a video inspired by “Back to the Future.”

Throwback uniforms will only be worn for special occasion games, like the first game of the season or Thanksgiving Day.

The origins of NFL throwback uniforms, in some cases, date back to uniform styles of the 1930s and 1940s. Throwback uniforms first became popular in the ’90s after many clubs changed their historic brightly-colored uniforms in favor of darker colors to up the intimidation factor.

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