NFL New Helmets – All You Need To Know

In June 2021, NFL tweaked its ‘one-helmet’ rule for all football teams and allowed the introduction of alternate color helmets from the 2022-23 season. A decision highly awaited by both fans and clubs, it comes after a long pause on using the same. Followers of the game feel this decision shall add more flexibility to it.

A brief chronology

This decision comes on the back of a sequence of events.

Removal of alternate helmets

NFL, back in 2012, mandated football clubs against using alternate helmets on the back of safety concerns. These helmets usually contained alternate colors and were worn on special occasions. It meant that these helmets were less conformed to the heads of the players compared to the regular ones, warranting them less safe. Although in 2018, the NFL allowed for more jersey options for all clubs, it kept the one-helmet rule in place.

The return of alternate helmets

With the tweak of this rule, clubs are now free to bring back a vintage look from their history or create a whole new one. These alternate helmets may be used with a club’s classic, alternate, or Color Rush uniforms. The usage of these helmets has been brought in with specific regulations.

Regulations behind their usage

Since the alternate helmets are being brought back after a long while, and the safety concerns are still bothering, the NFL has mandated certain specifications while these helmets are in use.

Historical touch

Suppose the alternate helmet is intended for a throwback. In that case, the rules mandate that it conforms to the accompanying throwback uniform in color and texture while containing a logo from some point in the club’s history.

Makeup

Whatever the alternate helmet’s design, the clubs need to design one for each player. When in use, each player on the team needs to wear it. These helmets should also have the same make, model, and, most importantly, size as the primary helmet.

Usage

NFL mandates that alternate helmets should be made available to the players at the start of training camp and pass the safety test simultaneously as the primary helmets. The danger of the occasional use of these helmets still looms. The rules, therefore, mandate practicing using them at least within a week of a game in which they will be used.

The clubs and their alternate helmets

With the rules well underway, many clubs announced their versions of alternate helmets starting the 2022-23 season. With the country excited to experience them, here’s a deep dive into the new looks.

Cincinnati Bengals

A relief from their regular orange helmets with black stripes, the Bengals are going with an all-white look – accompanying their white uniform, they will sport a white alternate helmet with their signature black stripes. It is a departure from the black alternate helmets several teams are going for. This helmet exclusively falls in the ‘non-throwback’ genre, and the modern look can’t help but closely resemble a White Bengal Tiger.

New York Giants

The Giants are introducing a helmet that is exclusively a tribute to their version of the 1980s and 1990s, back when they won the Super Bowl twice. They are pairing their classic navy blue helmet with their vintage blue uniform of the same time. This throwback look brings back nostalgic memories of good times and is making fans hope for repeats of such times in the future.

New Orleans Saints

The Saints are going with a look that flips their helmet color combination. Usually sporting golden helmets with black decals, which has been the case since 1969, the alternate helmets are going for a black overall with a golden fleur-de-lis logo. Many feel this look vaguely matches their preseason one of the same year.

New England Patriots

The throwback look of the Patriots being introduced has been a long-awaited one. They are bringing back their iconic white ‘Pat Patriot’ helmets and original red jerseys from 1960 to 1992. These helmets made their first comeback during the 1994 and 2002 seasons before becoming a regular alternate between 2009 and 2013, when alternate helmets were banned. The recent tweak in regulations is undoubtedly exciting their fans.

Arizona Cardinals

Their original helmets have a red base color with a red logo. The alternate version retains the logo but has a black base. Among all the black alternate helmets introduced, many feel this look is sleeker than the rest.

Chicago Bears

The Bears will depart from their classic navy blue helmets for the first time in their history. They are introducing an orange helmet to accompany their orange alternate jerseys. The combination, may feel, is a little too much of orange. Nevertheless, the club is moving forward with it.

Atlanta Falcons

This team will be sporting their hallmark red-helmet look of the 1960s. Carrying white, black, and gold stripes this time, in a purported homage towards the University of Georgia and Georgia Tech, they last sported this iconic red helmet in 2012. This helmet has been announced with their throwback uniform, including their classic black jerseys.

New York Jets

The Jets are joining several others in introducing new black looks. Their ‘Stealth Black’ helmets will be worn during three home games. A green facemask will accompany this helmet. It is striking that many of their fans and stakeholders were clamoring for a vintage throwback look – with their classic green helmets, but that was not the case.

Houston Texans

The Texans have had their red alternate jerseys around for some time now, but this season they are pairing it up with a red alternate helmet, completing their iconic ‘Battle Red’ cry they have been pushing for years. In their 21-year history, this is undoubtedly their most significant deviation in uniform.

Carolina Panthers

The Panthers are going for a sleek, bold, all-black look (helmets and jerseys). A noticeable departure from their usual silver look, the helmet carries blue outlines and a blue outline of their logo. The matte base stands out, and many feel this is a look to be incredibly fond of.

Dallas Cowboys

The Cowboys are bringing back a fan-favorite from the 1960s. Their alternate helmet will comprise the classic white background with a navy star. Doing away with their iconic silver base for this version, the helmet will be paired with their classic navy jerseys simultaneously.

Philadelphia Eagles

Like most others, the Eagles have opted for an all-black look for their alternate uniforms, including black alternate helmets, retaining the vintage wings on them. However, to the joy of their fans, their CEO announced that their iconic Kelly Green outfits, worn till 1996, will be brought back for the 2023-24 season, which has got the fans all excited.

Washington Commanders

The one to end this list, the Commanders, are getting a total overhaul this season. Besides a complete name change from ‘Washington Football Team’ to ‘Washington Commanders’, they are getting an all-black alternate look, including shiny black helmets with yellow chrome colored ‘W’ featured front and center.

With the 2022-23 season already underway, the arrival of alternate helmets, be they brand new or throwback vintage looks, has excited fans and players alike. With every club vying for the honors, this season and the future seasons are bound to be more exciting, with competitiveness, new colors, and nostalgia. The NFL is bound to bring a new look to it for the fans to enjoy now.