The NFL finally gave into on Thursday and announced that it will allow teams to wear two different helmets during the season starting in 2022.
The league had previously limited teams to one helmet in an attempt to increase player safety.
This is fun news for teams across the league as they can now present a proper throwback uniform if they so choose. That could mean the return of Pat Patriot in New England, Bucco Bruce in Tampa, a Joe Namath-era white helmet for the New York Jets, a red helmet for the Atlanta Falcons, perhaps a black helmet in New Orleans, which the Saints wore in the 1969 preseason, the kelly green of the Reggie White-era in Philadelphia, and so on.
This being the NFL, there are a set of rules that accompanied the announcement. Teams may use an alternate helmet with any of their uniforms - alternate, classic or color rush, and must follow these guidelines, according to NFL.com:
- Teams must obtain an entire new set of alternate color helmets for all players
- Alternate color helmets must be the same make, model and size as each player’s primary helmet
- Alternate color helmets must be made available to all players at the start of training camp and should be fit at the same time as the primary helmet
- Alternate color helmets must be worn in practice at a minimum during the week leading up to the game in which they will be used
Teams also have to let the league know if they are going to use an alternate helmet by the end of this July, so while fans may not know what a team has planned, they will at least know which teams are going to sport alternate helmets next season.
As it pertains to the Cleveland Browns, it may be a bit harder for the franchise to join in on the party.
The Browns have toyed with the idea of adding a logo to the helmet over the years, but have wisely passed on that ill-fated plan. They put uniform numbers on the helmets from 1957 through 1960, but they could have brought that back at any time under the current one-helmet rule, so nothing has changed in that regard.
If the rule was in place this season, the Browns could sport a white helmet that would be a call back to their early days in the league. That would pair with the 75th anniversary throwback uniforms that the team plans to wear this season, which while not officially released, are rumored to be modeled after the uniforms the Browns wore in 1946.
The big fear here is that if the Browns decide to not go with a white helmet next season, they may decide to do something “edgy” with a helmet to pair with their color rush uniforms, which have already reached their expiration date.
That would be unfortunate seeing as how the franchise finally got back to dressing like an actual NFL team in 2020 after wearing a junior varsity level uniform set from 2015 through 2019.
The temptation to do that will likely be strong in some corners of Berea, but hopefully cooler heads prevail and the Browns keep rolling along with one of the league’s iconic uniform and helmet combos.