Ranking New NFL Alternative Helmets: Cowboys Bring Back Classic, Bengals’ White Tiger A Hit, Bears All Orange

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One of the best decisions the NFL has made in recent years was the elimination of the “one shell rule”, allowing teams to wear an alternate helmet for the 2022 season and beyond. The alternate helmet paved the way for teams to return to classic uniforms and attempt unique alternate uniform combinations this season.

Teams have definitely taken advantage of the alternate helmet, as 13 have already revealed a new helmet for 2022 – and potentially up to 15 teams will have a second helmet this year (per Uni watch). Of the 13 teams, four will be bringing back throwback helmets to wear with their throwback jerseys while the other nine revealed helmets in alternate colors to pair with their current alternate uniform sets.

More throwbacks will arrive for 2023, as the Philadelphia Eagles and Tampa Bay Buccaneers bring back their Kelly green and creamsicle orange uniforms, respectively. The whole league could have alternate helmets by the 2023 season, but let’s rank the ones that have been revealed so far.

For these leaderboards, there will be two separate categories: Rollback and Alternate.

Return

4. Atlanta Falcons

The Falcons have brought back the classic red helmet, originally worn by the team in its inaugural season in 1966. The 1966 throwback uniforms will finally have the helmet to match, which includes a gray mask with the crest logo of the returning Falcons trimmed in white. The red helmet also has a black band down the middle of the helmet trimmed in white and gold.

Atlanta will look authentic with these helmets paired with the original Falcons jerseys. The Falcons throwbacks were already sharp, but that completes the set.

3. New York Giants

The Giants used the alternative helmet to their advantage by bringing back the helmets of the 1980s-1990s and the matching home uniform combination (worn from 1980-1999). Instead of the lighter blue helmet the Giants used with their color returns, New York reverted to the navy helmet with a white mask and scarlet red stripe.

New York also returned to red and blue trim on homecomings, a classic look that has grown in popularity over time. It’s one of the cleanest uniforms in the sport, ones the Giants should keep for a long time.

2. New England Patriots

The Patriots brought back their popular red jerseys they wore for nearly three decades along with the white helmet they wore with them. These jerseys are a simple red with blue and white stripes on the red sleeves. White numbers are bold with a blue outline and crisp white pants to bring back the nostalgic feel. The Patriots have wanted to bring them back for years.

Even with the impressive throwbacks, “Pat Patriot” is perhaps the most anticipated.

1. Dallas Cowboys

The Cowboys haven’t made a major announcement regarding the return of their retro helmets. There wasn’t even a tease that they would return, showing just how popular the 1960s helmet is in Dallas.

White helmets were the Cowboys’ first color, worn from 1960 to 1964 with a white and royal blue jersey with stars on the shoulder. The Cowboys would honor the original uniform on Thanksgiving Day from 2004 to 2012, before the tradition was stopped thanks to the “unibody rule”.

It was one of the NFL’s finest throwbacks. Only the Dallas adjustment would bring back the uniform suit for a traditional day on the schedule.

Alternate

Kudos to the Bears for trying something new with their great orange alternate jerseys, but maybe it’s a little too orange. The orange jerseys looked great with their original helmets and the uniform suit didn’t need to be changed.

It’s the first time the Bears have worn a non-navy blue helmet. These helmets are essentially the reverse of navy blue helmets as the logo is navy blue (instead of orange) with a white sideline and the face shield is navy blue.

These may be best judged on the pitch, but changing to an orange alternate jersey – and uniform combination – that has stood the test of time is a risk.

New Orleans has eliminated its three-stripe appearance on its helmets and reversed the colors of its core elements with this alternate black helmet. The shell changes from gold to black while the logo changes from black to gold.

Instead of the three-stripe look, the Saints decided to have a triangular design with tiny gold “fleur de lys” logos. New Orleans appears to be wearing this with the return of the 1975 Color Rush away jersey, but these would likely look much cleaner on traditional home uniforms.

Good thing about these helmets. saints can wear them with all the different combinations of uniforms.

7. New York Jets

The Jets unveiled a stealth black helmet that will be worn for three games this season, a good look with the black alternate uniforms. The logo will be in forest green, which includes a chrome green face mask with a white accent line.

The New York black helmet – the first in franchise history – works great with the uniform.

For a team debuting new uniforms (and a new name), Alternate Black Helmets may be the best in Washington.

Washington has never worn a black uniform in its history, but the helmet with the uniform jumpsuit is sharp. The DC flag patch on the sleeve is an amazing touch, as well as the numbers on the black helmet.

Since Washington was the first team to release the alternate helmet, the all-black jersey and pants combination with gold numbers works.

The Cardinals have launched these excellent black helmets which will be worn with their alternate black uniform and color rush uniform. These helmets will look solid with the two uniform models.

Arizona can wear the alternate uniforms with black or white pants, giving a new look when Cardinals wear them. The look is solid with the white numbers and the helmet fits well. As for the color uniform, the panels on the arms are red instead of white, with different color numbers (red) and black pants (instead of white).

With this helmet design, the Cardinals complete their alternate black and colorful ensemble. Good job by Arizona here.

4. Philadelphia Eagles

The Eagles only wore the black helmets for a year (before switching to Kelly Green), and the franchise was smart in not getting too flashy with this design. All the Eagles did was change the midnight green helmets to black, with a sleek look and no midnight green outline.

The Eagles can wear them with the alternate all-black uniform suit that debuted in 2014 (black jerseys have been worn since 2003). Philadelphia can also wear the helmets with the white jerseys and black pants, as the Eagles wore black pants with the white jerseys for the first time last year.

These headsets were designed for prime time, even though they are unique.

3. Houston Texans

The Texans “Battle Red” alternates are one of the NFL’s underrated uniforms — and Houston finally has a red helmet to go with the jerseys. These uniforms have aged gracefully since their debut in 2005. These uniforms have been worn with red pants, blue pants, and white pants and have worked well with everyone.

Houston didn’t change much on the helmet, keeping the dark blue mask to go with the “Battle Red” color. “Battle Red” jerseys and white pants will be worn with the helmet, the team’s first helmet change since the franchise’s debut in 2002.

No photos of the uniforms with the helmet have been released, but it’s a clean look that will be popular in Houston.

2. Carolina Panthers

Carolina went off the beaten track with these helmets, but they look great with the all-black uniform jumpsuit. In debuting an all-black uniform jumpsuit for the first time, the Panthers unveiled a black alternate helmet with the Panthers logo highlighted in baby blue. The stripes on the helmet will also be sky blue, a new look for a team that has worn a silver helmet since its inception in 1995.

The helmet is perfect with the black home shirt and alternative black pants, worn with black socks and black shoes. Black on black on black with light blue trim – somehow the Panthers have upgraded their home uniforms (which are one of the best in the NFL).

The Panthers crushed this uniform design.

The Bengals have teased a white helmet to go with their white road uniforms since lifting the “monocoque rule.” Cincinnati finally revealed the White Tiger Helmet, though the Bengals haven’t revealed which uniforms they’ll be pairing the helmet with (take a guess).

Cincinnati just replaced the orange color on the helmet with white, with the only orange on the helmet being the Bengals logo on the front. The “White Bengal” helmet is a simple change and goes perfectly with the all-white uniform the team wears.

The white helmets of the Bengals with the road outfits?

Getty Images

Helmet stripes and bumper match the uniform. You don’t have to see the full uniform set to understand just how perfect this uniform will be – which will be the only one of its kind in the league.

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