NFL fans are rejoicing in unison as the league announced that teams can start using alternate-color helmets starting in 2022, as first reported by Pro Football Talk.
The concern that previously kept this from a reality involved player safety, as clubs didn’t want their players using multiple helmets in fear that alternative helmets wouldn’t fit them properly, or modifications to the primary helmet may impact how it fits the players. In short, consistency for safety was standing in the way.
Teams will be able to sport a second helmet staring next year, provided they ensure players have enough time to get used to it and that it fits correctly.
For Cincinnati Bengals fans, this is big news. Starting next year, the team can finally bring back their original helmet from the 1970s and pair it with modernized versions of the uniforms that went with it. They can also finally debut a white tiger helmet to pair with their new uniforms, but that may be tricky.
Per the memo sent to all 32 teams, the second helmet is allowed to be used with alternate uniforms and throwbacks, but there’s no mentioning of using it with primary kits.
Teams can pair the second helmet with alternate, throwback or Color Rush uniforms, so long as they follow all league policies on ensuring that all alternate helmets are properly fitted, and that all players are provided with sufficient opportunity to wear the alternate helmets in practice prior to wearing them in a game.
The Bengals’ all white jerseys aren’t considered Color Rush uniforms anymore, as they are their new primary away uniforms. Will this get in the way of the team using a white and black helmet with their away uniforms? That remains to be seen.
Ideally, Cincinnati could use both helmets as many times as they desire, but NFL uniform rules aren’t that liberal. Teams can only sport alternate uniforms for a limited number of games per year, and that might limit the number of times alternate helmets can be worn per year.
Regardless, this is a big step forward for the future of the Bengals’ on-field aesthetic. As soon as next year, we might see a full white tiger uniform worn by Bengals players, or even the return of the very first uniform in franchise history. A black helmet with orange stripes to go with their all black uniform is even on the table now!