The 2022 season stands to be an exciting one for New England Patriots fans, and not because young quarterback Mac Jones looks like the second coming of Tom Brady. Believe it or not, something far more exciting is scheduled to happen in Foxborough, Mass., next year.
The Patriots recently confirmed the franchise will bring the popular AFL-era throwback uniforms — a red jersey, white pants, and a white helmet with the team’s original Pat Patriot logo — back in 2022 and wear them for the first time since 2012. A 2013 rule banning alternate helmets shelved those uniforms, as well as many other popular alternates around the league.
Trust us when we say the Pat Patriot uniforms aren’t the only throwbacks we want to see in 2022. For this list, we are only including uniform combos that are not currently in a team’s active rotation. Any helmet or uniform containing offensive imagery, such as the Washington Football Team’s former jerseys, is ineligible.
Based on consideration of the aforementioned prerequisites, the alternate uniforms in question stack up as follows:
Honorable mention: The New England Patriots’ AFL-era throwback jerseys (and Patriot Pat)
Although the Patriots already announced they’ll wear these uniforms at some point in 2022, we’re including them as an honorable mention. These jerseys are colorful and creative, harkening back to a much different time in professional football.
Unfortunately for Patriots fans, they won’t get to see Brady wearing these and slinging touchdowns in the snow the way he did in October 2009. However, Jones has certainly looked the part thus far, and those in the Northeast should be excited about what’s to come.
6. The Pittsburgh Steelers’ late 2000’s alternates (and any other alternates impacted by Color Rush)
Of all the throwback jerseys on this list, the Steelers’ yellow-helmet alternates are likely the most forgettable. However, this uniform combo mixes bright helmets and dark jerseys well, and they’d look great on whoever will replace Ben Roethlisberger at quarterback.
If these jerseys look familiar, it’s because the Steelers’ Color Rush uniforms look similar. The rule change could allow the Steelers and other teams to experiment with different colored helmets if they don’t bring the retired alternates back into the mix.
5. The Denver Broncos’ ‘Orange Crush’
If or when the Denver Broncos find a franchise quarterback, they should celebrate the occasion by bringing the ‘Orange Crush’ uniforms back. The three-time Super Bowl champions famously wore these from 1968-1996, an era that spanned most of John Elway’s time under center.
The blue helmets and striped pants stand out, especially in 2021 when more teams have embraced black uniforms. Speaking of which, we ask the football gods to ask teams to stop embracing black uniforms.
4. The Philadelphia Eagles’ ‘Kelly Green’
Football fans who grew up in the 1990s watched Randall Cunningham shred defenses in the Philadelphia Eagles ‘Kelly Green’ uniforms. However, the franchise last wore the uniforms in September 2010, three years before the one-helmet rule went into place.
The Eagles already have a diverse uniform set, but Jalen Hurts — or whoever emerges as the organization’s long-term quarterbacks — would look great in the ‘Kelly Green.’ Yes, Eagles fans, that includes Seahawks star Russell Wilson if he’s interested.
3. The Houston Oilers (AKA the Tennessee Titans)
Although the Tennessee Titans haven’t been the Houston Oilers for nearly 30 years, they still own the rights to wear the long-retired throwbacks. Whether or not the Titans would do so is another conversation, especially given the Texans’ presence in Houston and the AFC South rivalry.
For what it’s worth, we’d like to see the Oilers’ light blue jerseys and iconic oil rig logo make a return one day. Or, if the Titans remain stubborn, the Texans should consider adding an Oilers-inspired (while still keeping the Texans’ logo and imagery) alternate uniform.
2. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ ‘Creamsicle’ uniforms (and Bucco Bruce)
Considering how mediocre a franchise the Buccaneers were while wearing the ‘Creamsicle’ uniforms, it might be surprising how popular the look remains in 2021. However, it’s hard to complain or insult orange jerseys and a mustachioed pirate, especially not with Brady and friends now running the show in Tampa Bay.
The Buccaneers wisely wore these uniforms as alternates before the league approved the one-helmet rule. There is no reason to believe the franchise won’t consider bringing them back in the coming years.
1. The Los Angeles Rams’ ‘Greatest Show on Turf’ uniforms
The ‘Greatest Show on Turf’ uniforms should speak for themselves at this point. All an older football fan needs is one glance at those jerseys to see Kurt Warner completing his journey from supermarket employee to Super Bowl champion.
The only issue here is if the Rams, who moved to Los Angeles in 2015, would want to relive the St. Louis days after how things ended between both parties. Perhaps Rams owner Stan Kroenke’s recently $790 million settlement with the Gateway City will unintentionally pave the way for these uniforms to return, albeit this time in Los Angeles’ SoFi Stadium.