In a long-requested move, the NFL has approved a new policy allowing teams to use two different helmet designs during the season, according to a report from Michael David Smith of Pro Football Talk. The rule will begin to take effect in the 2022 season.
In recent years, alternate helmets had been banned, ostensibly for safety reasons. The NFL claimed that players would be less likely to suffer head injuries with a helmet that was “broken in” as opposed to a one-time-use helmet. That allowed some teams to make use of throwback designs through swappable decals, but it shut down the possibility of color-changing designs, like the iconic red charging buffalo design of the 1980-1990’s Buffalo Bills.
In order to alleviate the safety concerns, the NFL will require all alternate helmets to be the exact same make and model and size as the standard helmets, and requires those alternate helmets to be fitted and used in practice before the games begin.
This helmet rule could open up new uniform possibilities for the Bills. Of course, the Super Bowl Bills throwback uniform is top of mind, but what else could we see? Maybe the Bills could roll out their Color Rush all-red uniforms with a red helmet to match. They could even run back the (admittedly, not too great) navy and white uniforms from the 2002-2010 era.
Or, even though it would be a few years past the team’s 60th anniversary, the Bills could bring out the truest throwback, the Honolulu Blue and silver uniforms that were originally borrowed from the Detroit Lions when the franchise first started. Those uniforms featured a silver helmet with no logo, where a player’s number was printed instead. It would be quite the event—especially if they were playing against Detroit!
In the gallery below, we’ve gathered a number of iconic Bills players and uniforms from over the years. What combination do you want to see when this rule takes effect?
- Buffalo Bills throwback helmet in action during the Jets’ 28-20 win over the Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium, Orchard Park, New York. September 24, 2006. Photo by Al Pereira/NFLPhotoLibrary
- Buffalo Bills players donning their throwback uniforms at a training camp reveal
- Buffalo Bills running back Fred Jackson (22) runs into the end zone for a touchdown during a game against the Miami Dolphins at Ralph Wilson Stadium in Orchard Park, NY. Photo by Jerome Davis/Icon SMI/Icon Sport Media via Getty Images
- Brian Moorman eyes the throwback helmet
- Donte Whitner shows off the throwback uniform
- Buffalo Bills safety Jairus Byrd (31) picks up a fumbled football as the New York Jets play the Buffalo Bills at the New Meadowlands Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey Photo by Rich Kane/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
- Derek Fine #86, Terrell Owens #81 and Marshawn Lynch #23 of the Buffalo Bills celebrate during the game against the Houston Texans at Ralph Wilson Stadium on November 1, 2009 in Orchard Park, New York Photo by Rick Stewart/Getty Images
- Andre Reed #83 of the Buffalo Bills in action during an NFL football game circa 1991 at Rich Stadium in Buffalo, New York. Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images
- Bruce Smith takes down the ballcarrier in a game against the Dallas Cowboys
- Linebacker Cornelius Bennett #55 of the Buffalo Bills pursues the play against the Philadelphia Eagles during a game at Veterans Stadium on December 27, 1987 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Photo by George Gojkovich/Getty Images
- Quarterback Jim Kelly #12 of the Buffalo Bills passes on the sideline before a game against the Washington Redskins at Rich Stadium on November 1, 1987 in Orchard Park, New York. Photo by George Gojkovich/Getty Images
- Joe Ferguson #12 of the Buffalo Bills drops back to pass against the Cincinnati Bengals AFC Divisional Playoff Game game on January 3, 1982 at Riverfront Stadium in Cincinnati, Ohio. Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images
- Running back O.J. Simpson #32 of the Buffalo Bills carries the ball during a early circa 1970’s NFL game against the Philadelphia Eagles at Rich Stadium in Buffalo, New York. Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images
- Cornerback Butch Byrd of the Bufflao Bills returns a punt 74 yards for a touchdown in a 23-0 win over the San Diego Chargers in the 1965 AFL Championship game on December 26, 1965 at Balboa Stadium in San Diego, California. Photo by Charles Aqua Viva/Getty Images
- Quarterback Jack Kemp #15 of the Buffalo Bills hands the ball off to Wray Carlton #30 against the Kansas City Chiefs during an AFL football game at War Memorial Stadium December 12, 1965 in Buffalo, New York. Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images
- Jack Kemp #15 of the Buffalo Bills stands over center against the Oakland Raiders during an AFL football game at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum October 19, 1969 in Oakland, California. Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images
- Warren Rabb #17 of the Buffalo Bills holds the ball for Billy Atkins #20 as Dave Grayson #45 of the Dallas Texans tries to block the field goal attempt during an AFL game on November 12, 1961 at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas, Texas. Set Number: X8068
- Elbert Dubenion #44 of the Buffalo Bills tries to make the catch as he is defended by Duane Wood #48 of the Dallas Texans during an AFL game on November 12, 1961 at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas, Texas. Set Number: X8068