Ranking the NFL's 15 Greatest Uniforms Ever

Tim Kelly
June 03, 2020 - 11:37 am

In 2013, as the NFL began to seriously attempt to improve player safety, a rule was instituted that players had to wear one helmet throughout the course of the season. Though the rule probably had an interesting neurological explanation, it had an unintended consequence on the aesthetics of the NFL.

The Dallas Cowboys, for example, wore a white and blue navy jersey everything Thanksgiving Day from 2004-2012. Why were those uniforms put on the shelf? Because they included a white helmet with a solid navy blue star, rather than the team's traditional silver helmets that have a navy blue star with white trim. With the one-helmet rule, it became nearly impossible for teams to wear helmets that had a different primary color than their regular helmets, forcing the Cowboys to ditch those alternate uniforms.

Some teams have found creative ways around the helmet rule, like switching the logo on each helmet to match a throwback jersey, but keep the primary helmet color the same. Said arrangement have yielded mixed results. However, as far actually changing the helmet color for one game - and then having to change it back immediately after the game - there aren't enough Rudy Ruettiger's eager to furiously paint team helmets to make it work.

There's some evidence that the NFL may adjust the rule for the 2021 season, which would allow some of the greatest uniforms in NFL history to return. Let's take a look at the 15 greatest uniforms that the sport has ever seen, many of which are affected by the one-helmet rule:

Josh Allen and the Bills have one of the best uniforms in the NFL today. Photo credit (Jerome Miron/USA Today)
Ezekiel Elliott wears the Cowboys' throwback alternate. Photo credit (Billie Weiss/Getty Images)
Xavien Howard models the Dolphins' throwback jerseys. Photo credit (Mark Brown/Getty Images)
Former Seahawk Brian Blades models the team's throwback uniform. Photo credit (Al Bello/Getty Images)
John Elway and the Broncos wear their orange crush jerseys. Photo credit (Jamie Squire/Allsport/Getty Images)
The Los angeles Chargers celebrate a fumble recovery in their color rush jerseys. Photo credit (Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
Michael Irvin is one of the greatest Cowboys of all time. Photo credit (Stephen Dunn/Allsport/Getty Images)
Tom Brady models the Patriots' red throwback jerseys. Photo credit (Elsa/Getty Images)
Julio Jones dons the Falcons' black throwback jerseys. Photo credit (Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Josh Freeman models the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' creamsicle throwbacks. Photo credit (Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Steven Jackson spent the bulk of his career with the Rams. Photo credit (David Welker/Getty Images)
Charles Woodson had two stints with the Oakland Raiders. Photo credit (Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
DeSean Jackson wears the Eagles' Kelly green jerseys in 2010. Photo credit (Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Bruce Matthews (left) models the Houston Oilers jerseys. Photo credit (Tony Tomsic-USA TODAY Sports)
The Chargers powder blue uniforms are extremely popular. Photo credit (Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

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