The news that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers won’t wear their Bucco Bruce throwback helmets comes a month after two NFL safety committees concluded that throwback helmets are a bad idea.
The league office passed along to PFT a memo that was sent to the clubs in August, saying that when throwback uniforms are worn, helmets should not be changed.
“Our Head, Neck, and Spine Committee, chaired by Drs. Hunt Batjer and Richard Ellenbogen, and the Player Safety Advisory Panel, chaired by John Madden and Ronnie Lott, have recommended that players no longer wear different helmets as part of a ‘Throwback’ or ‘Third’ uniform,” the memo from the league office said. “Our office supports this change and has reviewed it with the chairman of our Health and Safety ownership committee, Dr. John York, who concurs with this recommendation.”
The league office told all teams planning to wear throwback uniforms this season that players must wear their regular helmets on throwback dates. The outside of the helmet can be modified by removing or replacing decals, but the helmet itself must stay the same. Once players have properly fitted helmets that they’re comfortable wearing, the NFL doesn’t want them changing helmets during the season just for appearances.
We’re told that some teams aren’t yet sure whether to go ahead with plans to wear throwback uniforms. The Cowboys, for instance, planned to wear their throwbacks with white helmets on Thanksgiving, and it’s not yet known whether they will blend throwback jerseys with regular helmets, or just scrap the throwback uniforms entirely.