Throwback uniforms have become one of the more fun realities of the so-called No Fun League. The practice, which either originated or intensified with the NFL’s 75th season in 1994, also has resulted in more revenues.
The extra uniform expands the universe of jersey sales. For some teams, it also has resulted in the use of a helmet not with different decals but with a different base color.
In recent years, teams like the Jets (blue), Patriots (white), Steelers (yellow, which has been scrapped), Cowboys (white), Redskins (brown), Eagles (lighter green and an homage to the Brazilian soccer team), Packers (brown), Falcons (red), and Bucs (white) have rolled out different helmets with their alternative uniforms. This year, the practice abruptly came to a halt with the announcement on Tuesday that Tampa Bay has scuttled the Bucco Bruce throwbacks for the September 29 home game against the Cardinals.
Other teams (like the Patriots and Falcons) haven’t advised us of their plans. The Cowboys have said they haven’t decided what they’ll do about their Thanksgiving tradition of swapping the silver helmet with the blue star of a white helmet with a blue star.
Two teams have informed PFT that the throwbacks will be used with their current helmets. The Vikings will apply their now-defunct two-dimensional horn decals and gray face masks to the new purple helmets with a matte finish. The Packers will remove the stripes and decals from their yellow helmets.
It’s bad news for fans who look forward to those one or two games per year when the NFL takes a page from pretty much every college program and trots out an entirely different uniform.
UPDATE 5:41 p.m. ET: On Tuesday, a Vikings spokesman explained to me the plan for throwbacks in light of the new rule, without expressly stating whether throwbacks were planned for 2013. On Wednesday, a different Vikings spokesman said the team plans no throwbacks for 2013.