2021-22 NFL Uniform Season Preview

After seven long months, the NFL season is finally upon us as the defending Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers host the Dallas Cowboys on Thursday evening at 8:20 p.m. on NBC.

With that said, SportsLogos.net has compiled of every uniform change that took place across the NFL this offseason. But before get into that, we must first address a couple league-wide changes, including relaxed rules that allow running backs, wide receivers, tight ends, linebackers and defensive backs to wear a wider range of numbers moving forward, including single digits.

The previous numbering system only allowed for running backs and defensive backs to wear 20-49; wide receivers to wear 10-19 and 80-89; tight ends 40-49 and 80-89; and linebackers 40-59 and 90-99. But now running backs, wide receivers and tight ends can wear 1-49 or 80-89, defensive backs can wear 1-49 and linebackers can wear 1-59 or 90-99. 

This will also be the last season of the NFL’s one-helmet rule after the league announced teams will be permitted to wear two different helmets starting in 2022.

That rule has been in place since 2013, as the NFL attempted to reduce head injuries (and its liability). But it also led to a number of teams wearing inaccurate throwback uniforms or not wearing them at all, specifically those that have changed their color of their shell several times throughout the course of their history.

Of course, this plays no role on the upcoming season, but teams were required to inform the NFL of their internet to wear a second helmet by July 31. That could lead to planned alternate or throwback uniforms leaking in the coming months.

The NFL will once again allow players to display social justice messages on their helmets, as well as stencil slogans like “It Takes All of Us” and “End Racism” in the back of the end zones this season.

Players will no longer be permitted to use the names of individuals on their back helmet bumpers like they were last year, though, and instead will have six messages to choose from, including the two mentioned above, “Stop Hate,” “Black Lives Matter,” “Inspire Change” and “Say Their Stories.”

With this Saturday marking the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on New York City and Washington D.C., all 32 NFL teams will wear a 9/11 ribbon decal on their helmets in Week 1. Coaches and other team personnel will wear special 9/11 lapel pins on the sidelines, meanwhile.

The league did something similar in 2011 for the 10th anniversary, with teams wearing a ribbon patch on their jerseys that weekend.

Lastly, the NFL allowed the 14 international pathway players on NFL rosters to wear their home country’s flag alongside the United States flag on their helmets during the preseason, including those from Austria, Australia, Brazil, Chile, Germany, Italy, Mexico and the United Kingdom.

That won’t translate to the regular season, however.

Now, with all that said, lets dive head first into our comprehensive life of team-by-team changes for the 2021-22 season, which ends with Super Bowl LVI in Los Angeles.

Atlanta Falcons

The Falcons unveiled new uniforms ahead of the 2020 season, so no changes this year. They did, however, reveal their uniform schedule, which will see them done their standard black and white jerseys seven times apiece, as well as their throwback uniforms twice and red-to-black gradient alternate once.

Atlanta also temporarily retired the No. 44 for the 2021 season in honor of the former Braves outfielder Hank Aaron, who passed away in January at the age of 86.

Buffalo Bills

After 10 seasons with a gray facemask, the Bills announced they’ll wear a white facemask moving forward. The white facemasks made their debut on Thanksgiving 2019 and were worn again on Monday Night Football last season. 

Buffalo also partnered with Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield of Western New York to be the naming rights partner of its stadium in Orchard Park, New York.

Chicago Bears

The Bears will wear their navy home jersey eight times in 2021, including on the road at the Los Angeles Rams on Sept. 12, Cleveland Browns on Sept. 26 and Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Oct. 24. Chicago will wear white jerseys for every other road game, which is a total of six times.

The Bears will don their orange alternate jerseys in the Dec. 5 game against the Arizona Cardinals, while the 1936 throwback uniforms will make two appearances, including on Oct. 17 against the Green Bay Packers and Dec. 20 against the Minnesota Vikings.

Cincinnati Bengals

The Bengals unveiled new uniform this offseason, which center around a simplified tiger stripe pattern on the sleeves and shoulders and updated number font. It also includes a slightly updated pants design, which will allow Cincinnati to wear white pants with either the home black or orange alternate jerseys.

The road white jersey will be worn nine times this season, while the black and orange jerseys will be worn five and three times apiece.

Cleveland Browns

As part of their season-long 75th anniversary celebration, the Browns will wear 1946 throwback uniforms this season. The white jerseys featured Cleveland’s traditional striping pattern on the sleeves and brown numbers with an orange drop shadow. There’s also a football-shaped patch with the year on the left shoulder.

Though the Browns wore white helmets in 1946, the uniform will be paired with Cleveland’s standard orange helmet, but with a single white stripe down the middle, numbers on both sides and a gray facemask. It’s unclear when the Browns will wear the uniforms, though the aforementioned home game against the Bears would make sense.

Additionally, Cleveland unveiled a 75th anniversary logo that includes a helmet and eight stars to represent the number of All-American Football Conference and NFL championships the franchise won early in its existence.

Denver Broncos

The Broncos are another one of the handful of teams that announced their uniform schedule prior to the season. They’ll wear their home orange jerseys six times, white road jerseys eight times, blue alternate jerseys twice and orange Color Rush set once.

Denver did not share which color pants it will wear with the blue jerseys, however.

Green Bay Packers

The Packers will wear 1950s throwback uniforms against the Washington Football Team on Oct. 24. The green jerseys feature gold numbers and a double striping pattern on the sleeves, while the green pants include a single gold stripe down the sides.

The look is complete with Green Bay’s standard gold helmet – sans decals – with a gray facemask and green socks that include the same stripes as the sleeves.

Indianapolis Colts

The Colts will wear throwback uniforms during their Nov. 28 game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers that pay homage to the teams of the late 1950s. 

The uniforms are similar to the 1955 throwbacks the franchise wore in 2010, with two horseshoe logos on the back of the helmet, three white stripes on the sleeves of the blue jersey and a single blue stripe down the sides of the white pants.

The only difference is that specific throwback uniform was paired with a blue helmet, whereas this year’s set has a white lid, making it uniquely 1956.

Jacksonville Jaguars

The Jaguars announced this offseason they are returning to teal jerseys as their primary home option after almost nine seasons with black jerseys as the standard look.

Jacksonville wore teal at home from its inception in 1995 through Week 4 of the 2012 season, which owner Shad Khan announced the Jaguars would only wear teal on special occasions as a nod to some of the franchise’s best players.

Jacksonville also added “Own It” to the inside of the back collar, a mantra the team is embracing under new head coach Urban Meyer.

Los Angeles Chargers

Now entering their second season in their current set, the Chargers recently announced their uniform schedule for this fall. They’ll don their white jerseys nine times, including at home against the Cowboys in Week 2, and powder blue jerseys six times. Either set can be worn with gold or white pants.

Los Angeles will also wear its navy blue and royal blue Color Rush uniforms one time apiece, the former making an appearance in Week 8 against the New England Patriots and the latter in Week 14 against the New York Giants.

Los Angeles Rams

Sticking with their plan of unveiling one new alternate uniform each season, the Rams revealed “modern throwbacks” in July that combine various design elements from the team’s past, including the blue horns on the shoulders and gold capped sleeves, with their current number font and helmet, among other small details.

The Rams will wear their modern throwback uniforms for three games, all in primetime, including on Sept. 12 against the Chicago Bears, Nov. 7 against the Tennessee Titans and Nov. 17 at the San Francisco 49ers.

New York Giants

The Giants will celebrate the 10-year anniversary of their win in Super Bowl XLVI by wearing the exact uniform combination from that game against the Los Angeles Rams on Oct. 17. It will be the only time New York wears gray pants, though, after introducing new white road pants that feature the same stripes as the sleeves on their white road jersey.

As for the rest of the schedule, the Giants will wear their home blue jerseys nine times, white road jerseys four times and all-white Color Rush set twice, including Nov. 22 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Nov. 28 against the Philadelphia Eagles.

New York Jets

The Jets will honor late assistant coach Greg Knapp, who died in July at the age of 58 after being struck by a car while biking, by wearing a helmet decal featuring his initials this season.

Pittsburgh Steelers

Steelers president Art Rooney II announced the team will once again wear its all-black Color Rush uniform this season. Pittsburgh is 6-1 all time while wearing its Color Rush set, with the lone loss coming to the Bills in 2019.

It’s worth noting the only time the Steelers did not wear their Color Rush uniforms at night was during last year’s Thanksgiving game against Baltimore, which was postponed due to a coronavirus outbreak in the Ravens’ locker room.

That means Pittsburgh will likely wear the set against the Seattle Seahawks on Oct. 17, Chicago on Nov. 8 or Cleveland on Jan. 3.

San Francisco 49ers

Like the Browns, the 49ers are celebrating their 75th anniversary this season with a commemorative logo, which is shaped like a diamond. That has a dual meaning, of course, as someone’s 75th anniversary is often referred to as their “diamond anniversary,” while it’s also the shape of the patch that teams wore during the NFL’s 75th anniversary in 1994, which ended with San Francisco knocking off the then-San Diego Chargers in Super Bowl XXIX.

The logo features a custom number font, which is a blend of the franchise’s Saloon, traditional block, outlined and drop-shadowed number fonts. It will be worn as a patch on the left shoulder of the 49ers’ scarlet home jersey, white road jersey and both the home and road versions of their 1994 throwback uniforms.

The home version of the throwback uniform is new this year, and now complements the road set that debuted in 2018. It will be worn against the Packers on Sept. 26, Colts on Oct. 24, Rams on Nov. 15 and Falcons on Dec. 19, while the road version will make appearances against the Seattle Seahawks on Dec. 5 and the Tennessee Titans on Dec. 23.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Buccaneers will open the 2021 season wearing the same uniform that they donned in their Super Bowl LV victory over the Kansas City Chiefs in February, which includes white jerseys and pewter pants. According to their uniform schedule, that combination will be worn whopping 10 times this season.

Tampa Bay will also wear white jerseys with white pants, red jerseys over pewter pants and their all-pewter Color Rush set two times apiece, as well as red jerseys with white pants once this season.

Tennessee Titans

The Titans wore a helmet decal during their preseason finale against the Chicago Bears in honor of former general manager Floyd Reese, who died on Aug. 21 at the age of 73. It’s unclear if they’ll wear the decal, which features his initials, during the regular season, however.

Washington Football Team

Although it doesn’t impact Washington this season, team president Jason Wright recently announced the franchise has narrowed more than 40,000 submissions for a new nickname down to three options.

The only caveat? He didn’t actually say what those potential monikers are.

That said, eight different nicknames appeared in the video announcement, including Armada, Brigade, Commanders, Defenders, Presidents, RedHogs, RedWolves and Washington Football Team. However, Wright later clarified that those were not a final eight, but rather a random selection of names used to gauge the thoughts of the fans including in the video.

One name that will certainly not be the choice in 2022 is Warriors, as Wright said it’s not under consideration due to engagement groups revealing discomfort with retaining any Native American themes. The team’s current burgundy and gold color scheme is expected to remain intact, though.

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