With NFL teams now permitted to wear two different helmets, the Atlanta Falcons reintroduced their red throwback helmets on Thursday evening. They will be worn against the San Francisco 49ers on Oct. 16.
The Falcons originally wore red helmets from their inception in 1966 until 1990, when they switched to black lids during their 25th season. They also donned red helmets as part of a throwback design from 2009 until the NFL implemented its one-helmet rule in 2013.
With that rule in effect for the last nine years, Atlanta opted to blend two different eras for the throwback uniform it unveiled in 2016. It paired the 1966 jerseys, pants and socks with the standard black helmet, which swapped decals – and later the facemask – to mimic the 1990s.
The red helmets now allow the Falcons to properly pay homage to the franchise’s beginnings. They include a throwback logo on both sides, a gray facemask and a stripe down the center that borrows its colors from Georgia and Georgia Tech, though the gold was removed ahead of the 1970 season.
It’s unclear at this time if the Falcons will wear the red helmet with their gradient alternate uniforms, which feature black pants and a jersey that transitions from black to red around the numbers. The uniform was reportedly designed with a red helmet in mind, and a simple swap of the decals and facemask would allow this combination to happen.
That said, Atlanta is the third team to officially announce plans to wear a second helmet in 2022, joining the Washington Commanders and Philadelphia Eagles, who will both have black alternate lids this season. The Seattle Seahawks and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, meanwhile, will not be able to wear their throwback uniforms until 2023 due to global supply chain issues.
Photos courtesy of @AtlantaFalcons on Twitter.