During an appearance on former NFL player Chris Long’s “Green Light” podcast on Tuesday, Atlanta Falcons head coach Arthur Smith revealed the team will not wear its gradient alternate uniform during the 2023 season.
“We have to turn (the schedule) in about this time of the year, about what jersey you wear,” Smith said. “Now they’ll let you wear the throwbacks three times with the red helmets, so we’ll do that.
“Obviously you can control the home jersey, but you can’t control the away one. I know this will be unfortunate and people will be upset about this, but we won’t wear those red gradient jerseys this year.”
The gradient alternate uniforms, which were introduced when the Falcons unveiled a new uniform set in 2020, shift from red to black on the jersey and are paired with Atlanta’s primary helmet and black pants.
The Falcons have worn the gradient uniforms three times since they were unveiled, including a loss to the Detroit Lions in 2020, a win over the New York Jets in London in 2021 and win over the Chicago Bears in 2022.
Atlanta has also worn a 1966 throwback uniform for at least two games in every season since 2016, although it was paired with a 1990s-style black helmet until last season, when their red throwback helmet was revived.
This change coincided with the NFL relaxing its one-helmet rule, which led to 13 teams introducing a second helmet in 2022. The Falcons originally wore red helmets from their inception in 1966 until 1990.
As Smith mentioned, the throwback uniforms will be worn three times this season, matching the 2018-19 seasons in maxing out the number of times an alternate or throwback uniform can be worn in the NFL each season.
It’s unclear at this time which games will feature the throwback uniforms, as Atlanta doesn’t typically announce its uniform schedule until the weeks leading up to the season.
The same goes for the fate of the gradient uniforms, which could make their return in 2024 or never see the light of day again. Meanwhile, we’re still wondering what happened to the red pants that were also unveiled in 2020.