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Proposed NFL Rule Changes Would Allow Color Rush Opt-Out, Eliminate One-Shell Rule

NFL owners will be meeting next week to vote on a slew of proposed rule changes, bylaw adjustments, and more, ranging from the momentous (the Raiders’ possible move to Las Vegas) to the minor (the Competition Committee wants to reduce the length of preseason overtime periods from 15 minutes to 10 minutes). And buried within the list of proposals are two uni-related items that, if passed, could have a major impact on the game’s look.

The one that’s getting most of the attention so far, because it basically qualifies as low-hanging fruit, is that Washington has proposed amending the NFL Constitution and Bylaws — specifically Article XIX, Sections 19.8(B) and 19.9(B) — to permit teams to opt out of the Color Rash program. Here’s the text of their proposal:


Amend Article XIX, Sections 19.8(B) and 19.9(B) of the Constitution and Bylaws to read (new language underlined, deleted language struck through):

Choice of Game Uniform
19.8 (A) Subject to the provisions of subsection (B) hereof and at the option of the home club, the visiting team in all preseason and regular season games shall wear the colors awarded to such team under Section 19.9, and the home team shall wear white. In the event that the colors of the visiting team conflict with the white worn by the home team, the visiting team shall wear other colors approved by the Commissioner. The provisions of this Section shall also apply to the Divisional Playoff games, Conference Championship games, and to the Super Bowl game.

(B) Provided written approval is obtained from the applicable television network of the home club prior to September 1st in any year, neither club in any preseason or regular season game shall be required to wear white jerseys, but shall be permitted to wear the colors awarded to their respective clubs, provided that each participating club shall have the option to elect to wear its traditional colors rather than uniform colors determined pursuant to 2014 Resolution BV-2. The same provisions shall likewise apply to the Divisional Playoff games, Conference Championship games, and to the Super Bowl game, provided such permission is received from the applicable television network before 5:00 p.m., New York time on the Tuesday preceding the playing of such game.

Conflicting Club Colors
19.9 (B) The home club shall have the option of deciding whether the visiting club shall wear white jerseys or shall wear the colors awarded to the visiting team in any League game, regular season or preseason. The home club is obligated to give written notice to the visiting club and to the Commissioner of its decision on the colors of the jerseys to be worn by the visiting club, which notification must be given by July 1st of the year in which the game is scheduled to be played. If either participating club fails to conform to the jersey colors designated for such game, then there shall be an automatic fine against the offending club of $5,000, which sum shall be payable to the League office; provided, however, that there shall be no discipline imposed upon a club that elects not to utilize the jersey colors designated pursuant to 2014 Resolution BV-2. Despite the foregoing, in the event that the colors of the participating teams as so designated are in conflict for a League game, regular season or preseason, the Commissioner shall have the right to designate the traditional colors to be used by the competing teams in such game.

Submitted by Washington

Effect: Permits clubs to opt out of the “color rush” jerseys created for Thursday Night Football.

Reason: Garish uniforms.

The great thing about that, of course, is the rimshot at the end — “Reason: Garish uniforms.” Never thought I’d be saying these words, but let the record show that I’m saying them: Nicely done, Dan Snyder.

In case you’ve forgotten, teams were permitted to opt out of the Color Rash program during its first season, 2015. Last year, though, it became mandatory for all Thursday-night games. Washington opted out in 2015 and didn’t have a Thursday-night game in 2016 (they were slated to go mono-yellow), so they’ve avoided the Rash up until now, and Snyder apparently wants to keep it that way.

Naturally, I’d love to see Washington’s proposal pass, although my hunch is that it will fail, if only because NFL owners tend to value solidarity over individuality.

Leaving aside the proposed rule change, it’s interesting to see that the default uniform format, as spelled out in the bylaws, is for the home team to wear white (but with the home team having the option to change that). I always thought it was simply the home team’s choice, without any predetermined default option. Interesting!

The other uni-related item on next week’s agenda, which so far has gotten a bit less attention but actually has the potential to have a much great visual impact, is that the Eagles have proposed doing away with the one-shell rule. Here’s the text of their proposal:


Amend the NFL’s On-Field Policy (2016 Game Operations Manual, pgs. A46-A47, C (2), Miscellaneous Uniform Areas-Third Uniforms) to read (new language underlined, deleted language struck through):

C. Miscellaneous Uniform Areas
(2) Third Uniforms ”” Each club is permitted to wear a League-approved third uniform and helmet for up to two (2) regular season games (home or away), and must submit its selection(s) to the NFL Football Operations department by July 1, along with all other jersey color designations for the upcoming season.

Only current, primary helmets may be used as part of a third uniform. Alternate helmets are not permitted. Alternate helmets are permitted to be worn only with the League-approved third uniform or its Thursday Night Football uniform, and must conform to all safety standards applicable to the club’s primary helmets. Additionally, Cclubs are permitted to change the color of facemasks for either its alternate/throwback uniform or its Thursday Night Football uniform. Please refer to the Uniform Policy on page A39 for more information.

A visiting team may only wear a third uniform if the jersey color is of sufficient contrast to the home team’s jersey color, as determined by the NFL Football Operations department.

Third uniforms can only be worn for regular season games scheduled on Sunday afternoons and which are played in stadiums in the United States in any week prior to the start of “flexible scheduling.” Third uniforms cannot be worn in the preseason or postseason.

Any requests for an exception to the Third Uniform policy must be submitted in writing to the NFL Football Operations department by July 1 of that year.

Submitted by Philadelphia Eagles

Effect: Permits clubs to have an alternate helmet in a color to match their third uniform.

Reason: Current rule is unnecessarily restrictive; by our equipment manager’s estimate, players at certain positions can go through 15-20 helmets per season and players regularly switch helmets during the game (e.g., helmet breaks, player with C2P components needs to switch to helmet without C2P components).

A few thoughts on this one:

•  Some Eagles blogs are speculating that this proposal must mean the Iggles want to bring back some kelly green throwbacks. That’s good news, relatively speaking (the kelly throwbacks would certainly be better than the current BFBS alternates), but of course it would be better if they’d go with kelly as their primary color, not just as a throwback.

•  I love that the Eagles cited their equipment manager when explaining why the rule should be changed. Their equipment guy, Greg Delimitros, was named co-winner of the league’s equipment manager of the year award just two days ago, so his voice should carry some authority. Adding alternate helmets would actually make his job harder (more helmets to maintain, more gear to keep track of, etc.), so it’s interesting to see that he went to bat for this proposal.

•  If adopted, this rule change would strike a middle ground between the NFL’s current helmet policy and the free-for-all that we see at the college level, because (a) teams would be allowed only one alternate helmet, and (b) the alternate helmet would be permitted to be worn only as part of an alternate uniform, not as a mix-and-match option with the primary unis.

Does this one have a chance of passing? It may come down to whether the two advisory panels that came up with the one-shell rule — the Head, Neck, and Spine Committee and the Player Safety Advisory Panel — are willing to change their positions on the matter. (For a refresher course on the one-shell rule, look here.) I’d like to see this one passed, if only so we can get Pat Patriot and Bucco Bruce back on the field, although I worry about some of the alternate designs Nike might come up with.

Speaking of Nike, imagine how they must feel about these two proposals. They must hate the one that would allow teams to opt out of Color Rash, but they’re probably champing at the bit to get the one-shell rule tossed out.

One additional note: If you look toward the bottom of each proposal, you’ll see that the first one was “Submitted by Washington” and the second one was “Submitted by Philadelphia Eagles.” Just so you know, those are both direct quotes from the NFL’s official PDF that lists all the proposed changes. In other words, I didn’t omit Washington’s team name there — the NFL did. (Update: Reader/commenter Matt points out that all of the proposals throughout the PDF are attributed to the city name — except for the Eagles’ proposals, where the city and team names are both used. So the Eagles attribution is the anomaly here.)

The NFL owners will have their annual meetings on Sunday through Wednesday. It’s not clear, at least to me, on which day they’ll be voting on these proposals.

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New chariot wanted: Do you live in the NYC area? Do you have a used car you’re looking to sell? Do you get a vicarious thrill from the thought that some of the road trips described on this very website might be taken in a vehicle that you used to own?

If you answered yes, yes, and yes, then we should talk. After an unprecedented string of money-pit mishaps (don’t ask), I’ve determined that it’s time to put the official Uni Watch buggy out to pasture and get myself a new set of wheels. Like most people, I find the prospect of shopping for a car stressful; unlike most people, I have a decent-sized readership I can reach out to. So here we are.

I’m looking for a four-door compact. A Nissan Sentra, a Honda Civic, a Ford Focus, a Toyota Corolla — something along those lines. Nothing fancy. I would also consider a two-door, although it’s not my first choice. Ideally, the car would be three to five years old and have no more than 40,000 miles on it (less would be better, obviously). Color-wise, it would be a nice bonus if the car could be green, but that’s not a necessity, as long as it’s not you-know-what. I’m prepared to pay cash.

If you have a car that fits the bill, drop me a line. Thanks.

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The Ticker
By Paul

Baseball News: The Daytona Tortugas — that’s the Reds’ high-A affiliate — will wear Craig Sager tribute jerseys on July 21 (from Jay Stencil). … The A’s are offering new A’s caps to fans willing to trade in their Giants caps (from Chris Cruz). … In a related item, a Muni stop in San Francisco is topped by a giant A’s cap (thanks, Brinke). … The Orioles have had lots of really great graphics over the years. This isn’t one of them (from Andrew Cosentino). … The Corpus Christi Hooks will wear 1975 fauxbacks for Friday home games this season (from Matt Campbell). … New home pinstripes for Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (from Chris Mycoskie).

Pro and College Football News: As noted in today’s lede, Eagles equipment manager Greg Delimitros has been named co-winner of the NFL’s Whitey Zimmerman Equipment Manager of the Year Award. The other co-winner was Allen Wright of the Chiefs. The award is named for Whitey Zimmerman, who was the Falcons’ equipment manager from 1966 to 1994. Check out the trophy helmet that Delimitros received (from @cDubya242). … If you scroll down to the end of this column, you can see how some idiot at USA Today thinks the NFL can be improved by the addition of uniform ads (from Denver Gregg). … Here’s a video of Georgia players receiving their spring jerseys.

Hockey News: Back in January, reported that the Devils would likely be getting new uniforms next season. Now the team has set up a website to drive season ticket sales, and the site sort of implies a change back to green trim, plus reader Morgan Doninger says he got a promo email that included a lot of green. Then again, the story said the team would not be going back to green. Hmmmmm.

NBA News: This is pretty awesome: The “MH” waistband logo on Heat C Hassan Whiteside’s white shorts is upside-down, forming his initials — HW! Unfortunately, his black shorts have the conventional logo, and the Heat’s red shorts have a completely different graphic (good spot by David Clements). … The Spurs and Grizzlies went camo vs. blue last night in San Antonio (from Zach Loesl).

Soccer News: What will Louisville City FC soon have in common with the Boston Celtics? Both teams will have GE as a jersey sponsor advertiser.(from Andrew Ruble). … New 150th-anniversary kit for Sheffield Wednesday (from Patrick Barnett).

Grab Bag: A boxing memorabilia collector is suing Sotheby’s, because he says some Muhammad Ali collectibles he bought are bogus (from @GKG_77). … American Airlines is making new uniforms available to flight attendants who said the previous unis were causing skin irritations. … In a related item, a small note at the bottom of this article indicates that Alaska Air will have new employee uniforms designed by fashion designer Luly Yang in mid-2019. … A new law in France makes it illegal for children under 12 to ride a bicycle without a helmet.

Comments (72)

    NFC East comes up big in Uni-Watch land. Giving the Eagles the benefit of the doubt with the number of helmets certain players go through a season/game times the other 31 teams just indicates what a farce the one-shell/one-helmet rule has been. The cynic in me tends to think that rule was more promulgated by NFL properties (we can’t market alt helmets so let’s find a way to eliminate them) than safety experts. The same safety experts who would have no issue with the league playing 18 games a year plus pre-season.

    The cynic in me tends to think that rule was more promulgated by NFL properties (we can’t market alt helmets so let’s find a way to eliminate them) than safety experts.

    Let’s please leave conspiracy theorizing to other corners of the internet and stick to what we know. Thanks.

    Its not unusual to hypothesize a reason behind pro sports policies on here. I dont see why Hank’s idea is much different. If anything, he shares a hypothesis that is highly circulated and believed by many, marketing played a larger role than what was let on.

    There is a difference between plausible hypothesizing and groundless conspiracy theorizing. Let’s please not engage in the latter. Thanks.

    “If you scroll down to the end of this column, you can see how some idiot at USA Today thinks the NFL can be improved by the addition of uniform ads”
    Resorting to name calling for a difference of opinion is inappropriate and you should be ashamed of yourself.

    In F1, they passed a rule a couple of years ago where deivers must use the same helmet design for all season. Exceptions were allowed for Monaco (due to its importance) and the drivers home Grand Prix to have alternates.
    The main reason given was that F1 wanted viewers to be able to recognize the drivers with their helmets easily. Mostly because Vettel was popping a new design every race.

    Considering the amount of merchandise the NFL has available with Pat the Patriots, Buck Bruce, and etc I highly doubt that league marketers were behind their elimination.

    If ya got different helmet variations, that’s more merch to sell. Plain and simple economics, and we know how important that is to the NFL.

    Hope they get rid of that stupid one-helmet rule. Wish they would expand it further to allow a team to have a home/away (or more appropriately primary/alternate) helmets to go along with the uniforms, in addition to one that may be a throwback design/color. The CFL let’s teams do this. More flexibility would be great. Imagine a Falcons red helmet as part of their standard repertoire, or Jacksonville being able to have one black helmet and one gold one, instead of both mashed horribly into one lol. Lots of possibilities .

    With a two shell rule, the Seahawks can bring back the Blue and silver…10x better than their highlighter green

    Paul, don’t forget to say, “Show me the CarFax.”

    (I hate those commercials. I mostly don’t care for the fox himself. His shirt is too tight.)

    It accentuates his muscles. Nobody wants a slovenly fox pushing car history reporting.

    Hey man, I just bought a Kia Soul last year and it’s been awesome. It gets over 30 miles to the gallon. 4 door. Looks tiny and silly but it’s very practical. I can fit 2 guitars, a full PA system and a dog in it. I call it the Tardis for this reason. Haha. Also they are very affordable. Check them out.

    I’m a fan of Kias, myself. I’ve had a Spectra going on 10 years this summer, still gets 29-31 mpg (though most of my driving is hwy). Forte is the current model that replaced the Spectra a few years back. My sister has a Soul & seems to enjoy it.

    Do you think the equipment manager of the year is cringing at how that chipstrap is attached?

    And the font used on the side of the helmet is almost illegible. Poor guy wins a prestigious award, and anyone standing more than five feet away from it won’t be able to read the inscription.

    Paul, any way you can link to past discussions of the one-helmet rule to head off the inevitable comments (like the first of the day) with subject matter that has been covered many, many times previously? This seems to be work fairly well with other well-worn topics (e.g., Native American imagery). It’s also a good recollection-refresher for those of us who have “been there” before.

    If you’re wondering why GE is advertising on both the Boston Celtics and the Louisville City FC uniforms, it turns out that it is actually two different companies. GE is in the process of moving their headquarters from Connecticut to Boston. Last year they sold GE Appliances subsidiary (which is based in Louisville) to Haier, and it is GE Appliances, not GE who is advertising on Louisville City’s jersey. Interesting that Haier apparently acquired the rights to continue to use the GE name and logo.

    Haier’s reputation is not great. GE Appliances’ reputation was probably the most valuable part of the acquisition.

    Interesting that the Eagle award h r let looks like the throwback. .. even down to the grey mask….

    I noticed that too. Interesting that the request needs to be approved by the TV network in subsection B. I would have thought the league would handle all approvals.

    Actually it looks like the possibility of color-on-color was already in the original rule. That part wasn’t changed by Snyder. Kinda makes you wonder why we haven’t seen it more often.

    New helmet design based on rams…No not those Rams. The animal… Ugly design, but I guess it’s like my mom always told me. It’s not about looks.


    I recall the last time that Paul was looking for a car and was pleased to find a green sedan. Time flies . . . .

    That was in the spring of 2007. I’ve had my green Mitsubishi for just shy of a decade now. But it’s been telling me, in various ways, that it’s time to let go.

    This USA Today writer is completely off base to say no one would complain about ads on NFL uniforms. He’s a complete fool if he thinks they would reduce the number of commercials if they put ads on uniforms. They would do this in addition to the commercials, not in place.

    “… it doesn’t look that bad.” I’m guessing the article writer hasn’t seen the Nets’ ad patch yet.

    I agree with Rick. Uni ads would not reduce commercials. No way a league or network gives back the revenue stream they get from the commercial slots they get. They certainly seem to believe wholeheartedly in the Ferengi First Rule of Acquisition: “Once you have their money, you never give it back.” (Not to mention the Tenth Rule, “Greed is eternal.”)

    The point is, ladies and gentleman, that greed, for lack of a better word, is good. Greed is right, greed works. Greed clarifies, cuts through, and captures the essence of the evolutionary spirit. Greed, in all of its forms; greed for life, for money, for love, knowledge has marked the upward surge of mankind.-G.Gekko.

    PS. Blue Horseshoe loves Anacott Steel.

    Another fun find on eBay:


    A nice, timeless Mets jersey, right?

    Well, it looks ordinary enough, but check out that collar tag. The shirt is evidently not a size 40, but a 39 1/2!

    You almost never see odd numbers as shirt sizes, and you never, ever see sizes that have halves in them!

    Welcome to the big leagues, where your jersey fits because it’s tailor made for you. Especially before Majestic and mega brands churned out all the jerseys and dissuaded anything that would massively throw off the automated assembly lines.

    I thought when you said you were OK with a green car, you were referring to a Prius.

    Then I remembered your favorite color. Makes the rest of that sentence make more sense.

    I’m actually shocked at how hardy my wife’s Ford Focus has been. She bought it new in 2003 and its still going strong, 127,000 miles later. Glad you’re considering it along with the usual Hondas, Toyotas, etc. (I’d also look into Hyundai and Kia).

    I thought when you said you were OK with a green car, you were referring to a Prius.

    Ha! I’ll adjust the wording to eliminate any potential confusion.

    If the new rule permitting a different helmet designs were to pass, would it take a unanimous vote or majority by team owners?

    If it were to be Unanimous, could certain teams who’ve only ever worn one helmet (Browns, Texans, Miners) throw a wrench in the cogs and vote against it since it would create an unfair marketing advantage?

    Technically, the Niners have historically had silver, white, and red helmets, though they’ve never attempted to throw back to them, sticking with the gold helmets.

    Though, if they insist on wearing those God-awful black alternates again, I’m sure they’d love the chance to go full Darth Vader and introduce a black helmet.

    If you read the PDF linked to in the article, you’ll see that every proposal except one includes only the city of the team that submitted the proposal. The lone exception is the Eagles proposal to allow alternate helmets. In other words, this isn’t a case of the league leaving out only the ‘Skins name. Rather, the inclusion of “Philadelphia Eagles” was the departure from the norm in this case.

    I still firmly believe that if the NFL would just get rid of the discontinued helmet models and require players to wear only shells that are currently in production, that would go a long way to solving this issue. And if certain veteran players insist on wearing the older models, the league could do what the NHL did when they made helmets mandatory – have the players sign liability waivers.

    what if the Eagles zag (ala MBMBAM) and do this so they can have a black and white helmet to go with the black alts?

    My current car is a FoMoCo product (2010 Mercury Milan which is a cosmetic variation on Ford Fusion and Mazda 6). It has had more mechanical trouble than I would have hoped with two recalls and now some electrical glitches. On the other hand I had great luck with two previous Hyundais.

    My 2003 Focus is still going strong. In 14 years, besides normal wear items, I’ve only replaced an alternator and a thermostat housing. Hell, she still has her factory clutch.

    My wife loves her Elantra, though.

    These proposals would fix, or initiate fixing, the 2 most significant uni dilemmas in the NFL now, thankfully. Throwback unis for most teams have been sorely missed.
    Kill Color Rush, allow a second helmet –> Throwback Thursdays (except for the Texans, they should go with a new red or white helmet)
    I see this as a win/win for Nike (boohiss), but also for the NFL. Let’s hope they pass both, and Nike can stick to Throwbacks, not Throwaways. Color Rush will be laughable in a decaade or so, then we’ll grow fonder of it, then eventually it will die.

    Uniform ads wouldn’t shorten the games. They’d be in addition to the current ad breaks not instead of.

    NFL preseason games deservedly get a lot of crap for, among other things, the full-priced tickets, injuries, and low quality of play. But football is a game that requires a lot of coordination among all 11 players on the field, as well as more logistical things, like playcalling and substitutions. It’s difficult to simulate those things in practices. I think preseason games serve valuable purposes. The quality of play in early season games would certainly be worse without some preaseason games.

    Do other leagues get trashed like the NFL does for their preseasons?

    The power college teams just schedule a game or two against East Cupcake to start the season.

    Right. Also, preseason games serve the purpose of evaluating talent at positions where there is competition. So these games are certainly useful to teams; and there probably should be more than there currently are in order to adequately serve teams’ interests. When Paul and I were kids, there were six preseason games and 12 regular-season games.

    The thing that doesn’t matter in preseason games is the results. So, if a preseason game is tied after 60 minutes, you could just end it there. The game would still have fulfilled all of its functions.

    A bunch of those games were at neutral sites. I don’t know how many teams were confident enough to demand that their season ticketholders buy home exhibitions at full price back then.

    Now, every team plays two home exhibitions where coaches are increasingly loath to play valuable starters. (I can’t remember if Roethlisberger played one series or two all of last pre-season.) If they want to schedule more scrimmages, great; they can evaluate players against guys with different helmets. Just stop insisting that I pay to see future practice-squadders and construction workers for the privilege of watching real games later.

    >Do other leagues get trashed like the NFL does for their preseasons?<

    The other leagues are different, in part because they have minor leagues.

    The players you're seeing in preseason in the NHL and MLB who don't make the big league roster are often future stars, midseason callups, etc. They're players in the organization and its often worth seeing them.

    They also don't sell the preseason at full price.

    Mike, don’t ever mention Appalachian State again!

    Everybody who’s ever been associated with, or a fan of, the Michigan Wolverines program


    Let’s take it 2 steps further.

    I don’t see why any non-playoff football or hockey game needs overtime (but I’m both Canadian and had my childhood in the 1970s. I don’t have an aversion to ties).

    pre-1986 CFL didn’t have overtime.
    pre-1983/84 season for NHL.

    I’m completely against white-at-home jerseys. To me, you should wear your actual COLORS at home. The NHL got this right years ago and made the switch.

    Some in these parts would say that the NHL got it wrong, and they should be wearing white at home. Everyone’s entitled to their opinion, of course.

    The argument for white (or yellow in the Kings’ case at the time) at home (and the reason the NHL adopted it in 1970, after 15 seasons of officially having dark sweaters at home) is that home-team audiences get to see a greater variety of color matchups, as opposed to having the same dark jersey vs. primarily white jerseys most of the time. The NHL switched back due to the proliferation of the third-jersey program, so as to reduce the need for teams to pack two sets of jerseys, helmets, and socks for road trips just because one of their opponents wanted to wear their dark jersey at home.

    Some would argue that the league made the switch to drive sales of dark jerseys, but the fact is fans have their own preferences. I, for one, believe the Red Wings’ white jerseys are much better looking than their red ones, while I prefer the Canadiens’ rouge over their blanc.

    You’re forgetting about the fact some teams consider it an advantage to wear white at home at the beginning of the season in warmer weather.

    The Cowboys navy jersey is worn so little it should be considered an alternate. When I think of the Cowboys, I only picture the white jersey. It’s classic to me. I wouldn’t want them to be forced to wear the navy more often.

    The NFL needs to mandate color at home and white away. It’s as simple as that. Too bad for the Cowboys and their silly tradition. Hey Jerry, have someone design a decent looking color jersey set. And too bad to teams in warm cities, these are highly conditioned athletes. And you can always change your home color from black. I’m looking at you, Carolina.

    Hi. In the ticker, you mention the Devils of the NHL would have new uniforms next season and provided a link to a January 9 article. In the comments section on that link, there’s another link to a later dated article that says they won’t be.

    Kind of confusing. But I don’t think they’re changing uniforms, just that Adidas is taking over manufacturing of, and design of the actual jersey’s shape and hem-lines.

Comments are closed.