Yesterday, reports surfaced that the NFL was planning to change the rules governing its Thursday night football games and the outfits worn during the contests: According to NFL Network's Mike Garafolo, the league is looking into no longer making the so-called color rush uniforms exclusive to Thursday night and – pending a vote from the NFL's 32 owners – other tweaks to the uniform policy.
In general, color rush uniforms were a neat idea by the NFL to try to make a product better that clearly did and does not live up to the entertainment standards the league has been trying to set for itself. Or to put differently: If primetime games on Sunday and Monday are regular Coca Cola, Thursday nighters are the no-sugar version. All three very much look the same but once you've tasted the latter, you know the difference.
Chances are, you don't like that difference, so the league tried to spice it up a little by introducing its color rush uniforms in 2015. One year later, teams were mandated to wear them when playing their Thursday games. Now, this mandate appears to be on its way out of the rule book again – alongside other changes to the policy, as Garafolo notes.
While it remains to be seen how those changes will look like, there is a consensus among fanbases all over the country about how they should look like: The NFL should alter its current rules regarding helmet use and helmet coloring; rules that currently prohibit teams like the New England Patriots or the Philadelphia Eagles from wearing their throwback uniforms.
The current set of rules was introduced in 2013 and – based on a recommendation by two of the league's advisory panels – prohibits teams from changing helmets during the season. The belief is that switching back and forth increases the risk for injury, at least according to the NFL's experts (who apparently see the issue differently than those getting paid by the NCAA). Using throwbacks that come with differently colored helmets are therefore a violation of this rule.
Ever since it was introduced, the rule has been a topic of discussion. Last year, the Eagles even proposed a change that would allow teams to wear alternate helmet colors during the season. It did not pass but it sounds like the idea is gaining some potential momentum again – and rightfully so: The NFL, unless it has incontrovertible medical evidence to the contrary, should allow teams to whip out their throwbacks once again.
Would they make Thursday night games any better? From a football-quality perspective not. However, some if not most areas of the country – New England being one of them – would certainly welcome a “Throwback Thursday” over the color rush mania that never swept the nation. It is time to bring back the throwback!