The NFL wizards of marketing have approved a rule change for the 2022 season.
Each team can introduce an alternate or throwback helmet.
The NFL approved alternate helmets for teams wearing throwback uniforms starting in 2022, per @adamschefter
Who else do you wanna see? 👀 pic.twitter.com/QD3CVdJKBX
— B/R Gridiron (@brgridiron) June 24, 2021
Teams like the Philadelphia Eagles, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and New England Patriots have changed their helmet colors and styles over the past few years so this change is a bigger deal for those franchises.
For the Cleveland Browns, a throwback helmet is not a substantive change from the contemporary helmet.
Browns Helmets Over The Years
Christmas Eve 1988 the Houston Oilers played the Cleveland Browns in a Wild Card game @ Cleveland Stadium. 1985-88- Four straight seasons the Browns made the playoffs- Christmas holidays-family-Browns playoffs- Cold beverages- great memories. Ready for new memories pic.twitter.com/QTBCSH7I4t
— Tom Brunswick (@tom_brunswick) December 24, 2020
The Browns helmet has remained unchanged throughout the years with one subtlety included in the late 1950s.
For select games from 1957-1960, the Cleveland Browns wore numbers on the side of their helmets. They used this from '06-'08 as a throwback. pic.twitter.com/wEq8Gma8Vv
— 216 Sports History (@History_Cle) November 27, 2016
Could the Browns use this opportunity to put the numbers on the helmets and call it a throwback?
Maybe, but they could be up to something else given that it is the 75th anniversary of the franchise.
A “New” Throwback Look
Another option is to create a new throwback.
The Browns can do this because they are introducing a special limited edition 75th anniversary jersey so pairing a helmet with it is a no brainer.
— BrownsTalk (@BrownsTalk2) June 25, 2021
If these leaked photos are any indication, it looks like that idea has already been executed.
The helmet is white and contains both orange and brown stripes.
It is unclear what the orange cursive handwriting says.
AFC North Is Not Materially Impacted
Given that the Baltimore Ravens are a newer franchise and the Pittsburgh Steelers have largely maintained the same helmet look over the years, this rule change does not impact the Browns opponents in the AFC North either.
The Bengals did go through about a decade from the late 1960s through the 1970s without the tiger stripes on their helmets.
Their helmets during that time have some similarities to the Browns helmets.
I need a game where my Cincinnati Bengals wear this as a throwback helmet. And I need it this season!!! pic.twitter.com/Os0zovIK0B
— Trevor Pitt (@Trevor_Pitt) August 12, 2019
Regardless, this helmet rule change adds a new element of fun to NFL games.
Fans enjoy the color rush and throwback uniforms so adding the helmet makes both sense and cents as NFL apparel and souvenir sales will increase.