Rule change could help Cowboys bring back throwback jerseys

Tony Romo, Dallas Cowboys (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
Tony Romo, Dallas Cowboys (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images) /

This offseason the NFL has already made one big change by adding a 17th game onto the schedule. Another rule change is on the table as the league mulls a proposal that would loosen some of the restrictions around players’ jersey numbers.

However, one change that could be debated this offseason that would quite literally be great to see, would be the elimination of the NFL’s so-called “one helmet” rule. This change would allow the Dallas Cowboys to bring back their old fan favorite throwback jerseys, the ones they used to break out on Thanksgiving Day for the better part of a decade.

The one helmet rule has been in effect since 2013 and was designed to limit the number of helmets that a team uses in a given year. The thought behind it was that since new helmets can be dangerous before they’re properly worn in, players and teams were safer by sticking to one helmet.

While the rule doesn’t stop teams from slapping a new decal on an existing helmet, it does prevent them from using a new helmet shell. Ultimately, as many team’s throwback jerseys include helmets that are largely different from their current ones, the rule ended up preventing many teams from wearing their fan’s favorite retro uniforms.

Changing the one helmet rule should be a no-brainer for the NFL

From a business standpoint, the rule change feels like a no-brainer for the league, though reportedly there has been no decision made on it quite yet. However, it’s worth noting that if there is one thing professional sports teams love it’s being able to bring in extra revenue through the introduction and sale of more jerseys.

At the end of the day, the league is a business and team owners want to make as much money as possible. Even though you can still buy some team’s throwbacks in their pro shop online (sometimes even with current players’ names and numbers on them who have never worn them), the fact that many teams can’t really wear their throwbacks on Sunday afternoons lessens their visibility and undercuts the ability for teams to make more money.

Renewed interest in repealing the rule started way back in March of 2020 when, in conversation with Dan Patrick, Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians said that the helmet rule would be changing next season (2021) and the Bucs might bring back their creamsicle jerseys.

Arians optimism or possible slip depending on how you want to look at it is a nice reminder that if the league changes this rule it would allow teams to start cycling in some new jerseys and helmets into the uniform rotation. Tennessee Titans’ All-Pro running back Derrick Henry also chimed in recently, saying that he’d rather the league allow throwback helmets and jerseys as opposed to changing players’ number rules.

The Dallas Cowboys should bring back their throwbacks as soon as they can

Unlike some teams that seemingly rebrand every five years, the Dallas Cowboys’ jerseys have remained relatively unchanged all things considered. Sure there have been some tweaks here and there, but by and large, the changes that they’ve made have been just that, tweaks.

For a team that’s going to be playing their 61st season this year, it’s actually pretty remarkable how little things have changed actually. They do, however, have one throwback jersey that could and would be a welcome addition back into the team’s uniform rotation if the league reverses the aforementioned rule.

In 2004 the Cowboys threw it back to their original attire and introduced a uniform inspired by the first jerseys the team ever wore back in 1960. They redonned the blue jerseys with white sleeves that had a blue star on the shoulder, as well as their white pants with blue stripes.

The look was complete with what feels like an immediately classic white helmet with two blue stripes down the center and the iconic blue star on each side. They ended up rocking these uniforms at least once a season on Thanksgiving and sometimes more depending on the year.

I won’t lie to you, the Dallas Cowboys’ former throwback jerseys have a special place in my heart and for my money, they might even be the best uniforms in team history. There is admittedly some nostalgia as I have some great Thanksgiving memories growing up eating turkey while watching the ‘boys play in these jerseys later on that afternoon.

In fact, I still have quite a few hanging in my closet that I throw into my own Sunday rotation. Heck, even though the Cowboys haven’t worn them in years, you can still actually buy these in the team’s own store online.

I was never a fan of the “color rush” trend that the NFL tried to institute, and would much rather see the team bring the Thanksgiving Day uniforms back.  Of course, there are some other great candidates too. Notably, the 75th-anniversary jerseys that the Cowboys originally wore in 1994 and for a few more games in subsequent years spring to mind.

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The Dallas Cowboys have some of the most iconic jerseys in the history of football and for that matter, professional sports. There is truly no need to mess with them. However, if the league announces the removal of the one helmet rule, the team should definitely take any opportunity they can to break out their throwback jerseys.