The NFL, like all big business these days, is all about its branding—the league as a whole and the franchises that it is comprised of.
And at the core of that brand is the teams’ aesthetic—its uniforms in particular.
As a result, we’ve seen a number of new looks rolled out over the past few seasons, both to the primary unis and in the form of throwbacks and one-offs—and it looks like 2023 is going to be no exception.
So… Without further ado, let’s check out the eight NFL teams that have announced big changes for this upcoming season.
Let’s start things off with—what I might consider to be the biggest announcement on this list—coming out of the desert in Arizona, where the Cardinals, for the first time since 2005, are going to donning some new laundry.
The new look was first unveiled back in April, at a private event in downtown Phoenix, and then to the rest of the public on social media.
At least the remaining Cardinals fans will have something to look forward to in what will likely be an extremely challenging 2023 season, considering that Kyler Murray is expected to miss most, if not all of the season, recovering from that ACL tear at the end of last year…
And the fact that there was a changing of the guard that decided it was high time for a mini-fire sale and rebuild combo, especially with their franchise QB on the sidelines.
Though there were some NFL fans trolling them for the changes… or lack thereof… there are some noticeable design changes, particularly the departure of the dual-colored jerseys and the absence of the under arm patches and interchangeable pants that long-accompanied them.
Instead, the Cards will be rocking three single-color unis—all designed in collaboration with Nike.
The team will wear an all read for home, all white for the road, and all black as an alternate… you know… for when the team is feeling frisky.
Beyond the white lettering across the chest of the red uniforms, there are a couple of neat nuances to the designs that may have slid past the casual observer.
In lieu of the wording across the chest, the Cardinals is on both sleeves of the jersey, between two thin red stripes that the team claims is a homage to past uniforms—and as a little bonus, inside the back collar of the black and white uniforms is lettered: “Bird Gang.”
All three pants have a similar design, again with the white and black mirroring each other’s minor differences from the red… And the primary helmet will still be white, but it was really dressed up this year, with silver sparkles and facemasks.
They also gave the Cardinal’s logo a facelift and resize.
The team also confirmed that there will be a similar black design that the Cards will wear with the rest of its alternate kit.
It may not be an exciting season on the gridiron for Cardinals fans, but at least there’s something to cheer about… even if it’s in the laundry room.
Next up, let’s visit the City of Brotherly Love, and check in on what the Philadelphia Eagles are cooking up.
The teams recently took to Twitter to announce that they are at long last bringing back their legendary, throwback Kelly Green jerseys for this upcoming season.
This one may shake loose some nostalgia from early 10s Eagles fans, who last saw a variation of the Kelly Green then, during Week 1 of the 2010 season, when Michael Vick burst back onto the scene against the Green Bay Packers.
That shade, however, was slightly lighter than the one announced for 2023 that is almost an exact replica of the jersey that the Eagles wore back in the mid 1980s, all the way through 1995, when it transitioned over to midnight green as its primary color.
Hopefully, the Philly Faithful is as excited about this one as Jeffery Lurie, the team’s owner, thinks they will be—because he explained following the announcement that the decision was made to bring back these unis for a throwback appearance based on popular demand.
I think the fans will love it. It’s why we’re bringing it back. We really took the feedback seriously over the years, and the first moment we could get the Kelly Green helmet approved, we’ll finally be able to see it on the field.”
AKA – Lurie hopes that this one will sell A LOT of jerseys!
Philly isn’t the only bird team out there bringing back a 90s-era throwback… Check out what has been brewing in Seattle!
The Seahawks recently announced that they are going to be breaking out the royal blue – neon green that franchise greats like former Defensive Player of the Year, Cortez Kennedy rocked on a weekly basis.
The reincarnation, however, is going to be on a one-week only basis—they announced that they will be wearing them during their Week 8 match-up with the Cleveland Browns.
Though the announcement was formally made in recent weeks on the team’s site – they actually teased that this was coming during the middle of their 2022 Week 12 match up against the Las Vegas Raiders.
And though it isn’t quite as dramatic as a Marvel movie teaser—I will give the Seahawks media team their due credit—because the video they put together was equal parts impressive and nostalgic.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
While they may not be bird teams… there were two other NFL teams, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Tennessee Titans, who have been rumored to be bringing back some iconic throwback unis for the 2023 season.
Starting with the former…
The Bucs are looking to bring back one—what I can only describe as one of the most vintage-looking designs on this entire list… The legendary creamsicle jerseys.
Instead of dropping the hint on the jumbotron like the Seahawks did last year—they did it the new-fashioned way—and took to social media and released an equally entertaining teaser, featuring Captain Fear, the team’s trusty mascot.
These uniforms were a were the organization’s featured color set from 1976 until 1996, which, admittedly weren’t the brightest days for the franchise… But that is no indictment on the unis themselves!
They made a handful of appearances in the time since, but we haven’t seen them since 2012 when the Bucs opted to go with a new design set with Nike.
But the franchise’s heart hasn’t drifted too far from the trusty creamsicles… and this has apparently been a long time coming, explained the team’s COO, Brian Ford:
“It’s very important to our fan base, as well as the Glazer family and our entire organization,” Ford said last June about the uniforms returning. “We love to kind of reminisce and play some ’70s and ’80s music and bring out the big pom-poms and the creamsicle. So it’s not a question of if, it’s just when, and we’ll definitely keep you posted.”
And here we are… Take that global supply chain! The creamsicles are back for more!
The Titans are rumored to be rolling out an alternate throwback from the days of the team’s old namesake—the Houston Oilers.
Although it is kind of tough to tell from their social media teaser—which was way more cryptic than any of the other announcements.
Luckily, we had team insider, Jim Wyatt, to bequeath a soft confirmation to the public on a Q&A on the team’s sight.
He took it a step further too, hinting at what game it was going to be in:
“As for the Oilers throwbacks, nothing has changed from what I’ve said previously. The plan is to wear them for a home game in 2023. The exact game is still TBD, but I’ve already said I suspect it will be for the game vs the Texans.”
Though Tennessee was definitely lacking in the announcement department, we will give them a little bit of extra credit for really sticking it to the city of Houston, who they stole their franchise from, by supposedly wearing them during their 2023 match-up.
Truly maniacal stuff!
Moving on from the throwback announcements, we’ve also seen a couple of teams, who’ve announced that they are going to unveil new helmet designs.
First off, the Detroit Lions, who are rolling out a flashy new design that also pays homage to the dinosaur of an organization’s history in honor of their 90th season!
And let me tell you—this entire announcement has me pumped.
Not only did the team announce it with a concise, yet electric promo video that put a spotlight on the city’s rich automotive history, by shooting the scene in a vintage Ford Mack 1, but it also gave a neat little head not to the 90th anniversary with the air freshener hanging from the car’s rearview mirror and the duffle bag from which the new helmet was revealed.
And this announcement wasn’t all sizzle no steak—as they say… because it also featured one of the best designs that I’ve seen in some time.
It has a classic logo on it that dates back to the 1960s and a phenomenal color combination. The gray matte facemask and that electric shade of blue, which, fun fact has never been worn in the NFL before, contrast wonderfully!
The Lions are going to break these bad boys out twice in 2023, first against the Raiders on their October 30th Monday Night Football showdown and to close out the year in Week 18 against the Minnesota Vikings. Both times it will be paired with their all-gray alternate unis.
Don’t be shocked if we see these on a more regular basis even after the 90th birthday party is over—because these things are top of the line!
Now… on to the Denver Broncos, who we most pre-emptively apologize to—because whatever announcement had to follow the Lions was going to have the chips stacked against it…
But nevertheless… The Broncos are bringing out some new helmets too—it just isn’t exactly clear what these helmets are going to look like because the team is being bizarrely mysterious about it.
Which, only further makes them a wet blanket on the flames of that new Lions helmet… But I digress.
The team has made two motions to signal that this new design will be coming this season in one form or another.
First, was a statement from a high-ranking Broncos executive, Team President Damani Leech.
“As you know, the league changed that policy a couple years ago, allowing teams to have more flexibility with helmets,” Leech said at the league’s Annual Meeting. “That’s something we’re definitely exploring. We do have the possibility of doing it this year, so we’re exploring that as well.”
They did, however, put their social media integrity on the line—with the promise that something is coming…
So, it is safe to assume that they will try something… I suppose it just remains to be seen what that is! It will have to be something truly elite to compete with what Detroit has cooked up in the helmet department.
Last—and, well, least—if you ask me… We have the Carolina Panthers, who are tuning up their jerseys.
While it isn’t always the case—there is a bonafide reason that we saved this one for last… I mean, you know that an announcement is rather meh when the headline on the team’s site reads: Panthers jersey color changing slightly.
Can it get more boring than that?
Even the team’s PR team couldn’t feign excitement about it.
I mean, the first sentence of the press release states that it’s “not a dramatic change, and perhaps not one most people will even notice.”
But we had to honor our duty to report on all of the prospective NFL uni changes heading into the 2023 season…
Alas, here we are talking about the “color correction,” something I didn’t know was a thing, that Nike is doing along with its shift in “uniform technology,” which for those wondering is a shortening of the shoulder stripe that stops it short of crossing over into the armpit and is supposed to increase mobility.
On the color correction front—it is just a minor adjustment because when Nike took over the NFL uniform production in 2012, they had to use an imperfect match to the Panthers’ color scheme because they didn’t have their traditional blue in their color book.
Why they couldn’t just add it to the book then—is beyond me! But for any lunatic Panthers fans that have been driven mad by the inconsistencies—your day of reckoning has finally arrived!
Which NFL uniform announcement are you most excited about? Which do you think is the worst?
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