NFL alternate helmet roundup: Cardinals join in on the black helmet trend

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Black is the new black. In the NFL, at least.

The NFL has signaled the green light for teams to play with alternate helmets in addition to their alternate uniforms this season. The rule change announced in 2021 reverses a years-long policy prohibiting multiple helmets under the heading of player safety.

Now teams don't have to mix and match their throwback threads with their contemporary lids. Several teams have announced new helmets this offseason, with some like the New England Patriots bringing back fan-favorite retro options. Others, meanwhile, are going decidedly dark. Whatever the route, it makes marketing sense for teams to stir up interest in the offseason while providing yet another gear offering for fans with disposable income.

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Here's a look at the teams that will play with alternate helmets for select games in the 2022 season.

Cardinals go 'galactic black'

The Arizona Cardinals joined the blackout party by announcing "galactic black" helmets with "red granite flecks" on July 24. Quarterback Kyler Murray introduced the helmets alongside J.J. Watt and Budda Baker in his first public act for the Cardinals since signing a $230 million extension.

The Cardinals will wear the new helmets in three games this season.

DETROIT, MICHIGAN - DECEMBER 19: Kyler Murray #1 of the Arizona Cardinals smiles before a game against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field on December 19, 2021 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images)
Kyler Murray has a new contract -- and a new helmet -- for 2022. (Emilee Chinn/Getty Images)

Bears go orange

The Bears also announced new helmets on July 24, but took a decidedly different route than the Cardinals. They're avoiding the throwback look as well. Instead, they'll bring the trim from their standard gear to the forefront and go decidedly look-at-me with bright orange lids.

They'll be paired with matching orange jerseys that will surely stand out in Oct. 13 and Oct. 30 matchups against the Washington Commanders and Dallas Cowboys.

White tiger to debut in Cincinnati

It's a new era of winning in Cincinnati. The Bengals are not shy about it. They announced on July 22 the long-awaited debut of the white bengal tiger look.

The helmets will presumably be paired with white uniforms to complete the look. When they'll debut isn't clear. Joe Burrow and Ja'Marr Chase will surely make them look good when they do.

Jets go stealth mode

The Jets announced black matte helmets for the 2022 season that will be adorned by a dark green Jets logo that could prove hard to detect from a distance. If so, it will align with the stealth fighter jet theme they're going for. They'll wear them on Oct. 30 against the Patriots, Nov. 27 against the Bears and Dec. 22 against the Jaguars.

Eagles balk at kelly green

The Eagles passed on the chance to throw back to the Randall Cunningham kelly greens in favor of a considerably less interesting shiny black helmet to pair with black uniforms. Why? The Eagles won twice while wearing black in 2021. It's an uninspired choice and a missed opportunity.

The good news is that kelly green will make its return in 2023.

Cowboys call back 60s

The Dallas Cowboys are going decidedly retro in what was likely an easy decision at the Star. On July 21, they announced the return of the white shell helmet with a blue star and stripes associated with the Don Meredith-quarterbacked teams of the 1960s.

They'll presumably be paired with matching white and blue throwback uniforms and featured for their Thanksgiving game against the New York Giants.

Giants throw back to LT days

Speaking of the Giants, they're likewise going the throwback route, just a little more modern. They invited Lawrence Taylor to reintroduce the classic blue uniforms and "Giants"-inscribed helmets associated with the franchise's 1980s and early 90s glory days that saw them claim two Super Bowl victories under Bill Parcells. Good call. They'll wear them on Oct. 2 against the Bears and Dec. 4 against the Commanders, two other franchises associated with the era.

Panthers go black, naturally

The Carolina Panthers are jumping on the dark train, introducing an all-black helmet and jersey combo for the 2022 season. The look makes the most sense here since they're the Panthers and all. They'll debut for a Thursday night home game against the rival Atlanta Falcons on Nov. 10.

Texans revel in red

The Texans don't have much history to throw back to — they didn't debut until 2002. So they're going with a modern look including bright red helmets that the franchise describes as its "most significant uniform change." The Texans are calling the look "Battle Red," and they'll don it on Nov. 3 against the Philadelphia Eagles.

New England revives Pat Patriot

Given the opportunity, the Patriots made the simple and obviously correct decision. Like the Cowboys and Giants, They went throwback. Pat Patriot is back, to the delight of a fanbase that's been thoroughly spoiled since he was initially retired.

The Patriots are bringing back the white helmets adorned by the Pat Patriot logo to pair with classic red uniforms. The gear represents a darker pre-Brady/Belichick era of New England football that isn't associated with winning. It remains beloved nonetheless. New England didn't initially announce which dates Patriot Pat will make his return.

Saints all in on black trend

Like much of their NFL brethren, the New Orleans Saints are using their new-found freedom to adopt black helmets. It's an obvious if not-that interesting choice that fits in naturally with their gold-and-black color scheme. The alternative — some sort of purple/yellow/green king-cake monstrosity — wouldn't be pretty.

Falcons look way back to red helmets

The Falcons are taking the throwback route as far back as they can. On Oct. 16 against the San Francisco 49ers, the Falcons will don red helmets that date back to the franchise's 1966 debut season. The Falcons are most associated with the all-black look adopted during the early 1990s Jerry Glanville-era. But old-school fans watched them wear red for decades. The red lids will pair nicely with throwback black jerseys from the 60s.

Commanders obviously don't go throwback route

The Washington Commanders revealed their alternate black helmets featuring jersey number logos way back in February when they revealed that they're the Commanders. Like most everything else associated with the reboot, they're fine. They avoided a throwback look for obvious reasons.