NFL Color Rush

The NFL Color Rush was a promotion done in conjunction with the National Football League (NFL) and Nike that promotes so-called "color vs. color" matchups with teams in matchup-specific uniforms that are primarily one solid color with alternating colored accents, primarily airing on Thursday Night Football. Despite being promoted as color vs. color, some games had one team wearing traditional white uniforms, either by choice or out of necessity. The uniforms did not count against each team with regards to their allowed alternate uniform allotment. The games received mixed responses from fans, with some praising the NFL for changing up their games in terms of uniforms, while others criticized the promotion for some of its garish uniforms. The promotion was officially discontinued for the 2018 NFL season, but many teams continue to wear the Color Rush uniforms and promote them heavily, notably the Cleveland Browns and the Pittsburgh Steelers.

History of color vs. color matchups

Early years

In the early days of the NFL up through World War II, it was not uncommon to see teams wearing their team colored uniforms against each other, often only wearing a second jersey if the uniforms were too similar. Following the arrival of the rival All-America Football Conference where each team had both a team colored jersey and a white jersey, NFL teams began adding a white jersey as a neutral color to avoid color clashes. Again, this was only used if teams such as the Chicago Bears and the Green Bay Packers (the latter before the arrival of Vince Lombardi) played each other and had similar jersey colors. Additionally, NFL teams were not required to add a white jersey.

It would not be the AAFC (which partially merged into the NFL in 1950) that would change the status quo, but the mainstream adoption of television. Due to the technical limitations of TV, programming could only be broadcast in black and white, making it hard for fans to tell their teams apart. Out of necessity, starting with the 1957 NFL season, all teams were required to have both a team colored jersey and a white jersey, with the team colored jerseys being worn at home and white jerseys being worn at away games. This caused teams such as the Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions, Green Bay Packers, and Los Angeles Rams (none of which had a white jersey for the 1956 season[1]) to add a contrasting white jersey. In the Rams' case, it also forced the team to drop their gold jersey, as it was considered "too light" to wear against teams wearing white jerseys, replaced by blue jerseys. Other teams, such as the Cleveland Browns, that had worn white as their primary home uniform were also no longer allowed to wear those jerseys at home.

For the 1964 NFL season, the league allowed the home team to decide which jersey could be worn at home, which prompted many teams to wear their white jerseys at home so that fans could see the colors of the visiting team. With blackout policies not allowing the home games to be aired in home markets until 1973, this also meant that fans not attending games in person at times only saw the team's darker colored uniform on TV, which depending on the television they were watching may still be in black and white. Despite this rule change and the widespread adoption of color television by the end of the 1960s, the color/white rule generally remains in effect for the NFL even as college football relaxed its jersey rules in 2009.[2]

Leaguewide promotions

The NFL began to allow exceptions as part of leaguewide promotions, beginning with the league's 75th Anniversary season in 1994. For the first time, the NFL allowed teams to wear throwback uniforms and in some cases allowed color vs. color as long as the colors did not clash with each other.

Color vs. color matchups would continue for a time in the early 2000s, mostly on Thanksgiving games. In 2002, the league allowed alternate uniforms with some jerseys being allowed to be worn against a colored jersey if it was light enough. Examples included gray jerseys worn by the New England Patriots in the 2000s and the Seattle Seahawks of the present day, as well as a one-off gold alternate by the New Orleans Saints that was worn against the Minnesota Vikings in 2002.

In 2009, the NFL celebrated what would have been the 50th season of the American Football League by allowing each of the original eight AFL teams to wear AFL-era throwback uniforms. One of those teams, the Kansas City Chiefs, was granted special permission by the NFL to allow the visiting Dallas Cowboys to wear their early 1960s throwbacks against the Chiefs (wearing throwbacks of their predecessors, the Dallas Texans) in "The Game that Never Was". 2009 was also the year of the digital television transition in the United States, which rendered the remaining black-and-white television sets in the United States fully obsolete.

Launching the Color Rush

Initial rollout

For the 2012 NFL season, Nike replaced Reebok as the league's uniform supplier. As Nike had been the longtime supplier of the Oregon Ducks football team and used the Ducks as the team to start the trend of college football teams radically changing their uniforms on a regular basis, some had speculated that the NFL was about to follow college football's path, or at the very least one team becoming the "Oregon of the NFL". The Seattle Seahawks, Minnesota Vikings, Cleveland Browns, Jacksonville Jaguars, Miami Dolphins, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and Detroit Lions are the only teams to completely redesign their uniform since Nike took over, but none of them became the "Oregon of the NFL", with the Browns, Dolphins, and Vikings opting for more traditional styles. This was further subdued in 2013 when the NFL banned alternate helmets out of fears of concussions.

During the Packers annual shareholder meeting in 2015, the team nonchalantly mentioned that color vs. color matchups would be allowed as an option during Thursday Night Football contests in 2015, while becoming mandatory in 2016.[3] Initially, this belief thought teams would be allowed to wear their normal uniforms against each other or even their alternates. However, in a surprise, on October 30, 2015, the NFL announced the initial "Color Rush," a series of four Thursday contests in which all eight teams will wear specially designed alternate uniforms.[4][5]

Trial run

The initial rollout featured the Carolina Panthers and Tennessee Titans wearing their regular alternate uniforms (with the Panthers debuting "Carolina blue" pants), while the Dallas Cowboys revived their white "Double Star" uniforms from the mid-1990s (while debuting white pants) and the then-St. Louis Rams wore a yellow version of their 1973–99 throwbacks for the games. The other four teams involved wore all-new uniforms for the games:

  • The Buffalo Bills debuted all-red uniforms for the first time in team history, with red, white and blue shoulder stripes and blue-white-blue pants stripes. (In a minor inconsistency, the team's blue "charging buffalo" helmet logo was used, instead of the all-red "standing buffalo" the team uses on their throwback uniforms.)
  • The Jacksonville Jaguars wore all-gold uniforms, after an accent color on their uniforms.
  • The New York Jets, who wore kelly green from 1963–1997, wore their current uniforms in the kelly green color scheme, with their normally white sleeves also green and the middle shoulder stripe being the team's current shade of hunter green.
  • The Tampa Bay Buccaneers wore an all-red ensemble.

Full rollout

For the 2016 NFL season, it was expected that all 32 teams would now participate, with some teams eager to unveil their Color Rush uniforms. The Pittsburgh Steelers—one of the league's more conservative and tradition-bound teams with regards to uniforms—were the only team that did not participate in the 2015 Color Rush that revealed their Color Rush uniform style (but not revealing their uniform itself) before the leaguewide unveil, confirming that it wear all-black uniforms with gold numbers on Christmas Day against the Baltimore Ravens.[6] The team had planned on wearing a Color Rush uniform for its only Thursday Night match up against the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium, but opted for the home game on Christmas against its hated rival and will wear their standard road uniforms against the Colts. It was later announced that Thanksgiving games were exempt from the Color Rush promotion.

On September 13, 2016, the NFL and Nike unveiled the Color Rush uniforms for all 32 teams. The eight teams that participated in the Color Rush the year before will continue their uniforms while the Steelers had already announced theirs.[7][8] For 2016, the Jets, Browns, and Rams will wear their regular white uniforms (see below), while the Cardinals, Falcons, and Texans will also wear their regular white uniforms due to their opponents wearing similar Color Rush uniforms and their opponents being the home team. The Lions, Colts, and Redskins will not wear their Color Rush uniforms at all for 2016 due to Thanksgiving games being exempt and none of the three teams having other Thursday night games or (in the Steelers case) playing on Christmas Day.[9] The 2017 season also featured at least one team, the Buffalo Bills, wearing their Color Rush uniform on a Sunday afternoon game (coincidentally this game occurred during a lake-effect snowstorm which made the Bills players more visible than their opponents, the all-white wearing Indianapolis Colts).[10] The 2017 Pro Bowl also features the two conference all-star teams in solid red and blue colors respectively.

Discontinuation

On April 10, 2018, the league announced that Color Rush would be discontinued under the terms of the new Thursday Night Football broadcast contract. The exact terms of the discontinuation will be decided upon at the spring owners' meeting in May; tentative plans are for teams to be allowed to continue to use their existing Color Rush uniforms as standard third or fourth jerseys. Many teams during the 2018 season continued to wear their Color Rush uniforms during Thursday Nights, and the Browns, who were the last team to have worn their Color Rush uniform debuted theirs on September 20, 2018 in a 21-17 victory that was the Brown’s first win since the 2016 season. The Browns also debuted end zones painted with the stripe pattern found on their Color Rush jersey. [11]

Team by team

If Color Rush uniform is identical to an existing uniform, "First Use" in a Color Rush game is shown in italics.

Team First Use Times Used Color Numbers Detail Notes
Arizona Cardinals November 9, 2017 2 black red, white outline similar to existing black alternate with red panels on arms instead of white, different color numbers and black pants
Atlanta Falcons December 7, 2017 1 red black, white outline throwback style numbers, no striping, modern logo on sleeves
Baltimore Ravens November 10, 2016 2 purple gold, white outline
Buffalo Bills November 12, 2015 4 red white, blue outline First team to wear Color Rush on a Sunday
Carolina Panthers November 26, 2015 3 blue white, black outline
Chicago Bears October 20, 2016 2 navy blue white, orange outline regular navy blue jersey with navy pants normally worn with the white jerseys
Cincinnati Bengals September 29, 2016 3 white solid black black sleeves with shoulder tiger stripe pattern, black and white tiger stripes stripe on pants A nod to the white tiger. The Bengals themselves unveiled their Color Rush uniforms at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden.[12]
Cleveland Browns September 20, 2018 3 brown solid orange with different shoulder stripes and pants stripes Last team to wear Color Rush for the first time. One of the few teams that have won all of their games, while wearing the Color Rush uniforms.
Dallas Cowboys November 26, 2015 4 white blue, blue, silver and white outline blue sleeves, stars on shoulders
Denver Broncos October 13, 2016 3 orange white, blue outline throwback style, including helmet decal Worn again on November 28th, 2018 against the Pittsburgh Steelers
Detroit Lions December 16, 2017 3 grey white, Honolulu outline The team had all black color rush uniforms it never wore. The grey uniforms were unveiled along with a whole new set of uniforms in 2017.
Green Bay Packers October 20, 2016 3 white solid green essentially white pants with the regular white jersey; the team has continued to wear their Reebok-era design with few changes
Houston Texans September 14, 2017 1 navy blue solid red
Indianapolis Colts December 14, 2017 2 blue solid white essentially blue pants with the regular blue jersey
Jacksonville Jaguars November 19, 2015 2 gold white, teal outline
Kansas City Chiefs December 8, 2016 2 red white, yellow outline regular red jersey with red pants, has been worn on a few occasions in recent seasons
Los Angeles Chargers October 13, 2016 2 royal blue gold similar to Air Coryell-era uniforms but in current design template
Los Angeles Rams December 17, 2015 4 yellow blue identical style of throwback jersey, except yellow with dark blue detailing and numbers. For the 2016 game in which the team wore all-white, the team wore white ram's horns (as opposed to metallic gold) on their helmets, which were adopted for the team's standard uniform in 2017.
Miami Dolphins September 29, 2016 1 orange white, aqua blue outline white stripe on pants outlined in teal and marine blue in style of current uniforms
Minnesota Vikings December 1, 2016 1 purple gold with gold stripes and numbers
New England Patriots September 22, 2016 3 blue white, red outline with red-white-red Pat Patriot-era shoulder striping, and red-white-red stripes on pants The Patriots wore special white pants for Color Rush game against the Buccaneers. Also, the first team to wear their Color Rush Uniforms during a Sunday Night Game.
New Orleans Saints November 17, 2016 5 white gold throwback uniform, circa 1975 with gold numbers instead of black and no colored collar
New York Giants December 22, 2016 3 white blue, red outline essentially the 1980s and 1990s white uniform with "GIANTS" script on helmets, but the "NY" logo on the collar
New York Jets November 12, 2015 3 Kelly green white kelly green sleeves, shoulder stripes white and hunter green Jets wore kelly green through 1997, current uniforms feature hunter green
Oakland Raiders December 8, 2016 2 white silver, black outline Jersey is a throwback from the early 1970s.
Philadelphia Eagles December 22, 2016 1 black Exactly the same as all-black alternate worn since 2003.
Pittsburgh Steelers December 25, 2016 4 black gold Throwback block numbers, similar to 1946-1965 uniform, but with modern stripes all in gold
San Francisco 49ers October 6, 2016 2 black solid red Same as all-black uniform introduced the previous season, except with black socks.
Seattle Seahawks December 15, 2016 2 action green blue with white border Blue helmets
Tampa Bay Buccaneers December 17, 2015 5 red pewter
Tennessee Titans November 19, 2015 3 light blue Standard alternate blue jersey with matching pants Combination previously worn with navy socks between 2006 and 2013
Washington Redskins November 30, 2017 1 burgundy Standard burgundy jersey, paired with burgundy pants normally only used with their white jersey Although the Redskins were originally to wear gold uniforms, they disliked the "garish" gold color plate chosen for them and opted for all-burgundy instead.[13]

Style

Jerseys and pants

Uniforms are primarily one color, although the uniforms include different color accents for the jersey numbers and uniform details. Many uniforms duplicate the stripes and shoulder details of the team's current uniforms, but many do not. The Green Bay Packers' Color Rush Uniforms have the same stripe patterns on the sleeves as their regular uniforms, for instance. Conversely, the New England Patriots Color Rush uniforms mimic the stripes of their uniforms of a previous era. Whereas NFL teams most commonly wear pants in a contrasting color, all the Color Rush uniforms have pants and jerseys of the same color.

Shoes and socks

Color Rush uniforms also have matching colored shoes (instead of black or white) and matching socks.

Helmets

Most teams helmets do not change for the Color Rush games. The Denver Broncos, the New York Giants, and the Los Angeles Rams will wear helmets with versions of older logos affixed in 2016, while the New York Jets wore helmets with the same logo but with a different shade of green, in metallic, in 2015, with the Cardinals doing the same to their helmets in 2016. Since NFL rules dictate that players wear the same helmet throughout the season, only the decals can change, and the shells remain the same color. As a result, although the Broncos Color Rush helmets resemble the ones from early history of the franchise, it is the same shade of blue as currently used.

Opposing team whites

If the Color Rush color is too similar to the home team, or if there are issues with visibility for color-blind viewers, the visiting team will wear their whites. It is unclear how each of these team will modify elements of their uniform for the Color Rush games, if at all. At least one team, the Arizona Cardinals, was given a choice between wearing their traditional white-on-white uniforms or a specially designed all-white uniform from Nike.[14] The Cardinals opted for their traditional whites, with white socks. In week two of 2016, the New York Jets wore white facemasks instead of green, white gloves, solid white socks instead of white with green stripes, and white shoes instead of their usual black in the spirit of the Color Rush program.[15] In week three, the Houston Texans modified their uniforms by wearing solid white socks instead of their blue and white socks. In Week 15, the Rams wore their regular white uniform but switched the horns on the helmet from gold to white, marking the first time the team wore white horns on the helmet since the 1972 season; this was also done as a nod to the Fearsome Foursome. The following year in 2017, the Rams decided to make the white horns a part of their regular uniforms, leaving most of their uniform intact save for the pants with the hope to rebrand completely in the near future.[16]

Reception and controversy

Color blindness

The first game between the Bills and Jets proved to be particularly problematic, with the Bills' all-red uniforms and the Jets' kelly green outfits being indistinguishable to those with color blindness.[17] The other three games managed to avoid any controversy. The Bills and Jets would be matched against each other for three consecutive Color Rush games; for the second, the Jets wore all-white, while for the third, the Bills wore all-white, complete with white face masks.[18]

For 2016, Nike brought in doctors from Mount Sinai Hospital to point out potential colorblindness issues. Aside from red-green, the NFL is also avoiding brown-purple (Browns/Ravens) and yellow-green (Rams/Seahawks) matchups, requiring one of those teams to wear white uniforms in those games.[9]

Team participation

Some tradition-rich teams such as the Green Bay Packers and New York Giants chose to wear an all-white ensemble instead of wearing an all-team color ensemble due to not wanting to mess with tradition, despite the Packers playing at home in their first Color Rush game and the team having a historical precedence with an all-green uniform in the early 1950s.[19] (The Packers wearing white in the Color Rush game also marked the first time the team wore white in a home game since a two-game experiment at Lambeau Field in 1989, and only the second time in the team's 97-year history.) Giants co-owner John Mara said that Nike initially approached the team about doing an all-red ensemble (which Mara rejected out of hand) and later an all-blue ensemble (which Mara initially approved, but got cold feet at the last minute) before going with the all-white look as a nod to the Bill Parcells era of the 1980s.[20] Other teams that chose white as their Color Rush uniforms have either traditionally worn white (such as the Dallas Cowboys) or have already worn one-color ensembles as part of their regular uniforms on a regular basis, such as the New Orleans Saints and Cincinnati Bengals; in the latter's case, the team wore white uniforms as a nod to the white tiger.[12]

The Packers and Giants non-participation contrasted with another tradition-rich team, the Pittsburgh Steelers, who fully embraced the Color Rush program and received a positive response from their fans over the all-black look.[21] The Steelers plan to make their Color Rush uniform their official alternate uniform for 2017.[22] Other teams such as the Philadelphia Eagles, San Francisco 49ers, and Tennessee Titans went with their existing alternate uniforms for the Color Rush program, as opposed to creating a unique uniform for the games, while the Kansas City Chiefs simply matched their red jerseys up with their red pants—a look that the team had been sporting at times in recent seasons. The Chicago Bears simply wore their blue pants normally worn with their white jerseys with their blue jerseys, a look the team experimented with in the early 2000s.

In 2017, the Washington Redskins proposed a bylaw which would permit teams to opt out of Color Rush program participation.[23] The Redskins later pulled the proposal before it went into a vote.[24]

Following the official discontinuation of the Color Rush program in 2018, most teams continued to wear their Color Rush uniforms and even branded them as such, following a rule change that allows teams to wear alternate uniforms up to three times per season and allowed two alternate uniforms. The Cleveland Browns, despite unveiling their Color Rush uniform in 2016, did not get the opportunity to wear their’s until the 2018 season, when it was met with great fanfare and subsequently worn two more times by the team that season. The Jacksonville Jaguars, Miami Dolphins, and San Francisco 49ers dropped their Color Rush uniforms altogether by 2018 (the Jaguars due to an unrelated uniform redesign, while the latter two replaced their Color Rush designs with standard throwback uniforms), while the Tennessee Titans (who like the Jaguars also redesigned their uniforms for 2018) actually branding their official third uniform as their Color Rush uniform despite being introduced after the discontinuation of the program. Some teams like the Dallas Cowboys and Baltimore Ravens also began to incorporate their Color Rush pants into their regular uniform attire while keeping their Color Rush sets.

References

  1. ^ http://www.gridiron-uniforms.com/GUD/1956.shtml
  2. ^ "NCAA changing rules to accommodate USC-UCLA jersey tradition". Los Angeles Times. 19 February 2009. Retrieved 5 October 2009.
  3. ^ Silverstein, Tom (28 July 2015). "Packers unveil retro uniforms to be worn vs. Chargers". jsonline.com. Journal Sentinel, Inc. Retrieved 7 August 2015.
  4. ^ "NFL and Nike Flood Thursday Night Football with Color" (Press release). National Football League. October 30, 2015. Retrieved September 24, 2016.
  5. ^ Kania, Joe (30 October 2015). "Splash of Color for Thursday Night Teams". Buccaneers.com. Retrieved 2015-12-02.
  6. ^ Varley, Teresa (12 August 2016). "'Color rush' uniforms revealed". steelers.com. NFL Enterprises, LLC. Retrieved 13 August 2016.
  7. ^ "NIKE AND NFL LIGHT UP THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL" (Press release). Nike, Inc. September 13, 2016. Retrieved September 24, 2016.
  8. ^ "NFL & Nike Light Up Thursday Night Football" (Press release). National Football League. September 13, 2016. Retrieved September 24, 2016.
  9. ^ a b http://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/id/17536350/nike-unveils-color-rush-uniforms-addresses-conflicts-colorblind
  10. ^ Bills announce team's Family Day sponsored by Independent Health & Fan Appreciation Day, buffalobills.com (December 4, 2017).
  11. ^ Knoblauch, Austin (April 10, 2018). "Is NFL's Color Rush era in danger of fading away?". Retrieved April 13, 2018.
  12. ^ a b "Bengals Unveil Color Rush Jerseys". Cincinnati Bengals. September 13, 2016. Retrieved September 24, 2016.
  13. ^ http://www.richmond.com/redskins-xtra/redskins-push-back-against-wearing-garish-uniforms-thursday-against-cowboys/article_528ff2be-d472-11e7-8cc9-5ff43696bdf1.html
  14. ^ Wilson, Ryan (October 5, 2016). "LOOK: Only 49ers to wear Color Rush uniforms for Thursday Night Football vs. Cardinals". CBS Sports. Retrieved October 7, 2016.
  15. ^ "Jets alter their 'Color Rush' jerseys to help color-blind viewers".
  16. ^ http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2016/12/13/rams-to-wear-old-school-white-horns-on-thursday-night/
  17. ^ Edholm, Eric (12 November 2015). "Color-blind people driven nuts watching red Bills, green Jets uniforms". Yahoo! Sports. Retrieved 12 November 2015.
  18. ^ http://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/page/QTP_17211JetsBillsRush/new-york-jets-buffalo-bills-pull-color-rush-uniforms-thursday-night-football
  19. ^ http://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/id/17538646/uni-watch-goes-game-game-break-nfl-latest-color-rush-uniforms
  20. ^ https://prosportsrundown.com/2016/12/22/the-hail-mary-hidden-story-new-york-giants-color-rush-uniforms/
  21. ^ http://www.12up.com/posts/3775250-the-steelers-new-color-rush-jerseys-are-amazing
  22. ^ http://www.steelers.com/news/labriola-on/article-1/Labriola-on-bumblebees-switching-positions/e6a6dce9-cbe5-48c6-9feb-675e0cdcf268
  23. ^ http://www.baltimoreravens.com/news/article-1/All-15-NFL-Rule-Change-Proposals-For-2017/5643a94f-bf50-4373-a83d-21da56908b38
  24. ^ https://www.cbssports.com/nfl/news/report-redskins-pull-proposal-to-opt-out-of-color-rush-uniforms/
2015 New York Jets season

The 2015 New York Jets season was the franchise's 46th season in the National Football League and the 56th overall. The team improved on their 4-12 record in 2014 under former head Coach Rex Ryan. Under new head coach Todd Bowles, they succeeded in matching their record in just five games, starting 4-1. Prior to the season, the Jets made a number of moves, including, re-acquiring Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie, two cornerbacks who were instrumental in the Jets previous defensive success, and obtaining Ryan Fitzpatrick and Brandon Marshall in trades. The team retrogressed to 5–5, before going on a five-game winning streak, clinching their first winning season since 2010. However, it wasn't enough to make the playoffs, as they lost to the Buffalo Bills in Week 17 and the Pittsburgh Steelers defeated the Cleveland Browns. The Pittsburgh Steelers and Jets both finished 10–6, but the Steelers clinched the final AFC playoff spot over the Jets based on a better record vs. common opponents. The Jets finished the season as the league's only team with a winning record to not make the playoffs.

2016 Denver Broncos season

The 2016 Denver Broncos season was the franchise's 47th season in the National Football League and the 57th overall. It was also the second season under head coach Gary Kubiak, as well as the final season of Kubiak's coaching career, as he retired at the end of the season due to health concerns.The Broncos entered the season as defending champions of Super Bowl 50, after undergoing numerous roster changes as well as an off-season and preseason that was dominated by a quarterback controversy, following the retirement of Peyton Manning. Following a 4–0 start, the team sputtered down the stretch, missing the playoffs for the first time since 2010, as well as having their franchise-record streak of five consecutive playoff appearances and five consecutive AFC West division titles snapped. In addition, the Broncos became the 12th consecutive team to fail to repeat as Super Bowl champions, as well as the first reigning champion to miss the playoffs since the 2013 Baltimore Ravens.

2016 Green Bay Packers season

The 2016 Green Bay Packers season was their 98th season overall, 96th season in the National Football League, and the 11th under head coach Mike McCarthy. Despite a 4-6 start to the season, the Packers went on a 6-game winning streak to finish the regular season with a 10–6 record. The team clinched the NFC North for the fifth time in six years with their week 17 win over the Detroit Lions. They routed the fifth-seeded New York Giants 38–13 in the wild card round of the playoffs and upset the top-seeded Dallas Cowboys 34–31 in the divisional round of the playoffs, but their season came to an end when they were beat by the second-seeded Atlanta Falcons in the NFC Championship Game 44–21.

2016 NFL season

The 2016 NFL season was the 97th season in the history of the National Football League (NFL). The season began on September 8, 2016, with the defending Super Bowl 50 champion Denver Broncos defeating the Carolina Panthers 21–20 in the NFL Kickoff Game. The season concluded with Super Bowl LI, the league's championship game on February 5, 2017, at NRG Stadium in Houston with the New England Patriots defeating the Atlanta Falcons 34–28 in overtime.

For the first time since the Houston Oilers relocated to Tennessee in 1997, an NFL team relocated to another state, as the former St. Louis Rams moved out of St. Louis, Missouri and returned to Los Angeles, its home from 1946 to 1994. For the first time since the 2003 NFL season, neither of the previous season's Super Bowl participants made the playoffs.The 2016 season also was the last season for the San Diego Chargers after playing in San Diego for fifty-six years before their return to the city of Los Angeles for 2017, where the franchise was based in for their first season in 1960.

Logos and uniforms of the Chicago Bears

The Chicago Bears of the National Football League sport a wishbone 'C' logo, which the team has used since the 1960s.

Since the team's inception in 1920, the Bears' uniforms have received very little changes, with minor changes and various patches added. The classic look of the club's uniforms has given it the title of one of the best uniform sets in the league.

Logos and uniforms of the Pittsburgh Steelers

The Pittsburgh Steelers of the National Football League were founded in 1933. Over the course of the team's history, the team has had several logos while wearing virtually the same uniforms over the years, with subtle changes made to give the uniforms an updated look. The team colors, uniforms, and logo are often ranked as being among the best in the NFL.

Logos and uniforms of the San Francisco 49ers

The logo and uniforms of the San Francisco 49ers have evolved since their inception in 1946.

Los Angeles Rams

The Los Angeles Rams are a professional American football team based in Los Angeles, California, and compete in the National Football League's NFC West division. The franchise won three NFL championships, and is the only one to win championships representing three different cities (Cleveland in 1945, Los Angeles in 1951, and St. Louis in 1999). The Rams play their home games at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

The franchise began in 1936 as the Cleveland Rams in Cleveland, Ohio. The club was owned by Homer Marshman and featured players such as William "Bud" Cooper, Harry "The Horse" Mattos, Stan Pincura, and Mike Sebastian. Damon "Buzz" Wetzel joined as general manager.The franchise moved to Los Angeles in 1946 following the 1945 NFL Championship Game victory, making way for Paul Brown's Cleveland Browns of the All-America Football Conference and becoming the only NFL championship team to play the following season in another city. The club played their home games at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum before moving into a reconstructed Anaheim Stadium in Orange County, California, in 1980.

The Rams left California and moved to St. Louis, Missouri, following the 1994 NFL season. Five seasons after relocating, the team won Super Bowl XXXIV in a 23–16 victory over the Tennessee Titans. They then appeared in Super Bowl XXXVI, where they lost 20–17 to the New England Patriots. The Rams played in St. Louis until the end of the 2015 NFL season, when they filed notice with the NFL of their intent to relocate back to Los Angeles. The move was agreed at an owners' meeting in January 2016, and the Rams returned to the city for the 2016 NFL season.

The Rams appeared in Super Bowl LIII where they lost to the New England Patriots 13-3 in a rematch of Super Bowl XXXVI.

New England Patriots

The New England Patriots are a professional American football team based in the Greater Boston area. The Patriots compete in the National Football League (NFL) as a member club of the league's American Football Conference (AFC) East division. The team plays its home games at Gillette Stadium in the town of Foxborough, Massachusetts, which is located 21 miles (34 km) southwest of downtown Boston, Massachusetts and 20 miles (32 km) northeast of downtown Providence, Rhode Island. The Patriots are also headquartered at Gillette Stadium.

An original member of the American Football League (AFL), the Patriots joined the NFL in the 1970 merger of the two leagues. The team changed its name from the original Boston Patriots after relocating to Foxborough in 1971. The Patriots played their home games at Foxboro Stadium from 1971 to 2001, then moved to Gillette Stadium at the start of the 2002 season. The Patriots' rivalry with the New York Jets is considered one of the most bitter rivalries in the NFL.

Since the arrival of head coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady in 2000, the Patriots have since become one of the most successful teams in NFL history, winning 16 AFC East titles in 18 seasons since 2001, without a losing season in that period. The franchise has since set numerous notable records, including most wins in a ten-year period (126, in 2003–2012), an undefeated 16-game regular season in 2007, the longest winning streak consisting of regular season and playoff games in NFL history (a 21-game streak from October 2003 to October 2004), and the most consecutive division titles won by a team in NFL history (ten straight division titles from 2009 to 2018). The team owns the record for most Super Bowls reached (nine) and won (six) by a head coach–quarterback tandem, most Super Bowl appearances overall (eleven), tied with the Pittsburgh Steelers for the most Super Bowl wins (six), and also tied with the Denver Broncos for the most Super Bowl losses (five).

Pro Bowl

The Pro Bowl is the all-star game of the National Football League (NFL). From the merger with the rival American Football League (AFL) in 1970 up through 2013 and since 2017, it is officially called the AFC–NFC Pro Bowl, matching the top players in the American Football Conference (AFC) against those in the National Football Conference (NFC). From 2014 through 2016, the NFL experimented with an unconferenced format, where the teams were selected by two honorary team captains (who are each in the Hall of Fame), instead of selecting players from each conference. The players were picked in a televised "schoolyard pick" prior to the game.Unlike most major sports leagues, which hold their all-star games roughly midway through their regular seasons, the Pro Bowl is played around the end of the NFL season. The first official Pro Bowl was played in January 1951, three weeks after the 1950 NFL Championship Game (between 1939 and 1942, the NFL experimented with all-star games pitting the league's champion against a team of all-stars). Between 1970 and 2009, the Pro Bowl was usually held the weekend after the Super Bowl. Since 2010, it has been played the weekend before the Super Bowl. Players from the two teams competing in the Super Bowl do not participate.

For years, the game has suffered from lack of interest due to perceived low quality, with observers and commentators expressing their disfavor with it in its current state. It draws lower TV ratings than regular season NFL games, although the game draws similar ratings to other major all-star games, such as the Major League Baseball All-Star Game. However, the biggest concern of teams is to avoid injuries to the star players. The Associated Press wrote that players in the 2012 game were "hitting each other as though they were having a pillow fight".Between 1980 and 2016, the game was played at Aloha Stadium in Hawaii except for two years (2010 and 2015). On June 1, 2016, the NFL announced that they reached a multi-year deal to move the game to Orlando, Florida as part of the league's ongoing efforts to make the game more relevant.

Steelers–Titans rivalry

The Steelers–Titans rivalry is a National Football League rivalry between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Tennessee Titans that dates back to the 1970s when the Steelers and then-Houston Oilers played in the AFC Central. The two teams were realigned into separate divisions for the 2002 NFL season, however matchups are still considered heated between the two teams.

Third jersey

A third jersey, alternate jersey, third kit, third sweater or alternate uniform is a jersey or uniform that a sports team wear in games instead of its home outfit or its away outfit, often when the colors of two competing teams' other uniforms are too similar to play easily. Alternate jerseys are also a means for professional sports organizations to generate revenue, by sales to fans. Of North American sports leagues, the NFL generates $1.2 billion annually in jersey sales, with the NBA second selling $900 million annually. Another use of the alternate uniform is for identifying with causes, like the Central Coast Mariners wear an alternate pink kit on pink ribbon day.Extra alternate uniforms or fourth/fifth kits are not commonly used, but are sometimes required when teams' other uniforms cause color clashes, or the uniforms are unavailable to use. In cases where teams have worn more than three kits in the same season, the extra kits were usually recycled from previous seasons.

Third-choice jerseys or uniforms are used in all four Major professional sports leagues in the United States sports leagues, with the exception being college sports.Third kits are commonplace in professional European association football and in some professional European rugby union clubs. Alternate guernseys or jerseys are common in Australia's two biggest domestic leagues, the Australian Football League (Aussie rules) and National Rugby League (rugby league).

Washington Redskins

The Washington Redskins are a professional American football team based in the Washington metropolitan area. The Redskins compete in the National Football League (NFL) as a member of the National Football Conference (NFC) East division. The team plays its home games at FedExField in Landover, Maryland; its headquarters and training facility are at Inova Sports Performance Center at Redskins Park in Ashburn, Virginia and the Redskins Complex in Richmond, Virginia, respectively.

The Redskins have played more than one thousand games since their founding 87 years ago in 1932, and are one of only five franchises in the NFL to record over six hundred regular season and postseason wins, reaching that mark in 2015. The Redskins have won five NFL Championships (the latter three in Super Bowls), and have captured fourteen divisional titles and six conference championships. It was the first NFL franchise with an official marching band and the first with a fight song, Hail to the Redskins.The team began play in Boston as the Braves in 1932, and became the "Redskins" the following year. In 1937, the team relocated to Washington, D.C. The Redskins won the 1937 and 1942 NFL championship games, as well as Super Bowls XVII, XXII, and XXVI. They have been league runner-up six times, losing the 1936, 1940, 1943, and 1945 title games, and Super Bowls VII and XVIII. With 24 postseason appearances, the Redskins have an overall postseason record of 23–18. Their three Super Bowl wins are tied with the Oakland Raiders and Denver Broncos, behind the Pittsburgh Steelers and New England Patriots (six each), San Francisco 49ers and Dallas Cowboys (five each), and the Green Bay Packers and New York Giants (four each).All of the Redskins' league titles were attained during two 10-year spans. From 1936 to 1945, the Redskins went to the NFL Championship six times, winning two of them. The second period lasted between 1982 and 1991 where the Redskins appeared in the postseason seven times, captured four Conference titles, and won three Super Bowls out of four appearances. The Redskins have also experienced failure in their history. The most notable period of general failure was from 1946 to 1970, during which the Redskins posted only four winning seasons and did not have a single postseason appearance. During this period, the Redskins went without a single winning season during the years 1956–1968. In 1961, the franchise posted their worst regular season record with a 1–12–1 showing. Since their last Super Bowl victory following the end of the 1991 season, the Redskins have only won the NFC East three times, made five postseason appearances, and had nine seasons with a winning record.

According to Forbes, the Redskins are the fourth most valuable franchise in the NFL and the tenth most valuable overall in the world as of 2018, valued at approximately US$3.1 billion. They also set the NFL record for single-season attendance in 2007, and have the top ten single-season attendance totals in the NFL. Over the team's history, the name and logo have drawn controversy, with many criticizing it as offensive to Native Americans.

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