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Dead Red: Bills Won’t Wear Red Throwback Helmets This Year

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Paul here, making a rare weekend appearance because Phil is off this weekend.

Amidst the flurry of NFL throwback news this summer, the biggest unresolved question has been whether the Bills would revive their red helmet now that the one-shell rule has been lifted. Speculation surged earlier this month when brewer Labatt released a hard tea with a Bills throwback theme, complete with a red helmet as part of the package design:

Despite that fairly obvious-seeming throwback harbinger, the Bills will not be bringing back the red lid this year. That’s according to Bills beat/sideline reporter Sal Capaccio, who broke the news yesterday afternoon:

I’m a bit surprised by this, if only because there seems to be a fair amount of fan demand for the retro design. But I can’t say I’m disappointed, because I never liked the Bills in red. I much prefer the white helmet; if they wanted to add an alternate, I’d be curious to see blue. But the red never worked for me, and I’m glad we won’t be seeing it on the field in 2023.

(Big thanks to Phil for alerting me to this news.)

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Sorry, no Tickers this weekend, but I’ll have at least one more post later today. — Paul

Comments (19)

    I’d be surprised if the red helmets didn’t have an avid following. But I’d be interested to know whether fans associate the lids with the Bills’ glory years, or with the Super Bowl disappointments.

    I’m a fan of the Bills red helmet, but not the team per se. My half-glass empty side wrote this yesterday on the ticker comments regarding ‘cursed’ NFL uniforms :
    “15 years (’87-’01) in those red helmet/white facemasks – 6 AFC playoff defeats, 5 seasons no better than .500…oh, and 4 consecutive SB losses.
    Their ’84-’86 seasons are up there (or down there) too: 8-40 in those red lids and blue facemasks (A look I loved, so I pin the blame on the blue pants…mostly)”

    Would love to see those red jerseys paired with the white pants at some point. Or, possibly the red pants with the white jerseys as well. Anyone out there that has the ability to do a mock-up of either?

    the red helmet must be somewhat popular if labatt had a theme including it…..using it with the all red unis might not be a bad idea.

    If they bring the red helmet back, hopefully it’s not the one pictured above that was paired with the Bledsoe-era horrible two-tone blue jerseys.

    The “tribute” on the package is for the “charging buffalo” Logo, not the helmet…
    The red helmet was used, IMO, because it simply was more eye-catching for sales…
    And what’s stopping the Bills from replacing the “charging buffalo” stickers with the old logo sticker for a game and going with an older throwback?

    How quickly we forget – the Bills do have a 1965 white jersey uniform fauxback the uses the standing buffalo logo. While they didn’t wear it last season they had worn it at least once a season from 2012-2021.

    I say “fauxback” because they screwed up the stripe pattern. Blame Reebok for that; they came up with this white jersey for the 2009 50th season for the original AFL teams and Nike just revived it as it was in 2012. For what it’s worth Reebok had done the 1965 home jersey with as close to the original stripes as they could get in their template starting in 2005 (40th anniversary of their 2nd AFL championship).

    Exactly. We haven’t seen that in a few years…
    it would be interesting for Phil or Paul give LaBatt marketing a call to see who/why they picked the red helmet

    As an ’80s kid, I’m biased toward the red helmets and the Jim Kelly-era look in general, but I can see how they must have been a radical departure when they were introduced. Especially since no other part of the uniform was primarily red.

    Bummer but this feels like something that should be brought back given the run they had. They were actually 3 editions of the red helmet. The first one was with a blue facemask and debuted in 1984. They then switched to the white facemask in 1987. Then came the crazy revamp in 2002 which is the helmet pictured in this article. Please Pegulas if you bring this back make it in the middle one.

    Another reason to avoid the blue facemask: the Bills won a total of 8 games in 3 seasons sporting that look.

    I never did like the red helmet, either. The blue buffalo never stood out properly against the red background. Also, at the time, the red helmet broke the satisfying symmetry where all four teams in the AFC East wore white helmets (New England was still sporting the white Pat look).

    I like every Bill helmet in their history, it is the only part of their uniform rhat has been consistently good. But as mentioned above, I expect them to fall into the all black uniform at some point, including a black helmet with the red, white and blue charging buffalo on it.

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