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It’s time for the “one-shell” rule to go

The Broncos have some of the coolest helmets in their history, it’s time to bring them back.

Denver Broncos Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images

In 2013, in the interest of “player safety,” the NFL passed the one-shell rule that effectively eliminated throwback looks for the NFL by restricting player to one helmet a season. According to this CBS Sports article on the subject:

The NFL says a worn-in helmet is safer to wear than a brand new one that hasn’t yet conformed to a player’s head, which would be the case if an alternate helmet was used with a throwback uniform.

Of course, college football doesn’t share this belief and, frankly, it’s not entirely clear that a worn-in helmet is all that safer than any other when you’re getting hit in the head by a linebacker running full-speed down the field.

I’ve long been skeptical of this rule and hate it because the Broncos have some amazing throwbacks that need to be seen again. Of course, each throwback uniform has a different color helmet, so a true return to style hasn’t been seen since 2010 when the Broncos went with the mustard and brown.

New England Patriots v Denver Broncos Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images
Knowshon Moreno Throwback

While the allure of this uniform has always been the vertically striped socks, you can’t understate the old-school charm of the simple brown helmet with a number on the side. They only wore this style from 1960-1961.

Then there was the orange cartoon horse helmet that the Broncos wore from 1962-1967.

While this uniform and helmet combo might be too orange for some, the helmet combined with the the away white jersey is something special.

Then, of course there is the OG original that everybody (except Neil Smith) loved, the old school Denver D helmet, or as our own Ian St. Clair likes to call it, the “Snot Rocket Horse logo”.

Detroit Lions v Denver Broncos Photo by George Gojkovich/Getty Images

While the attempt to bring the D back in the color rush uniforms is very much appreciated, how awesome it looks on the sky blue helmet can’t be understated. This was the uniform the Broncos wore in my youth and this is the one I so desperately miss.

Of course, there will be those that abhor the mustard and grays, or the orange cartoon horse, or even those that don’t much care for the old-school D logo (Neil Smith again), but let’s have that debate!

...and it’s not just a debate on Broncos fashion, there’s so many great uniforms in other team’s histories that we need to see again. The Eagles with their genuinely green uniforms, the Buccaneers with sassy Buccaneer Bruce on the side, and yes, even the Jets Broadway Joe white classic ones that they inexplicably turned away from last year. Maybe we don’t need to see the Chargers in their dark blue helmets again... We can skip that one.

The league also hinted at the possibility the “one-shell rule” could be eliminated this year. Per Pro Football Talk, the league hasn’t reached a resolution on the “one-shell rule” for this year, but there’s still hope it can be passed. If the rule is eliminated, there will be plenty of teams unveiling throwback uniforms in the coming months.

Let’s ditch this dumb rule bring back the old school looks!


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