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Is color rush done?

Color rush uniforms have been a popular trend in the NFL over the past several seasons. The concept involves teams wearing specially designed alternate jerseys that feature bold, vibrant colors that clash with their opponent’s typical uniform colors. This creates a visually striking contrast on the field when teams square off in color rush games. However, there has been much speculation recently over whether color rush is fading out in the NFL. Let’s take a look at the current state of NFL color rush and whether this trend is likely here to stay or on its way out.

The History of NFL Color Rush

The NFL first introduced color rush uniforms in 2015 as an occasional Thursday Night Football promotion. The idea was that teams would wear bold, monochromatic alternate jerseys that would provide a colorful viewing experience for fans. Some of the early color rush uniforms included the Buffalo Bills all-red ensemble, the Jacksonville Jaguars all-teal look, and the St. Louis Rams all-gold uniforms.

Color rush was met with mixed reactions at first, but many fans appreciated the innovative alternate looks. So the next season in 2016, the NFL expanded the color rush program to feature all 32 teams in specially designed alternate jerseys on Thursday Night Football matchups. Some of the more memorable looks that year included the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ all-red uniforms, the Seattle Seahawks’ all-green color rush, and the Pittsburgh Steelers’ all-black ensemble.

In 2017 and 2018, color rush alternates were featured in select Thursday night contests. The NFL also began allowing teams to wear their color rush jerseys on other days than Thursday. Throughout this time, color rush grew into an anticipated part of the NFL season, with fans looking forward to seeing what vibrant new designs teams would unveil.

The Decline of Color Rush

While color rush enjoyed several years of popularity, the 2019 NFL season saw the first signs of decline for the program. The league cut back on color rush games, featuring the alternates on just five Thursday night matchups all season. Speculation grew that color rush was being phased out.

The 2020 and 2021 seasons saw color rush discontinued for Thursday Night Football. A few teams wore their popular color rush alternates on other days, but the league-wide program had clearly been scaled back significantly.

There are a few likely factors behind color rush fading from prominence:

  • Less novelty – With all teams unveiling color rush uniforms from 2016-2018, the alternates may have lost some of their initial novelty value.
  • Team uniform changes – Some teams have unveiled new primary uniforms in recent years, reducing the need for colorful alternate jerseys.
  • Limited Thursday night games – With fewer Thursday night games in recent years, there are fewer opportunities to showcase color rush.

Based on the declining frequency of color rush uniforms over the past few NFL seasons, the trend appears to be on its way out. But could color rush make a resurgence in 2023 or beyond?

The Potential NFL Color Rush Comeback

While color rush has faded, there are some reasons to believe this alternate uniform program could experience a comeback:

  • New teams due for redesigns – With some teams like the New England Patriots potentially redesigning their uniforms soon, they may unveil new color rush looks.
  • Increased Thursday night games – Thursday Night Football is expanding to 15 games in 2023, allowing for more color rush opportunities.
  • Special occasions – The NFL may use color rush for special game occasions like league anniversaries, international games, etc.

There appears to be fan demand for the return of color rush uniforms. In a poll conducted on the NFL’s Instagram account in 2021, 83% of over 270,000 voters said they wanted to see color rush make a comeback. The vibrant alternate jerseys clearly resonated with many fans.

The Bottom Line on NFL Color Rush

While color rush took the NFL by storm for several seasons, the trend has faded over the past few years. With fewer Thursday night games featuring color rush matchups, it appears the alternate jersey program has lost momentum. However, a color rush resurgence isn’t out of the question. If the uniforms can recapture fans’ interest or be rebranded for special occasions, color rush could make a comeback. But for now, the era of teams wearing bold, monochromatic alternate jerseys every Thursday night has passed. Color rush made its mark on the NFL uniform landscape, but it likely won’t be a central part of league branding and promotion going forward unless it can reinvent itself.

Key Takeaways

  • Color rush uniforms were introduced in 2015 and peaked in popularity from 2016-2018 when all teams wore alternates for Thursday Night Football.
  • In recent years color rush has declined, with the NFL cutting back on dedicated Thursday night games for the alternates.
  • Color rush may have faded due to less novelty factor, teams unveiling new primary uniforms, and fewer Thursday night games.
  • While not as prominent now, color rush could potentially return if teams unveil new alternates or if used for special game occasions.
  • It appears the NFL color rush trend has plateaued, but a comeback isn’t out of the question if the program can generate renewed fan interest.
Year Number of Color Rush Games
2015 8
2016 16 (all Thursday Night Football games)
2017 12
2018 14
2019 5
2020 0
2021 0

This table shows the decline in the number of scheduled NFL color rush games per season since the program began in 2015. After peaking from 2016-2018, color rush has faded from prominence with no dedicated games the last two seasons.