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Return of the Red? - Popular Patriots’ Throwbacks Poised for 2022 Comeback

A beloved, iconic look is apparently about to make its way back into the New England Patriots’ game-day closet.

For nearly a decade, New England Patriots fans have been clamoring for the reappearance of the team’s iconic, red “Pat Patriot” jerseys, as part of their seasonal uniform rotation.

In 2022, the wish of the ‘Foxboro Faithful’ will apparently be granted.

As was revealed by the Patriots Hall of Fame on Friday, the team is expected to wear its red jerseys at some point next season, ending a near ten-year hiatus.

New England has not worn their vintage red threads in a game setting since 2012. Following that season, the NFL instituted a rule which prohibited teams from using more than one set of helmets throughout a season. The edict, commonly referred to as the ‘one shell’ rule’ was issued as part of the league’s ongoing commitment to taking maximum safety measures, in hopes of preventing concussions and head injuries. While the stickers and facemask could be altered, the helmet shell was required to remain constant.As such, use of the equally iconic white helmet, featuring the beloved ‘Pat Patriot’ logo became prohibited.

While the rule itself did not prevent the Patriots from continuing to wear their popular red jerseys, the team chose to shelf the look. With no plans to abandon the current silver helmet, adorned by the ‘Flying Elvis’ logo on each side, the less-than-aesthetically pleasing red-silver combination did little to excite the fan base. And so, the popular red jerseys were forsaken for the foreseeable future.

However, some stirrings of optimism began to surround the movement to resurrect the iconic look earlier this year. In a memo sent to teams on June 24, the league announced that it would allow teams to use alternate helmets again as early as 2022 if they had submitted their notification by July 31. Of course, this is with the stipulation that all proper safety protocols be followed.

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It will be the second time in two calendar years that the Pats will have made alterations to their uniforms. In April 2020, New England revealed its first new set of uniforms in 20 years, including a home look that closely resembled its previous ‘color-rush’ attire.

Though the uniform changes did not include an eagerly-anticipated red alternate jersey, the team did acknowledge that such an opportunity may exist in the near future. In a press release at the time, the Patriots stated: “We recognize that fans also have an affinity for the red ‘throwback’ uniform and we hope to incorporate that into our uniform rotation in the future.”

The Patriots wore the red-and-white look from their inaugural season in 1960, until a design change took place in 1993. At that time, ‘Pat Patriot’ was replaced as the team’s primary logo by the ‘Flying Elvis.’ In addition, the color scheme changed to blue-and-silver. Beginning in 2000 and 2019, New England used navy (often called ‘Patriot Blue’) and silver as the main colors and basis for its uniform.

Still, the red throwbacks were not completely banished. The Patriots wore the jerseys three times during the 1994 season and once in 2002, before placing them into their uniform rotation as an alternate jersey between 2009 and 2012.

With the Patriots seemingly in compliance with NFL requirements, the retro look is likely set for its return to Foxboro in 2022. With fashion coming full-circle, a sea of red jerseys is likely to engulf Gillette Stadium when the home team is donning the same apparel. 

However, the fans may not be the only ones eager to welcome the throwbacks back to New England. 

The team is 9-3 all-time while wearing their soon-to-be-resurrected red threads.