New England Patriots

FOXBORO, MA - OCTOBER 21: Devin McCourty #32 of the New England Patriots reacts after a touchdown run against the New York Jets at Gillette Stadium on October 21, 2012 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.

After eight seasons away from the game, a New England football legend could be set to make a return. And while no, this isn’t about a player, it is an individual most Patriots’ fans are deeply familiar with.

On Thursday afternoon, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that the NFL has approved teams using alternate helmet shells, starting in 2022. This new approval revokes the “One Shell Rule” which was implemented before the 2013 season.

The “One Shell Rule” limited teams to just one helmet shell per season (the stickers and facemask could be altered week-to-week) as a player safety measure. In addition, at the time some players were using dated helmet models which teams struggled to get their hands on. With the NFL now banning the use of older helmets, supply is no longer an issue.

With the “One Shell Rule” being lifted, the Patriots are now able to bring back their classic white helmets featuring the ‘Pat Patriot’ logo – and the red jersey that goes with them. It’s something the team hinted at doing last year, when they unveiled their first new uniforms in 20 years. The team included a pledge in that release, stating “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.”

In addition to the Pat Patriot logo helmets, the team can also bring back their first helmets, only worn in their inaugural season in 1960. That look featured a tricorn hat, with the players number underneath.

Will the Patriots use this new helmet flexibility to revive an old uniform? Or create a new look fans haven’t seen before? If they do go the classic route, they’ll have options to choose from. Here’s a look at the team’s entire uniform history, ranked worst to first.

UPDATE: Teams will have until July 31, 2021 to inform the league about alternate helmets for 2022, according to Mark Maske of the Washington Post.

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Alex Barth is a writer and digital producer for Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Looking for a podcast guest? Let him know on Twitter @RealAlexBarth or via email at