One of the great throwback uniforms in NFL history is returning in 2022.
The New England Patriots are reviving their red throwback uniforms, the team announced Wednesday.
New England wore the uniforms as a throwback set in the 2002 season following the team's first Super Bowl triumph in the 2001 campaign. The Patriots have since used the uniform (and period-appropriate variations of it) in the 2009-2012 seasons before the NFL's one-shell rule eliminated the club's ability to don a throwback look starting in the 2013 season.
The league's elimination of the one-shell rule has opened the door for these (and many other) throwback uniforms to return, much to the delight of aesthetically attuned fans. Pat Patriot -- always at the ready to snap the football -- is back on the side of New England's white-shelled, white-facemasked helmets.
The uniform also features a detail that has tied the franchise to its past: tri-color shoulder stripes. The Patriots first revived this detail with their Color Rush uniforms in the 2016 season before making it a permanent part of their clothing with a uniform change in the 2020 season.
Those same shoulder stripes can be traced back to the club's first year of existence, 1960, when the team was known as the Boston Patriots of the American Football League.
The Patriots last wore this set as a full-time uniform in the 1990 season before changing the color of the team's facemask from white to red in 1991 in a look that lasted through the 1992 season. New England then entered a bit of an aesthetic identity crisis, first shifting from the team's Pat Patriot logo to the current emblem in the 1993 season while embarking on a run of clothing changes, moving to blue jerseys and silver pants as its primary look while changing pants striping and number colors (and later, number font styling) for much of the 1990s. At the turn of the century, the Patriots officially moved from a brighter blue to the navy that has since become a mainstay in New England.
Prior to the shift to blue in 1993, New England had long operated as a club with red as its dominant color. That shade will return with the throwback set, as will the beloved Pat Patriot. The Patriots will hope the comeback of their throwbacks will coincide with a return to prominence in the NFL following a wild-card berth in the 2021 campaign.