If you were thinking the Dallas Cowboys look a little different today, it’s because they do.
The Cowboys, for the first time since switching to the now-iconic silver helmet with the blue star, are wearing their regular blue jersey for a home game. The Oakland Raiders are in their normal road white jerseys.
The Cowboys wore blue jerseys with white shoulders for their first four years, along with white helmets, but when they went to the silver helmets in 1964, Cowboys general manager Tex Schramm made the decision for the team to wear their white jerseys at home.
His reason was part for the fans and part as a potential advantage for his team. If the Cowboys wore blue at home, Schramm reasoned, fans would only ever see white jerseys against blue jerseys. On the other hand, if the Cowboys wore the whites, then fans would get to see the entire NFL spectrum, from Philadelphia Eagles’ Kelly green (at the time, anyway) to St. Louis Cardinals red to Minnesota Vikings purple.
Of course, that was also the era when the Cowboys played at Dallas’ Cotton Bowl and the heat could be a little, um, stifling, particularly early in the season. So why not make the visiting Pittsburgh Steelers absorb a little of that Texas sun in their black jerseys while they’re in town, right?
CBSSports.com, citing former Dallas executive Gil Brandt as a source, reported that this is the first time in franchise history that Dallas has worn the blue jerseys at home. However, the NFL Uniform Database shows the Cowboys wearing blue jerseys for their final home game in 1963 against the Steelers.
But once the silver helmet was worn by the Cowboys, beginning in 1964, it’s been all white except for when they don the throwbacks with the white helmets from their first four years of existence.
And therein lies the rub.
A new rule in the NFL this season, part of the league’s concussion safety protocol, allows teams to wear only one helmet. So instead of donning the blue throwbacks with the white helmets, the Cowboys had to choose whether to wear the throwbacks with what would be the wrong helmet or do something else.
So they opted for the regular blue jerseys.
Dallas wasn’t the only team affected by the helmet rule—the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Atlanta Falcons also had to abandon plans to wear throwbacks this season because of the change.