Paul Lucas at Uni Watch did some digging, and is able to clarify the policy. To a point.
This is what the Bucs' site had to say:
The league-wide guideline, which requires players to use the same helmet for all games during the season, was recently implemented based on the strong recommendation by the NFL’s Head, Neck and Spine Committee as well as the Player Safety Advisory Panel. … Due to the new regulations, Buccaneer players will wear their standard pewter, red and white uniforms in place of the classic Florida orange, red and white throwback attire that had previously been scheduled.Uni Watch then quotes from an article released a few hours later on NFL.com. That article says the new rule "forbid[s] teams from switching helmets during the season." It also includes some clarifying quotes from NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy:
"This offseason, we communicated a recommendation from the Head, Neck and Spine Committee and the Player Safety Advisory Panel to those teams planning to wear throwback uniforms for at least one game this season. They recommended that players no longer wear different helmets as part of a 'throwback' or 'third' uniform. … Teams may continue to wear throwback uniforms under league guidelines, but players must wear their regular helmets. The outside of the helmet can be modified by removing or replacing decals, as long as it does not affect the integrity of the helmet."Regardless of whether this is a "rule" or a "guideline" (and the NFL seems to be treating it more like the former), this is a pretty stunning turn of events. When exactly was the rule implemented? Couldn't have been that long ago, since teams still have throwbacks scheduled and the Buccaneers apparently didn't know until recently that they couldn't wear their white helmets.
This also indicates that, as I feared, the brown helmets will be eliminated from the Packers' throwbacks. Presuming that they just strip the logos and Braisher stripes from their current helmets, this is what we can expect Week 7 against the Browns:
I hope they at least swap out the green facemasks, unlike the 1994 throwbacks.
I'm in favor of the new rule, although I loved the brown helmets (and was hoping for a Washington-style leather print treatment this year). I've long argued that the NFL doesn't take head injuries seriously, even when they make lots of noise about concussions, but perhaps this is a signal of changing times.
Much more to come, I'm sure.
We have confirmation, from Jason Wilde at ESPN Wisconsin. That's exactly what we're getting:
Packers will still wear throwback uniforms, normal helmets: Photo/Getty ImagesThe Packers will wear their alt... http://t.co/bbBug1ADYV— Jason Wilde (@jasonjwilde) September 18, 2013