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Ranking every new alternate NFL helmet, from first to the Saints

Who has the best new helmet in the NFL?

It isn’t often that we get fun uniform news from the NFL, especially for almost half the league at once. This upcoming season, 13 teams will have either a new alternate helmet, or a special throwback — except for the Cowboys, who get both an alternate AND a throwback because it’s Dallas.

The common theme behind the alternate helmets seems to be “black looks cool,” which is absolutely true. So let’s dive in to these 14 different helmets and rank them.

No. 1: New England Patriots throwback “Pat Patriot”

It’s Pat Patriot. You can hate the Patriots all you want, but if you think Pat looks bad you’re wrong. This is one of those cases where the throwback feels so fresh because it’s been such a long time — and the start of a common refrain you’ll hear as we rank these: They should be permanent.

No. 2: Philadelphia Eagles black alternate

I’m generally not a fan of the Eagles making too many uniform tweaks because I think they’ve been blessed with one of the coolest color combinations in the NFL. I’m just a sucker for the midnight green, what can I say? This helmet is worth making an exception for because the black and white contrast is just so clean. I also like the subtle metallic flake in the black that helps make it pop a little more.

No. 3: Cincinnati Bengals “White Bengal”

Another black and white look, but I love the predominant white of this helmet paired with the fact that I think it’s really cool they can claim a different type of tiger for the uniform. This is going to look so good on Sundays.

No. 4: Carolina Panthers “Dark Side”

Unlike a lot of the black uniforms the Panthers decided to tweak their logo to make it work too. A black helmet with their standard logo would have been the worst of this reveal, but instead moving to the negative space panther with the electric blue is excellent. The satin black tops it off too and I like everything about this.

No. 5: Atlanta Falcons red throwback

A lot of people hate the Falcons red, but I think they’re great. When paired with the classic all-black jersey you get just a really nice look that’s unique in the NFL. Definitely high on this list.

No. 6: Dallas Cowboys throwback

The clean lines of this and the history behind the old helmet makes this a really good look. There’s nothing that jumps off the screen and makes me say “wow,” but it just brings a smile to my face.

No. 7: Houston Texans “Red Chrome”

I’m not gonna lie, this would be higher on the list if the logo placement was better. They wanted a giant logo on the helmet so it had to be pushed down, and further back as a result. The colorway is really sweet though and will pop nicely against the blue.

No. 8: New York Giants throwback

I don’t understand why the giants ever moves away from the helmets that said “Giants.” It’s a solid look that isn’t special, but it doesn’t have to be. It’s a nice dose of nostalgia that doesn’t inspire many feelings for me either way.

No. 9: New York Jets “Stealth Black”

There’s only one problem with these helmets: The white outline. It really ruins the whole look. If the Jets took a page from the Panthers and simply relied on the chrome logo to make this pop on the matte background it might be the best in the NFL. Instead this was close, but no cigar.

No. 10: Arizona Cardinals “Embrace the Darkness”

Another black helmet, but the gloss is bad. It’ll be a decent look, but it’s not great.

No. 11: Dallas Cowboys new color rush

There is nothing interesting about this helmet.

No. 12: Chicago Bears orange

Fans are excited, which is really what matters here — but looking more like the University of Illinois is a weird choice. With an all-orange uni this is pretty cool, but I would have preferred the bear head as the logo on this.

No. 13: Washington Commanders black

It’s black.

No. 14: New Orleans Saints ugliness

This is ugly as hell. I don’t know who thought the stripe made up of tiny fleur de lis was a good thing, but it isn’t. It also really clashes with the clean black helmet. I don’t really know what they could have done to make this look better because it was a flawed concept from the jump. This is like something the Jaguars would do, and nobody should ever take uniforms cues from the Jaguars.