For the first time in nearly two decades, the Cincinnati Bengals are getting new uniforms. The Bengals, who haven't unveiled a new uniform since 2004, announced on Thursday that the team will be getting a new look this spring.
Although the team didn't announce an official date for the release, your best bet is early April and that's because that's usually the time when most teams release new uniforms. There were a total of seven teams that changed their uniform during the 2020 offseason and six of those seven teams released their new look in the four weeks leading up to the NFL Draft, so you can almost be certain the Bengals will do the same. The reason teams like to do it before the draft is so that the players they select will have a new uniform to show off on the telecast or in their introductory press conference. The 2021 NFL Draft is scheduled to start on April 29.
Even though the Bengals are getting new uniforms, one key part of their current look won't be changing and that's their iconic helmet. The tiger stripes have been in place since the 1981 season and the team plans to keep it that way going forward, according to owner Mike Brown.
"My father [Paul Brown] said he wanted a helmet that would take just one look to recognize us from the top seat in the stadium," Mike Brown said, via the Bengals official website. "I think our helmet has stood the test of time. It has established our identity, our trademark, if you will, and that's important to our fans."
As the resident Bengals homer here at CBS Sports, I might be slightly biased, but I think the Bengals have one of the best helmets in the NFL. Although I've always been intrigued by the idea of the Bengals getting a white helmet with black stripes, I'm completely fine with the helmet the way it is and I think I'd actually be sad if they changed it and I don't like being sad, which is a tad ironic, considering I grew up rooting for the Bengals.
The Bengals' decision to change their uniform is somewhat of a surprise and that's because this is a team that almost never changes its look.
As a matter of fact, they've only undergone two major changes in franchise history: 1981 and 2004.
Between their expansion year in 1968 and 1980, they didn't change their uniform a single time. In 1981, the Bengals made a huge change to their uniforms when they switched over to the striped helmet while also adding tiger stripes on their sleeve (The Bengals made it to the Super Bowl in their first year with the tiger-striped helmet).
In 1997, the team made a few slight tweaks to their uniforms, but nothing major. In 2004, they unveiled the uniform that they're currently wearing today. The only change the team has made since 2004 came just five years ago when they added an all-white Color Rush uniform combo. You can see each uniform in the video below that the Bengals tweeted out.
Since half the fun of a uniform change is trying to figure out what the new duds are going to look like, I decided to scour the internet for a couple of mock-ups and you can see those below.
LOVE these! Love seeing CINCINNATI across the front of jersey. Give my buddy’s at @AlchmstDesign your thoughts. Once finalized and agreed to we submit to #bengals for approval for our NEW redesigned 2020 uniforms. Only rule is HELMET DOESNT GET TOUCHED 👍🏽😂#whodey #joeburrow pic.twitter.com/cKyvXT8pL0— Bengal Jim’s BTR (@bengaljims_BTR) January 17, 2020
I especially like the one below and that's because it combines the old-school expansion look with the tiger stripes.