The NFL is close to passing a rule that will loosen jersey number restrictions for certain positions on both sides of the ball, giving those players the opportunity to wear single-digit numbers -- along with many other changes. Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry may take advantage of the rule -- Henry wore the No. 2 when he played for the University of Alabama -- but the league's rushing champion wants the NFL to eliminate a long-standing uniform regulation that has taken away tremendous jersey opportunities.
Henry posted on social media this week asking if the league can bring the throwback jerseys and helmets back, which would eliminate the controversial "one-shell rule." In 2013, the NFL created the "one-shell rule" which meant that players could only wear one helmet per season. The NFL says a worn-in helmet is safer to wear than a brand new one that hasn't yet conformed to a player's head, which would be the case if an alternate helmet was used with a throwback uniform.
This has been a problem for teams like the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Philadelphia Eagles, who have different colored helmets to go with their throwback uniforms. The Eagles wore a "Kelly Green" uniform up until the "midnight green" template in 1996, while the Buccaneers wore their orange Creamsicle jerseys until 1996. Tampa Bay wore a white helmet with the Creamsicle color while the Eagles had a "Kelly Green" helmet that matched their uniform. Both teams don't wear their throwbacks since their current color helmets don't match the color of their uniforms.
The Titans, who used to wear Houston Oilers throwbacks, have the same issue. Tennessee would have the opportunity to bring back these classics if the rule was eliminated.
There is hope for Henry and other players around the league. The NFL loosed its alternate uniform policy in 2019, allowing teams to wear an alternate or throwback jersey three times in a season and eliminating the "color rush" jersey as an alternate. That's a start.
The league also hinted at the possibility the "one-shell rule" could be eliminated this year. Per Pro Football Talk, the league hasn't reached a resolution on the "one-shell rule" for this year, but there's still hope it can be passed. If the rule is eliminated, there will be plenty of teams unveiling throwback uniforms in the coming months.