Alternate uniforms and the Kansas City Chiefs never crossed paths, yet the franchise may be trying something different for the first time in the organization’s 63-year history. The Chiefs are the only franchise in the NFL to never wear an alternate uniform, but a third jersey or different color helmet may be entering the picture.
Chiefs President Mark Donovan has seen all the alternate helmets and new uniform concepts being introduced around the league. With the “one-shell rule” lifted, the Chiefs may get into the foray.
“I don’t want to create hope where there isn’t hope, but you’ve lived this with us a little bit. There’s an open discussion. There’s definitely more of a consideration than there’s ever been,” Donovan said Monday. “We’ve definitely had some good conversations about the opportunity. But as you can imagine, I think we are the only team – we might be one of a small group – that has never changed.
“When I say, ‘never change,’ we’ve changed a little bit on the stripe or something like that because of the uniform change. That’s important to us, too. It’s finding that balance.”
The Chiefs have made minimal changes to their uniforms in their history, wearing white pants with their road white jerseys from 1960 to 1967 from 1989 to 1999. The white pants returned with the white jerseys in 2006. The home red jerseys were worn with white pants until Andy Reid became head coach in 2013. when the franchise debuted an “all-red” uniform combination. The Chiefs also have avoided the “Color Rush” promotion the league ran in 2016 and 2017, wearing the “all-red” uniforms for home games.
With the “one-shell rule” lifted, 13 teams debuted alternate or throwback helmets this offseason. The addition of a second helmet allowed teams to find a helmet to match with their alternate jersey or bring back a popular throwback uniform design.
Donovan was part of a major change with the Philadelphia Eagles in 2003, back when he was the team’s Senior Vice President of Business Operations. That season, the Eagles introduced a black alternate uniform for the first time — one that is still the team’s alternate jersey today.
“I’ve been here 14 seasons now. The first couple of years I came from Philadelphia where we did that pretty successfully and I was really excited about that,” Donovan said. “After the first meeting talking about that, I didn’t bring it up again for a couple of years . But a couple of our teammates on our side kept pushing me and we’ve opened the discussion again. We’ll see. It’s definitely something we’ll continue to discuss.”
If the alternate uniform works for Kansas City, the Chiefs appear ready to make a major uniform change for the first time. The popularity of the franchise has grown with Patrick Mahomes at quarterback, spearheading a unique opportunity for change in how the Chiefs dress on the field in the fall.