A Complete History of AFC Monochrome Uniforms

Okay, so what are monochrome uniforms in this sense? Anything where the jersey and pants are the same color. Now, teams like the Bengals, Browns, Colts, and others wear monochrome white uniforms on a regular basis and have done so for years, so teams who pair white on white are not included on this list.

Today, we’re looking at a history of each team who’ve worn dark pants under the dark jersey, being that they’re the same color, will have documentation for each season and game monochrome was worn. This only includes the NFL’s modern era, from 1960 to present day, so definitely keep this in mind if older teams went monochrome prior.

As with previous historical articles, I’m going with the AFC teams first before I hit the NFC in a separate article.

New England Patriots

First time monochrome was worn: 2002, in a game against the Green Bay Packers. The team also paired the look against the Denver Broncos, with the Patriots losing both contests. Monochrome returned in 2016 with the introduction of the Color Rush, in which the Patriots wore the look against the Houston Texans. The look appeared again in 2017 against the Atlanta Falcons, in 2018 against the Indianapolis Colts and Green Bay Packers, and in 2019 against the New York Giants, Cleveland Browns, and Kansas City Chiefs.

Buffalo Bills

In 2002 the Bills underwent a uniform overhaul and introduced a navy on navy look as their primary home uniform. Navy on white appeared as an alternate until 2006 before the team exclusively went with navy on navy. In 2011, the team reverted to a classic look and mono wasn’t seen again until the team wore blue on blue in 2014 against the Green Bay Packers. In 2015, the team went with mono-blue twice and mono-red once during the NFL’s inaugural Color Rush game. The mono-blue and mono-red have remained as alternates ever since.

New York Jets

As with many teams on this list, the Jets first went with green on green in 2002. The green on green became a mainstay until 2015 when the team wore its Color Rush uniform featuring a shade of kelly green which better resembled the team’s 1963-1977 jerseys. In 2016 hunter green on hunter green was worn before both combos were worn in 2017 and 2018. Finally, in 2019, black on black was worn for the first time as part of the Jets’ uniform redesign and a second green on green combo was also worn.

Miami Dolphins

In 2002, the Dolphins busted out aqua on aqua, a look that was also seen in 2003 and 2004. The aqua on aqua didn’t appear again until after the team’s uniform redesign in 2013, finally making an appearance during the 2014 season and again in 2015. The team brought the look back in 2016 along with the coral on coral Color Rush look. Coral on coral was disbanded after a single season and the Dolphins have since used aqua on aqua as an alternate.

Baltimore Ravens

The Ravens were the first team in NFL history to regularly pair darker pants with dark, home jerseys for a season in 1996. However, it wasn’t until 2004 did the team truly go monochrome, pairing black on black. The look continued until 2007 before taking a hiatus in 2008 and 2009. Finally, the look returned in 2010, along with another combo which saw purple on black, resembling the team’s inaugural uniform. These combos remained part of the team’s uniform ever since. Finally in 2016, the Ravens unveiled a purple on purple Color Rush look, which also remains as an alternate to this day.

Cincinnati Bengals

The Bengals first adopted the mono look in 2003, pairing black pants on the black jersey. In 2004, the team adopted a new uniform combo and paired black on black as an alternate with an orange on black look debuting that year as well. The black on black has appeared each year since as alternates while orange on black took a hiatus from 2006-2015 before being used again from 2016-2018.

Cleveland Browns

The Browns held off long on the mono look until 2013 when they paired brown pants with the brown jerseys. In 2015, the team underwent an infamous redesign and paired brown on brown again as an alternate look as well as an orange on brown look for a game. The team went with brown on brown for an alternate once more in 2016 and 2017 and went with the look four times in 2018 – three times with the debut Color Rush look and once in their primary look. In 2019 the Browns started to phase out the infamous 2015 look by promoting the Color Rush to full-time status, wearing the look seven times prior to their 2020 uniform unveiling.

Pittsburgh Steelers

One of the longest holdovers of monochrome, the Steelers fell victim in 2016 when the team debuted its Color Rush look. Contrary to their traditionalist approach, the team and fans fully embraced the look and the Steelers have since worn the black on black as an alternate, usually during night games.

Houston Texans

The NFL’s newest team held out on monochrome until 2006 when they paired blue pants with the blue jersey. In 2007, they continued blue on blue as an alternate while adding in red pants under the alternate red jersey, which became known as Battle Red Day. The team retired ‘Battle Red Day’ after 2010 and continued to move forward with blue on blue. The Texans did experiment once with red on blue in 2015. Starting in 2016, the team unveiled their Color Rush look, which has remained as an alternate ever since.

Indianapolis Colts

Another long holdover, the Colts actually introduced blue pants for a season in 1995 but the look wouldn’t be seen again for 22 seasons when they reintroduced blue pants in 2017 as part of the NFL Color Rush program, which marked the first time in team history the Colts went with blue on blue.

Jacksonville Jaguars

The AFC’s second-youngest franchise first went mono in 2002 when they introduced the alternate black jersey. Also in 2002, they paired teal jerseys with black pants for select games. Black on black was a mainstay until 2007 and teal on black lasted until 2006. The team didn’t see mono again until Shad Khan bought the team in 2012 and the Jags paired black jerseys with black pants for home games. 2013 saw arguably the most infamous uniform redesign in NFL history and the Jags again paired black on black regularly and in 2015, undertook a strange gold on gold Color Rush uniform. 2017 saw the team pair the alternate teal jersey with black pants in addition to black on black and upon the 2018 redesign, both black on black and teal on black continued. Teal on teal is also an option, as seen here.

Tennessee Titans

Okay, so the Titans began their dark on dark odyssey in 2003, combining Titans blue jerseys with dark pants, which later became their primary look – the first team in NFL history whose primary home look consisted of dark pants, a lighter dark jersey, and a light helmet. This look lasted as the primary until 2015 when the original navy blue jersey returned as the primary. In 2006, the team paired navy on navy and Titans blue on Titans blue for the first time. Navy on navy lasted until 2008, before the team retired the jersey until 2013. In 2014 the team negated the mono look during the regular season while the navy on navy and Titans blue on Titans blue both returned in 2015-2017, with the Titans blue on Titans blue now recognized as the Color Rush. In 2018, the team reintroduced navy on navy as an alternate and in 2019, the Titans blue on Titans blue returned.

Denver Broncos

Perhaps the team that started off the mono-phase when they wore navy on navy for the 1997 preseason. The team didn’t see navy on navy again until the 2003 season, which they again retired before wearing it again in 2006 and 2007. This look returned in 2009, as did the team’s 1960 throwbacks which saw brown pants under yellow jerseys the team wore in both 1960 and 1961. The team kept the navy on navy from 2010 to 2015 and in 2016 introduced the orange on orange Color Rush. Both navy on navy and orange on orange returned in 2017 and 2018 while orange on orange continued in 2019.

Kansas City Chiefs

The Chiefs first busted out the mono-red in 2013, and from 2016-2017, has been used as the team’s Color Rush.

Las Vegas Raiders

The Raiders are the only team in the AFC not to pair the monochrome look, although they did pair white on white as the team’s Color Rush in 2016 and 2017.

Los Angeles Chargers

The team first paired navy on navy in 2003 and the mono wasn’t seen again the Color Rush look debuted in 2017, where the team paired blue on blue. The Color Rush has stuck around ever since and the team again paired navy on navy in 2017, 2018, and 2019.

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