A History of NFL Third Jerseys

In 2002, NFL Third Jerseys became the norm and here in 2020, we’re looking at times even at fourth jerseys with the advent of the Color Rush. But when did the third jersey come into existence?

In all honesty, the third jersey really isn’t anything new. In the 1950s and prior, before uniforms were standardized in the same manner they are today, teams would at times utilize the third jersey. But even then, it was rare.

Come 2002, a handful of teams adopted a third.

By 2003, that number increased to nine – not counting throwbacks.

By 2004, the number increased to thirteen.

And of course today, virtually every team in the league uses three jerseys and as mentioned above, even fourth jerseys. This article gives you a visual of the third and fourth jersey each season, beginning in 2002.

2002 Season

In 2002, just a few teams adopted a third. They were:

The Carolina Panthers, who went with a Carolina blue alternate jersey.

Cleveland Browns unveiled an orange jersey, reminiscent of their primary jersey from 1953.

Denver Broncos adopted an orange jersey.

The Jaguars utilized a black alternate which were paired with black pants in 2002.

The Saints wore a one-off gold jersey with black numbering. An interesting note is that the Saints also wore a throwback uniform in 2002.

 

2003 NFL Season

In 2003, that number bumped from five to nine.

The Atlanta Falcons unveiled new uniforms and designated the red jersey as the third.

Carolina kept the blue.

Cleveland remained in orange.

Houston unveiled a red jersey.

Jacksonville stayed in black.

Miami brought out an orange alternate.

New England played in silver.

The Eagles featured a black alternate and also paired them with green pants.

The Titans unveiled Titans blue.

 

2004

The Falcons promoted red to primary and relegated black to alternate status.

The Ravens unveiled black, which they paired with black pants.

The Panthers kept blue.

The Bengals busted out an orange alternate.

The Browns kept orange.

After a year off, the Broncos revived orange.

The Texans kept red.

The Jaguars kept black.

The Dolphins kept orange.

The Patriots kept silver.

The Giants unveiled a red alternate, reminiscent of a historical look.

The Eagles kept black.

The Titans kept Titans blue.

 

2005

The Falcons stayed in black.

The Ravens stayed in black.

The Panthers stayed in blue.

The Bears unveiled an orange jersey.

The Bengals stayed in orange.

The Lions unveiled a black jersey.

The Texans stayed in red.

The Patriots stayed in silver.

The Giants stayed in red.

The Eagles stayed in black.

The Titans stayed in Titans blue.

 

2006

The Falcons stayed in black.

The Ravens stayed in black.

The Panthers stayed in blue.

The Bears stayed in orange.

The Bengals stayed in orange.

The Lions stayed in black.

The Texans stayed in red.

The Jaguars stayed in black.

The Patriots stayed in silver.

The Giants stayed in red.

The Eagles stayed in black.

The Titans stayed in blue.

I know a lot of this is redundant, but it will get more interesting!

 

2007

The Falcons stayed in black.

The Ravens stayed in black.

The Panthers stayed in blue.

The Bears stayed in orange.

The Bengals stayed in orange.

The Lions stayed in black.

The Texans stayed in red and also paired red pants and red socks with the red jersey for a game.

The Jaguars stayed in black.

The Patriots stayed in silver.

The Giants stayed in red.

The Chargers adopted a powder blue alternate.

The Titans stayed in blue.

In 2007, a lot of teams wore throwback uniforms to use as third uniforms, something I’ll cover in a later article but for intents and purposes, this article is about third jerseys that were not intended to be throwbacks, so teams like the Bills, Browns, Steelers, etc. are not included.

 

2008

The Falcons stayed in black.

The Ravens stayed in black, but paired the look with white pants.

The Panthers stayed in blue.

The Bears stayed in orange.

The Bengals stayed in orange.

The Broncos revived the orange.

The Texans paired red on red exclusively.

The Eagles revived the black.

The Chargers stayed in powder blue.

The Titans promoted Titans blue to primary status and relegated navy blue to alternate status.

 

2009

The Ravens kept the black.

The Panthers kept the blue.

The Bears kept the orange.

The Bengals kept the orange.

The Broncos kept orange.

The Texans kept the red.

The Dolphins resurrected the orange.

The Eagles kept the black.

The Chargers kept the powder blue.

The Seahawks unveiled a one-off lime green jersey.

Again, in a future article I’ll go over the throwbacks, especially for 2009, where thirteen teams (including the AFL’s original eight) wore throwbacks.

 

2010

The Arizona Cardinals unveiled a black jersey.

The Ravens kept black.

The Panthers kept blue.

The Bengals kept orange.

The Broncos kept orange.

The Texans kept red.

The Dolphins kept orange.

The Chargers kept powder.

 

2011

The Cardinals kept black.

The Ravens kept black.

The Panthers kept blue.

The Bears resurrected orange.

The Bengals kept orange.

The Broncos kept orange.

The Texans kept red.

The Chargers kept powder.

 

2012

The Cardinals kept black.

The Ravens kept black.

The Panthers kept blue.

The Bengals kept orange.

The Broncos promoted orange to primary status and relegated navy to alternate status.

The Texans kept red.

The Jaguars unveiled a new, primary black jersey, relegating teal to alternate status.

The Eagles resurrected black.

The Chargers kept powder.

The Seahawks unveiled a new wolf gray alternate.

 

2013

The Cardinals kept black.

The Falcons kept black.

The Panthers kept blue.

The Bengals kept orange.

The Broncos kept navy.

The Titans kept red.

The Jaguars kept teal despite unveiling new uniforms.

The Eagles kept black.

The Chargers kept powder.

The Seahawks kept gray.

The Titans revived navy.

 

2014

The Cardinals kept black.

The Ravens kept black.

The Panthers kept blue.

The Bengals kept orange.

The Broncos kept navy.

The Texans kept red.

The Eagles kept black and paired black jerseys on black pants for the first time.

The Chargers kept powder.

The Seahawks kept gray.

The Titans axed the Titans blue look in 2014, promoting navy alternates back to the primary.

 

2015: Enter the Color Rush

The Cardinals kept black.

The Ravens kept black.

The Bills unveiled red.

The Browns resurrected orange for the first time in twelve seasons.

The Broncos kept navy.

The Cowboys unveiled a white alternate.

The Texans kept red.

The Jaguars debuted gold.

The Jets debuted kelly green.

The Eagles kept black.

The Chargers kept powder.

The 49ers debuted black.

The Seahawks kept gray.

The St. Louis Rams debuted yellow during their final year in Missouri.

The Buccaneers debuted a red Color Rush.

The Titans revived Titans blue.

 

2016

The Cardinals kept black.

The Ravens kept black and debuted a purple alternate Color Rush.

The Bills kept red.

The Panthers kept blue.

The Bengals kept orange and debuted a white Color Rush.

The Browns kept orange.

The Cowboys kept white.

The Broncos kept navy and debuted an orange Color Rush.

The Texans kept red.

The Jaguars kept gold.

The Dolphins debuted a new orange Color Rush.

The Vikings debuted a purple alternate Color Rush.

The Patriots debuted a navy alternate Color Rush – an inverse of the red Pat Patriot-era jersey.

The Saints unveiled a white Color Rush uniform with gold numbering.

The Giants unveiled a white Color Rush with blue numbering.

The Raiders debuted an alternate white Color Rush with silver numbering.

The Eagles kept black.

The Steelers debuted a black alternate Color Rush.

The Chargers kept powder and debuted a blue Color Rush.

The 49ers kept black.

The Seahawks debuted an action green Color Rush and kept wolf gray.

The Bucs kept red.

The Titans kept Titans blue.

 

2017

The Cardinals kept black and unveiled a new, black Color Rush with red numbering and black pants.

The Falcons unveiled a red Color Rush.

The Ravens kept purple and black.

The Bengals kept white.

The Bills kept red.

The Panthers kept blue.

The Bengals kept orange.

The Cowboys kept white.

The Broncos kept navy and orange.

The Lions unveiled silver.

The Texans kept red and unveiled a blue Color Rush with red numbering.

The Jaguars revitalized teal.

The Chargers kept powder and blue.

The Los Angeles Rams revived yellow.

The Patriots kept navy.

The Jets kept kelly.

The Saints kept white.

The Giants kept white.

The Raiders kept white.

The Eagles kept black.

The Steelers kept black.

The 49ers kept black.

The Seahawks kept green and wolf gray.

The Bucs kept red.

The Titans kept Titans blue.

The Washington Redskins were supposed to unveil a gold Color Rush look, but the team refused to wear them, and instead wore their primary burgundy jerseys with burgundy pants.

 

2018

The Cardinals kept both black alternates.

The Ravens kept purple and black.

The Bills kept red.

The Panthers kept blue.

The Bears revived orange.

The Bengals kept orange and their white.

The Browns unveiled brown Color Rush jerseys with orange numbering.

The Cowboys kept white.

The Broncos kept navy and orange.

The Lions kept silver.

The Texans kept blue and red.

The Jaguars kept teal.

The Chargers kept powder and blue.

The Rams kept yellow.

The Patriots kept navy.

The Saints kept white.

The Giants kept white.

The Jets kept kelly.

The Raiders kept white.

The Eagles kept black.

The Steelers kept black.

The 49ers debuted white on white – reminiscent of the 1994 throwbacks. Some will identify these as throwbacks, but if you look closely, they bear Color Rush qualities – white socks/shoes. For all intents and purposes, I will call these a third uniform.

The Seahawks kept action green.

The Bucs kept red.

The Titans kept Titans blue despite unveiling new uniforms.

 

2019

The Cardinals kept both blacks.

The Ravens kept purple and black.

The Bills kept red.

The Panthers kept blue.

The Bears kept orange.

The Bengals kept white.

The Browns relegated their former primary uniform to alternate status, promoting the Color Rush to primary.

The Cowboys kept white.

The Broncos kept navy and orange.

The Lions kept silver.

The Texans kept red and navy.

The Jaguars kept teal.

The Chargers promoted their powder blue alternate to primary, relegating navy to alternate while keeping their blue Color Rush.

The Rams kept yellow.

The Vikings kept purple.

The Patriots kept navy.

The Giants kept white.

The Jets debuted a black Color Rush.

The Raiders kept white for their final season in Oakland.

The Eagles kept black.

The Steelers kept black.

The 49ers kept white.

The Seahawks kept action green and even debuted them with navy pants. They also wore wolf gray.

The Buccaneers kept red.

The Titans kept Titans blue and debuted them with Titans blue pants.

 

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