Fans who generally like alternate uniforms were certainly happy when the NFL gave teams the green light to create an additional helmet, allowing teams to become creative in the process. This rule change has also prompted teams such as the Giants and Falcons to create alternate uniforms to go along with their new helmet designs. Many teams are currently having fun with this rule change and while it won't be a surprise if more teams join in, here's my ranking of all the new designs we have seen thus far.
1. Cincinnati Bengals
The Bengals alternate helmets and jerseys are one of the most anticipated color rush designs this upcoming season. Cincinnati already debuted new uniforms last season but these alternates are a perfect addition. With these all-white helmets and a young core that went all the way to the Super Bowl, everything about this team is new and fresh. As one of the more fun teams last year, fans will certainly enjoy Cincinnati's color rush design when they face the Dolphins in week four.
2. Atlanta Falcons
This might be controversial for Giant fans, but I'm a big fan of the Falcons' decision to bring back their classic red helmets. Their throwback jerseys also match up very well with their helmets. Although Atlanta will only be wearing their attire for one game, it's cool combination between old school and new school.
3. New York Giants
While the Giants technically brought back their helmets from the 80s and 90s for the 2016-18 seasons, this is a lot better. Not only did they bring back their classic helmets from the Lawrence Taylor and Bill Parcells era, but they also reintroduced their old time jerseys which were worn in the same era.
4. Carolina Panthers
The Panthers have always had solid uniforms with their teal jerseys standing out in particular. However, they've taken their attire to another level with these black helmet which perfectly complement their black uniforms. While their Thursday Night matchup against the Falcons is far from one of the most anticipated games, the black helmets and uniforms will be a bright spot.
5. Philadelphia Eagles
Like the Panthers, the Eagles' new dark helmets will be a great addition to their black uniforms. While fans are more excited to see their Kelly green uniforms in 2023, I look forward to seeing these helmets match up with the black uniforms.
6. Washington Commanders
Unlike most of these teams, I like how every element of the Commanders' new uniforms stick out. Their home, away, and alternate attire brings something different to the table whether it's the "W" in the center of the black helmets or the golden numbers on the away jerseys.
7. New York Jets
A white background also would've looked very good but I have no problem with the black background complementing their green logo and face mask. While watching the Jets can be challenging, they always seem to wear the right jersey combinations on game days which is why I look forward to seeing their new alternate helmets when they play the Patriots, Bears, and Jaguars at home. Hopefully they'll also win for a change.
8. Dallas Cowboys
With these new helmets, the Cowboys will pair them with their old alternate uniforms which they would wear on Thanksgiving in previous years. It isn't new, but it's one of the few things involving the Cowboys that I actually don't have a problem with.
9. Arizona Cardinals
The Cardinals' new helmets which consist of a black background is the cherry on top for their black color rush uniforms. While it's not good enough to be in the upper half, the matching color scheme of the helmets and uniforms keep this design in the top 10.
10. New Orleans Saints
I've always been a fan of the Saints' attire, with their white and gold jerseys (pictured above) standing out. Their new alternate helmets are solid but they would be a lot higher if they didn't have all those small fleur-de-lis forming a stripe.
11. Houston Texans
The Texans will be in for a rough go in 2022 but at least their first uniform/helmet change was a good one. They will pair their new "battle red" helmet with their alternate red uniforms. Personally, I think this is a cool combination as their red uniforms will look even better compared to the dark blue helmets.
12 New England Patriots
While many people like the Patriots' decision to bring back their throwback uniforms which were worn for three decades, I've never liked these uniforms. Some of that admittedly has to do with my Jets fandom, but the logo of the Patriot snapping a football is way too corny. The strips on the uniforms also make them look like Buffalo Bills' attire.
13. Chicago Bears
Chicago had the right idea of creating an alternate helmet to match up with one of their uniforms. The only problem is that orange isn't the right color to go about this idea. A different helmet background such as white would've looked a lot better.
14. San Fransisco 49ers
The 49ers made some minor changes to their uniforms by going back to three stripes along with a saloon font in the center. Bigger changes would make this ranking a lot higher however.
Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images
When you’re going to an event for the first time, there’s probably a ton of thoughts racing through your mind.
Will I enjoy it, what am I going to get out of it, and will I want to go again?
For me, those were some of the things I was wondering about before going to Tuesday night's Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) game between the New York Liberty and Las Vegas Aces with the New York Times Sports Storytelling course. As someone who has gone to plenty of Knicks games for the last 10 years, I was curious about what type of experience I would get from watching a WNBA game for the first time. Forty minutes later, I left Barclays Center hoping for another chance to attend a game.
Las Vegas emerged victorious last night as they extinguished the Liberty’s burning torch, leading throughout the entire contest. The Aces improved to 16-7 while the Liberty fell to 9-14. In a game that featured a combined six all stars, four of them on Las Vegas, the Aces barely broke a sweat in the first half, leading 53-28 at halftime thanks to a balanced scoring attack led by All Star MVP Kelsey Plum. However, the Liberty fought back valiantly in the second half, scoring a WNBA record 73 points in a single half. With superstar Sabrina Ionescu on the bench, her fellow all-star Natasha Howard and Sami Whitcomb trimmed the Aces lead to single digits by the end of the third quarter. Ionescu joined the rally in the fourth quarter by scoring 21 of her 27 points, but the Aces hit key shots down the stretch and ultimately emerged victorious.
After the game, Liberty coach Sandy Brondello credited the team for their ferocious rally, but stated that if they continue to replicate their first half performance, “We’ll lose against every team.”
While watching, I tried to observe more than any other basketball game I’ve previously attended. What I witnessed was tons of off-ball movement with all five players working as one. Yes, there were still one on one baskets whether it was from Ionescu or Plum, but more often than not, each basket involved an off-ball screen, a cut to the basket, and the extra pass. As someone who has seen lots of basketball, I would rather see possessions where everyone plays as one compared to sequences where someone tries to dunk it over everybody. There’s plenty of times in the National Basketball Association where teams have a sequence involving all five players working together, but that tends to come during the first minutes of action or when a coach draws up an out of bounds play.
When an NBA game is free flowing, players will try to use their athleticism to outsmart their opponents which can only do so much. In last night’s game, the possessions that saw lots of passing were more frequent. The most impressive part is the fact that they aren’t running a specific play, but rather trying to outsmart the opponent by using their brains.
In a question surrounding the play style of teams, third year player Jocelyn Willoughby has missed the majority of the season with a knee injury but still finds the WNBA teams to be “more team oriented” and “fundamentally sound”.
If more NBA teams could adapt the playstyle WNBA teams play with, the game as a whole would be more beautiful because everyone would have a significant role on each possession. As a matter of fact, it would open more opportunities for highlight reel plays since players will be in a better position to make those spectacular plays. Everyone, including myself, understandably enjoys watching the entertaining moments of an NBA game but if good ball and player movement can lead to a great play, it’ll be the best of both worlds.
In my first time going to a WNBA game between the New York Liberty and Las Vegas Aces, I was curious to see what the atmosphere was going to be like. For 10 years I've been going to Knicks games and even during the highest and lowest points, Madison Square Garden has always provided fan entertainment so there were lots of questions racing through my mind given that this was also my first time going to Barclays Center. By the time the final buzzer sounded, I was very impressed.
The atmosphere at Barclays was very exciting from start to finish. There were over 5,000 fans at Barclays which might not seem like a lot, but, given the nosebleed sections are usually covered up, that’s a very respectable number of fans. They also did a very good job keeping the fans engaged during breaks, and having been to a Lakers home game, the entertainment the Liberty provided was way better in my opinion. My favorite source of entertainment was when they did a Liberty chant in a style replicating the J-E-T-S chant. However, they were most engaged in the early stages of the Liberty’s rally where Sami Whitcomb had a three point barrage to conclude the third quarter.
When asked about the fans, Vice President of Communications Alesia Howard said, “People have been very receptive. If you know anything about New Yorkers, you know that they love basketball and they’ve been very supportive of the women.”
She also gave credit to Ionescu for improving the team’s marketing, noting that “It’s great when you have the talent, performance, and skill to back it up because that’s what people want to see.”
For anyone that has yet to see her play in person, I definitely recommend it. Especially after she practically couldn’t miss in the fourth quarter.
As for the long term outlook of the WNBA, there is still plenty of growth. They have already made significant progress as they are the longest standing professional league for women. Given the lack of coverage it receives however, going to a game seems to be the only way to get a true glimpse of the action in a WNBA game. Meanwhile in the NBA, you have a variety of ways to watch whether it’s your team’s channel, ESPN/ABC, or TNT. If I hadn’t gone to last night’s game, I wouldn’t have truly known how talented some of these players are.
During warmups, I got to ask Jocelyn Willoughby if she thinks NBA players have done enough to help improve the WNBA’s recognition. She replied, “I think there’s been growth in that area but more can be done. I don’t think it’s just NBA players. I think it’s valuing women more…NBA players’ engagement in the WNBA is definitely an important step.”
For the WNBA, the support from NBA players is one of many important steps toward the league’s quest to become more popular.
There are many American athletes who have made a groundbreaking achievement in sports, and Kelsie Whitmore’s name should be added to the list. As a left fielder and pitcher of the Staten Island Ferryhawks in the Independent Atlantic League, she is the only woman on the roster and the first female to play in a league partnered with Major League Baseball since 1994. Although the Independent Atlantic League doesn’t get the same attention compared to other minor leagues, Whitmore has made it clear that she is here to play ball.
It wasn’t long in the season before Whitmore would get her chances with the Ferryhawks, as she made her first appearance as a pinch-runner in the Ferryhawks’ opening game. Nine days later, she made her first start as a pitcher. However, this is nothing new for Whitmore. Before going professional, she was the only woman on her high school baseball team all the out west in sunny Temecula, California.
Last Friday my program in the New York Times Sports Writing course got the chance to speak to her before the Ferryhawks' matchup against the Charleston Dirty Birds, so I was able to get a first hand perspective on her journey toward becoming the only woman in a leagued with the MLB.
When I asked her about what’s different compared to high school, she replied, “I’d say the competition is a lot higher. There’s guys who are former major leaguers. Some played in minor affiliate ball so being against and with guys at that level is definitely what makes a difference out of it.”
Even with the increased level of competition, Whitmore is not one to shy away from intimidation.
As for her on-field performance, Whitmore’s hitting has remained a work in progress, given she has yet to get a hit in 22 plate appearances. She has made some strides in her pitching however as she managed to retire a former MLB player in a relief appearance.
As a team the Ferryhawks have only won 22 games so it’s easy for fans to suggest that Whitmore was signed in an effort to gain popularity, but general manager Gary Perone denied these claims. He stated that Whitmore was signed because of her skills on the diamond rather than trying to sell more tickets. While this might be true, Whitmore has been an inspiration to others. Perone noted that he sees a ton of young girls who look up to her when they come to the ballpark. In a city that fields plenty of stars playing for the Yankees and Mets, it’s a pretty impressive accomplishment for Whitmore to be recognized as a role model by many young fans.
Over the last few months, Whitmore’s support has only continued to grow. Although she noted the atmosphere is different compared to California, she described the fans as “very supportive and great to be around.” For someone like Whitmore to receive more attention compared to other players in the Independent Atlantic League, she conducts herself in a very professional manner which isn’t always seen from all athletes.
In a response to a question regarding how her journey might be different compared to others, she thinks that “Part of it is really just not giving up. A lot of people think it’s hard, and they go in an easier route…I’ve been through those moments and you need to fight your mind, and I feel it’s not stopping.”
She additionally credited certain people, such as her father for building a foundation where she can make the necessary steps toward achieving her dreams. Perone said she will have a career in some way and after speaking to her, it's more than likely Whitmore will have tremendous success.