Tampa Bay Buccaneers shelve creamiscle uniforms for safety

By Bill Bradley, contributing editor

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers announced Tuesday that they have scuttled plans to wear their throwback uniforms and helmets Sept. 29 because of an NFL health and safety ruling.

The "creamsicle orange" throwbacks would have required the Bucs to wear a white helmet that is different than their normal pewter headgear. During the offseason, the NFL approved a recommendation by the league's Head, Neck and Spine Committee to forbid teams from switching helmets during the season.

The committee wanted to prevent players from wearing multiple helmets during the season for safety reasons. Some teams easily can change helmet designs by swapping out decals. The Buffalo Bills, for instance, were able to wear throwback helmets last Sunday because their base helmet is white, the same color as their throwback helmet. They just had to change helmet decals.

However, it appears the Bucs would've had to switch to a second set of helmets to wear the throwbacks.

"This offseason, we communicated a recommendation from the Head, Neck and Spine Committee and the Player Safety Advisory Panel to those teams planning to wear throwback uniforms for at least one game this season," NFL spokesperson Brian McCarthy said via email Tuesday afternoon. "They recommended that players no longer wear different helmets as part of a 'throwback' or 'third' uniform."

McCarthy said the NFL supported the change after it was reviewed and approved by San Francisco 49ers co-chairman Dr. John York, who is the chairman of the health and safety ownership committee.

"Teams may continue to wear throwback uniforms under league guidelines, but players must wear their regular helmets," McCarthy said. "The outside of the helmet can be modified by removing or replacing decals, as long as it does not affect the integrity of the helmet."

The Head, Neck and Spine Committee is chaired by Drs. Hunt Batjer and Richard Ellenbogen. The Player Safety Advisory Panel is chaired by Hall of Fame coach John Madden and Hall of Fame safety Ronnie Lott.

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