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For many teams, it may be too late to take advantage of helmet rule change for 2022

Mike Florio and Chris Simms open up their mailbag to answer questions on NFL franchise winning their first Super Bowl and more.

So much for the slow time in the NFL.

As teams begin to enjoy the only period of reduced activity in the ever-growing NFL schedule, they need to reconvene for the purposes of deciding in fairly short order an important piece of business for 2022.

According to the memo disseminated on Thursday by the NFL, all teams must decide and declare by July 31 whether they’ll be using a second helmet in 2022. Complicating matters for the various teams is that “the notice date for 2022 uniform changes has passed and no new uniforms can be developed for the 2022 season, other than those previously approved by the League Office for the 2022 season.”

This means that, for example, the Patriots won’t be able to adopt for 2022 an alternate uniform based on their Pat Patriot throwbacks, making the return of a white helmet impractical before 2023. Ditto for the Tampa Bay creamsicle uniforms, the light blue Oilers helmet as an alternative to the Titans’ uniform, and any other alternate helmets that make no sense without an alternate set of jerseys and pants.

It will allow, however, the Bengals to adopt a white helmet with black stripes to go with their white-on-white look. It also will allow the Broncos to put their old-school snorting horse logo on a lighter blue helmet, to go with their old-school uniforms.

Moreover, it won’t limit teams from matching existing throwbacks or Color Rush uniforms with different helmets than what they had intended. The Steelers could use a yellow helmet with an alternate look, for example. The Cowboys could adopt a white helmet. The Seahawks could, if they choose to burn even more retinas, introduce a helmet with a color that matches their hideous lime green alternative uniforms.

However it plays out, any alternate helmets must be disclosed by July 31 -- and any that require uniforms other than those already in place for 2022 will become impractical and most likely not applicable to 2023.