Brandon Staley, HC, Los Angeles Chargers
Brandon Staley’s run as head coach of the Chargers has been a rocky one. The former Rams coordinator entered an enviable situation in his first run as a head coach. The top-end talent for the Chargers has been among the league’s best for years. Justin Herbert, Austin Ekeler, and Keenan Allen are all among the best players at their position. Staley was brought in to juice up a defense which already included two star pass rushers (Joey Bosa and Khalil Mack) plus an All-Pro safety (Derwin James). Each of Staley’s first two seasons ended in heartbreak (Week 18 loss to Raiders in ’21 and Wild Card collapse to Jaguars in ’22). His decision making — mainly his fourth-down calls — have come into question a number of times. With a franchise QB in tow, the Chargers cannot afford to hold onto an ill-fitting coach through Herbert’s rookie contract. Staley is firmly on the hot seat.
Matt Eberflus, HC, Chicago Bears
There aren’t too many coaches that hold onto their job through a 14-game losing streak. The Bears lost the final 10 games of Matt Eberflus’ first year as coach, and began Year 2 with four consecutive losses. It’s easy to say the Bears are not equipped to challenge the top teams in the league, but the team has looked completely outclassed on most weeks. That comes down to coaching, and Eberflus has failed to prove he’s capable of making a positive impact as head coach. Chicago has question marks all across its team, but Eberflus likely ends up being the primary scapegoat.
Matt Canada, OC, Pittsburgh Steelers
It’s a chore to watch the Steelers play offense. There is an abundance of talent on this roster. Even with Diontae Johnson out, the Steelers have enough playmakers to get the job done. In general, teams don’t like to blame their draft picks. And, the Steelers have invested a ton of capital on the offense. QB Kenny Pickett and RB Najee Harris were first-round picks, while WR George Pickens and TE Pat Freiermuth were taken in the second round. It’s the job of offensive coordinators like Pittsburgh’s Matt Canada to put the players in a position to succeed. He has consistently failed to do so. The Steelers are among the worst offenses in football and they’re likely to move on from Canada before making any major personnel changes.
Vance Joseph, DC, Denver Broncos
Any time your defense gives up 70 points, it’s safe to say you’re on the ‘hot seat’. Vance Joseph joined Sean Payton’s coaching staff with the Broncos prior to the season. Joseph was previously the head coach for the Broncos in the ’17 and ’18 season — finished 11-21 before getting fired following his second season. Denver was horrendous offensively last year, but was among one of the better defenses in the league — especially in pass coverage. This year, it’s flipped as the Broncos are competent offensively but historically bad on the other end. And, it’s not for a lack of talent. Denver boasts two of the best players at their respective positions — CB Patrick Surtain and S Justin Simmons — plus a bevy of veterans. Perhaps the team should not have gotten rid of former DC Ejiro Evero (now with the Panthers).
Joe Barry, DC, Green Bay Packers
The Packers have no business being a run-of-the-mill defensive team. While injuries have been unkind to its stars, this is a stacked defensive depth chart with talent at every level. There are seven first-round picks on this roster (all selected by Green Bay) — Jaire Alexander, Quay Walker, Kenny Clark, Rashan Gary, Lukas Van Ness, Devonte Wyatt, Darnell Savage Jr. This is the result of not drafting a first-round receiver for so many years. A team that invests this much on the defensive side of the ball must be among one of the league’s stingiest units. Instead, the defense has finished 17th and 13th in opponents scoring in Barry’s first two seasons. It’s never a good sign when your defensive coordinator goes viral, but that’s exactly what happened to Barry in Week 5 when Green Bay edge rusher Preston Smith was caught in man coverage with Davante Adams.
Zach Wilson, QB, New York Jets
When Aaron Rodgers went down, a collective groan could be faintly heard across MetLife Stadium. That’s because Jets fans knew that Zach Wilson was once again their team’s starting QB. The last they’d seen Wilson, he was getting outplayed by Joe Flacco, Mike White, the guy who sells peanuts in the stands, and just about every other quarterback in the league. The former No. 2 pick has not adjusted well, and it seems like the player we saw at BYU isn’t going to materialize in the NFL. That being said, Wilson is still just 24 years old, and is under the tutelage of one of the greatest QB’s in NFL history. It’s make-or-break this season as the Jets seem content riding it out with Wilson for the remainder of 2023.
Mac Jones, QB, New England Patriots
It hasn’t felt this grim in New England for a long, long time. The Patriots are at the bottom of the AFC East — a division they ran roughshod over when a certain seven-time Super Bowl champion was still in town. They aren’t too far off from being at the very bottom of the entire league. For a moment, it seemed like former Alabama hurler Mac Jones would carry the Patriots through the post-Brady era. He was named a Pro Bowler after a strong rookie campaign. Year 2 is when it all fell apart, as Jones struggled and was eventually benched for a seventh-round pick in Bailey Zappe. Year 3 hasn’t gone much better, even after revamping the offensive coaching staff. Jones hasn’t shown many signs of improvement, and the Patriots have scored the least amount of points in football through five weeks. Something has to give.
Mike McCarthy, HC, Dallas Cowboys
We know. Jerry Jones doesn’t like to fire coaches. The Cowboys limped through 10 seasons with Jason Garrett at the helm, with just three playoff appearances and two postseason wins to show for it. Mike McCarthy — who won a Super Bowl as HC for the Packers in 2010 — was expected to bring a winning pedigree to Dallas. Thus far, McCarthy’s Cowboys look eerily similar to Garrett’s Cowboys. The Cowboys have fallen to the 49ers in each of the last two playoffs despite having perceived advantages from a roster perspective. McCarthy is now 0-3 versus the 49ers following a recent drubbing on Sunday Night Football. Jerry Jones can be loyal to a fault, but we wouldn’t be all that surprised to see him get rid of McCarthy if this Cowboys season takes a downturn.
Justin Fields, QB, Chicago Bears
Is Justin Fields long for Chicago? Just a year ago, Bears faithful were smitten with their young QB. Fields was setting records (as a runner), and showing the early signs of a player who could be a difference-maker down the line. Entering this season, hype around the Bears began to grow. Chicago added a No. 1 wideout in D.J. Moore, and made improvements to the offensive line. Fields was expected to flourish, so when he came out of the gates slow the questions quickly arose. He’s looked better in games against Denver and Washington, but we’re not convinced he’s done enough quite yet. With the Bears potentially in line for the No. 1 pick (via their own pick or Carolina’s) in a QB-heavy draft, there’s no telling what Fields’ future has in store for him.
Desmond Ridder, QB, Atlanta Falcons
The Falcons may have fumbled their QB situation, and it could cost them an entire season (and possibly more). Atlanta selected Desmond Ridder with the 74th overall pick of the 2022 NFL Draft, making him the second QB taken. Instead of giving Ridder reps to gain experience and confidence, the Falcons opted to give veteran Marcus Mariota a chance. Ridder would end up starting the last four games, making a good enough impression that he earned the starting job heading into this season. He hasn’t looked the part as a first-year starter.
And, it’s clear the coaching staff doesn’t trust him based on Atlanta’s run-heavy gameplan. If they had given Ridder a shot earlier in his rookie campaign, maybe the team could have made a more accurate assessment about his long-term outlook. And, if they opted to go in a different direction, this past offseason could have landed them any number of potential replacements — perhaps even, Lamar Jackson?
Ron Rivera, HC, Washington Commanders
It’s abundantly clear that Ron River and the Commanders are headed for a breakup. Rivera was an overachiever in his first year with Washington. The Commanders won the NFC East over the Cowboys, Eagles, and Giants, and even took the eventual Super Bowl Champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers to the brink in the Wild Card round that year. Since then, Washington has hovered around .500 with 3rd and 4th place finishes in the division over the last two seasons. When watching the Commanders, they look a tad archaic on both sides of the ball. Rivera rarely lives up to his nickname of “Riverboat Ron” as the Commanders are typically averse to taking risks offensively. Rivera is an accomplished NFL lifer — who recently won his 100th career game as HC — but his time in Washington will surely come to a close soon.
Zac Taylor, HC, Cincinnati Bengals
How is a coach who led his team to a Super Bowl berth two years ago and was a couple of plays away from going again last year on the hot seat? Well, it’s because a lot of times the Bengals seemingly have success in spite of Zac Taylor’s greatest efforts. Taylor has been maligned by the Cincinnati fanbase at times for his timeout usage, peculiar play-calling, and inability to innovate. A member of the Sean McVay coaching tree, Taylor comes from an offensive background. However, the Bengals are often unbalanced offensively and mostly get by through the greatness of Joe Burrow and Ja’Marr Chase. Already off to a rocky start, a poor season from the Bengals will lead to some major changes.
Daniel Jones, QB, New York Giants
All of the Giants’ problems offensively don’t land on Daniel Jones. But, there’s a certain expectation that comes after signing a $160 million contract. Fair or not, Jones will be under scrutiny whenever the Giants fail to score consistently. Of course, the Giants haven’t done the best job of surrounding Jones with consistent support. The offensive line is under fire every play — RT Evan Neal has not lived up to the billing of a No. 7 overall pick. The team added Darren Waller in the offseason hoping he’d emerge as Jones’ top option, without much care to the fact the 31-year-old TE has dealt with a number of injuries over the past couple of seasons. As bad as it’s gotten, Jones hasn’t made it better as he’s seemingly reverted back to being a turnover machine. Though Jones signed a four-year deal this past summer, only the first two years are guaranteed. The clock is ticking.
Josh McDaniels, HC, Las Vegas Raiders
Josh McDaniels is on thin ice in Las Vegas. The former Patriots coordinator was selected to lead the Raiders over a list of candidates which included beloved interim coach Rich Bisaccia. McDaniels is regarded as an offensive guru, and inherited an offense with a bevy of talent — Davante Adams, Josh Jacobs, Hunter Renfrow and Darren Waller. Ultimately, McDaniels could never see eye-to-eye with former QB Derek Carr, leading to a disappointing season for a team that had made the playoffs the previous year. In Year 2, McDaniels swapped Carr for Jimmy Garoppolo — and the offense has gotten even worse. The Raiders have played five games and haven’t scored 20 points in any of them — making them one of just five teams to do so since 2010. After starting 6-0 as the Broncos coach back in 2009, McDaniels is 13-31 over his last 44 games as a head coach. His seat is on fire.
Dennis Allen, HC, New Orleans Saints
Replacing Sean Payton was never going to be easy. Dennis Allen was promoted to head coach following Payton’s ‘retirement’. Allen was previously the team’s defensive coordinator, and led a top-5 defensive unit in his last year as DC. There’s no doubting Allen’s ability to coach defense, but his in-game management leaves a lot to be desired. With just a 18-40 record as a head coach, Allen has yet to prove he has all of the qualities that make a great head coach. The Saints have historically never been a team that will sit idly by. They constantly sacrifice the future to win in the present. If Allen can’t get it done in a winnable NFC South, his future with the Saints will be in jeopardy.
Ryan Tannehill, QB, Tennessee Titans
Ryan Tannehill’s future with the Titans immediately became uncertain when the team drafted Malik Willis two years ago…and then again when they drafted Will Levis last year. Tennessee has made one thing clear by selecting QB’s in back-to-back drafts: it is preparing for life without Tannehill. And, we can’t blame them. Tannehill’s arrival in Tennessee didn’t entice a ton of fanfare, but the results were impressive. Tannehill enjoyed his best years with the Titans, and led the team to the playoffs in each of his first three seasons. Now, the 35-year-old is no longer an impact player and is likely better suited for a backup role. It’s only a matter of time until Willis or Levis gets a shot under center.
Russell Wilson, QB, Denver Broncos
Russell Wilson is no longer an elite quarterback. It’s true that he’s played better in Year 2 with the Broncos, but it doesn’t seem like his spot as the team’s unquestioned starter is ironclad. A few mistakes here and there could lead to Wilson relinquishing the job, and possibly finding his way out of Denver. Wilson’s massive contract certainly complicates things, but it’s never seemed like new head coach Sean Payton was sold on his inherited QB. With things already looking grim in Denver, don’t be surprised if we see Jarrett Stidham get some starts towards the end of the season.
Sean Payton, HC, Denver Broncos
Already? Well, Sean Payton’s first year in Denver has not gone according to plan. Things only got worse after the Broncos allowed 70 points to the Dolphins in a historic beatdown. Payton inherited a team with offensive issues and a tricky cap situation, but there were expectations for this team given the pedigree of its QB and the defensive depth chart. In just a few weeks time, Payton has dashed all excitement surrounding the Broncos. To put it frankly, Payton looks out of his element. We’ve seen coaches get the one-and-done treatment in the past — Urban Meyer, anyone? — and that’s not out of the realm of possibility for Payton. Perhaps the rest of the league has just passed him by.
Bill Belichick, HC, New England Patriots
Six Super Bowl wins is not enough to exempt you from the proverbial ‘hot seat’. The Patriots have never been in a sadder state under Bill Belichick than right now. The roster is flawed, and the offense is among the league’s worst units. New England could be headed for a top pick in the draft — uncharted territory for Belichick-led teams. If the Patriots bottom out, could they move on from their Hall of Fame coach? It could behoove both sides for a mutual parting of ways, whether it’s Belichick stepping down or the team outright firing him. While the latter seems unlikely, it would be very Belichik-esque for the New England ownership to coldly show the longtime coach the door…
Kyle Shanahan, HC, San Francisco 49ers
Kyle Shanahan is one of the brightest minds in football. He parlayed an excellent run as OC for the Falcons into a head coaching job for the 49ers. Powered by an innovative offense, the 49ers have made the postseason in three of the last four seasons — reaching the NFC title game each year with a Super Bowl appearance back in 2019. While Shanahan has done a marvelous job with the team overall, some wonder if he’s capable of ultimately leading San Francisco over the hump. Until Shanahan finally wins a Super Bowl, it’s going to be difficult to put him alongside the other elite coaches. Will he ever get one? The 49ers are an early favorite to come out of the NFC this year, another postseason letdown could lead to some questions in the Bay Area…
Kyle Pitts, TE, Atlanta Falcons
Things are getting bleak for Kyle Pitts in Atlanta. The Falcons made Pitts the highest-drafted TE in league history just a few seasons ago, and today he’s hardly a factor on their offense. There have been a couple of games where he wasn’t even the best tight end on his own team as Jonnu Smith eclipsed him in both yards and receptions. Pitts is a physical marvel who is a matchup nightmare for any defender in the league. The Falcons just can’t get him the ball. Pitts had over 1,000 yards as a rookie, but failed to even get 400 yards last season. In 32 career games, he has just three touchdowns — through Week 5 of the 2023 season there are already 24 players with at least three receiving touchdowns. 24 players this season have already matched Pitts’ career TD total in just five games. We aren’t sure if the Falcons are ready to move him just yet, but we’re sure a number of teams would be lining up to acquire Pitts’ services.
Tee Higgins, WR, Cincinnati Bengals
A pending free agent, Tee Higgins’ future in Cincinnati is in doubt. Higgins is a former second-round pick who became an instant contributor as a rookie during the 2020 NFL season. He’s a big target with a massive catch radius, but also isn’t too shabby as a route runner. At just 24 years old, Higgins would command a hefty price on the open market as premium pass-catchers are always in demand. There’s a chance the Bengals ink him to a long-term deal, but would that be in the team’s best interest? Cincinnati already locked up Joe Burrow for $275 million, and reports are that Ja’Marr Chase will be looking for a mega deal in the near future.
Bryce Young, QB, Carolina Panthers
A rookie on the hot seat? The most recent No. 1 overall pick, no less. Now, it’s unlikely the Panthers give up on Bryce Young this season (or even next season). Carolina doesn’t even own its first-round pick this year, so it’s out of the Caleb Williams sweepstakes. However, the ‘bust’ label gets thrown around quite a bit in the NFL — and it’s hovering around Young at this moment. The rookie has started off slow out of the gates. Which typically isn’t a problem for a first-year player, but the two other QB’s selected in the first round after Young have hit the ground running. Both C.J. Stroud and Anthony Richardson have already shown more than Young in their early NFL careers. That’s not to say either will be better than Young in the long-term, but the QB is falling behind his peers and struggling to adjust to the NFL.
Tyree Wilson, DE, Las Vegas Raiders
Another rookie, Tyree Wilson is quickly looking like another misfire by the Raiders draft room. Of course, the current regime didn’t select so many of the infamous busts who have donned the Silver and Black, but they look to be off to a shaky start. Vegas selected Wilson — an edge rusher from Texas Tech — with the seventh overall pick. Through the early season, Wilson has been one of the least productive edge rushers in the league. Wilson has supreme physical tools, but a sluggish first-step and a lack of pass rush moves has made it easier for offensive linemen to deal with the 6-foot-6, 275-pound defensive end. Teams don’t usually give up on a first-round pick in one year, but Wilson has failed to impress despite playing a sizable role on the defense. He could be a one-and-done in Vegas.
Jonathan Taylor, RB, Indianapolis Colts
Jonathan Taylor finally signed on the dotted line. A three-year deal worth up to $42 million made Taylor one of the highest-paid running backs in the league. There’s no doubting Taylor’s ability on the field. When healthy, Taylor is among the league’s best with a rare blend of speed, power, and vision. The Colts signed him to be an every-down back. However, it should be noted that backup Zack Moss was excellent in Taylor’s absence. While he was nursing an ankle injury, Moss averaged over 100 yards per contest, including an impressive 23-165-2 performance in Taylor’s first game. Taylor’s guarantees only stretch through the first two seasons, meaning the Colts could release him with minor cap penalties prior to the conclusion of the contract. If Moss continues to play well and Taylor struggles out of the gates, the Colts could experience some buyer’s remorse…
Ranking All 32 NFL Helmets
Alt. Cleveland Browns
Cleveland’s orange primary helmet is rather decisive. A lot of fans of the franchise support the orange lids, but even more football fans around the world find Cleveland’s look to be amongst the worst in the league. In 2023, the Browns introduced a new, white helmet — and we think it is an upgrade. The brown facemask is a perfect contrast, and the stripe down the center of the helmet works perfectly. Paired with a very clean uniform, this helmet is a winner.
Image Source: Joe Sargent/Getty Images
Alt New England Patriots
Who doesn’t love this helmet? New England’s former primary helmet is much better than its current ‘Flying Elvis’ dome. The white helmet featuring Pat the Patriot is one of the best in league history. Thankfully, the Patriots have announced that the helmet will be returning in 2023. And, we would fully endorse the Pats bringing back the look on a full-time basis.
Image Source: Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire/Getty Images
Alt. Detroit Lions
Detroit’s new alternate helmet features a whole lot of Honolulu Blue. Featured prominently on the new lid is the walking lion logo which was used from 1946-69. While not a terrible look, we think it would be stronger if the shell was silver instead of blue — especially because the helmet is set to be paired with Detroit’s hideous mono-grey uniform. Maybe Detroit’s new uniform set (said to be coming soon) will do a better job incorporating the new helmet.
Image Source: Detroit Lions
Alt. Indianapolis Colts
The Colts feature one of the league’s more recognizable helmets. Their primary white lid is adorned by a blue horseshoe. It was only a matter of a time before the franchise opted to adopt a black alternate. The new shell is going to be paired with a new, all-blue uniform dubbed ‘Indiana Nights’. The helmet is fine, but it would be better with a different uniform — the new one isn’t a winner.
Image Source: Indianapolis Colts
Alt. Denver Broncos
New Arena‘s biggest Broncos fan, Jesse, had this to say about Denver’s new alternate helmet set to debut in 2023:
“A helmet as cold as the Rockies. The ‘cos may be able to come back if they rock this helmet for the rest of the season.”
Image Source: Denver Broncos
Alt. Tennessee Titans
The Oilers franchise left Houston in favor of Nashville, Tennessee, in 1997 — and fans have been clamoring for the return of Oiler gear ever since. This entire uniform is beautiful, and the helmet also remains a gem. There is nothing bad to say about this look — it is a 10/10.
Image Source: Tennessee Titans
Alt. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers creamsicle helmet is an iconic piece of NFL history, representing an era when the team donned vibrant orange and white uniforms from their inception in 1976 until 1996. While the creamsicle era wasn’t known for its on-field success, with the team struggling for much of that time, the helmet remains a beloved and nostalgic symbol for Buccaneers fans, evoking memories of past players and moments on the gridiron. Despite the team’s subsequent uniform and branding changes, the creamsicle helmet continues to hold a special place in the hearts of fans. The helmet will FINALLY return in 2023.
Image Source: Scott Cunningham/Getty Images
Alt. Seattle Seahawks
The Seahawks have enjoyed far more success in their current uniforms than they did in their old, blue/silver garb. Still, fans have been excited by the possibility of the franchise reincorporating the old color scheme into the modern era. In 2023, the team finally unveiled the new look. The silver/green/blue combo looks better than ever. Like a few other 90s looks, we wouldn’t be upset if the Seahawks embraced this look as their new primary.
Image Source: Seattle Seahawks
32. Cleveland Browns
Was there ever a question of which team would rank last? Not only do the Cleveland Browns have a tortured history, but they also have the worst helmet in the NFL. To be fair, there isn’t much you can do when your team name is ‘Browns’. However, Cleveland’s choice to use a plain, orange helmet is a poor one. The brown and white stripe is fine, but it doesn’t do much for the look. We don’t know how the Browns can improve their helmet, but it is time to come up with something new.
Image Source: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports
31. New England Patriots
Patriot Pat is far superior to New England’s current ‘Flying Elvis’ helmet. If the Patriots were to bring back their old, white helmets featuring Patriot Pat on a permanent basis, the team would rank much higher on this list. However, we simply can’t put New England any higher than 31 for as long as they only wear its silver helmet. The silver lid and red facemask look fine, but the ‘Flying Elvis’ is putrid. Due to the franchise’s success while wearing the current lid, however, it is unlikely that it ever goes away completely.
Image Source: USA Today Sports
30. New York Jets
Depending on how you feel about alternate helmets, you may rate the Jets a bit higher than we do. Unveiled a few years ago as a part of New York’s uniform makeover, the green helmets on the left act as the primary helmet. Adorned on the dark green shell is the ‘Jets’ wordmark with a football underneath. Ahead of the 2022 season, New York unveiled an alternate helmet. Accompanying New York’s all-black look will be a black helmet. The new helmet features a green facemask, and the same logo as the primary helmet — colored in green instead of white. The Jets have had some better looks in the past.
Image Source: USA Today Sports, New York Jets
29. Arizona Cardinals
The Cardinals are in desperate need of a makeover. In our minds, Arizona sports some of the worst uniforms in sports. The Cardinals unveiled a new uniform set ahead of 2023, and it still is one of the worst looks in the league. Arizona’s primary helmet is boring — a white shell featuring the birdhead logo. The alternate helmet — black helmet with a metallic-looking birdhead and black facemask — is a clear upgrade. When the light hits the helmet a certain way, red sparkles are visible in the paint (a look Louisville has donned often in college).
Image Source: USA Today Sports
28. Houston Texans
From Houston’s first year in the NFL in 2002 through the 2021 season, the Texans took the field with the exact same look. The uniforms have remained the same for 20 years, and the navy helmet was untouched. Houston’s primary helmet looks the same as the one featured above, but navy replaces the red shell. Ahead of the ’22 season, the Texans introduced an alternate helmet — the Battle Red Helmet. The red certainly pops, and the logo works quite well with the bright shell. It is a nice change of pace for the franchise, but we need to see the helmets in action before we move the Texans further up the list.
Image Source: Houston Texans
27. Jacksonville Jaguars
The Jaguars are yet another team that has seen their helmet worsen over the years. From 1995-2012, Jacksonville stuck with its original logo — a more fierce Jaguar than the current look. The Jags had one of the best looking helmets in the league…until they opted for a two-tone look in 2013. After five seasons, Jacksonville scrapped the two-tone shells in favor of its current look — a solid black helmet with the Jaguar head. We aren’t fans of the modern Jaguar logo. It’s that simple.
Image Source: James Gilbert/Getty Images
26. New York Giants
Why don’t the Giants bring back this helmet on a permanent basis? Being brought back in 2022 thanks to the NFL’s one-helmet rule going by the wayside, New York’s classic helmet is a huge improvement from its primary look — a lighter blue shell featuring a lowercase ‘ny’ in white. The navy blue helmet with GIANTS was worn between 1980-1999. During that time, the Giants won two Super Bowls. The only strange thing about this helmet is that the blue on the uniform and helmet never matched. Still, it is a strong look that the Giants should bring back full-time.
Image Source: Sean Gardner/Getty Images
25. Detroit Lions
Detroit has donned a similar helmet to its current look since 1961. While the lion logo has gone through several upgrades, the look has remained unchanged — a silver helmet featuring a blue lion. The Lions current helmet is incredibly simple. Detroit rocks a silver helmet completed by a silver facemask, blue stripes running down the center of the lid, and the familiar blue lion. There is nothing inherently wrong with Detroit’s helmet, but it feels as if there is a lot of room for improvement.
Image Source: USA Today Sports
24. Carolina Panthers
Like the Jets and Cardinals before them, the Carolina Panthers also unveiled a black alternate helmet ahead of the 2022 season. The addition of the black helmet marks the first time since Carolina’s inception in 1995 that the team has introduced a new lid. On the new all-black helmet, two blue stripes have replaced the black stripes from the silver dome. The logo pops off to the helmet due its bright blue tone. The Panthers should look pretty sharp when they opt to wear the new helmet with their all-black uniform. Carolina has decent helmet options, but nothing that blows us away.
Image Source: USA Today Sports, Carolina Panthers
23. Atlanta Falcons
Let’s talk about an upgrade. The Atlanta Falcons have some of the newest uniforms in the NFL, and they just happen to be amongst the ugliest the league has to offer. Their current primary helmet features a massive red and black falcon and a chrome facemask. Fans often ask for Atlanta to wear its old, 90’s era black helmet featuring the old school falcon. Thankfully, the franchise introduced an updated version of an old classic ahead of the 2022 season. The new red alternate is complimented by a grey facemask, the old school falcon logo, and a stripe down the center that utilizes colors from Georgia Tech (gold) and Georgia. If the Falcons adopt the old black helmet, they will jump into the top-10.
Image Source: USA Today Sports, Atlanta Falcons
22. Baltimore Ravens
The Ravens have a very familiar helmet. Why? The franchise has worn the same headpiece since 1999. When the Ravens first came to exist, the team wore their winged shield helmet for three seasons. For the past 20 or so years, the Ravens have worn the helmet pictured above. The use of purple on the raven’s head is nice — an added plus that purple is a color only used by the Ravens and Vikings — but the overall design is somewhat boring. Baltimore should have plenty of ideas for an alternate helmet in the years to come.
Image Source: Getty Images
21. Indianapolis Colts
A classic. Simple, but a classic. Dating back to 1957 when the Colts were still in Baltimore, the franchise has worn a nearly identical version of the helmet the team wears today. Indianapolis’ look is iconic at this point. The Colts wear a white helmet with a dark blue horseshoe and stripe with a grey facemask. The only thing that has changed over the years is the color of the horseshoe. This is a very solid look, but we expect Indianapolis to tinker with an alternate helmet in the coming years.
Image Source: USA Today Sports
20. Denver Broncos
The Broncos debuted their current uniforms and helmets in 1997. The team won the Super Bowl in its new duds in both 1997 and 1998, so the helmets immediately became one of the league’s most recognizable shells. Denver added another Lombardi Trophy to its collection at the conclusion of the 2015-16 season. Despite the franchise’s success in the navy and orange, fans are clamoring for a change. There is nothing wrong with the current helmet — the white bronco is a strong look, and the orange pops — but the previous lids were simply better. Hell, maybe the Broncos should keep this helmet but revert back to the light blue and orange combo that the team wore for four decades.
Image Source: Frederick Breedon/Getty Images
19. Chicago Bears
Like the Colts, the Chicago Bears have one of the more iconic helmets in the NFL. Dating back to 1962, the Bears have worn a navy helmet featuring the trademark wishbone ‘C’ — from 1962-1973 it was white, and it has been orange ever since. The only change since 1983? The facemask went from grey to navy. Aside from a few classic designs that the Bears have worn in recent years, the franchise has retained the same look for decades. So, when the team announced it would wear orange helmets for a few games in 2022, fans were intrigued. The verdict is still out on whether it is a good look or not, however. The new helmet simply swapped the colors of the ‘C’ and the shell. It is better than Cleveland’s orange lids, but it’s still not great.
Image Source: Chicago Bears
18. Philadelphia Eagles
The Philadelphia Eagles, like a handful of other teams in 2022, are introducing a black alternate helmet. Philadelphia’s normal helmet has been worn since 1996. The dark green lid features a silver, black and white wing on both sides of the helmet. If you think that the two helmets above look nearly identical, you are not alone. The new, black helmet features the same wing design as the primary lid. To be honest, the black helmet doesn’t look much darker than the green. However, it has been announced that the Eagles will debut Kelly green helmets in 2023. That look will vault Philly up this list.
Image Source: USA Today Sports, Philadelphia Eagles
17. Tennessee Titans
An argument could be made that Tennessee’s current helmet is the weakest in franchise history. Back when the Titans were the Houston Oilers, they featured a classic helmet — one of the best in league history. Upon moving to Tennessee, the team soon rebranded as the Titans and debuted a white helmet with the same logo seen on the helmet above. In 2018, Tennessee ditched the white helmet and unveiled the navy lids. A silver facemask replaced the old, blue facemask on the white helmet. It is a decent look, but the Titans can do better.
Image Source: Frederick Breedon/Getty Images
16. Miami Dolphins
Miami’s old logo is better than its current one — and this writer doesn’t think it’s particularly close. Miami’s helmet has maintained the same theme since 1966. Throughout team history, the Dolphins have worn a white helmet which features a dolphin jumping through a sunburst. The aqua and orange hues have seen some updates over the years, but that was all until 2013. That year, the helmet above was released. A new, more streamlined dolphin replaced the classic we all grew to love. Instead of a leaping dolphin, the dolphin now appears to be swimming. Also, the dolphin no longer wears its own ‘M’ helmet. It’s time to return to the past, Miami.
Image Source: Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images
15. New Orleans Saints
For the first time since the 1969 preseason, the New Orleans Saints will wear a helmet that isn’t gold. Dating back to 1967, New Orleans has donned a gold helmet featuring a black fleur-de-lis. While the shade of gold and facemask color has changed slightly over the years, the helmet has largely remained untouched. In 2022, the Saints unveiled a new, black helmet. In addition to the helmet switching from gold to black, the Saints’ fleur-de-lis logo has gone from black to gold. Down the center of the helmet, a bunch of tiny gold fleur-de-lis logos replace the traditional stripes. These helmets will look great on the field.
Image Source: New Orleans Saints
14. Washington Commanders
As part of Washington’s rebrand to the Commanders, the franchise released a new set of uniforms which included two helmets. For their primary look, the Commanders opted for an all-burgundy shell with a single gold stripe down the middle and the primary ‘W’ logo in gold. As for its secondary helmet, Washington chose a shiny black shell with a couple of unique quirks. The sides of the helmet feature the player’s numbers ala Alabama. On the front, a smaller version of Washington’s ‘W’ logo is present. We think both of these helmets are pretty good.
Image Source: USA Today Sports
13. Kansas City Chiefs
This is just clean. Some helmets standout more than others due to a team’s success, and this is certainly the case with Kansas City over the past few years. The Chiefs don one of the NFL’s most recognizable lids — a red helmet sporting a white arrowhead with an interlocking ‘KC’ in red and black. The white facemask if the perfect complement to the helmet, although some fans might prefer the grey facemasks that Kansas City wore from 1963-1973.
Image Source: Mitchell Layton/Getty Images
12. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Buccaneers have worn four different helmets since the franchise’s inaugural season in 1976. In our minds, this is probably the second-best. Featured on the pewter shell which the team has worn since 1997 is a red pirate flag boasting a skull, two swords and a football — with the flag impaled by a sword, as well. Of course, fans long for the ‘creamsicle’ Bucco Bruce helmet that the team wore upon its debut and through the 1996 season. Thankfully, the Bucs have announced that the creamsicle helmets/uniforms will be making their return in 2023.
Image Source: Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images
11. Pittsburgh Steelers
There are probably a lot of people who believe this is the best helmet in the NFL. There is no denying that it is one of the most classic helmets in the league, but I believe that there are more than a few that beat out Pittsburgh’s unique look. Of course, Pittsburgh is the only team in the league which dons a helmet featuring a logo on just one side. The familiar black helmet works perfectly with Pittsburgh’s uniform options, but we are taking a few points away for the logo being a bit bland. The circle logo featuring the three diamonds is feeling a bit dated. Now, imagine an alternate helmet which utilizes the three colored diamonds…
Image Source: USA Today Sports
10. Green Bay Packers
This helmet is a winner. Not only are the Green Bay Packers one of the NFL’s most storied franchises, but they also rock one of the most iconic helmets in football. Green Bay’s yellow helmet is instantly recognizable. The ‘G’ fits perfectly on the lid, and is an all-time classic football logo. While we would hear any argument for the Packers having a top-5 helmet, we are comfortable keeping them at No. 10. Bonus points for the helmet working in different colorways — the Georgia Bulldogs copied the Packers and it works, to say the least. Will we see Green Bay introduce a green alternate helmet in the future?
Image Source: Steven Branscombe/Getty Images
9. Dallas Cowboys
The Cowboys will be wearing three helmets in 2022. Of course, Dallas will rock its traditional silver helmets for most of the season. The former heavyweights have worn silver lids since 1964, and it’s hard to imagine the franchise pivoting away from the fantastic helmets. However, the Cowboys also have two additional looks at their disposal. On Thanksgiving, Dallas will wear its white throwback helmets — the primary look from 1960-1964. In December, the Cowboys will debut their newest helmet (seen above), known as “Arctic Cowboy.” The helmet looks a lot like the traditional throwbacks, but the modern star is utilized instead of the original. Overall, the Cowboys have three great options.
Image Source: Dallas Cowboys
8. Los Angeles Rams
The Rams are a polarizing team. Now that they’re in Los Angeles, many people dislike them for many reasons — including being a Los Angeles sport team and one that spends a ton of money on elite talent. Additionally, the Rams have a uniform set that generates a lot of hot takes. For us, we believe the Rams have rather weak uniforms overall — but we are high on their helmet. The new shade of blue pops off the screen, and the yellow horn remains one of the best helmet decals in all of football. In the years to come, we anticipate the franchise producing some alternate helmets…the possibilities are endless.
Image Source: USA Today Sports
7. Seattle Seahawks
Five teams in the NFL are named after birds — Cardinals, Falcons, Ravens, Eagles, Seahawks. In our minds, the Seahawks have the best bird helmet of the bunch. From 1976-2001, Seattle wore silver helmets with a blue, green, and white Seahawk on each side. For the next decade, the Seahawks donned a metallic blue helmet with a dark/light blue logo. Since 2012, Seattle has worn the helmet seen above. The helmet became a bit darker, grey replaced the light blue of the previous edition, and a feather pattern was added along the top of the helmet. Seattle has a distinct look and it is great. In 2023, Seattle is expected to debut an alternate helmet.
Image Source: Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images
6. San Francisco 49ers
Believe it or not, the San Francisco 49ers haven’t always worn gold helmets. Considering the team is named after the prospectors who arrived in California in the 1849 Gold Rush, a silver helmet seems like a bad choice. Thankfully, the Niners adopted their trademark gold helmets in 1964. San Francisco’s current helmet has been worn since 2009. A gold lid is topped by a red and white stripe, and features a grey facemask. While we still like this look a lot, we prefer the helmet the team wore between 1996-2008 — during that stretch, the facemask was red.
Image Source: Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images
5. Buffalo Bills
The Bills have always had some of the best helmets in the NFL. Between 1962-1973, Buffalo sported a white helmet with a red standing buffalo. For the next decade, the franchise wore a white helmet featuring the leaping Buffalo. When the Bills made four-straight trips to the Super Bowl, they were wearing red helmets. Currently, Buffalo is wearing the beautiful helmet seen above. The leaping buffalo is truly an awesome logo. Adding to the helmet’s effectiveness, the red and blue stripe is the perfect compliment to the white shell. The franchise has teased a potential red alternate being added for the 2023 season — we would approve.
Image Source: Julio Aguilar/Getty Images
4. Cincinnati Bengals
In advance of the 2022 season, the NFL lifted its dreaded one-shell rule. Thus far, the Cincinnati Bengals — and fans around the world — have gained the most from the decision. In addition to sporting their classic orange helmet with black tiger stripes, the Bengals will finally be able to wear their “White Bengal” helmet. Now, Cincinnati will look amazing on the field while wearing its white and black Color Rush uniform. This helmet isn’t groundbreaking, but it is beautiful.
Image Source: Cincinnati Bengals
3. Minnesota Vikings
This may be a polarizing opinion. When talking about NFL helmets with our colleagues, a few of them have ranked the Vikings’ purple lids amongst the worst in the league. Despite their strong opinions, we like Minnesota’s look enough to rank them No. 3. The purple shell is entirely unique to the Vikings. The team currently dons a matte purple shell. While we favor the darker shade of purple worn in the past, the current hue still works. But what makes this helmet great are the horns. The white and gold horns are unique, striking, and badass.
Image Source: Stephen Maturen/Getty Images
2. Los Angeles Chargers
The Chargers may never win a Super Bowl due to seemingly being a cursed franchise, but at least they look better than the rest of the NFL. Los Angeles boasts the best uniforms in the NFL. Aside from the all-royal uniform — which isn’t that bad — all of the Chargers’ uniform options are outstanding. The Chargers have three different helmet options, each of which corresponds with the uniform worn any given Sunday. The helmet pictured above is an A+. The one that replaces the powder blue with royal blue is a solid A — as is the option that sees the lightening bolt filled with navy instead of yellow. Once the Chargers unveil an alternate helmet (likely navy or black), they will be No. 1.
Image Source: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
1. Las Vegas Raiders
“The Autumn Wind is a Raider,
Pillaging just for fun.
He’ll knock you ’round and upside down,
And laugh when he’s conquered and won.”
The best helmet — and logo — the NFL has to offer, bar none. The patch-wearing pirate debuted with the team back in 1960. It took another four years for the team to decide on the black shield background. It has stuck around ever since while receiving slight tweaks along the way. There hasn’t been much tinkering needed. The leather helmet and “RAIDERS” font give an old-school vibe while somehow never feeling out of style. Originality, flair, and creativity are all at an all-time high with this pristine offering.
Image Source: Chris Unger/Getty Images