JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The biggest fashion experiment in American professional sports is finally, and mercifully, over.
The Jacksonville Jaguars' gold and black two-tone helmets were dumped following the 2017 season as part of a uniform overhaul. In addition to redesigned jerseys -- including ones in teal and crisp white with black numbers -- Jaguars players are now sporting glossy black helmets. Tom Coughlin, the team’s executive vice president of football operations, had a heavy hand in the redesign, especially when it came to the helmets.
Yet, those two-tone helmets -- which ESPN Uni Watch’s Paul Lukas called the worst in NFL history -- are still around. In fact, you’ll be able to see some of them on Sunday when the Jaguars open the 2018 season against the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium. Here's ESPN's 2018 Uni Watch preview, too.
Some of the helmets worn by the players -- quarterback Blake Bortles included -- are repainted two-tone helmets.
Replacing all the helmets a team needs would be ridiculously expensive. Each helmet can cost as much as $1,500 and NFL teams have roughly 200 (they need 90-plus for training camp alone plus spares), so that's $300,000. Repainting is cost effective, especially when there’s nothing structurally wrong with the helmet.
Send it off, get a new coat of paint, slap a Jaguars head logo and some numbers on them … same helmet, but a new look.
Thank goodness, said nose tackle Abry Jones.
“Everyone can agree those helmets were one of the main things that could go,” Jones said. “No one missed those. There’s a little lingering or missing the old jerseys. I liked the old jerseys. These are nice, but I liked the old ones because I liked the little splash of gold we put in there. But the helmets can go.
“No one needed those.”
Coughlin made it clear that he wasn’t a fan of the two-tone helmets, which the team unveiled in 2013. During an interview at the NFL’s owners meetings in Orlando, Florida, in March he talked about the impending April unveiling of the new uniforms, but when he was asked if he liked the two-tone helmet he wouldn’t say a word -- he just smiled and shook his head.
Not everyone hated the two-tone helmets, though.
“I’m kind of a fan with the two-tone helmet,” linebacker Myles Jack said. “I don’t have a problem with this [new] one, but I’m a big fan of the two-tone.
“I bought it the year before  but I definitely, for retro purposes, definitely bought the last one.”
Teams give players the option to purchase their helmet at the end of each season. Some do and get their teammates to sign it as a memento to the season. Jones has his from his rookie season in 2013.
Defensive end Calais Campbell said he has each helmet he has worn in his 10 seasons in the NFL.
“I always keep my helmets. That’s just a thing I do,” Campbell said. “I try to get the whole team to sign it and then I keep it. It’s a trophy now. It goes on the wall one day. I want to get just a dope man cave.”
So there are plenty of the two-tone helmets around in players’ and fans’ homes and offices. There also is one sitting on a desk in the radio station inside TIAA Bank Field, and there’s even a few that didn’t get repainted stored deep inside the Jaguars equipment room.
There isn’t one in Jaguars coach Doug Marrone’s office, though. Not because he didn’t like the old look. He just doesn’t care about helmet designs or uniform color schemes.
“First of all, I’m not the most -- and you guys know -- I have zero style,” Marrone said. “I still call it a dungaree jacket because it’s a denim jacket. She [his wife Helen] won’t let me wear it and it’s my favorite jacket. … I’m more concerned about what is in the uniform than the uniform. That’s how my philosophy has been. I’m more concerned about what we’re putting in those uniforms than what we are. I do think if the players are happy I think that’s important. I did find that out, that the players, it is important now that the players like it.
“I could care less. As long as it’s the best helmet, protection-wise.”