Blind rush: NFL's 'Color Rush' jerseys problematic for colorblind fans

ByKevin Seifert ESPN logo
Friday, November 13, 2015

The NFL's new "Color Rush" campaign introduced an unintended consequence Thursday night: Some colorblind viewers were unable to distinguish between the Buffalo Bills' red uniforms and the New York Jets' green uniforms.

FormerNew York Giantskicker Lawrence Tynes was one of the affected viewers during the Bills' 22-17 victory.

According to the National Eye Institute, as many as 8 percent of men and 0.5 percent of women worldwide with Northern European ancestry are in some way colorblind. Recent estimates suggest that 10 million Americans suffer from it.

Red-green colorblindness is the most common. Some NFL fans on Twitter said Jets and Bills players looked green to them, a view exacerbated by the green turf at MetLife Stadium.

The "Color Rush" campaign will cover four Thursday night games between now and the end of the season. Instead of one team wearing a dark jersey and the other white, as the league traditionally requires, both teams will wear primary colors of their alternate third uniform.

Next week, the Tennessee Titans will wear powder blue and the Jacksonville Jaguars will wear full gold uniforms.

"The Color Rush jerseys are a test for four games this season, the first of which was last night," the NFL said in a statement Friday. "We did test the jerseys this summer on field and on television. The standard television test did not account for color blindness for fans at home that became apparent last night. We will enhance our testing to include a color blindness analysis to better address this issue in the future."

For the Bills' part, the uniforms were mostly well-received, though coach Rex Ryan said he at times grew confused about which team was which.

"When I looked out there -- and it's tough enough, I spent six years [in New York], I ain't the smartest cat of all time -- but I spent six years coaching in green and white, so you kind of get it that way," Ryan said. "But hell, I look out there and my team's in red. Blue, I might have had a chance. But I'm like, 'Who are they? Oh shoot, that's us.'

"So, it's different. By the way, the red looks pretty cool. I might go with that instead of the blue one."

Running back LeSean McCoysaid he liked the uniforms and that they "looked nice" and "fit well" but that in the heat of the game, there were bigger concerns.

"You know what, when 300 pounds are chasing you, you don't even recognize that," McCoy said. "All that stuff looks the same, seriously."

Bills linebacker Nigel Bradhamsaid he thought the uniforms "were amazing."

"I like the red," Bradham said. "It is something different. But I like the alternate colors, being able to switch it up and stuff like that. Red is my favorite color."

Information from ESPN's Mike Rodak and Ohm Youngmisuk was used in this report.

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