If you didn’t know by now, the Buffalo Bills will be unveiling new uniforms for the 2011-12 NFL season Friday night at Ralph Wilson Stadium. The uniform launch will begin at 7:15 p.m.
One thing we do know about the Bills new uniforms is that they will be saying farewell to the red helmets. Up until 1984, the Bills sported white helmets but that all changed thanks to one man — former Bills quarterback Joe Ferguson.
Ferguson was turning the ball over with high frequency and he tossed a career-high 25 interceptions in 1983, however, Ferguson had a reason for his high turnover numbers. He was colorblind.
With three of the Bills four division opponents at the time having white helmets also, it made it hard for Ferguson to differentiate between his wide receivers and the opposing defensive backs.
“We needed to do something to distinguish the white helmet,” said long time equipment manager Dave Hojnowski. “We found that Joe saw the red helmet differently than the white. I’m not sure if it was a darker gray to him, but it was easier for him to distinguish and that’s the reason why we made the switch. That was under the head coach at the time, Kay Stephenson.
“I always joke with Joe about that helmet change,” added Hojnowski. “After he had left and gone to play for Detroit I told him, ‘Boy you left just in time because the next modification for the helmets was we were going to push a flashing yellow light on top.’ Joe always thought that was really funny.”
Now, 27 years later, the Bills will be returning to their white helmets of old.