If you’ve ever taken a non-digital photo, you’re familiar with the concept of a “negative” — an image that is essentially the opposite of your photograph, in which the light and dark areas are reversed. In a color photo, the negative colors also appear — that is, the colors considered opposite on the color scale. We put the 32 NFL helmets through a simple Photoshop tweak to simulate this effect on each of them. Some of the resulting images are beautiful works of art the teams should consider changing to immediately. Others are complete eyesores. All of them are below for you to enjoy and/or make fun of.
The red plume of the bird takes on a teal hue and the yellow beak turns a bright blue while the white and black of the bird’s face invert, creating a look similar to the Toronto Blue Jays’ logo. The all-white helmet turns a sharp black to amplify the contrast. Verdict: This would be a tough sell as an alternate helmet, given the team’s name implies red. But the Bizarro Cardinals are looking sharp nonetheless.
The largely black-and-white cap flips those colors around, and the red streaks on the bird’s wings turn teal. Verdict: Sharp and bright at a glance, but much like with the Cardinals, it’s tough to see the team swapping out the red for teal.
Purple and gold are antipodes on this color scale, and thus they flip-flop on the Ravens’ helmet — the “B” goes from gold to purple, the bird’s feathers do the opposite. The whites and blacks flip too, giving an overall cheerier design. Verdict: With the main colors still intact, the Ravens might have something worth trying here.
The bright red streak emanating from the animal’s head turns an even more garish teal while the blue beast gets a soft yellow/gold hue. We used the current white helmet, which goes black in the reversal, but imagine the teal overload of the old red helmets. Verdict: Stick with what you’ve got, Buffalo.
The light blue accents around the panther turn a sharp and distinctive orange while the light gray helmet goes to a darker charcoal, all framing a white cat with black fangs. Verdict: This is our first true beauty, and it would even look good if they kept the blue where the orange is and just inverted the rest. We’d like to see this one on the field.
The navy blue base of the helmet flips to a creamy white while the orange “C” takes on that telltale teal we’ve seen so much already. Verdict: Sometimes you shouldn’t mess with a good thing.
The predominantly orange helmet goes into teal overload and gives the Bengals the aura of a ghost hovering in the room. Verdict: It’s kind of cool to look at, but this is the last place you’ll ever see it.
By now, you probably knew what to expect from this one. The orangish brown goes teal and that’s that. Verdict: Unless they’re planning on changing their name to the Cleveland Teals, this one is going in the trash pile.
The blue turns a pleasing soft gold and the gray of the helmet takes on a darker shade. The iconic nature of the helmet is preserved. Verdict: A pretty sweet twist on a classic helmet. Maybe break this out the next time there’s a milestone anniversary?
The Broncos essentially become the Panthers, taking on an eerily similar look to their Super Bowl 50 foes — a black animal with light blue accents on a grayish helmet. Verdict: We think the Panthers would take issue with this one, unless they took our advice and switched theirs, too.
The Lions do their best Saints impression, with the blue on the big cat and helmet stripe turning gold and the light gray helmet getting a darker makeover. Verdict: Forget about the likeness to the Saints’ look and this is a real winner.
Green Bay Packers
At least it’s not teal, but the yellow Green Bay helmets go blue and the “G” loses its green outline. Verdict: For so many reasons, this doesn’t work at all.
The heavy blue and red on the Texans’ top gets greatly muted here. The dark blue goes silver, the red becomes that lovely teal again. The white accents on the logo go black. Verdict: There’s a lot to like about this one, but maybe you keep that teal red and give that a whirl.
Ladies and gentlemen, the Indianapolis Steelers. The blue horeshoe and stripe take on a gold hue, much like the Lions’ helmets. Indy’s bright white base goes black. Verdict: A little too reminiscent of the boys in Pittsburgh to take seriously, but it’s sharp.
A lot to dissect here. The Jaguars’ two-tone base of black and gold goes white and fades into a blue in the back. That same gold serves as the main color of the jaguar’s head, so that too becomes blue. The white and black around his mouth and eyes and the black spots all invert. His teal nose, eyes and tongue turn red. Verdict: This is a downright patriotic menagerie that we’d love to see trotted out every once in a while.
Kansas City Chiefs
A lot of red in this helmet, so you know what that means — teal, baby. The Chiefs’ caps have it all over, while the white arrowhead turns black. Verdict: Maybe if they ever do a Halloween promotion. Otherwise, forget about it.
Los Angeles Rams
Nearly a complete flip-flop of its two main colors, the Rams’ helmet sees its gold horns turn a sharp blue while the navy base takes on a creamy tone. Verdict: No reason to hate on this one, but it might be too similar to their current look to even stand out.
The teal of the dolphin and the stripe go electric orange while the orange of the sun goes blue. The white helmet base turns all black. Verdict: This might be the prettiest one of the bunch. The team colors are essentially preserved, the helmet still screams Miami and the black helmet might actually add a mean streak to a team named the Dolphins. Make this change!
The Vikings’ shade of purple has a sickly yellow opposite, and its yellow flair around the horn turns more of a royal blue while the white horn turns black. Verdict: As is, you can throw this design out, but if you turn those shades of yellow and purple back on-brand, this could be a workable alternate cap.
New England Patriots
All the Americana of the color palette gets sucked away as the navy, white and gray all get even grayer and the red goes teal. Verdict: If you’re going to have a lot of teal, the facemask feels like the right place for it. This could be a very fine helmet for the 2216 Patriots’ all-cyborg team.
New Orleans Saints
The Saints lose their defining golden domes and, in turn, pretty much all of their color. The gold turns a slightly bluish gray while the whites and blacks flip. Verdict: You could infuse the gold back in to the fleur de lis and have yourself a very awesome helmet option here.
New York Giants
The blue helmet gets a soft gold makeover white the white “NY” logo goes black. And there’s that teal again — swapping in over the red stripe down the spine. Verdict: Ditch the teal and there’s something very attractive about the gold-and-black look.
New York Jets
The color-wheel opposite of the Jets’ brand of green is pink, so the facemask and logo get a heavy dose of that while the white helmet turns black. Verdict: This is good. Very good.
You probably saw this coming. A pretty simple inversion of whites and blacks while the helmet takes on a darker shade of gray. Verdict: Why not? They could use these tomorrow and most people wouldn’t even notice a difference.
The Eagles’ green, a little darker than the Jets’ green, goes more salmon than pink. The white wing with the black and gray trim gets inverted. Verdict: Cutting room floor for this guy.
The black and white tones invert while the yellow, red, and blue markings in the logo all get switched around. Verdict: Let’s just move on.
San Diego Chargers
The sharp yellow bolt takes on a crisp royal blue with a golden outline, while the white base of the helmet goes all black. Verdict: The makings of an alternate are here, but we’d all be happy if they would just go back to the powder blue uniforms.
San Francisco 49ers
From an iconic classic to a bizarre new-age look. The golden helmet goes bluish gray. You know what becomes of the red. Verdict: Are we crazy or does this totally work in a futuristic sort of way?
The team that recently changed its color scheme to pick the boldest versions of dark blue and green loses all its pizzazz here. The blues and whites all get very muted while the sharp green eye of the bird turns purple. Verdict: There’s nothing wrong here, but it has no pop.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The pewter turns, umm, lighter pewter while the red brings back our old friend teal in its baddest and boldest iteration yet. Verdict: If you must have copious teal, this is the way to do it — against an all-grayscale backdrop with a skull and swords. Let’s do this, Bucs.
A lot going on here too, and somehow it all goes pretty well for the Titans. The white helmet goes black while the red, white and blues of the logo get cream, gold and (of course) teal changeovers. Verdict: A sneaky favorite. Maybe swap out that teal for their more classic light blue and you’ve got a very nice old-school alternate.
The maroon parts take on something like a sea-foam green while the gold around the logo and on the facemask turns a royal blue. Verdict: Well, it’s something all right. If they won’t change their team name, it’s doubtful they’ll be using this helmet any time soon.