Thursday night’s “Color Rush” game between the New York Jets and Buffalo Bills might have been painful to the eyeballs for several fans being visually assaulted by all-green and all-red uniforms designed by Nike. The ensembles included same-colored pants and socks, along with jerseys.
— Lawrence Tynes (@lt4kicks) November 13, 2015
What Nike and the NFL failed to consider, however, is how the solid scarlet and Kelly green uniforms would look on television for viewers who suffer from colorblindness — or more specifically, red-green colorblindness. That particular version of the affliction is the most common form, affecting 10 million to 13 million Americans (the majority of which are male), according to the Associated Press. Those fans had a rather difficult time distinguishing between the Jets and Bills on Thursday night.
— Deadspin (@Deadspin) November 13, 2015
“The standard television test did not account for colorblindness for fans at home that became apparent last night,” NFL spokesperson Brian McCarthy said in an email to the AP. “We will enhance our testing to include a colorblindness analysis to better address this issue in the future.”
With three more “Color Rush” games scheduled for this season, Nike and the NFL would seemingly have to figure out how to deal with this problem quickly. Next Thursday’s game between the Jacksonville Jaguars and Tennessee Titans will also feature each team in solid color-on-color uniforms. However, the Titans will be outfitted in all-blue ensembles while the Jags will wear bold gold, which hopefully provides enough of a contrast on television for colorblind viewers.
On Nov. 26, the Carolina Panthers will wear all blue versus the Dallas Cowboys, outfitted in all white. The series will end for the season on Dec. 17, when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers sport red uniforms against the St. Louis Rams, wearing yellow gold.
When asked about the issues concerning colorblind fans on Friday, Bills coach Rex Ryan said it was a problem he hadn’t considered. He also was not aware if any players or coaches had any difficulties distinguishing between the red and green uniforms. And what if this is an issue for any NFL game or studio analysts? Perhaps that’s something we’ll hear about in the days and weeks to come.