The NFL and Nike released new jerseys last year with increased levels of color saturation that they dubbed the “Color Rush Campaign.” The teams would then play head to head, both in colored jerseys, rather than the dark vs. white jersey tradition.
What the NFL and Nike did not predict was that their colorblind viewers would no longer be able to distinguish between the two teams in certain color match-ups.
Last season, only eight teams took part in the campaign, but this was still enough to uncover the issue when the all-green New York Jets took on the all-red Buffalo Bills.
Colorblind fans took to social media with comments such as, “As a color blind NFL fan, the struggle is more than real and I can’t follow this game.”
This season, Nike unveiled new Color Rush jerseys for all 32 teams.
Some teams will wear white during certain match-ups in which their team’s primary color will be difficult to distinguish from their opponent’s for colorblind fans.
Other teams will wear white when their primary color is the same as their opponent’s. A few teams chose to wear white for their Color Rush uniforms all season.
Around 8 percent of men in the U.S. are colorblind, while less than 1 percent of women are affected.
This is because congenital colorblindness is an “x-linked” disorder. The affected gene is carried on the X chromosome.
Women, therefore, will get two copies of the gene, one from each parent. If one gene is affected and the other is normal, they still have normal color vision.
A male will only get one copy of the gene, so if he gets one abnormal variant then he will be colorblind. If a woman’s father is colorblind, any son she has will have a 50 percent chance of also being colorblind.
The majority of congenital color blindness is red-green color blindness, followed by blue-green. Total color blindness is exceedingly rare.
Certain ocular diseases as well as certain medications can cause color deficits. Ocular diseases affecting the retinal tissue affect color vision because the retinal photoreceptors are responsible for distinguishing colors.
Acquired color vision defects resulting from ocular disease tend to affect blue-yellow color discrimination. One of the most common acquired color vision deficits is a decreased blue-yellow discrimination due to cataracts.
Thankfully, the disgruntled one in 12 men out there with color vision deficiencies can now enjoy watching football again.
Caroline Bundrick, O.D. is an optometrist practicing at Darling Eye Center, with offices in Bluffton and on Hilton Head Island.