NFL Teams and Players Sport Rainbow-Colored Apparel for This Specific Reason

For the last several years, NFL teams have been sporting rainbow-colored gear as a way to battle cancer with the American Cancer Society.

Allison DeGrushe - Author

Oct. 2 2023, Updated 4:07 p.m. ET

NFL teams sport rainbow colors for the "Crucial Catch" campaign that raises awareness for cancer.
Source: Getty Images

The Gist:

  • Since 2009, the NFL and the American Cancer Society (ACS) have teamed up to fight cancer.
  • The organizations partnered on the NFL's "Crucial Catch: Intercept Cancer."
  • As part of the campaign, NFL teams are sporting rainbow-colored apparel to represent all cancers.
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Most professional sports leagues offer their teams plenty of different gear each season. The NBA has "Noche Latina" jerseys, while the MLB presents "City Connect" uniforms — but what about the NFL? Well, besides their alternate and throwback uniforms, each football team gets to don rainbow-colored clothing for a very special reason.

Keep reading for all the known details.

Tampa Bay Buccaneer player wears "Crucial Catch" rainbow gloves on Nov. 10, 2019.
Source: Getty Images
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Why are NFL teams wearing rainbow colors?

For those unaware, the NFL has been working with the American Cancer Society (ACS) since 2009. Together, they have supported the fight against cancer and helped save lives through "Crucial Catch: Intercept Cancer."

According to the "Crucial Catch" campaign's official website, the mission is to "fight cancer through early detection and risk reduction." The group — which includes the NFL, its teams, players, the NFL Players Association, and the American Cancer Society — provides people with "the tools they need to help them better understand early detection and ways to reduce their cancer risk."

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Crucial Catch flag being waved during the Eagles-Chiefs game in October 2021.
Source: Getty Images

Each year, every single NFL team raises awareness during their respective Crucial Catch game, which features "on-field and in-stadium Crucial Catch elements." These matchups also "present a special opportunity to honor cancer survivors and those currently battling cancer."

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Now, when it comes to Crucial Catch gameday, the NFL-issued apparel features a beautiful rainbow (or multi-colored) logo representing all cancer types. For those wondering, this begins during Week 4 of the competition and continues through Week 6 of the season.

As for the "on-field and in-stadium" elements we briefly mentioned earlier, an NFL Operations press release from Oct. 1, 2020, revealed that the Crucial Catch games will specifically feature these items:

  • Game balls with the Crucial Catch logo.
  • Multi-colored equipment for players, including helmet decals, captains' patches, wristbands, sideline hats, and quarterback towels.
  • Multi-colored ribbon pins for coaches and teams.
  • Hats and pins for game officials.
  • On-field multi-colored Crucial Catch stencils.
  • Multi-colored goal post wraps in end zones.
  • Field-wall banners in the color(s) of the cancer awareness movement(s) that each team supports.
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Since 2009, the NFL has raised more than $27 million for the ACS.

As stated above, the NFL has raised over $27 million for the American Cancer Society. Even better? The Crucial Catch funds have reached 1.2 million people and supported:

  • 657,800 total cancer screenings
  • 429,800 breast cancer screenings
  • 141,500 cervical cancer screenings
  • 83,400 colorectal cancer screenings
  • 3,100 lung cancer screenings
Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback wears a Crucial Catch towel during Jaguars-Giants game on Oct. 23, 2022.
Source: Getty Images
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If you're looking to get involved with the campaign, there are a few things you can do. For starters, you can donate to the American Cancer Society and put your money toward a great cause. Fans can also buy their favorite team's Crucial Catch merchandise; all the proceeds are awarded by the NFL Foundation to the ACS.

Another way for fans to join the fight is by bidding on game-worn items. All you have to do is head to the NFL Auction website, and from there, you have free reign to scroll through the items available. Like the merch, 100 percent of sales from the NFL Auction go to the NFL Foundation and are then given to the ACS.

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