While New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady hasn’t threatened to sit out if he can’t wear his old helmet, he’s not thrilled with his new one.
The NFL this year is banning some older helmet models and forcing players to wear those approved by the National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment (NOCSAE). This wasn’t a big story through the NFL offseason. Seriously, how often do you look at a man’s helmet?
But it became the biggest story in the NFL suddenly last week, when it was reported that Oakland Raiders receiver Antonio Brown was so upset about having to give up his old helmet that he threatened to sit out unless he could wear it. An arbitrator is hearing the case after Brown filed a grievance with the NFL.
Brady feels Brown’s pain. Just without the retirement threat.
Tom Brady: ‘I don’t really have much of a choice’
Brady said he is still not happy with the helmets he has tried.
"I've been experimenting with a couple different ones, and I don't really love the one that I'm in, but I don't really have much of a choice," Brady said Monday on WEEI, via ESPN’s Mike Reiss. "So I'm just trying to do the best I can to work with it."
Football players can become attached to their helmet and shoulder pads. Many are creatures of habit and they’re very particular. Sometimes there’s sentimental value in an old helmet.
"You get used to the same helmet for a long period of time. My last helmet, I wore it the last four Super Bowls, so it was a pretty great helmet for me. I hated to put it on the shelf," Brady told WEEI, via Reiss. "It's kind of what I'm dealing with."
Based on his “last four Super Bowls” comment, Brady switched to the now-banned helmet between the 2011 and 2014 seasons. He won three Super Bowls in it.
Brady tried switching last season
Brady and 31 other players were told they had to switch helmets this season after a one-year grace period. Brady tried out a different model last season but wasn’t comfortable in it and switched to the old Riddell VSR-4 for the rest of the season.
These changes are being done in the name of player safety. The NFL was criticized for a long time for not caring enough about player safety. The helmet rules, while not loved by all, seem to mean well.
We’ll see what happens with the Brown saga. Brady will wear the helmet and play. He’ll just be pining away for the old helmet that’s getting dusty on a shelf.
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