UPDATE: Fashion editor Dan checked in with a deeper explanation. I knew he’d shed some light. But still, Dan, FIX IT!
Original post after the jump.
The helmet issue came up for the first time last season when the Buccaneers were scheduled to wear their creamsicle throwbacks but canceled due to the new helmet rule. The NFL will talk about “vetting helmets in practice” and all of that, but the issue is that some players wear old, discontinued models of helmets (which have been “vetted” in practice, games, etc.).
When teams would have throwback uniforms with different color helmets, the old, “vetted” helmet types aren’t available for those games because they’re out of production. If a player were to get a concussion, the player could yell, “The NFL made me change [to a newer, probably better] helmet design, and I got a concussion! I never got a concussion in my old helmet. Pay me.” It’s not great science, as the new helmet designs are considered better, but speaking of bad science, there’s nothing that says a properly broken-in (er, “vetted”) helmet performs better. Just that NFL doesn’t want to be dictating anything more about helmets than the absolute minimum. Follow the liability.
The logistics of changing all of the current (metallic Midnight Green) helmets to glossy Kelly Green for one or two games are pretty much unworkable given the need to sand, buff, primer, paint, clear, re-apply decals for the entire team, and hold practice using that same headgear.
The Rams got around it last year for their throwbacks (normally in navy, throwbacks in royal blue) by simply changing the decals on their helmets, creating a blue mismatch. That could be done with a hair dryer and a few minutes (at most) per helmet, but it isn’t really suitable for the Eagles. They could put the old style wings without the shading and aggressive wing pattern, but the base color would still be way off.
That’s the best way I can follow up that earlier post about the Eagles considering a switch back to Kelly Green uniforms. Even though Don Smolenski, on the WIP Morning Show, said, in no uncertain terms, that the Eagles were considering them (here at 7:40 mark), it seems that’s not really the case. Two reasons:
1) Eliot Shorr-Parks reports that Smolenski was referring to alternate jerseys, like the ones the Eagles wore in 2010, not the uniforms overall. That is, to say the least, disappointing. This is something almost every fan wants, so it’s disheartening to learn that Eagles still aren’t considering a major change.
2) Les Bowen reports on a weird NFL rule having to do with concussion protocols that require teams to wear the same helmets even when in their alternate uniforms:
Turns out, the Eagles might like for us to see it, but the league has put in a rule that says you have to wear the same helmet, regardless of what you do with the rest of the uniform. So right now, if the Eagles dressed in kelly green, they’d have to do so with midnight green helmets, which would look silly.
The rule has to do with concussion protection, making sure the fit is right and helmets are thoroughly vetted in practice and so on before they’re worn in games. Of course, it would be possible to do this with any color helmet, but right now, that’s the rule. So it would have to be changed for kelly green to happen, Eagles sources say.
What? First of all, the quality of helmet has little impact on concussions. Usually it’s a shot to the jaw or a hard enough blow that causes the head to literally stop moving forward and the brain to, um, not. Second, HAVE THE HELMET MAKERS NOT YET ACHIEVED A HIGH ENOUGH YIELD TO BE ABLE TO CONSISTENTLY PRODUCE IDENTICAL HELMETS?* And if not, then why is this sort of a selling point? I don’t understand why a helmet needs to be practiced in to be deemed safe.
To me, the only solution is for the Eagles to WEAR THE KELLY GREEN ALL THE TIME. ARE YOU LISTENING TO ME, JEFFREY LURIE? I’M YELLING!
*Weirdly, fashion editor Dan does this sort of thing for a living. Dan, can you help here? DAN?!