NFL Helmets and the Wes Welker Connection
Lots of people were watching while this happened here in Denver.
St. Louis Rams wide receiver Wes Welker, who has a pretty long history of concussions during his tenure in the NFL, caught a lot of people’s curiosity about helmets in the NFL when he donned a helmet into the 2014 playoffs that many remarked as looking like a “bobblehead”.
Standoff, the helmet industry jargon for the amount of padding between the hard outer shell and the player’s head, was obviously more present in the Riddell 360 that Welker wore during those games.
Welker seemed a little defensive of the helmet when questioned about it by ESPN, saying “I wouldn’t say it’s a concussion helmet. It’s the next size up. A few players in here wear one. It’s something they had me wear for safety.”
All of the officials agreed with what Wes said. Obviously though, that’s a different helmet in the Tweet, not just the next size up. I’m sure the NFL is very interested in what Riddell can do to add protection to an athlete’s head, but I don’t think the results were as favorable as they’d hoped.
With standoff, as industrial engineer Michael Princip put it, “the larger you get, the more problems you can have with the weight, the balance, and that bobblehead effect, which can work against you. You have to balance everything out.”
New versions of bobblehead helmets are probably on their way. If one worked, the NFL could make it mandatory, but that’s being pretty optimistic.
Another theory proposed takes the opposite approach: What if we took the helmets off? That way, players wouldn’t feel like they have a false sense of invincibility preceding contact, right?