When Function Trumps Fashion: Helmets in the NFL

The Riddell Revolution Speed helmet. It doesn't look so bad to me...

There are times when function trumps fashion. Ensuring the safety of your brain is among those occasions.

After suffering two concussions over the course of three games, Pittsburgh Steelers safety Ryan Clark is switching to the Riddell Revolution Speed helmet for game day. Why? Because it ranks highly in concussion tests.

Clark’s initial reaction to the helmet was one of semi-horror, telling the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,

“Do you see this? It’s like a big moon helmet,” Clark said. “I’m about fashion and this is not very fashionable."

But then he came around.

“But it tested No. 1 in the concussion test. So hopefully, it will help me.”

Yes, that is the hope. Frankly, it could look like a cheesehead. If you’re involved in a brutal contact sport where concussions and brain injuries are a frightening reality, then you wear whatever it takes to improve your chances of being safe.

With such intense focus in the NFL being on player safety due to ongoing litigation, you have to wonder why there is any choice involved with wearing this particular model of helmet. Shouldn’t they be standard issue for all players?

Clark will debut his look in prime time as the Steelers face the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday Night Football. And I’m guessing his moon helmet won’t stand out much from the crowd. If it does, it’s because he has an added element of protection around his head, far better than any kind of swag I can imagine.


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