As part of an initiative to improve safety for players, the NFL and NFLPA banned six models of helmets last year, while four others, including the kind worn by Brady, were allowed a grace period of one more year.
Because player health and safety is one of our top priorities, we evaluate helmet performance for our members every year along with the @NFL. Results are out from our 2019 study. Here’s to continued improvements! https://t.co/JxCTYksjgy pic.twitter.com/dlFc7jWIVr
— NFLPA (@NFLPA) April 12, 2019
During a recent interview on the WEEI sports radio in Boston, Brady opened up about his struggles trying to find a new helmet.
“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,” he said on Aug. 12, adding, “So I’m just trying to do the best I can to work with it.”
Brady’s old helmet, the Riddell VSR-4, is among the helmets banned by the NFLPA.
During the interview, the 42-year-old New England Patriots quarterback said it was challenging finding a new one to replace it.
“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 said. “It’s kind of what I’m dealing with.”
Brady won his sixth Super Bowl earlier this year when the Patriots beat the Los Angeles Rams 13-3 on Feb. 3.
Brady also commented on the need to change a helmet, writing on Instagram Aug. 13: “I think they just didn’t like the way the old helmet was working up in New England.”
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The NFL does not permit players using helmets not certified by the National Operating Committee for Standards and Athletic Equipment (NOCSAE), which doesn’t clear designs over 10 years old.
In accordance with the NFL policy, players are not allowed to participate in games or even practices until they have an approved helmet.
NFL spokesperson Brian McCarthy stressed the importance of the league’s ruling when he restated on Twitter: “The player can’t practice or play in games with equipment that’s not approved. If he doesn’t play or practice he is in breach of his contract and doesn’t get paid.”
The player can’t practice or play in games with equipment that’s not approved. If he doesn’t play or practice he is in breach of his contract and doesn’t get paid. Nfl policy is that Helmets have to be certified by NOSCAE. They don’t certify equipment that’s old than 10 years.
— Brian McCarthy (@NFLprguy) August 12, 2019
“NFL policy is that helmets have to be certified by NOSCAE,” he continued in the Aug. 12 tweet. “They don’t certify equipment that’s old[er] than 10 years.”
This season, several players’ preferred helmets, such as Brady, Antonio Brown with the Oakland Raiders, and several others, have all expired and no longer meet the league’s requirements.