In case you missed any of the previous episodes of Helmets of Our Lives, here's a recap:
• The specific helmet Brown has worn throughout his entire career, a Schutt AiR Advantage, is no longer certified because it is older than 10 years. The National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment does not certify equipment older than 10 years.
• Brown is given approved helmets to try. He doesn't like them, saying they obstruct his vision.
• The Steelers, at the request of the Raiders, send Brown his old helmet. Brown has it painted in Raiders-esque colors and tries to sneak it onto the field in OTAs, gets caught, and is told to get rid of it.
• Brown has a two-hour conference call with the NFL during training camp to argue why he should wear the helmet he prefers instead of one the league requires.
• The NFL reiterates their stance on the helmet, and an arbitrator rules against Brown's grievance.
• Brown tweets that he is looking for Schutt AiR Advantage helmets manufactured within the approved window of 2010 or later.
Got it? Good.
Brown's hunt for a helmet on Twitter actually brought him a few newer editions of the Schutt AiR Advantage, including an AiR Advantage manufactured in 2014 specifically for a film. According toMike Florio, the NFL told the Raiders that the helmet would have to be tested before it could be used. An AiR Advantage manufactured in 2010 was sent in for safety testing, and it failed.
Schutt said in 2014 that it stopped producing the AiR Advantage three years prior in favor of newer, more effective models.
"We discontinued making the helmet three years ago because current helmet technology had moved past it. The AiR Advantage was the last varsity helmet made by Schutt that featured traditional foam padding. That material, which is used by most other helmet manufacturers, does not perform as well as the TPU Cushioning we now use in all of our varsity helmets.
"TPU (thermoplastic urethane) Cushioning absorbs significantly more impact across a wider variety of temperatures than any other helmet on the field. Third party testing by an independent, certified helmet testing facility has proven that, three years in a row. The AiR Advantage had lived out its useful life as a product and was discontinued when something better was developed."
That likely explains why the helmet Brown sent in, even though it was newer than 10 years old, failed testing.
Florio said that "we haven’t heard the last of Brown on this issue," although it's not clear what other options Brown has at this point.
Brown responded to the NFL with the following statement: