Tasker: NFL Players "Pretty Particular" About Helmets

Antonio Brown threatening to retire over a new helmet is extreme, but as Steve Tasker explains, players care about their headgear more than fans may realize

After Hours With Amy Lawrence
August 13, 2019 - 9:28 am
Antonio Brown Raiders

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Antonio Brown threatening to retire because of a helmet was extreme, but NFL players care more about their headgear than fans may realize.

“Guys are pretty particular about their helmets, no question about it,” former All-Pro receiver and current Bills analyst Steve Tasker said on After Hours with Amy Lawrence. “Most of them realize that it’s going to be taken out of their hands. But I know guys back in the day when I played, they fought tooth and nail over getting new helmets, and if they did have to get a new one, they wanted the exact make and model of the one they gave up. It’s OK if a guy’s in the league maybe one or two years, but if he starts to play eight, nine, ten years, the helmets get better and better. If the equipment staff didn’t get their helmet at the end of the season and replace it or destroy it, they wanted to wear that same helmet again. They are particular about it.

“But today, it’s a little different,” Tasker continued. “The helmets are so important. They’re so technologically advanced. I get guys being particular about feeling good when they’re on the field and all that, but with the number of helmets on the market, I’m surprised they can't find one they like.”

Brown said the new helmet interfered with his peripheral vision. Tasker said that’s “absolutely” a real thing.

“If I were him, I’d try on 50 different helmets making sure I found one that I could see out of,” Tasker said. “But it is a completely different feeling. I remember I got pulled off special teams to play wide receiver, and I had to change face-masks because I couldn’t see well enough out of the bottom of my face-mask to catch the ball or track it in flight. Even that kind of bothered me. Vision is the thing. How it feels, how much it weighs, is a big thing for a lot of guys, and the vision is critical. You’ve got to be able to see out of it, and if there’s a blind spot or if you can’t see as far in your peripheral vision as you want, it really makes you feel vulnerable because you feel like you can’t see everybody. That’s not a comfortable feeling when you’re running down the field.”

Ultimately, Brown – and every NFL player – will have to find a new helmet that works.

“Players are going to have to get used to it,” Tasker said. “In the long run, the benefit is obvious, the precaution is obvious, and it’s going to be a balance for these helmet companies to make one that players love to wear, and is yet as safe as it can be.”

Click below to listen to Tasker’s interview in its entirety.