Over the course of his 18 NFL seasons, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady has seen plenty of changes: from his teammates, to assistant coaches, to the rule book, even to the stadium in which his team plays its home games in. One constant, though, was his usage of equipment as the reigning league MVP was wearing the same type of helmet for most of his professional career.
However, the model that protected Brady's head for the better parts of 18 years – a Riddell VSR-4 helmet – has recently been outlawed by the NFL. The league and the NFL Players Association announced the results of their annual laboratory study to assess the performance of helmets earlier this week and based on those results will prohibit 10 helmet models from being worn by NFL players in the future.
The results of the study look as follows:
As noted on the graphic, Brady's helmet has been “prohibited for new players and players who did not wear them during the 2017 NFL season”. This, in turn, means that the Patriots' quarterback will still be able to wear his trusted helmet over the course of the 2018 season – but don't be surprised to see him try on different models throughout the year to get the best possible feel for when a full-time switch needs to be made next season.
Despite playing the vast majority of his 290 career games with the same helmet, Brady is no stranger to others. According to HelmetStalker, he used three non-Riddell VSR-4 helmets in the past: Brady briefly wore a Riddell Revolution helmet in the early 2000s, tried out a Schutt Air XP Pro in 2011 and used a Riddell Speed helmet one year later. None of the helmets was used consistently though and Brady always quickly went back to his VSR-4.
This helmet type has served the 40-year old well: Brady has never been listed on an injury report due to a concussion or other head/neck-area issues. And even though his wife stated in an interview last offseason that he suffered a concussion some time between early 2016 and early 2017, a joint investigation by the NFL and the NFLPA found that Brady did in fact not suffer a concussion during the 2016 season.