How A Pro Football Talk Reader Came Up With the Antonio Brown Helmet Loophole

Ryan Glasspiegel

Antonio Brown and the NFL have come up with a loophole where he can continue wearing his beloved Schutt Air Advantage helmet, provided he can find one that fits him and is less than 10 years old. The backstory of how this proverbial baby got split is pretty fascinating.

As Mike Florio explained on his NBCSN show this morning, a Pro Football Talk reader emailed the National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment (NOCSAE) to ask if they would be able to re-certify the helmet if it were under 10 years old, and they said yes. Yada yada yada, and Brown can wear his helmet if he can find one that qualifies.

The Big Lead reached out to Florio for more context, and the specifics are pretty interesting. The reader is a man named Tim Fernandez, who self-identifies as an “obsessed helmet hobbyist.” He knew that the Air Advantage was discontinued in 2011, and thus a helmet manufactured in 2010 or 2011 would fall under the NFL’s 10-year window for safety standards.

Here is a copy of the letter that Michael Oliver, Executive Director and general counsel for the NOCSAE, sent Fernandez:

While this is all very silly as it’s difficult to believe that a helmet made in 2010 or 2011 is materially safer than one manufactured a year or two before that, this is a fascinating glimpse into how the sausage gets made.

Brown has announced that he is in the market:

Glad it looks like this story will have a happy ending.