Helmets: Not the "same old thing" anymore

Submitted by Bronco648 on September 26th, 2009 at 11:21 AM
I haven't seen anything like this posted, in diary form, on MGoBlog before so I apologize if it's a repeat. Like a lot of you, I've been watching football for quite some time (personally, 40+ years).  I've recently noticed that there seems to be quite a few more options when it comes to head gear (helmets).  In an effort to consolidate data, I visited the "big 3" helmet manufacturers' web sites (Riddell, Schutt & Adams USA) and gleaned the following.  It's all public so there should be no issues with proprietary information.  If I missed something, please let me know. All images are courtesy of the manufacturer.

I did find a New York Times article concerning Xenith Helmets.  However, their site is all Flash driven.  The site has been linked, if you're interested. I think I've observed their helmets in the NFL and NCAA but they seem few and far between.



This is the helmet that I consider to be the "basic" football helmet that we're all come to know so well.

Riddell markets it to the NFL, College and High School teams. It features an exclusive Polycarbonate shell. It has an inflatable liner with two outside inflation points: back-neck-side and crown. Tried and True.

Revolution Inside View

Introduced in 2002, the Riddell Revolution was the first major football helmet innovation in 25 years. Since that time, more than half a million youth, high school, college and pro players have made the switch. Today, research shows that players wearing the Riddell Revolution are 31% less likely to suffer a concussion when compared to traditional football helmets. For athletes who had never suffered a previous concussion, wearing the Riddell Revolution decreased their relative risk of concussion by 41%. It's considered to be "Top of the line" for NFL, College and High School. It contains (standard) Z-Pads, extended Tru-Curve shell and Isolater Faceguard System (it can be upgraded to inflatable Z-pads).

  • Exclusive Polycarbonate shell.
  • Inflatable Back/Neck/Side liner.
  • Six vent holes

Revolution IQ

Revo IQ

Revo IQ logoRevo Inside view

Based on the Revolution (see above) the Revolution IQ contains Concussion Reduction Technology.

  • deal Fit Liner System with TruCurve back and front pads.>
  • Inflatable back and crown pads.
  • Standard Z-Pads (can be upgraded to inflatable Z-Pads).
  • It has a Quick Release Face Guard System.>
  • Exclusive Polycarbonate Shell.
  • Six vent holes.

Revolution Speed

Revo Speed

Revo Speed Overliner

Revo Speed Quick Release

Designed for performance with Revolution Technology built-in. The ‘Revo’ Speed comes with a new shell design, and a comfortable anti-microbial over liner. It features a new face mask system designed from the ground up to optimize sightlines. Attaching the cage is Riddell's exclusive Quick Release Face Guard System for rapid and easy access to the player.

  • Revolution Concussion Reduction Technology.

  • Aggressive Revo Speed shell profile.

  • Inflatable back/neck/side liner and crown liner.

  • Standard with Inflatable S-pads.

  • Removable moisture wicking, antibacterial overliner.

  • Oversized vent holes.

Revolution IQ H.I.T.S.


Revo IQ HITS inside view

I thought the following was really cool. I'd love to see the data: For the first time in history, every player can now monitor the number and severity of impacts received during game and practices, thanks to Riddell's patented Head Impact Telemetry System (HITS). On-board electronics record every impact, allowing players to upload and evaluate each occurrence on their home computers. ‘HITS’ also provides the guidance necessary to understand and address a suspect impact if it is detected. MX Encoder: MX Encoders are sensors built into every HITS helmet to automatically record impacts.

  • Available already installed in a standard Riddell Revolution IQ helmet (see above).

  • Patented MX Encoder fits in the stock helmet and records the location, magnitude, duration and direction of up to 100 impacts (patented).

  • Includes Riddell's Red Zone Software for charting data.

  • Includes 2 MX Encoder battery packs and battery charging station.

  • MX Encoder can be removed for cleaning.

  • Riddell HITS Desktop Antenna connects to any desktop or laptop computer with a USB port and is suitable for use with multiple HITS-equipped helmets.


Schutt HOT Tech

Considering the amount of heat related injuries (and some unfortunate deaths), this is promising technology, too: The H.O.T. (Heat Observation Technology) System is an early warning detection system for heat stroke and other heat related injuries. The system uses a sensor placed inside a player’s football helmet to monitor the player’s body temperature. That data is wirelessly transmitted to a PDA on the sideline where it can be monitored in real-time by a certified athletic trainer or other sideline personnel. When a player’s temperature spikes and doesn’t come back down, an audible and visual alert is sounded, with the intention of getting that player off the field before a serious, perhaps fatal, injury occurs.

  • Sensor is the size of a dime and weighs less than an ounce.

  • Sensor will fit inside any football helmet.

  • Proprietary PDA can monitor hundreds of athletes within signal range.

  • Wireless range is 300 yards.

  • Up to 1000 athletes can be monitored by one PDA.

  • Sensor is weather proof.

  • Alert temperature can be customized for each player.


Ion 4D

The Schutt ION 4D is unlike any helmet that’s ever been designed before. The styling of the shell includes the Schutt Energy Wedge faceguard attachment system. The faceguard is integrated right into the shell and is stronger and more durable than classic faceguards. The ION 4D also features TPU cushioning eliminating any break-in period. The Schutt ION 4D comes with a two-piece SUREFIT inflatable air liner system. It’s made from an anti-microbial material to resist the growth of mold, mildew, fungus and other bacteria. Energy Wedge: Exclusive to the Schutt ION 4D, it acts as a shock absorber for the helmet, absorbing up to 15% more force from frontal impacts to the faceguard. The Schutt ION 4D features a wide panoramic view. Chin straps can be attached to the Schutt ION 4D in a variety of manners, including Schutt Short ‘N Long or 4-Point High. Schutt recommends, however, mounting the chin strap through the ION 4D Energy Wedge faceguard, as this gives sideline-to-sideline field of vision and also eliminates a high contact area on the helmet shell and prolongs helmet life.



The Schutt AiR XP is a traditional shell helmet with that familiar, spherical shape. It contains a unique combination of tradition with state-of-the technology. It has a two-piece SUREFIT inflatable air liner system treated with an anti-microbial to resist the growth of mold, mildew, fungus and other bacteria. Additionally, it has six large ventilation holes in the crown maximize air flow.

DNA Pro+

DNA Pro+

First introduced in 2003, it provides better impact absorption (compared to traditional foam padding), better heat management and better hygienics. It's highly resistant to mold, mildew, fungus and bacteria, while providing a barrier against MRSA and staph concerns. It has a two-piece SUREFIT inflatable air liner system treated with an anti-microbial to resist the growth of mold, mildew, fungus and other bacteria. Dart-shaped large ventilation holes in the crown maximize air flow.

AiR Advantage

AiR Advantage

I consider this to be Schutt's version of Riddell's VSR4. Compare the pictures. The give away (in identification) is the slot (Schutt) behind the circular, raised ear hole. Riddell's helmet does not have this. Additionally, the Schutt has vent holes in the helmet crown. The Air Advantage is 12% lighter than the Pro-Air II, but still maintains the same durability. This helmet features a unique air liner system, which distributes the force of an impact then immediately returns to its original shape. That same liner system makes it easy to get a custom fit for each player. Component parts of this helmet are interchangeable. Large ventilation holes on the crown allow air to circulate in the helmet. The Air Advantage also features a third chinstrap snap location – for players who don’t fit or don’t like the standard setup. Single inflatable air liner is designed for optimum fit (color coded for easier identification of sizes). The liner is treated with an anti-microbial agent to resist the growth of mold, mildew, fungus and other bacteria. Six large ventilation holes in the crown maximize air flow.

Adams USA



A-4 inside

  • Expanded Polypropylene Liner.

  • Standard 3/8” EVA Liner.

  • Locking Edge System - Keeps the Liner in Place.

  • Universal Jaw Pads.

  • TemplePods - Provide Secure Fit in Traditionally Hard to Fit Areas.

  • Rear Helmet Shell Offset - Conforms to shape of rear skull.

  • Energy Dispersement Ridge - Adds strength and stability and conforms to head contour.

  • Newly Designed Polycarbonate Anatomically Correct Shape  - Reduced weight for comfortable fit.

  • VenturiPorts and Extended Ear Holes - Improve ventilation by allowing for air circulation and heat dissipation.

  • Skeletal Sub Structure (SSS System) - Expanded Polypropylene - Light weight stiff skeleton supports shell and assists in attenuating impacts.

Pro-Elite A2000

Pro-Elite A2000

Pro-Elite A2000 specs

  • Newly Designed Polycarbonate Anatomically Correct Shape - Reduced weight for comfortable fit.

  • Energy Dispersement Ridge - Adds strength and stability and conforms to head contour.

  • Rear Helmet Shell Offset - Conforms to shape of rear skull.

  • VenturiPorts and Extended Ear Holes - improve ventilation by allowing for air circulation and heat dissipation.

  • EVA Liner and Front EVA Liner - provides comfortable fit and energy management.

  • Custom Air Liner with Left Rear Inflation Air-Port - a superb individual air-fit system with easy inflation on player.

  • Front Pad Assembly - Soft pad for easy access to mount/remove face mask.

  • Skeletal Sub Structure (SSS System) - expanded polypropylene - light weight stiff skeleton supports shell and assists in attenuating impacts.



September 26th, 2009 at 12:50 PM ^

That's interesting stuff, I haven't seen it on here before, either.

Here's the thing about the brain damage and football though - a lot of the damage allegedly comes from the fact that the skull stops very suddenly, but the brain, which is basically "floating" in the brain fluid, doesn't stop immediately. It's basically being thrown around inside the skull. This becomes especially dangerous when the head turns and accelerates/decelerates sideways, as it causes the brain to "twist" inside the skull.

There's a good article in GQ on the topic in this month's edition. Obviously it's not a scientific journal, but it does a good job of outlining the current research etc.


September 26th, 2009 at 3:34 PM ^

Thanks for the help FA. As for Bike, I did not find anything about them supplying helmets. Their site is under construction but it looks like they just supply shoulder pads and pants.

If you're wondering;
Tate wears a Schutt DNA Pro+
Moundros: Riddell Revo Speed
Minor: Schutt AiR Advantage


September 26th, 2009 at 7:39 PM ^

Bronco648, thanks for the research.
The HOT and ION are some interesting technologies. Anything
that will prevent hyperthermia and concussions is good for
the sport.
One thing I've noticed this year is the number of guys getting
their helmets popped off. Just about every NCAA game I've watched. I saw at least 4 in the ND game. That
must about tear your ears off if they're tightly fitted.


September 26th, 2009 at 10:31 PM ^

i personally have used three of those helmets (the basic one, the Revo, and the Shutt DNA)and would say the DNA is the best of them all. It's so much lighter and i never had a problem with it coming off my head.


September 27th, 2009 at 12:00 AM ^

Much appreciated!

It's good to finally see some real improvements in helmet technology over the last few years and I think the result of it is going to be far fewer players experiencing debilitating mental issues later in life.

The key, I believe, is not so much in making sure a player doesn't get their head caved in (nearly any helmet would do that), but in making sure everything inside their head stays where it is relative to everything else.

We can repair blown ACL's and seperated shoulders, but we can't fix a brain.


September 27th, 2009 at 10:52 AM ^

FA: I should have known better than to copy and paste from Word. In the future, I'll use NotePad so none of that formatting exists in the first place.

BIKE bought out by Adams USA, thanks meals69.

I, too, have noticed a lot of helmets popping off of heads. I wonder how long it will be before we have an issue where a head injury is sustained (like in the movie 'Lukas') because of this. Schutt seems to attempt to address the issue by providing different chin strap attachment points for comfort & security.

Blaze: as we saw yesterday, even the best helmet cannot prevent some injuries: Tebow wears a Riddell Revo IQ and still was concussed. If he hadn't hit his head on his teammate's knee/thigh, he probably would have been OK (and hopefully, he is).