During the recent AFC wild-card game against the Miami Dolphins, Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes experienced a remarkable collision that left his helmet shattered.
The manufacturer of the helmet, Certor Sports, claimed that the VICIS ZERO2 helmet performed admirably in protecting Mahomes during a head-to-head impact in record-breaking cold temperatures.
A piece of Patrick Mahomes' helmet came flying off. 😮 pic.twitter.com/m2bFObIhnq— Sunday Night Football on NBC (@SNFonNBC) January 14, 2024
The game, ranked as the fourth-coldest in NFL history, featured a kickoff temperature of minus-4 degrees Fahrenheit, with winds gusting over 25 mph, resulting in a wind chill approaching minus-30.
Certor Sports defended the helmet’s performance, stating, ‘Extreme conditions like those are bound to test the limits of even the highest-performing products.’
Mahomes, despite the helmet damage, expressed a desire to keep it as a memento, asserting, ‘It’s something that’s cool, I’ll be able to keep for a long time. Like they said, it did its job. I was perfectly fine after.’
The VICIS ZERO2 helmet utilizes a proprietary multilayer technology with a deformable outer shell wrapped around a stiffer inner shell, similar to car bumpers designed to absorb and disperse energy upon impact.
This design, part of the ZERO2 line, earned top rankings in testing by the NFL and NFLPA this season and received positive evaluations at Virginia Tech.
Despite its innovative design, VICIS faced financial challenges in competing with established manufacturers like Riddell and Schutt. Innovatus Capital Partners acquired VICIS in 2020, incorporating it into Certor Sports.
The company, committed to safety, continues to develop helmets, including the ZERO2 platform worn by Mahomes and the TRENCH designed for linemen.
Mahomes’ helmet incident highlighted the importance of constant improvement in player safety. The NFL, under pressure to enhance player safety, pledged $100 million in 2016, leading to initiatives such as ‘Play Safe, Play Smart.’
Reflecting on the incident, Mahomes, a Chiefs star, admitted, ‘It was a first for me.’ He continued playing with the damaged helmet until officials intervened, providing him with a backup.
However, the extreme cold had frozen the backup, requiring adjustments on the sideline to make it suitable for Mahomes.
As the NFL and helmet manufacturers strive to address player safety concerns, Mahomes’ helmet saga serves as a testament to the ongoing advancements in protective technology amid challenging conditions.