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League ditches exclusive helmet deal with Riddell

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At a time when the highest bidder can be the “official” anything and everything of the NFL, the NFL will no longer will have an “official” helmet.

Via multiple reports, the league will ditch its exclusive deal with Riddell after the 2013 season.  Currently, players can wear any helmet that meets the basic requirements for safety.  Only Riddell can plaster its name on the helmets — and only Riddell can sell helmets bearing NFL logos.

As explained by Darren Rovell of, the league has become “concerned about the implication of selling exclusive branding rights to one helmet company over another.”

It makes sense.  The presence of the Riddell name, and only the Riddell name, becomes a not-so-subtle message to parents that the NFL suggests that football players use Riddell helmets.  Which could prompt parents to choose Ridell helmets for the wrong reasons.

Though it’s unlikely that the NFL ever would find itself successfully sued for the implicit but obvious message that the NFL recommends Riddell helmet, it makes better business sense in the current climate to take a hands off approach to the gear that football players choose to put on their heads.

And the fact that the NFL would forgo the money-for-nothing arrangement that comes from letting the name “Riddell” or “Xenith” or “Schutt” appear on helmets underscores the gravity of the concussion issue — especially since the NFL will continue to endorse products that contribute to far greater public-health risks, like alcoholism and obesity.

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16 Responses to “League ditches exclusive helmet deal with Riddell”
  1. kjm18 says: Oct 26, 2013 11:40 PM

    This piece was so good, until I ready the last sentence. *headdesk*

  2. deejayehn says: Oct 26, 2013 11:41 PM

    There goes that company…

  3. mackcarrington says: Oct 26, 2013 11:48 PM

    This is totally related to concussion-safety issues. A few years ago there was a company (I don’t know which) that made a helmet that performed better than Ridell when it came to concussion prevention. But since they weren’t “officially licensed” by the NFL they were just dismissed outright. Now the NFL knows that there are companies that make safer helmets than Ridell. This is real obvious CYA.

  4. dmvdmv101560 says: Oct 26, 2013 11:53 PM

    Every football fan needs to read the book “League of Denial” – that will tell you all you want to know about the shameful practices of Riddell and the NFL regarding the concussion issue.

  5. nyjalleffingday says: Oct 27, 2013 12:45 AM

    Good. More “players” in the helmet game means more competition, which means helmets will get better and better, which is obviously a great thing.

  6. slashrageblog says: Oct 27, 2013 12:46 AM

    The NFL has been planning to let it’s deal with Riddell expire for about two years now. Thanks for the update.

  7. thestrategyexpert says: Oct 27, 2013 2:24 AM

    Endorse alcoholism? Heck we are already seeing a team that packages the poison with the tickets! That’s not endorsing, that’s pushing! ‘

    If I’m ever driving through a rough part of a town and a guy in a zebra shirt tries to approach my window then I’m just going to get the heck out of there.

  8. DonRSD says: Oct 27, 2013 2:47 AM

    Nike will swoop in and buy a helmet license.

    On another note, please let the exclusive videogame crap end. Madden sucks.
    Bring back NFL 2k

  9. vbe2 says: Oct 27, 2013 6:54 AM

    Don’t get rid of the brand, get rid of helmets in general and you’ll drastically lower concussions.

    If players feel less invincible, they won’t be leading with their heads and using them as a weapon.

  10. sjf242 says: Oct 27, 2013 8:10 AM

    “NFL will continue to endorse products that contribute to far greater public-health risks, like alcoholism and obesity.”

    Unlike NBC that would never take money from beer and fast food companies.

  11. doctorrustbelt says: Oct 27, 2013 8:32 AM

    You know it’s another blessed Sunday morning when florio starts shilling for the NFL.

    This is all about giving the NFLPA/players the ability to choose what type of pseudo-protection (helmet) that they use to “protect” themselves from their brain shifting around in their skulls while hitting and being hit.

  12. newjerseygiants says: Oct 27, 2013 9:55 AM

    The new Nike helmet is on it way.

  13. fishfan39 says: Oct 27, 2013 10:30 AM

    If nothing else it will give the players more options as to what helmet they will use to protect themselves and of course the endorsement money that at least for some players comes along with it.

  14. gborange says: Oct 27, 2013 12:11 PM

    I’ll take a couple concussions for a 3yr/4.5mil$ contract of guaranteed money. Hell I’ll even through in getting a torn ACL for another half mil signing bonus.

  15. TheNaturalMevs says: Oct 27, 2013 12:38 PM

    My question is say: Andrew Luck wears a Riddell… next year will his helmet still say ‘Riddell’ on the front, just no longer be the exclusive helmet of the NFL? Will all helmet bumpers be blank or will all manufacturers be allowed to go on the helmet

  16. blazermaniac22 says: Oct 27, 2013 2:39 PM

    Remember this when the TV contract comes up.. Direct TV is awful.. Every single time it rains, it cuts out.. Show the Ticket on all platforms. Come on Roger, it’s a money making opportunity. You’ll do it!

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