Folks, this NFL preseason has my blood boiling. I can’t believe the product I’m watching on the field is actually called football. After my years and years of dedication to this game I love, the NFL may finally have lost this fan. And all because of this god awful helmet rule. No, not the one all you small-brained people have been complaining about ad nauseam for weeks. I’m talking about the far more impactful one: the banning of certain helmet types, most notably the Ridell VSR-4. That’s what Thomas Edward Patrick Brady has worn since he entered the league.
Now, in addition to the NFL willingly removing the players’ free will and autonomy, this is clearly yet another attempt by the NFL front office to rock the boat in New England. Outside of, like, three random games in 2011, Brady’s worn the same helmet in every single game of his career. It’s his signature look. It strikes fear into the hearts of the NFL. If you see a quarterback wearing a Ridell VSR-4, you know you’re about to lose in horrifying fashion. But now, because Goodell is desperately trying to do anything in his power to unseat the yearly de facto AFC champion, Brady needs a new look. Tom Brady is a 40-year-old man. If you ask him to change his style, you might as well just ask him to die.
Now stuck sporting a Ridell SpeedFlex, Tom Brady goes into this season, for the first time since 2001, with some uncertainty about his standing in the league. This new, unfamiliar helmet could completely destroy everything he’s worked for. The NFL’s draconian decree that some helmet types are now outlawed, on the surface just a paper-thin attempt to cover their own ass, is obviously a shot at the reigning league MVP. I’m forced to imagine a universe where Adam Silver tells players LeBron James shoes are no longer allowed or Rob Manfred instructing the league that whatever glove webbing Mike Trout uses is officially illegal. I can’t make it more than two seconds into the thought experiment before it gets too absurd. To try and think of other leagues trying to drag their signature players into the mud is completely preposterous. And yet, for the thousandth year in a row, the NFL is doing everything short of sending assassins to the TB12 compound. Goodell legitimately wants Brady dead, and he’s done more to grow the game than any player in NFL history. Just makes you think if the current leadership really has the league’s best interest at heart.