Helmet manufacturers and the National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment -- to which the NFL defers, though NOCSAE seems to function mainly as a rubber-stamp -- criticized the Virginia Tech research as based on lab tests, not real-world data. Fair enough. Last week, Virginia Tech released the results of six years of real-world data comparing total head hits to concussions, by helmet types, at eight Division I college football teams. The finding: Correcting for incidence and severity of hits, a player wearing the Riddell Revo had a 54 percent lower risk of concussion than a player wearing a VSR4.
This study is a bombshell. For many years the NFL and NOCSAE have contended it is impossible to determine whether any particular helmet reduces concussion risk. Virginia Tech has now put hard data on the table. The study is another feather in the cap for Virginia Tech, which has become the national leader in seeking football safety. It also raises disturbing questions regarding whether the NFL has always been more concerned with avoiding legal liability -- the league believes that mandating a helmet type makes it liable for any concussion sustained in that headgear -- than with the health of players.
How many NFL concussions could have been avoided if the league had banned the VSR4? Far more importantly, since the VSR4 has been worn by millions of high school and college players, how many total concussions could have been avoided if NOCSAE did its job and warned about this helmet rather than approving its sale?
The Broncos, home team of record for the Super Bowl, could choose what to wear -- and chose orange, though the team came in 0-3 wearing orange in the Super Bowl. Now Denver is 0-4 in orange in the Super Bowl, versus 2-1 in any of its other uni looks. As TMQ noted last week, "Surely Broncos execs choosing jerseys for New Jersey thought, 'Superstition is ridiculous.' Woe unto disbelievers!"
As the season concludes, see below for TMQ's annual State Standings.
Stats of the Super Bowl No. 1: Teams that return an interception for a touchdown are 12-0 in the Super Bowl.
Stats of the Super Bowl No. 2: Peyton Manning has thrown interceptions returned for touchdowns in consecutive Super Bowls.
Stats of the Super Bowl No. 3: At the 10:36 mark of the second quarter, the Broncos' league-leading offense recorded its first first down.
Stats of the Super Bowl No. 4: Coming into the Super Bowl, discounting for deliberate kneel-downs, the Broncos scored on 10 of 14 postseason possessions. In the Super Bowl, they scored on one of 11 possessions.
Stats of the Super Bowl No. 5: Discounting for kneel-downs, in the playoffs, Seattle's defense held opponents to six scores on 35 possessions.
Stats of the Super Bowl No. 6: Wes Welker is 0-3 in the Super Bowl.
Stats of the Super Bowl No. 7: Seattle finished plus-27 for turnovers; Denver finished minus-six.
Stats of the Super Bowl No. 8: Mannings have started in five of the past eight Super Bowls.
Stats of the Super Bowl No. 9: During the regular season, Denver's offense averaged a league-best 6.3 yards per play. At the Super Bowl, Denver's offense averaged 4.8 yards per play; only three NFL teams posted a worse regular-season average.
Stats of the Super Bowl No. 10: Teams with orange on their primary jerseys are 2-7 in the Super Bowl. Teams with green are 6-3.