Why did Patrick Mahomes’ helmet break during the Dolphins-NFL playoff game?

The Kansas City Chiefs and quarterback Patrick Mahomes have had a rollercoaster of an NFL season in 2023. They had a difficult season that began with a startling loss to the Detroit Lions and was characterized by offensive issues and Mahomes’ struggles synchronizing with the O-line. Despite these setbacks, the defending champion showed resilience by securing a narrow victory against the Los Angeles Chargers in the season finale.

Unlike some other playoff hopefuls like the Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles, the Chiefs successfully clinched a postseason spot. Mahomes led the team to a crucial win against the Miami Dolphins and boosted his playoff record. However, the recent win saw him embroiled in an unusual scenario.

Why did Patrick Mahomes’ helmet break?

In the bone-chilling Wild Card game against the Dolphins at Arrowhead Stadium, Patrick Mahomes’ helmet shattered midway through the third quarter. The frigid weather conditions played a significant role in this unusual incident.

The kickoff temperature was minus-4 degrees Fahrenheit, with biting wind gusts of minus-27. This not only marked the coldest game in recent memory but also the fourth-coldest in the history of the NFL. As Pat led the Chiefs into the red zone, attempting to extend their lead to 16-7, the harsh cold seemed to take its toll on the equipment.

The extreme cold likely rendered the shell of his helmet more brittle than usual. This vulnerability came to light when Mahomes clashed helmets with the Dolphins’ Deshon Elliot, resulting in a visible gap just above his left eye.

The Chiefs QB said he had no idea about the incident, but he could sense that something had happened.

“I’m sure it had to do with it being really cold. but yeah, I didn’t know that happened in the moment. I got to the huddle and everyone was telling me, and I was like, ‘I got you all, but I’m not coming out of the game.”

The Alpine F1 owner continued to lead the Chiefs to success. After the helmet mishap, he threw another incomplete pass, and the team successfully kicked a field goal on fourth down, extending their lead to 19-7. However, the signal-caller spent the ensuing Dolphins possession adjusting to the replacement helmet on the sidelines.

Official manufacturer comment on Patrick Mahomes’ helmet break

The manufacturer of the Patrick Mahomes ZERO 2 model helmet, VICIS, addressed the unusual incident. They acknowledged that the extreme conditions of the NFL playoff game tested the limits of their product. However, according to the company, the helmet performed as intended during the head-to-head impact.

“Extreme conditions like those experienced in Saturday evening’s NFL playoff game are bound to test the limits of even the highest performing products. While outer shell damage is not ideal, the ZERO2 helmet did its job of protecting Patrick Mahomes during a head-to-head impact in unprecedented cold temperatures”, they wrote in a social media post.

VICIS highlighted the key features of the ZERO 2 model, especially its “multi-layer technology.” This includes a deformable outer shell, a stiff inner shell, and an impact absorption layer designed similar to the crumple zone in modern cars. They explained that this design approach is effective in absorbing and dispersing impact forces at the point of contact, which contributes to the overall protection of the athlete.

VICIS assured users that their helmets undergo extensive testing in high-impact conditions across a diverse range of temperatures. Despite the outer shell damage not being ideal, the company highlighted the importance of the helmet in successfully protecting Mahomes in a critical situation. They expressed continuous collaboration with the NFL and partner organizations to refine their products.


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Maliha is an insightful sports writer with over a year of experience focusing on the NFL. Initially venturing into both NFL and NBA coverage, her journey began without a particular affinity for American football. However, her passion for the sport blossomed as she started following football more. Now, a huge NFL fan, Maliha meticulously follows every development within the league. She always wants to ensure her analysis is comprehensive and up-to-date to fellow readers.


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