By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — In case you hadn’t yet heard, Tom Brady is set to look very, very different on the football field this season. That’s not to say his play or performance will change, but the quarterback appears to be settling in on a distinctly different look for 2018.READ MORE: Lynn Tax Business Fined $136,000 For Prohibiting Employees And Customers From Wearing Masks
A few weeks ago, Brady debuted a new, more modern helmet style on the practice field. The helmet saw its first game action with Brady last Thursday night, when Brady looked to be the same quarterback he’s been for two decades — albeit with a noticeably different helmet protecting his head.
Brady had spoken twice about the helmet before, but on Wednesday at Gillette Stadium, he got into a bit more detail about what, exactly, he is liking about the new piece of equipment.
“It’s probably why I never switched, because it was always a little different than what I was used to. But they made it pretty good,” Brady said. “It’s actually, I think there’s still a few little tweaks I’d like, but for the most part it’s really comfortable.”
The change is not entirely voluntary. The helmet Brady’s worn for all but a few weeks of his career — the Riddell VSR-4 — will not be allowed in NFL games after the 2018 season. Rather than waiting until 2019, Brady is getting a jump start on the change. Whether he carries that new helmet — a Riddell Precision Fit SpeedFlex, for those keeping track — into the regular season has yet to be decided, but it’s clear that Brady feels better about this helmet than other that he’s experimented with during his career. The big tweak that’s yet to be made is a permanent solution on the facemask.READ MORE: UMass To Freeze In-State Tuition For Second Straight Year
“Everything is, you know, you’ve seen something a certain way for a long period of time. So I like as much vision as possible. The peripheral vision. It’s all important, it all matters. Just making sure it’s kind of similar to what the experience has always been,” Brady said. “There’s gotta be obviously some protection over here [on the side of the face], because fingers can get … it hasn’t happened too often in my career, but I’ve had a few hands get through the mask a little bit. Typically, quarterbacks have much more open [facemasks], like receivers probably do, with the vision. But the more [vision] you can have, the better. It’s not going to be quite like the old Sean Landeta punter one where he had the one bar, but it provides enough. But I really like it, it’s been a good transition — a smooth transition, which is all I could ask for.”
Just because we have the technology, here’s a look at that gorgeous Sean Landeta facemask that Brady referenced:
“There’s still some tweaks to go and we’re working them out, but overall, hopefully the helmet provides more protection,” Brady also said. “I’ve been wearing a very old helmet for a long period of time, but it’s worked pretty well. So that’s why I’ve been a little hesitant to change.”
Brady had previously tried out some more modern helmet designs a few times during his career, but those experiments generally didn’t last long. With what seems like a mix of concerns about comfort and some old-fashioned superstition, Brady always went back to his old reliable. But at the ripe old age of 41 years old, he does sound like someone ready for a permanent change. And he’s also starting to believe the new helmet might have some added benefits.MORE NEWS: Snow Coming To Western Massachusetts, Up To 6 Inches Early Friday
“I asked the guys and I said, do I look any younger or faster in it? And they said yes,” Brady said with a smirk. “So, I feel like I’m going to keep it.”