Antonio Brown, the Oakland Raiders receiver on the heart of one of the vital weird coaching camp holdouts in a league that has identified many, is looking out for the Schutt AiR Advantage helmet. I do know the place he can discover it and play with it, and nobody can inform him to play with a more recent mannequin. Hell, he can put on a helmet that’s 50 years previous, if he needs.
It’s in Madden NFL 20, which starred Brown on its cowl final 12 months. While the sport’s fabled Curse might not have struck in 2018, it has assuredly turned him to polonium-210 for 2019. A four-time All-Pro and surefire Hall of Famer, Brown wore out his welcome in Pittsburgh final 12 months; was traded to the comically dysfunctional Raiders in March; had his contract adjusted by that staff to make him the league’s highest-paid huge receiver; and has proven as much as NFL coaching camp, solely to pitch a conniption match over the kind of helmet he might put on.
Brown, for causes unknown, loves his previous helmet a lot that he was prepared to retire somewhat than be advised to get a brand new one. This is essential as a result of his helmet is so previous the league gained’t certify it for play. Respecting the truth that (critically for a second right here) a good-fitting helmet with a pure area of view out of the facemask is essential to professionals, the league gave them final 12 months to say goodbye to their noncompliant lids and get cozy with a brand new one.
Brown mentioned final week that he wasn’t having any of that. He even tried repainting his previous Steelers dome and carting that on the follow area (he was stopped), after which threatened full retirement if he didn’t get his approach. An arbitrator put a cease to that discuss yesterday; after ruling that Brown should use tools licensed secure by the National Operating Committee for Standards and Athletic Equipment, he got down to discover a newer mannequin of the identical make — which Schutt discontinued after 2011.
“I’m on the lookout for a Schutt Air Advantage Adult Large Helmet that was manufactured in 2010 or after. In alternate I’ll commerce a signed follow worn @Raiders helmet.”
— AB (@AB84) August 13, 2019
Me being me, I went on the lookout for this piece of kit among the many gadgets in Madden NFL 20. Lo and behold, it’s certainly nonetheless there, and Brown remains to be carrying it on the primary roster as of this morning 11:53 a.m. EDT.
Other gamers, notably New England quarterback Tom Brady, have moved away from the Schutt AiR Advantage and that is mirrored in Madden NFL 20, the place Brady has a Riddell Speed Flex; he’s been seen carrying one in coaching camp.
I believe Brown’s beef is extra about style and aesthetic, not security or efficiency. The Schutt AiR Advantage is probably the most old-school-looking of the present fashions — no bizarre panels, vents, creases, unusual air holes, and so on. It’s a very clean globe with spherical earholes, the sort you count on to see for those who’re speaking about issues like legacy and custom and greatness and all that. I do know as a result of it’s the one I picked for Perseus Oxendine, my rookie in Face of the Franchise: QB1, and it was for these causes.
But if Antonio needs to go tremendous old-school, have I acquired a hat for him: the Riddell TK which dates again to the mid-1960s. It has been in Madden since Madden NFL 13 and comes with three old-school facemask choices, together with the Joe Theismann one-bar. Unfortunately, it no longer has the no-facemask option; that went out of the sport just a few years in the past.
As for why all of that is OK for Madden and EA Sports, which has a brilliant exacting fame for accuracy? Well, the continued existence of the Riddell TK in Madden suggests everybody’s tremendous with some here-and-there non-serviceable cosmetics. (You can put on a pair of basic Air Jordans on this 12 months’s recreation. Really.) And in addition to, the Riddell AiR Advantage as a make is technically nonetheless compliant.
I’ll nonetheless name right down to Tiburon to ask if it has plans to mess with Antonio’s helmet in an replace. I wouldn’t put it previous the studio to do one thing in an Ultimate Team mission both. I’ll let you understand what I hear.