Journeyman NFL quarterback Caleb Hanie tells Breitbart Sports that putting helmets on flag football players shows a smarter rather than a softer America.
“The demand for helmets and soft-shell equipment in flag football definitely means we’ve grown smarter in the game,” Hanie explained at the MomsTeam prescreening of Concussion in Boston. “We’re not being reactive. We’re being proactive.”
Hanie bounced around the league for five-plus seasons, throwing a touchdown pass for the Chicago Bears in the 2010 NFC Championship Game against the Green Bay Packers before he tossed a ball for six in a regular season contest. After his release from the Dallas Cowboys during the 2014 preseason, Hanie joined former Chicago Bears teammate Joey LaRocque, who had earlier launched RockSolid, a company marketing protective gear to touch-football teams.
“We designed the first ever soft-shell football helmet specifically for non-contact football, flag football, 7-on-7 non-contact offseason football,” Hanie explained to Breitbart Sports. RockSolid’s RS1 sells for $64.99. The helmet appears as a throwback to the preferred head coverings of Knute Rockne’s Four Horsemen. Its cultural message strikes as less atavistic than futuristic. In Mad Max, the dystopians wore football equipment off the gridiron. We will too.
“Even though it’s supposedly non-contact, we still see people colliding at full speed, hitting their head on the ground or with other players,” Hanie notes. What’s the harm in preventing harm?
Americans may call it touch football. Some school administrators and league leaders call it unsafe. At Newton South High School in suburban Boston in 2013, the principal, labeling powder-puff football “dangerous” and saying that in terms of “gender politics” it “perpetuates negative stereotypes about femininity and female athletes,” cancelled a decades-old tradition of a girls’ football game played the day before Thanksgiving. Elsewhere, flag-football leagues increasingly require protective headgear.
While Hanie and LaRocque can’t help solve the “gender politics” issues in leafy Newton, Massachusetts, they can supply the padded hats to alleviate safety concerns there and points beyond to satisfy ostensible objections to flag football. “In the last 18 months, we’ve outfitted 30,000 kids with soft-shell helmets, anywhere from 500 high schools in Southern California and Texas alone and over a few dozen flag leagues across the country,” the former Bears backup told Breitbart Sports. “Thousands and thousands of kids are mandated to wear our soft-shell helmets in the game.”
Today, helmets in flag football; tomorrow, bubble-wrap suits for leaving the house?