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No More One-Size-Fits-All For Bengals' Helmets

Running back Joe Mixon escapes a Tampa Bay Buccaneers defender to rush for a first down in the second half.
Running back Joe Mixon escapes a Tampa Bay Buccaneers defender to rush for a first down in the second half.

Football has come a long way from the days of the leather helmet with no facemask.

While today's Bengals helmets on the outside look similar in design, it is the inside that is undergoing a technological revolution within the industry.

Case in point from this season was quarterback Tom Savage who was picked up in November after spending time with the San Francisco 49ers. 

Savage requested his custom fit helmet that he wore previously with the 49ers and Houston Texans as soon as he found out he was off to Cincinnati.

That's where Bengals equipment manager Adam Knollman sprang into action and contacted the helmet-supplier Riddell to see if he could get the dimensions for Savage's helmet.

Within days, Riddell took a previous 360-degree scan of Savage's head and sent it to its warehouse in North Ridgeville, Ohio. The manufacturers inserted the foam padding from his old helmet, placed it in a Bengals shell and sent it to Cincinnati within three days.

Riddell unveiled the Precision-Fit system two years ago, which utilizes a scan of a player's head to create a custom fit version of the SpeedFlex helmet. It typically takes Riddell five to six weeks to construct a new Precision-Fit helmet. 

The Bengals have had a growing number of players utilize the customized helmets, including many first and second-year players who were used to the technology from playing college ball. 

The scans and helmets work for players, no matter how they choose to wear their hair. For example, center Billy Price (who shaves his head) and running back Joe Mixon (who showcases a variety of hair styles), both opted for the Precision-Fit helmets.

"Part of our job is to educate the players on the safest helmets available," Knollman said. "I would say it has evolved over the last five years, but each manufacturer is pushing the other. From what I've seen this is the best technology so far. No other company is taking a 3-D scan and customizing it. This is taking it to the next level."

Riddell's Precision-Fit helmets are available only to NFL players and NCAA partner schools. Riddell can also re-condition and re-certify the helmets each season.

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