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  • Writer's pictureNathan Dunn

Mahomes' helmet gives up in Wild Card game

One of the most bizarre moments of the opening round of the NFL playoffs came as the Chiefs were preparing another red zone score in the third quarter of their Wild Card round win over the Miami Dolphins. Patrick Mahomes dropped back to pass behind the 25-yard line, then dashed forward for a run inside the five before a helmet-to-helmet collision with Dolphins safety DeShon Elliott.

The collision was audible in Arrowhead Stadium's coldest game ever. It wasn't until the Peacock broadcast showed Mahomes getting up to his feet that it became apparent something was off as his helmet was clearly not in its normal condition. 

Did a patch of the field get caught in his helmet? No, especially not considering the frozen field conditions. After a better look, you can see a large dark patch on his red helmet above his eye.

The broadcast eventually showed a slow-mo replay, which revealed a big chunk of his helmet fly off upon impact with a crack scaling further up his helmet. But the game continued uninterrupted before an official finally noticed the equipment malfunction and allowed Mahomes to replace his warm and broken helmet with his frozen backup helmet.

Following the helmet malfunction the Chiefs settled for a field goal after a run for no gain and two incomplete passes. The replacement helmet helped Mahomes to another touchdown the next drive as the Chiefs won 26-7 in front of an attendance of more than 71,000 in -4 degree temperature at kickoff with 25 MPH winds.

What does this mean?

Mahomes' helmet has not had a good season. It helped Mahomes to a career-worst 11-6 regular season record and paid the price for it. Before finally breaking, the helmet was sacked 27 times and slammed on the ground during the Chiefs' loss to the Buffalo Bills. That could not have felt good being slammed to the ground by a two-time NFL MVP and former MLB pitching prospect with a 96-MPH fastball selected by the Detroit Tigers.

The best way to avoid this in the future is giving Mahomes better protection. He didn’t face too much pressure against Miami, but he has faced tons of pressure all season and pressure did force him to run for positive yards on the helmet-breaking play.

With a clean slate and new helmet, Mahomes and the Chiefs are now set for another run to the Super Bowl. Mahomes will play his first AFC playoff game outside of Arrowhead Stadium on Sunday in the Divisional Round against the Buffalo Bills.

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