Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

07 Oct 2005

Punter Isn't Raising Bar on Protection

Scott Player: last devotee of the one-bar helmet.

Posted by: Aaron Schatz on 07 Oct 2005

15 comments, Last at 10 Oct 2005, 7:47pm by Carl


by Adam (not verified) :: Fri, 10/07/2005 - 11:15am

It must really suck to be an Arizona Cardinals fan.

by Moe (not verified) :: Fri, 10/07/2005 - 11:40am

I imagine that somewhere there is a vast warehouse full of piles of single bar facemasks slowly gathering dust like the final scene from Raiders of the Lost Ark.

by peachy (not verified) :: Fri, 10/07/2005 - 12:11pm

#2 : that is a brilliant image (and a great scene from a fine movie, of course)

by Sid (not verified) :: Fri, 10/07/2005 - 7:12pm

Joe Theismann broke in with the Washington Redskins in 1974, wearing a two-bar helmet. Every time the quarterback turned to hand off, he had trouble seeing between the bars.

So he turned to the single-bar, throwing for 25,206 yards in a 12-year career - and collecting seven broken noses and other facial injuries.

"I lost two of my teeth against the Giants one year," he said. "A linebacker came up right underneath and got me with his helmet. I remember walking to the sideline, spitting out teeth."

Well, that does explain a lot...

by Llarry (not verified) :: Fri, 10/07/2005 - 8:36pm

(re #1)

I moved to the Phoenix area 15 years ago. I've been trying to be a Cardinals' fan, but they make it so hard...

by Carl (not verified) :: Fri, 10/07/2005 - 9:11pm

"No, he's out there to punt, so each Sunday Player takes the field wearing the single-bar helmet, the equivalent of Andre Agassi serving with a wooden racket."

Uhhh, no. The face mask is a safety device, of sorts, and it doesn't improve performance, unlike Agassi's plastic racket.

Want to know how many facial injuries have befallen punters (including this one) since 1999?


by fyo (not verified) :: Fri, 10/07/2005 - 10:51pm

#6: "Want to know how many facial injuries have befallen punters (including this one) since 1999?


So this quote from the article is incorrect?

Fitzgerald said he admires Player, "but hopefully he won't have to make a tackle, because I remember watching the Redskins a few years ago. Remember that game? When (punter) Bryan Barker broke his nose? He had only one or two bars on his helmet. That's just something I don't have to worry about. I don't want my face to get banged up."

by Tim (not verified) :: Fri, 10/07/2005 - 11:17pm

#7: That was gross. I haven't seen Player's facemask, but I remember Barker's from that game. Not only was it a once-bar affair, but it was tilted so ridiculously far down that it was closer to his chin than his face. I don't know if this would be the case with a properly positioned one-bar, but when Barker hit the ground face first (I think trying to recover a fumble), he broke his nose on the turf. It really was as though he had no facemask at all.

by kjbad (not verified) :: Sun, 10/09/2005 - 2:24am

re #5: It's EASY to be an Arizona Cardinals fan, just ask a Sun Devil fan how bad it can get.

by PhillyBuster (not verified) :: Sun, 10/09/2005 - 9:59pm

re #7 "So this quote from the article is incorrect?"
Of course it's incorrect, Carl has seen studies that prove injuries seen on national television never occurred, but since these studies are proprietary, no one else can see them! Isn't journalism grand?

by Carl (not verified) :: Mon, 10/10/2005 - 11:46am

I should have phrased that differently: There have been NO serious facial injuries to punters. He didn't even go on the injury report.

By choosing the word "befallen" I hoped to illustrate that he didn't miss any games or, likely, much practice.

As I said, the injury was considered so minor, he didn't go on the injury report.

by Carl (not verified) :: Mon, 10/10/2005 - 11:47am

Of course, the data isn't completely "proprietary." Pay me $25,000 and you can have it. Or be a member of any professional football team (they were given them), the NFL, NATA and NFLPA. They got it for free.

by Carl (not verified) :: Mon, 10/10/2005 - 11:50am

Actually, I checked back with the injury database. Sorry. Yes, Barker did get a broken nose, and he did miss a number of games because of that.

I should've checked, but I was going off of memory, and memory told me he had a hurt ankle.

He did. But it was the combined NOSE and ANKLE that was listed on the injury reports for the IR designation. Because it was coded alphabetically Ankle/Nose, I missed it.

by Carl (not verified) :: Mon, 10/10/2005 - 3:55pm

I am the worst journalist ever.

by Carl (not verified) :: Mon, 10/10/2005 - 7:47pm

If you want to call me the "worst journalist ever," then at least have the common courtesy of using your trollishly stupid name for it, and not mine.