This is the first season we’ve covered football, and while we’ve got some of the top player Lockers added, we also took the time to log the helmets, cleats and gloves of all 715 NFL starters. Crazy, I know. But that’s how we roll. This research provides us with valuable information about what the world’s best football players are wearing on the field. We tracked brands and even lasered in on specific models. In this article, we’ll focus on the quarterbacks, and the helmets, cleats, and gloves that they wear on gamedays.
HELMETS WORN BY NFL STARTING QUARTERBACKS
On most football teams, the fate of the Franchise rests in the hands of the Quarterback, so he or she must be protected as such. In the NFL, there are 300-pound monsters running 4.4s that want your bread, so you ought to wear a good helmet. Let’s take a look at the football helmet brands and models that the NFL’s best QBs are wearing (tabulated in November 2020).
Riddell | Worn by 72% of NFL Starting Quarterbacks
For 2020, Riddell is dominating the competition… and as helmets are a $150-$280 million dollar industry, there is fierce competition. Riddell has been one of the leading helmet providers since they were established in 1929. Nearly three out of four quarterbacks wear Riddell helmets, and 19 of them wear the Riddell Speedflex. The Riddell Speedflex is the most popular helmet worn in the NFL, and has been for some time. Most of these quarterbacks wear ‘precision fit’ Speedflex helmets, meaning that their heads were scanned in the pre-season for a perfect fit. Tom Brady, Lamar Jackson, and Kyler Murray are three of the top quarterbacks wearing the Riddell Speedflex helmet, which you can buy on Riddell.com for $425.
The other Riddell helmet worn by starting NFL QBs is the Riddell Speed. Deshaun Watson, Jared Goff, Baker Mayfield, and Sam Darnold all wear the Speed, a player (and fan) favorite for nearly a decade because of its lightweight, streamlined design. The adult Speed weighs in at 3.7 pounds and scores a 5/5 in Virginia Tech’s helmet rankings. You can get an adult Speed from Riddell for $339 or a youth Speed for $229.
Editor’s Note: See our “Top 5 Best Youth Helmets” breakdown. Hint: #1 is not the Riddell Speedflex, and the reason is because the Speedflex is often too heavy for young players.
Schutt | Worn by 19% of NFL Starting Quarterbacks
Coming in at 2nd is Schutt with 19% of starting QBs (6 of 32) wearing their helmets. Schutt is a big player in youth football, and has two helmets in our Top 5 Youth Helmets list. NFL quarterbacks choose Schutt because along with great safety ratings, they offer the lightest available option. The Air XP Q10 ($450 at SchuttSports.com) weighs 4 pounds compared to the Speedflex that weighs 4.4 pounds. Aaron Rodgers, Cam Newton, Ryan Fitzpatrick, and Teddy Bridgewater wear the Schutt Air XP Q10, which gives off old school vibes. Get it for $450 at Schutt Sports.
The other Schutt helmets worn by NFL starting QB’s are the Vengeance Z10 and Vengeance Pro (Z10, $400-$500 / Pro, $265-$300, SchuttSports.com). Alex Smith wears the Z10, which is the adult version of our #1 ranked youth helmet, weighing around 3.5 pounds. The Vengeance Pro, worn by Nick Foles, also weighs 3.5 pounds. Despite the weight savings, these helmets both excelled, scoring 5 out of 5, in Virginia Tech’s helmet rankings.
Vicis | Worn by 9% of NFL Starting Quarterbacks
Lastly, coming in at 9% is Vicis. Vicis is the youngest of the helmet contenders. They raised $85 million over the last seven years, but hit a fundraising wall and were forced to sell their assets and tech to a Schutt investor in April 2020.
Money woes aside, Vicis helmets score extremely well for safety and are worn by superstars Patrick Mahomes (pictured) and Russell Wilson, who invested in the company in 2017. The Vicis Zero1 scored 5 out of 5 stars on the Virginia Tech Helmet rating scale. In the midst of their corporate turmoil, there are no Vicis helmets available for sale, but they are still investing in research and development, so there may be more to that story in the coming years.
CLEATS WORN BY NFL STARTING QUARTERBACKS
There are 2 “classes” of cleats that you’ll see NFL quarterbacks wearing; “skill” cleats, and “big skill” cleats. Skill cleats are lower cut, lightweight, and built for the most evasive sideline-to-sideline speedsters. Big skill, on the other hand, is better for quarterbacks who prefer stability in the pocket over speed. Big Skill cleats have mid to high cuffs, for better ankle support, and wider traction plates. Quarterbacks choose their cleats based on their playing style.
Here are the brands worn by NFL starting quarterbacks, starting with the top brand, Nike.
Nike | Worn by 59% of NFL Starting Quarterbacks
For 2020, Nike is the most popular cleat brand among NFL starting QBs. Fifty-nine percent (19 of 32) are rocking the Swoosh in 2020. The most popular Nike cleat models among NFL starting quarterbacks are the Nike Alpha Menace Elite 2 and the Vapor Edge 360 Pro. Both are great QB options, but the Alpha Menace is better-suited for a pocket passer like Joe Burrow or Carson Wentz, as it features great ankle support and a firm traction plate. That doesn’t stop Russ (above) from cutting linebackers into tiny pieces in the Alphas.
The Vapor Edge, on the other hand, are lightweight and built for straight line speed, worn by Kyler Murray, Lamar Jackson, and Josh Allen among other dangerous dual-threat QB’s. You can purchase the Alpha Menace on DicksSportingGoods.com for $115-$200 and the Vapor Edge for $120.
Adidas | Worn by 16% of NFL Starting Quarterbacks
For starting NFL quarterbacks, Adidas is the second most popular cleat brand. Five of 32 starting NFL QB’s (16%) wear Adidas cleats. Adidas’ Freak Carbon line is common among QBs due to its good ankle support and firm traction plate.
Two of the most versatile quarterbacks on the planet, Patrick Mahomes and Dak Prescott are among the NFL QBs wearing the Freak line, as well as Aaron Rodgers, one of only a handful of quarterbacks ever to reach 3,000 rush yards. Mahomes wears the Freak Ultra Primeknit in a player exclusive colorway. While Mahomes are hard to find, you can buy the Adidas Freak Carbon cleats at Dick’s for $37-$65.
Jordan | Worn by 16% of NFL Starting Quarterbacks
As the Jumpman continues to soar to new heights, Jordan cleats are on the rise in the NFL. Six of 32 quarterbacks are wearing J’s in 2020. We’ve seen 1s, 10, and 11s from guys like Teddy Bridgewater and Derek Carr.
Under Armour | Worn by 9% of NFL Starting Quarterbacks
Tom Brady, Cam Newton, and Nick Foles wear Under Armour, which seems to have a disappearing footprint in all pro sports lately. In baseball, pro usage has been declining, too.
GLOVES WORN BY NFL STARTING QUARTERBACKS
None | 84% of NFL Starting Quarterbacks
We’ve found that gloves are quite uncommon among the game’s best QB’s. Gloves can hinder a QBs ability to throw the football or take the snap, so most don’t wear them. Twenty-seven of 32 go gloveless, and just four of 32 wear a glove on their non-throwing hand. Teddy Bridgewater is the only starting QB (and maybe only QB in recent memory), to wear a glove on both hands regularly. Teddy “Two Gloves” wears the Nike Vapor Knit 3.0 because it is a very lightweight, minimal glove, offering enough ball feel to throw tight spirals. You can buy theVapor Knit 3.0s like Teddy for $60 on Eastbay.com.
There you have it… the gear worn by the best quarterbacks in the world! Let us know what you think about our report in the comments below!