The NFL has made huge attempts to limit head injuries after a high-profile lawsuit, but Australian sensation Jordan Mailata has blasted so-called ‘Guardian Caps’ which are said to reduce concussions, calling them ‘fake news’ .
The odd-looking headgear, which fits over the top of helmets, is to be used during pre-season by players in certain positions to reduce head injuries.
However, Mailata suffered a concussion during training camp – and later lambasted the ineffectiveness of the bizarre-looking shells.
‘The hat is fake news. It doesn’t stop anything. I’m sorry, NFL. I really mean it, though. It didn’t stop anything,’ Mailata told an American football pundit Zach Berman.
Australian NFL star Jordan Mailata has slammed the NFL’s ‘goalie caps’ after it failed to protect him from recent elimination
‘Goalie caps’ fit over the top of a helmet and are mandatory in pre-season for certain positions, such as offensive linemen
The 203cm, 158kg offensive lineman missed three practices at the Philadelphia Eagles’ preseason training camp earlier this month following a blow to the head, but has since fully recovered.
After the unprecedented class action lawsuit filed by more than 4,500 former NFL players for head trauma, which the league settled for an astonishing $765 million, the NFL has tightened concussion protocols.
But as Mailata’s injury shows, it seems impossible to actually prevent a concussion.
Football fans almost all agreed with Mailata’s comments, although one pointed out that even a “small percentage cut” could make a long-term difference.
Australian NFL star Baltimore Ravens offensive lineman Daniel Faalele wears a ‘goalie cap’ during practice earlier this month
The league mandated that offensive linemen, running backs, tight ends, defensive linemen, and linebackers must all wear Guardian caps during preseason training camps.
Mailata offensive lineman Jason Kelce went a step further during practice, covering the cap with a layer of bubble wrap, much to the delight of onlookers and amused teammates.
Mailata Eagles teammate Jason Kelce covers his goalie helmet and cap in a layer of bubble wrap
Mailata, who played lower-level football for the South Sydney Rabbitohs before being selected in the 2018 NFL Draft despite not playing a gridiron wink, has embraced the crucial left tackle position on a dominant Philadelphia Eagles offensive line.
So much so that the 25-year-old Australian is now one of the best tackles in the league.
That point wasn’t lost on one of the NFL’s top analysts, Cynthia Frelund, who recently named Mailata number 10 on her list of most underrated players.
Jordan Mailata is now an NFL sensation after growing up in Bankstown and playing for the South Sydney Rabbitohs
The big man is tasked with protecting the blindside of dual-threat quarterback Jalen Hurt this season, and the Eagles have a huge shot at winning the NFC East title from an inconsistent Dallas Cowboys unit.
Mailata obviously takes defending his quarterback very seriously, with a fight in the Eagles’ recent pre-season game evoking memories of his time as a rugby league player.
Hurts took a dangerous late shot from New York Jets defenseman Quincy Williams in the team’s 24-21 loss, and Mailata wasn’t happy.
“I can’t repeat what I said. All I know was just beep, beep, beep, beep,’ Mailata told reporters after the game.
“I wanted to lean in with my helmet, then a little warning sign came, and I didn’t want to go back to (concussion) protocol, so I just went to him. It’s a pre-season game, and there’s no room for dirty play, especially against my QB.
Luckily, Hurts somehow bounced back, but his teammates, fans and commentators slammed the dirty play, calling it a “cheap hit”, “nasty”, “pointless” and “garbage”.
Jordan Mailata was fired after a dirty shot on teammate Jalen Hurts
Eagles coach Nick Sirianni was even angrier than Mailata.
He could be seen yelling “that’s fucking bulls**t” on the Jets sideline. Amazingly, coach Robert Saleh even left Williams there for the next try.
Mailata and his Eagles will continue their pre-season campaign against the Browns on August 22, before their opener against the Lions on September 11.