Coltzilla reader Bill Bixler contacted us following our story last week regarding the mystery of Colts wide receiver Austin Collie's unidentified protective object (UPO). He suggests that Bill Simpson of Simpson Racing Products has openly made comments claiming that he can make a lighter and safety football helmet. For those fans who are unaware, Simpson Racing Products resides in Indianapolis and the company would most certainly have the resources to create a prototype helmet for Collie. In fact, the legitimacy of this potential answer for last week's mystery grows considerably when one considers a story from November 29, 2010 in the Indianapolis Business Journal that provided details of the operation. Some quotes from the article will follow, giving some details about Simpson's partnership with IndyCar Series team owner Chip Ganassi on the project.
Simpson, a longtime friend of Colts offensive guru Tom Moore, said he is working on the helmet project with Steve Champlin, the Colts' " director of football administration. . . Simpon... added that he could make a new helmet for next season that would far exceed current industry standards. . . Not only did Simpson say he could reduce the force from an impact to players' heads at least 25 percent, he said he could more than cut the weight of the helmet in half from the current 5-1/2 to 7 pounds to 2-1/4 pounds. . . Simpson said his improved helmet would look much like the current helmet, but employ some of the same interior design features his company uses with racing helmets. . . Simpson said he recently completed one round of studies on football helmets and is doing further side-by-side studies with current models and his prototype this month before getting back together with Colts officials. . .While no photograph of the inside of the helmet was available to compare to other helmets, a final thing that Simpson suggested is that he would "use space-age fabric that we can impregnate with epoxy" inside. Whether these pads would look any different to the casual eye is not determinable, but one thing is clear: Simpson Racing Products is actively engaged in product development and testing for a new football helmet. They are located in Indianapolis, working with Indianapolis Colts staff, and have a close tie with long-time Colts offensive coordinator Tom Moore. Throw in the fact that I have raced for four years and am familiar with Bell and Simpson racing helmets, and the fact that the photo of Collie shows a helmet that looks more bulbous than a typical football helmet, and it all makes sense. Take a look for yourself. Coltzilla will follow the story but another great resource for information regarding the helmet is TheConcussionBlog.com which reported on the Simpson correlation on August 12th. Take a look at the story here. Notably, when asked about the possibility that his helmet was created by Simpson, Collie replied, "no comment." Certainly not a denial.