The NFL Helmet Challenge is an innovation challenge that aims to stimulate the development by experts, innovators and helmet manufacturers of a new helmet for NFL players that outperforms, based on laboratory testing, all helmet models currently worn by NFL players.

The challenge will culminate in July 2021 with the applicants submitting helmet prototypes for testing in laboratory conditions that represent potentially concussive impacts in the NFL. Applicants will compete for up to a $1 million award.

This challenge is the next phase in the league’s Engineering Roadmap, which aims to improve the understanding of football biomechanics and to create incentives for small businesses, entrepreneurs, innovators and helmet manufacturers to develop new protective equipment.

Between the kickoff symposium held in November 2019 and the submission of helmets for final evaluation in July 2021, applicants have access to a range of resources to support the development of their helmet prototype, including over $1 million in HeadHealthTECH Challenge grant funding awarded. Other available resources include those developed through the Engineering Roadmap, such as NFL video review data and finite element models of modern football helmets.


November 13-15, 2019
Symposium in Youngstown, OH — Kickoff of the challenge
March 31, 2020
HeadHealthTECH Challenge grant submission deadline
May 2020
HeadHealthTECH Challenge grants awarded
June 14, 2021
Helmet Challenge submission deadline
July 14, 2021
Helmet prototype submissions due