The Anonymous Helmet Stalker
He knows when a player switches facemasks.
He knows when a team puts a sticker on the back of a helmet.
He knows when Madden gets it right.
He is the Helmet Stalker.
“For me, it’s a creative outlet. I try to get the information out with an unbiased approach,” he tells Helmet Tracker.
And he is getting the information out. The Helmet Stalker has nearly 6,000 Twitter followers and an astounding 41,000 Instagram followers. “Covering helmet changes and designs of the big name guys, the kickers, and everybody in between,” is his profile.
Who Is He?
But who is the Helmet Stalker?
We went to find out and learned a bit about him, but chief among his objectives is anonymity.
“I am anonymous on the page,” he told us. “I don’t feel I need to come out as me. I want to stay objective and have Helmet Stalker be fact-based. If I show anything personal, that changes. I have shared some of my own helmet collection, but I don’t need to do that.”
A recent post on Instagram: “Raiders RB Marshawn Lynch was fitted for his Schutt Air XP, with a tinted Under Armour visor. He used a K-Gold SHOC visor while last with Seattle.” More than a dozen comments followed, discussing the rules for visors, the importance of chin straps, and more.
A Chocolate Lab hovers in the kitchen. The dog’s name reminds you of a television character who had his own spinoff from a TV blockbuster show from the 1970s. The Helmet Stalker explains how he got his start.
“Really, I suppose it started when I played Madden as a kid.”
The Helmet Stalker first played on-field football in Pop Warner where he was, during his first year, the self-proclaimed “one of the worst players on the field.” The next year he won an award (and not just that participation trophy) and became a lineman. He continued to improve. When he was a sophomore in high school, he broke his arm and when he returned to the field he became a receiver and long snapper.
Obsessive Knowledge about Helmets
Upon graduating, his football career was over and his on-line career was born.
“This kind of knowledge—about helmets and such—I guess I’ve just always had,” he says. “Now I am very obsessive about knowledge of helmets. My mind works like this: I generally read or see something once and then I know it. I can be watching TV and notice something about a player’s helmet and remember that it was different a week ago.”
He noticed on August 14, 2015 that the Baltimore Ravens’ helmets had a gouge guard then explained: “Gouge guards are thick clear stickers put on the front of the helmet to protect it from scuffs and scratches.”
He posted a couple of photos in 2012, then picked it up again in the summer of 2013. He posted about six images a day, then it took off. One of his few followers was a supplier to the NFL and encouraged him to focus on Instagram. There, he was referenced by some people in the know and word began to spread.
“I got some attention from Schutt, then Xenith and Riddell,” he said. Soon his hundreds of followers were thousands, then tens of thousands.
“Now I do have some insider info. I have relationships with some of the guys, some of the equipment guys and suppliers,” the Helmet Stalker says. “I get no money from any of it. I am not biased.”
When a player switches helmets, for example, the Helmet Stalker is one of the first outsiders to know about it. He doesn’t make a judgment on the switch, just points it out—what the player wore last week, what the player is wearing this week.
“Colts TE Coby Fleener was wearing a Riddell Speedflex at mini camps, he had worn the sweet Riddell 360 with a custom mask last season” he posted on July 4, 2014.
He says he is obsessive about helmet knowledge, but not about watching football. He watches on Sundays and tries to keep up a bit during the offseason.
“I am watching during football season—usually. With my extremely weird attention to detail, I will notice if one specific player has a visor come unhooked or something like that, so I scour the internet for an image and post.”
The Helmet Stalker is into video games and his knowledge has cracked opened at least one door.
“I do help some with Madden every year. I offer a third party perspective—I am an advisor of sorts to a specific person there who is about the equipment. I help with equipment and roster updates.”
He downplays his role with the video game saying he is just a friend helping out a friend.
“I try to help them keep the game and the players as authentic as possible.”
It’s fun, he says, and he does it out of his own free will (his words).
Teams throughout the NFL today will be wearing ribbon decals in honor of the 15 year anniversary of the attacks on 9/11,” he wrote on September 11, 2016 with five pictures. The Helmet Stalker is too young to clearly remember that day.
The Helmet Stalker has a full-time job, outside of sports, that keeps him busy. He has one sister and lives in a place that sees snow every year, is not particularly a football area (basketball and lacrosse are as big there), and has celebrated at least one NCAA basketball championship in the last 20 years. Down the road, you can get the best hot dogs on the planet.
Other than that, he isn’t forthcoming. It’s not that he is unfriendly. On the contrary, the Helmet Tracker found the Helmet Stalker to be kind, amenable, disposed. He enjoys the creativity of Helmet Stalker, the freedom anonymity offers and sharing his eye for detail.
“I feel like I am so unique, mostly because I am not competitive. I keep things factual,” he tells us.
The Future of Helmet Stalker
“It would be cool if it could turn into something,” he admits. “Since I was a kid I wanted to be an equipment manager.”
Other careers he’d like to pursue include working public relations or marketing for a helmet manufacturer, or for an NFL team.
“For now, I enjoy doing this. Helmet Stalker is fun and keeps me engaged with football.”