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May 2014

May 2014


by: AFM Editorial Staff
© May 2014

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Legendary New England Coach John Papas teams up with Xenith to provide future collegiate athletes with added protection,
better fit and strong performance.

If you’ve coached at the high school and collegiate levels for over 35 years, chances are you’ve developed strong opinions about football equipment. You know which products are best for your players from performance and safety standpoints and you know which companies are best to work with.

Coach John Papas has seen his share of football equipment in his 36-year coaching career. It started with 11 years in high school, with various stops including the head coach at Belmont (MA) High School for six years, then 13 years as a college assistant at Bentley, Harvard and Tufts and one season as the head coach at Mt. Ida College. He then finished up as head coach at Buckingham, Browne & Nichols School (BB&N) in Cambridge for the last 11 years, where his record of 73-20 included four NEPSAC Super Bowl appearances and three New England Prep Championships.

Early in his coaching career, Papas started the New England Elite Football Clinic, which is now in its 21st year. It has become one of the largest football clinics in the country, selling out each of the last seven years with 1,200 players. According to Papas, the clinic’s specialty is stressing high academic performance as well as strong football performance, targeting student-athletes who are candidates for Ivy League schools and other prestigious colleges. “As a result,” he said, “many of the greatest academic colleges in country send staff members to work the clinic. It’s the perfect match; great student-athletes being coached by coaches from some of the best colleges in the world.”

Someone who has been involved for many years in all aspects of managing a football program, including equipment selection, it is significant that Papas chose Xenith as the exclusive helmet supplier at BB&N and at his clinic. “When I was first introduced to Xenith, I was blown away by the structure of the helmet,” said Papas. “It was truly something I had never seen before. I immediately knew that our players should all be wearing a Xenith helmet.”

To learn more, we recently asked Coach Papas more about why he decided that Xenith was the best helmet option for his players and his clinic participants.

What has been your position on player safety throughout your career?

I have always been acutely aware of how important player safety is, but it became much more evident once I left college football and began coaching at a small prep school. At that point, player safety was not only important to the individual players but also to the well-being of our team. With very small numbers, we were forced to think about how we needed to practice in order to stay as healthy as we could during the week so we could play on Saturdays with our best possible team.
What advantages does the Xenith helmet provide compared to other helmet brands, especially in terms of fit, protection and performance on the field?

Our players immediately felt the Xenith helmets were more comfortable and fit better (more snug) and, once they started wearing them in practice, they felt that the helmets were sturdier and they felt safer. Most importantly, our players were better protected with the Xenith helmets, which provide the optimal response for both high and low energy hits and linear and rotational forces.
You’ve developed a strong relationship with Xenith at your high school and also at your clinic. What does the relationship entail and how is Xenith represented at the clinic?

From day one, I felt that Xenith had the same philosophy that I had regarding the game of football and player safety, so the relationship grew immediately. As a result, I’ve enjoyed interacting with them as far as giving my opinion over the years on their products. A year or two ago, I felt so strongly about the Xenith helmet, that I asked them to attend our football clinic and set up a booth. That has been a great addition to our clinic. Many of the attending players over the years have used the helmet at the Elite Clinic and have either bought them or gone back to their high schools raving about them.
How has Xenith been to work with from a customer service standpoint?

The Xenith sales team and customer service group has been “off the charts”. When we’ve had issues, they’ve been right there to help.
What would you say to other coaches about the Xenith helmet and Xenith as a company?

I talk to coaches all the time about Xenith helmets. My message is simple; “Give them a shot; you’ve got nothing to lose.” What they’ll find is a company that truly cares about their product, the safety of the player and the well-being of the football program. Your players will be safer, everyone will be happier and your program will benefit by having better protected players. We had success at BB&N, with the greatest success coming after we started wearing Xenith helmets.

Next Generation Helmet • The Xenith X2E

Throughout its history, Xenith has been on the forefront of innovation. Its original helmet model, the X2, included never-before-seen shock absorbing technologies designed to achieve a new level of player protection.

Now, with the introduction of the X2E helmet, Xenith has further innovated by adding features that create an even better fit, more player comfort and a greater level of protection.

The X2E features the same Adaptive Head Protection® technology as previous versions, with two exciting improvements derived from the development of the EPIC helmet. The X2E utilizes optimized shock absorbers that are specifically tuned for each location in the helmet and maximize the space for enhanced performance. The X2E also features new comfort pads made of waterproof TPU. The new pads are more comfortable, durable, easier to clean and more hygienic.


Proper fit is essential for protection. Traditional football helmets use antiquated chinstraps that make it difficult to fit players properly. This problem is apparent in the staggering number of helmets coming off during play. Xenith’s Fit Seeker® system adapts to the head, providing a custom fit, with no pumps needed, that helps keep the helmet secure during an impact. As the player pulls on the chinstraps, the Shock Bonnet® snugs around the player’s head for an instant custom fit.

The dense, stiff padding used in traditional football helmets is uncomfortable, and makes the helmet feel heavy. The helmet becomes a burden that hinders the player’s performance. The Xenith X2E feels like no other football helmet. It’s a unique experience that provides a perfect fit every time. Xenith helmets are lightweight and provide greater ventilation and visibility.


We’ve all witnessed the dramatic effects from “big hits” in football. What is less obvious is the damage done by repetitive low energy hits, and those where rotational forces can do far greater damage to the brain than we fully understand. These hits account for the vast majority of the hits the average player receives.

The X2E features Xenith Adaptive Head Protection® which is a system of technologies designed to address the type of hits football players receive on the field, both linear and rotational, to minimize the sudden movement of the head.

Xenith’s Aware-Flow® shock absorbers “Adapt to the Hit” providing an optimal response for both high and low energy hits, and the linear forces that can cause injuries. Xenith’s Shock Bonnet® acts as a suspension system, allowing the helmet shell to move independently, which helps to deflect energy and reduce dangerous rotational forces.


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