LA Rams’ offensive lineman Max Pircher’s IPP helmet decal

(Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
(Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images) /

We have written at length about “the green dot” on the back of the helmet, as will be sported by LA Rams defensive back Jordan Fuller this season, denoting the player with a radio in his helmet.

But there’s another helmet decal about to debut as well. At least, in the pre-season anyway. And it’s the Italian flag, which will be sported by one of the LA Rams‘ newest offensive linemen, Max Pircher on the back of his helmet.

That’s because Pircher is one of 14 players (from eight different countries) that are currently on 11 different NFL rosters as part of the NFL’s IPP program (International Player Pathway) that’s designed to infuse some international talent onto the gridiron. And the NFL recently said it would showcase these players by allowing them to have the flag of their country of origin on their helmets for the 2021 preseason. The NFL views the world as its marketplace. And by honoring nations around the globe, you can sense the marketing strategy at play, can’t you?

Here’s the full list of such players and the NFL’s announcement: So That’s What That Helmet Sticker is About

Yeah, it’s a cool “initiative” but let’s call it what it really is, too – a marketing gambit.

Are we (shudder) witnessing the very beginning of corporate logos on the uniform? Are helmets on the decals just the initial beachhead for such Ummm, encroachment?  Will NFL players soon resemble NASCAR drivers with all manner of corporate logos on their uniforms? Let us hope not.

Perhaps it’s just a page out of the college playbook. You know, like all those Ohio State college football helmets emblazoned with buckeyes stickers that signify outstanding plays made in practice or in games. Maybe that’s the future.

If so, I suppose that’s not as egregious as seeing the golden arches of McDonald’s or whatever you call that inverted swoosh of Amazon Prime on NFL uniforms. But methinks the day of reckoning for that sort of thing will soon be at hand. A bit NASCARish – uniforms emblazoned with direct decal advertisements. Or perhaps a three-chime note to signify a first down, like the NBC chimes? Too much money to be made.

And the NFL is greedy af. (PG version: as feared)

Perhaps tiny decal logos of nation’s flags on the back of the helmet are just the first few raindrops of the thunderstorm that’s a-brewing on the horizon. (too)

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An initial foray. An opening gambit. The NFL only sticking the nose of the camel inside the tent. Dipping its toe in the pool.

The journey of a thousand miles begins with one single small step forward, right? And you boil the frog by turning up the water on the stove slowly, too.