LSU football players have likely never felt so cool, even after they went undefeated and won a national championship just three and a half years ago. Thanks to some new, air-conditioned helmets, the LSU Tigers will feel cool and dry this season, even while their opponents endure the hot and humid conditions so common in SEC country.
The helmets themselves are not built with air conditioners. Instead, they have been outfitted with Cyclone V2, an air-conditioning apparatus developed by Tigeraire, a company founded "on the Bayou of Louisiana" in 2020. Cyclone V2 can be installed in two helmet models, the Riddell Speedflex and Schutt F7, and players can direct the airflows at their foreheads or down toward their noses and mouths. They can also use them to help defog helmet screens.
A video, which has since gone viral on social media, shows several LSU players wearing the helmet for just a few moments. If their initial reactions are any indication, the cool helmet could be a real game-changer:
"It feels hella good, actually," defensive lineman Mekhi Wingo remarked.
Tight end Mac Markway agreed: "If I’m running in this, I ain’t sweating — at all. It’s, like, cold."
According to the man filming the video, players will be wearing the helmets during practices and games this fall. The charge on the Cyclone V2 unit can last up to five hours, and the helmets with it installed can last up to four or five seasons. Tigeraire claims that its products are made with the "No. 1 strongest industrial grade plastic" and therefore should not break or crack with normal use. Its website offers Cyclone V2 for $185, though whether LSU or other representatives negotiated a different price is unclear.
Some NFL players have already begun wearing helmets with a Tigeraire air accelerator. Ja'Marr Chase, a former LSU wide receiver who now plays for the Cincinnati Bengals and who was named the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2021, claimed, "Tigeraire keeps me cool and helps me get my wind back quicker."
LSU, one of the most storied programs in all of college football, also plays its home games in one of the sport's hottest and swampiest atmospheres. Temperatures at Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, regularly soar above 90 degrees in August and September, with humidity often higher than 70%.
This season, the Tigers will really need to put their cooler heads together if they want to compete for another national title. Last season under new head coach Brian Kelly, the Tigers went a respectable 10-4, finishing the season in the top 20 and notching a big win against perennial juggernaut Alabama. However, they were blown out in key match-ups against Tennessee and Georgia.
Early preseason rankings place the Tigers at No. 6 in the nation. Their opening game against the Seminoles of Florida State, a team that beat them by one point in the opening game last year, may set the tone for the rest of the season. Now with new helmets, the Tigers may keep their cool in 2023-24 after all.
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