The Vicis ZERO2 is the flagship helmet from the high-tech gear maker. (Vicis Photo)

High-tech football helmet maker Vicis is a runaway leader in a new ranking of the key piece of equipment by the National Football League and the NFL Players Association.

Vicis helmets took the top three spots in the annual Helmet Laboratory Testing Performance Results in which helmets are assessed by independent experts, measuring the ability of the equipment to reduce the severity of impacts to the head.

The study, in its sixth year, featured more than 25 different helmets approved for use in the upcoming NFL season, and aims to help players make more informed decisions about which gear they want to wear in games.

Three models of the Vicis ZERO2, the company’s flagship helmet, outperformed models from Riddell, Schutt, and Xenith, Vicis said in a news release. The ZERO2 MATRIX, a new helmet exclusive to the NFL for the 2021 season, took the top spot, followed by the ZERO2 TRENCH, the first football helmet designed exclusively to protect linemen, and the standard ZERO2 helmet in third.

“The ZERO2 is a result of our team’s relentless passion for innovative design focused on protection and pushing the industry forward,” said Jason Neubauer, VP of product development for Vicis in Seattle. “For three VICIS helmets to sit atop the NFL/NFLPA’s helmet rankings is a testament to this commitment, and we look forward to seeing all three helmets on the field next season.”

The ZERO2 MATRIX helmet has a new internal system for improved impact mitigation. (Vicis Photo)

According to Vicis, the MATRIX system relies on a microfilament structure for improved impact mitigation and maximum comfort. The microfilaments absorb impacts as a buckling structure and are engineered for unmatched fit and performance.

A one-time Seattle startup darling that went through a major and sudden downfall in 2019, Vicis debuted the just debuted the revamped ZERO2 earlier this year. The launch marked a milestone after a roller coaster few years for Vicis.

After spinning out of the University of Washington in 2014, Vicis garnered attention for its unique ZERO1 helmet that featured specialized layers built to mitigate the impact of bone-crushing hits that cause concussions and put the health of professional football players in jeopardy.

It raised more than $85 million over five years from more than 400 investors such as current and former NFL players Aaron Rodgers, Russell Wilson, Doug Baldwin, Alex Smith, Roger Staubach, and Jerry Rice.

Last year a New York City investment firm purchased the assets of Vicis out of receivership for less than $3 million and formed a new company. It helped bring back a small group of early Vicis engineers and marketers who built a second version of the company’s helmet.

Vicis has maintained its brand under the new owner, Innovatus Capital Partners. The firm late last year formed an LLC called Certor Sports to acquire sporting goods brands, including many that have struggled during the pandemic.

Earlier this year, the Vicis ZERO2 and TRENCH were each awarded the highest available 5-star rating in the Virginia Tech University Helmet Lab’s Star Helmet Rating System.

Click to enlarge. (NFL Graphic)