Chiefs nearly wore high school helmets to avoid forfeit

When he heard his phone buzz early Sunday morning, John Daileanes let it go to voicemail. The Masconomet Regional High School athletic director chalked it up to a routine delivery call.

After 15 seconds, the phone buzzed again. It was a representative from Riddell. And Daileanes answered, not knowing the entire AFC playoff picture might've hung in the balance.

"(The representative said) a bunch of the Kansas City Chiefs helmets and shoulder pads and other equipment are in Newark, New Jersey right now," Daileanes told Dom Nicastro of the MetroWest Daily News. "There's a big snafu. I need to get down to Masco, and if it's possible could we use your helmets for the game?'"

It was as good a match as Riddell could find on such short notice. Thirty-five bags' worth of Chiefs helmets and pads mistakenly flew to Newark, a four-hour drive from Foxborough. Patrick Mahomes and Co. faced forfeiture against the rival Patriots if that gear couldn't arrive in time for a 4:25PM ET kickoff. They needed Masco's helmets -- which feature a similar red-and-white arrowhead design -- just in case.

What happened next was something out of 'Friday Night Lights.' Daileanes phoned a school janitor to allow them to take "as many helmets as (they needed)" to help avoid a forfeiture. The Riddell rep showed up shortly thereafter -- with a state police escort. Those similar-looking helmets were collected and shuttled down I-95 in hopes they'd make it in time.

Masco's helmets showed up in time. But so did Kansas City's missing equipment bags, with time to spare. We'll never know if high school helmets would've been used in the NFL -- or if they would've fit the extra-large heads of NFL players.

Daileanes said he isn't sure where the school's helmets are now. He's not even sure he'd want those helmets used to help what ultimately became a 23-16 Patriots loss.

"I don't know," he told Nicastro. "It would have been great. I just wanted to see one random Masco helmet. I thought that would have been pretty classic."

"(But) I'm a diehard Boston sports fan. I would not have wanted to be responsible for a loss. I probably would have had to change my identity."

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