wounded in the line of duty
That is the first I hear about it. Do you have numbers or references for this ?
BTW my experience with large companies is that they try to stay away from 3rd party drivers. Sometimes for support reasons this is (temporarily) impossible until the next update release, but in general we are not running proprietary kernel extensions for a very good reason.
We want to have predictable behaviour out of machines, behaviour that matches with what all other RHEL/CentOS users are seeing so that our technical problems are not unique problems and we have a better supported environment. 3rd party drivers bring quite the opposite.
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