You are all wrong...
Clipping or Watts doesn't "necessarily" kill speakers, nor even the lack of either.
But thermal and mechanical failures DO
. (heat and bottoming out etc)
The 5 most common mechanical failures are (in no particular order):
-The dust cap flies off
-The thing bottoms out, causing things to smash together like a car accident.
-The coil is accelerated with such force that the cone bends or the coil flies through the cone/cap.
-The spider glue comes apart
-The coil heats up and expands, melts it or the glue melts etc etc.
As for heat. That is cause by power being applied over a given amount of time. (There is a TIME component.)
There is flash heating, rapid heating, or long-term heating.
*All of this heat is caused by: current being resisted.
Each brand/model will have different characteristics and thus different BTU/Time curves, or Watt/Time curves I suppose, aka an oversimplified term called "power handling".
Databass regularly clips 20kW into every driver tested above 40hz, but the TIME duration is a fraction of a second.
The amount of TIME the power is applied for MATTERS A LOT.
Are we talking 20kW for 20ms, 2kW for 10 seconds, or 200watts-average applied for hours on end... It is impossible to say, that depends on what the user is doing to it. The songs, the amplifier used, the driver's cooling abilities, and how hard it is pushed.
A tweeter might be rated for 10watts, but certainly not @ 10Hz unclipped; perhaps not even 1 watt @ 10Hz (even if it didn't bottom out or clip once.)
Even subwoofers aren't rated for full power @ 1Hz, or even full excursion at 1Hz for serious lengths of time. You aren't clipping it or exceeding its "supposedly rated" wattage, it doesn't have to be either to kill it, but you ARE exceeding its thermal-handling. That is what kills it: ALWAYS
It's a lot more complicated than just
"clipping or not clipping" or "x watts or Y watts".
*Technically, if you could reduce the coil to 0K, it would become of a super conductor, and the ohm's would drop to 0 and therefore offer no resistance to any amount of current, and thus no run-away heat buildup.
The amplifier wouldn't enjoy the 0-ohms unless also cooled to 0K, but that's another ball of wax.