I’ve gone back and forth on this. Ultimately, I agree with the way the fan is handling this and think a little something more should be done. I believe Brandon Jacobs when he says that it was a total accident that he threw his helmet six rows up into the Lucas Oil Stadium stands during a frustrating 38-14 loss for the Giants against the Colts on Sunday Night. That does not make it right. And that does not mean that some penalty couldn’t or shouldn’t be levied on Jacobs by the league. Because of his negative reaction to the situation in the game, Jacobs’ helmet was just launched 40 feet into the air and landed amongst the paying customers.
It’s different than in baseball where foul balls and broken bats often reach the stands, or even in auto racing where more dangerous items have been known to reach the crowd. Those are truly accidents that come about from the participants appropriately participating in the contest. Along those lines, there is some assumed level of risk that the fans take on that keeps them alert for such events. Flying helmets from the sidelines because of a player’s anger would not fit into that rationale.
Furthermore, when baseballs and hockey pucks go into the stands, fans get to keep them. In this case, the fan who caught the flying helmet was made out to be the bad guy for trying to hold onto the helmet. He’s not suing. He’s not on a soapbox. All he got was a football from the Colts (Jacobs, the Giants and the NFL did nothing). And he doesn’t want the attention. I’ve got no problem with asking for a little more awareness of the danger of what happened and for some sort of action to be taken towards Jacobs.
The Indianapolis Colts fan, “Helmet Guy,” who caught Brandon Jacobs helmet in the stands joined JMV on 1070 the Fan in Indianapolis to discuss what happened, what kind of damage the helmet could have done, being forced to give the helmet back, action he would like to see the league take against Jacobs and why he has chosen to remain anonymous.
On why he wants to remain anonymous:
“It’s been a very, very busy day. My phone has been going off the hook, going crazy. Not for lack of interest in the topic, but just to keep things manageable… My phone has not stopped all day. I don’t know where in the world people get my name from. It’s been local. It’s been all over the place. I’ve declined far more than I have answered… After I talk to you guys, this is going to be it. I don’t see any need to take it any further.”
On what happened with Brandon Jacobs’ helmet:
“The Giants took over the start of the third quarter with a quick three-and-out. The Giants offense was coming off the field. We were sitting where we sit, sixth row. I’m focusing on the field. Out of my peripheral vision comes an object hurling through the air, rotating and the only reaction you have is to throw your hands up. My dad was sitting next to me. We go to all the games. The projectile was actually headed more towards him. He was able to get two hands up to stop it. I was able to get one hand up in front of him. Between our three hands, we were able to stop it in mid air. I grabbed it and immediately tried to shove it under my seat because the unofficial rule in the NFL is that what goes in the stands stays in the stands… We sit about the sixth row. Between where we sit and the bench is probably 40 feet. For someone to throw an object the size of a bowling ball, it was moving rather quickly there. The only instinct you have is to throw up your hands. Those people that were sitting in front of us were very fortunate to catch it out of there peripherals as well. They were able to slide their heads to the side. It would have been a direct hit to the head of the row in front of us.”
On if he knew that he would have to give it back:
“I’ve watched football my whole life. Any time a ball goes in the stands or players throw wrist bands and that stuff in the stands. Whenever has a helmet been thrown 40-50 feet into the stands? Never. From history, you would think that that applies to equipment, but apparently it does not… Initially, a representative from the Colts showed up on the scene as quickly as the NBC feed picks up. That was probably a good 30 seconds after it happened. He was trying to take the helmet from me. You can clearly see me saying there, ‘Absolutely not. What goes in the stands, stays in the stands.’ He was not disagreeing. While we were having this discussion, I kind of looked up and coming across the railing from the field level up into the stands was some of the Giants staff, I don’t know if they were trainers or equipment managers or what, but they were starting to come up into the stands. Some of the Crescent security, the house security there, were starting to crawl over the railing. Also a Sheriff from the field level was crawling over the rail. He quickly made it up the five rows and was quickly standing right in front of me demanding the helmet. That’s when we got the idea verbally that either the helmet went with him or I went with him… It’s very unclear. When things go in the stands, what’s the protocol there?… Him coming up and ripping it out clearly put an end to the situation, but I’m not sure that was the right way for this to be resolved.”
On the hypocrisy that he was forced to give back the helmet and no penalty was assessed to Jacobs:
“I find it interesting that, if a fan were to throw their Coke or their beer or their hot dog, 50 feet onto the playing surface, that fan would have been out of their in a heartbeat. Here is a professional athlete who, apparently inadvertently, whether it was an accident or intentional, throws an object into the stands. I’m very eager to see what action the NFL takes with that player because there was extreme potential for serious injury with the velocity and where that helmet landed.”
On if the helmet could have really hurt someone:
“Absolutely. The two women in front of us were very fortunate they were able to catch that out of their peripherals and react to it by sliding their heads to the side otherwise it would have been a direct hit to their heads. The NFL and the Giants especially dodged a real bullet there… There were some really hot and heavy fans in that section because of the danger he put us in.”
And on what compensation he received:
“The representative from the Colts organization did return a few minutes later with an NFL ball saying it was a game ball. Call it a token or a slight of hand, what you will, I would have much preferred to have the helmet in hand… At the end of the game, it would have been nice to hand the helmet to someone who might have been hurt by it.”