Giants helmet pulled from clutches of angry Colts fan

September 20, 2010
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Fans at National Football League games have the right to cheer, make noise and generally have a good time. That’s why they pay good money for tickets.

But they don’t have the right to keep anything that flies off the field of play or sidelines and into the stands as one Indianapolis Colts fan learned at Sunday night’s game at Lucas Oil Stadium.

Fans at baseball games have been keeping home runs and foul balls for years. Hockey fans too, occasionally, snag and keep hockey pucks that fly over the glass. More recently, footballs that fly in the stands have become souvenirs that fans can keep.

But football helmets? Apparently that’s a different story.

Giants running back Brandon Jacobs got upset in the third quarter of New York’s game against the Colts aired on prime-time television. As he came to the bench, he pulled his helmet off and threw it with considerable velocity. The $250 custom-made helmet ended up several rows up in the stands behind the Giants’ bench. NBC cameras caught the aftermath of Colts security taking the helmet from an angry fan. Several other fans got involved in the mini-scrum, yelling at Jacobs then at security personnel.

Jacobs said he meant to throw the helmet at the bench, but it slipped and went airborne. “It got caught onto the sticky leather of my gloves,” Jacobs told reporters after the game.

Jacobs later apologized for the errant toss. No fan was hurt, according to Colts officials. If a fan had been hurt, Jacobs, the Giants and possibly the Colts would have had a potentially serious legal matter on their hands.

Fans at Colts games, like most NFL and college games, are allowed to keep footballs that go into the stands. But “allowed” is the key word. There is nothing legally that would dictate that fans get to keep anything that flies up in the stands, said Colts Senior Vice President Pete Ward.

“It’s not a finders keepers policy,” Ward said. “It’s still private property, so common sense would apply.”

Ward said since each player's helmet is custom made with specialized sizing and padding inside and a special face mask, they are not easily replaced, certainly not on the fly during a game. This is the first time a helmet has gone up into the stands during the 27 years the Colts have called Indianapolis home, Ward said.

Indianapolis Colts security personnel didn’t hesitate to go into the stands to retrieve the helmet.

“We have security on both sidelines,” Ward said. “They saw what happened, and they were on it.”

The fan who had the helmet, was given an NFL regulation football in exchange.

  • Better Option
    The guys should have dumped his nachos in the helmet and started eating them. I know at baseball games they sometimes sell them that way.

    I'm sure Mr. Marshall would have enjoyed a little Cheese Whiz in his do!
    • who?
      who the hell is mr. marshall?
    • Oh Indy..
      He would have looked like a much better Colts fan had he treated the thing with total disgust and thrown it right back onto the sideline instead of clinging to it like a 5 year old hugs a teddy bear. That thing was probably sweaty and smelly as hell too. Why would you want to look like a total ass on national TV?
      • Good question
        Have you watched much TV the past few years? Apparently there is an endless supply of people more than willing to look like total asses on national TV.
      • Gimme dat helmet
        Dear Mr. Budweiser fueled, wanna be helmet keeper, Thanks for making Colts fan look like a bunch of maniac goobers. What an embarassing display on national TV. Karen's right, he should of thrown the helmet back on the field. Would have made a great video statement.
      • Another Blown Call
        I'll bet if the fan was injured and wanted the helmet, he would be allowed to keep it.
        The helmet became a weapon when Jacobs angrily threw it at the crowd. (I do not believe for one minute that the helmet got stuck to the sticky leather of his glove or was an errant toss. How many rows up did the helmet land? Ten?) Many "leaders" missed the opportunity to do the right thing -- let the fan keep the helmet, have Jacobs sit out the rest of the game because he was not in complete uniform, make Jacobs buy a new helmet. Lesson learned: You pay the price of misbehaving. Done deal.
      • Really?
        I am the worst offender by commenting on something that I consider shear rubish. When are people going to wake up and quit relegating importance to this "Gladiators in Pads" game. Nothing really matters on any of the points of view expressed here, including mine. We all have really important things to consider, like our children, our jobs (or lack thereof), our economy, our faith (or lack thereof), etc., etc., etc.
        • boo hoo
          Georgie-Porgie -

          Some of us enjoy the lighter things in life such as football. Lighten up.
        • Well said
          Right on, Marcy. I think the Colts missed an opportunity there to make the fan-friendly and common-sense move, and instead ended up looking like petulant bullies. And the best they can do is cough up a regulation football? ... If Ray Compton was still with the Colts, you can bet they'd have a Brandon Jacobs Bobble-head night next week, sans helmet. Or, as ColtsFan suggests, serve the first 10,000 orders of nachos at the next home game in Brandon Jacobs commemorative helmets.
        • E-Bay Baby!
          Why would he want to keep it? Think about it! 2 hours after the game he could be auctioning it off to the highest bidder! Throwing it back at Jacobs would make him just as much of an idiot. I'd still sue Jacobs,and I hope the NFL fines Jacobs a** off!! GROW UP.
        • Wah!!
          Georgie Porgie you obviously are not a football fan. stay out of the forum and stop trying to convert/recruit...FOOTBALL ROCKS!!!
        • Missing the point
          Returning or keeping the helmet is not the point. Jacobs could easily have seriously injured someone with this stunt. It was luck he didn't. He should have been ejected immediately.
        • Error in article!
          The article states it is the team that let fans keep balls. For the most part that is true but the truth stated in 1921 when Reuben Berman in NY was ejected from the stadium for not returning a ball. At this point it was always considered bad manners to keep the balls. He sued in court and won. Again in 1923 the Phillies arrested a kid for not returning a ball. The kid won in court again. So after these loses the teams started letting people keep the balls for more good will and for the failure to win in court. Now, how far should it go?
        • Go Figure
          Jacobs should have had to pay for the helmet he thew out into the stands and let the guy keep it. Or perhaps he should be fined $5,000 dollars or more and it be given to the fan. That will curb such antics. Somehow it seems that the NFL is making the fan to blame for something the payer himself did. Go figure.
        • ???
          Quite the unsportsmanlike conduct and the player should be fined. But watching the fans of the Colts was pretty embarrassing and all I can think of is that it would be on E-Bay right now. But that was a new one for stuff making into the stands!
        • The Toss
          I sincerely doubt Jacobs would have purposely thrown his helmet into the stands, given the potential high lawsuit that could have resulted. That said, I'm sure he'll be fined by the NFL (and should be). The fan should have realized he couldn't keep the helmet given how customized they are (as the article mentioned). Throwing it back ala the Cubs fans throwing back a homerun ball would have been better.
        • Evidence
          First of all dont give it back because it is evidence of assult. Second, anyone in law enforcement will tell you, once you throw something away it is free for anyone to take it. Third, what law is being broke by keeping it? None. The rent-a-cop security is wrong on this one.
          • fan was wrong
            I am a Colts fan adn teh fan who caught the helmet was wrong and should have given it back. It was not his and he knew it. Just some joker wantin ghis 15 minutes.
            Georgie .... I agree with the others why are you even reading this if you dont like football
          • aaron is wrong
            Aaron you have no clue what you are talking about. First off it is battery NOT assault. Second you quote the law that says you can keep someone else property if you lay your hands on it. The security peopel were right in this matter
          • why embarassing
            I didn't find it embarassing at all! I would have kept the damn thing too! No different than a bat flying into the stands at a baseball game. The least they could do is give the guy a Peyton and Eli signed ball.
          • Game ball
            I was at this game....the ball they gave him afterward was more than just a regulation ball. It was one of the game balls...used in Manning Bowl 2010. If you ask me, that's better than a Giants helmet anyway.
          • Great Comment!
            By far the funniest comment I've read in a long time! What a creative idea!!! If something like that ever happens to me I'm so gonna do that.

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