Update (11:40 a.m. ET) -- Following Sunday night's incident, Jacobs asked the Giants for a trade, according to Vinny DiTrani of the Bergen Record.
New York Giants running back Brandon Jacobs(notes) threw his helmet 10 rows deep into the stands at Lucas Oil Field on Sunday night during his team's blowout loss to the Indianapolis Colts. The errant helmet didn't injure any fans, but did cause a commotion in the stands when the fans who retrieved it refused to hand it back to Colts officials. According to NBC's Cris Collinsworth, someone associated with the Colts eventually got it back by ripping the piece of equipment out of their hands. Other reports say the Giants "bartered" with the fan and traded a ball for Jacobs' helmet.
NBC's Andrea Kremer reported that Giants officials said Jacobs had thrown the helmet in rage after getting pulled from the game but intended to hit the bench with it. It slipped out of his hand and landed almost 10 rows up into the stands.
Yelling ensued after the throw, first by angry and frightened Colts fans toward Jacobs, then by Jacobs toward them and finally from Tom Coughlin directed toward his running back. The Giants coach loudly chastised his player on the sideline and didn't put him back in the game following the incident. Coughlin later said he didn't know about the helmet-flinging at the time. Jacobs, who lost his starting job to Ahmad Bradshaw(notes) this year, had four carries for 9 yards in the game.
Kremer later said the NFL will investigate, but that Jacobs' actions already are considered to be an accident.
Accident or not, Jacobs put dozens of fans into harm's way by carelessly flinging his helmet and is fortunate nobody got hurt. That lucky break notwithstanding, he needs to be dealt with harshly by the league, likely in the form of a suspension. The NFL can't afford for fans paying hundreds of dollars for prime seats to feel that they're in danger. (Perhaps that's also why the league has been so quick to term this an accident. They don't need the media firestorm that surely would ensue if Jacobs did this on purpose.)
Update: Jacobs issued an apology for the throw after the game. From the New York Daily News:
"I was a little mad, but to be honest with you, it was a mistake," Jacobs said. "I did not mean to do that and everybody who knows me knows I did not mean to do something like that. The whole world could fall down on me and I wouldn't have done anything like that." [...]
"We were losing the game and I was mad. [...] No one wants to lose, and I kind of lost my cool."
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