The “Ever-So-Popular” Helmet Rule


Sept 1, 2012; Columbia, MO, USA; Missouri Tigers quarterback James Franklin (1) and linebacker Kendial Lawrence (4) take the field against the Southeastern Louisiana Lions during the first quarter at Faurot Field. Mandatory Credit: Dak Dillon-US PRESSWIRE

Mizzou coach Gary Pinkel doesn’t remember ever seeing a quarterback lose his helmet during a game. Not until this 2012-13 football season did the NCAA give players a reason to try and rip off opposing quarterbacks helmets.

And that is exactly what happened on Saturday, the second time QB James Franklin had his helmet pop loose. Forcing him to leave the field for one snap, per a new NCAA rule. The first time Franklin said the helmet slipped off because of unintentional upward pushing against his shoulder pads. However, he was at the bottom of a pile the second time when a defender pulled the helmet from his head.

“The second time I could feel it, but you could also see on film where he was pulling on it,” Franklin said. “It definitely was frustrating. You try to make adjustments so they couldn’t just pop it off. They say if they see a player intentionally pull it off you won’t have to come out. But I think teams will definitely try to do that more.”

The NCAA made the rule change hoping to get players to tighten their chin straps more securely to avoid head injuries. Several Mizzou players have thoroughly expressed their opinion on the rule. Including WR T.J. Moe:

“It’s a stupid rule that will be gone after this season,” he said. “stupidest rule ever in college football. If my quarterback leaves the game one more time because his helmet is ripped off, I’m going to lose it.”

Whether it was a no-huddle or they were to worried with the game itself. Players have been known in the past to wear their chin straps loosely. The NCAA wanted to change that trend, but the rule is believed by many to be a complete “overreaction”.

“It’s critical,” Pinkel said. “Obviously the helmet is getting ripped off in piles, and all of a sudden you have to put in your backup quarterback.”

I understand what the NCAA is trying to do here. With all the concussions in not only college football, but also the NFL, they are trying to crack down on players and act like they are “concerned” for their health. I really don’t know if I believe in the idea that a QB should be penalized and taken out for a play because of a helmet coming off unintentionally. I mean obviously we weren’t in any circumstance’s against Georgia where we could have won the game. But what if the score was tied-up and we were 3rd and Goal and our quarterback had to come out because of a defensive player ripping his helmet off? That’s not fair. The NCAA needs to fix this immediately before circumstances like this actually do occur. Keep an eye out this year for a majorly disgruntled football program if this were to happen to them.

– Jordan Pollock, Lead Editor