FOOTBALL TRIVIA….Is it just my imagination, or are helmets flying a lot more this year than in the past? Or is this just a USC thing? It seems like a player loses his helmet at least once or twice in every game, and I sure don’t remember that happening in previous years. What’s the deal?

UPDATE: In comments, MDS provides a definitive answer:

Some good guesses above, but the answer, believe it or not, is a conscious effort at making players safer. Helmets are now coming with “breakaway” chinstraps. The old chinstraps were so tight that a player running at full speed could have his neck broken when someone grabbed his facemask. The new chinstraps give, so when a player grabs another player’s facemask, the chinstraps will unbuckle. The side effect, as you noticed, is that helmets fly off more easily now. But the NCAA has responded to that with the new rule that when the ball-carrier’s helmet comes off, the play is immediately blown dead.

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