The Darrell Jackson helmet controversy.

Notice anything a little off about 49ers wide receiver Darrell Jackson in this photo?

Take another look at his helmet. Then look at the helmet of Eric Green, the Cardinals’ defensive back who is credited with breaking up this potential touchdown pass at the end of the Niners’ 20-17 win on Monday night.

Is it just me, or is Jackson’s face mask impeding his line of sight? Green’s helmet is situated right where every helmet should be: View-hole for the eyes, plastic face-mask protection for the mouth. Jackson’s helmet, meanwhile, has a nice, wide view-hole for his forehead, absolutely no protection for his mouth, and a jumble of plastic sitting smack between his eyes and the football — which fell between his hands, onto the ground, incomplete.

In fact, Jackson’s helmet looked like this throughout the fourth quarter. Maybe the whole game. I didn’t notice it until he dropped this graceful-yet-explosive spiral by Alex Smith that, if caught, would have won the game. The 49ers eventually prevailed, but what of Jackson’s helmet? Is it too small? Or is his head just too long? Maybe a bit of both?

I think Eric Cartman had a better chance catching a pass than Jackson did last night.

Thanks to Lance Iverson of the San Francisco Chronicle for capturing that moment. I was worried I’d have to draw it by hand and scan it to my computer, as if the pass had been dropped during closed-courtroom proceedings. Then you might not believe me. Anyway, thanks Lance, until you or your superiors complain about unauthorized usage. Please just ask me to take the photo down before serving court documents — I’ll be happy to comply.

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About J.P. Hoornstra

J.P. Hoornstra covers the Dodgers, Angels and Major League Baseball for the Orange County Register, Los Angeles Daily News, Long Beach Press-Telegram, Torrance Daily Breeze, San Gabriel Valley Tribune, Pasadena Star-News, San Bernardino Sun, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, Whittier Daily News and Redlands Daily Facts. Before taking the beat in 2012, J.P. covered the NHL for four years. UCLA gave him a degree once upon a time; when he graduated on schedule, he missed getting Arnold Schwarzenegger's autograph on his diploma by five months.

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