Pop goes Nebraska's balloon tradition

If you've been to a Nebraska home game, you know that one of the coolest traditions among many at Memorial Stadium arrives after the Huskers score their first touchdown. That's when thousands of red balloons are released into the sky, creating a memorable scene each time.

But that tradition appears to be coming to an abrupt end, at least for a while.

As Jordan Pascale reports in the Lincoln Journal Star, a nationwide helium shortage is causing Nebraska to ground its balloon launch. The Cornhuskers will still release the balloons in the opener against Southern Miss but will use only half of the usual 4,000 to 5,000 floaters.

Nebraska doesn't have enough helium supply, and when it does become available, the university has more important uses for it in areas like medicine and construction. The balloon tradition is believed to have begun in the 1940s.

It will be sad not to see the red balloons at Memorial Stadium this fall. Perhaps the Huskers can simply play "99 Red Balloons" over the PA system after their first touchdown.