Al Roker was wearing a helmet for part of the preview coverage of the 2019 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, and fans could not handle it. The Today host was likely forced to wear the protective gear as crews prepped the balloons set to fly during the annual holiday event. Despite some speculation about whether the balloons would fly this year due to wind hazards, Roker and a parade organizer revealed ahead of the parade's kickoff that they would fly lower than usual to minimize risk.
Today viewers were there to criticize Roker for wearing the helmet on the air, taking to Twitter to express their feelings about it.
"Al Roker in the Macy's Parade, with his big dumb biker helmet and oversized gloves on, screaming and running around. This is America," one user commented, adding the hashtag, Happy Thanksgiving.
Al Roker explains how the Macy Parade Balloons will fly and it will be safe with the wind.
I’m not kidding.
Then why the crash helmet ? 😄 pic.twitter.com/zPoWsoALn6— David from Maryland (@DavidfromMD) November 28, 2019
Ahead of the kickoff, a Macy's executive told Roker the balloons were cleared for takeoff but would be flying lower than usual.
"We're gonna start them off and we're gonna fly," the executive said. "They'll be flying a little lower but we'll see how it goes."
NYPD officers monitored the weather all along the planned parade route before they decided to allow the floors to go airborne.
"These sergeants are well trained to read the anemometers to identify the height of where we can allow the balloons to go up," explained NYPD Chief of Patrol Rodney Harrison. "The balloons can actually go up to 55 feet in height, but if it comes to a situation where there is a public safety we will bring them down to 10 feet."
Once the parade started, Roker revealed he would be riding on the sidecar along the parade route to talk to many of the visitors coming to see the show. Riding on the Rokermobile, as co-host Savannah Guthrie called it, could explain the use of the helmet.
Haven’t watched the Macy’s parade on TV in years. The possibility of balloons unleashed by the wind brought me in. Nothing but lip-synced Broadway numbers and Al Roker in a sidecar and motorcycle helmet yelling, “You guys having fun?” Blech.— James Heilman (@jkheilman) November 28, 2019
"If somebody can explain the appeal of al roker running around in a helmet and telling jokes about butter than maybe I'll understand the thanksgiving day parade," one user commented.