For those who missed it, Andre Johnson and Cortland Finnegan got into it on Sunday. Granted, they normally either exchange words or get into a pushing match whenever they play, but yesterday punches were thrown (literally). It started out as normal with Cortland pushing Andre’s buttons and him warning him not to try anything else even telling him “just because you’re frustrated, you need to stop what you’re doing”. A play later, Andre pushed off his helmet while blocking. The next play Andre lost it. He knocked off Finnegan’s helmet while Finnegan punched Johnson and threw his helmet off. In UFC ground-and-pound fashion, Andre was in a dominant position and landed a few haymakers to the temple. Don’t think Andre went unprovoked; Cortland yelled over to the Texans sideline “watch this!” right before trying to take his head off.
The most interesting thing so far has been everyone’s reaction to this. While you would expect analysts and fans to react negatively as Andre Johnson acted out of character, most have defended him and taken the opportunity to bash on the Titans for their controversial play that is often characterized as dirty. Some have even more respect for him that he finally stood up for himself and gave Finnegan what he deserved.
“This team, this is their personality. They’re dirty, they’re cheap. And whenever we played this team, the coaches would say before [the game], ‘Guys, beware. They’re going to take a cheap shot at you, they’re going to try to provoke you [into] doing something.’ ”- Rodney Harrison
“Why is it I can close my eyes, and if there’s a team involved in a fight, I know it’s the Tennessee Titans? And if I keep my eyes closed, I know another guy is going to be involved, and it’s always Cortland Finnegan.” – Shannon Sharpe
“Where does it say if a snake bites you, you can’t step on a snake?” – Mike Ditka
The real question will be what happens to each player. Andre Johnson is the model NFL player; never acts up, does plenty of charity work, and is all about his team. He never gets in trouble at all. Cortland on the other hand, always seems to be the fire starter and the one getting into it. Roger Goodell is very aware of this so it will be interesting to see how their fines and/or suspensions are levied. Early reports from local Houston media outlets are that Johnson will only be fined and avoid suspension. Finnegan will have to wait to find out his fate.