The aftermath of “The Incitement at Reliant” tells us one thing. A player can avoid suspension for instigating a throw down as long as his target throws back. Both Courtland Finnegan and Andre Johnson avoided suspensions while getting hit with $25,000 fines each.
The NFL has traditionally avoided suspending two players engaged in a physical altercation. The rationale being a players helmet protects them from potential harmful blows, thus the hazard is minimized. However when the helmets came off in Houston on Sunday, the league missed wide right on creating a new precedent. Instead, they ended up reinforcing an image that they have aggressively tried to avoid in recent history.