Texans fans got a rare chance to cheer this weekend, and not only because the team won (we won't mention exactly how low on the totem pole the opposition's starting QB was). There was also an unusual helmet-free fight, between Andre Johnson and the Titans' Cortland Finnegan.
Johnson's widearmed face-punching of a prone Finnegan put us in mind of another famous on-field Texas fight -- Nolan Ryan's brawl with Robin Ventura.
Which was better?
Major League Baseball has been pretty vigilant about keeping the Ryan clip off the tubes, but here is fuzzy amateur video...of two dudes re-enacting it.
So, who wins?
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3. Initial impression Johnson is seen punching a guy who looks to be lying in the fetal position, begging for help like a mewling kitty. Ryan has someone locked up in a bearhug and is using his free hand to whale away. Neither is really adhering to the Marquess of Queensbury rules, but at least Ryan's opponent is standing. Advantage: Ryan
2. Opponents Andre Johnson is 6-3, 225; Cortland Finnegan is 5-10, 188 and looks like a demented leprechaun. Nolan Ryan, at the time of his fight, was approximately 63 years old; Robin Ventura was in the prime of his career, such as it was. So in terms of perception, advantage Ryan.
1. Unusualness (Unusuality?) Batters rush the mound all the time, although typically not against the elderly. A Houston Texans player actually showing some spunk, on the other hand? Rare indeed. And like we said, NFL fights usually involve two players slapping each other ineffectually on the helmet. This time the helmets were off. Advantage: Johnson.
So give the win to Ryan, we guess. But maybe they should settle it in the ring.