The Thursday night game between the Colts and the Titans has gotten chippy, to say the least.
And it has included Colts linebacker Erik Walden applying a head butt after a play to Titans tight end Delanie Walker. Making the gesture even more troubling is that Walden was wearing a helmet, and Walker wasn’t.
Walden was flagged but not ejected. It’s possible he’ll be getting suspended. The NFL has drawn a bright line between things that happen during a play and things that happen after the play has ended. For misconduct occurring following the conclusion of a play, the penalties tend to be more severe.
With the league concerned about protecting player heads, the decision of one player wearing a helmet on his head to hit another player in the unhelmeted head with that helmet likely will trigger a harsh penalty.
If, for example, a cartoonish WWE arm stomp after the whistle by Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh resulted in a two-game suspension in November 2011, Walden’s butt to Walker’s bare head should be met with at least that much.