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Houston Texans: Fan Base Has Overreacted to NFL's Suspension of Antonio Smith

The NFL Went Easy on Antonio Smith, and Fans Should Realize the Team's Antics Could Be to Blame

Yahoo Contributor Network

COMMENTARY | Let's face it, Antonio Smith got off easy in missing just one regular season game after the league handed down a suspension to the Houston Texans' defensive standout.

Smith took the helmet off of Richie Incognito from the Miami Dolphins, and then used the helmet to swing at Incognito. He clearly deserved to be hit with a punishment from the league office.

The NFL also suspended Smith for the last two preseason games, this past Sunday against the New Orleans Saints and the Aug. 29 preseason finale against the Dallas Cowboys in Arlington.

Smith and Incognito were involved in a similar incident in the 2012 season opener. Smith accused Incognito of dirty play. But Smith's response was what the referee's saw first, rather than Incognito's instigating taunt.

Smith could have easily been suspended for three regular-season games this time around. The timing was right for it to happen in the middle of preseason. Plus, he won't risk injury in two meaningless preseason games.

At some point, Smith will need to realize his home-game intro with the sword and mask antics can make him a target of other teams. Not to mention when he does the same thing on the field. He has to be realistic, although I realize it gets the crowd riled up and he's popular with fans.

Is the posturing the Texans engage in to blame?

The success in the last few season has also fueled animosity from teams around the league, which can happen.

Fortunately, for the Texans, players like JJ Watt and Brian Cushing, who give off a professional-wrestling vibe in pregame introduction and often on the field, can usually back up the bravado.

Watt has developed into a Houston hero much like Houston Rockets center Hakeem Olajuwon did in the '90s when the Rockets won two NBA championships.

If the Texans were to reach the Super Bowl, and win, Watt would become a living legend in Houston.

Watt's admirable enthusiasm for giving back to the community and his constant interaction with fans has endeared him to the city.

But the Texans are nearing the point of put up or shut up. Fans of the Texans might not like to hear it, but the team needs to produce on the field if it wants to keep up the antics that can provoke harsh tactics from the Incognito's of the league.

The impact of the NFL's new emphasis on the excessive celebrations this season could cost the Texans some yardage early on. Hopefully, the Texans can adjust and not lose yardage or points for something that should be allowed.

Scott Joiner (@fbheraldsports) is the sports editor of the Fort Bend Herald in the Greater Houston Area and has covered the Houston Texans for two years and has followed the team since its inception.

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