Derrick Henry’s goal is to be disrespectful. That’s why he aims for the head on his stiff arms.
“My aiming point is the head because I want to be disrespectful,” Henry told ESPN in October. “I want to throw them to the ground. If you get them good on the head and push them down, they don’t have a chance.”
The Titans’ star running back does a lot more than throw the meanest stiff arms in football, but if you see him on a highlight, it’s very likely because he just discarded another poor opponent as if they were a fly that dared enter his airspace. Henry doesn’t look like other NFL running backs — at 6-3 and 247 pounds, he’s closer to Cam Newton than he is to mere mortal rushers. And as you’d expect, he doesn’t run like most RBs, either. Henry runs stronger, fiercer, more imposingly than anyone else in football in 2020.
To get in the way of Henry is to get in the way of LeBron James on a fastbreak. He’s a freight train ready to barrel you over, and if you approach from the side? Get ready for the stiff arm.
As Henry chases a 2,000-yard season in 2020 and mounts a darkhorse MVP campaign, we wanted to get the best of his stiff arms all in one place. We’ve stuck to college and the NFL here, although Henry was one of the most dominant high school football players ever, too. Just enjoy a trip down memory lane of Henry’s remarkable strength.
Derrick Henry stiff arm compilation
December 31, 2015 vs. Michigan State
Henry was by no means a secret in his third and final season at Alabama. He was about to win the Heisman Trophy. But maybe those who didn’t frequently tune into the Crimson Tide’s games were unaware of his running style. Henry left no doubts about that with a fourth-quarter touchdown run against Michigan State in the Playoff semifinal.
As Henry bursts around the right side, one MSU defender cuts away from his blocker and has a free path to Henry. That’s No. 99, a redshirt freshman named Raequan Williams who by his senior year was listed at 6-4, 303 pounds. Henry barely broke stride to discard him.
Dec. 6, 2018 vs. Jaguars
None of the stiff arms on this run by Henry are the nastiest of his career, but when you add them up and put them together with a 99-yard touchdown run, they definitely deserve a spot on this list.
According to ESPN, Henry had talked to former Titans running back Eddie George earlier in the 2018 season, and he told Henry to impose his will on defenders. That’s what Henry did in December 2018, rushing for 625 yards in the month, including 99 on this one carry.
We’re going to interject here with this very helpful YouTube video from Clasher Sports that was published in October 2020. It’s entitled “Every Derrick Henry Stiff Arm Since High School.”
Enjoy, and then we’ll come back with a few more of the best.
Jan 11, 2020 vs. Ravens
Henry and the Titans upset Lamar Jackson and the Ravens in the AFC divisional round in early 2020. Henry did it all in this game, including throwing a TD on a jump pass.
Of course, there were some Henry stiff arms en route to the upset, too. Earl Thomas didn’t quite get it the first time, so Henry had to shove him out of the way again on the same play.
Oct. 13, 2020 vs. Bills
Poor Josh Norman. The Titans beat the Bills on a Tuesday night by the score of 42-16, and it really could all be summed up in this one play.
I mean, seriously. If you pause the video right after Henry’s stiff arm, Norman is temporarily parallel to the ground and a couple feet off it, as if he’s riding some invisible magic carpet.
Dec. 20, 2020 vs. Lions
This list doesn’t include every stiff arm Henry’s ever had (besides that helpful video claiming it does). But that would be a silly exercise anyway, because Henry probably stiff arms people on his way through the grocery store, on his way into church and of course, he’ll stiff arm people in his very next NFL game.
But the most recent, as of this writing, came against the Lions in Week 15 of the 2020 season. Alex Myres ran alongside Henry, and Henry simply didn’t want him there.
Moral of the story: Don’t get in Derrick Henry’s way.