NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry was named the 2020 NFL offensive MVP. Given how many viral moments Henry has provided over the years, he just might be the MVP of NFL memes, too.
Henry became the eighth player in NFL history to rush for more than 2,000 yards in a season. The vibrant yellow suit he wore to the NFL Honors show was one of the most memorable outfits of the presentation. And he has had more than his share of viral moments over the years, on and off the field.
Here’s a look at his 10 best:
10. Suit makes a statement
Derrick Henry sported a suit with names honoring victims of racial injustice.
— ESPN (@espn) September 14, 2020
Date: Sept. 13, 2020
Why it went viral: Henry goes to great lengths to put together some of the best outfits for away games. For one of his most unique looks, Henry wore a suit with names honoring victims of racial injustice appearing throughout the fabric.
Social stats: 29.5K likes, 5.2K retweets
9. A ‘Twins‘ movie remake?
Date: July 29, 2018
Why it went viral: The Titans’ social media team captured a picture of Henry walking next to fellow Titans running back Dion Lewis before a training camp practice in 2018 and aptly used the caption, “Twins.” Henry’s tall, hulking frame overshadowed Lewis, who checked in at 5-foot-8, 195 pounds. The “Twins” reference was to the 1988 movie in which Arnold Schwarzenegger and Danny DeVito play a pair of unlikely twin brothers who were separated at birth.
Social stats: 20.9K likes
8. Workout warrior
Derrick Henry isn’t settling after leading the NFL in rushing in 2019, as he works out on a hill in preparation for the upcoming season.
Date: June 2020
Why it went viral: There aren’t many players who can endure back-to-back seasons in which they carry the football almost 400 times and not show any signs of wearing down. But Henry is not an ordinary running back. His workout videos show exactly why he is able to keep going when others slow down.
7. ‘King Henry in the flesh, whoop! whoop!’
Tajae Sharpe plays the hype man role before Derrick Henry comes to the podium. Henry also offers his take on Earl Thomas who was rather talkative during the week leading up to the #Titans game. pic.twitter.com/HDor1fd7va
— TURRON DAVENPORT (@TDavenport_NFL) January 12, 2020
Date: Jan. 11, 2020
Why it went viral: Henry’s 195 rushing yards helped push the Titans to a 28-12 win over the Ravens to advance to the AFC Championship Game. Titans wide receiver Tajae Sharpe had a little fun, imitating a phrase Baltimore Ravens running back Mark Ingram liked to use — “We about that, whoop, whoop” — before Henry took the podium for his postgame news conference.
What he said: “That’s what people have to understand — they take it as disrespecting or mocking or trolling,” Sharpe said. “We ain’t into none of that. We are just having fun, and we are winning. It is fun when you win. When Mark Ingram did it, it was a great intro and we all enjoyed it. So we did it again, paying homage to him. It is all fun and games.”
Social stats: 1.4K likes, 74.9K views
6. LeBron’s ‘The Silencer’ celebration
FEED THE KING 👑
— Tennessee Titans (@Titans) December 13, 2020
Date: Dec. 13, 2020
Why it went viral: LeBron James heaped praise on Henry, calling him “The Finisher” on Twitter after Henry’s 29-yard run in overtime gave the Titans a 30-24 win over the Ravens in November.
— LeBron James (@KingJames) November 22, 2020
So Henry in turn paid homage to James, using the hoops legend’s signature “The Silencer” celebration after a 36-yard touchdown run against the Jaguars in Week 14. The mutual respect extended from one king to another.
What he said: “Yeah, King! Yeah, King!” James yelled on a video he posted to social media. “Hit ’em with ‘The Silencer’! Let’s go!”
Social stats: 30.9K combined likes
5. Be careful what you ask for, Earl Thomas
Derrick Henry playing with Earl Thomas 😤
— NFL on ESPN (@ESPNNFL) January 12, 2020
Date: Jan. 11, 2020
Why it went viral: The old saying “Be careful what you ask for” applies to everyone — even future potential Hall of Famers like safety Earl Thomas. The former Raven was vocal about how past defenses didn’t want to tackle Henry and vowed that it would be different when the Titans played the Ravens in the divisional playoff round. The veteran cornerback had a one-on-one opportunity to tackle Henry, but it ended in a disaster. Henry stiff-armed Thomas twice on the same play, almost sending him in a complete circle to cap off a 27-yard run.
What he said: “Good to see you. Hopefully, we can do this again,” Henry told Thomas after the game.
Social stats: 3.9M views, 6.8K likes
4. Alex Myres meets Henry’s stiff-arm
Derrick Henry with the MEAN stiff arm! 👑
— Tennessee Titans (@Titans) December 20, 2020
Date: Dec. 20, 2020
Why it went viral: The stiff-arms are becoming a theme, right? Unfortunately, Myres fell victim to Henry’s stiff-arm in Week 15 last season. The Detroit Lions defensive back went up to tackle Henry, but the running back planted him right to the ground.
What he said: “I told him yesterday on the bench when he came off, I told him he deserved that,” Lions defensive coordinator Cory Undlin said of the stiff-arm the day after the game. “I was telling him you come up with the wrong leverage on that guy and that ball shows up on the edge, you end up having to run sideways with this guy, you’re going to take a stiff-arm in the temple. It’s what’s going to happen.”
Social stats: 1.6M views, 9.9K likes
3. Henry towers over Mark Ingram II
Seriously…Derrick Henry is enormous. pic.twitter.com/JiLKXEqR6K
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) January 12, 2016
Date: Jan. 11, 2016
Why it went viral: Henry was accompanied by former Alabama running back Mark Ingram II for the coin toss at midfield before the 2016 College Football Playoff National Championship between the Crimson Tide and Clemson. A camera caught Henry and Ingram standing together and there was quite a contrast in size. At 6-foot-3, 247 pounds, Henry skied over Ingram, who checked in at 5-foot-9, 215 pounds. The fact that Henry had his equipment on magnified the size difference even more. The facial expression that Ingram made as he looked over at Henry was priceless. The internet had a field day!
What he said: “[Henry] is 6-4 with cleats on and a helmet, and I’m 5-10,” Ingram said via CBS Sports Network’s Super Bowl coverage. “Obviously, you put him closer to the camera. You put me further from the camera. The coin toss is in there, so I’m looking in there, looks like I’m looking at him sideways. Man, the whole thing was just a setup. They set me up!”
Social stats: 8.2K likes
2. Stiff-arms for everyone! Henry erupts for 99-yard TD
Last time we had Titans-Jaguars on Thursday night … Derrick Henry happened 🏃💨
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) September 19, 2019
Date: Dec. 6, 2018
Why it went viral: Henry’s true coming-of-age moment came against the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 14 of the 2018 season. He exploded for 238 yards, including a 99-yard touchdown scamper that tied him with Tony Dorsett for the NFL’s longest touchdown run ever. Henry dished out four stiff-arms and almost stiff-armed his own teammate Corey Davis, who was blocking down the field for him. The run ignited a stretch in which Henry gained 585 yards in the final four games to go over the 1,000-yard rushing plateau for the first time in his career.
What he said: “We were talking about where we were on the field and how far we had to go,” Henry said. “Everybody was like, ‘Let’s take it 99 yards!’ Marcus [Mariota] came in and made a playcall, but he audibled it and called a run. It’s so crazy, because before when we were in the huddle, they were like, ‘You got to break a 99-yard.'”
Social stats: 2.6M views, 17.2K likes
1. Sending Josh Norman horizontal
When you come at Derrick Henry, you better come correct 😱
— ESPN (@espn) October 14, 2020
Date: Oct. 13, 2020
Why it went viral: The Titans like getting Henry to the alley to utilize his size advantage over defensive backs. That’s exactly what Henry did against Buffalo Bills cornerback Josh Norman in Week 5 this season. Norman made a critical mistake by trying to tackle Henry up top, setting himself up for a vicious stiff-arm that sent him flying. The play was negated by offsetting penalties that caused the down to be played over, but the stiff-arm on Norman became an instant hit on social media.
What he said: “You took social distancing way too far. ‘Get your punk ass out of here.’ You threw Josh Norman’s ass under the damn Gatorade,” comedian Steve Harvey said on the NFL Honors show.
Social stats: 1M views, 11.2K likes