Unlike stars on hardwood, NFL stars get physical regularly

Besides first-quarter scores that actually matter, what's the difference between the NFL and NBA?

Andrew Bynum might argue there is little difference in the style of physical play, and JJ Barea might be willing to agree ... if he could breathe long enough to spit out a complete sentence.

Bynum, the Los Angeles Lakers' center, put an elbow to the ribs of the Dallas Mavericks' Barea in Sunday's NBA playoff game that gave Dallas a shocking four-game sweep of the Western Conference semifinals series.

It was a shot that got us thinking about how tame it actually looked compared to some of the unnecessary roughness that took place on NFL fields last season:

A Titanic brawl

Emotions boiled over for Texans WR Andre Johnson and Titans CB Cortland Finnegan in Week 12 at Reliant Stadium. After exchanging shoves on the previous play, Johnson and Finnegan ripped each other's helmets off during a brawl that got both players ejected. Johnson got the best of Finnegan, landing two haymakers.

Paying the price

Both Steelers linebacker James Harrison and Browns receiver Mohamed Massaquoi paid for this hit in Week 6. Massaquoi was knocked out of the game, and Harrison was later fined $75,000 for illegally hitting a defenseless receiver.

DeSean nearly decapitated

A monster collision between Texans CB Dunta Robinson and Eagles WR DeSean Jackson left both players down for the count in Week 13. Robinson didn't lead with his helmet but was penalized for hitting a defenseless receiver and later fined $50,000.

Have a nice trip

Perhaps the most infamous "hit" of the 2010 season didn't even involve a player. Jets strength coach Sal Alosi drew the ire of many around the league -- he eventually resigned from his position -- after sticking his knee out to trip Dolphins gunner Nolan Carroll on a punt.

Rookie mistake

Lions DT Ndamukong Suh made his presence felt throughout his rookie season, including this hit on Bears QB Jay Cutler in Week 13. While replays show Suh's hit was more of a one-handed push than a forearm shiver, he was called for unnecessary roughness and later fined $15,000 for the infraction.

Out of bounds

Tom Zbikowski has become a household name because of his boxing skills during the offseason. But he probably would have been docked a point in the ring for this takedown of Peyton Hillis. Yes, it's tame by comparison to the others on this page, but Hillis, knowing now the punishment administered by Zbikowski in the ring this offseason, is probably counting his blessings.

No apologies

The debate raged on -- and probably still does -- on whether or not Browns safety T.J. Ward's vicious hit in the end zone on Bengals WR Jordan Shipley was illegal. Was it helmet-to-helmet contact? Or did Ward hit him with the shoulder, as he claimed? Doesn't matter, really, because the NFL still thought it was right in fining Ward $15,000 for the hit, which drew a flag from the refs.

Heap of trouble

A big Week 6 matchup between the New England Patriots and Baltimore Ravens was bound to have some big hits, and none was bigger -- or more questionable -- than the one Patriots defensive back Brandon Meriweather delivered to Ravens tight end Todd Heap. The head-to-head contact drew a $50,000 fine against Meriweather, who, after the game said he wouldn't alter his style of play.

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