The NFL is full of personalities. Some are likable, while others are detestable. Most players try to project an image that will be well-received by fans of the league, but others have found success in playing the role of a heel. Marshawn Lynch, for one, made his name by refusing to answer any real questions that were ever asked of him. While the media may not like him for this, many fans thought he was one of the pest personalities in the league and eagerly await his return.
The list ahead is not a list of some of the most reprehensible faces to ever grace the NFL. There are some legitimate criminals playing in the league, with s*xual assault allegations and confirmed domestic violence incidents. Those players are disgusting, but not “douchebags” in the way we understand it. The players included in this list are the ones who are generally hated for their personality or on-field behavior. Some of them even try so hard to be liked that it works against them. Without further ado, here are the fifteen biggest douchebags in the NFL.
15. Richard Sherman
Richard Sherman is one of the most intelligent people to play the game of football for a living, and he’s not going to let you forget it. He’s well-spoken and talented, but his fondness for trash talk has gotten him in trouble with fans more than a few times.
Sherman isn’t the most disliked person in the NFL, but he’s among them. He plays the roll of a troll and plays it well; famously asking Tom Brady after a win, “You mad, bro?” And he would also constantly beef with wide receivers he’s up against. His loud mouth is perfectly summed up in the infamous post-game interview with Erin Andrews, where he went off on Michael Crabtree and said, “Don’t talk about me,” to which Andrews replied, “Who’s talking about you?”
14. Aaron Rodgers
Aaron Rodgers‘ cool-guy attitude is one of the more insufferable personas in the NFL. He’s a pretty hateable guy, and the fact that he’s one of the best quarterbacks in the league doesn’t help.
A lot of people hate him because he’s great. But the fact that he has the cool, “calm and collected” attitude in the face of adversity is just annoying. He acts as though he could just nap right up to kickoff of the Super Bowl with no nerves whatsoever.
Apart from a few quotes, Rodgers hasn’t done too much to ruffle feathers. But some of the behind-the-scenes stories about his family raise some questions. Apparently, Aaron doesn’t speak to anyone in his family. There was even a story about his parents sending him a gift for Christmas, only to have it returned to them, unopened. No one knows what really happened to cause the family divide, but these stories, in combination with his persona, grants him a spot on this list.
13. Pete Carroll
Pete Carroll, the former New England Patriots coach and current Seattle Seahawks coach, is one firecracker of a man. When he’s not chomping gum with his hands on his knees, he’s pacing up and down the sidelines screaming at his players and the refs.
Pete Carroll just seems like a guy you’d want to punch. For all of the flack the Patriots get for cheating, the Seattle Seahawks are just as bad. They intentionally exploit the fact that refs can’t call everything, and commit holding and pass interference penalties on nearly every play. On top of all of that, Pete Carroll is a 9/11 truther. Carroll’s the kind of guy who still wears his high school class ring wherever he goes. For those who aren’t Seahawks fans, he’s inherently unlikable.
12. Rob Gronkowski
Gronk may be one of the biggest by-the-book douchebags in all of sports. For him, though, it’s almost a positive. He’s a notorious party boy, and his off-the-field antics usually seem like a good time. Gronk is more of a guy who everyone is kind of laughing at instead of laughing with, but it’s his brand and he owns it. He’s self-aware enough to make it work.
On the field, Gronk is a force. But when he gets injured, fans don’t love the visuals of him body slamming his brother on a stage in Vegas. It’s all fine after a Super Bowl win, but there are definitely some times Patriots fans would rather not see him partying.
The fact that Gronk still thinks 69 is funny is baffling. Not too long ago, a video came out of his high school basketball team, where he intentionally missed a free throw to leave the score at 69 points. Gronk is like a little kid. You don’t hate him for it, but there’s definitely some douche genes floating around in there.
11. Phillip Rivers
By all accounts, Phillip Rivers is a pretty likable dude. He has about a million kids with his wife, but that’s not a reason to dislike the man. His behavior on the field, however, turns a lot of fans off to the Charger’s QB.
Quarterbacks are supposed to be team leaders. They lead by example and show the team how to conduct themselves in both good and bad times. Phillip Rivers, though, takes a bit of a different approach. When Rivers is on the football field, his antics speak for themselves. He’s widely credited at being one of the worst quarterbacks in the eyes of the ref, as he is known to b*tch and moan every time a play goes against him. He chews out his teammates, which is fine in some cases. But his hysterical shouting seems to have a negative affect on the team in many cases. He’s an animated guy, but being one of the only A-list quarterbacks in his draft class without a ring may make anyone agitated.
10. Ndamukong Suh
Ndamukong Suh, along with having one of the most complicated names in the NFL, is considered to be one of the league’s dirtiest players. His off-the-field behavior hasn’t raised too many eyebrows, making him far from the worst person to play the game at a professional level. However, his on-the-field play has cost him a lot of money in fines.
From stomping on players to kicking helmets off their head, Ndamukong Suh has done it all. He seems to believe that the best way to win is to make sure the other team’s players get hurt. It’s not the most noble strategy, but it does instill fear in opposing teams. As a fan, even when the game is in hand, facing Suh on the defensive line can spell trouble. Whenever he gets a free shot on the quarterback, whether legal or not, he’s going to take it.
9. Rex Ryan
It looks like Rex Ryan is taking a deal with ESPN, so it looks as though he’s taking at least a short break from not being hired by any organization in the league.
Rex Ryan is a buffoon. He’s a great defensive mind but just can’t seem to bring a complete team together. On top of that, he’s absolutely obsessed with beating the patriots, a feat that can never really be accomplished in the long run. Rex and his brother, Rob, are just two ridiculous humans. It’s almost endearing how pissed off Rex gets when his team is blowing another game.
8. Adam Jones
Adam Jones is a real piece of work. Before he even put on an NFL uniform, he was acting like a douche at the draft and his “character problems” have only extrapolated since he’s been in the league. Jones is known to be a relatively dirty player on the field, often aiming for knees and heads over wrap-up tackles. But his real persona has been molded by his actions off the field.
Jones has been arrested at least nine times since he was drafted in 2005. That’s only a few arrests, shy of one for every year he’s been in the NFL. The latest arrest came with multiple charges, with the highlights including head-butting an officer and spitting on a nurse at the police station.
Jones’ crimes may not be as bad as some of the other reprehensible actions NFL players have made, but they certainly put him in the douche category. He’s notoriously one of the hardest players to deal with, and his “tough guy” attitude only adds to how disliked he is.
7. Tom Brady
Many people consider Tom Brady to be the GOAT. I count myself in that group, and feel as though there is hardly a debate anymore. Still, a lot of his actions off the field can be considered pretty douchey. First of all, his crazy, over-the-top nutrition regimen has got to be the most ridiculous thing about him. The man hasn’t eaten a tomato in a decade because he considers some fruit to be unhealthy.
Setting air pressure in footballs aside, Brady has done everything right; though he continues to have borderline religious beliefs when it comes to fitness and nutrition. I’m sure there’s some merit to it, as Brady will be 40 years old this season, but his custom sleep wear and avocado everything is a bit much for most people. That and the fact that he’s beautiful, great at everything, consistently wins, and has a super-rich supermodel wife tends to make people dislike him.
6. Vontaze Burfict
Vontaze Burfict is one of the dirtiest players in the NFL. He’s talented at his position, but fails to keep a cool head in tense situations.
Burfict is responsible for some drastic injuries to some of the league’s top performers. Burfict is like an alligator out there, rolling around and twisting legs until he hears a snap. He loves to go low and doesn’t let go until the opposing player is writhing in pain.
His dirty play doesn’t just hurt the players he’s going against, it also hurts his team as we have seen in the playoffs this year. His unwarranted hit to the head of Antonio Brown, as the pass sailed over his outstretched arms, was borderline criminal and cost his team the win. Instead of keeping Pittsburgh out of scoring range, his illegal hit set them up for the victory.
5. Jameis Winston
This young skinny-fat quarterback is one of the young stars that could have a promising career in the NFL. It’s his off-the-field behavior, though, makes him seem like such a douche and possibly even a criminal.
Winston was accused of s*xual assault while at Florida State in 2012, and recently settled the lawsuit out of court. No one knows what really happened, but he has enough money to make something like this go away, even if he’s guilty. Still, this isn’t a list of possible criminal NFL players. It’s a list of d-bags.
Winston’s most recent public speaking engagement is where he really earned his “douchebag” moniker. He was speaking at an elementary school where he told all the boys to stand up and be strong and all the girls to sit down and be quiet. Sure, he was probably in over his head and didn’t know what to say, but this was just so stupid. Winston just looks dumb after something like this, and clearly needs someone around him to take his mic away any time he’s about to spew some nonsense again.
4. Jay Cutler
Jay Cutler may be calling it quits and heading to the booth this season, but there are a lot of fans who don’t think he’s done just yet. Along with Phillip Rivers, Jay Cutler is known among referees as one of the worst quarterbacks to officiate. He complains about every call, and once even ran down the field and stood where he thought the flag should have been. He remained standing there until the ref came over and talked to him.
Jay Cutler has the same kind of douchey persona as Aaron Rodgers has with one important difference—he stinks. Cutler’s entire strategy was to throw bombs to Alshon Jeffery and hope for the best. Rodgers can get away with his antics because he’s one of the best in the league. Cutler, on the other hand, was injury-prone and dopey-faced. He looks like the kind of guy who goes for a cigarette break in between offensive drives.
3. Russell Wilson
Russell Wilson, the quarterback for the Seahawks, is a great story and one of the better quarterbacks in the NFL today. His choir boy act is a little much, though, and he’s done some pretty douchey things during his stint in the public eye.
Wilson’s a big fan of God, and claimed not to have s*x with Ciara until they were married. First of all, of course that’s a lie, and even if it’s not, why do you have to put it out to the public and make yourself seem like such a saint? We’re all trash people for having s*x before marriage? How about the fact that Ciara already has a kid with Future?
On top of the no-sex-until-marriage thing, there was the ridiculous pregnancy photo that was posted a few months ago, showing a pregnant Ciara with Future’s son and Wilson’s arms wrapped around her belly. Just insufferable.
2. JJ Watt
JJ Watt is in contention for being one of the biggest d-bags in all of sports. With JJ, it’s no one thing that stands out, more of a resume of douchey behavior throughout his career.
The main problem with JJ Watt is that he tries so hard to be likable and do everything right. All of his opinions and statements appear to be carefully calculated as to not offend anyone and not ruffle any feathers. Even when he tries to let his hair down and do something goofy, it comes off as a transparent attempt to make himself appear to just be one of the guys. At this point, JJ Watt isn’t fooling anyone. Watt is the type of guy who says, “No man, I’m not important. Teachers and soldiers are the real ones people should care about.” Just shut up and play football.
JJ Watt is just so insufferable because he seems fake. He never tells anyone what he really thinks and just wants people to like him. He has some people fooled, but the rest of us see right through every JJ Watt tweet and video
1. Roger Goodell
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell is one of the most hated figures in the NFL. New England and New Orleans fans hate him more than the rest of the league, but his standing “boovation” at the draft shows how Philly fans feel about him as well.
Where do we start on Roger Goodell? Well, how about the fact that he continues to say that marijuana is harmful and will be banned even though he denied concussions existed for the better part of a decade? How about suspending Tom Brady for deflated footballs longer than wife beaters like Ray Rice and Josh Brown? Or what about the fact that he literally wiped a booger on a handicapped girl during the draft this year?
Goodell is the heel of the league, but he’s kind of paid to be. Everyone hates him so the owners don’t have to take any of the heat themselves. It’s partially his job, but that punchable face and his personal actions fuel the Goodell hate fire that will be burning until he’s inevitably fired as the scapegoat for some future NFL debacle.