The NFL is filled with players who people just do not like. It goes far beyond inter-team rivalries. Every fan has their favorite teams and their favorite players, and more often than not they have a least favorite team filled with players they just do not like. However, these are not necessarily universally disliked guys. Those players are in a class all their own.
The guys who nobody likes usually have given the public a good reason to not like them. Typically, they display bad behavior either on or off the field and that behavior makes a vast majority of people lose respect for them. Usually, once a player joins the list of universally disliked players, they are sentenced to that list for life. It is very hard to change the opinion of an entire nation.
This list discusses the players who were most disliked during the 2014 season. Part of being a highly unlikeable player is being a superstar. Obviously, if nobody likes a player, that player has a lot of notoriety and is most likely a very talented athlete. However, being talented is not enough to make someone a likeable character.
15. Marshawn Lynch – RB – Seattle Seahawks
He’s only here so he doesn’t get fined. Marshawn Lynch is a divisive figure in the NFL due to the way he handles the media. Lynch is known for his hatred of interviews. The media definitely does not look fondly upon that. There are many people out there who love the way Lynch handles himself. They respect that he does not feel comfortable in the spotlight and just wants to focus on playing football. Still, there are others who believe that it’s part of his job to speak to the media despite how uncomfortable it makes him feel. They believe that, by signing a contract that states he must do interviews, he should have to do those interviews. Not only do they not respect him for breaching his contract, they really do not like the way he does it. He is very apathetic about it. This can paint him as rather arrogant.
14. Jadeveon Clowney – LB – Houston Texans
Whenever you are the first overall draft pick, there are going to be a number of people who hate you. It definitely does not help your case though when you get injured early in the season. This makes more people question why a team spent the most valued draft pick on you. This is exactly what happened to the Houston Texans’ Jadeveon Clowney. There were many people who felt the Texans should pass on the most talented player in the draft and instead choose a quarterback. When he got injured, suddenly numerous more people joined the Clowney haters, labeling him a weak and fragile.
13. Ben Roethlisberger – QB – Pittsburgh Steelers
No matter what happens in Big Ben’s career, he will always be a highly disliked player. There are a couple reasons for this. The first is that he plays for the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Steelers are one of those classic NFL teams. They have a large fan base and always seem to be good. People outside of the Steelers’ fan base find this annoying. Since Roethlisberger is the quarterback, he takes the brunt of that anti-Steelers sentiment. The second reason is his record with law enforcement. Big Ben has been accused a number of times of beating women. He has never been charged, but this is still something many do not like seeing in a player.
12. Jay Cutler – QB – Chicago Bears
Jay Cutler is an interesting case. A lot of people hate him, but really there does not seem to be a clear reason as to why people do not like him. He has never been a top notch quarterback, but he gets paid like one. That could be the reason. It could also be the way he carries himself. Cutler is known for looking uninterested on the sideline. His signature face and body language became a popular internet meme known as “Smokin’ Jay Cutler.” In this meme, people took images of Cutler on the sideline at Bears games and cropped a cigarette in his mouth because he just looked so “relaxed”. Maybe it is this lack of emotion that gets on a number of people’s nerves. Whatever the reason, Cutler sure has his share of haters.
11. Colin Kaepernick – QB – San Francisco 49ers
A lot of people just believe Colin Kaepernick is cocky. He does that touchdown dance where he kisses his tattoos. He does a lot of commercials. Those seem to be pretty understandable reasons to dislike a player. Then there is the camp of haters who just do not think he is that good of a quarterback. When Kaepernick first took over as the quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers, most people thought they were watching a player who would one day develop into an absolute superstar. They had never seen a guy who was so fast and hard to tackle. On top of his speed, he had a cannon for an arm. Everyone believed that he just needed time to develop his skills. Two years later, there has been no sign of progress out of Kaepernick. He still rockets the ball down field instead of airing it out on deep routes. He still struggles at going through his progressions. The only problem is that now defenses have figured out how to stop the running quarterback. This makes Kaepernick look more human. Basically, people feel that this guy is getting more media attention than ever, but getting worse as time goes along.
10. Eli Manning – QB – New York Giants
People do not have the same love in their heart for Eli as they do for his brother Peyton Manning. The reason for this is simple. He is not Peyton. Yes, Manning may have two Super Bowl rings, but he just does not play like Peyton. The Giants won those Super Bowls because they had a good team. Eli, unlike his brother, cannot turn a terrible team into a great team. In recent years, Eli has seemingly regressed. He is now throwing more and more interceptions. His decisions are getting more and more questionable. Typically, a quarterback gets better with age and experience. Eli seems to have gone in reverse. That is not a things for any quarterback, let alone one who is constantly being compared to one of the greatest players to have ever played in the NFL. Another thing that is going against Eli is that he just does not have the same gift of gab that his brother has.
9. Dez Bryant – WR – Dallas Cowboys
Dez Bryant is just an easy player to hate. First, he plays for “America’s Team.” That alone is enough to make a majority of football fans hate him. Secondly, he is highly vocal both on and off the field. Every season there are a number of times where the cameras will pan over the Cowboys’ sideline and we get to watch as Dez yells at teammates, coaches, and referees. Then we get to watch him in the post game shows talk about why he was going off. He says he gets emotional during the game. That is to be expected from any player. However, Dez just handles his emotions in a different way and many do not like it.
8. Michael Vick – QB – New York Jets
Normally Michael Vick would be much higher on this list. However, this year he was not a starter. This means he was forgotten about by many people. However, there are still a large number of fans who will never forget his participation in dog fighting. It does not matter that he served his prison sentence or donates a good sum of money towards programs to help save the lives of animals. To many, Mike Vick is still Mike Vick. There is most definitely no defense for what he did. People who do not like him have a very good reason to dislike him. The only reason he does not crack the top five is that too many people forgot he was even playing in the NFL this season.
7. James Harrison – LB – Pittsburgh Steelers
James Harrison was always a hated player during his career. He was the NFL’s most notorious “head hunter”. Even after he retired, whenever a player made a dirty hit there would be talk of how it compared to something Harrison would have done. Then, about half way through the season, the Steelers became desperate for linebackers and reached out to Harrison. Harrison happily rejoined his former team. Immediately, the whispers started about when he was going to hurt another player. Whether or not he hurt someone this year does not really matter. The fact of the matter is that he came back and the public was just waiting for him to defend his injury-inducing hit.
6. Tony Romo – QB – Dallas Cowboys
Tony Romo has long been the NFL’s most notorious choke-artist. It will be a label he carries for the rest of his life unless he can bring the Cowboys to the Promised Land. He carries the same baggage that Dez Bryant does being that Romo is a Cowboy. The difference between the two is that there are many Cowboys fans who hate Romo. It’s true that Dallas exceeded expectations this season, getting into the playoffs with an outstanding 12-4 record, but until they find themselves in the mix on Super Bowl Sunday, the haters will continue to hate.
5. Ndamukong Suh – DT – Detroit Lions
Ndamukong Suh is known as one of the dirtiest players in professional football. Everyone recalls him stepping on a player’s head. Sure enough, he stepped on one of America’s golden boys, Aaron Rodgers, while he was on lying on the ground hurt. This does not make people believe that you have matured and are no longer the dirty player that you were a couple of years ago. Suh defends himself as being a tough player. However, the American public knows there is a difference between being tough and playing dirty. NFL fans do not respect dirty.
4. Johnny Manziel – QB – Cleveland Browns
Johnny Manziel immediately became one of the NFL’s most hated players from the second he declared that he was going to enter the draft. Sports networks did nothing expect talk about “Johnny Football”. Then he dropped in the draft. During that period all the media talked about was who would select him. Finally he was selected by the Cleveland Browns. He came out giving his signature money hand gesture. Sure enough for the rest of the summer, all eyes were on Johnny. He ended up not even being named the starting quarterback in Cleveland. Many thought it would finally be the end of his 24 hour media coverage. Little did they know it was just the beginning… The conversation switched to when he would take over as starting QB. Sure enough he took over the starting job late in the season. The talk became centered on how big of an impact he would make on the game. The answer turned out to be none whatsoever. He was terrible in every single game he played. Despite a year of failures, Johnny Football is still being trumped up as a future great. At the end of the day, it just seems like everyone outside of the media is tired of hearing about this kid.
3. Richard Sherman – CB – Seattle Seahawks
Everyone remembers Richard Sherman’s post-game interview after the Seattle Seahawks beat the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship that would send the team to the Super Bowl. Sherman bashed 49ers’ receiver Michael Crabtree and then stated that he was the best player in the game. That is how everyone remembers him. Sherman is the self declared greatest player in the game. His mouth loses him a lot of respect. It is unfortunate too, considering he is one of the best players in the game. It just does not look good when the player says it before the public starts saying it.
2. Adrian Peterson – RB – Minnesota Vikings
Adrian Peterson at #2; how the mighty have fallen. Peterson was one of the most highly respected and well liked players in the NFL just a year ago. Then news emerges of him spanking his son with a switch and he is seen as a horrible person. The NFL suspended him for the entire 2014 season. He asked to be reinstated and Commissioner Roger Goodell refused. Even the Minnesota Vikings turned their back on him. Who knows where he is going to end up when he is finally allowed to play professional football again. Whatever the case, it was a very quick fall from being the only Hall of Fame running back in the game to being hated.
1. Ray Rice – RB – Baltimore Ravens
This should not be surprising to anyone. Ray Rice is, without a doubt, the most hated NFL player of 2014. The image of him knocking out his wife in the elevator of a Las Vegas hotel is something that nobody can get out of their minds. Rice’s name is now synonymous with domestic abuse. He even sparked the NFL to make new rules on how they deal with players involved in domestic violence. Because of Rice, any player involved in a domestic dispute is now immediately suspended. That may be the only reason anyone can say a good thing about Rice. Other than that, he is the most despised player in professional football today. Deservingly so.