The NFL is full of men who have egos and superiority complexes. The money and fame they receive straight out of college seems to impair thinking and subsequently behaviors of a select few more than others. Maybe it’s the pressure of performing well in front of millions of people, or maybe there are other factors that play into the awful behavior these guys display, but that doesn’t mean they are liked any more.
The history of the NFL has presented us with some very noteworthy douchebags, and some of the active players that made this list may have even outranked O.J. Simpson or Rae Carruth. The latter paid a hitman to murder his pregnant girlfriend (his unborn son survived the attack) and the former was acquitted from all charges of murdering his wife even though his blood was found at the crime scene.
It’s hard to be a bigger douchebag than these former NFL players, but the active players today definitely give them a run for their money. These players have earned the right to be in the “15 Biggest Douchebags in the NFL Today.” Below is the list, counting down from “smallest douchebag” to the number one spot of “the biggest douchebag.”
15 Adrian Peterson
Peterson was the darling of Minnesota and held in high regard around the NFL until news leaked that he had beaten his son with a stick. He faced felony child abuse charges which were eventually reduced to a misdemeanor reckless assault along with being suspended for the remainder of the 2014 season.
Adrian is still loved by many; however, he has gained “douchebag” status amongst many others. Whether or not his actions towards his son are acceptable is still a topic of debate that has many supporting him, suggesting his punishment was nothing compared to the discipline they received growing up.
The stigma he’s received from his critics seem to be overlooked by his sheer dominance on the field. As one of the top running backs in the league, Minnesota fans have rallied to Peterson’s side and the incident with his son has become increasingly a thing of the past.
14 J.J. Watt
There are a lot of people who view Watt as a cornball with an over-the-top personality. He seems to try too hard and comes off as self-righteous with a superior disposition. He soaks up the spotlight and people see through his façade; it's always irritating to know someone is trying to be somebody else. He most likely is trying to give the fans what they want and a lot of them really do love him. He has tacky interviews and everything he says seems like he’s rehearsed it over and over.
Along with lacking spontaneity, Watt now has his own logo which has some people dry heaving from the prospect. Whether he deserves his own marketing campaign and endorsements is questionable but he has rubbed people the wrong way with his animated actions and that has landed him on this douchebag list.
13 Philip Rivers
Rivers is a quarterback that has a bad reputation for whining and never maintaining his composure. He has been known to pout when calls don’t go his way and has thrown refs to the side when he’s frustrated and they're in his way. He screams in their ear and has upset fans for drawing an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty which led to the Chargers losing that particular game.
He has some fans that are entertained by his on-the-field antics but others, especially opposing teams and their fans can’t stand his complaining. The refs usually let his behavior go because apparently he keeps all his dialogue G-rated, whereas most other players that harass the refs spit complaints saturated with profanity. A lot of people consider his behavior pretty douchey, including fellow douchebag Jay Cutler.
12 Vontaze Burfict
Vontaze is notorious for racking up the personal fouls. He has gone overboard on a number of occasions, one of which was when he tried to injure Cam Newton’s bad ankle. That kind of play has generated a lot of disgust around the league from players and fans alike.
Burfict also was under major scrutiny when he was seen celebrating Steeler Le’Veon Bell’s season-ending injury in 2015. This bred a lot of contempt from the Steelers for Vontaze and the beef between the two escalated. The next game Pittsburgh played the Bengals, Burfict inflicted a personal foul on Antonio Brown which led to a three-game suspension extending into the first week of this 2016 season. He has an engraved label of douchebag all around the NFL.
11 Adam “Pacman” Jones
When Pacman was called to the podium at the 2005 NFL Draft he was talking on the phone and continued talking after being called a second time. This is before he even put an NFL jersey on! He has a long list of douchebag behavior such as an accumulation of legal issues and suspensions. He was in the news last year for being kicked out of a casino due to animated behavior and profane language. He speaks when he shouldn’t, like when he grilled Antonio Brown from the Steelers, accusing him of faking an injury and later realizing he really was hurt. He claimed Brown should get a “Grammy” for his acting job (I think he meant Oscar). Douchebags usually confuse the two. He would be closer to the number one spot, but he did make a video apologizing to Brown and wished him well. A douchebag doesn’t change their ways overnight so he should be commended for taking a small step in the right direction.
10 James Harrison
Harrison is one of the nastiest players in the NFL. There’s no doubt he’s talented but he has a savage approach to the game that seems unnecessary and at times irritating. He was arrested for assault charges in 2010 which isn’t surprising, and has been fined over $100,000 for dirty hits over the years.
When Harrison’s dirty hits are talked about, most will likely recall the play where he body slammed Vince Young. It is a part of the game to be aggressive and physical but there are some hits that are off-limits that this guy does not seem to get. Or he doesn’t care. Either way, it qualifies as douchery.
After a cheap shot on Kyle Orton one game, Harrison expressed later that Orton “got what he had coming to him.” Running your mouth like that is another sign of douchification.
9 Richie Incognito
Richie Incognito was the ringleader in harassing two of his teammates on the Miami Dolphins in 2012. He reportedly continually spewed racial slurs towards Jonathan Martin and also homophobic remarks towards another teammate. Martin retired in 2014 and it is unclear whether or not it had to do with Incognitio. After a little digging, journalists discovered that his tendency to bully teammates stretches back to 2002 when he played for Nebraska.
In 2013 Incognito he was caught on video at a bar with his teammates dropping the “N-word” in a drunken delirium. Apparently he was announcing that Mike Pouncey was in the bar followed by the controversial word, which can be analyzed as a term of endearment. This guy has no tact and the patrons at the bar had no idea what this guy was going to do because he was so wild, jumping around and saying whatever obscenities he felt.
8 Michael Vick
Vick served 18 of 23 months in federal prison for his role in financing a dogfighting ring. It’s easy to see why Michael Vick is a douchebag, and in 2015 after signing to the Steelers he received major disproval similar to when he signed to the Eagles and the Jets.
He is now a free agent and wishes to suit up but so far nobody has signed him for the 2016 season. What he did was appalling and he should have expected to be labeled a “douchebag” upon re-entering the league. There have even been petitions that have circulated the cities of Pittsburg and Philadelphia to keep Vick out. There was an article that surfaced not long after his release from prison about Michael getting attacked by a pitbull! The irony was enjoyable and satisfying to say the least. He is among the biggest of the biggest douchebags.
7 Jay Cutler
Cutler lacks any game-day energy and exudes a very apathetic attitude. He’s supposed to be a source of inspiration and motivation. He doesn’t greet fans or stadium employees and is criticized for being overpaid for less than impressive stats on the field. Former teammates Devin Hester and Brandon Marshall didn’t have anything good to say about him and Chicago has become increasingly unhappy with Cutler on and off the field.
He is definitely considered a Douchebag around the league and this tweet to his Chicago fans after a big win over Indianapolis exemplifies just that: “Please, please, please let’s tone it down a little bit when we’re down in the 20. You’re more than welcome to tell and scream and do whatever you want to do after we score, but please let’s go ahead and quiet the stadium down and save it for after we score. Thank you. That’s my PSA.”
It’s almost like he’s poking his fans, hoping they perceive him as a big DB.
6 Ben Roethlisberger
After being accused of sexual assault in 2008, Roethlisberger received a negative image, but in 2010 he was accused of sexual assault again for a second, separate incident. The first accusation raised some eyebrows and prompted many to ask, “Do you think he did it?” while the second one cemented his douchebag reputation.
The cases were dismissed, but not before Big Ben gained a second nickname, ‘Ben Rapelisberger.’ The night of the alleged rape Ben was drunk with a couple fans from Georgia, both young women. They took pictures with Roethlisberger before he exclaimed, “All my bitches, take some shots.” His bodyguards walked one of the girls to the back of the building to a door where the bodyguards blocked her friends from entering while Ben reportedly exposed himself to the girl. He proceeded to take her through the door and rape her.
The girl’s police report was dismissed by the sergeant on duty and he actually was asked to resign for saying, “This f***in’ b***h is drunk.” This may have happened a few years ago, but I think he definitely still belongs on the list of NFL douchebags.
5 Tom Brady
Many people hold Brady at the top of their “douchebag list,” and most of them give the same reasons. The first is Brady is associated with the notorious “Deflategate.” He knew the Patriots were deflating game balls and did nothing about it. Also, people link Tom to “Spygate,” which had to do with New England videotaping The Jets’ coaching signals during a game in 2007.
He has also been accused of sexual assault and has surrounded himself with luxury and the Hollywood lifestyle. He’s accepted TV gigs and really has an unprecedented career as a quarterback. He has such a good record and performance history that people automatically side against him.
He used to be an underdog that was drafted in the later rounds and now has maintained a Hall of Fame type of career. Due to popular opinion Brady is on this list.
4 Ndamukong Suh
Suh has a terrible reputation for being a dirty player. He has a long record of intentionally hurting players. Last year in the first week against the redskins, Ndamukong kicked off the helmet of running back, Alfred Morris. He thrusts his fingers inside facemasks, body slams players, and even has stepped on Aaron Rodgers to get him off the field with an injury.
Last year he signed a six-year contract for $114 million which seemed to give him a sense of authority on the team. He didn’t like the defense the Dolphins had and childishly protested against it by showing up to practice in sneakers. That’s something only a douchebag would do. A real man would be respectful to his coaching staff and work together towards a resolution.
His distasteful actions have given him a scarlet D to metaphorically wear even though I wish it were a real tattoo on his forehead.
3 Jameis Winston
Leading up to the NFL, Jameis earned a very unlikeable reputation for his juvenile behaviors. First, he was accused of sexual assault in 2013 but the police didn’t bother to look into the case and swept the situation under the rug. It was a big story when he was caught stealing soda from Burger King because he needed a chaser for his alcohol. Then he was stoned with the munchies and stole crab legs from a grocery store.
Another incident of his douchebaggery is when he stood on a table at the FSU Student Union and shouted “F*** her right in the p***y!” This was a viral video and people understand that, but after his previous stunts it didn’t and still doesn’t look good for him.
His performance in the NFL as a Buccaneer has been mediocre at best and people haven’t changed their opinions of him since he was in college. A recent poll in 2016 was taken of most disliked players in the NFL and Winston came in second place to Colin Kaepernick.
2 Tony Romo
Romo has a plastered smile on his face that looks like he’s painfully constipated along with his trademark backwards cap. These two things should be sufficient to prove his douchery but sadly there’s more.
He was dating the gorgeous singer/actress Jessica Simpson and he pulled into an IHOP parking so he could kick her out of his car. Then he drove away like the true douche he is. That’s not the worst part. On Jessica’s birthday Romo proceeded to dump Simpson on her special day. She bought him a $100,000 boat for his birthday and for her birthday he gave her a new relationship status.
He was known for spending too much time partying with Simpson back when the Cowboys were contenders for the playoffs and they eventually lost that year. That can’t be blamed on Romo but it can definitely put the icing on his cake that spells “Douchebag.”
1 Colin Kaepernick
Colin Kaepernick has recently catapulted himself to claim the throne of The Biggest Douchebag in the NFL. He has literally gone to the number one spot overnight after refusing to stand for the National Anthem before a game on August 26th. He did the same thing for the first two preseason games but went unnoticed.
His performance has been questionable and less than promising on top of the protest which has led to fans crucifying Kaepernick. His protest for civil rights and equality continues while a handful of players around the league join him. Ultimately, most people are bewildered and disgusted with Kaepernick’s statement. There has even been a South Park episode made about the Colin “Kaeper-Sit.” He could have done many other things and avoided this national persecution but maybe he is doing something that we still haven’t realized and only will in due time. I doubt it though.