There are plenty of reasons why NFL players are hated, including how much money they make, how bad they end up being at their job (or how good they are), how cocky they are, and any possible on and off the field incidents they are involved in. Some of these players became hated for betraying their teams and others for their dirty play. There are a number of wide receiver “divas” on this list with larger than life personalities, and plenty of players who were arrested or suspended on multiple occasions. Some NFL teams could almost put out a starting lineup of hated players, while other teams have a more clean reputation and finding a dirty player is a bit more difficult.
So, whether they were despised by fans, management or other players in the league, here is every team's most hated player. Get ready for some serious debate!
Click the button below to start this article in quick view
32 Arizona Cardinals – Michael Floyd
Wide receiver Michael Floyd was drafted #13 by the Arizona Cardinals in the 2012 NFL Draft. He had an up and down career with the Cardinals. Fans were already not very happy with Floyd who had a less than average season in 2016. In December he was arrested after he was found passed out behind the wheel in traffic. He was charged with two counts of driving under the influence and released by the Cardinals. Right after that the New England Patriots picked him up. The Pats have a history of picking up guys who have had trouble elsewhere. To make matters worse Floyd scored a touchdown in the final week of the 2016 season to help New England clinch the AFC and have home field advantage.
31 Atlanta Falcons – Michael Vick
Most football fans know the story of Michael Vick who was the #1 pick by the Atlanta Falcons in the 2001 NFL Draft. His career started off great and Vick made the Pro Bowl three times before his dog-fighting ring incident which included a federal prison sentence. During that time he was still technically with the Falcons, although he had to miss the 2007 and 2008 seasons. Vick helped promote, fund, and facilitate dog fights and also hung and drowned dogs that did not fight well which made him very hated when this went public. He also filed for bankruptcy and was released from the team. After serving his time Vick appeared to have genuinely changed but signed with the Philadelphia Eagles and also played for the Jets and Steelers before retiring.
30 Baltimore Ravens – Ray Lewis
Ray Lewis was already known as a hardnosed player but what made him really hated was being charged with a double murder that took place at a Super Bowl after party in Atlanta in 2000. Lewis beat the charges which were dropped in exchange for his testimony, but a dark cloud still hung over his head. He was loved by Ravens fans for being a two time NFL Defensive Player of the Year and Super Bowl MVP. He did end up pleading to obstruction of justice in 2000 so his hands were not totally clean of the incident. Lewis later became known for his Christian faith which was featured in a story in Sports Illustrated. He was named to the NFL 2000s All-Decade Team and is considered one of the best Ravens of all time.
29 Buffalo Bills – Richie Incognito
Guard Richie Incognito was already regarded as a dirty player who was often penalized before he become involved in a scandal regarding his alleged bullying of teammate Jonathan Martin while he played for the Miami Dolphins. Incognito started his career with the St. Louis Rams and briefly played for the Buffalo Bills. He is a solid player which may have allowed him to keep playing in the NFL as he is a two time Pro Bowl selection. Incognito was let go by the Dolphins and signed with the Buffalo Bills after missing the 2014 season. He has also been known for sending messages that were said to contain racial slurs. Incognito was signed by the Bills when Rex Ryan was the head coach as he seemed to overlook off the field antics from multiple players.
28 Carolina Panthers – Greg Hardy
Defensive end Greg Hardy was a very controversial player who has drafted by the Carolina Panthers where he played from 2010 to 2014. He was found guilty of assaulting his ex-girlfriend in 2014 and his sentence included a 10 game suspension by the NFL and 18 months of probation by the legal system. Both the suspension and charges were dropped because the victim did not appear in court but it seems that Hardy just got extremely lucky in that regard. After he was not re-signed by Carolina, the Dallas Cowboys paid Hardy $11.3 million for a one year deal. He was then suspended for 10 games which was reduced to four to avoid legal action. The Cowboys let him go after one season and Hardy had also become known for making multiple inappropriate comments.
27 Chicago Bears – Jim McMahon
Before Jay Cutler there was another hated Chicago Bears quarterback by the name of Jim McMahon. He certainly did some things right and helped lead the Bears to a Super Bowl Championship although it was the defense that really did the job. McMahon even won another Super Bowl ring as a backup with the Green Bay Packers just before retiring. He was very controversial in the 1980s and was known for his antics including drinking beer at press conferences, mooning television cameras, and defying former NFL commissioner Pete Rozelle by wearing headbands. Bears fans loved him for a time but then he left to play for many other teams including the San Diego Chargers, Philadelphia Eagles, Minnesota Vikings, and Arizona Cardinals which didn’t make them happy.
26 Cincinnati Bengals – Pacman Jones
Adam “Pacman” Jones is better known for his off-field incidents than for what he has accomplished in his playing career. The cornerback and return specialist was a 1st round draft pick by the Tennessee Titans in 2005 and played for the Cowboys in 2008. Jones was suspended for the entire 2007 season as well as part of 2008 for his off-field conduct which included an exotic dancer in Las Vegas during the 2007 NBA All-Star Game weekend and a shooting. He also had to pay $11 million to a former professional wrestler who was paralyzed from the waist down. Pacman has also been fined $35 thousand for slamming Amari Cooper’s head into the field and had a costly personal foul against the Steelers in the 2015 playoffs.
25 Cleveland Browns – Johnny Manziel
Good old “Johnny Football” was a lot of hype that he never even came close to living up to. The Cleveland Browns wasted a 1st round pick in the 2014 NFL Draft on the former Texas A&M star and Heisman Trophy winner. Manziel seemed to be more interested in partying than playing and was released by the Browns after the 2015 season. He tried to find another team to sign him but nobody was interested, especially after being charged with misdemeanor assault against his girlfriend. His entourage includes rapper Drake and Johnny’s troubles started back in college when he was arrested in 2012 and charged with three misdemeanors. The media loved to pick on Manziel and he seemed to give them plenty to talk about.
24 Dallas Cowboys – Michael Irvin
Wide receiver Michael Irvin was a huge playmaker for the Dallas Cowboys. He was also one of the first WRs to be considered a “diva” at the position. As part of “The Triplets” with Troy Aikman and Emmitt Smith he won three Super Bowls and was a five time Pro Bowl selection. Irvin also won a national championship at Miami so he certainly had the credentials to back up his smack talking. In 1996 he was alleged to have sexually assaulted a Cowboys cheerleader although the incident was recanted. After retiring things seemed to get worse for Irvin, who was involved with more cases of sexual assault as well as drug charges and an alleged carjacking attempt. He has maintained his high profile, working for ESPN and appearing on Dancing with the Stars.
23 Denver Broncos – Tim Tebow
Quarterback Tim Tebow was a very polarizing figure with fans and teammates. The Broncos used their 1st round pick on him in the 2010 NFL Draft after Tebow won two BCS national championships at Florida as well as a handful of awards. Tebow was not hated for being fined or suspended or arrested like many other players on this list. He showed flashes of potential including leading the Broncos to a playoff run but then seemed to quickly fade away. He played for the Jets in 2012 and then had trials with the Patriots and Eagles which didn’t last. Tebow was also disliked for being “too moral” thanks to his Christian faith. He seems to have moved on and is now doing some commentary for ESPN’s college football coverage.
22 Detroit Lions – Ndamukong Suh
Defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh has been considered a dirty player for most of his career. He was drafted #2 overall by the Detroit Lions in the 2010 NFL Draft and was the league’s Defensive Rookie of the Year. Suh has often been criticized for his aggressive playing style and through the 2014 season with the Lions he racked of more than $250 thousand in total fines and had a two-game suspension as well as seven player-safety violations. His noted incidents include pushing Packers offensive linemen Evan Dietrich-Smith’s head into the ground and stomping on his arm, stepping on Aaron Rodger’s leg, and body slamming Jake Delhomme. He has plenty of money to pay fines after signing a six year deal with the Miami Dolphins in 2015, even though added to his list of hateful behavior by not showing up for minicamp. He was named “the dirtiest player” in the NFL in a poll of other players conducted by the Sporting News.
21 Green Bay Packers – Brett Favre
While he was playing in Green Bay, quarterback Brett Favre was one of the most popular Packers of all time. What happened after that was another story because the Packer fans did not like him leaving to play for the Jets and rival Vikings. Favre also had some questionable text messaging scandal and was waffling about retiring for quite a while. Players on other teams likely hated him because he was so talented and always found a way to win. He was an 11 time Pro Bowl selection and led the Packers to win Super Bowl XXXI. Favre was also named the league’s Most Valuable Player three years in a row and led the NFL in passing touchdowns four times and yardage twice.
20 Houston Texans – David Carr
Texans fans had a lot to be excited about when they became an expansion team in 2002. They drafted quarterback David Carr with the #1 overall pick after he had a great career playing at Fresno State. Unfortunately he had a rough time in the NFL and threw for nine touchdowns and 15 interceptions in 2002 and nine touchdowns and 13 interceptions in 2003. He started to look a little better in 2004 and 2005 but also had more interceptions than touchdowns in 2006. He was hated by Houston fans because he was not the right choice for their franchise, and then went on to play for the Carolina Panthers, New York Giants, and San Francisco 49ers. David’s little brother Derek Carr is doing much better as the quarterback of the Oakland Raiders.
19 Indianapolis Colts – Peyton Manning
It may not sound right that Peyton Manning is the most hated Colt of all time, but if you think about it, it starts to make sense. First of all there aren’t really any other mischievous players in Indianapolis that could earn this honor. Secondly Manning was hated by just about every player in the league who was not on his team because of how good he was. He was also hated by other fans because they knew playing against him likely meant a loss for their team. Although he did win a Super Bowl with the Colts, Manning left them for the Denver Broncos and then won another Super Bowl before retiring. Colts fans seemed to be in good hands with Andrew Luck, but things have not gone so well as of late.
18 Jacksonville Jaguars – Justin Blackmon
The Jacksonville Jaguars had high hopes for the #5 overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft. Wide receiver Justin Blackmon was a two time Unanimous All-American and Biletnikoff Award winner at Oklahoma State, and was also the Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year. He played his rookie year but was then suspended for four games because of substance abuse violations. Later in 2013 Blackmon was suspended indefinitely for a second violation and he has never played since. To make matters worse he was arrested for possession of marijuana in 2014 and then checked into a 90-day program. The NFL denied him reinstatement in 2015 and later that year he was arrested again, this time for DUI. He is no longer listed on the Jags roster and will probably never play again.
17 Kansas City Chiefs – Bam Morris
Running back Bam Morris played for a variety of teams including the Kansas City Chiefs from 1998 to 1999. He played at Texas Tech where he won the Doak Walker Award in 1993 and was drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 3rd round of the 1994 NFL Draft. He could have been a pretty good back if he stayed clean as he recorded 35 touchdowns and almost 4,000 yards during his NFL career. Morris pled guilty to felony possession of marijuana in 1996 and was cut by the Steelers. He was suspended multiple times for violating the league’s substance abuse policy and was cut after playing two games for the Chicago Bears. He signed with the Chiefs but then pled guilty to federal drug trafficking, admitting he distributed 100 kilograms of marijuana in the Kansas City area while he lived and played there. His career was cut short due to a prison sentence.
16 Los Angeles Rams – Lawrence Phillips
The St. Louis Rams decided to go with running back Lawrence Phillips with the 6th pick in the 1996 NFL Draft. He was very impressive at Nebraska where he won the championship in 1994. Just weeks later he was in trouble with the law for assault, disturbing the peace, and vandalism. Many other incidents went on during college but the Rams still took a chance on him. During his two seasons with the Rams Phillips spent 23 days in jail. He then moved on to the Miami Dolphins where he was released after two games after allegedly assaulting a woman in a nightclub. He also played for the San Francisco 49ers and in the NFL Europe and the Canadian Football League. Long after his career was over he was still having lots of problems and ended up being charged with murdering his cellmate while in prison. Unfortunately Phillips committed suicide in 2016.
15 Miami Dolphins – Bryan Cox
Bryan Cox was a standout linebacker who was a three time Pro Bowl selection and a three time All-Pro. He started his career with the Miami Dolphins after being selected in the 5th round of the 1991 NFL Draft. Cox later played for the Chicago Bears, New York Jets, New England Patriots, and New Orleans Saints. He also won a Super Bowl with the Patriots, but became known for his over the top personality and bad attitude. He developed a feud against the Buffalo Bills and was ejected after a fight with Carwell Gardner. Cox even spit at football fans and was infamous for giving them the double bird salute. He went on to become a defensive coach for several teams, landing in in Atlanta as their defensive line coach in 2014 and being featured on Hard Knocks.
14 Minnesota Vikings – Randy Moss
Randy Moss was another diva like wide receiver who put up great performances but also had a cocky attitude to go with it. Moss was drafted #21 overall by the Minnesota Vikings in the 1998 NFL Draft and played there until 2004. He later played for the Oakland Raiders, New England Patriots, Tennessee Titans, and San Francisco 49ers. Moss was a six time Pro Bowl selection and a four time First-team All-Pro. He led the NFL in receiving touchdowns five times and was selected to the NFL 2000s All-Decade Team. Some of the incidents that made him hated included bumping into a Minneapolis traffic cop with his vehicle, coining the phrase “straight cash, homey”, squirting a referee with water bottle, and fake mooning Packers fans.
13 New England Patriots – Rodney Harrison
Before he became a commentator for Football Night in America, safety Rodney Harrison won two Super Bowls with the New England Patriots. He was drafted in 1994 by the San Diego Chargers where he played until 2002 before finishing his career in New England. Harrison was also a two time Pro Bowl selection and three time First team All-Pro. He was named to both San Diego’s and New England’s 50th Anniversary Teams. Harrison was hated for his reputation of being a dirty player and was fined more than $200 thousand total during his career. He was suspended a game for a helmet-to-helmet hit on the beloved Jerry Rice and was also suspended for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy in 2007. In 2004 his peers voted Harrison the “dirtiest player” in the NFL, which happened again in 2006.
12 New Orleans Saints – Ricky Williams
Running back Ricky Williams was hated by some and misunderstood by many. Fans of the Saints disliked him because head coach Mike Ditka traded all of the rest of the team’s 1999 draft picks to move up to get him at #5 overall. After he left the Dolphins he led the NFL in rushing yards in 2002 for the Miami Dolphins, giving Saints fans another reason to hate him. Williams won the Heisman Award at Texas but had lots of trouble with marijuana usage in the NFL, which led him to fail three drug tests and be suspended for the entire 2004 season. At the time he didn’t really seem to care, and his career was cut short although he did manage to rack up more than 10 thousand yards and 66 touchdowns.
11 New York Giants – Lawrence Taylor
Linebacker Lawrence Taylor was one of the most dominating and best defensive players in NFL history. He was drafted #2 overall by the New York Giants in the 1981 NFL Draft and played for the G-men his entire career through 1993. LT won two Super Bowl championships and was a 10 time Pro Bowl selection. He was also a 10 time First-team All-Pro and three time NFL Defensive Player of the Year. On top of that, Taylor was named the NFL Most Valuable Player in 1986 which is not often done by a defensive player. With all of those remarkable accomplishments on the field, Taylor had lots of problems off the field and was suspended for 30 days for testing positive for cocaine in 1988. He was also arrested multiple times for substance abuse problems.
10 New York Jets – Mark Gastineau
Defensive end Mark Gastineau played for the New York Jets from 1979 to 1988 where he was a member of the New York Sack Exchange. In 1984 he set a then NFL record for recording 22 sacks in a season. He was a five time Pro Bowl and All-Pro selection and led the league in sacks two years in a row. Instead of the touchdown dance, Gastineau invented the sack dance, which was later banned by the NFL. He was hated by fans and players because of his steroid usage and legal trouble which included drug abuse and domestic violence. He was also involved in a high profile relationship with actress Brigitte Nielsen. Now his family is perhaps more hated than he is for starring in the E! reality television series The Gastineau Girls. Mark has reportedly cleaned up his life and found religion after serving a prison sentence.
9 Oakland Raiders – Jack Tatum
Safety Jack Tatum was a member of the Oakland Raiders during the 1970s and was a 1st round pick in 1971. He was nicknamed “The Assassin” and was considered a leader of the legendary Raiders teams that were known for being hardnosed. Tatum was known for two big hits, one that left Patriots wide receiver Daryl Stingley paralyzed, and another during the “Immaculate Reception”. Tatum won two National Championships with Ohio State and won Super Bowl XI with the Raiders. He was also a three time Pro Bowl selection and had 37 career interceptions and one touchdown. He developed health problems before passing away in July 2010. Tatum’s obituary in the New York Times stated that he was a “symbol of a violent game”.
8 Philadelphia Eagles – Vince Young
Quarterback Vince Young had a great college career at Texas which made the Tennessee Titans draft him at #3 in the 2006 NFL Draft. He was the NFL Offensive Player of the Year and a two time Pro Bowl selection. Young left the Titans and finished his career with the Philadelphia Eagles. He promised that the Eagles would be a “Dream Team” but fans started to hate him after he did not deliver and only started three games. He had some issues including disappearing in 2008 and blowing all of his $34 million he made in the NFL. He filed for bankruptcy in 2014 and filed a lawsuit against MLB player Enos Cabell and two other people for using his trademark. Vince Young was certainly hated and some have even blamed the “Madden curse” for his troubles.
7 Pittsburgh Steelers – James Harrison
Outside linebacker James Harrison has become known for his rough style of play over the years. He was undrafted but has actually played for the Pittsburgh Steelers three separate times and briefly played for the rival Cincinnati Bengals. Harrison won two Super Bowl championships and is a five time Pro Bowl selection as well as a two time First-team All-Pro and one time NFL Defensive Player of the Year. He has become hated for a variety of reasons, including being arrested in 2008 on simple assault charges. Harrison was fined more than $100 thousand in 2010 for dirty hits which included body slamming Titans quarterback Vince Young who is also on this list. Harrison is not afraid to speak his mind and has continued to play long after many thought he was done.
6 San Diego Chargers – Manti Te’o
Inside linebacker Manti Te’o had an amazing college career at Notre Dame where in 12 he was named a Unanimous All-American and won the Lombardi Award, Butkus Award, Bronko Nagurski Award, Walter Camp Award, Chuck Bednarik Award, Lott Trophy, and Maxwell Award. What made Te’o hated was a ridiculous story about a hoax that he had been a part of. In 2012 he reported that his grandmother and girlfriend had died. That started a downward spiral and it eventually was revealed that Te’o was the subject of an elaborate catfishing scheme and the girl he thought he had been talking to never existed. The Chargers took a chance on him in the 2nd round of the 2013 NFL Draft and he has done alright and appeared to stay out of trouble.
5 Seattle Seahawks – Richard Sherman
Almost every fan who does not like the Seahawks and plenty of players around the NFL hate Richard Sherman, the talented cornerback who was drafted by the Seahawks in the 5th round of the 2011 NFL Draft. Sherman won a Super Bowl with the Seahawks and is a four time Pro Bowl selection as well as a third time First-team All-Pro and was the NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 2014 and the NFL interceptions leader in 2013. He is known for being a big talker and had a noted incident when he was interviewed by Erin Andrews in the NFC Championship Game in 2014. Sherman is not afraid to express his opinion which some people can’t stand. Those that do like him can argue that he can back up his trash talking on the field.
4 San Francisco 49ers – Terrell Owens
Terrell Owens is another one of those classic diva wide receivers with a huge personality. He became known for his touchdown celebrations and his over the top persona but backed it up on the field. Owens was drafted in the 3rd round of the 1996 NFL Draft and played for the 49ers from 1996 to 2003. He later played for the Philadelphia Eagles, Dallas Cowboys, Buffalo Bills, and Cincinnati Bengals. He was a three time NFL receiving touchdowns leader and a six time Pro Bowl selection and five time All-Pro. He was involved in plenty of controversies including allegedly spitting in the face of DeAngelo Hall and overdosing on Hydrocodone. There was also the incident where the media visited his home to find him doing sit-ups in his driveway.
3 Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Keyshawn Johnson
Wide receiver Keyshawn Johnson was known for being outspoken and controversial, which led to plenty of haters. He was perceived as being very selfish and nicknamed “Me-Shawn”. Johnson seemed to back that up by authoring the book Just Give Me the Damn Ball. He had a fight with Tampa Bay coach Jon Gruden which led him to be deactivated form the Buccaneers roster in 2003 after signing in 2000 after being drafted by the New York Jets. Keyshawn later played for the Dallas Cowboys and Carolina Panthers. He won three Super Bowls and was a three time Pro Bowl selection. Johnson commentates for ESPN and competed on Dancing with the Stars. His nephew Michael Thomas played wide receiver for the Saints and his son Keyshawn Johnson Jr. is committed to the University of Nebraska.
2 Tennessee Titans – Cortland Finnegan
Cornerback Cortland Finnegan became well known for his ability on the field as well as for his physical playing style. He was drafted in the 7th round of the 2006 NFL Draft by the Tennessee Titans and played there until 2011 before playing with the St. Louis Rams, Miami Dolphins, and Carolina Panthers. Finnegan was a First-team All-Pro and made the Pro Bowl in 2008. His 2010 was memorable for some on-field incidents including throwing New York Giants wide receiver Steve Smith to the ground, hitting Denver Broncos guard Chris Kuper with his helmet off, and fist fighting with Houston Texans wide receiver Andre Johnson which resulted in a double ejection and $25 thousand fine for each player. In 2016 he signed with the Saints but was released.
1 Washington Redskins – Albert Haynesworth
Defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth was known as a dirty player although he was certainly very talented. He was drafted by the Tennessee Titans in the 1st round of the 2002 NFL Draft and played there until 2008. He then signed with the Washington Redskins in 2009 in a deal worth $100 million. He only played 20 games in two seasons combined which led to fans hating him for all the money he made, and on top of that he developed a reputation for antagonizing the coaching staff. Haynesworth was suspended for five games in 2006 when he stomped on Cowboys center Andre Gurode. He had several off-field issues including warrants being issued for a traffic incident, being sued by a bank as well as his stripper baby mama, punching a man during a traffic incident, and reckless boating charges.
Leave A Comment
Looking for an AD FREE EXPERIENCE on TheSportster?Get Your Free Access Now!