It’s hard to determine exactly what makes each quarterback the most hated? Is it mega success like Brady? Inappropriate scandals like Brett Favre? Assault allegations like Ben Roethlisberger?
Or is it simply ineptitude like so many on this list? Parsing through (sometimes not) rich history of each franchise has created some surprising results for the most hated quarterback of each franchise—and surprise, Tim Tebow doesn’t make the list!
The committee (of one) has decreed that what makes a quarterback the most hated is dependent upon the franchise. Teams who haven’t had much success may hate inept quarterbacks most of all. Teams with mega success often find their most successful quarterback to be the most hated. Draft busts, criminals, etc. they all make the list.
Read on to find who is the most hated quarterback in the history of each NFL franchise!
32 Arizona Cardinals: Tom Tupa
Off with a bang--well more like a whimper. The Cardinals are on a short list of teams without a dramatic or controversial QB. Since Palmer has seemed to work out so far, and everyone loves Kurt Warner, we’re going with Tom Tupa with a honorable mention to Stan Gelbaugh.
Long story made short, Tupa started because of an injury and was so bad he eventually changed positions and became a Pro Bowl Punter. His replacement Gelbaugh played three games for the Cardinals, threw 10 interceptions, fumbled 4 times, and was sacked 10 times. Moral of the story, keep bad quarterbacks and turn them into punters.
31 Atlanta Falcons: Michael Vick
Most likely the most hated QB of all time. There are a plethora of football players who’ve been arrested but seen their popularity come roaring back. This was not the case for Michael Vick, who overnight went from one of the league’s most popular players to the most hated man in Georgia, if not the NFL.
Vick was sentenced to a 23-month stay in prison on dog-fighting charges. When allowed back in the league, protests from animal activists and fans broke out across the league. Vick recently announced his retirement from the NFL so we're willing to bet that a lot of people won't miss him.
30 Baltimore Ravens: Joe Flacco
Is it because he played for the Blue Hens, the only female collegiate mascot? No. Not one bit. Flacco, much like Eli Manning, is despised even with a Super Bowl win under his belt. Certainly, he’s the best QB in all of Ravens' history, but Flacco, in recent years, has declined from an already mediocre career in the regular season. Some pundits don’t even rank him in the top half of current quarterbacks.
The hatred is a mix of Ravens' fans frustration, and a hatred from other fans who cannot fathom how this man won a Super Bowl. While his regular seasons have been subpar, the man has a 10-5 record in the post season. Yet, he probably won’t reach an AFC Championship game again.
29 Buffalo Bills: Billy Joe Hobert
How do you choose from a (excluding Jim Kelly) dung heap of quarterbacks? While Jim Kelly certainly created consternation with Bills fans, losing—count ‘em—four Super Bowls in a row—he also gave the Bills the only real satisfying football teams fans could root for. Which is why Billy Joe Hobert wins this list.
Like Palmer with the Bengals, Hobert encapsulates all that is wrong with the Bills. Hobert was acquired from Los Angeles in 1997 to compete for the starting job. He got cut shortly after, when he revealed to a reporter that he had not studied the Bills' playbook. Since Hobert, the Bills have never landed their franchise QB.
28 Carolina Panthers: Cam Newton
Like many African-American quarterbacks who’ve had success, Newton has certainly received some undue hate from fans. Incredibly hated at Auburn, Newton recreated that feeling in the NFL. He's thrown for over 3000 yard each season, rushed for 14 TDs in his rookie year, and even made the Super Bowl. He was named Most Valuable Player for the 2015 NFL season.
Fans bash him for dabbing, for complaining about calls, for smiling too much or frowning too much. Though jetting away early from a Super Bowl press conference certainly didn’t help his cause. Newton complains often on Sundays, mostly about non-calls on contact with him. Newton's competitiveness has been labeled as arrogant, and some fans even go to the lengths of bashing his smile. Safe to say that Cam Newton is one of the most hated players in the NFL to date, and the most hated QB in Panther's history.
27 Chicago Bears: Jim McMahon
Hard to pick against Cutler here, but McMahon was a menace in his old days. He would explode in the face of coaches, call his own plays against coach’s orders, and body slammed opponents. During his reign as the gunslinger of Chicago, McMahon was perhaps the most hated QB in the league. Fans found him despicable, dirty, and demeaning to the game itself. Hate comes with the territory of being successful, and while McMahon was no Brees, or Brady, his team was successful. Fans often find it hard to see impolite man succeed.
The man was so hated that during Super Bowl XX week, local New Orleans radio station made up a claim that said McMahon called the women of New Orleans s****. During a practice, McMahon mooned a helicopter flying above them. Not a likeable man.
26 Cincinnati Bengals: Carson Palmer
There is no “Not Applicable” Option for the article—I mean seriously, do you think Bengals “Oh, I hated this (fill in the blank quarterback).” No, no one thinks that, mainly because the Bengals have had very little success—so the committee (of one) is going with Carson Palmer. No one encapsulates the spirit of the Bengals more than Palmer. Highly touted coming out of college, the Bengals drafted Palmer number one overall.
From 2004 to 2010, all years with Palmer at the helm (barring his injury riddled 2008 season), the Bengals made two playoff appearances, losing in the Wild Card Round each time. Palmer’s time was incredibly frustrating for Bengals fans, who happily moved onto the much more successful Andy Dalton. It doesn’t help that Palmer has gone on to make Arizona a good team.
25 Cleveland Browns: Johnny Manziel
Need we say more?
(Editor input: Yes)
Okay! One of the most controversial and famous quarterbacks in college and NFL history, Johnny Football was beloved and despised as soon as he was drafted by the lowly Browns in the first round. Here’s Manziel’s career stats thus far. Seven TDs, Seven Int, 74.4 rating, and a 10-22 record for his career. Manziel has since been in rehab--after rumors of being an alcoholic--he's lied to team management about partying, and a tape was released of a domestic violence dispute.
Manziel has been in and out of court since his last days with the Brown's. Will he ever get back to the NFL? (Author input: hopefully not). It's unfortunate Manziel wasn't able to stay disciplined with his life choices to stay on the field. He joins the long list of exciting QBs who couldn't make it in the NFL (ask MLB's Tim Tebow).
This cocky kid is one hated NFL player.
24 Dallas Cowboys: Tony Romo
To quote Stephen A. Smith, “8-8, 8-8, 8-8.” Romo’s career with the Cowboys, almost certainly at its end now, was one of controversy. The reverse Eli Manning, Romo was an incredible regular season QB. With the Cowboys being the last dynasty before New England, and carrying the moniker ‘America’s Team’ with them, fans were already primed to hate the Cowboys.
Watching the underdog story of an undrafted free agent become a star QB lasted a second, before the complaints that Romo wasn’t clutch and that he never won a playoff game started to thrash around. But not making the playoffs for such a long time is a way to get fans' blood boiling. And having minimal playoff success just adds to that. Now as the Cowboys move on to the young Dak Prescott, Romo leaves as the most hated QB in Cowboy history.
23 Denver Broncos: Jay Cutler
It’s hard to decide who hates Cutler more, Chicago or Denver, but there is no doubt Cutler is one of the most reviled quarterbacks in NFL history. The man ranks above names like Joe Namath, Terry Bradshaw and Roger Staubach for most all-time passing yards, has an excellent touchdown to interception percentage, yet has never made it to the Super Bowl. This has given him the reputation of being a choker.
In addition, he’s gone through four coaches in his career—which some refer to as being a coach killer—he’s refused to play hurt, and his latest contract is enormous. $126.7 million over seven years to be exact. Large numbers for a man who hasn’t produced playoff results. Exiting with an injury from an important playoff game doesn't help his case. Denver fans have been saying for year now, how awful he is, and their lovingly welcoming Chicago fans to their club.
22 Detroit Lions: Matthew Stafford
Detroit doesn't really have a history of hated QBs. Mainly, like so many NFL franchises, it's because they haven't had much success. So is it Stafford? It’s got to be Stafford, right? The Detroit Lions’ quarterbacks have been so ho-hum, especially when compared to players like Ndamukong Suh, that it feels like the most hated quarterback is just whichever QB is not playing up to expectations. Matthew Stafford certainly fills that bill, and he’s certainly the most frustrating.
Drafted number one in 2009, Stafford has brought the Lions to the playoffs three times, and yet still hasn’t won a playoff game. Stafford needs to stay healthy, play with a better team, and keep up his statistical achievements. If not, he'll only continue his mediocre reputation. Though if he manages to win that elusive playoff game, he’ll become the most beloved QB in Lions history.
21 Green Bay Packers: Brett Favre
Sexting can certainly stain a career, especially when you send them to female game-day employees. Roger Goodell certainly didn’t douse the fire when he levied just a 50,000 dollar fine for lying about it—not even for sexting
Favre was one of the most successful QBs in Green Bay Packer's history. With amazing playoff runs, a Super Bowl, and great regular and postseason statistical feats--Favre was hated by many fans around the league.
Favre also jumped ship to Green Bay Packers rival, the Minnesota Vikings. This would be like Ortiz coming back this year to play for the Yankees. You just can’t go back from that. Also, he joined the Jets. Who joins the Jets? People who want to be hated? Joining a New York City based team is one way to piss off a lot of fans. Favre did it.
Add a great career with a late career old-fashioned tarnishing of a legacy, and you get Green Bay's most hated QB of all time.
20 Houston Texans: David Carr
It was a toss up between David Carr and Brock Osweiler. Now Osweiler is in Cleveland and it seems like his career was too short with Houston to really be the most hated. He wasn't the worst regular season QB for a franchise ever: see NOLA.
Carr's story is the almost the same story as Michael Jordan's Washington Wizards number one pick, Kwame Brown (google it). Drafted number one in 2002, Carr was supposed to be what his brother, Derek, is for Oakland now—someone you build around. Instead, Carr never produced a winning season in his five years with Houston. Imagine getting a player you'd thought be Peyton Manning, but instead getting the mediocre player that every other NFL franchise has. It'd be so frustrating! That's Carr, and this is the definition of a bust, and Carr left the Texans as the most hated player in franchise history.
19 Indianapolis Colts: Peyton Manning
There is nothing like success to inspire hate, jealousy, anger, fear--all the things that lead fans to the dark side. Manning was beloved in his late seasons with the Broncos, and during his injury time with the Colts, but don’t let that fool you. During Manning’s dominance with the Colts, he led converted many Jedi's over to the Sith order (brownie points to those who understand the reference).
While he tore up his Division, Manning also frustrated Colts fans with his constant losing to Brady and Co., finally beating them and winning the Super Bowl in ’06. Though marketed as an 'Every Day Joe' and a nice guy, fans would long for him to lose—so why do fans appreciate him so much now? It was easier to root for him than Brady, as he was the easier of the two to relate to for most NFL fans.
18 Jacksonville Jaguars: Blake Bortles
The Jaguars, oh the Jaguars. This is another team the 'N/A' button would be good for. The Jaguars just have no history, no real success, and never even really been a contending team. It's amazingly unfortunate of course, because seeing small (for sports) cities have success is a great Cinderella story, but Jacksonville has never had it. Every QB has sent them nowhere but even in the short life of the Jacksonville Jaguars, Blake Bortles has become the most hated QB in Jaguars history.
Jacksonville seems to be going nowhere, again, under Bortles, especially if he can’t improve on his TD/INT ratio. Bortles can't read defenses. His arm isn't remarkable. He doesn't seem to make others better around him. He's the definition of a Jaguars QB. They'd do better to ship him off, get a draft pick, and tank until they get the next Brees, or Luck.
It must be sad to be the most irrelevant sports city, sliding just beneath Sacramento.
17 Kansas City Chiefs: Todd Blackledge
Blackledge is one of the biggest draft bust in NFL history. Drafted number seven overall, Blackledge was never good. In his five years with Kansas City, Blackledge put up 26 TDs to 32 Int, not a great slash line. In fact, it's a terrible slash line. He threw six more interceptions than touchdowns in his entire career for KC! And remember, he wasn't a 4th rounder, he was picked number seven overall. KC has great fans, but they still haven't gotten over just how terrible Blackledge was.
Throw in a career 60.2 rating and you start to wonder why the Chiefs stuck with him for five years. Since then, the Chiefs have never taken a QB in the first round of the draft. Read that again. The Chiefs have never taken a QB in the first round since! Never. The bad taste of Blackledge had a permanent effect. Now the Chiefs sign the discards of other teams. It's worked well for them sometimes--I mean they've been playing with Alex Smith.
16 Los Angeles Chargers: Ryan Leaf
Leaf’s story is a tragic one. After failing in the world of football, he became a drug addict and attempted suicide. Picked number two behind Peyton Manning in the ’98 draft, he is one of the biggest draft busts, and is the biggest in Chargers' history. He was considered as good as Manning at the time of the draft, yet his rookie season was awful. He screamed at reporters, and had the public image of being out of control and rude. San Diego went 1-15 in Leaf’s final season with them. For such a chill town, with relaxed local fans, even native San Diegans couldn't stand Leaf by the time he was done.
Think about this: there were actual arguments about if Manning or Leaf should be taken first. Even if he'd been half as good as Manning he'd been liked, but no, he ended up the most hated QB in Charger's history.
15 Los Angeles Rams: Sam Bradford
Bradford can be rolled into one of those “totally frustrating” QB categories. Except, unlike Flacco or Eli, Bradford has no real success in the NFL. Unless you count fetching a first rounder in a trade for him a success. Drafted number one overall, Bradford never became the franchise QB the Rams needed in St. Louis.
Since his rookie season, he’s only played a full NFL season once, and while he’s shown flashes of being a prime-time player, he’s only created discontent for fans. It doesn’t help either that Philly got much more for him when they traded Bradford to the Vikings, than the Rams got.
14 Miami Dolphins: Dan Marino
Marino was an incredibly successful QB. 420 career TDs. 61,351 passing yards, and one Super Bowl appearance. That type of statistical domination, with a constant playoff appearances, creates jealousy and hate among fans. Marino was hated during his era, and his lack of playoff success created angst even among the most hardened Dolphins fan. Miami's also a strange city sports-wise. When the Dolphins were good, people loved to hate on Miami. When LeBron joined the Heat, people loved to hate Miami. It doesn't help that the Dolphins throw a party every time an undefeated team loses. Marino kind of gets lost in the general hate there.
In the end, Marino is probably the most famous QB without a Super Bowl appearance, and the most hated QB of Dolphins history.
13 Minnesota Vikings: Daunte Culpepper
While immensely popular among Vikings fans during his eight seasons there, Culpepper inspired the wrath of many a fan. At the time, Randy Moss was among the most hated figures in all of sports, and while Culpepper supported his teammate, that hate moved to him as well. But Culpepper also failed to support the kind of consistency asked of a franchise quarterback, and after losing to the Falcons in a miserable NFC Championship game, the Vikings only made the playoffs once more with Culpepper. He’s one of the biggest “what if” stories. During his playing days, those "what if" questions were "what's wrong" questions from Vikings fans. So much talent, and no Super Bowl. Amazingly frustrating for fans.
The Vikings became victim to a bit of racial tension during those years. Having a black QB and an all-time great black wide reciever--torching up the league at the time--led to some nasty fans, booing, and messages. Culpepper's success certainly stirred the pot.
12 New England Patriots: Tom Brady
He’s the GOAT now, with 5 Super Bowl wins, multiple MVP seasons, and continued post season success. Like Jordan during his GOAT campaign, even writing Brady is the Greatest of All Time can infuriate fans. He’s good looking, married to a supermodel in Gisele Bundchen, the QB of a team during the most dominant stretch in NFL history, and eats avocado ice cream—something most NFL fans cite as an emasculating quality. Throw in a couple scandals and you have the perfect recipe for the most hated non-criminal sports icon other than A-Rod. But everyone would choose to have Brady’s life if they could.
What's maddening about Brady is exactly what we saw in the Super Bowl. You think you've won the game, and yet Brady drives his team down the field to win the game. He's the best 4th quarter QB the league has ever seen, and that only increases the hatred from fans. So many have thought "this game is over" only to have their confidence punctured.
11 New Orleans Saints: Heath Shuler
Shuler was picked up in the open market before the ’97 season. With a contract of seven years for 19.5 million (a big number in the 90s), Shuler delivered a stat line of a measly duo of Touchdowns, compared to the 14 interceptions. Shuler retired at the end of that season because of turf toe.
Honorable mention to Brees here, but NOLA's heroic--post Katrina--Super Bowl win for a city that had been decimated, cemented his good-feel legacy. Also, Brees is the third wheel to Brady and Manning's war of QBs, and never really got caught up in a rivalry that inspires hatred from half the league.
Instead NOLA's Shuler was perhaps the worst single season QB ever, and that goes a long way for the committee (of one).
10 New York Giants: Eli Manning
“He's won two Super Bowls!” “He’s really good in the playoffs!” But he also stinks, for the most part, in the regular season. With all the interceptions he throws, it’s a surprise Manning isn’t more hated in New York—but it seems that if you win a championship in the Big Apple, you’re basically a God—just ask Walt Frazier. Fans, especially from the New England area, love to hate the little Manning—but outside six NFL teams, anyone would take him.
Manning also has the little brother status. Wait really? To who? Oh wait: Peyton. And though Eli won both Super Bowls as a QB and not just a placeholder (looking at that last Broncos Super Bowl) he's never been seen as better than Peyton. When you have all the little bro jokes going against you, that counts towards hatred. But honestly, Eli's career has been the strangest of any two time Super Bowl winning QB. And that's bound to create hate, especially from NY fans.
9 New York Jets: Mark Sanchez
Two Words: Butt Fumble.
Currently a free agent, Sanchez will always be remembered for the infamous butt fumble during a game between his New York Jets and the New England Patriots in 2012. He had a few solid seasons in the league but he's been on the decline since his sophomore season.
Having last played for the Dallas Cowboys, making only 2 appearances, not many teams will be looking to add him. However, he will always have the 'honor' of being part of one of the most disastrous plays in NFL history.
8 Oakland Raiders: JaMarcus Russell
Another humongous draft bust, Jamarcus Russell only lasted three seasons in the NFL. Called out for his work ethic and his weight, he threw 18 TDs and 23 interceptions for his career. It was maddening for Raiders fans, who hoped he’d be the answer to a franchise that hadn’t been relevant since it was in LA. Russell was supposed to be “the answer” in Oakland, instead he only added to the problems of a franchise that’s only recently turned things around.
It's difficult to deal with pressure when you're a number one pick. There's a lot on your shoulders. However, number one picks are expected to have some success. Do something good. Russell never did that. He's another Kwame Brown story. Raider fans are die hard, and if you fail the team, you fail the fans. Russell failed everything in the NFL.
7 Philadelphia Eagles: Donovan McNabb
It’s not strange for such a successful quarterback to be hated. It is strange that he's never thrown in with the greats. McNabb drove his team to four NFC Championships and a Super Bowl. The Eagles were a Super Bowl contender with him at their helm. He attended 6 Pro Bowls. He threw 216 TD’s with Philly, but… he also lost four NFC Championships and threw three interceptions in the Super Bowl, ending the game with a QB rating of 75.4.
He's the Karl Malone of football, but without the status of all-timer. When he left Philly, he was the most hated QB of all time for that franchise, but history might heal those wounds. Though his time on ESPN has some fans enraged yet again, but some warming up to him. Yay media.
6 Pittsburgh Steelers: Ben Roethlisberger
Roethlisberger is an incredibly successful QB for one of the most storied franchises in the NFL. Roethlisberger would be hated for just his success, and the fact that a few high profile teammates were tough players who other teams hated (Hines Ward, James Harrison, etc.) doesn’t help his case. But assault allegations—not once, but twice—have put Roethlisberger at the top of the list of most hated QBs for some fans—though Michael Vick’s dogfighting days still rank higher for most people.
Celebrity status can usually survive one assault allegation (just ask Casey Affleck) but two allegations have punctured his reputation and put him at the forefront of discussions about the NFL and mistreatment of women, alongside Ray Rice.
5 San Francisco 49ers: Colin Kaepernick
Kaepernick was one of the most popular QBs a couple years ago. But his play has declined to where he may no longer be a starter in the NFL. And the major caveat for hate comes from Kaepernick’s decision to sit and then to kneel during the national anthem—a decision that sparked outrage from fans, and has even led to US soccer banning national players from kneeling. Whether or not he's being disrespectful to the United States and the armed forces, or exercising his right to protest and free speech, it's clear how much Kaepernick is hated.
Players hate him, owners hate him, and fans, of course, hate him. When statements like "You know a white QB would never do that" come up, you know he's hated. Though perhaps that's not a fair criticism or point. Still, with his political activism in tow, he admitted to not voting in one of the most contentious elections--not helping his status in the NFL.
4 Seatttle Seahawks: Russell Wilson
This was tough decision between Rick Mirer, who was touted as the next Joe Montana, and the finalist Russell Wilson. But Wilson’s Seahawks teams are among the most hated teams ever—right up there with the various Patriots, Cowboys, Dolphins, and Steelers teams. A lot of it must do with a hated coach in Pete Carroll, and a lot of hatred geared toward Richard Sherman.
But from his marketed “Golden Boy” personality to his endorsing of “miracle healing water,” along with offensive inconsistencies since the Seahawks lost to the Patriots in Super Bowl 49, Wilson is among one of the most hated in the NFL today, and the most in Seahawks QB history.
3 Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Josh Freeman
Still can't get the 'N/A' button huh?
(Editor's input: Nope)
With a rather lackluster history for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the promise of Josh Freeman, drafter number 17 overall, gave fans hope. However, Freeman only played four seasons with the Bucs, throwing for 22 interceptions one year. He went a combined 24-40, and never made the playoffs. With Tampa having sported a successful baseball team (the former Devil Rays) the area now expects excellence--though Freeman never gave it to them.
Honorable mention to current QB Jamies Winston, for shoplifting crab legs and sexual assault allegations.
2 Tennessee Titans: Vince Young
Vince Young played on bad teams, and somehow managed reasonable regular season records. Yet, for the number 3 overall pick Young’s stats were incredibly bad. His career with the Titans resulted in a 75.7 rating, along with a 42 TDs and INTs a piece. He didn’t lead the Titans out of NFL mediocrity, and his career only lasted 6 seasons. This led to many complaints from fans.
Tennessee locals cried out for some other QB to take over his post. Then they loved him. Then went back to hating him. At times, Young was said to have an irrational ego, especially for a player who didn't win that much. Eventually Young was replaced, but the Titans haven't made any strides. At least the Grizzlies have been good. Gives the locals in Murfreesboro something to watch.
1 Washington Redskins: Robert Griffin III
We can’t put Daniel Snyder for the name?
(Editor’s input: No, stick to QBs!)
Okay, well there’s certainly a juicy history of hated quarterbacks in DC. From Jason Campbell, to NOLA’s most hated Heath Shuler, to 13 games of Donovan McNabb—heck it might even be current QB Kirk Cousins. Yet, the committee (of one) has picked Robert Griffin III. It looked like a match made in heaven for a season. Griffin took the league by storm in 2012, playing under Mike Shanahan, and winning the Offensive Rookie of the Year award. With the ‘Skins being so inconsistent since ’92, fans were excited when the team traded the treasure chest for the number 2 pick, and taking Griffin.
However, Shanahan left Griffin out too long in the WC game in ’12 and Griffin’s never been the same after getting injured. DC capped their ability to make long term decisions with the trade for Griffin—and mix in a strange relationship with Daniel Snyder, and the ousting of Shanahan, and Griffin left DC one of the most hated in Washington’s sporting history.
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