Quick – when I ask you to name the NFL team you think has had the most players arrested over the last 10 years, which team would you pick? If you're like a lot of people out there, you undoubtedly said the Oakland Raiders. But their reputation as a group of thugs and criminals is one that is highly overblown. Despite what many people think, it's actually more myth than reality. In fact, the reality of the situation is that the Raiders, in terms of players arrested and just like their team this season, rank very near the bottom of the league – tied for 20th, to be precise.
Over this past summer, we were inundated with the news of NFL players being arrested. It seemed like we couldn't go a single day without hearing about another football player being arrested for this or for that. And unlike in past years, it wasn't simply practice squadders or special teams scrubs feeling the wrath of the law. No, this offseason saw some of the NFL's biggest names, some of the league's biggest prime time players getting hauled in – some of them on very serious charges.
Players like Ray Rice, Josh Gordon, Justin Blackmon, Aldon Smith, Greg Hardy, Ray McDonald, and Adrian Peterson have all been arrested and charged with crimes ranging from domestic abuse to gun charges, illegal substance charges, and child abuse. The NFL's image has been taking a beating over the last few months because of their handling of some of these cases – most specifically, how they've handled (or mishandled) the case or Ray Rice, the “man” who knocked his then-fiancee, now-wife clean out in an elevator at a casino in Atlantic City.
Maybe it's because of the power of social media, or the reach of the regular media distorting our view, but it seems like there has been a higher than usual number of players arrested over the last year. Whether it's true or not though, quite a few players have created some big problems for themselves and big headaches for their teams by doing something stupid and getting themselves arrested.
So who then, are the teams that have had the most players arrested since 2000? Well read on and find out...
12 Indianapolis Colts - 24 Players Arrested
Maybe it's the squeaky clean residue that Peyton Manning left behind, but to many of us, it's incredibly surprising to see the Indianapolis Colts anywhere near the top of the list. But there they are, rounding out the Top-10 of this dubious list with 24 players arrested since 2000 on charges ranging from DUI's to domestic violence. Perhaps their most widely known player arrest was that of punter Pat McAfee who was charged with public intoxication after going for a shirtless swim in a canal in downtown Indianapolis – at 5 in the morning. While McAfee's brush with the law is amusing, he's had teammates arrested for more serious crimes such as domestic violence – something that is no laughing matter.
11 San Diego Chargers - 26 Players Arrested
San Diego is a beautiful city and you certainly can't blame the players for getting out and enjoying a little bit of the nightlife after a game. Some of them though, enjoy the nightlife a little too much as there are quite a few Chargers players who have been arrested for things like DUI and public intoxication. The Chargers check in at 9th on this list having had 26 players arrested since 2000. Perhaps one of the more well know, perhaps notorious arrests of a Chargers was the physical altercation between linebacker Shawne Merriman and reality TV “star” Tila Tequila, who accused Merriman of choking her during the fight.
10 T8. Cleveland Browns - 28 Players Arrested
The city of Cleveland isn't known for winning a lot of things. And while they didn't “win” this list either, they certainly put in a good showing. The Browns check in tied for 8th on the list, having had 28 players arrested since 2000. And though talented but troubled wide receiver Josh Gordon seems like he's been arrested about 28 times himself, there are other offenders on the Browns roster. Most arrests have been for illegal substances or in a couple of cases, on weapons charges. But the most serious charge for one of the Browns players was rookie linebacker Ausar Walcott's attempted murder arrest after he hit a man in the head during an altercation outside of a club.
9 T8. Chicago Bears - 28 Players Arrested
For some reason, the Bears certainly don't seem to generate a lot of press when one of their players get into trouble. And since 2000, they've been a team whose seen their players get into their fair share of trouble – which is why they've wound up tied for 8th on this list, having had 28 players arrested. Most have been for alcohol-related incidents, and a there have been a couple of weapons charges. But the most infamous of Chicago's arrests was wide receiver Sam Hurd's 2011 arrest on federal illegal substance charges for attempting to purchase large amounts of illegal substances with the intent to distribute – because clearly, the millions Hurd was making in the NFL weren't paying the bills.
8 T8. Miami Dolphins - 28 Players Arrested
Since the year 2000, the Dolphins haven't done a lot of winning. But they have done a lot of getting arrested. Their 28 players arrested since the turn of the century ties them with Chicago and Cleveland for 8th on this list. Though they've had quite a few that were alcohol-related such as Ronnie Brown's DUI after blowing a .158 in 2010, and Will Allen's DUI after blowing a .162 just a month earlier, the Dolphins also have had an alarming number of players arrested for domestic violence. Given the recent bullying scandal in Miami, somebody might want to look into that.
7 Kansas City Chiefs - 30 Players Arrested
The Chiefs surprisingly find themselves alone in 7th place on this list with 30 players arrested since 2000. They've have a number of players for alcohol-related incidents such as former kicker Lawrence Tynes breaking a bouncer's nose during an altercation to DUI's for multiple players, to arrests for possession of illegal substances. There is also former running back Larry Johnson who had a lengthy history of domestic abuse and violence against women which have added to Kansas City's total.
6 Jacksonville Jaguars - 31 Players Arrested
Like the Cleveland Browns, the Jaguars have an incredibly talented receiver in Justin Blackmon – but he's one who can't seem to stop smoking up or getting arrested for it. Blackmon's multiple arrests since joining the league have helped pad Jacksonville's total of 31 arrests which is good enough to land them in the 6th position on the list.
5 Tampa Bay Buccaneers - 32 Players Arrested
For fans, the Bucs have been one of the most frustrating teams in the NFL. Loaded up with talent after a very busy offseason, the Bucs have laid an egg so far this season. They may be in the bottom 5 in terms of the league standings, but on this list, they make the Top 5 with 32 total arrests since 2000. Though many have been alcohol-related and disorderly conduct charges, some have been more serious – and utterly stupid – such as defensive end Da'Quan Bowers' 2013 arrest after a .40 caliber handgun was found in his luggage as he was preparing to board a plane at LaGuardia Airport in New York. It's a good thing Bowers is an adequate football player because that lack of intelligence could be a hindrance in normal, non-NFL life.
4 Tennessee Titans - 33 Players Arrested
The Titans are a team in transition. And not a very good one at that. Though, that's bound to happen when Jake Locker is your quarterback. As bad as they are on the field though, they're even worse off of it. The Titans come in 4th on our list with 33 arrests since 2000. Though now that wide receiver Kenny Britt has been run out of town, we should expect fewer player arrests in the Music City since Britt and former defensive back Adam “Pacman” Jones accounted for quite literally nearly half of the team's arrests between them and are now gone.
3 Denver Broncos - 40 Players Arrested
Denver is another one of those teams who seem to get a pass despite the fact that they are the team with the 3rd most players arrested since 2000. While some teams like the Raiders get stuck with the “thug” and “criminal” label, their division rival Denver Broncos have had more than double the number of players arrested, and yet their reputation is still somehow pristine. Since 2000, the Broncos have had 40 players arrested on a variety of different charges ranging from assault to DUI to weapons charges to illegal substannces. And yet, somehow they're still held up as a model franchise. Go figure.
2 Cincinnati Bengals - 43 Players Arrested
If you follow the news at all, you'd know that the Cincinnati Bengals are a rapidly improving team, a team that has legitimate title aspirations, and a team that has had a lot of players arrested. They are the second most arrested team in the NFL with 43 players spending a little alone time behind bars. Of course, given the fact that “Pacman” Jones, once the problem child of the Tennessee Titans is now proudly a Bengal, it's not too surprising that Cincy is up there on this list. Pacman draws handcuffs every bit as easily as he draws interceptions it seems.
1 Minnesota Vikings - 46 Players Arrested
Behind rookie QB Teddy Bridgewater, the Vikings look like a team on the rise. Another thing that continues to rise in Minnesota is the number of players being arrested on some very serious charges. Unlike a lot of other teams whose players are arrested for alcohol-related things, an alarming number of Minnesota's players have been arrested for being involved in some violent altercations – most notably, star running back Adrian Peterson's recent arrest and forthcoming trial on charges of reckless child endangerment for inflicting injuries upon his child. Or what Peterson call simple discipline. Whatever the case may be, the Vikings are alone in first place on this list with their 46 arrests – though we'd imagine the team's front office would prefer being ranked far lower.