Merriam-Webster defines a meme as “an amusing or interesting item (such as a captioned picture or video) or genre of items that is spread widely online, especially through social media.”
The NFL made $13 billion in revenue in 2016 to secure its spot as the world’s wealthiest sports league, according to HowMuch.net. The Dallas Cowboys remain the league’s most valuable team with a worth of approximately $4 billion. Although an extremely polarizing figure, commissioner Roger Goodell is credited with vastly increasing the league’s profits. The 58-year-old Goodell, who assumed control on September 1, 2006, was compensated more than $150 million in salary and bonuses in his first eight years as commissioner. During his time in office, Goodell has dealt with labor issues, concussion concerns and an array of repugnant scandals.
“Roger’s tenure has been one of tremendous growth for the NFL, and he has increased the impact the league has on American culture,” says ESPN President John Skipper. “He has faced intense scrutiny in how he responds to every situation, including from ESPN, and to his credit, he has remained true to his principles and the results of that vision are, by any objective measure, decidedly positive.”
Many prominent individuals and businesses receive harsh criticism on social media. Yet, with so many hardened degenerates earning boatloads of money on the gridiron, the NFL and its employees are particularly targeted by Internet trolls. With that noted, below are 15 NFL memes that are utterly savage.
15 TONY ROMO’S HISTORY OF INJURIES
Former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo, a four-time Pro Bowl selection who was the NFL passer rating leader in 2014, is the most undervalued player in league history. The 6-foot-2, 220-pound Romo signed with the Cowboys in 2003 as an undrafted free agent out of Eastern Illinois University. Jessica Simpson’s past lover replaced Drew Bledsoe at halftime of an October 2006 game against the New York Giants and he matured into a statistical machine under center. Romo finished his career with 2,829 completions for 34,183 yards and 248 scores in 156 contests as a Cowboy. Amazingly, if not for an assortment of injuries, the future Hall of Famer’s numbers would have been even gaudier. The 37-year-old Romo sustained a back injury in a 2016 preseason affair and only attempted four more passes before retiring in April.
14 MATT RYAN’S COLLAPSE IN THE SUPER BOWL
Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan is the league’s reigning MVP. Moreover, a four-time Pro Bowler who the Falcons selected third overall in 2008, the 6-foot-4, 215-pound Ryan won every noteworthy offensive award last season. Unfortunately for the decorated passer and Atlanta, Ryan’s personal accolades far surpass his team-oriented achievements. Ryan has a substandard 3-5 record in the postseason and one of those five losses is beyond infamous. The Falcons were leading the New England Patriots 28-3 with mere minutes remaining in the third quarter of Super Bowl LI at NRG Stadium in Houston.
Incomprehensibly, Ryan and the Falcons faltered and ultimately surrendered to New England 32-28 in overtime. Granted, Atlanta’s defense was pitiful for the game’s final 18 minutes. Still, if Ryan and the Falcons’ offense even sustained one or two drives, the contest would have been unwinnable for the Patriots.
13 CAM NEWTON IS FREQUENTLY MOCKED
For whatever reason, many fans consider Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton to be unlikable. Some onlookers believe that bigots primarily dislike the 6-foot-5, 245-pound Newton. While perhaps true in some instances, Newton incensed countless African-Americans when he claimed that the United States is “beyond” racism.
“I don’t want this to be about race, because it’s not,” said Newton, 28, during an August 2016 interview with GQ. “It’s not. Like, we’re beyond that. As a nation.”
In actuality, referred to as “Mr. Mopeyhead” by Panthers head coach Ron Rivera, Newton is mostly ridiculed for his incessant sulking. Newton was at his bluest when the Panthers fell to the Denver Broncos 24-10 in Super Bowl 50.
“When things don’t go his way, it’s obvious,” Broncos safety T. J. Ward said of Newton. “We want the sulking, upset, ‘I don’t know what’s going on’ Cam Newton — and that’s what we got.”
With a towel draped over his head and pouting, Newton does somewhat resemble E.T.
12 GENO SMITH’S BROKEN JAW
The New York Jets chose West Virginia University quarterback Geno Smith with the 39th pick in the 2013 draft. The 6-foot-3, 210-pound Smith was named the Jets’ starter by default roughly five months later in September. Smith was surrounded by a dearth of talent as a rookie and his numbers were lackluster. Regardless, with Smith playing the sport’s most vital position, the Jets shocked critics and finished 8-8. The 2011 first-team All-Big East selection entered the 2015 campaign as the squad’s undisputed starter and expectations were high. Per usual, considering its star-crossed history, the Jets’ plans were ditched due to turbulence. Smith allegedly refused to reimburse his teammate, linebacker IK Enemkpali, for a $600 plane ticket. In retaliation, the 6-foot-1, 260-pound Enemkpali fractured Smith’s jaw with one punch. Hence, the “before” and “after” meme.
11 BILL BELICHICK’S CHEATING
Bill Belichick is arguably the preeminent coach in sports. Not coincidentally, outside of New England, many fans contend that the Patriots’ dominance stems from nearly two decades worth of cheating. The 65-year-old Belichick, a three-time AP NFL Coach of the Year who led New England to five Super Bowl championships, was Spygate’s mastermind. Hall of Fame quarterback Kurt Warner still wonders if Belichick robbed the St. Louis Rams out of its second title in 2001.
"It's unfair to them and their legacy,” said Warner, 46.
“It's unfair to me and my legacy. I don't want to have to wonder, 'Well, did they beat me fair and square or was there something extra?' That's the unfortunate part that I don't think you'll ever get over, because you know something was done outside the rules.”
10 JIM KELLY IS A SUPER BOWL HERO?
All T-shirts and caps produced for a losing Super Bowl team are donated to a relief organization called World Vision and subsequently sent to a developing nation.
“Where these items go, the people don’t have electricity or running water,” said Jeff Fields, a corporate relations officer for World Vision. “They wouldn’t know who won the Super Bowl. They wouldn’t even know about football.”
Jim Kelly, a 2002 Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee, guided the Buffalo Bills to a record four consecutive Super Bowls from 1991 to 1994. Despite having potent weapons on both sides of the ball, the Bills lost all four appearances and became a source of mockery on late-night entertainment. This meme’s caption suggests that impoverished children may think the early 1990s Bills were perennial titlists.
9 COLIN KAEPERNICK
Colin Kaepernick is one of the most controversial athletes this millennium. The 6-foot-4, 230-pound Kaepernick, who San Francisco selected out of Nevada with the 36th overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft, opted out of his contract with the 49ers on March 3. When free agency opened on March 7, a slew of middling passers found jobs around the league. However, teams avoided the relatively talented Kaepernick like he’s akin to anthrax. According to Bleacher Report, mainly because of his political views, 70 percent of the league’s general managers “hate” Kaepernick. Kaepernick threw 72 touchdowns, against 30 interceptions, for 12,271 yards in 69 games as a Niner. The bold kneeler also amassed 2,300 yards and 13 scores on 375 rushes. Somewhat astoundingly, the 29-year-old Kaepernick is now apparently a McDonald's employee.
8 TOM BRADY’S PREFERENCE FOR DEFLATED FOOTBALLS
Like Bill Belichick, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady is a proven cheater. The 6-foot-4, 225-pound Brady, a 12-time Pro Bowler and two-time NFL MVP, is the only signal-caller to win five Super Bowl championships. Alas, as a reviled Patriot, Brady’s feats are questionable. While surely always aware of Belichick’s elaborate Spygate scheme, Brady was caught instructing Patriots’ underlings to deflate game footballs. Brady was suspended for the first four games of the 2015 campaign (eventually he served it in 2016) for his role in Deflategate.
Eli Manning, a friend of Brady’s who helped lead the Giants over the Patriots in Super Bowl XLII and Super Bowl XLVI, tested throwing pigskins with different pressure levels.
“This offseason, I had a couple of different pressures just to see what it felt like, to see how much different it was and yeah, there is a difference, there is a noticeable difference,” Manning, 36, said. “Obviously, the football, I think it is about integrity and you have to follow the rules.”
7 IF ANDREW LUCK AND ANDY DALTON PROCREATED
Tom Hanks is one of Hollywood’s most respected actors. In “The ‘Burbs,” Hanks plays the part of Ray Peterson. Peterson, an everyday family man, is on vacation from work for a week. Rather than going away with his wife and son, Peterson is determined to discover the whereabouts of his “missing” neighbor, Walter Seznick. Peterson and his eccentric duo of friends, Art Weingartner and Lt. Mark Rumsfield, are convinced that their newest neighbor’s, the Klopek’s, murdered Walter. Peterson and his cronies thus monitor the Klopeck family, consisting of Dr. Werner Klopek, Uncle Reuben Klopek and Hans Klopek. Following a series of misadventures, Peterson, Weingartner and Rumsfield manage to confirm that the Klopek’s are serial killers.
This meme features Hans Klopek. With Andrew Luck’s beard and Andy Dalton’s fiery red hair, Hans Klopek could be the two quarterbacks’ offspring.
6 HGH RUMORS SURROUNDING PEYTON MANNING
Among Peyton Manning’s numerous product endorsement deals, the five-time NFL MVP did a Nationwide commercial advertisement. During the spot, the 6-foot-5, 230-pound Manning sings, “Chicken parm, you taste so good.” Around the time that this promotion aired, Manning was named in a December 2015 Al Jazeera report as an HGH user.
“It never happened,” Manning, 41, said the day the documentary was released.
“Never. I really can’t believe somebody would put something like this on the air. Whoever said this is making stuff up.”
The league cleared Manning of any wrongdoing in July 2016, roughly seven months after the doping accusations surfaced. It would be irresponsible to dismiss the league’s investigation and label Manning an abuser of performance-enhancing drugs. With that noted, Manning did miraculously recover from undergoing an alarming four neck surgeries in 19 months. Furthermore, like most dopers, Manning’s head has dramatically grown since he was drafted first overall as a 22-year-old in April 1998.
5 RAY LEWIS
Legendary Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis and two of his companions, Reginald Oakley and Joseph Sweeting, were indicted on charges of double murder and aggravated assault following a Super Bowl party in Atlanta on January 31, 2000. The 6-foot-1, 240-pound Lewis initially refused to cooperate with authorities and the flamboyant, white suit that he donned on the night of the slayings has never been located. Lewis decided to testify against Oakley and Sweating and he pled guilty to a misdemeanor charge of obstruction of justice. Lewis, who earned more than $95 million over 17 years as a Raven, stated that he wasn’t wearing proper fighting clothes.
"Remember, I was dressed out, had my jewelry on, my fine mink coat,” said Lewis, 42.
“I wasn't about to start mixing it up looking like that. That's the general rule of thumb when you're doing the town and looking good. The nicer you're dressed, the less inclined you are to get in a fight.”
4 The Ray Rice Elevator Incident
Blacklisted Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice is the league’s poster boy for domestic violence. Concerningly, the 5-foot-8, 205-pound Rice is strictly the face of abuse because surveillance footage captured him rendering his fiancée unconscious with a single right hook. In reality, Rice is one of dozens of NFL players who have allegedly beaten women.
“I don’t think that the teams take domestic violence as seriously as they should,” said Kim Gandy, president and CEO of the National Network to End Domestic Violence.
“Football is a business and those teams are in the business of making money for their owners. All things being equal, they’re going to hire the players, draft the players that will run faster and throw farther and win games for them. Unless the fans and the media who influence the fans react, there’s no incentive for the teams.”
3 THE ADRIAN PETERSON CHILD ABUSE SCANDAL
Former Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson was suspended by commissioner Roger Goodell for the majority of the 2014 campaign for brutally striking his 4-year-old son with a tree branch. The 6-foot-1, 220-pound Peterson pled no contest to a misdemeanor charge of recklessly assaulting his child in November 2014.
"While an adult may have a number of options when confronted with abuse -- to flee, to fight back or to seek help from law enforcement -- none of those options are realistically available to a 4-year-old child," Goodell told Peterson in his suspension letter.
"The well-being of your children is of paramount concern. We are unaware of any effort on your part to acknowledge the seriousness of your conduct and your responsibility to demonstrate a genuine commitment to change."
The 32-year-old Peterson was reinstated to the league in April 2015 and, almost exactly two years later, he signed a two-year deal to become a New Orleans Saint.
2 MOCKING TIM TEBOW AND AARON HERNANDEZ
Quarterback Tim Tebow and tight end Aaron Hernandez formed an electric partnership as Florida Gators in Gainesville. However, the duo’s success on the gridiron eventually vanished when the 6-foot-3, 235-pound Tebow and 6-foot-2, 245-pound Hernandez entered the league. Tebow was a winning signal-caller for the Denver Broncos. Still, the Broncos seemed to thrive in spite of Tebow and not because of him. Tebow was terribly erratic and a liability in the pocket. Denver traded Tebow to the New York Jets in March 2012 and the inaccurate southpaw was altogether out of the league following the 2012 campaign. Meanwhile, Hernandez flourished as a New England Patriot. Unimaginably, after three solid seasons in Foxborough, Hernandez was arrested and charged in June 2013 for shooting to death Odin Lloyd.
The 29-year-old Tebow is presently an outfielder for the New York Mets’ high Class A affiliate, the Port St. Lucie Mets. Tragically, the 27-year-old Hernandez committed suicide in his prison cell in April.
1 BEN ROETHLISBERGER CASE
Prolific Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was accused of sexually assaulting a 20-year-old woman in the winter of 2010 at a Milledgeville, Georgia-based nightclub. In the springtime, the 6-foot-5, 240-pound Roethlisberger was exonerated and not charged with rape. Nonetheless, Roethlisberger was roasted by Ocmulgee Judicial Circuit District Attorney Fredric D. Bright.
"Everyone interviewed agrees that the victim was highly intoxicated," Bright said.
"One of the bodyguards guided the victim down a back hallway. Mr. Roethlisberger followed her down the hallway into a small bathroom. The issue is what happened in that small, less than 5-foot-wide, single-commode bathroom, between Mr. Roethlisberger and the victim. Significant questions about what occurred persist."
The 35-year-old Roethlisberger has reportedly changed his lifestyle and he is now a devoted husband and father.