Showboating is a classic spectacle of NFL players. It's a player's unique celebration. Showboating can be funny, cool and laughable, but it can also be cocky, rude or annoying. It's really how you perceive the showboating. For example, DeSean Jackson really annoys people, because he showboats while running for a touchdown, and tries to annoy the defenders. However, some people think he is funny for doing showing off in this way. It's really a subjective thing, some people agree with it as a joke, some people take showboating serious.
This list is highlighting the top 15 showboats in NFL history, the ones that really got under your skin. Players who are the cockiest, but sometimes funniest people to have ever played in the NFL. There is no middle ground on most of these players, it's pretty much one way or another. Some hate these guys, some love them, there's not much in between.
For example, an NFL player who people either like or dislike is Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton. Some claim he is a showboat quarterback, who does things that aren't necessary for him to do. At one point, people claimed that he was disliked because of his race, but I think that is obviously a stretch, because a huge percent of the NFL is African American. Cam was disliked ever more when he refused to talk after losing the Super Bowl, but was known to dance after victories.
Multiple articles claim that the NFL's classiest and most professional players don't need to advertise their success, or showboat. They make big plays, then continue to play on with the game.
It should be established that showboating usually occurs after a good play, usually a catch or interception/tackle/fumble recovery. Meaning that sometimes showboating can result in a penalty, hurting the team in the process. So what is more important, playing well and demonstrating this to fans and teammates, or playing well and keeping your head down to the grindstone?
There can be no definite answer, but there is a definite list of players who deserve to be on this list, and here they are; the Top 15 NFL Showboaters That Got On Your Nerves:
15 Shawne Merriman
Shawne "Lights Out" Merriman was a complete beast for the San Diego Chargers, up until 2010 when he signed to the Buffalo Bills. Merriman would often dance before games, or after he made great plays. Often his form of celebrating was running away from his tackle, throwing his hands up in the shape of an "X", and shaking violently. Merriman was great to watch in the NFL, and he was very cocky. Chances are you didn't like him much if your team played against him. This lands him at number 15.
14 Joe Horn
Joe Horn had one of the funniest celebrations of all time, and it is one of the sole reasons he made it on this list. It was bold, cocky, and unique. After the former Saints receiver scored a touchdown, he reached under the goalpost, and pulled out a cellphone. The crowd began to go crazy, as he put the phone to his ears for a couple seconds, and ran around. This move sparked a debate in the media, and was the catalyst for the NFL to ban celebrations. Many of us loved this celebration, but rest assured, many did not.
13 Thomas Henderson
There are multiple videos of Henderson's highlights and amazing career on YouTube; wanna know the secret? He has a YouTube channel and put up the videos himself. One video claims he is the greatest linebacker of all time, and though this isn't an example of on the field showboating, it's like advertising showboating. He refers to himself as "Hollywood" Henderson, yet has less than 1,000 subscribers on his personal YouTube page.
12 Rob Gronkowski
Rob Gronkowski is a little known tight end for the New England Patriots, who just likes to have a good time. Okay, so maybe he's a little more famous than I just gave him credit for, as this guy likes to show off, and doesn't care who sees. Though his off field antics usually receive more press than his play, Gronk is a bit of a show off. He has single handedly revived the old school spike celebration, usually adding a bit of flair to the beginning of the move. Some people believe that there is a double standard, as other players are fined for these antics, and Gronkowski is featured in commercials for them.
11 Martin Gramatica
Martin Gramatica would celebrate after he made every single kick during his career. As a kicker, most guys just hit the kick, then walk off the field. Gramatica however, would literally celebrate by jumping in the air after the majority of his field goals. It was quite funny, until one of those times, Gramatica actually injured himself during the celebration. Needless to say a torn ACL is nothing to celebrate about.
10 Ray Lewis
Ray Lewis is known as one of the cockiest players to ever be on the field. His pregame dance "The Dirty Bird" was adored by some, but many found it repetitive and annoying. I personally found it cocky, and an example of showboating. Lewis was a great defender and a Baltimore Ravens legend, but his style, and showboating annoyed me all the way until his retirement. There aren't many more polarizing players in NFL history than Lewis.
9 Ickey Woods
Known for the "Ickey Shuffle", Ickey Woods is a football and showboating legend. The Cincinnati Bengal did his signature dance constantly, and it was amusing for fans and players alike. It is up there as one of the best touchdown celebrations of all time, hands down iconic in many eyes. Woods would move his feet and hands, then throw the football down, and dance. Woods even broke out the shuffle for the 2015 NFL Draft, where he danced before announcing the second round pick for his former team. Imagine how opposing teams and fans felt though.
8 Joe Namath
Who can forget "Broadway Joe"? Namath loved the national attention he received as maybe the best quarterback of his time. He revolutionized football attire, with his white shoes, and bulky fur coats. The showboat even made a prediction before the Super Bowl III, that they would win, and sure enough they did.
Broadway Joe is loved by the league, and will be known as a football legend for centuries to come, but he was a little cocky, and a showboat on and off the field.
7 Warren Sapp
What is to say about Warren Sapp? There are too many ways to describe him, but here's how he was a showboat. Before each game, he would trot through his opponent's warm up lines. It was his unique pregame ritual, and it was cocky and unnecessary. He also had a little dance after he would make a good play, or sometimes score a touchdown. He would jump up a couple times in the air, then he would twerk his butt. Some say he looked like Beyonce, but I don't see the connection.
6 Randy Moss
If this list was involving the cockiest players of all time, Moss would probably be top three on here, but regardless, Moss is a huge showboat. The long time Vikings receiver once did a "moon" dance in Green Bay after he scored a touchdown, which made Brett Favre shake his head in disgust. He scored a long bomb, then went to the goal post, and fake pulled down his pants. The commentators hated it, and Joe Buck called it "disgusting" while it transpired.
5 Michael Irvin
Irvin was despised by the entire league, except for the Dallas Cowboys fans of course. His nickname "The Playmaker" was totally accurate, and he was a beast as a Super Bowl winning receiver. He would celebrate after literally every single great play, and people hated it. He was booed many times, in many different cities, by many different people, and he loved it. It's usually WRs who are the most cocky, and I can understand why they want to show off after every big play.
4 Terrell Owens
Terrell Owens was either loved or hated, there was no in between. Whether you like him or not, he has some of the greatest celebrations the game of football has ever seen. His dances were funny, and some looked choreographed, which may explain why he did Dancing With The Stars, he's just a beast. From the pom poms celebration, to the infamous sharpie celebration and of course pulling out the popcorn, Owens owned the camera and field during games.
3 Chad Johnson
To start off, this guy changed his name from Chad Johnson to Chad Ochocinco, and then back to Chad Johnson. Both of the name changes garnered national attention, which at its very core is showboating. Name changes aside, he was very creative on the field with his celebrations, often becoming the highlight of the game. His showboating tactics included his wild dancing, funny soundbites, holding up signs, and wearing a NFL Hall of Fame jacket that he purchased exclusively for the celebration.
2 Deion Sanders
Deion Sanders' nickname "Prime Time" didn't make him very popular. He was disliked by a lot of the league while he played during the 80s and 90s, but there's no doubt that he was an absolute beast. His dance, the "High Step" was famous and a prime example of showboating. See what I did there? Sanders would often talk to the camera, and look back at his opponents as he was running away towards a touchdown. Sanders was a perfect fit for the cocky Dallas Cowboys, as it seems that many players on this list have done a stint at Jerry World.
1 DeSean Jackson
I hope it's no shock to anyone that DeSean Jackson is number one on this list. He is the most cocky and the biggest showboat in the NFL, hands down. There are countless occurrences of Jackson showboating to the point of it being a detriment to his team. One of his biggest mistakes was when he threw the ball away after hr caught a touchdown thrown by Donavan McNabb, before actually crossing the goal line. He's good, but no one is good enough to warrant not scoring points.
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