The lavish lifestyle of a NFL player is something a lot of America envies. Furthermore, being one of the top stars in the sport definitely comes with its benefits. In a life surrounded by bright lights and accommodations, sometimes those things can come at a price. For better or for worse, these players are constantly in the spotlight. May it be their personal life or their play of the field, both items make the news these days. So when a NFL player does something they're not proud of, it is easy for the fans and media to pick up on it and make it a story on the front page.
Some of our inclusions had their mistakes or mishaps early in their career and have seemingly had it attached to their name throughout their careers. Some of the inclusions were bad professional decisions, like going to a city or franchise that turned out to be the wrong fit for their NFL career. But some of our inclusions are repeat offenders and are warranted to the treatment and exposure. It always baffles me when a professional athlete or any celebrity gets charged with a DUI or DWI. These guys have all the resources, not to mention their money, to avoid these types of situations.
We shall now check out some of the biggest stars in the game today and what they would like us to forget about their past. Whether it was professional or personal, look for these names to try to outplay their mistakes.
15 Tom Brady - Spygate
It is not like we are blaming just Tom Brady for Spygate, but at the end of the day, he is the face of the New England Patriots franchise. Furthermore, Spygate (and other "gates") are somewhat threatening the legacy of perhaps the greatest quarterback in NFL history.
The controversy occurred in 2007, when the Patriots were caught videotaping the New York Jets' sidelines and coaching signals. And although they were caught and disciplined, many people wondered just how long this was going on. Brady and company had already won three Super Bowls before the violation, leading to questions about whether those wins were a product of Tom Brady's Hall of Fame play, or spying on the opposing team's sidelines. I bet Brady would prefer you forget about Spygate and give him his credit.
14 Brandon Marshall - Multiple Domestic Violence Accusations
Brandon Marshall has become one of the most influential people in the mental health awareness community, and along with his stellar wide receiver play, that is what he would prefer to be remembered for. But Marshall has had his brushes with domestic violence, and he wishes we could forget that and remember him for the good.
Marshall has been named in at least eight separate incidents of violence against women since being drafted in 2006. None of the incidents have led to criminal conviction, but when the news is out there, it sticks, and the players are usually tagged as such for the rest of their life. Marshall would probably prefer to be remembered for his six Pro Bowls and more than 12,000 receiving yards.
13 Adam "Pacman" Jones - All Arrests
Adam Jones may be asking us to do a lot of forgetting, but when on the field, he has put together a lengthy and successful career at cornerback and return man. His arrest record started ramping up in 2005 and continued rapidly through 2007, and Jones even added an arrest in 2017, and he did have some brawls in college documented as well. Jones has a temper that gets the best of him, most of his arrests resulting in assault or battery charges.
Pacman has a First Team All-Pro and Pro Bowl on his NFL resume which includes 10 seasons of experience. After the off-field troubles as a member of the Titans and a brief stint in Dallas, Jones has found a home in Cincinnati where he has been since 2010.
12 Jason Pierre-Paul - Fireworks & Amputation
Jason Pierre-Paul is a Super Bowl champion, Pro Bowler, and a member of an All-Pro team. But it is possible he will always be remembered for a 2015 incident. Pierre-Paul was setting off fireworks at his home when an accident left his hand mangled and ultimately the New York Giants defensive end had his right index finger amputated. JPP has shown resilience and continued his NFL career, recording 7 sacks, 35 tackles, and 3 forced fumbles during the 2016 NFL season.
At age 28, he's still going strong in his NFL career. The Giants and Pierre-Paul reached a four-year contract agreement in 2017. Still, whenever Jason Pierre-Paul is brought up in the media or basic sports talk among fans, the firework incident outweighs most of his accomplishments.
11 DeMarco Murray - Year With The Eagles
Our first inclusion of this sort. Murray was coming off a year where he was the NFL Offensive Player of the Year, NFL rushing leader, NFL rushing touchdowns leader, and First Team All-Pro. In that off season, the Cowboys and Murray decided to part ways. Murray tested free agency and signed the with divisional rival Philadelphia Eagles. There he would play in Chip Kelly's college-style offense, and that just didn't adhere to Murray's style of running. The season never really got going, and as Murray floundered, so did the Eagles who were coming off back to back 10-win seasons. Murray finished that year with just 702 yards on the ground, and after that lone season he was traded to the Tennessee Titans where he was able to rejuvenate his career when he rushed for 1,287 yards and find himself back in the Pro Bowl.
10 Richie Incognito - Racism And Harassment
Richie Incognito might not be the biggest name of this list, but his incident is pretty well known. Reports came out that Incognito was constantly harassing teammate Jonathan Martin. The harassing included racist rants and sexual slurs towards Martin and his family. Eventually it led to Martin leaving, and Incognito ultimately being suspended for the rest of that season.
After the 2013 incident, Incognito has continued his playing career and added two more Pro Bowl appearances since. Still, the voice mails that came out and the pure facts leave a bad taste in a lot of people's mouths when Richie Incognito is mentioned. It was probably hard enough for teammates to get past the incident, let alone the fans.
9 Matt Ryan - Super Bowl LI
Of course, Matt Ryan is not the lone man at fault for blowing a 25-point lead in Super Bowl LI, but he is the face of the franchise and reigning NFL MVP. The Atlanta Falcons took a 21-3 lead into the locker room at halftime, and came back out of the tunnel to go ahead 28-3 in the third quarter. And that's when the wheels fell off. The Patriots ended up scoring the last 31 points of the game en route to the overtime victory.
Everyone has their own opinion on whom to blame. Obviously, the defense giving up 31 points in the second half (including overtime) will have to take some heat. The coach should be poised enough to have a game plan to withstand such a lead. But the quarterback did make some costly decisions. Ryan took a few bad sacks that took the Falcons out of field goal range in a game that was decided in overtime. We may forget, Matt Ryan, but not for some time.
8 Jameis Winston - Crab Legs
Jameis Winston was a Heisman Trophy winner and National Champion his freshman season at Florida State University. So the public eye was on him from the time he became an adult. And he sure did give us some things to talk about, with this inclusion added because of how bizarre it was. On April 29, 2014, Winston was issued an adult civil citation for shoplifting crab legs from a Tallahassee Publix store. Makes you think how many times did he actually get away with walking out with crab legs. But that's not the point.
Winston earned Rookie of the Year honors and has already added a Pro Bowl to his young professional resume. Still, Jameis probably wants us to move on from the shoplifting of crab legs and onto his promising young career.
7 Carson Palmer - Oakland Raider Years
Our second example of a player that ended up in the wrong situation. After starting his career in Cincinnati where he went to two Pro Bowls and a couple 10-win seasons, Carson Palmer was traded to the Oakland Raiders for a first round pick. There he went 8-16 as a starter over two years, and threw 30 interceptions to 35 touchdowns. That was not the ratio he was looking for. After the two seasons, the two parties did realize this wasn't the right fit and Palmer was traded over to the Arizona Cardinals where he, like Murray, was able to get his career back on track. Palmer and the Cardinals are 35-17-1 during his tenure, and the quarterback found himself in MVP conversations during the 2015 season where Arizona posted a 13-3 record.
6 Pouncey Brothers - Free Hernandez
Regardless of what people thought about Aaron Hernandez and the crimes he did and did not commit, his fall from grace ended with his apparent suicide in his jail cell a few weeks ago. But at their 2013 birthday party, the Pouncey brothers, Mike and Maurkice, were photographed wearing "Free Hernandez" hats. The brothers played college football with Hernandez at the University of Florida. Maybe they really thought he was innocent at the beginning of this whole ordeal, but it still was not the best decision on their part.
Mike Pouncey is a three-time Pro Bowler for the Miami Dolphins, and Maurkice has been to five Pro Bowls and is a multiple time All-Pro player. Not sure how many more Pro Bowls they need to erase this image from their past.
5 Tom Brady - Deflategate
Although there are other names on our list that could have been included multiple times, this is Tom Brady and the New England Patriots so only he is worthy. Again, this is an on- field problem with Brady. The Patriots were accused of using under-deflated balls in a playoff victory vs. the Indianapolis Colts in 2015. Ruling that Brady did know about the balls being deliberately deflated to his liking, the NFL suspended Brady 4 games, and fined the Patriots $1 million as result.
At the start of the 2016 season, Brady got suspended 4 games for his role, and Brady and the Patriots retaliated simply by winning the Super Bowl that same season. Although it's probably not on his mind anymore, fans and media will always associate Brady with Deflategate.
4 Ezekiel Elliott - Domestic Violence Accusations
Ezekiel Elliott burst onto the NFL scene in 2016 with a bang. He put together a historic rookie campaign while helping lead the Dallas Cowboys back to the playoffs. He and Dak Prescott started a new era for the storied Cowboys and look to continue that for years to come.
Zeke's rookie campaign was almost overshadowed by some bad news from the start. A woman claiming to be Elliott's girlfriend called and reported Elliott for beating her on multiple occasions. The phone call stated that he had been involved in these acts for days and days, until he finally left and the woman decided to call the police. This is all still under investigation so everyone still has their own story, but unfortunately it is hovering around Elliott for the present and immediate foreseeable future.
3 Dez Bryant - Mom Incident
We all know the talent Dez Bryant sports out on the football field. The guy is an athletic freak with a will to win. But despite his three Pro Bowls and All-Pro honors, Dez comes with some baggage. There are his antics on the field, like the time he chased the referee down to argue a call during a playoff showdown with the Lions, but nothing hangs over his head more than the incident that involved none other than his mother.
The incident happened in 2012. According to police, Bryant became angry when he was asked to leave his mother's house. In the midst of the argument Bryant allegedly grabbed his mother and slapped her across the face with his hat. It is something that makes rooting for Dez week in and week out a difficult routine.
2 Adrian Peterson - Child Abuse
There is no denying Adrian Peterson is one of the best running backs to ever step on a NFL football field, but a 2014 incident has left many questioning him as a person. Peterson was suspended by the NFL following the allegations, and later was forced out the whole year. Photos showed cuts and bruises on his 4-year-old son's ankles, limbs, back, buttocks and genitals. Violence against kids, after all, is something people in general have a very strong feeling against.
Peterson is currently testing free agency, and for the first time in his career he will not be Minnesota Viking. Though it seems he has overcame a little bit of the bad reputation he developed following the incident, it should be noted that Peterson has not been able to find a home thus far in his search.
1 Ben Roethlisberger - Assault Allegations
It is pretty well-documented and known that Ben Roethlisberger got himself into a heap of trouble back in 2010. There were actually two allegations against Roethlisberger within a year of each another. In Milledgeville, GA, Big Ben was accused of sexual misconduct with a 20-year-old female at a night club. The victim's account of the situation had Roethlisberger entering the bathroom behind the victim and sexually assaulting her. In April of 2010 the District Attorney did announce they would not pursue criminal charges against Roethlisberger.
In both cases, this is something that will stick with Roethlisberger, and the hate for him across NFL fans is evident. Even fans in Pittsburgh have held protests against the Super Bowl-winning quarterback.