The NFL is full of players that many fans, and even other players in the league, love to hate. Whether it is due to their success or the multitude of things that some of them have done to tarnish their image or the image of the league, the list of the most disliked players often does not include many surprises.
Some of the most successful players, like Peyton Manning and Tom Brady, are hated outside of Denver and New England for their winning ways. Other players like Brandon Meriweather and Ndamukong Suh have drawn their fair share of penalties and criticism from the public for the way they play game. On the other hand, some of the most hated NFL players are those who can't seem to understand the good fortune they have, choosing to create multiple atrocities off the field of play.
In all cases, having a strong dislike for particular players is nothing new. The following 20 players all have various reasons to be hated by many NFL fans. There might be some missing names, but there are many compelling reasons that these 20 particular players are on this list.
Just to be clear, we don't hate these players, but are compiling a list based on popular opinion from fans across the world.
20 Peyton Manning (QB) / Denver Broncos
Peyton Manning is one of those NFL players that you either love or hate. He is talented, works hard at his craft and makes it known that he is the leader on the field, but many fans and opposing players get annoyed by all his barking, pointing and yelling. Manning is also unafraid to get in the face of teammates or opposing players who have done something wrong. He has the cockiness of John Elway or Brett Favre combined with the vocalizing and scowling of Dan Marino. Being compared to either of those three isn't such a bad thing, but anyone playing or cheering for the other team probably can't stand Peyton Manning.
19 Matt Schaub (QB) / Oakland Raiders
Many fans in Texas will never forgive Matt Schaub for the season the Houston Texans football team had in 2013. Starting the season 2-0, the team went on to lose its next 14 games to finish the season at 2-14, with most of the blame directed Schaub's way. Schaub set an NFL record for throwing a pick-six (interception returned for a touchdown) in four consecutive games. Following a 12-4 season in 2012, more was expected from Schaub and the Texans in 2013. Many NFL fans think Schaub is either thickheaded or into throwing games by repeating the same error game after game and destroying what appeared to be a pretty good team.
18 Richard Sherman (CB) / Seattle Seahawks
Richard Sherman might currently be one of the best cover cornerbacks in the league, but many people also know him for his big mouth and cocky demeanor. Opponents will either shy away from his side of the field or gingerly test him, but in either case he can be a factor in the development of any opponent's game plan. As far as his mouth is concerned, Sherman is well known for his nationally televised rant about San Francisco 49ers wideout, Michael Crabtree, following the Seahawks victory in the NFC Championship Game. Many fans and players alike expected more class from the former Stanford student and star.
17 Tom Brady (QB) / New England Patriots
Many people don't like Tom Brady despite his successes and the close to 50,000 yards of passing he has had in the NFL. It probably has something to do with his model wife, Gisele Bundchen, who can make any mortal man envious. It can also have something to do with sometimes questionable fashion sense. Or maybe it's because he plays for the hated New England Patriots. Whatever the case, Brady has won three Super Bowls, has been to nine Pro Bowls, and has a career passer rating of 95.7. His success breeds contempt and certainly fuels jealousy among men.
16 Jay Cutler (QB) / Chicago Bears
Jay Cutler has phenomenal arm strength and the ability to make all the NFL throws, but his character and toughness always comes under fire. The problem with Cutler is two-fold. Cutler really does get sacked frequently and has been injured several times in his career. To add insult to injury, Cutler's many critics have questioned his manhood for what they perceive as his inability to play in pain. In a sport with its share of prima donnas, many fans seem to view Cutler in that same vain. Whether its true or not, Cutler continues to have many people doubting his toughness and ability to lead an NFL team.
15 Rob Gronkowski (TE) / New England Patriots
Rob Gronkowski is certainly one of the most talented tight ends in the league, but his off-field antics have polarized many NFL fans. Partying right after a Super Bowl loss, doing stage dives with a broken forearm, and being known as one of the biggest party animals in the league have contributed to the hatred felt by many fans. In 53 games played, Gronkowski has had 44 touchdown receptions and has averaged 14.2 yards per catch, proving his value. He is also an extraordinary blocker and likable enough teammate. With all that talent, it is hard for most fans to understand why he can't chill out off the field.
14 Jonathan Martin (T) / San Francisco 49ers
The bullying incident involving Jonathan Martin and Richie Incognito drew its fair share of criticism for both players. Although Martin was the victim in this case, many fans sympathized with Incognito and considered some of bullying that Martin had to endure all part of the game. Incognito, for his part, managed to convince many fans that he was not acting as a racist, having the support of many black Dolphins players. Thus, the case was more about the hazing that many old-timers consider to be building a man's character. Martin will forever be considered the soft culprit for his role in this dirty laundry affair.
13 Manti Te'o (LB) / San Diego Chargers
Manti Te'o was a star on the Nortre Dame team that got blown out by Alabama and Eddie Lacy in the BCS National Championship Game. The 42-14 loss that featured many big gains on the ground by Alabama's running backs made many fans label Te'o overrated. If that wasn't enough, Te'o was involved in the infamous hoax with the fake girlfriend, Lennay Kekua, who had supposedly died in a car accident after battling leukemia. Many people refused to believe that Te'o was a victim and questioned his involvement in such an elaborate hoax. Despite his hard work to get past it and make it in the NFL, the fallout from the hoax will not be easy to dismiss.
12 Riley Cooper (WR) / Philadelphia Eagles
Although it is not much of a challenge to threaten to fight any '(black man)' at a Kenny Chesney concert, Riley Cooper went overboard by using an insensitive word and getting caught on video in the process. In a sport where about 70% of the players are of African descent, Cooper really made a dumb choice. Thanks to the support from an unlikely source, Michael Vick, Cooper has been able to get past this digression and make something of his career. Cooper will still be remembered for both his racist remark and his cowardice for delivering it at an essentially all-white event.
11 Ben Roethlisberger (QB) / Pittsburgh Steelers
Ben Roethlisberger is as tough as nails and has led the Pittsburgh Steelers to two Super Bowl wins, while also appearing in two Pro Bowls so far in his career. He has even become the Pittsburgh Steelers all-time leader in victories, passing yards, completions and attempts, and passing touchdowns. Despite all his accolades, Roethlisberger can't seem to be a gentleman when it comes to his treatment of members of the opposite sex. He has three sexual assault accusations and his lack of being able to learn from his off-field mistakes will forever feed his critics and plant him firmly on this list.
10 Josh Gordon (WR) / Cleveland Browns
Josh Gordon has tons of talent, as witnessed by his 1,646 yards of receiving in only 14 games in 2013. Gordon also had 87 receptions and a gaudy 18.9 yard average per reception. Despite all that success, it has been hard for Gordon to stop smoking pot. Gordon was suspended indefinitely from Baylor University after getting caught high at a local Taco Bell and later failing a drug test by testing positive for marijuana. Unfortunately, Gordon carried his love for grass into the NFL where he was initially suspended for the whole season (2014) for repeatedly violating the league's substance abuse policy (it has since been reduced to 10 games). Fans hate it when players don't appreciate the good fortune that they have.
9 Johnny Manziel (QB) / Cleveland Browns
Johnny Football captivated football fans across the country with his ability to make big plays at Texas A&M. However, his behavior off the field has drawn a fair share of criticism from many fans. Unlike many college stars, Manziel does not need money enough to get caught selling his autograph and putting his team in jeopardy. His cockiness and ability to get caught enjoying himself at so many parties makes fans wonder about his commitment to play the game. He might have the skills to play quarterback in the NFL, but his cavalier attitude and lack of humility makes him disliked by way too many fans.
8 Mark Sanchez (QB) / Philadelphia Eagles
The scrutiny of Mark Sanchez started when he was selected with the 5th overall pick of the 2009 NFL draft by the New York Jets. Playing in New York did not help Sanchez who found a way to earn the label of being a disinterested playboy known for enjoying his nights out on the town. After experiencing early success, it seems like things unraveled for Sanchez, with the infamous 2012 "butt fumble" sealing his fate. Stumbling into an offensive lineman, Sanchez fumbled the ball earning ESPN Sportscenter coverage for one of the worst plays of the year. Sanchez is now a backup on the Eagles, but his fall from grace in the big city of New York will surely define his career.
7 Brandon Meriweather (S) / Washington Redskins
Brandon Meriweather is known throughout the league for his less than legitimate style of play. He started to earn his negative reputation well before he was drafted by the New England Patriots in 2007. First, Meriweather was involved in a shooting incident that left a teammate shot in the buttocks in 2006. He then was seen stomping on more than one Florida International football player during a brawl between his Miami Hurricane team and FIU during a 2006 game. As an NFL player, Meriweather has drawn criticism for several illegal hits and his statements indicating he would have to start taking out opposing player's knees to avoid drawing fines for his unnecessary hits to the head.
6 Michael Vick (QB) / New York Jets
Michael Vick came into the league with jaw-dropping talent and the potential to change the quarterback position in the NFL. His speed and arm strength were truly unique. Despite all that talent, Vick will be better remembered for getting convicted in 2007 for participating in an illegal dog fighting ring. The high profile case brought shame to the NFL and made Vick one of the most hated players in the league. Since this time, Vick, in fairness, has tried his best to erase the memories of this serious lack of good judgement and abusive behavior towards man's best friend. However, many dog lovers continue to wonder how he can still be in the league.
5 Richie Incognito (G) / Free Agent
Richie Incognito is certainly a poster child for what is wrong with the culture of the NFL. Unable to control his temper throughout his career, Incognito has been kicked off more than one team. He was kicked off the St. Louis Rams in 2009 after being benched for drawing two 15-yard penalties for headbutting Tennessee Titans players, and then arguing about it with his coach on the sidelines. Incognito was then released by the Miami Dolphins following the Jonathan Martin bullying incident in 2013. Incognito has come to represent the face of the bully, the hazing and the harassment that is all too common in the NFL.
4 Tony Romo (QB) / Dallas Cowboys
Tony Romo has good numbers for a quarterback, including a 95.4 career passer rating, but seems to make critical mistakes during the course of so many games. Dallas Cowboys fans have come close to developing ulcers watching Romo play through the years. Romo does have 212 career touchdown passes and a 64.7 completion percentage, but can't seem to escape the effects from the 105 career interceptions he has thrown. Since the Cowboys have such a large fan base, and Romo has drawn more than his fair share of criticism from his own fans, Romo is one of the most disliked players in the league.
3 Adrian Peterson (RB) / Minnesota Vikings
What a difference a couple of years can make. Adrian Peterson went from being the 2012 NFL MVP and comeback player of the year to the uncertainty of ever being able to play again in the NFL. Discipline can come in many forms, but taking a tree branch and whipping your four year old son with enough intensity to leave marks is not something that sits well with fans. Peterson's personal life that includes the fathering of six children and the death of a two year old son have overshadowed his many accomplishments. The negative fan reaction from his ignorance and insensitivity will be hard to overcome.
2 Ray Rice (RB) / Baltimore Ravens
The fallout from the punch that was witnessed around the world has left its mark on the NFL and Baltimore Ravens franchise. He and his case will forever be known for the public humiliation of his wife and exposing the bungling of his case by the Ravens, the commissioner and the NFL. His name will go down in history, representing the case that shed some light on domestic violence issues in the NFL. Fans, the public and even some players will forever hate him for treating a woman like a rag doll and his inability to keep the violence on the field.
1 Ndamukong Suh (DT) / Detroit Lions
Ndamukong Suh is recognized as one of the NFL's dirtiest players and has the fines from the NFL front office to back it up. In his short career, Suh has been fined over $200,000 for all the unsporting plays he has made. From stomping on opposing players to diving at their knees, Suh has done it all, making him one of the most despised players on the field. Players feel like they have to keep an eye on him and fans never know when the next penalty flag or fine will arise. After such an illustrious career at Nebraska, it is hard for many NFL fans to understand why Suh has to resort to such criminal play. He is one of the dirtiest players of all-time, who is hated throughout the league.