Ranking the NFL's Most Quotable Players
Michael Heiman/Getty Images
In today's NFL, players aren't just athletes, they're superstars. What used to be a game played by anonymous, named-by-their-number gladiators is now played by pitchmen, movie stars, morning-show hosts and studio analysts.
Today's NFL is drowning in an ocean of high-definition TV feeds, tablet-optimized mobile video streams, and real-time social media updates. Even the no-playingest, never-dressingest practice squadder gets more face time with fans these days than the Hall of Famers of old.
Yet, some players stand out amongst the noise.
Some players, through the flamboyance of their personality, the dynamism of their play on the field, the quickness of their wit or all of the above, stick in our minds.
The most quotable players don't just exist to generate headlines and buzz, they draw fans into the game. Before the game, we check Twitter and Facebook to get their state of mind.
During the game, we see their personality woven into on-field performance, as well as their attitude, with close-ups and sideline interviews. After the game, the press knows who they should go to to get a unique way to tell the story of the game.
See that picture above? Receivers with one catch in the Super Bowl don't pull media scrums like that . . . not unless they're one of the most quotable players in the NFL.
No. 9: Peyton Manning
Justin Edmonds/Getty Images
Maybe Peyton Manning doesn't leap to mind as an electrifying personality. But besides his polished Southern-boy routine at press conferences, he's done many hilarious TV commercials where he steps outside that box.
That's not why Manning cracks the list, though. He gave us the legendary turn of phrase, "our idiot kicker got liquored up."
No. 8: Cam Newton
Kent Horner/Getty Images
As an NFL rookie, Cam Newton deflected praise of his eye-popping statistical production with a lot of earnest bromides about winning ballgames and putting the team first. That's great.
But before he stepped up his pro cliché game, Newton waxed philosophically at Auburn. David Morrison of the Opelika-Auburn News put together a classic list of sound bites he called "The Quotable Cam Newton." Here are a few of the highlights:
- “A wise man (Blinn College head coach Brad Franchione) once told me, ‘Anything that’s worth doing, if you’re not having fun with it, why do it at all?’”
- “I think he’s a good guy, and if some people break down the football barrier of who I really am, they’ll find out a lot more than they’ve been getting in the recent past.” [Cam was speaking about himself]
- “I went shopping—I tried to go shopping—yesterday, and I felt as if it was a memo to everybody that Cam Newton is coming. It is kind of crazy."
You're doing yourself a disservice if you don't read the rest of the list.
No. 7: Wes Welker
Win McNamee/Getty Images
The reality is, Welker is an explosive athlete with plenty of personality. In a press conference that will go down as an all-timer, he referenced feet or toes in answering 11 out of 17 questions.
Why? The presser was shortly after video surfaced of New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan and his wife, erm, enjoying that part of her anatomy.
No. 6: Ray Lewis
Andy Lyons/Getty Images
Ray Lewis is well known as the best linebacker of a generation, a flamboyant performer on (and very slightly off) the field and a dancer.
But did you know he's also an incredible motivational speaker? Sportsgrid.com compiled a list of Ray Lewis quotes that'll make you want to suit up and hit somebody. Here's my favorite:
"I ride my bicycle all the time. There's one thing about my bicycle. I'm riding, I'm riding, I'm riding. And no matter how tired I start to get, it's never about this pedal I'm pedaling, it's about the next pedal, and if you can get to that next one, your bike will keep moving."
No. 5: Lawrence Jackson
Leon Halip/Getty Images
Lawrence Jackson is a 6'4", 271-pound defensive lineman, who starred for USC and was drafted in the first round. By all the surface details, you'd expect Jackson to be the stereotypical meathead jock.
But Jackson was a philosophy major.
Not only is he a font of insight and wisdom, both to the media and on social media, Jackson regularly holds quote contests on his Twitter feed, @lojackson94.
Jackson's combination of physical talent and self-awareness is rare indeed.
No. 4: Bart Scott
Nick Laham/Getty Images
When you think of Bart Scott quotes, there are a litany that come to mind. The most legendary, without a doubt, is his wrestling-promo-disguised-as-postgame-interview, better known as the "Can't Wait!" monologue.
The most unique Bart Scott quote actually combines his humor with his ruthlessness even better.
In getting revenge for what he thought was a cheap block by then-Saints running back Reggie Bush, Scott said he "put a little hot sauce on that ankle," intentionally aggravating Bush's lingering ankle injury.
No. 3: Chad Ochocinco
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images
Chad Ochocinco. Between his legendary touchdown celebrations, his countless memorable Tweets, and his little-watched reality show with fellow media darling Terrell Owens, there's an ocean of classic Ochocinco quotes.
Here's an HBO-sourced (and HBO-, as in Not Safe For Work-, rated) clip of Ochocinco's favorite catchphrases.
No. 2: Chris Kluwe
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images
As this list as shown, the most explosive quotes tend to come from wide receivers, quarterbacks and other flamboyant skill positions. But Minnesota Vikings punter Chris Kluwe is rewriting the rulebooks.
Kluwe has re-written the rules on athletes in social media, and become the mightiest cultural bridge between video game geeks and NFL leatherheads.
His Twitter feed is a non-stop fountain of quotable, Retweetable, comedy gold. Check out his unfiltered reaction to the Saints bounty punishments, collected by CityPages.com.
But Kluwe does his best work with whiteboards. Via stick figures, Kluwe voiced his feelings on Commissioner Roger Goodell, on restrictions on helmet-to-helmet hits and other topics.
If you aren't hip to the fire Kluwe is spitting, follow him at @ChrisWarcraft. Yes, Warcraft. Like that Warcraft nerds do.
No. 1: Randy Moss
Adam Bettcher/Getty Images
Though I'm sure there's a faction of Bleacher Report readers who'd love Chris Kluwe to have taken the No. 1 spot, the reality is I can't deprive San Francisco 49ers wideout Randy Moss of his rightful crown.
Not only does Moss remain a compelling character on and off the field after 15 years in the NFL, he's left us a smorgasbord of legendary quotes. "Play when I wanna play" comes to mind, as does his being "angry at football."
But his best work came when he was asked how he was going to pay his latest fine.
He replied in a quote that launched the world's funniest jersey photoblog, "Straight Cash Homey." Now that he's back in the Bay Area, one can only hope he'll get in a few more all-timers before he hangs 'em up for good.