The Top 25 Divas in the NFL Today

Dan Snyder@@dsnyder34Correspondent IJuly 16, 2012

The Top 25 Divas in the NFL Today

0 of 25

    Everybody who watches football knows what a diva is and mostly equates them with outspoken wide receivers and flashy, self-absorbed prima donnas. 

    But there's more to being a diva than just being loud and obnoxious.

    True divas have to love the spotlight, both on and off the field. They've got to believe they're the best at what they do and their (cough cough) "value" is higher than anyone else's in the league.

    There also happens to be a dark side of the diva. Most of the players with this label have their negative moments in the spotlight. Fighting with coaches, throwing tantrums and quitting on teams all come with the territory of being a diva.

    It's sad that one of the all-time divas, Terrell Owens, won't make this list because he's not in the NFL. But let's take a look at 25 other guys who could follow in his footsteps.  

25. Julius Peppers / DE / Chicago Bears

1 of 25

    There's no doubt that Julius Peppers has the size and speed combination to be an absolute monster off the edge. But strangely enough, Peppers has been regarded as somewhat of a diva throughout his career. 

    Peppers routinely goes through hot and cold streaks of production on the field that many point to as a lack of focus and effort. It's also been pointed out that it sometimes seems like he takes a lot of plays off. 

    Since coming to Chicago (and signing his then record-breaking deal) Peppers has been rather quiet on the diva front. But for a true diva, it only takes one thing to go wrong for the next outburst. 

24. Brandon Jacobs / RB / San Francisco 49ers

2 of 25

    Here's one guy who's never really been afraid to speak his mind. 

    Jacobs has routinely called out the Giants management for the lack of carries he was receiving while still averaging a meager 3.8 yards per carry in 2011. 

    To add to it, despite winning his second Super Bowl with Big Blue, Jacobs decided he'd had enough of New York and parlayed his "successful" Giants career into a $3M contract with the 49ers. 

    There's no doubt in my mind that Jim Harbaugh (a potential diva himself) won't be hearing any back-talk from Jacobs, but that doesn't mean we won't see his inner diva come out some point. 

23. Vince Young / QB / Buffalo Bills

3 of 25

    If nothing else, Vince Young is pretty entertaining to watch off the field. 

    On the field, however, might be a different story. 

    Regardless, Young's diva days go back to when he was the "franchise quarterback" in Tennessee. In 2009, Young made some comments that sounded sort of like trade demands, despite the fact that he had been a sub-par quarterback for most of his career. 

    Later in his Titan career, following a season-ending injury, we all became witness to the "Where's Vince" drama that unfolded as a search party went out looking for the disgruntled quarterback. 

    It's pretty hard to be one of the league's elite divas when you've been relegated to a third-string quarterback in Buffalo, but nonetheless, I can assume we'll be hearing something from VY in 2012. 

22. Antonio Cromartie / CB / New York Jets

4 of 25

    Antonio Cromartie may not be thought about right away when the term diva comes up, but there's no question he's one of them. 

    Not mentioning Cromartie's, uh, personal life, in which it's been reported will eventually have 12 children with eight different women, the Jets cornerback has always had a certain flair on the field. 

    He's one of those guys who has always been a talker on the field and hasn't been afraid to express himself off of it. 

    As the Jets seem to be getting worse and worse, Cromartie's mouth could be running more and more in the 2012 season. 

21. Santonio Holmes / WR / New York Jets

5 of 25

    The end of the 2011 season said it all about Santonio Holmes. 

    Last season, Holmes quit on the Jets with about four games to go because he felt he wasn't getting the ball enough, sending his and quarterback Mark Sanchez's relationship down the tubes. 

    Holmes showed a similar selfish nature while in Pittsburgh.

    After getting busted several times before for marijuana use, the Steelers had enough and sent their Super Bowl MVP packing for a late-round choice.

    Holmes has apparently patched things up with Sanchez, but who knows how long that will last? If Holmes isn't touching the ball much, you can believe he's going to fly up this list.  

20. Jerry Jones / Owner / Dallas Cowboys

6 of 25

    Here's one guy who's never shied away from the spotlight. 

    Jerry Jones looks and talks like a slick oil-man straight out of the Dallas TV series, and that's pretty much what he is to the NFL. 

    Jones is maybe the most recognizable part of the Cowboys organization over the past 15 years and there's a distinct reason why; he's in front of a camera constantly. 

    Unlike other owners in the league, Jones is the head honcho and GM all rolled into one, and I wouldn't be surprised if he makes a run at head coach if Jason Garrett doesn't come around quickly. 

19. Philip Rivers / QB / San Diego Chargers

7 of 25

    Philip Rivers isn't one of those divas that will appear in dozens of commercials promoting anything under the sun, but he's a diva in his own right. 

    Rivers has always had a certain way about him on the field that some describe as pouty, arrogant and even childish. 

    He's got no problem going right up to his receiver if he feels they did the wrong thing or talking a little smack to an opposing player. 

    Rivers is highly competitive and from all signs appears to be a pretty good guy. But when his emotions get out of control, that's when we see the diva side of the Chargers QB. 

18. Cedric Benson / RB / Free Agent

8 of 25

    It's rare that a 29-year-old running back who's had three straight 1,000-yard seasons hits the free agent market and struggles to find work. 

    But in Cedric Benson's case, there's a good explanation. 

    Ever since Benson left Texas and landed in Chicago, he's been somewhat of a problem. 

    In Chicago, teammates were originally turned off by Benson's lengthy rookie hold-out that caused him to miss much of camp. Upon his return, things got so bad that it was reported the Bears defenders were intentionally trying to hurt Benson in practice.

    This diva made his last stand upon his release from the Bears by accumulating two alcohol-related arrests within weeks of each other.

    It shouldn't be shocking that no one has made a run at Benson yet. Truth be told, he seems just like a bad dude. He'll land somewhere, but there's no doubt in my mind that I wouldn't touch this guy.   

17. Steve Smith / WR / Carolina Panthers

9 of 25

    There's no doubt Steve Smith is a diva. 

    He's one of those typical wide receivers who makes the big play then has to have the flashy end-zone dance and talk a whole lot of smack to the corner playing opposite him. 

    Things got pretty diva for Smith off the field in 2010, however, when the Panthers stopped winning and Smith stopped getting the ball. It was clear Smith wasn't happy with the organization and wanted out. 

    But after Cam Newton came along and resurrected Smith's career, all became pretty quiet again in Carolina. 

    Once a diva, always a diva I say, and Smith is one of those guys that can turn it on at any point. He'll continue to be flashy and loud on the field, but the Panthers hope things don't get bad off the field any time soon. 

16. Rex Ryan / Head Coach / New York Jets

10 of 25

    Talk about a guy who needs to learn when to shut his mouth. 

    After three Super Bowl predictions without a ring, this diva of a head coach has decided that he won't predict (publicly) that the Jets will represent the AFC in the sport's biggest game, and that's probably a good thing. 

    But there's no doubt Ryan loves every second of the New York spotlight. 

    He's parlayed his fame into small-time movie roles in some Adam Sandler films and doesn't pass up an opportunity to hear his own voice on tape. 

    Rex Ryan has proven to be a pretty good coach so far, but he'll have to turn it around fast in New York.

    Because if the Jets continue down this dark road, well, let's just say not too many defensive coordinators get on TV a whole lot. 

15. Cortland Finnegan / CB / St. Louis Rams

11 of 25

    You might be surprised to see Cortland Finnegan so high on this list, but he's just as big a diva as any of these other guys. 

    Finnegan loves and I mean LOVES to talk on the field and he's not so hesitant to speak his mind off of it. He called out the Titans management a few times in 2011 and made it pretty clear he wasn't interested in re-joining the team following the end of his contract. 

    There's a reason the Rams offered Finnegan the best offer and that reason is Jeff Fisher. He's coached him before and usually doesn't have a problem bringing in divas if they can play. 

14. Jay Cutler / QB / Chicago Bears

12 of 25

    Bears fans have come to know Jay Cutler and his antics pretty well. 

    On the field, he's very similar (in diva terms) to his good buddy Philip Rivers. Cutler definitely gets emotional on the field and sometimes those emotions get the best of him which can lead to incidents that appear to be tantrums. 

    Off the field, however, seems to be a different story. 

    Cutler's most infamous diva moment came when he seemed to "quit" on the Bears in the 2010 NFC Championship game against the rival Packers. Cutler hurt his ankle, yet seemed to be walking around just fine on the sidelines. 

    Then, just about a week later, he was seen jogging down a boardwalk with then-girlfriend Kristin Cavallari. 

    Cutler's attempted to stay out of the media much this offseason, but every year he'll have his moment. 

13. Jim Irsay / Owner / Indianapolis Colts

13 of 25

    Jim Irsay is the new-age diva. 

    Irsay is a little new on the diva scene, but really had his breakout year in 2011 when everyone wanted to know the status of then-franchise quarterback Peyton Manning. Irsay was seemingly always in front of the camera. 

    Now that the cameras have pretty much all gone, however, Irsay has found a new way to stay in the spotlight. 

    Irsay has frequently seen his tweets appear on numerous sports television programs and websites with no sign of them stopping. 

    With the Colts opening a new era of football in Indianapolis, Irsay seems like he wants to be the new face of the new-look Colts. 

12. Stevie Johnson / WR / Buffalo Bills

14 of 25

    Another relative newcomer on the diva scene is Bills wide receiver Stevie Johnson. 

    This coming-out party has more to do with Johnson's production than a change in attitude. Johnson's last two seasons in Buffalo have been quite memorable, as have some of his antics on the field. 

    There was the "why so serious?" T-shirt under his jersey that he proudly displayed following a touchdown. 

    But Johnson didn't stop there. He took a lot of heat for mocking Plaxico Burress' shooting as a touchdown celebration last year, causing some friction between him and the Jets (as if there wasn't enough). 

    As Johnson's fame grows, so will, presumably, his diva status. It'll be interesting to see how outlandish this guy can get now that the Bills are considered contenders. 

11. Albert Haynesworth / DT / Free Agent

15 of 25

    Just like Cedric Benson, there's a clear reason Haynesworth is still looking for work. 

    Haynesworth's antics have been well documented going back to his days with the Titans. And it may have all started with the infamous head-stomp on Andre Gurode. 

    After the big contract given to him by the Redskins, Haynesworth only got worse. 

    He frequently took plays off and was eventually benched and almost kicked off the team by head coach Mike Shanahan for his lack of effort. 

    After one failed season with the Tampa Bay Bucs, Haynesworth's services don't seem to be in high demand. 

    My take is that Haynesworth is just a lazy bum whose career seems pretty much over. The only reason he's so low on this list is because he might not even be playing in the NFL in 2012. 

10. Michael Crabtree / WR / San Francisco 49ers

16 of 25

    Michael Crabtree is an interesting case because he's not a well-known diva, but he's a diva nevertheless. 

    Crabtree's problems began back as a rookie when he held out for a majority of the team's training camp. 

    Other critics have noted that Crabtree seems to be lazy sometimes on the field and nurses relatively small injuries. His level of professionalism has also been noted by many. 

    Adding onto this, it's been reported that Crabtree owns over 1,000 pairs of shoes and doesn't like to wear the same outfit twice. 

    Crabtree could be much higher on this list if his NFL production ever matched that of his college game. If that does happen, however, Jim Harbaugh is going to have problem on his hands. 

9. Dez Bryant / WR / Dallas Cowboys

17 of 25

    Dez Bryant has all the ability to be one of the league's best receivers. 

    The problem is he lets his diva get in the way. 

    Bryant has routinely been accused of cutting his routes short or rounding them off and quitting at the end of games. 

    He's also been in trouble off-the-field as much as anybody in the game. 

    Bryant's biggest problem might be his inability to handle the criticism. In true diva fashion, Bryant has had no problem viciously lashing out at his critics in public situations. 

8. Peyton Manning / QB / Denver Broncos

18 of 25

    Before this offseason, you would have never seen Peyton Manning's name close to any diva list. 

    But after Manning's cross-country tour of the NFL's highest bidders, you'd be hard pressed to find anyone who doesn't think otherwise. 

    Think about it, though. Manning has really always been a diva. He's constantly been in the limelight and does commercials for just about every product known to man. 

    Manning is obviously a diva, just not in the negative connotations one connects with guys like T.O. and Brett Favre

7. Brandon Marshall / WR / Chicago Bears

19 of 25

    Marshall is quite the character. 

    He's an elite-talent wide receiver whose off-the-field issues might just keep him from reaching his full potential. 

    In Denver, he had an incident where he broke his arm, to which he attributed it to punching through a TV set. Following that came a rash of arrests involving girlfriends and some or other forms of domestic violence.

    Later, Marshall came out and stated that he had a borderline personality disorder, which accounted for his previous run-ins with the law. 

    Marshall has also been a headache for front offices.

    He's now entering his first season with his third team where the Bears brass will try to control their talented receiver.   

6. Randy Moss / WR / San Francisco 49ers

20 of 25

    If there was a Hall of Fame for divas, this guy would already have a bust in it. 

    Randy Moss is an all-world diva to the highest proportions. He's had numerous occasions as proof; way too many to bring up his entire rap sheet in this slide. 

    From his questionable departure from Minnesota and his deteriorated relationship with the Patriots to his unquestioned quitting on the Titans, Moss has had a laundry list of diva moments only rivaled by the king of the divas himself, T.O. 

    Moss will now be trying to reboot his career with the 49ers, a team that has been successful without him before. As long as the balls keep flying Moss' way, he'll keep his mouth shut. But on a team that tends to be run-oriented, that might be a problem. 

5. Chad Ochocinco / WR / Miami Dolphins

21 of 25

    Just when you think he's finally tamed, Chad Ochocinco rears his ugly head once again. 

    After leaving the Patriots following a less-than-stellar season, Ocho has resurfaced at home with the Miami Dolphins. 

    Soon after, Ocho was right back in the spotlight, live tweeting from his wedding. 

    Chad is a guy who has always loved the spotlight and never had an issue with giving his opinions. Now that he's at home in South Beach, I don't think any of that's going to change. 

4. Cam Newton / QB / Carolina Panthers

22 of 25

    Cocky, confident and now a record setter, Cam Newton leads the next wave of NFL divas who will be taking over the league soon enough. 

    On the field, Newton is an elite athlete who isn't afraid to show off his fun side after scoring a touchdown. Off the field, he's a mogul of all sorts. 

    Newton is always in the spotlight and has never shied away from a camera. He's all over the place now and has become one of the most recognizable athletes in the world. 

    Newton may not have the dark side that many of the other divas do, but he represents the new age of the NFL diva and has plenty of time to perfect his craft. 

3. DeSean Jackson / WR / Philadelphia Eagles

23 of 25

    Hold-outs, a big mouth and idiotic penalties? Yup, we're talking about DeSean Jackson. 

    Jackson's rise to diva stardom has been well documented since the time he came into the league.

    Whether it be spiking the ball on the 1-yard line before scoring or pulling his team back with a 15-yard excessive celebration penalty, Jackson has shown disregard for anyone but himself. 

    That became clear last season as Jackson fought with Eagles management over a new contract. His play suffered and he didn't mind speaking out against the team. 

    Even with a new contract this year, it's unlikely Jackson turns in the old diva ways for a new, quieter game. But, hey, Eagles fans can dream, can't they?

2. Tom Brady / QB / New England Patriots

24 of 25

    The picture pretty much says it all for Brady. The man simply doesn't like to lose. 

    Like Rivers and Cutler, Brady's competitiveness leads him to get a little over-emotional at times which can come off as pouting and childish.

    But for Brady, it doesn't end on the field.

    Brady loves the spotlight, despite what he'd ever tell you. Let's be real, the guy's married to a supermodel.

    His dancing video in Brazil doesn't help his cause much, either.

    The simple fact is that Brady loves the limelight and will do anything to win. If this makes him a diva, so be it. The guy's got three rings; to say he's being a diva might not be such a bad thing.  

1. Rob Gronkowski / TE / New England Patriots

25 of 25

    The summer of Gronk may have finally come to an end, but not before Rob Gronkowski could vault his way up the list to being the league's No. 1 diva. 

    There's no doubt Gronk is one of the most talented football players on earth, but he may have let it go to his head a little bit in 2012. 

    Gronk started it off by sending in a tape begging EA Sports to make him the Madden Cover boy for the Madden '13 game. 

    The summer continued and ended with the picture above of Gronkowski posing completely nude for the cover of ESPN the Magazine's Body Issue. 

    Gronk's summer of spotlight ended recently when the Pats told their star tight end to tone it down a little bit. 

    Along with Cam Newton, Rob Gronkowski leads the charge of the young, new divas. These players don't have issues playing on the field or fighting through injuries, they just like to act more like celebrities than football players sometimes.