NFL Players We Love to Hate
Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
NFL fans love some players, hate others and absolutely love to hate a special group of NFL players who, no matter what they do, will always be despised for one reason or another.
Some of these players have had off-field issues that cause fans to dislike them, and others simply have attitudes or a demeanor that fans despise. Or they play for the Dallas Cowboys.
In the following slideshow, we'll detail a number of players we get way too much satisfaction out of hating each year. These guys aren't bad players by any means (all right, some of them are), we just don't like them for one reason or another—which we'll explain in a convincing fashion.
Let's take a look at several NFL players we just love to hate.
10. James Harrison, LB, Free Agent
Jared Wickerham/Getty Images
James Harrison is quite possibly the dirtiest player in the NFL right now, but don't tell that to him. Harrison has no qualms about delivering knockout blows to opposing players, even if it causes them serious pain and the league fines him until he is broke.
Harrison doesn't care that he plays dirty; he even told the commissioner that when the league met with him in 2011 and showed him a reel that showed four years of borderline illegal hits (per MensJournal.com):
"They take 10 plays out of 4,000 snaps and want to know my thought process on each. What I tried to explain to Goodell, but he was too stupid to understand, is that dudes crouch when you go to hit them. With Massaquoi, my target area was his waist and chest, but he lowered himself at the last possible second and I couldn't adjust to his adjustment. But Goodell, who's a devil, ain't hearing that. Where's the damn discretion, the common sense?"
Harrison also told the reporter he doesn't mind if he causes himself serious health issues in the future:
"When you hit a dude hard, you feel it, too, and the Steelers go at play-to-die speeds. But if, God forbid, I wind up having brain damage, so be it. That's something I'll have to deal with down the road."
It's one thing to have a passion for the game and bring some intensity on the field each down, but Harrison comes off as just plain dumb. The fact that he plays for the Pittsburgh Steelers, one of the NFL's most storied franchises, doesn't help his likability either.
9. Carson Palmer, QB, Arizona Cardinals
Carson Palmer has managed to establish a reputation as a diva over the course of the past couple of seasons. So much so that it's hard to say his former receiver Chad Johnson is any worse.
First, Palmer threw a pity party and pulled the retirement card with the Cincinnati Bengals, essentially telling the world he'd rather quit football altogether than play in Cincinnati again.
Fine. Cincinnati shipped Palmer to the Oakland Raiders in exchange for a mother lode of a deal that will go down as one of the worst trades in NFL history.
Unsurprisingly, Palmer pulled the same stunt again a few years later—refusing to take a pay cut from $13 million to $10 million (per Yahoo's Michael Silver).
Now, Palmer is a member of the Arizona Cardinals (per NFL Network's Albert Breer), has still failed at doing much of anything in the league outside of robbing teams of tens of millions of dollars and is just young enough to potentially pull the retirement stunt one more time.
8. Michael Vick, QB, Philadelphia Eagles
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images
There are some athletes who, no matter how much they do in an attempt to turn things around, will simply always be hated.
Thus is the fate of Michael Vick.
Vick spent time in prison for his dog-fighting ring and then was given a shot at redemption with the Philadelphia Eagles. There are those who will never forgive him for what he did, which is perfectly understandable.
Another issue holding back Vick at this point in his career is his play. The same style of play that made him the most electrifying player in the NFL before his prison stint now hobbles him—he hasn't played more than 13 games in a season since 2006.
Vick can't stay healthy, and his past will forever hurt his appeal. Vick is easy to hate, and he has no one to blame but himself.
7. Jay Cutler, QB, Chicago Bears
Christian Petersen/Getty Images
Jay Cutler is known as the pouty-faced gunslinger currently acting as the starting quarterback for the Chicago Bears.
After maneuvering his way out of Denver via trade, which didn't exactly win over NFL fans, he's managed to not grow up at all.
Cutler has a habit of throwing temper tantrums on the sidelines, and whether they are directed at his coaches or teammates doesn't really matter. He's even been caught shoving his own offensive lineman around on camera (which we sort of understand, but come on).
Add in the fact that Cutler isn't very nice to folks asking for a photograph on the streets (although they may have been paparazzi—if that makes his reaction any better), and it's easy to see why an above-average quarterback can be so universally despised thanks to a horrible attitude.
6. Ndamukong Suh, DT, Detroit Lions
Steve Dykes/Getty Images
Detroit Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh has developed a reputation as one of the NFL's bad boys.
The response to the stomp sure didn't deter Suh from his dirty play, as just last Thanksgiving he delivered an alleged inadvertent kick to the groin of Houston Texans quarterback Matt Schaub in front of a national audience.
Off the field, Suh has a reputation as an angry, reckless driver. One instance saw him wreck a car, which resulted in him having to fork over $130,000 in a civil suit (per NFL.com). He also allegedly blew up in a fit of rage at a Lions fan after another traffic incident (per USA Today).
Suh certainly isn't winning over fans or opposing players.
5. Tom Brady, QB, New England Patriots
Like it or not, Tom Brady is one of the most hated players in all of sports, not just in the NFL.
For one, folks just hate success. Brady has reeled in three Lombardi Trophies and has been named Super Bowl and league-wide MVP twice.
Brady is one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time, but his cause for likability isn't helped by his much-despised head coach Bill Belichick.
Belichick and Brady benefited from the infamous and now-defunct "Tuck Rule" and were also caught cheating in the now-infamous event known as "Spygate."
Brady is also married to one of the world's most famous supermodels, can fashionably wear long hair and appears in ads for Uggs. He's not helping himself with that last one.
4. Tony Romo, QB, Dallas Cowboys
Rob Carr/Getty Images
Poor Tony Romo. He's a nice guy, but he quarterbacks one of the most hated teams in football, causes envy by being married to a former beauty queen and fails when his team needs him the most.
Romo has a great story. He went undrafted but fought his way up the depth chart until he took over as the starting quarterback of America's Team.
In a not-so-shocking turn of events, Romo fumbled the snap.
More recently, Romo just cashed in on a six-year, $108 million extension with the Cowboys (per Spotrac—subscription required).
It's a deserving number for Romo—if you only count the regular season.
Romo is good enough for his franchise to not pass him by, but he routinely fails in the postseason. Romo isn't cool in the clutch no matter how hard he tries to act like it, and his "aw, shucks" attitude simply won't work while playing quarterback for Dallas.
3. Manti Te'o, ILB, Rookie
J. Meric/Getty Images
Yes, technically Manti Te'o is not officially an NFL player yet, but one foolish franchise will make the mistake of taking him early in the 2013 NFL draft.
Te'o hasn't even been drafted and America ranks him up there with Lance Armstrong as one of the country's most hated athletes (per Pro Football Talk).
There's a reason for that.
First of all, there's the whole dead=girlfriend hoax. Depending on who you want to believe, either Te'o has an I.Q. comparable to a page of loose-leaf and was duped, or he used a fake situation to win the collective heart of America over before being physically abused by Alabama in his final collegiate performance.
Either way, Te'o is in for a rough NFL career. Players talk trash on the field, but what Te'o is going to experience is another animal entirely. The same goes for how fans will treat him, even the fans of the team he plays for.
There's also the little fact that he created the national trend of "Te'oing," which is a demon-spawn child of "Tebowing" (thanks, Timmy).
Te'o isn't even officially in the league yet and most fans hate him. Good luck, Manti.
2. Tim Tebow, ?, New York Jets
What, you thought he wouldn't make this list?
Tim Tebow as a player is something we're not even going to touch except briefly. He doesn't have a true position, his throwing mechanic is wonky and his own head coach and general manager in Denver didn't even want him after making the playoffs.
Anyway, where do we start? Tebow has created a media frenzy, and you can't watch anything sports-related without hearing his name (here's to you, ESPN).
The man's also responsible for a global phenomenon known as "Tebowing." Add in ridiculous photo shoots (is this a requirement to be a Jets "quarterback"?) and the myth that he's an underdog, and it's easy to see why Tebow is hated.
He also holds infuriating press conferences. Tebow is also generally a nice person, and we all know jocks can't be nice guys, right? Knock it off, Tim.
1. Mark Sanchez, QB, New York Jets
Look at this guy.
Mark Sanchez was yet another overhyped USC quarterback entering the league as the savior of a franchise. As we all knew before he even stepped foot on the field, there's no saving the New York Jets.
Outside of ridiculous photo shoots, Sanchez has been the definition of mediocre on the football field. Despite this, the Jets inexplicably gave him a three-year, $40.5 million contract last offseason (per Spotrac—subscription required).
Even worse is Sanchez's leadership values, as anonymous players put him on blast publicly last offseason in a big way, according to Doug Farrar of Yahoo (you know, right before the team paid him an extra $40 million):
"We have to bring in another quarterback that will make him work at practice," said one player. "He's lazy and content because he knows he's not going to be benched."
"How can we when he's not improving at all?" [another teammate said, when asked if the Jets can hoist the Lombardi Trophy with Sanchez]. "He thinks he is, but he's not. He has shown us what he's capable of."
"So many games, he looked defeated before he ever took the field," a team source said. "He didn't have much confidence in what he was about to go do. You could tell throughout the week in practice. He never felt comfortable with some of the things we were doing. It was too much for him."
And butt fumbles. Butt. Fumble.