Back in the old days, a spoiled, crybaby athlete was a rarity.
There was no such thing as free agency, and big, multi-million dollar contracts never happened—not even for elite athletes.
That all started to change in 1976.
As a youngster, I remember when Reggie Jackson got what was then a record deal to leave Baltimore and join the Yankees.
Jackson was going to make the unheard of salary of $600,000 a year for five years. The contract was for five years and $3 million and it created a buzz throughout the world of sports.
Jackson opened the floodgates to bigger and bigger contracts and we all know what happened next.
Free agency came to the NBA, NHL, and NFL in the late 80s to early 90s and with it came the berth of what I like to call—Spoiled Athlete Syndrome, or S.A.S.
S.A.S begins when an athlete gets a big, fat contract and all the money turns him into a whiny, spoiled, crybaby.
Albert Haynesworth is the current poster boy for S.A.S. but sadly he's not alone.
Major League Baseball had the worst case of S.A.S. ever on record.
His name was Barry Bonds and he may go down in history, not just as a steroid abuser, but as the most hated man ever by his own teammates.
Haynesworth is the latest in a long line and he's doing a fine job of holding the mantle for future generations of spoiled athletes.
First he signs the richest contract ever by a defensive tackle—Seven years and $100 million with $32 million guaranteed.
How does he show his love for Washington?
By dogging it last year, criticizing teammates and coaches, and underachieving for all of 2009.
Sir Albert said he won't play in a 3-4 defense and wants to be traded. He threatened to be a no-show for training camp, but when the Redskins publicly stated they would ask for some of their money back, Haynesworth quickly changed his story and will be there.
Fun times ahead for Mike Shanahan in Washington.
Haynesworth has inspired me to make a list of the top 10 biggest crybabies in NFL history. It will actually be a top 11 since Sir Albert was included in this introduction.
The list could have been much bigger, but top 10 is a nice, neat figure.
The criteria is based on those who played from 1980 on. I chose that because the guys before played the game for different reasons than just money.
I had a hard time trying to find someone from the 70s on back who had S.A.S. If you have one, comment below and let me know.
Enough with the long intro, here are the Top 10 biggest crybabies in NFL history.
Despite his immense talent, Rivers is a whining, little crybaby.
He taunts opposing players, fights with his own teammates, and acts like you'd expect a spoiled, multi-millionaire quarterback should.
Rivers cleaned up his act a little last season and maybe he's finally starting to mature.
Only time will tell, but if he does, the Chargers could be even better than they have been the last few seasons.
Ever since his "I'm a warrior" statement in college, Winslow had the early stages of S.A.S.
After he was drafted top 10 and got the big contract, it only got worse.
His immaturity and entitlement attitude have alienated him from his teammates and his plethora of injuries have limited a once promising career.
Look up the word arrogance in the dictionary and you just might find a picture of Cutler.
Cutler has a big arm and all the intangibles to be a great quarterback, but he hasn't put it together yet.
The problem is Cutler thinks he's already a superstar quarterback and his ego reflects that.
He couldn't win at Vanderbilt or Denver, and his first season in Chicago was a disaster.
Cutler will throw his teammates under the bus and blame them for some of his interceptions. Even if it's true it's something a real leader keeps quiet about.
Unfortunately for the Bears, Cutler isn't a leader and may never be one.
Randy Moss has settled down quite a bit from his early days, especially in Minnesota.
He makes the list because of all the whining and complaining he did in the past.
Moss is one of the most gifted athletes to ever play in the NFL and he knows it.
For the longest time his ego was out of control and his demands and prima donna attitude hurt the team and alienated his teammates.
Moss has done some growing up since he got to New England, but there's no denying his antics of the past make him one of the biggest crybabies in NFL history.
There is no "I" in team, but someone forgot to tell Simeon Rice.
Rice is one of the all-time great sack artists and at the same time, one of the all-time worst teammates in NFL history.
Rice is the only important thing to Rice.
He whined and complained constantly about his contract, his coaches, and how he was disrespected by the league.
Rice ended his career as one of the most unpopular players in NFL history.
Jeff George was bred to be a quarterback.
He was also bred to be a spoiled athlete.
A star in high school, George was involved in a heavy recruiting battle for his services.
George chose Purdue and left after only one season and finished his career at Illinois. That should have been the red flag for NFL teams.
A first-round pick by the Colts, George was trouble from day one. His arrogance turned off his teammates and he refused to listen to his coaches, sometimes calling his own plays in the huddle.
The low point of his career came in 1996 with the Falcons when he went after coach June Jones and physically tried to assault him.
George bounced around the NFL with four more teams before retiring, He tried to make a comeback in 2004 and 2006, but failed to latch on with any team.
Blessed with a world of ability, George couldn't grow up and put his tremendous talents to good use.
He could have had a great career in the NFL.
An amazing athlete and arguably the best receiver in the league today, Marshall is also one of the biggest head cases around.
After four tumultuous years that saw Marshall criticize players, coaches, ownership, and fail to show up for meetings and training camps, the Broncos traded him to Miami this offseason.
Having a personality like Marshall in a city like Miami could be a recipe for disaster. It's a gamble the Dolphins are willing to take.
Tony Sparano better have a nice supply of Maalox on hand this season.
Leaf is not only the biggest draft bust in NFL history, he's one of the biggest crybabies as well.
From the time he was drafted second overall in 1998 and handed a big, fat paycheck by the Chargers, the problems started.
Leaf's immaturity was on public display when he yelled and threatened a local reporter, which became highlight real fodder on SportsCenter.
It only got worse.
His poor attitude and inability to translate his talents to the NFL stage caused Leaf to call it a career after only five years.
On May 21, 2009, Leaf was indicted on burglary and controlled substance charges in Texas. He was sentenced to 10 years probation and fined $20,000.
One of the worst things about having Spoiled Athlete Syndrome is the one afflicted with it only feels his own pain. He can't see the reason for his problems are all on him and no one else.
He blames others instead of looking inward.
Case in point—LenDale White.
White habitually misses meetings and practices, consistently comes to training camp out of shape, and has a terrible attitude with coaches and teammates.
Yet nothing is ever his fault.
Jeff Fisher and the Titans were thrilled to see White go and traded him to Seattle during draft day.
Reuniting with college coach Pete Carroll was supposed to be just the thing White needed to turn his career around.
It only took Carroll a month to get sick of White's antics of missing meetings and dogging it during OTAs. He was released on May 28.
In typical White fashion, he couldn't understand why he was cut and said he felt disrespected by Carroll.
Who did you expect?
T.O. is the grand master of crybabies in NFL history. Hell, he actually did cry once. "He's my quarterback....(sob), (sob), he's my teammate...(sob), (sob)."
Only Barry Bonds had a bigger case of Spoiled Athlete Syndrome.
Owens has become the image he created. He can no longer distinguish himself from T.O. the person and T.O. the character.
At 36, his career is winding down, but the arrogance still hasn't.
T.O. isn't a number one receiver anymore, but he still wants the money of number one. A big reason why he's still unemployed.
That concludes my list of the Top 10 biggest crybabies in NFL history. Some others were close to being on the list and they deserve mention as well.
Braylon Edwards, Jeremy Shockey, Andre Rison, Michael Vick (Ron Mexico), Michael Westbrook, Joe Horn, Vince Young, Plaxico Burress, Lawrence Phillips, David Boston, Larry Johnson, and Freddie Mitchell.
We salute you.
By the way, there is no known cure for S.A.S., except harsh reality.