Start Your Debate Engines: The 25 Most Overrated Athletes Today
Boy, oh boy do I love the "overrated" chant.
There's nothing like having a supposed "superstar" come into your house and then get exposed for the mediocre player they really are and hearing the crowd just let loose on them at the end of the game.
Let the record show that I am completely conscious of the debatability of this list, I encourage banter and spirited debate.
If you have a point to make, by all means go ahead and make it. Haters, however will not be tolerated.
Without further adieu, here are the 25 players most deserving of the "overrated" chant.
25. Jacoby Ellsbury
Ellsbury's reputation in Boston as being a stud is majorly influenced by the "pink hats" (female Red Sox fans).
The fact that all the ladies think he's a cutie can't hide his mediocre stats. He's not a .300 hitter, his career high for RBI is 60, and he has yet to post a .400 OBP despite being the undisputed leadoff hitter for one of the premier teams in baseball.
Ellsbury is dangerous on the bags, and to his credit is a first rate defensive player, but all that pretty much means is he's fast.
The fact that he's missed a huge portion of the season and is hiding out in Arizona without releasing a whisper of his activities isn't helping his stock either.
24. Mike Green
Mike Green has always been in people's shortlists when debating who is overrated in the NHL.
Green is an offensive defenseman, but unfortunately puts a lot of emphasis on the offensive part and less so on the defensive part.
He is by no means terrible defensively, but he's pretty vanilla in shutting down forwards. It can peeve Caps fans when Green isn't performing up to his potential as a defenseman, yet he's on the attack during the majority of Washington's possessions.
Green is also prone to taking risks on defense and missing out big time. Just look at the Capitals in this year's playoffs. Green completely screwed them over in my opinion with his shoddy defense, and breaking out too often, leaving his defensive partners out to dry.
Green is a great asset to have on the ice because of his offensive skills, but until the Caps can find a true stay at home, shut down defenseman to compliment Green, he'll continue to be overrated.
23. Fred Couples
A classy guy on and off the links, but Fred Couples' resume just doesn't explain why he's one of the most popular figures in golf.
A former World No. 1, Couples has only one major to his name (back in 1992) and hasn't won a PGA event since 2003.
Couples is the classic example of a golfer whose reputation precedes his skill set.
22. Brandon Jacobs
Despite his enamoring 6'4" 265-lb frame, Jacobs' bark is seriously worse than his bite.
Jacobs served as the thunder to Tiki Barbers' lightning when they were a viable tandem, but since gaining sole possession of the starting role, his production has dropped off and he hasn't looked sharp at all.
He tiptoes to the line of scrimmage, can't make guys miss, doesn't hit cutback lanes, and runs completely erect.
He's had his injury troubles, but the numbers really speak for themselves.
Jacobs has been fed at least 200 carries the past three seasons and has put up totals of 1009, 1089, and 835 respectively. Even the 1000 yard seasons were grinding, vanilla years for Jacobs. He also only managed six touchdowns in 2009, down nine scores from 2008.
He's a physical specimen, but it's beyond me why the Giants keep sending this guy onto the field first over Ahmad Bradshaw.
21. Cristiano Ronaldo
Indisputably one of the world's best players, but after the 2010 World Cup performance, is it time to re-think his reputation?
Ronaldo is a fantastic, lovely skill, scary player, and really an all-around talent, but are his accolades a result of the massive amounts of media hype and attention he receives?
You've got to admit, he is a lot of show. He set the world on fire with his $118 million transfer from Man U to Real Madrid and his latest arm candy is always at the center of tabloid fodder. My speculation is that he gets a lot of awards just because he is such a recognizable figure.
Real Madrid was a huge disappointment this season, Portugal struggled through qualifying for the 2010 World Cup and ultimately ended up squeaking into the finals with no help from Cristiano, who was nursing a two-year international scoring drought.
Portugal bowed out in the round of 16 to eventual champions Spain, but that was no excuse for the boring and one-dimensional brand of football Ronaldo played. Something you wouldn't expect from the 2008 FIFA POY.
Not to mention the whiny-baby label that comes with his game. He's a complainer, a diver, an instigator, and worse of all, he gets the calls.
His stepovers may be cute, but he's still miles away from being the best footballer in the world.
20. A.J. Burnett
Never understood the fascination with Burnett. He gets guys to strike out, but once you get past the glitz and glam of the K, Burnett really doesn't appear to be worth the money.
He's never had a 20-win season, his ERA is a lackluster 4.3 since coming to New York, and he set career highs in walks and wild pitches last year.
The Yankees shelled out big money for Burnett in the winter of 2008, bringing in A.J. at $16.5 million a year, just a half a million less than what Josh Beckett makes a year. Yet he's their number two guy in the rotation.
Coming up with Florida and Toronto, I was always puzzled why Burnett was linked with big money moves to the Yanks and Red Sox. Now at 33 years old, he's no youngster anymore, just an overrated pitcher who cashed in on a sweet personal deal at the right time.
19. Danica Patrick
The obligatory Danica Patrick slide. In my opinion people bash her so much that they forget she actually broke into racing because she was a good driver, but I digress.
Patrick burst onto the scene in 2005 when she was named the IndyCar Rookie of the Year.
A slew of advertisements and modeling shoots followed as big money corporations were drawn to her marketability as an attractive women holding her own in an otherwise male-dominated sport.
The ubiquitous nature of Patrick would make the casual sports forget that she's only won one race in her Indy career to go along with an Indy 500 third place finish. Also, she has yet to notch a top 10 finish since making the jump to NASCAR.
Danica Patrick has been everywhere the past half decade and it seems as if there's no stopping her. However as long as she's on the cover of Maxim more than she's in the winner's circle, her reputation as being overrated won't be going anywhere.
18. David Beckham
America is especially guilty of this. It makes me chuckle that a lot of Americans still think that Beckham is the class of international football.
Here's a classic case of a man whose brand has simply outgrown his legacy.
Beckham was twice FIFA POY Runner Up in his prime, but even then he wasn't what Americans fantasize he was. He's not a scorer, he's a passing, delivery, free-kick specialist—and a good one at that.
He's also the most recognized English international of the past decade, but he's way past his day and the the Americans that thought he was going to set the MLS on fire were sorely mistaken.
As far as I'm concerned, Beckham is complete rubbish now, but his high profile advertising and glamorous lifestyle will continue to widen the gap between perception and reality when it comes to Beckham.
17. Adrian Peterson
Before you jump all over me, I have two things to say.
1) I love AD, electric player, awesome to watch, he's a real talent.
2) I don't think he's overrated just because of the fumbles.
Peterson had a fantastic rookie season, but NFL Network came out with a list of the Top 10 rookies of all time. Peterson was number eight.
Ahead of Dan Marino and Ronnie Lott, little too much love for me.
It's not like Peterson is the first running back to explode out of the gates. Remember Barry Sanders? Curtis Martin or Jerome Bettis? Even Clinton Portis all took the league by storm.
Plus, the Vikings offensive line is a legitimate wall. I honestly think they plow people's driveways with their bare hands in their spare time. The top three Vikings rushers this season averaged a combined 5.4 yards YPC.
Peterson averaged 5.7 YPC on the year. A little underwhelming for a line that's getting Tavaris Jackson 4.7 yards a rush don't you think?
No doubt he was a focal point of defenses this year, but with the Brett Favre/Rice or Harvin combinations, you can't say defenses were stacking eight-nine guys in the box all year long.
Then there's the fumbles, he has a tendency to possess some butter fingers.
16. Jonathan Papelbon
If you think Papelbon is still one of the best closers in the MLB, smack yourself.
Paps had a down year last year, and he's already matched his total for blown saves and eclipsed his total for HRs this year. His WHIP has risen .20 for two consecutive years. Plus, his ERA is 3.50 as it stands.
Papelbon had surprising speed when he broke out and was able to fan batters by mixing in off speed pitches and an above average split fastball.
Maybe it's a bit of an ego trip, but all Papelbon has been doing the past two years is throwing that fastball. He's wearing out his arm and hitters are catching on. Even when he does notch a save, all of the outs are straight lasers to his outfielders.
However, when he blows a save, he raises it to an art form.
15. Marques Colston
If you think Marques Colston is an elite wide receiver, than you play far too much fantasy football.
Colston is a big, slow wide receiver with great hands (but aren't all failed football players?). Skip Bayless ranted he is "tall, and that's about it".
Colston had a breakout first two seasons, setting the NFL record for most catches in a player's first two years. However, this can all be attributed to Drew Brees.
Brees is known for pinpoint accuracy and Colston is a big body. Toss in a pass happy offense and you're going to get inflated numbers. He's had 285 catches since the beginning of his career. I'm unsure if even Peyton Manning could get him that many catches given his skill set and susceptibility to drops.
Fantasy fanatics love him because he get's a lot of targets and scores a lot, stop looking at your computer and start watching the TV. Colston is heavily overrated.
14. Dion Phaneuf
Phanuef was once widely regarded as one of the NHL's best defenseman, video game covers and a fling with actress Elisha Cuthbert were soon to follow.
However, his magic is wearing off and he's now being exposed for what he really is: overrated.
He was traded from the Calgary Flames to the Maple Leafs in a big money move that nets him $6.5 million a year, yet he had the lowest point total of his career this year.
What's more, the Maple Leaf fans were calling for Phaneuf to be captain after playing in just 21 games with the club. I don't care who you are, that's damn quick.
The hype didn't translate to international success either, as Phaneuf was left off of the Canadian team.
13. Joba Chamberlain
I don't get it with this guy. I'm a Red Sox fan attending school in New York and all I see are Chamberlain t-shirts and jerseys everywhere, have I missed something?
A highly touted prospect a few years back, Joba's in his fourth year for the Yankees and they still can't decide if he belongs in the rotation or the bullpen.
He started 31 games last year with a 9-6 record and 4.75 ERA. Then he proceeded to get demoted from the rotation and post 18 holds in 39 appearances with a 5.75 ERA this year.
Shockingly enough, Chamberlain is only about 15 months younger than Jon Lester.
Can someone please explain to me why he's one of the most recognizable Yankees?
12. Pau Gasol
Hey, Gasol was fantastic for the Lakers in the Finals, I'll admit that right away. However, he doesn't deserve the credit he's getting for his performances and he hasn't completely absolved himself of the weaknesses people held against him prior to the Finals.
Pau surprised a lot of people in the Finals, but the whole world is of the "Gasol has arrived!" mentality, forgetting that it took seven games for the mighty Spainard to triumph over the "old and decrepit" Celtics.
Fans also got on Gasol's back for being "soft" in 2008. From my vantage point it didn't look like Gasol got any tougher. He certainly showed more bravado, asking for the ball more, but there were a number of possessions when the rickety old Celtics had him pretty much wrapped up.
On the defensive end, Gasol wasn't that impressive either. He had his moments in the paint, but when the Garnett of old came alive and the Celtics looked poised to take it, Gasol looked helpless against KG.
And what happens when Gasol gets exposed on defense? Well he complains of course. People talk like Gasol really grew up this year, but I saw the same whiny baby on the floor all throughout the playoffs.
Most importantly, despite all the talk, Gasol is still a complimentary player.
Yeah, he's a good skill big man. He had a great finals, maybe better than Kobe's at some points. But is he capable of stepping out of Kobe's shadow and leading a team to the Finals the way other skill guys like Duncan, Garnett, and Dirk have?
The answer is a resounding: no.
11. Wayne Rooney
Don't get me wrong, Rooney's a great player. However, after being capped for the first time at age 17 and pegged as the man to bring England back to glory, what has he done?
He's bagged a ton of goals for Manchester United and won the PFA Player of the Year Award for the 2009-10 season, but as far as being called "The White Pele," that statement is simply right out.
Man U have emptied the bank for a man with a lot of aggression and little pure skill. He's a bulldog on offense but can't hold a candle to the more technical players in the Premiership and around the World.
On the international stage he's horribly inconsistent and has a temper problem. Case in point the 2006 and 2010 World Cups. Rooney was red-carded against Portugal in the quarterfinals of the 2006 WC after a bit of egging on from his old buddy Ronaldo. In 2010, he honestly didn't look like he wanted to be on the pitch, putting on an anemic show.
10. Tim Tebow
A polarizing figure that seemingly everyone leans one way or the other on. Tim Tebow has been at the center of the "overrated" debate for his entire starting tenure at Florida.
Now, we all know Tebow's a religious man, but frankly that doesn't mean Tebow fans should literally hail him as the second coming of Christ.
The numbers are astounding for Tebow and he's collected a Heisman. Then why isn't he projected to be a good NFL player?
Tebow's legacy is manifested in what people worship him for: intangibles.
He's a hard worker, he's got a great motor, he's a first-class leader, he makes people better around him, he's a winner. None of this can be translated into on-field success.
I'm also sick of this notion of "he's not a great quarterback, but he's a great football player," this makes no sense to me. Football's a positional game, if you can play five positions on both sides of the ball in high school then congratulations, you're like every other NFL player. If you get to the highest level, I don't care how great of an overall "football player" you were, you better be damn good at something.
I, like everyone else, will be watching Tebow's pro career with great interest. To his credit he put up amazing numbers in college, if he can find a way to get it done in the NFL then by all means, more power to you. For now however, he remains to me, very overrated.
9. Andrew Bynum
He was the tenth overall pick in 2005 coming straight out of high school and from what I've seen, the guy just isn't that great a basketball player.
He's a big body, but his offensive game is raw, he whines and seems to go AWOL on the court often.
Then there's the injury trouble. Bynum's only been available for one full season in his career and he averaged 7.8 PPG. Other than that 06-07 season, Bynum's missed AT LEAST 17 games in every season.
Yet he signed a three year contract in 2008 with an option for a fourth year, the deal totals at about $58 million.
The problem with the Lakers and Bynum is admitting that they missed on him. He's got two rings, but he's been in a role-playing position, which I think is the best option for him. He's an athletic big man to bring off the bench, he's not going to be the next Shaq for L.A.
Yet the Lakers clearly still think he's worth the money and the trouble. The whole city goes bananas when he has one good game and ESPN hops back on the Bynum bandwagon, saying how he's finally looking like the player L.A. is fashioning him to be.
Luckily for Bynum he's only 22, because he's got a long, long way to go before he ever attains elite status.
8. Roberto Luongo
A confidential NHL Player Poll ranked Roberto Luongo as the most overrated player in the league. However, you don't need a poll to figure that out, just look at his numbers.
He's the higest paid goalie in the NHL, yet he's ranked 12th in GAA and 13th in SV percentage. Luongo has been posting middle of the road stats for top of the line money.
A common rebuke to the overrated accusations is that Luongo won the gold this year with Team Canada.
The response: A lot of goalies could have won gold playing for Canada, just ask Ryan Miller.
7. Zlatan Ibrahimovic
For those of us not attuned to the World of European club football, Zlatan Ibrahimovic is one of those enigmatic players that everyone has an opinion on. You either fall on one side of the fence or the other.
The big Swedish target man proved himself to be one of the best scorers in Serie A playing for Juventus and Inter, and dubbed by Jose Mourinho as one of the best in the world, before his massive '09 summer transfer to Barcelona really made people voice their opinion on him.
The deal was astronomical, 69 million euros and comparable to what Kaka and Ronaldo were going to bank after jetting to Real Madrid.
The biggest knocks on Ibra is that he's lazy and disappears in big games. Both accusations cannot be denied. His distance covered in games is laughably low and he had never scored in the Champions League knockout stages until this year.
A great striker certainly, but at 27 time is working against him and frankly his criticized play doesn't warrant the massive paycheck he's receiving. To me he's one of the biggest wastes of money in Europe.
In fact, during the 2006 World Cup (Zlatan's Sweden failed to qualify this year, by the way), British pundit Martin O'Neill was asked on the spot by a BBC host to share his thoughts about the striker.
He candidly responded "Good grief, he's the most overrated player on the planet!"
6. Chris Bosh
No wonder Bosh was all smiles this weekend.
He just bolted to a team that's loaded with talent and will shoulder the load this year and has a great chance to make it to the Finals, before the folks back in Toronto realized maybe Bosh wasn't worth that max contract.
As is stands, Bosh looks like one of the big three down in South Beach, when he's really been one of the most overrated players in sports the past five years.
Bosh has the body, athleticism, and skill set to be a great player, and make no mistake he's a talented player, but I'm sick of people calling Bosh a "superstar."
Seven years in the NBA and only three playoff wins to show for it.
Bosh was given a max contract by the Raptors, he's supposed to be a franchise player yet he's still averaging a shade under a double-double for his career when he's had total control of that team for the past five years.
Toronto's not the greatest team, but he had a supporting cast I'd venture to say that LeBron could've made it work with. Yet here's Bosh making LeBron type money and he can't lead his Raptors to one of the top eight spots in the East?
5. Kevin Durant
Frankly, people confuse the titles of an elite scorer vs. an elite player when it comes to Kevin Durant.
Durant's a great scorer, exciting finisher and a class act on and off the court. Hats off to him for signing that extension for OKC without much ado.
However, why he's being pegged as ready to make the jump to the elite level with guys like Kobe and LeBron is way beyond me. The Thunder were a very exciting team this year and the NBA latched onto Durant and marketed him as Kobe's rival in the West, a label he doesn't deserve when you take a look at the always reliable numbers.
His playmaking abilities are absolutely horrendous, he averages less than three assists a game. I won't even touch his defensive game. Not to mention the suspect handles, he turned the ball over 3.3 times per game in 2009-10 despite not being the primary ball handler on the team.
Yes, Durant is the reigning NBA scoring champ, but he puts up 20 plus shots a game, that's one big green light my friends. A lot of NBA guys could make do with putting the ball up that many times a game.
Durant is also reaping the benefits of his superstar label by getting a lot of calls. You may refer to the infamous Kevin Garnett rant about Durant getting a lot of calls this way this year.
Durant was put on the line an average of 10 times per game this season. More than Kobe has been the past three seasons, and we think the refs favor Kobe?
4. Jozy Altidore
I hate to disappoint you America, but if you watched Jozy Altidore in this year's World Cup and thought he was honing his skill in Europe all these years leading up to South Africa, you are sadly mistaken.
In fact, Altidore's club record really doesn't show any indication that he should be in the starting lineup for the U.S. national team.
Scoring his first MLS goal at 16 years old, America was quick to peg him the next Golden Boy of American soccer during his youth career.
Hey! Just like Freddy Adu, right?
After La Liga's Villarreal bought Jozy for $10 million (still the highest ever paid for an American), he only was showcased six times and scored just one garbage goal in a 4-1 blowout victory.
The following year he was sent out to Xerez in the second division of Spanish football. Hoping to get more playing time, Altidore underwent surgery on an injured toenail (yep, a toenail) that saw him never see the field for Xerez.
Again, Altidore was loaned out in 2009-10 to Hull City. He was not oft-used and gained a reputation with supporters as a less mobile Emile Heskey: ouch.
Altidore has only played a full 90 minute game in a U.S. uniform. He often goes missing in games and is afraid to use his frame, which is unfortunate because his pace leaves something to be desired.
At 20 years old, Jozy has somehow become one of the faces of U.S. soccer. His ghost club career in Europe has yet to take off, leaving him, for now, severely overrated.
3. Derrick Rose
Derrick Rose is an example of a good player being over-hyped by Stern and the NBA because he is in a big time market.
Did people forget that the Bulls made the playoffs for three years in a row (2005-2007) with Kirk Hinrich pulling the strings before they narrowly missed the playoffs in '08? The Bulls then lucked out in the lottery and Rose came in to "save the day."
Rose is not the only player on that team, Gordon, Noah, Hinrich, and Salmons all added depth to the Bulls while the NBA made it look like Rose was carrying the team on his back.
The Bulls haven't really improved since Rose arrived in town, as they continue to flirt with a .500 record. Yeah, Rose averages 20 points but it takes him 18 shots to get there (no lie, those are the cold numbers).
His assist numbers have dropped from his rookie year, has no semblance of a three point game, and doesn't play a lick of defense. Yet the ESPN analysts were all up in a tizzy because they thought he should have started in the All-Star game? Please.
The only thing he can really do is score, and he even does that inefficiently. Allen Iverson put up 19 shots a game with Denver in 2008 and still managed 26 points a game.
Stern and the NBA are loving the whole Derrick Rose mania that is going on because it's bringing them a ton of money, however it appears they've been keeping us in the dark, because Derrick Rose is overrated.
2. Darrelle Revis
Darrelle Revis went from relatively unknown to literally the best football player the world has ever known, in one season.
Is he a great cover corner? Yes. Is there anything more to it? No.
Revis gained great fame around the league for shutting down top wide recievers like Andre Johnson and Randy Moss, and doing it consistently all year long.
He also had the best defense in the league in front of him. Apparently an excellent cornerback plus a QB under pressure from a league-leading defense equals getting an island named after you.
The Pitt. product demands Asomugha money when Nnamdi plays behind a trash defense and still manages to play at an elite level.
Revis missed out on the defensive player of the year award to Charles Woodson, and frankly, the right man got the award. Woodson did more for his team than Revis this year, maybe Revis had better individual feats, but Woodson willed his team to win games on defense while Revis remained just another gleaming cog in a great machine of the Jets defense.
Doubters say "But Rex Ryan said he's the best he's seen, and he coached Chris McCallister and Ed Reed!"
Yeah, well guess what Jets fans, your coach has a big mouth. Rex Ryan has contributed hugely to the hype surrounding Revis (not surprisingly).
Like many of the players on this list, I'm not saying Revis is a bad player, in fact he's probably one of the league's best. Yet after one year and all this hype can we guarantee he's going to have a better career than Champ Bailey? or Rod Woodson? Absolutely not.
A few years back we all thought DeAngelo Hall was the ultimate shutdown man, what happened to him?
1. Dwight Howard
Dwight Howard is quite simply the most overrated athlete on the planet.
This is Dwight Howard as a basketball player: an athletic shot blocker and rebounder. Nothing more.
This all started with the 2008 Slam Dunk contest, where Howard did the whole Superman routine. Entertaining dunk, but the aftermath blew his ego and perceived skills out of proportion.
How are you considered one of the best (or the best) big men in the league and you don't even have something that resembles a face-up game?
Patrick Ewing is your personal coach yet he hasn't been able to teach you one go to post move except turn, dunk and hope no one is there.
You can't hit a jump-shot, sad part is, I think we all knew that anyway.
Jameer Nelson runs your pick and roll offense yet you reap all the benefits and look like the man. The only other offensive system you can function in is "throw me the ball and hope I come down with it".
The only reason you got to the finals in 2009 was because the Celtics were banged up, and even at that they took you to Game Seven and Hedo, Rashard, and Pietrus bailed you out big time with the long ball.
You cannot dribble, have no court vision and couldn't pass even if you did have vision.
You get into foul trouble and cannot hit free throws when you are fouled.
You dominate the bottom-dwellers in the East, but when the going gets tough against a premier defensive team, you get shut down.
You, Dwight Howard, are overrated.