Brett Favre, Jenn Sterger and The 20 Most Riveting Scandals in NFL History

Elliott PohnlFeatured ColumnistOctober 14, 2010

Brett Favre, Jenn Sterger and The 20 Most Riveting Scandals in NFL History

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    Brett Favre's alleged transgression have absolutely taken over the news in recent days, now that the national media has grabbed onto a story that was initially reported months ago.

    Like so many scandals in NFL history, the exact details surrounding Favre's actions might actually never be known to the public.

    In a way, the uncertainty helps intensify the mystique of the scandal.

    Even after it is gone, it will not be forgotten.

    Here's a look at 20 NFL scandals throughout history that we will absolutely never forget.

Honorable Mention: The Brandon Spikes Sex Tape

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    Brandon Spikes took to the seedy world of Internet chat rooms earlier this year, accompanied by an attractive young woman.

    Sure, he never actually admitted it was him, but for those who have not had the misfortune of seeing the was him.

    Maybe Spikes should have paid more attention at the rookie symposium.

No. 20: Tiki Barber

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    Tiki Barber's relationship with a 23-year old former intern at NBC grabbed a spot on Page Six in April.

    Barber, who played his entire career with Giants before working as an analyst on NBC's Football Night in America, was divorced by his wife Ginny in the wake of the news of the affair.

    The New York Post reported that Barber sent Traci Lynn Johnson 21 roses and bought her a diamond and sapphire bracelet when she turned 21.

    Maybe Tiki should have saved some of the money he spent on Johnson.

No. 19: Barret Robbins

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    Barret Robbins has had plenty of personal problems.

    The former Oakland Raiders center was arrested after he was shot during a brawl with Miami Police in 2005 and charged with attempted murder.

    During his days with the Raiders, Robbins famously went AWOL leading up to Super Bowl XXXVII and missed the game after being checked into a hospital to deal with depression.

    Robbins ended up going to Mexico in the week leading up to the game and said his bipolar mental state led to his actions.

    He was also named as part of the Federal Government's BALCO investigation.

No. 18: Fred Lane

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    This scandal didn't get as much attention as most of the others on this list, but it should be included.

    The tragic story of Fred Lane, a running back who had some moments in the sun with the Carolina Panthers, ended with murder at the hands of his wife.

    Lane was arrested after police found a loaded assault rifle in his car shortly before he was murdered, but the story didn't end there.

    Apparently, his wife Deidre was plotting to kill him in order to collect on a $5 million dollar life insurance policy.

    She was sentenced to eight years in prison after pleading guilty to involuntary manslaughter and was released earlier this year after serving roughly six years behind bars.

No. 17: Donte Stallworth

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    Donte Stallworth showed remorse and got off easy after running over a man with his car in Miami while driving under the influence.

    Stallworth served just 24 days of his 30-day sentence stemming from the incident, which was certainly a surprise to many.

No. 16: Joe Namath

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    It doesn't take an arrest, divorce or lawsuit to make a scandal.

    A drunken Joe Namath made one of the biggest blunders in recent memory when he slurred, "I wanna kiss you...YEAH!!!" to a frightened Suzy Kolber.

    Ironically, Broadway Joe had just finished calling himself a "quality, classy quarterback."

    Not so much.

No. 15: Plaxico Burress

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    Burress grabbed headlines when he shot himself in the leg by accident and was promptly arrested.

    The Giants' receiver accepted a plea agreement and was sentenced to two years in prison for a carrying a firearm.

    What many people believed was a witch hunt of sorts by the Manhattan D.A. threatens to end Burress' polarizing NFL career.

No. 14: Michael Irvin

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    It's pretty amazing Michael Irvin still has a job involving the NFL.

    The former Cowboys receiver has done and said a plethora of idiotic things during his life, most notably when he was arrested in 1996 after he was found in a motel room with two prostitutes and in possession of cocaine.

    Irvin was arrested again in 2005 on a misdemeanor drug charge and accused of raping a Florida woman in 2007.

No. 13: Marvin Harrison

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    Nobody ever really knew who Marvin Harrison actually was.

    Harrison was allegedly involved in two shootings in the Philadelphia area, but was never arrested despite being investigated extensively by police.

    It was believed that a gun owned by Harrison was used in one of the shooting, and the receiver was later accused of pulling the trigger by Dwight Dixon.

    Dixon was later shot and killed in 2009.

No. 12: We're On A Boat!

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    The Minnesota Vikings sex party on the waters of lovely Lake Minnetonka was a huge blemish on the NFL's reputation.

    It was later revealed that prostitutes from Atlanta and Florida were flown in for the party, which was allegedly arranged by cornerback Fred Smoot.

    After a lengthy investigation by authorities, Smoot and Bryant McKinnie were charged with misdemeanor disorderly conduct.

No. 11: Leonard Little

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    Leonard Little was arrested and charged with involuntary manslaughter on his birthday in 1998 after he hit another car while driving under the influence, killing a woman in the crash.

    The Rams' pass-rush specialist ended up serving 90 days in a work-release program.  He was suspended for the first eight games of the 1999 season by the NFL.

    He was arrested again for DUI in 2004.

No. 10: Tank Johnson

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    Tank Johnson seems to have a nose for trouble.

    The big defensive tackle was arrested for a third time in 2006 when police raided his suburban home and found three handguns, two assault weapons and a rifle.

    The Bears eventually released Johnson, but not until he was arrested again in June 2007. 

    At the time of his arrest, Johnson was already slated to face an eight-game suspension after meeting with Mr. Discipline himself, the great and powerful Roger Goodell.

No. 9: Pacman Jones

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    Jones' antics during the NBA All-Star weekend festivities will never be forgotten.

    The cocky cornerback started a massive brawl after he made it rain at a strip club.

    Apparently upset after a dancer began picking up the money without his permission, Jones allegedly slammed her head on the stage and the fighting began.

    Later, a security guard was shot outside the club and paralyzed from the waist down.

    Jones, who was linked to a 2006 cocaine bust, was suspended for the entire 2008 NFL season by Roger Goodell.

No. 8: Ray Lewis

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    Ray Lewis is a scary, scary dude.

    When Lewis' name came up in connection with a stabbing in Atlanta, it looked as if his NFL career might be over.

    Instead, the murder chargers levied against Lewis were dropped and his efforts to repair his image began in earnest.

    A judge allowed him to plead to a lesser charge in exchange for his testimony against two co-defendants.

    Given his popularity and endorsement deals today, it's safe to say those efforts have been a success.

No. 7: Lawrence Taylor

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    Lawrence Taylor's life has been filled with arrests and battles with addiction.

    It seems like he finds his way into trouble almost every year.

    L.T. was arrested and charged with third-degree rape earlier this year after allegedly having sex with a minor.

    His lengthy legal woes include run-ins with the law over everything from hit-and-run accidents to tax evasion.

    At least he has managed to get into acting.

No. 6: Chris Henry

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    Chris Henry's troubled life came to an early end.

    Henry was killed after falling out of a truck last year, and it later came to light that he had been chasing his fiancee before she drove off in hopes of getting away.

    His NFL career was already hanging by a thread after numerous arrests in Cincinnati.

No. 5: Rae Carruth

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    Rae Carruth was arrested and subsequently convicted of conspiracy to commit murder in the 1999 shooting death of Cherica Adams.

    The receiver, who has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, arranged for the shooting and was driving in front of Adams' vehicle when she was shot.

    In a chilling 911 tape, she said that Carruth was involved in the shooting.

    He is currently serving an 18-24 year sentence.

No. 4: Brett Favre

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    It might not ever rise to the top of lists documenting the all-time biggest NFL scandals, but it appears that Brett Favre has secured a spot in the top 10.

    The story took off this week when the NFL began investigating Favre's treatment of Jenn Sterger, on the grounds that an employee had allegedly harassed another former employee.

    It should be very interesting to watch the scandal unfold in the weeks ahead.

No. 3: Ben Roethlisberger

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    Although no charges were ever made, the damage to Roethlisberger's reputation was done when the crude details of his behavior came to light.

    Big Ben's actions offered an alarming glimpse into an NFL star who had become a bully in every sense of the word.

    It won't be easy for him to repair an image that may have been tarnished beyond repair.

No. 2: Michael Vick

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    Most people agreed Michael Vick's actions were cruel and inhumane, but that didn't mean the repercussions were easy to sort out.

    Or easy to agree upon.

    Vick's arrest divided the entire city of Atlanta, brought Falcons' owner Arthur Blank to his knees and torpedoed the legacy of one of the most unique athletes to ever play in the NFL.

    It's one thing to move on.  It's quite another to simply forget.

No. 1: O.J. Simpson

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    O.J. Simpson's infamous life makes him the most scandalous NFL player above all of his peers.

    That memorable afternoon in 1994 brought millions of people together to watch a white Bronco creep along, then captivated the nation for months and made Marsha Clark a household name and Robert Shapiro millions.

    Simpson's arrest and conviction for armed robbery in 2007 added another chapter into one of the most polarizing sports figures to ever live.