Jay Cutler has become public enemy No. 1 in the NFL over the last two days. He left the NFC Championship Game with an apparent knee injury. As soon as he was taken out everyone and their brother was waiting to jump on him via twitter or facebook or some kind of social networking site.
A couple days later and Cutler is still getting very little sympathy from anyone, though with the diagnosis of a sprained MCL some of the analysts that were taking him to task have backed off a bit. Still, it will be hard for him to win back the fans, who perceive his indifferent expression throughout the game as not caring about what happens.
With the newfound hatred of Cutler, it got us thinking about the most hated players in the NFL. As much as America loves the sport, there are a number of players that make it very easy to despise them. A lot of them are wide receivers because they complain that they are always open and want to throw their quarterbacks under the bus.
So who joins Cutler on the list of most hated NFL players right now? This list is only composed of active players, so anyone who was hated but is retired isn't eligible for the list.
Here are the 25 most hated players in the NFL today.
Eli Manning is one of the most covered players in all of football. He gets endorsement deals based on his name alone. He signed one of the richest contracts in NFL history in 2009, despite having been to only one Pro Bowl and, at the time, only two seasons with a completion percentage over 60 percent.
Eli is a product of New York. He gets all the attention because he plays in New York. This oversaturation of him has turned a lot of people against him. Plus, he has never really been a great quarterback.
When Wes Welker was being praised as one of the best receivers in the NFL there were a number of people crying foul. He was viewed as a product of Randy Moss. Since Moss was getting double-teamed, it left Welker a lot of room to run. As a result he caught over 300 passes from 2007-09.
Now, Welker is a very good possession receiver but he won’t put up the numbers that he once did.
Plus, the comments that he made before the Jets-Patriots playoff game this year didn’t help his popularity a whole lot.
Brandon Marshall suffers from a slight case of T.O.-itis. He is one of the most talented wide receivers in all of football, no one can question that. However, because he wasn’t happy in Denver he whined his way out of there.
His first year in Miami went smoothly with no significant issues. Of course, given the volatile nature of the player and the position, that honeymoon could end in a heartbeat.
Bart Scott was undrafted out of college, but was signed by the Baltimore Ravens in 2002. He probably perfected the craft of “trash talk” learning from Ray Lewis. Now he isn’t afraid to give his thoughts and opinions on things.
Scott’s most famous rant came after the AFC divisional playoff game against New England when he said that the Patriots defense “couldn’t stop a nosebleed.”
He has become hated across the country because of his whining and complaining about…everything that he doesn’t like.
There are certain players that are going to be hated no matter what they do. The quarterback of the Dallas Cowboys is always going to elicit that kind of response.
Tony Romo often gets bashed by fans because he hasn’t really won anything. He got a huge contract in 2007 after playing roughly a full season worth of games from 2006-07.
He has only won one playoff game in his career and had one of the most infamous miscues in playoff history with his mishandling of a field goal snap in 2007.
Vince Young came into the league in 2006 with a lot of promise. He had just led Texas to a national championship in one of the most memorable BCS championship games ever. Then, he was drafted No. 3 overall by Tennessee.
However, Young came into the league with a bit of a diva attitude and felt that he was owed something. All of that came to a head this year when he clashed with Titans coach Jeff Fisher.
There is a lot of backlash against the former Heisman runner-up (or is he technically the winner now, who knows) as a result of his selfish attitude.
Michael Vick has done a lot of work in the last two years to repair his image. He put together the best year of his career in 2010 and will get some consideration for MVP. That doesn’t change the fact that a lot of people will never forgive him.
Vick’s past has been well-documented so there’s no need to go into all the horrific details here. No matter what Vick does for the rest of his life, he is going to be one of the most controversial figures in the NFL because of his past transgressions.
Ray Lewis is one of the most passionate and intense athletes of all time. If you ever listen to him in an interview he sounds like a preacher trapped inside a football player’s body. You can’t argue with the results that he has put up over the course of his 15-year career.
Maybe hate is a bit of a strong word to use for Lewis, but there are a number of people that don’t like him. He has rubbed them the wrong way for whatever reason. Maybe it’s some lingering backlash from the legal issues that he faced in early 2000.
Peyton Manning has plastered his face all over the television. You can’t watch any television network without seeing at least one of his commercials. It’s like a serious case of oversaturation with this man.
Plus, a lot of fans look at Manning as overrated because of his less than stellar postseason record. He is 9-10 in the postseason, including seven times his teams have been one-and-done. I wonder how the haters will react to him becoming the highest-paid player in NFL history.
Carson Palmer is a relatively new entrant into this list. Since 2006, he has been a disappointment, with his numbers not matching his potential. He still puts up a bunch of numbers but he doesn’t elevate his team like he did in 2005.
Now, with Palmer saying he wants a trade or is going to retire, fans are beginning to turn on him. There is a small contingent of fans that side with him because the Bengals have been so bad for so long. But the tide will turn on him quickly if he keeps his talking up.
Like Eli Manning, Mark Sanchez gets a lot of praise because he plays in New York. In two years he has not done anything special. His teams have gone to two straight AFC Championship Games but he has never been the reason that they have advanced.
For those of us that don’t live in New York, we don’t care how much more important you think you are compared to the rest of the country. We don’t like hearing about your teams 24/7/365, especially when this particular team hasn’t won anything in 40 years.
The hatred of Tom Brady is a little puzzling. He is one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time, probably the best quarterback playing today, yet people love to bash on him.
It probably all stems from jealousy because Brady seems to have everything that most people can only dream of. He is rich, famous, good-looking and has a supermodel wife.
Just writing that down I started to hate him a little bit myself.
It’s amazing what New York will do to a player. A year ago, in San Diego, no one even paid attention to Antonio Cromartie. Now he is one of the most talkative and annoying cornerbacks in all of football.
Cromartie has been running his mouth the last couple weeks about various different topics. He talked about his distaste for New England quarterback Tom Brady, calling him “an a—hole.”
In a short period of time, Cromartie has gone from afterthought to controversial figure in the NFL.
There are two reasons that people hate on Ben Roethlisberger.
The first reason is there are people who don’t like his conduct off the field. He was suspended for four games before the beginning of this season because he violated the NFL personal conduct policy.
The other hatred of Roethlisberger comes from those fans that want to call him overrated as a quarterback. He is seen as a product of the Steelers franchise and their defense. Since they win all the time, the quarterback is going to get a lot of the credit for it.
Either way, Roethlisberger is one of the most hated players in the NFL.
For a brief period of time, Hines Ward was thought of as the best all-around wide receiver in the NFL. His ability as a pass catcher and a blocker earned him the respect from fans and peers.
However, as time has gone on Ward’s reputation has taken a tumble.
He has become viewed as a dirty player, taking out players' legs and using illegal chop blocks against opponents. Steelers fans will spin it saying that he is just playing hard, but those of us who have an objective point of view know dirty play when we see it.
DeSean Jackson might be the best playmaker at the wide receiver position in all of football. He is one of the fastest receivers in the league, and a great deep threat. He returns punts as well as anyone in football, with the exception of Devin Hester.
However, Jackson has a brash, cocky attitude that rubs a lot of people the wrong way. He often showboats before going into the end zone, which actually has hurt him in the past. He runs his mouth as much as anyone and as a result he has earned a spot among the most hated NFL players.
The Chicago Bears quarterback has never been the most well-liked player, but after his indifference to sitting out the second half of the conference championship game his popularity took a big tumble.
Even going back to his time with Denver, Cutler seems to be a whiny, annoying personality. All this and a lot more has led to the hatred and backlash against the Bears quarterback.
James Harrison has been outspoken about his thoughts on the NFL and their strict policies against helmet-to-helmet hits. He has lost a lot of money because of his stance that this is a physical game and he’s not going to change.
Harrison is not an easy player to like, unless you are a Steelers fan, but you can’t argue with the results that he produces on the field.
For someone who talks as much as Ochocinco does, you would think that he was dominating the NFL like Jerry Rice once did. He has been a very good receiver for a long time, but he has never been the best in the league.
Yet he keeps talking about all the people that he has dominated and made himself into one of the most hated NFL players of all time.
You can’t argue with the talent that Randy Moss has. He is big, fast and can catch anything thrown in his direction. The problem is he doesn’t seem to care about what he does. He takes plays off, doesn’t run routes and doesn’t like to block or really try that hard.
His reputation as a quitter or a half-ass player has made him into one of the most despised NFL players today. In fact, his reputation has alienated almost the entire NFL. When he was there for anyone to take, only one team (Tennessee) put in a claim for him.
Cortland Finnegan is one of the most despised players in the NFL. He routinely plays rough and dirty with the opponents. All of that came to a head when the Titans were playing Houston this year and he got into a fight with Andre Johnson, with Johnson ripping off his helmet and beating the crap out of him.
It was one of those moments that everyone who was watching and knew anything about Cortland Finnegan was standing up and cheering, while thinking “finally, someone is giving him what he deserves.”
“I love football too much to quit.”
“It’s hard to walk away from the game.”
(To be continued)
Note: Since Favre hasn’t officially retired he is still technically active—that’s why he’s on this list.
Albert Haynesworth is probably the worst free-agent signing in the history of the NFL, maybe even professional sports. He was given a $100 million contract by Dan Snyder in 2009. Two short years later he is going to be released.
Haynesworth clashed with his coaches and seemed to be comfortable just taking the Redskins' money without working for it. His most infamous moment came against Philadelphia. He was blocked and fell to the ground, then apparently fell asleep on the ground because he stayed there for about 10 seconds.
Donovan McNabb seems like one of the nicest people playing in the NFL today. He has never done anything wrong. He isn’t a diva who craves the spotlight. He led his teams to play in five NFC Championship Games.
Yet there is a lot of Donovan-hate out there. It could stem from the large contingents of Eagles fans who just think that he is no good or overrated.
Whatever the reason is, no one seems to like him anymore.
The NFL’s lightning rod, Terrell Owens, is the most hated NFL player today. There is some stiff competition for the top spot, but no one does more to stay on top of these rankings than the outspoken receiver.
He has talked his way out of San Francisco, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Dallas, Buffalo and Cincinnati. He has done all that and thrown almost every one of his teammates under the bus in the process.
Everything that happens is everyone else’s fault, not T.O.’s.