Also on the rise without the distraction of the offseason trades, free agent signings, and time consuming OTAs? NFL player tweets.
It's true that many NFL players didn't need a lockout to find the time to monopolize Twitter timelines, but some players have increased their frequency of tweets exponentially. This blog illustrates a sharp rise in New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez's tweets.
Of course, to the chagrin of PR reps all over the country, many players have been using Twitter since its launch not only to interact with fans, praise god and discuss their zodiac signs or favorite video games, but also to announce opinions on sensitive subject matters and to trash talk players and analysts.
It all started, it seems, with Antonio Cromartie's ill-advised 2009 tweet (and subsequent fine) about the food at the San Diego Chargers' training camp. Those 109 characters set the stage for the NFL to define their rules about tweets and for the Chad Ochocinos of the league to start ignoring those rules.
The following are some of the worst tweets since the romance between Twitter and the NFL elite first began.
In early 2010 when it was announced that Indianapolis Colts' star quarterback Peyton Manning had been selected as league MVP for 2009, Tennessee Titans' running back Chris Johnson tweeted the following:
"Do any body got payton address I got to go get my award"
While its true that Johnson rushed for over 2,000 yards that season, his team finished with an 8-8 record. One can easily assume that the Titans could have achieved a non-playoff season without Johnson's services just as easily as they did with his aid.
Plus, he misspelled "Peyton."
Chicago Bears QB Jay Cutler suffered significant backlash after he left the NFC Championship game due to what was eventually ruled a torn MCL, but some of the best comments came from other players via Twitter.
Among the best were two from Jacksonville running back Maurice Jones Drew who had been playing with a torn meniscus all season.
"All I'm saying is that he can finish the game on a hurt knee... I played the whole season on one..."
"Hey I think the urban meyer rule is effect right now... When the going gets tough...QUIT."
Though he was not the only one to express such sentiments (although nobody else felt the need to jab Urban Meyer in the process) he did receive death threats from angry Bears fans in response.
Minnesota Vikings punter Chris Kluwe found himself in a bar-like argument with Sports Illustrated's Peter King after Kluwe posted a link to an article that defended punter Matt Dodge after he was blamed for the Giants' loss to the Eagles.
King began by retweeting Kluwe's link and surmising his amazement that people continue to find excuses for Dodge.
Kluwe implored King to discuss the technical details of Dodge's perceived error and illustrated that King is not more qualified than himself at assessing the skill level needed in such an instance.
Long story short (you can find screen shots of the feed here), just as it starts to look like it might turn ugly (spoiler alert!) King calls up Kluwe and offers to let him write his opinions on the matter for his weekly column Monday Morning Quarterback. The two publicly express kindness and gratitude towards one another and the feud ends.
It makes the cut here as one of the worst tweets because the ending is so disappointing.
Not all twitter arguments are so anticlimactic.
Many had something to say after Jets cornerback Antonio Cromartie vehemently expressed frustration for the way both the NFL and the NFLPA were handling negotiations. But, Cromartie took particular offense at Matt Hasselbeck's quickly deleted statement.
"Somebody ask Cromartie if he knows what CBA stands for."
While Cromartie responded to Ray Lewis and Darnell Dockett with reason, he simply threatened Hasselbeck.
"Hey Matt if u have something to then say it be a man about it. Don’t erase it. I will smash ur face in"
What list of athlete tweets would be complete without something from the world's second most influential twit?
While I love Ochocinco's announcement that if he stayed on the bull for the full eight seconds he would re-name the beast Marvin Lewis saying,
"Why not name the bull Marvin Lewis, everything he says about me is #Bull(expletive) anyway,"
Seeing him start slashing ESPN analysts for negatively commenting on his offseason projects is a little more dramatic.
Gerald Alexander made Tweetcenter's Top 12 with this tweet:
"Keep cum stain colored Sammy Sosa ass off tv!"
That's just not nice.
"Everybody complaining about the lockout! Shoot I'm making the most of it! Vacation, rest, relaxing, appearances here and there! I'm good!"
"Right about now we would be slaving in 100 degree heat, practicing twice a day, while putting our bodies at risk for nothing."
He later said it was a joke.
Many NFL players are religious and their Twitter feeds illustrate that. Justin Forsett, for example, posts a bible verse each day. And, he's not the only one.
"I PRAISE YOU 24/7!!!!!! AND THIS HOW YOU DO ME!!!!! YOU EXPECT ME TO LEARN FROM THIS??? HOW???!!! ILL NEVER FORGET THIS!! EVER!!! THX THO..."
I wonder if he blames God for getting stuck in Buffalo, too.
Darnell Dockett is easily one of the most colorful twitter users in the NFL. His bio reads, "CEO of I don't give a (expletive) records. I have a midget addiction. Charlie Sheen's my homeboy. I eat ants. I got a sex tape called Oprah on the Nine-Oh coming soon!"
He always has something to say about whatever is going on so it's no surprise that he had a comment about the Chandler mall shooting.
"Was the guys who shot some1 & the mall today was they Black? Cuz its hard 2 believe they would run in the mall!! Probaly white or mexicans!"
From that and the subsequent stream it's no surprise that a radio host hoping to be on the frontlines of a scandal speculated that Dockett might be a racist.
"In I don't give a (expletive) News-->This dude from the radio station keep my name in his mouth, LOL he trying to say I'm racist LMFAO!! Yeah right"
It also doesn't help that he retweets unsavory things.
"RT @lilduval: Ladies be honest how many of y'all got the shit slapped out of u by Yo nigga and u knew u derserved it?"
I suppose everyone's a little bit racist sometimes.
"What kind of person celebrates death? It's amazing how people can HATE a man they have never even heard speak. We've only heard one side ..."
"We'll never know what really happened. I just have a hard time believing a plane could take a skyscraper down demolition style."
"For those of you who said you want to see Bin Laden burn in hell ... I ask how would God feel about your heart?"
Mendenhall ended up losing his endorsement from Champion promptly afterwards.