NFL: The Most Hated Players in Football from a Green Bay Fan Perspective
Greetings from the Frozen Tundra, friends!
Oh boy. Last Sunday's game against the Carolina Panthers was a thriller, and made this fan of the green and gold a wee bit nervous for about the first half.
But it was after the game that I thought, "WHOA, NELLY! What in the world is going on?"
You see, I wrote an article about the Packers' win.
And in this article, I also wrote that Cam Newton was not being a good teammate due to his antisocial behavior (aka playing peek-a-boo with the camera by putting a towel over his face).
And let me tell you, I came face to face with my football-related biases.
Meaning, I became aware that not everyone feels the same way I do about certain football players. Such as my general dislike of Cam Newton, even though he is a good quarterback.
Meanwhile, others will fight to the death for a certain player. Duly noted.
I've had this discussion many times before with family and friends, as you have probably had as well.
"I don't like so-and-so as a quarterback."
"I don't know. I just don't like him."
No further comment needed.
And, for some odd reason, in football, the mean girl comes out of me and I feel free to say, "Hey, he can win football games, but I'm still not a fan." And that's okay! We all do this, right?
With that being said, as a fan of the Green Bay Packers, here is a list of football players that you either love, or hate and some of the possible reasons behind it.
Michael Vick: Redeemed or Rejected
Oh, Michael Vick...
Such a promising young player while he was with the Atlanta Falcons. And during that time, who didn't think that he was an exciting player that could win football games and have a stadium full of cheering fans?
And then came the dog fighting.
This slide goes out to my husband, Manpig, who loves our beagle like she is his fifty-pound, furry, floppy-eared child.
Michael Vick's off-field lifestyle should be a cautionary tale for all young players entering the NFL: If you want to throw away your career, follow in his footsteps prior to his prison term.
While Vick has redeemed himself in the eyes of a lot of football fans, when he was first signed with the Eagles, there had to be heightened security due to protests from animal rights activists. There was heightened security with his return to Atlanta last week.
Whenever you need a stronger police presence, just to play a football game, you know that you are truly hated by some.
On the flip side, Vick has a lot of fans who have forgiven him for his off-the-field antics.
He can still win football games, even have miraculous wins. But the memory of his crime is a hard one to stomach for a lot of people.
Yes, he has paid for his crimes. But his name, and therefore his legacy, will be tainted for a very long time.
Tom Brady: the Golden Child
Oh, Tom Brady...
I'm pretty sure you have been blessed by the gods. You are a Super-Bowl winning, football-throwing, supermodel-marrying machine, my friend.
When Bill Belichick signed his name on the dotted line, which may or may not have sold his soul to the devil, a quarterback such as you was guaranteed.
Or, if you are not the religious sort of football fan, and are more science-based, Tom Brady may have been created in some super secret New England lab, where they are churning out limited editions of elite quarterbacks, only to be used in New England.
Oh, Tom Brady, how you torment me.
Brady wins, and not only because of the deal with the devil that his coach made.
Brady is one of the few people in the world that I have heard my laid-back, 60-year-old mother go on a rant about for 30 minutes at a time.
"Tom Brady, elite quarterback. Tom Brady, Tom Brady, Tom Brady! Well! Let's just give his ego a BIGGER boost!"
Yeah, when you have to threaten to sedate your mother, you realize that Brady has that effect on people.
If you are a New England Patriots fan, you are probably pretty pleased with your quarterback due to his winning record, his impressive statistics and genetically gifted wife. If you are a fan of another team, such as I, you see him and growl curse words.
Brady doesn't even get "helmet hair" when he takes off his helmet. Why, I've seen him take his helmet off on the sideline, shake his glossy, flowing locks like Fabio on the beach ONE time, and look well-coiffed.
If that doesn't show that Bill Belicheck has made a deal with the devil, I don't know what does.
A comparision, if I may?
Clay Matthews has some of the best-known hair in the NFL. When he takes off his helmet, he has helmet hair. He's sweaty, his hair (which he purposely wets down with water despite freezing temperatures) is kind of funked out and that is NORMAL.
Brady? Not so much. No sweat, no helmet hair. That is just absolutely sick and wrong.
Tom Brady. Pfft!
Warren Sapp: Trash Talker, Loves to Dance
In November 2002, Warren Sapp became one of the most-hated people on many Green Bay Packers fan's list of football players. The reason? He danced, after what some called a dirty hit on Chad Clifton.
The story goes a little something like this: Brett Favre threw an interception (I know, surely I jest right?), Warren Sapp threw a block on Chad Clifton who was nowhere near Brian Kelly, who had possession of the ball, and then Warren Sapp did a little dance while Chad Clifton was on the ground with a severely sprained hip and numbness in his legs.
After the game, then head coach Mike Sherman sought Sapp out to have a little discussion about the hit and Sapp's celebration.
The gist of the conversation? Sherman accused Sapp of being a "chicken-BEEP" and Sapp accused Sherman of being "a lying (expletive) hound" and that Sherman was lucky that Sapp wasn't "25 years old without kids and a conscience. Boy, it would have been ugly...He would have gotten a (butt) whupping, right on the 30-yard line. I wouldn't have even thought about it."
Yeah, it was that serious.
I remember watching this game, and at the time, I was rooting for the Bucs. Keep in mind, I was drunk a lot during that time frame.
But Sapp, who I liked as a football player, could always talk a good game of trash and did so that night. While Sherman appears to have sought Sapp out, Sapp didn't back down.
Even though this game occurred almost nine years ago, to the fans of the Green Bay Packers, this incident remains clear in their minds.
How do I know this? When Warren Sapp was on "Dancing With the Stars," one of my friends said, "I'm not voting for that BLEEPITY-BLEEP! He wants to talk trash, he shouldn't do it in Green Bay."
You know it's serious when Green Bay fans won't vote for someone on "Dancing With the Stars!"
Auman, Greg. "Sapp, Pack coach square off with barbs." St. Petersburg Times, November 25, 2002. http://www.sptimes.com/2002/11/25/Bucs/Sapp__Pack_coach_squa.shtml
Brian Urlacher: If Only...
Brian Urlacher of the Chicago Bears is a beast. Yes, he is a Chicago Bear, but he is vicious.
He would probably play football without the pads and helmet and still attack. And love him or hate him, he is a seasoned veteran who is an awesome player, when he is healthy.
I know, I know...You're probably saying, "Okay, you, Jackie, are a Packers fan. What are you doing saying good things about Brian Urlacher?"
Did you not read that he is a beast? In a perfect world, Brian Urlacher would be a Green Bay Packer.
But, alas, he is not.
After the Packers beat the Bears in the playoffs on January 23, 2011, and the Packers went on to Super Bowl XLV, Brian Urlacher stated that he was not rooting for the Pack in the Super Bowl.
Unfortunately for Urlacher, the Packers went on to win.
Unfortunately for the Packers, I don't think that Urlacher will forget the loss to the Pack. See you on Sunday, Brian.
Some people may also say, "Hey, Jack! Why didn't you put Jay Cutler in the most loved or hated player category?"
Well, Jay Cutler is not hated by a lot of Packer fans. We enjoy watching his sideline expressions of general unhappiness. And, for the most part, Packer fans enjoy commenting on Jay Cutler's overall level of play.
Cutler may not be hated by Packer fans, but please believe we do like having him around for general tormenting.
I have never seen Jay Cutler smile or look pleased that he is the starting quarterback of the Chicago Bears. Come to think of it, I have not met a lot of Bears fans that actually enjoy having Jay Cutler as their quarterback.
I've said it before: When the leader of the free world (aka President Obama) talks trash about you, you're probably not a fan favorite.
He Who Shall Not Be Named: You Know, Brett Favre?
Oh, Brett Favre...
You knew this one was going to be in here. This one is a double header.
After Favre left the Packers, a lot of fans were okay with him playing for the New York Jets. It was kind of like, out of sight, out of mind.
Green Bay Packers fans could root for Brett Favre as he was in a far, far away land, happily (allegedly) taking pictures with his cell phone. Therefore, fans of the green and gold could start watching Aaron Rodgers take over the reigns of the Packers.
Life was good, Wisconsin began to heal from the loss of Brett Favre and life started to return to normal.
Then, he went to the Minnesota Vikings.
This story has been played out a million times before. But, what you may not understand is that when Brett Favre went to the Vikings, many fans in Wisconsin choked on their brats and began to sob in their beer.
The drama of retirement/no retirement/retirement/no retirement! The fact that Ted Thompson and Mike McCarthy allowed the "train to leave the station" in the first place! The dilemma over if we should love Aaron Rodgers or hate him! And, the VIKINGS? THE VIKINGS of all teams!
It was EXHAUSTING!
Still, to this day, there are people in Wisconsin who will only grudgingly accept Aaron Rodgers as the quarterback of the Green Bay Packers, and this is after this incredibly talented young man WON A SUPER BOWL, including the MVP, and made fantasy football people weep with joy at his incredible statistics.
For these people, Brett Favre remains a Packer. Please note that they may or may not have their own fantasy football going on in their heads.
It's probably not a good idea to remind them that it is 2011 and Aaron Rodgers is doing pretty well. They may break down and have to be sedated.
A brief recap, if I may? Brett Favre is retired. Aaron Rodgers is awesome. Feel free to discuss amongst yourselves.
The Future: Cam Newton and the Other Rookies
Yes, Cam Newton is worth mentioning again.
But with Cam Newton, we also need to include the current rookie class of the NFL. We have only seen two regular season games with the new starting rookies, so their personalities and quirks are not as familiar as Newton's.
But take heart, friends! After this year, we will see who among the rookies like to talk trash, like to do victory dances and like to cause general mayhem out in the community.
Ahh, the future looks bright.
The Rebels: Causing General Mayhem, Making Headlines
This is a shout-out to all of the "naughty" football players out there!
Adrian Peterson was busted for driving 109 miles per hour in a 55 mile per hour zone. While this is a safety risk to both himself and other drivers, there are other notable football players who seem to enjoy meeting local law enforcement officers.
And while I would love to say that the Green Bay Packers are immune and above the law, that is sadly not the case.
Johnny Jolly and Brandon Underwood (formerly of the Packers), anyone?
I do not recommend making the same choices as any of the players who seem to find themselves on the wrong side of the law, but it does warrant commentary and discussion about how these talented athletes can make really bad decisions.
If you are an NFL player, you should not make it your goal in life to find out the effects of a Taser. Nobody wants to see how many shots from a Taser it takes to take you down. Additionally, nobody wants to see the video on Youtube of you being tased, which results in you flopping on the ground and potentially wetting your pants.
If this is your goal, I may have some friends who are police officers that can assist you in perfecting your form, prior to making a Youtube video.
You just let me know.
The Conclusion: Follow Your Heart and You'll Be Just Fine
Yeah, I know...
There's a lot of football players missing on this list, and that was intentionally done in the interest of time.
You may be asking, "What about Peyton Manning, Jack? What about Tony Romo?" To these people I say, "Your words have been heard, friends."
But with Peyton Manning allegedly seeking stem cell treatments for his neck injury and Tony Romo having a broken rib, it kind of takes the fun out of it, you know? And it can't be ALL quarterbacks. What about some variety?
But take heart, friends!
I've found that being a fan of the Green Bay Packers, in addition to living in Wisconsin, means that you can find a different football player to genuinely dislike EVERY SINGLE WEEK during the football season.
Take comfort in the fact that football is indeed an outlet for all of your anger and frustration, especially if the Packers don't win. And in case the Packers lose, you can always rely on beer to numb your pain.
In addition, feel free to march to the beat of your own drummer (or in my case, my own band, complete with horn section and baton twirlers) and be a fan of whoever you want!
Don't hide the fact that you have the Packers team photo hanging in your office! Don't let others bully you into taking down the poster of the Super Bowl MVP that dominates your office space, like Aaron Rodgers dominates defenses!
Take heart that co-workers will randomly come into your office, stop and stare at the true awesomeness of the Green Bay Packers and not say a word before quietly leaving!
But not before you get the sigh at the memories of Super Bowl XLV from your co-worker and then the "We are one" nod before leaving.
Be a fan, man. Be a fan.