Ranking the 11 NFL Players with the Most Swag
The NFL player finishes scoring a touchdown, making a sack or picking off a pass, and he lets the world know about it. He beats his chest, does a dance or flexes for the camera. By the time he goes back onto the field, he's at it again, talking trash to his opponents, letting them know he's about to embarrass them again.
It's the sort of thing your parents and grandparents hate but you can't get enough of. It's swagger. It's confidence, cockiness, whatever you want to call it. Fill in the blank. That's what it is.
It comes in different ways. It can be loud, or it can be quiet. It can be public, or it can be private. But however these players have it, rest assured—it's there.
Here are some players who have "it" just brimming over the edge. You'll notice one exclusion. Chad Ochocinco is currently on swagger sabbatical and will be returning shortly. We hope.
So, without further ado, the 11 NFL players with the most swag. Why 11? Well, anyone can do a top 10, but to go up to 11? That requires some attitude, some flair. Some swag.
11. Darrelle Revis
Nick Laham/Getty Images
Nobody in the NFL has more right to be amazed with himself than Darrelle Revis.
The guy is a shutdown, must-avoid corner in an era in which the passing game has grown almost unstoppable. The rules favor passing, and every quarterback seems to be marching his team up and down the field.
Meanwhile, the guy wearing No. 24 in New York was holding quarterbacks to a rating of 2.9—2.9!—entering last weekend's game.
That's unheard of. Before this year, that number would seem impossible.
Revis is the best defensive player in the game, and he knows it. He challenges wide receivers, famously calling Randy Moss a "slouch." He embraces the "Revis Island" moniker, appearing in a Dick's Sporting Goods and Nike commercial centered on the name.
He's quiet and mild-mannered on the field. But don't be fooled. He's got swag, and he's earned it.
10. Philip Rivers
Peter Aiken/Getty Images
Philip Rivers is a cocky so-and-so.
From the moment he entered the league and began his role as San Diego Chargers centerpiece, Rivers has made a name for himself. In 2007, only his second full season as a starter, he made headlines for jawing at Broncos quarterback Jay Cutler in the middle of a game.
The years since have done little to erase the notion that that's who Rivers is. He's always intense, always riled up. He carries himself with bravado and doesn't back down from a challenge against anyone.
While these qualities undoubtedly repel some fans, Rivers has drawn some of them back in with his toughness. His decision to play the 2007 AFC Championship Game on a torn ACL was truly gutsy and heroic.
Even if you still don't like Rivers, he's not going to care. He's got a definite swagger to his step, and he's not going to lose that.
9. Steve Smith
Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images
Steve Smith is a wild man on the field. At 5'9", 185 pounds, Smith has made a living in the NFL by being a spark plug whose passion never dies out.
Of course, when you combine that passion with a skill set that has enabled him to rack up 666 catches, 9,802 yards and 56 touchdowns, you're going to get some flair that goes with it.
Smith commands attention wherever he goes and loves to play to the spotlight. He's as competitive a player as there is in the game, but he knows how to have fun as well.
Whether it's his touchdown celebrations or his ability to create highlights every time he steps on the field, Smith sets an example in the power of attitude. With the 32-year-old having one of the best years in the league, there will be plenty of opportunities for him to flaunt himself in the near future.
8. Aaron Rodgers
Donald Miralle/Getty Images
Aaron Rodgers may be No. 8 now, but he's definitely rising up the list.
Rodgers' stock is rising faster than any quarterback's in the league, and he has the flash to go with it. The "championship belt" celebration was the start of it, but after his MVP performance in Super Bowl XLV and his red-hot start to this season, Rodgers' swagger is going through the roof.
There's no more blatant display of self-confidence than crowning yourself a champion. Rodgers did it, and he backed it up.
7. Brian Urlacher
Scott Cunningham/Getty Images
At first glance, you'd think Brian Urlacher is the swagger antithesis. He plays for the Chicago Bears, who take pride in being unglamorous, and he rarely takes part in wild celebrations on the field.
But don't be fooled. The captain of the present-day Monsters of the Midway has plenty to his personality. He was linked with Paris Hilton off the field, not to mention that being a dominant middle linebacker is sure to put some pep in your step.
The biggest reason for Urlacher's inclusion, however, came in an Old Spice commercial from 2008. In only about 15 seconds, Urlacher manages to be funny, stylish and then simply intimidating.
The deodorant's name? "Swagger." It's not a coincidence.
6. Reggie Bush
Jamie Squire/Getty Images
Most of the players on this list are either Pro Bowlers or future Hall of Famers. Reggie Bush isn't one of them, but when it comes to swag, he's up there with the best of them.
Everything Bush does is rooted in flair. Dazzling punt and kickoff returns. Electrifying speed on screen passes and dump-offs. Breathtaking jumps where he covers five yards in the blink of an eye. Kim Kardashian. Everything.
When Bush was a freshman in college, he was an awe-inspiring athlete in, of all cities, Los Angeles. In the years since, he's never left the spotlight. There's a draw to him that isn't there for many athletes. His career hasn't panned out the way it was expected to since he was drafted second overall in 2006, but when he steps on the field, eyes become glued to him.
Bush certainly enjoys the attention. He was dubbed a savior when he was drafted by a rebuilding (in the truest sense of the word) Saints team, and he didn't shrink from that limelight. Now that he's in Miami, there's very little chance we'll see that side to him fade away.
5. Terrell Suggs
Rob Carr/Getty Images
Terrell Suggs' nickname alone puts him on this list. "T-Sizzle" is a pass-rushing menace on the field, and he's treated as such.
Suggs loves to talk, loves to dance and loves to promote himself. His intro to a Monday Night Football game against Pittsburgh was a perfect example. It's so outrageous, so over the top, and yet so in line with the kind of personality he is.
As John Harbaugh said, "Nobody has more fun than Terrell Suggs." Anybody watching him gets that impression. He's a star, he plays like a star and he carries himself like a star. Swagger embodied.
4. Tom Brady
Jim Rogash/Getty Images
Listening to Tom Brady talk is like getting a lesson in confidence. He's always sure of himself, always in control, always confident that, in the end, he'll be the one coming out on top.
Oftentimes, that quiet confidence spills into full-blown attitude on the field. Brady prefers not to say much during the week, but he's as intense a competitor as there is in the league, and when pushed, he'll erupt.
One of the most famous instances of this came in 2007 when New England played Pittsburgh. Steelers safety Antonio Smith predicted a Pittsburgh victory, and when he was responsible for allowing two touchdown passes in the game, Brady made sure to get in his face on his way down the field.
Brady also pulled a similar stunt against the Jets last December, as his fist-pumping and pointing riled up the players and coaches on the New York sideline. If your demeanor is upsetting the Jets, of all teams, you know your swagger is top-notch.
He's also got a supermodel wife, three Super Bowl rings and two NFL MVPs—plenty of reason for someone to become, as former teammate Damien Woody called him in Michael Holley's Patriot Reign, "a cocky (SOB)."
3. Clay Matthews
Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images
Everything about Clay Matthews is swag. Where do you begin?
The long hair? The flexing poses after sacks? The Southern California personality?
Matthews has become one of the most popular players in the game for all of those reasons. He makes big play after big play, gets the crowd on its feet and then caters to it. Matthews has built his style knowing full well that the NFL is as much about entertainment as it is about competition.
Even Matthews' position is a swagger position. Like Suggs, Matthews gets to stand at the line of scrimmage, pin his ears back, race 100 miles per hour at the quarterback and fly into him full speed. It's not a position for the timid. It is a position for the wild, the reckless and the slightly crazy.
In his only opportunity so far in the Super Bowl spotlight, Matthews came through, forcing a game-changing fumble from Pittsburgh's Rashard Mendenhall. He talks and acts out a big game, but his play is more than able to back it up.
2. Ray Lewis
Larry French/Getty Images
The doors open. The smoke billows out. The crowd roars as Ray Lewis makes his entrance onto the field. He stops, waits a second and then launches into a dance as the crowd gets louder. It's full of crazy, spastic movements, and when he finishes, you can almost hear Ray screaming above all of the wild fans in attendance.
That's all you need to know. That is Ray Lewis. From that moment until the Ravens have played 60 minutes of football and are back in the locker room, Lewis is wearing his heart on his sleeve, playing with intensity, refusing to yield an inch on the field.
Lewis is a leader because of his swagger. He is arguably the most respected defensive player in the game due to his intensity and his unwavering confidence. Lewis plays every down as if it's his last, and he brings out the best in his team while bringing out the best in himself.
As team leader, he executes all of the responsibilities therein. Talking trash. Cracking jokes. Pumping up teammates. Engaging his opponents in four quarters of psychological warfare.
Of course, like Brian Urlacher, Lewis has been in Old Spice "Swagger" commercials as well. Something about that company, linebackers and swag. It knows how to find them.
1. DeSean Jackson
Chris Trotman/Getty Images
He doesn't have the Super Bowl rings. He doesn't have Old Spice commercials. Heck, he doesn't even have an extended contract right now.
But what DeSean Jackson does have is the single most electrifying on-field personality in football.
Jackson has an unparalleled charisma. He is the most dynamic playmaker in the game today, and someone watching football for the first time, knowing nothing about the rules or the finer elements of the sport, would be able to see Jackson on one play and know that he's a special player.
His celebrations are outlandish, ridiculous and border on disrespectful to the game, yet it is almost impossible to watch him play and not like him.
His swagger overflows the second he steps on the field. He knows that the entire moment is his, and he is there to dazzle us. More often than not, he does.
Jackson is this generation's equal to Deion Sanders and Randy Moss. He knows how unique his skill set is, and he thoroughly enjoys getting to put it on display for all of us.
There's not enough space here to go through all of his "moments." There's the early celebration of a would-be touchdown against Dallas in 2008, his over-the-top fall into the end zone against Dallas last year and his drawn-out celebration after his punt return for a touchdown against the Giants last year, but that's just the tip of the iceberg.
It's what he does, and who he is. He's in the right place. The spotlight burns in Philly, and Jackson loves to be the star.