The 50 Biggest Prima Donnas in NFL History

Tony Santorsa@@TonySantorsaSenior Writer IIOctober 14, 2011

The 50 Biggest Prima Donnas in NFL History

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    What is a prima donna? A prima donna is someone that will put themselves ahead of their team, someone that only cares about self-glory and self-production rather than being apart of a team's success. You can say that a prima donna is someone that is conceited, cocky, full of themselves and all in all, self-absorbed.

    With that being said, the NFL has had it's fair share of prima donnas. Whether it being Brett Favre, Terrell Owens or Matt Leinart—they're all considered prima donnas.

    In that spirit, here are the top 50 prima-donnas in NFL history. 

50. Dez Bryant

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    Dez Bryant hasn't done anything yet to be considered a prima donna, but he will. 

    Let's think about it, he's a star wide receiver for the Dallas Cowboys with Tony Romo as his quarterback, that's definitely the right mix to make someone cocky and full of themselves. 

    Also, don't forget that Bryant refused to take part in the NFL's tradition of friendly-hazing—talk about being cocky and "too good" for some team fun. 

49. Anquan Boldin

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    Anquan Boldin wanted a big pay-day from the Arizona Cardinals, but he never got it. 

    Boldin was Arizona's top wide receiver before Larry Fitzgerald got there, and after that Boldin simply didn't like being the sidekick. He had to be the center of attention. 

48. Charles Rogers

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    Charles Rogers had an extreme amount of talent coming out of college but it probably got to his head. Rogers was often compared to Randy Moss, but never lived up to expectations as he played only two seasons with the Detroit Lions.

    Apparently Rogers didn't have the work ethic to be great, he thought that his talent would get him by. 

47. Shannon Sharpe

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    Shannon Sharpe may have changed the game as one of the most athletic tight ends to ever play the game, but he was one hell of a trash-talker.

    At times, Sharpe seemed to be caught up with himself as he was without a doubt a cocky kind of guy.

46. Jeff George

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    Jeff George was a complete waste of talent. 

    Coming out of college, George complained and whined about anything. In fact, George even complained about the talent around him while he was with the Indianapolis Colts. 

45. Andre Rison

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    I believe and I'm sure that a lot of people will agree with me that Andre Rison was arguably the NFL's first prima donna wide receiver.

    Rison is the kind of guy that only cared about himself and his stats. He always wanted the ball and always put himself ahead of his team. 

44. Chris Johnson

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    Chris Johnson put himself ahead of his team, the Tennessee Titans, during this year's training camp. 

    CJ2K sat out all of the team's preseason as he was holding out for a contract. Well he got the pay raise, but has been a complete bust thus far this season for the Titans. 

43. Elvis Grbac

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    When Trent Dilfer was benched in favor of Elvis Grbac, he immediately thought that he was all that and his stuff didn't stink. 

    Grbac stunk up the field as he threw 18 interceptions in 2001 and only 15 touchdowns—talk about a guy who shouldn't be talking trash. 

42. Jeremy Shockey

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    Jeremy Shockey stormed into the league as a rookie with the New York Giants. Shockey is a vocal guy that's covered in tattoos and walks around like he's some rock-star. 

    Newsflash, Jeremy: You're just an NFL tight end that is not living up to your potential. 

41. Ricky Williams

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    Ricky Williams may not come off as a selfish person, but he might come off as a shy kind of guy. 

    Either way, Williams took a few years off to study the ancient Indian religion Ayurveda—a religion that involves a lot of marijuana usage.

    Williams put himself ahead of the Miami Dolphins simply because he wanted to get stoned. 

40. John Elway

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    John Elway a prima donna? You bet. 

    Elway was originally drafted by the Baltimore Colts and refused to play for them as he was eventually traded to the Denver Broncos as he threatened the Colts to play minor league baseball in the New York Yankees organization. 

    Well at least it worked out well for Elway. 

39. Keenan McCardell

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    When you think of a trash-talking wide receiver that only cares about himself, Keenan McCardell should come to mind.

    McCardell was one of the league's better receivers during his day, as he did the job of talking smack while his teammate Jimmy Smith was the professional wide receiver that did everything the right way. 

38. Bill Parcells

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    Bill Parcells has retired and unretired so many times that he's almost like Brett Favre.

    Parcells has been all over the east coast, coaching for the New York Giants, New England Patriots and New York Jets and it always seemed like he left on a negative note. 

37. Lane Kiffin

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    Where Lane Kiffin goes, it always seems like there's drama—whether it's at the NFL level or at the college ranks, Kiffin brings trouble. 

    Kiffin was a complete disaster as the Oakland Raiders' head coach as he was fired in 2008. He has yet to return to the NFL as he's now the head coach at USC. 

36. Rod Smart

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    First off, just look at Rod Smart's hair—he's just asking for attention. 

    Also, let's not forget his nickname: Rod "He Hate Me" Smart. 

    Smart didn't have a very successful career in the NFL as he scored only one career touchdown off of a kick return. 

35. Vince Young

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    Vince Young simply didn't work out as the Tennessee Titans' starting quarterback as some may say that he wasn't mentally stable to be the franchise's most important player.

    Now in Young's first year as a backup quarterback with the Philadelphia Eagles, he made probably one of the idiotic comments of all time when he declared the Eagles to be the NFL's "Dream Team." 

    Really? You're the backup quarterback for crying out loud. 

34. Adam "Pacman" Jones

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    Wherever Adam "Pacman" Jones goes, there's always trouble.

    Pacman has been in trouble with the law, he's tried rapping during his year of exile from the NFL and he's simply been an inconsistent teammate for whichever team he plays for.

    All in all, he's a waste of talent. 

33. JaMarcus Russell

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    JaMarcus Russell may be one of the biggest draft busts in NFL history, but he's also one of the league's biggest prima donnas.

    Russell didn't care about anyone besides himself, as he never dedicated himself fully to the Oakland Raiders and to being a professional athlete.

    The Raiders released Russell back in 2009 and he has yet to return to the NFL. 

32. Mercury Morris

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    Say what you want about Mercury Morris, but the way that he carries himself about how he was a member of the 1972 Miami Dolphins is really annoying and gets old real fast. 

    He's definitely a prima donna, don't you agree? 

31. Mike Ditka

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    Let's put it this way, Mike Ditka thought that he was the man. But do you blame him? He's a three-time Super Bowl champion and has a career winning percentage of 56 percent. 

    I'd be pretty cocky if I had that background, wouldn't you?

30. Buddy Ryan

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    Buddy Ryan was so full of himself and his defensive system that he thought he was bigger than the entire team. 

    In fact, when Ryan was the defensive coordinator of the Chicago Bears, it appeared that he believed that he was more important than the head coach, Mike Ditka. 

29. Terry Glenn

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    It's almost like Terry Glenn had something against going across the middle.

    Glenn's former head coach Bill Parcells often referred to Glenn as "she," as he was practically afraid to take a hit and was often injured

    She, I mean he, definitely put himself ahead of the team. 

28. Matt Leinart

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    Matt Leinart had the potential to be one of the NFL's next great quarterbacks.

    Coming out of USC, Leinart had all the fame and glory and was given the keys to the Arizona Cardinals franchise—and he failed miserably. 

    Leinart spent a lot of his free time acting like a celebrity attending wild parties and never really gave anyone any belief that he was dedicated to being an NFL starting quarterback. 

27. Tony Romo

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    How many current NFL players can you think of that tried out for the PGA Tour's USA Open? No one comes to mind besides Tony Romo.

    Does Romo seem that dedicated to football? He's partying during the playoffs and trying to play golf while being one of the league's biggest chokes. 

26. Michael Crabtree

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    Michael Crabtree sat out nearly his entire rookie season over a contract dispute—don't you think he put himself ahead of the San Francisco 49ers? Most definitely.

    Just another typical selfish wide receiver. 

25. Tiki Barber

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    Tiki Barber really burned some bridges during his departure from the NFL.

    When Barber tried to make a comeback this past offseason, no one wanted him; no one even showed any interest in Barber. 

    Barber is just a self-absorbed running back. 

24. Larry Johnson

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    Larry Johnson had the potential to be one of the NFL's elite running backs, but with the Kansas City Chiefs, he simply put himself ahead of the team.

    Johnson had gone at it with head coach Dick Vermeil several times and was even suspended by the team and was waived the day that he suspension ended. 

23. John Riggins

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    All John Riggins wanted was a new contract but Joe Gibbs and the Washington Redskins didn't want to give in.

    Riggins ended up sitting out the entire 1980 season and did not rejoin the team until 1981. 

    I think Riggins valued himself more than the team, making him a prima donna. 

22. Mike Vanderjagt

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    Mike Vanderjagt is arguably the NFL's cockiest kicker and arguably the biggest choke artist.

    Vanderjagt loved talking smack, even though he was just a kicker, making him a prima donna.

    Vanderchoke, I mean Vanderjagt, even got Peyton Manning a bit upset as he called him an "idiot kicker" and practically told him to shut the hell up. 

21. Freddie Mitchell

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    Freddie Mitchell talked a lot of trash for being a no-name wide receiver.

    Mitchell sounded off all week prior to Super Bowl XXXIX against the New England Patriots, as he talked trash about New England's secondary and their head coach, Bill Belichick.

    Mitchell and his Philadelphia Eagles ended up losing the Super Bowl as he recorded only one reception for 11 yards. 

20. Rex Ryan

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    I will admit that Rex Ryan is a great football mind and has the potential to be one of the NFL's greatest coaches, but he's so full of himself.

    Ryan has predicted his New York Jets to win the Super Bowl in every season that he's been the team's head coach. I mean, give up already, you're the only head coach making those bold predictions. 

19. Jerry Jones

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    Jerry Jones is one of the most recognizable faces in the NFL and arguably NFL history, he's without a doubt the face of the Dallas Cowboys. 

    Being the face and the owner of America's team, the Cowboys, there's definitely some cockiness and swagger that come along with it. 

18. Martin Gramatica

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    Just like Mike Vanderjagt, Martin Gramatica is just an idiot kicker that doesn't know his place on the football team.

    Gramatica was known for his over-the-top celebrations after he kicked goals. 

    There's no question that Gramatica wanted all eyes to be on him. 

17. Jay Cutler

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    Jay Cutler simply did not get along with former Denver Broncos' head coach Josh McDaniels.

    There were rumors of the Broncos potentially trading Cutler away in favor of then New England's backup quarterback, Matt Cassel. That obviously upset Cutler which ended up him being shipped off to the Chicago Bears.

    Cutler's worst moment as a Bear to date is back in last season's NFC Title game when he failed to finish the game as he sprained his MCL—wouldn't you have finished the game? I'm pretty sure that anyone who wants to succeed would have sucked it up and played. 

16. Plaxico Burress

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    Plaxico Burress definitely put himself ahead of the team back in 2008. 

    Burress was sentenced to jail-time as he shot himself in the foot when he was illegally carrying a loaded gun in his sweatpants—what an idiot. 

15. Eli Manning

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    Eli Manning did not step into the NFL on a very good note. 

    Manning was originally drafted by the San Diego Chargers, but refused to play for them as he was then later traded to the New York Giants for Philip Rivers.

    Manning simply didn't want to play in San Diego and obviously wanted to be in the nation's largest sports market. 

    Since then, Manning has made remarks as he's as good as Tom Brady and the NFL's best—give me a break, he's an interception machine. 

14. Michael Vick

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    Like Plaxico Burress, Michael Vick put himself ahead of the Atlanta Falcons.

    Vick was suspended from the NFL as he was sentenced to prison due to dog-fighting—how sick can you be?

    Vick completely screwed over the entire Falcons' organization and the city of Atlanta, as he left the franchise in pieces. 

13. Albert Haynesworth

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    There's only one thing that motivates Albert Haynesworth and that's money. If Albert's not making a lot of money, he will not give his best effort.

    Haynesworth signed an incredible $100 million contract with the Washington Redskins but simply did not get along with head coach Mike Shanahan and even showed up to training camp in terrible shape. 

    It's all about Albert Haynesworth in his mind. 

12. Joe Horn

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    Joe Horn is without a doubt prima donna but he definitely was entertaining.

    Horn had outrageous touchdown celebrations with his most memorable one being on national television when he pulled a cell phone out of the goal posts and made a phone call. 

    He is a prima donna, but he did bring swag to the New Orleans Saints franchise. 

11. Brandon Marshall

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    Brandon Marshall was just a very bad teammate in Denver. 

    During his only season with head coach Josh McDaniels, he was complete distraction. Marshall would purposely drop passes in practice and just wanted to make it clear that he did not want to be there—he put himself ahead of the team. 

10. Shawne Merriman

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    Shawne Merriman is a proven steroid user as well as being one of the NFL's biggest prima donnas of all time.

    Merriman was obviously so full of himself as he followed up each and every one of his sacks with his famous "lights-out" dance. 

9. Joe Namath

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    This one is a no-brainer, I mean he was called Broadway Joe for a season—he loved the spotlight and the attention.

    Joe Namath was definitely a party animal and was arguably one of the NFL's first ever prima donnas. 

8. Michael Irvin

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    Michael Irvin is without a question a prima donna, self-centered, cocky wide receiver. 

    Irvin played for America's team, the Dallas Cowboys, and had several run-ins with the law and had quite a few controversial comments. It's quite simple actually, Irvin wanted to be the center of attention at all times. 

7. Keyshawn Johnson

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    Practically the same could be said about any big-mouth wide receiver: They're cocky, full of themselves, only care about stats and looking good and they all want the ball every single play. 

    Did you know that you can also call Keyshawn Johnson, Me-Shawn Johnson? It makes perfect sense. 

6. Randy Moss

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    Randy Moss was a piece of work when he first came into the league with the Minnesota Vikings. With the Oakland Raiders, New England Patriots and for the team's he played for last year, he was always a distraction. 

    Moss became the first player in NFL history to be traded two times in one season as he played for three different teams, the Patriots, Vikings and the Tennessee Titans. 

    All of last season Moss stirred up trouble and was just not a happy camper. 

5. Jim McMahon

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    I will say one thing, Jim McMahon had an amazing mullet—other than that, he was a complete prima donna.

    McMahon always wanted to be the center of attention as he was always seen wearing big sunglasses, a headband around his head and always ran his mouth as the quarterback of the Chicago Bears. 

4. Chad Ochocinco

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    Who in the world would change their name to Ochocinco? Well I guess Chad Johnson would and he's probably the only person who would.

    If you change your name to the near-Spanish version of your jersey number, then you're pretty self-absorbed. 

    Do I really need to tell more about Ochocinco? He's just another cocky, conceited, big-mouth wide receiver. 

3. Deion Sanders

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    Deion Sanders is the center of attention; he is prime-time. 

    It's quite entertaining to see how cocky and self-absorbed Deion actually is. Deion always has to be the center of attention and he always wants to make the big play—which is good to an extent, but he clearly put himself ahead of the team, making him a prima donna. 

2. Terrell Owens

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    Terrell Owens is one of the NFL's all time greats, but this cocky wide receiver is without a doubt the second biggest prima donna ever. 

    T.O. always found trouble wherever he was, whether it was in San Francisco, Philadelphia, Dallas, Buffalo and Cincinnati—he simply had to be the show, he wanted everyone to watch him. 

1. Brett Favre

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    How can you disagree with Brett Favre being the biggest prima donna in NFL history? If you do, then you have no clue what you're talking about. 

    Favre has been retired how many times? To be honest with you, I actually couldn't care less and have refused to pay attention to this clown's antics over the past few seasons.

    Favre always has to be the center of the attention as he's been putting himself ahead of his team over the past couple of seasons with the New York Jets and the Minnesota Vikings. 

    Have you ever watched one of Favre's press conferences? He never talks about the "team" it's always "me" or "I." 

    He is a complete prima donna.