“The NFL, like life, is full of idiots.” – Randy Cross.
For as long as we’ve had NFL football, we’ve had NFL football players saying and doing stupid things. ”Nobody in football should be called a genius,” Joe Theismann once smartly proclaimed. ”A genius is a guy like Norman Einstein.” (He was doing so well.)
“Don’t say I don’t get along with my teammates,” Terrell Owens once stated. ”I just don’t get along with some of the guys on the team.”
Okay, I could keep dishing hilarious quotes, but I’ll move on. Because this isn’t just about the stupid things athletes say. It probably isn’t easy to avoid the odd hypocritical or oxymoronic comment when you’re forced to talk about the same issues day in and day out. No, I’ve dug slightly deeper (but remained quite shallow) in putting together a list of the 10 dumbest players in the league. Some are dumb for the things they say, others are dumb for the things they do, and others have a potent combination of column A and column B.
I know what you’re thinking: “But Brad, why make a list like this right now? Where’d this idea come from? And why hasn’t theScore fired you yet?” Well, hypothetical questioner, the answer is that the last few weeks have been particularly jam-packed with idiocy.
Last Tuesday: Giants safety Antrel Rolle likened booing players to booing soldiers returning from war.
Sunday afternoon: Pat Sims becomes the first player in the history of football, including Pop Warners, to fall for the no-brainer freeze.
Sunday night: James Harrison reiterates to Andrea Kremer that he thinks the NFL is out to get him for his illegal hits, which for the most part are, um, blatantly illegal.
Tuesday: Albert Haynesworth is suspended for the Redskins’ final four games, primarily for being a grade-A dumbass.
Anyway, on with the stupidest list you’ve ever seen…
1. James Harrison, Pittsburgh Steelers
The former defensive player of the year has always been known for his ability to inflict concussion-like symptoms on offensive players, and he’s always taken some heat for it. But this year, the NFL has changed the way it reacts to helmet-to-helmet hits and hits on defenceless receivers. Harrison doesn’t seem to understand that. The dude has racked up $125,000 in fines, and while he continues to insist that he won’t change the way he plays (kind of respectable) he also continues to insist that his hits aren’t illegal (kind of moronic).
But that’s not the only reason Harrison’s brain takes the cake. After the Steelers won Super Bowl XLIII, Harrison decided not to attend the ceremonial meet-and-greet with President Barack Obama. Why? Because he wouldn’t have been invited had he not won the Super Bowl. Yeah, James, that’s kind of the point…
“This is how I feel — if you want to see the Pittsburgh Steelers, invite us when we don’t win the Super Bowl,” said the 2008 defensive player of the year, who also didn’t join the team at the White House when they won Super Bowl XL. “As far as I’m concerned, he [Obama] would’ve invited Arizona if they had won.”
2. Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers
Isn’t it strange that one of the most dominant teams in the league has the two dumbest players? Or maybe it isn’t strange at all. When helping me brainstorm players for this list, theScore.com blog editor Joe Ross summed up Roethlisberger perfectly as “your classic giant meathead type.” That’s exactly what “Big Ben” is — a meathead who does dumb things and doesn’t appear to know right from wrong any better than a third-grader does.
3. Vince Young, Tennessee Titans
It’s a good thing I’m getting this list done now, before Young becomes the CFL’s stupidest player. VY might have had the mental wherewithal to survive and prosper on the campus of the University of Texas, but it’s been a different story in the NFL. Young, who infamously scored a 6 out of 50 on the Wonderlic test, continues to make decisions on and off the field that make you wonder if anything’s going on upstairs.
4. Albert Haynesworth, Washington Redskins
There’s obviously a big difference between stupidity and laziness, but I’m going to pull them together a little bit here. Haynesworth is easily the laziest player in the league, which is stupid in itself because the guy is pissing away his legacy. He has the talent and the measurements to be one of the best defensive tackles ever, but he continues to show that he doesn’t have the work ethic or the level of concentration required of an elite NFL player. He can’t grasp the Redskins’ 3-4 scheme (or at least he doesn’t want to grasp it) and he doesn’t exactly make the best decisions. Just ask Andre Gurode…
5. Antrel Rolle, New York Giants
It became obvious that Rolle wasn’t the brightest bulb when he decided to blast Tom Coughlin’s routine and the environment surrounding the Giants only a few weeks into his career with the G-Men. After Rolle reportedly had a conversation with Coughlin, he kept his mouth shot for a few months. And then there was this:
In an attempt to defend ripping Giants fans Tuesday for booing the team, Rolle said: “They want to make it that guys paid this much money for a ticket. Yeah, I understand that, I understand completely. We risk ourselves out there on the field each and every day also. When soldiers come home from Iraq you don’t boo them. I look at it the same way. I take my job seriously.”
Later, in a statement released by the team, Rolle said: “I used a very poor, inappropriate example earlier today to demonstrate how seriously I take my job. Obviously there is no comparison between the men and women of our military putting their life on the line defending our country and what I do.”
6. Jeff Reed, San Francisco 49ers
Reed is the NFL’s newest “idiot kicker.” There was the time he was cited by police for destroying a paper towel holder in a convenience store bathroom. And there was the time he was arrested for public intoxication. And of course there was the time he ripped on his team’s passionate fan base. Once he started missing easy kicks, too, that was it for this party boy — he was released by the Steelers earlier in the season.
7. Brandon Marshall, Miami Dolphins
Some might argue that Marshall is more childish than dumb, but I’d remind them that most children are dumb. Sure, he’s been arrested four times and infamously busted up his elbow after slipping on a McDonald’s bag, but he’s honoured in this Hall of Fame of Football Idiots for the way he acted in an attempt to get traded out of Denver. He screwed around in practice, refusing to catch passes, punting balls being used in drills and walking while his teammates ran. Twit.
8. Aqib Talib, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Talib is an extremely talented young cornerback, but there were questions surrounding his character before he even played a game in the NFL. He was dumb enough to get into a fist fight at the rookie symposium (you know, the event in which they tell you not to do things like get into fist fights) and he was arrested and suspended for allegedly striking a cab driver in 2009. Those incidents alone probably wouldn’t be enough to land a guy on a list like this, but then there was this last weekend:
According to reporters for the Tampa Tribune and St. Petersburg Times who witnessed the exchange, Talib started the altercation when he cursed an official over a second quarter pass interference call against Tampa Bay cornerback Myron Lewis. The call, which moved the ball 24 yards, helped set up a Baltimore touchdown, which gave the Ravens a 17-3 lead.
Reporters said Talib stalked after officials once off the field and said, “You made a p**** call.” One of the officials, according to a report in the Tampa Tribune, said, “You played like a p****.” That is when Talib reportedly threatened to punch the official and had to be restrained.
9. Donovan McNabb, Washington Redskins
While head coach Mike Shanahan blamed poor ”cardiovascular endurance” for his decision to bench McNabb late in a close game against the Lions, it’s considered much more plausible that Shanahan wasn’t confident in McNabb’s knowledge of the playbook. How freakin’ long does it take to get it all in your head? And then there was the fact McNabb didn’t know NFL games could end in ties.
10. Pat Sims, Cincinnati Bengals
I feel a little bad including Sims on this list, because I barely knew who he was until a few days ago. But falling for a no-brainer freeze in an unbelievably obvious situation with the game on the line is enough to move Sims into the Stupid Club: