Sports Illustrated recently polled 287 players and 272 players respectively, on who were the meanest and the nicest players in the NFL today. Before we check out the results, considering there are 15 on each poll, imagine 2 teams of nice vs. evil, good vs. bad, going head-to-head in a Pro Bowl-type match. (Well, not the Pro Bowl because no one cares about that game but some form of exhibition game.) That begs the question though, who would win, mean or nice?
Would the nice team be so friendly, it’d mess with the mean guys heads and psych them out or would the mean players be way too mean and beat the crap out of the nice guys?
The majority of the nice players are on offense, full of QBs, RBs & WRs. Conversely, it’s quite a contrast to what the majority is on the Mean Team. Mainly defense, especially linebackers and linemen. Wonder why? Maybe because it’s what they do – be the aggressor, the attacker; even if a few do take it a little too far at times.
Funnily enough, one team had the 2 top ranked (or polled) players. Pittsburgh Steelers – James Harrison & Troy Polamalu. Weird and kind of suspicious.
So, do nice guys always finish last? Or do mean guys finish last because they keep getting penalized?
I’ll let you think about that, but in the meantime here are the results:
1. James Harrison – Pittsburgh Steelers
The often outspoken linebacker was quoted in the infamous “Hitman-Men’s Journal” article as saying, “If that man (NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell) was on fire and I had to piss to put him out, I wouldn’t do it. I hate him and will never respect him.” Numerous hard hits (giving him the name “Hitman”, incidents on & off the field have caused this linebacker numerous All-Pro honours, a DPOY award in ’08 and a bad ass rep, to go nicely with his 2 rings.
2. Ray Lewis – Baltimore Ravens
The heart & soul of the Ravens for so long, he killed a guy. (And it wasn’t Dustin Keller..)
3. Ndamukong Suh – Detroit Lions
Half man, half beast. Some say he only eats the flesh of college kids, others say he line dances with the elderly every Wednesday night. All Jake Delhomme knows it that it hurts to get your helmet twisted by Suh. Some will say he’s dirty, some will say he plays hard. Either way, don’t piss him off & don’t challenge him to a line-dance-off. It won’t end well for you.
4. Richard Seymour – Oakland Raiders
You saw what he did in that Pats-Raiders game in week 4 right?
Nuff said. He plays hard, he plays with passion. See: Suh. (Above.)
5. Richie Incognito – Miami Dolphins
Originally drafted by the Rams, he’s a nasty kid to play against. Frequently ranks as one of the dirtiest players to play against. He’s been known to headbutt players, chop block, abuse officials & often gets fined by the league for his play. Protect the eyes, because he’ll come after you and probably snack on your ear at halftime.
6. Terrell Suggs – Baltimore Ravens
Something about these Rex Ryan taught players that have a common link. Either way, Suggs is one bad ass mutha. Whether he’s wearing a mean shirt poking fun at Steelers or sacking your grandmother, don’t make eye contact with him.
7. Harvey Dahl – St. Louis Rams
Known to push the limits, even after the whistle, most guys don’t like to play against him. He’ll get under your skin and in your face.. literally. Plays hard, blocks late in plays.. good player to have on your team, annoying player to play against.
8. Hines Ward – Pittsburgh Steelers
Some call him dirty, some call him a classic WR who likes to get in there and help his team with the run blocking. He takes cheap shots, but for the most part he’s a hard hitting WR who plays hard, pushes the limits and is a player you’d hate to face but love to have on your side. Much like a few of these players on the list.
9. Laron Landry – Washington Redskins
Hard nosed, built, hard hitting safety who’s still making a name for himself with hits like this, game in & game out:
10. Olin Kreutz – New Orleans Saints
From the Bears comes Kreutz. A veteran of multiple awards who gained some street cred for breaking the jaw of fellow OL Fred Miller back in’05 during an off-field incident. It only takes one incident and your whole image can be changed/marked for your career.
11. Jared Allen – Minnesota Vikings
The Cowboy himself is a wild animal. He loves to hunt, was a roadie for Motorhead when he was younger, once blindsided Johnny Knoxville in Jackass 3D, loves to sack QBs and he’s a blue collar boy from Texas who likes his mane longer than most. With the handlebar mo, he rocks the Metrodome and opposing QBs with his determination, his high-energy motor and his sometimes borderline dirty play. He walks the line, and that’s what makes him great. One of the best DE’s in the game, he’s entertaining to watch and a pain in the ass if you’re playing against him.
12. Steve Smith – Carolina Panthers
One of the few offensive players on the list (which says a lot) Smitty carries a chip, plays with passion & uses every pound of his body to make plays. His competitiveness & fire is what makes him the great player he is, sometimes that fire can ignite and get out of hand and his teammates (twice) can cop it or the other team can. Just last week, he took care of Malcolm Jenkins by the face mask..
Players have taunted him, before and during the game & it never ends well. A fired up Smith is what the Panthers like, and what opposing teams fear.. and yet they still do it. Hard not to like the little guy. Just don’t call him little to his face.
13. Jerome Harrison – Detroit Lions
Unless he’s related to James, not sure why he’s on here. (Unless Lions fans just wanted to win at something.. hah, can’t use that joke anymore. Fail.)
14. Cortland Finnegan – Tennessee Titans
Fancypants is just on here because he “scuffled” with Andre Johnson. He’s more of a bitch than a mean player.
15. Shawne Merriman – Buffalo Bills
Not as bad ass in recent times (mainly due to unproductive/injury-plagued seasons), but the guy has the nickname “Lights Out” for a reason. Still a threat to cause some pain on the field, if not off the field, even if he is ‘roided up most of the time. Either way, he’s scary to look at & he probably cut someone off in traffic once which makes him mean.
1. Troy Polamalu – Pittsburgh Steelers
He has nice hair. It’s soft. A mean guy doesn’t have soft hair.
2. Drew Brees – New Orleans Saints
I don’t get why he is on here. He cured cancer? No. He played QB in a city that had a hurricane. Oh ok.. cool story.
3. Peyton Manning – Indianapolis Colts
If the NFL had a version of the Lady Byng Trophy for Gentlemanly Conduct and Nice Play, he’d probably get it every season. That and he plays for the Colts, was coached under super nice guy Tony Dungy and makes awesomely ridiculous (and lots of them) commercials. Some may call him a douche, but they’re most likely Pats fans.
4. Larry Fitzgerald – Arizona Cardinals
He’s quiet, humble & he’s smart. A good choice for the list. Plus he gives to charity which although a lot of players do, he seems less douchey about it and more horse-like.
5. Matt Hasselbeck – Tennessee Titans
I don’t know why he’s on here. I think players just named QBs of small-town football teams. Maybe because he’s bald & everyone felt sorry for him?
6. Tim Tebow – Denver Broncos
Yeah.. is he really that nice?
7. LaDainian Tomlinson – New York Jets
One of the great RB’s of our generation, he’s a quiet and humble man beneath that famous dark visor & helmet and lets his play on the field do all the talking. Have to admire athletes like him, a refreshing change from what we see when guys like Chad Ocho Cinco & Terrell Owens yap it up, steal the spotlight. Unselfish is what is when you keep your mouth shut. No mouthing at the officials, no chirping at the other team, just go out and play football.
8. Tom Brady – New England Patriots
He’s Tom Brady, not Tom Cruise. I find that just because he’s a QB, doesn’t make him nice. I’m sure he’s frightened small children before. I’m sure of it.
9. Jeff Saturday – Indianapolis Colts
Maybe it’s because he’s a centre, maybe it’s because he’s a Christian, maybe it’s because he was coached under Dungy, or maybe it’s because he plays with Manning. Personally, I think the reason he’s so nice.. how can you NOT like a guy with those eyes..
10. Nnamdi Asomugha – Philadelphia Eagles
Aso is a great corner, but an even better philanthropist. Off the field, he spends most of his time helping in education and in the community. He has the Asomugha Foundation, aimed at providing shelter for orphans and widows in need in Nigera as well as teaming up with selected students across the Bay Area and taking them on tours to colleges across the country. He’s a regular guest at the Clinton Global Initiative. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clinton_Global_Initiative)
His list of community service and accolades in trying to make the world a better place are too long to list here, but he’s a good guy. He may not be the nicest person on the field, but he’d be up there and as soon as the pads come off, you know he’s out there helping provide to others what they’re not as fortunate to have as he is.
11. Aaron Rodgers – Green Bay Packers
Why isn’t Rodgers #1? Srsly. This is a guy I’d have a beer with.
12. Calvin Johnson – Detroit Lions
A quiet achiever in the NFL, much like Pavel Datsyuk with the Red Wings. CJ is an underrated player in the league (much like Datsyuk) and yet is one of the league’s best at what he does, in a freakish, I-can’t-believe-he-just-did-that-OMG-my-pants-are-wet-and-on-my-head-where-did-I-put-my-finger-it-smells kind of way.
13. Tony Romo – Dallas Cowboys
Really? Hah.. nice joke guys. Who’s at 14.. seriously?
Is he on here because he almost married Jessica Simpson?
14. Donovan McNabb – Minnesota Vikings
He has a nice smile and apparently smells like apricots. Apart from that, he had to put up with the T.O saga and didn’t smash T.O in the face, even when everyone else would’ve turned a blind eye if he did. He put up with Vick and Kolb coming in & basically taking his job from him in Philadelphia & all with a smile and no trash talk, taking it in stride. Then he survived the benching in DC, only to move to Minny where he’s no doubt copping more crap and all this & he’s still a really nice guy. Hard not like a guy who just won’t quit & just won’t let all that get to him.
15. Brian Dawkins – Denver Broncos
Former team mate of McNabb, Brian Dawkins is a long time vet, long time good guy. Has been nominated for the Walter Payton Award of the Year & after Dawk signed with the Broncos in ’09, an Eagles employee who was a ‘gate chief’ at Lincoln Financial Field was fired by the Eagles after he posted on his Facebook page expressing his disappointment in the Eagles. Dawk announced that he would give his two allotted game tickets for the Eagles-Broncos game to the guy, saying, “I felt it would be a good thing, to reach out to that individual and just let him know how much I appreciate it.” Classy guy, future HoFer no doubt.
So there we have it. 2 contrasting lists, 15 very different players of different levels.
Personally, I think getting 2 teams like this together, to compete against each other is genius. There’s a movie plot in here. Evil vs. good, angels vs. demons.. who doesn’t love a good face-off?!
Considering this idea would never reach Goodell’s desk (unless I mail the proposed blueprint & slip it inside his birthday card) here is an idea worth sharing if you have the time. Potentially go into Madden, create 2 teams, add these players in, simulate the game between the 2 & see what happens..
I know, it’s borderline insane. And I know this is way too much analysis for a fluff piece, but I might as well get some ludicrous ideas into your mind while you waste your time reading this blog, like how the uniforms could be that of red and black for mean, white on white for nice. Halo on the helmet, horns on the other.
Now that, that would be cool.
So what say you? Agree/disagree with some of these selections? Would you add in any other players or take some out, on your own list?
Let us know!