Forbes released its "Most Disliked NFL Players" list Tuesday and the names, as should be expected, are all high-profile football players. The list is topped by none other than Michael Vick, the Philadelphia Eagles quarterback that just can't seem to get out from under the cloud of that dog-fighting conviction. But he's got a lot of company -- and a couple of the "disliked" NFL players (the list of which was posted on Forbes.com Oct. 22) that are on the list seem to be there for reasons only football fans can truly figure out.
What might be a bit surprising is that 70 percent of the top ten are quarterbacks. That being said, two of the entries are defensive ball players. And, no, the New England Patriots' former star Aaron Hernandez was not on the list -- as the list only allows active NFL members to have their names tainted with by being labeled "most disliked." Nor are owners and coaches -- hence the term "players" in the list title -- which rules out such list-ready unlikables as Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and New York Jets coach Rex Ryan.
And with that being said, here's who made the list, with percentage scores of "dislike" trailing, as compiled by E Market Research. All NFL players, as noted, are currently active and have a public recognition score of at least 10 percent.
Forbes Most-Disliked NFL Players 2013
1. Michael Vick, QB, Philadelphia Eagles -- 53
2. Manti Te'o, DLB, San Diego Chargers -- 48
3. Ndamukong Suh, DL, Detroit Lions -- 43
4. Ben Roethlisberger, QB, Pittsburgh Steelers -- 40
4. Mark Sanchez, QB, New York Jets -- 40
6. Jay Cutler, QB, Chicago Bears -- 33
7. Tony Romo, QB, Dallas Cowboys -- 32
8. Tom Brady, QB, New England Patriots -- 25
9. Carson Palmer, QB, Arizona Cardinals -- 24
10. Reggie Bush, RB, Detroit Lions -- 22
Michael Vick's placement in the poll is a carryover from his crossing a great many dog lovers, and even though its been four years since he completed a 19-month stint in prison for bankrolling a dog-fighting operation, he's still trying to live it down.
But rookie Manti Te'o is on the list for the bizarre episode involving a girlfriend that did not exist and an online relationship supposedly perpetrated by an acquaintance of Te'o, a guy who allegedly misrepresented himself as a woman. Add to the convoluted tale that Manti Te'o had told the press in several interviews that his all-star season at Notre Dame in 2012 was due to inspiration from the girlfriend (who had died of leukemia) that was later discovered by Deadspin to not exist. His 48 percent dislike score (second highest) is likely primarily made up of those who simply distrust him.
Ndamukong Suh's inclusion on the list is also for obvious reasons. He is considered a dirty ball player. Said NFL defensive star is brutal in his defensive pursuits, is unabashedly outspoken, and has racked up quite a few penalties, not to mention fines, in his short 4-season run. In fact, he was just fined last week for lowering his helmet and making helmet-to-helmet contact with Cleveland Browns quarterback Brandon Weeden.
Oddly enough, Ndamukong Suh is one of two Detroit Lions on the Forbes list. Turns out, quite a few dislike running back Reggie Bush as well. (Note that although the Lions have two on the list, neither are quarterbacks.) And, no, Bush's presence on the list is most likely not due to his former relationship with Kim Kardashian -- although a case could be made that he would have posted a higher dislike percentage had he still been with the reality show millionaire. No, Bush's name will most likely be forever darkened by the fact that he was part of the scandal and violations that led to his alma mater, USC, having their 2004 national championship voided, the school placed on probation, and his being asked to return the Heisman Trophy he was awarded that season.
Still, as noted, the list is quarterback heavy. This is undoubtedly due to quarterbacks being the faces of their respective teams. Besides the Steelers' Ben Roethlisberger's inclusion (several rape allegations throughout his career have not helped his image in general and not getting the Steelers into the playoffs last season hurt his reputation in the "City of Champions"), all other quarterbacks on the list are there for a variety of reasons.
Jay Cutler of the Bears is labeled by Forbes as a "perpetual sourpuss." Tom Brady is seen as too perfect: Supermodel wife, good looks, recording-breaking career. And as some are disliked for their success, some, like the Cowboys' Tony Romo, appear to be disliked despite their successes. Seen as a quarterback that puts up impressive numbers but can't seal the deal, as it were, Romo has it tough with a five-time Super Bowl winning team whose fan base expects a championship-contending team.
(For a complete run-down of the top ten Forbes listed NFL players and why they are so disliked, go to Forbes.com.)
Of the top ten most disliked NFL players of 2013, four made Forbes list of the "Most Disliked Athletes in America" for 2013, which was released in February. Manti Te'o ties for first on the list with bicyclist and Tour de France juicer Lance Armstrong. Jay Cutler was fourth on the list (right behind golfer Tiger Woods) and tied with Los Angeles Lakers forward Meta World Peace. Michael Vick was seventh and moving down the list, Forbes allowed, having once topped the list. Tony Romo rounded out the top ten, tied with Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant and NASCAR driver Kurt Busch, all tied in eighth place.