What actually does it take to become loathed in your chosen sport?
Let us name some of the ways: apathetic play; being arrested; dirty hits; trash-talking; acting the prima donna; stiffing the fans; general boorish behavior. And we’re just skimming the surface of loutishness, folks.
In the long history of the NFL there have been many, and by that we mean army company strength, players who have for one or more reasons been loathed by fans, opponents, teammates, executives and media types alike.
Our list could very well fill a volume that would make “War and Peace” look like a Haiku.
One of the best examples of a generally hated individual (who we left off this list) was former Oakland Raiders defensive end/Hollywood actor John Matuszak. He was so disliked by his own teammates on the Raiders of the 70s and owner Al Davis — and that’s saying something — Sports Illustrated named him one of their Top 5 all-time bad boys.
The late Matuszak could be the poster boy for this villainous set, a lot of whom are great players and either in the Hall of Fame or destined for it.
Here are each franchise’s most hated players, with some teams having multiple entrants. Enjoy.
Hard-nosed Conrad Dobler has a special place among the all-time dirtiest players in the NFL — numero uno. Sports Illustrated named the former St. Louis Cardinals’ offensive guard “Football’s Dirtiest Player.” Drafted in the fifth round (110th overall) by St. Louis in 1972, Dobler quickly earned a reputation for a meanness unparalleled in the league. Sportswriter Paul Zimmerman put it best describing his play: “Conrad Dobler was mean dirty. He tried to hurt people in a bad way…he made teams that he played on better. He played hurt, didn’t complain, but he was a filthy, filthy player.”