Every NFL fan has that player. Someone that you can see a picture of and you begin to shudder. The mere mention of his name and your blood begins to boil. Whether it be because of the torment that they cause your team on the field or a persona and attitude that just rubs you the wrong way, we all have one of those players that I am talking about.
After several months of polling and research, we have put together an extensive list of the most hated NFL players of each NFL fan base. We will be breaking it into four parts, or four regions if you will. Starting with the West, and then the North, South, and East will follow.
Our research was compiled through extensive polling on social media, as well as digging through fan base archives. The beauty of social media is the ease and the number of people that we were able to reach when doing these polls. The downside? The age gap is fairly obvious, and so you will see from our list that hate for current players reigns supreme over the past.
So let’s get right to it, and we will begin with our divisions of the Western variety.
The Most Hated NFL Player Opponent Of Each AFC And NFC West Fan Base
Broncos Country – Tom Brady
He may not be a division rival but there is still No Broncos Country For Old Tom. The Denver fan base has been blessed with two of the greatest quarterbacks to ever step foot on the gridiron, but many still hold Brady in higher regard and Broncos fans do not take that lightly.
The hatred for Brady started when he took the league, and AFC, by storm, winning his first Super Bowl with no real trials or tribulations in his career. As a fan base that watched John Elway carry mediocre teams to the Super Bowl multiple times until finally winning one during his 15th season, Tom Brady and the New England fan base was much too spoiled.
Then something happened that had nothing to do with Brady, but made Broncos Country hate him even more. His offensive coordinator, Josh McDaniels, took over as the new head coach of the Denver Broncos after Mike Shanahan was fired. In under two years at the helm, McDaniels traded away fan favorites and top talent, isolated himself, was involved in a videotaping scandal and led the Broncos to an 11-17 record before being fired.
Two years later he was back in New England coaching Tom Brady and the Patriots, they won two more Super Bowls. Ask any Coloradan and they will tell you that McDaniels was merely sent by Brady and Belichick to sabotage the Orange and Blue, then to return to his former post with the Golden Boy.
It was too much of a coincidence for Brady not to be involved, right? Couple all of this with the Peyton Manning years in Denver and the historic rivalry that they created, and you have a man that is not welcome in the Mile High City. Drive down Colfax in Downtown Denver and you will see plenty of F#@$ You Tom Brady bumper stickers.
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Super Chargers – Jay Cutler
I would have thought that this hatred for Cutler would have cooled by now, but boy was I wrong. This distaste stems all the way back to when Jay Cutler was the quarterback for the Denver Broncos. Both Rivers and Cutler were young, cocky quarterbacks that had just recently become starters in the NFL, and played on rival teams in the same division.
The rivalry officially began on Monday Night Football during the holiday season. Cutler and Rivers were seen exchanging “pleasantries” from one sideline to the other, and I am pretty sure they were not exchanging secret Santa information. Interviews surfaced of the players expressing their malcontent for the other.
If your starting quarterback is vocal about not liking a specific player, then you can bet that the entire fan base will rally around this and the hatred will blossom. The rivalry was short-lived as Cutler was traded to Chicago in 2009, but the hatred lives on, at least as long as Rivers is still the QB for the Bolts.
Chiefs Kingdom – Philip Rivers
He’s loud. He’s obnoxious. He complains about just about every call/non-call. And he is a Pro Bowl quarterback that plays for your division rival. Not much more needs to be said.
Rivers is 13-12 against the Chiefs all-time in the regular season, finding success early in his career, but is 0-8 in his last eight games against them. The Chargers look to be on track and should have a very solid team this season, so this hatred could grow even more if Rivers can get back in the winning column this season.
Raider Nation – Aqib Talib
Aqib “2 Chains” Talib – 2, Michael Crabtree – 0. Talib may have left the Broncos, and Crabtree may have left the Raiders, but the short time that these two players had to build malcontent for each other spilled over to the fan base.
Part 1 of the “2 Chains” series began with a playful swipe. Crabtree and Talib are seen jawing at each other, and Talib rips Crabtree’s gold chain and brags about it to his teammates. Annoying? Yes. Ruthless? Not quite yet. But there was round two.
Part 2 escalated into a full-on melee. Easy to see why Raiders fans hate the guy, but aside from chain snatching, Talib has been relatively quiet against the Raiders during his time as a Bronco. He recorded 17 tackles, 1 sack, and 0 interceptions. Most of this you can attribute to his lockdown ability, and the unwillingness for quarterbacks his way. But it is safe to say that most of the hatred from Raider Nation, comes from his attitude on and off the field.
The Red Sea – Russell Wilson
Cardinals fans were kind of all over the place when it came to what player opponent they couldn’t stand the sight of. You had the older fans that remembered the days of playing in the same division as the Dallas Cowboys. So Emmitt Smith (funny because he finished his career with the Cardinals) and Michael Irvin were brought up by some.
Then you have the younger fans that have primarily had to deal with the dominance of the Seahawks for almost a decade. So most of their answers lay within the realm of Seattle. The overall consensus was that the dominance of Russell Wilson was just too much for The Red Sea to bear. I believe one responder even said that he hates his “silly backyard football type play to burn the Cardinals deep.” Here is a little example.
Horns Up – Richard Sherman
Rams fans were very adamant about expressing their hatred for the 49ers, but not so much in narrowing it down to a single player. So I was forced to do a little more digging. When you narrow it down to what player on each divisional team is most disliked, Richard Sherman’s name seemed to come up the most. And seeing as he went from one division rival to another, he has to be the obvious choice.
The newly anointed Jimmy G was the 2nd most mentioned player, but seeing as he has played the Rams as many times as Blaine Gabbert, it is much to soon to include him on this hallowed list.
Being a California kid, and then going from the past-dominant Seahawks to the up and coming 49ers, puts a target on Sherman’s back and causes malice in the hearts of Rams fans.
I’m sure many fans were relieved when he was released, only to find their blood pressure rising once he signed on the dotted line with the Niners. Buckle up Ramly, you have to face Sherman twice again this year.
Niner Nation – Russell Wilson
If I would have completed this poll four months ago this selection for the most hated player may have come out differently. But as it stands, Russell Wilson is the most hated player in Niner Nation.
A lot of rival fans see his persona and attitude as “phony” but for the most part, the distaste comes from his play on the field. When you have to play a guy this talented twice a year, you’re going to hate everything about him.
The 12s – Aaron Rodgers
Seattle fans decided to go out of their division and hate on someone from the NFC North. When comparing Russell Wilson to other quarterbacks, Aaron Rodgers comes to mind, maybe some of the hate comes from that.
Maybe it’s his persona and quiet cockiness that rubs Seahawks fans the wrong way? This would be a bit surprising considering the confident personalities that they have had over the years, but being able to look past your team’s discrepancies and find faults in others is what makes sports fun.
Or maybe it’s the fact that Rodgers is 5-2 in the regular season against the 12s. He has 10 touchdowns to 2 interceptions and a career passer rating of 101.5.
Whatever the reason is, there is no love for Aaron Rodgers in the Emerald City. Here are a few highlights to bring out the rage.
So there you have it. The most hated NFL player opponent of each AFC and NFC West fan base. What do you think? Agree or disagree? We would love to hear your opinion, and will even shout it out on our podcast The Coach and The Don!
Be sure to check back next week when we release the hated players of the AFC and NFC North!