25 Most Overrated Sports Superstars of All Time

25 Most Overrated Sports Superstars of All Time

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While any list of overrated sports stars is bound to be filled with controversy, opinion and angry reactions, there are numerous reasons why some athletes should be considered overrated. The following superstars made the list for various reasons, whether it was media hype, lack of postseason accomplishments, arrogance, their era or embellished mythmaking. With hundreds to choose from, here are the 25 most overrated sports superstars of all time.

25. Michelle Wie

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25. Michelle Wie

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Wie was a casualty of media hype, as she was grossly over-publicized and promoted as the “next big thing” in golf. So much so, she’s played 13 times on men’s tours, and missed the cut in 12 of those events. Since turning pro in 2005 and joining the LPGA Tour in 2009, she has just three career tour wins. She’s a fine example of the fact that the media doesn’t know what they’re talking about.

24. Apolo Ohno

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24. Apolo Ohno

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Ohno is a victim of American Olympic hysteria as the media looks for bankable stars, except Ohno never quite lived up to the hype. In three trips to the Olympics, Ohno won just two gold medals. One of which was gifted to him via a controversial disqualification and the other with a false start that the judges didn’t call. Otherwise, Ohno would be 0-for the Olympics with a bunch of bronze.

23. Pete Rose

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23. Pete Rose

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Sometimes breaking a record doesn’t mean what people think it should. Sure, Rose is the all-time hits leader, surpassing Ty Cobb, but he had 3,000 more at-bats than Cobb and still barely beat the record. When compared with Cobb in every other statistical category, Rose looks downright average. In 24 seasons, Rose’s biggest accomplishments were longevity and getting banned from baseball.

22. Nolan Ryan

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22. Nolan Ryan

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Ryan also shows the overrated nature of the no-hitter. He had a mediocre 52.6 winning percentage going 324-292, never won a Cy Young, had a .309 on-base percentage allowed, a career 1.25 WHIP and allowed 2,795 walks, which is an MLB record by a country mile. No-hitters, longevity and punching out Robin Ventura can’t salvage that mess.

21. Floyd Mayweather

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21. Floyd Mayweather

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If you’re honest, you will admit Mayweather’s success is a mirage, based on fights against paper champions, washed up fighters and weak, hand-picked competition. You say he beat a lot of champions? It’s not hard to become a champion in boxing’s watered-down weight classes where there are four belts per division. Mayweather also has a defensive style, which means he has his running shoes on the whole fight.

20. Alex Rodriguez

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20. Alex Rodriguez

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Rodriguez is easily one of the most detestable people in all of baseball and the postseason numbers did not warrant his absurd price tag. In 11 trips to the postseason, he has only one World Series title, in 2009 with the New York Yankees. His career postseason batting average is .263 and it was only .250 in the World Series. For $ 275 million, the Yankees got 10 years of steroid home runs and one title to show for it.

19. Mike Vick

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19. Mike Vick

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Vick was supposed to revolutionize the QB position and bring an end to an NFL dominated by pocket-passers; instead, he became a convicted dog killer and a turnover machine, averaging 15 turnovers a season. He is also injury-prone, having played in 16 games just once, has a career 56.2 completion percentage, an awful 80.9 passer rating and a 2-3 playoff record. Flashy running ability and making ESPN highlights doesn’t make you a great QB.

18. Mike Singletary

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18. Mike Singletary

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Singletary was a product of a defensive system and being surrounded by talented players, but he was never truly the star of that vicious '85 defense. In his 12-year career, he only recorded seven interceptions and a measly 19 sacks. He was fortunate to play with Richard Dent and Wilber Marshall and owed a lot of his success to Dan Hampton. He was also pitiful as a head coach.

17. Brett Favre

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17. Brett Favre

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Sometimes early success can hide potentially disastrous flaws and silence criticism for a long time, but when put into perspective, Favre was never as good as people wanted to believe. Favre has a 13-11 playoff record, an 86 passer rating, 336 career interceptions, never led the league in passing and threw numerous interceptions at crucial moments in the playoffs. It was all persona-driven hype and then green crocs put an end to it all.

16. Deion Sanders

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16. Deion Sanders

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Sanders is possibly the most selfish football player ever. He was a notoriously weak tackler and only averaged 3.3 interceptions a year, while asking for gargantuan contracts. He also has just one career sack and recorded a paltry 270 tackles, which is about 500 less than Champ Bailey over a 14-year period. This means, Sanders watched a lot of guys just run on by giving a polite wave while stealing money.

15. Dwight Howard

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15. Dwight Howard

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He calls himself “Superman,” but produces the bumbling results of Wile E. Coyote; he is soft and throws coaches under the bus to mask his own failings. He has one NBA Finals appearance in his career in 2009, is a circus sideshow shooting free throws, appears to be mentally fragile when it comes to criticism and does not perform in clutch situations. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar said it correctly, Howard’s “basketball IQ is not up to speed.”

14. Oscar De La Hoya

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14. Oscar De La Hoya

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De La Hoya is all background sob story, good looks and promotional ability; because when it came to the “big fights,” he was a loser. He lost to Shane Mosley, Felix Sturm, Bernard Hopkins, looked foolish against Floyd Mayweather and was annihilated by Manny Pacquiao. His biggest wins over Pernell Whitaker and Ike Quartey were disputed decisions. It was all self-promotion and the “Golden Boy” image.

13. Peyton Manning

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13. Peyton Manning

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I will never discount the ability or talent of Manning, but he is overrated. A career 11-12 playoff record and 1-2 in Super Bowls, losing one via humiliation and the other by throwing a game-deciding interception and has earned the “choke” label. He is often promoted as the smartest man in football as commentators act like he is the QB, coach, GM, team owner and second-coming. There’s also the faux humility that is simply grating.

12. Cam Newton

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12. Cam Newton

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There is over-hyped and then there is Cam Newton, who is forcefully shoved down the public’s throat as the greatest living QB to ever grace the NFL. Seriously people, he has a 25-23 career record, one winning season, averages 14 interceptions a season, ranked 16th with an 88.8 passer rating in 2013 and the Panthers' passing offense was ranked 29th. He also has zero playoff wins, but keep trying ESPN.

11. Reggie Jackson

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11. Reggie Jackson

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With 2,597 career strikeouts, Jackson is the all-time leader. He was a one-dimensional hitter, who swung for the fences in every at-bat. Take away the home runs and he is average at best. He was a .262 career hitter with a .490 slugging percentage and only scored over 100 runs once in 21 seasons. He also never won the MVP award, was a horrible teammate and was an error machine in the outfield.

10. Danica Patrick

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10. Danica Patrick

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She is the Anna Kournikova of NASCAR and that’s not a compliment. People get upset over the objectification of female athletes, but Patrick hasn’t helped the cause with sexually driven GoDaddy.com commercials. She has exactly ONE victory in her professional racing career and that was in 2008. Since joining NASCAR in 2012, she has only three Top 10 finishes. Keep taking your clothes off, Patrick, because you’re useless at driving a racecar.

9. Fedor Emelianenko

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9. Fedor Emelianenko

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Pride fans will consider this blasphemous, but Pride no longer exists, so it doesn’t matter what they think. His record has been padded with a lot of victories over subpar Pride competition. Even his biggest victories against Cro Cop, Big Nog and well, nobody, don’t look as great considering how awful they fared in the UFC. Besides them, he beat a bunch of light heavyweights, washed up veterans and Zulu.

8. John Elway

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8. John Elway

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Elway never led the NFL in completion percentage, passing touchdowns or quarterback rating. He has a 14-8 career playoff record, with 54.5 percent completion, 27 touchdowns and 21 interceptions. While he is 2-3 in Super Bowls, his stats were absolutely dismal. A 50 completion percentage, with three touchdowns, eight interceptions and a 59.3 passer rating does not make you one of the greatest of all time.

7. Pele

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7. Pele

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Pele is all media mythmaking, embellished records and self-promoting arrogance. Sure, he “won” three World Cups, but for one, he never played past the second group game, and for another, he was part of a loaded Brazilian team that didn’t even need him. His 1,283 goals is an insane exaggeration that includes every friendly, exhibition, benefit and practice match. Pele was a product of playing against weak competition and having superior teammates.

6. Jim Brown

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6. Jim Brown

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When you play behind Hall of Fame offensive linemen and are coached by Paul Brown and Blanton Collier, any cog in the running back machine will suffice. Brown wasn’t the only RB to have success in Cleveland. Bobby Mitchell put up very similar numbers and following Brown’s early retirement, Leroy Kelly basically equaled his output. The Browns were the Mike Shanahan Denver Broncos, any warm body would do and Brown was a pathetic blocker.

5. Dale Earnhardt Jr.

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5. Dale Earnhardt Jr.

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If his last name wasn’t Earnhardt, he would have been out of a job years ago. Since 1999, he has only 20 career wins in 516 races and had six seasons with zero wins. He is the highest paid, most talked about NASCAR driver who has as many Sprint Cup Championships as Danica Patrick, ZERO! His popularity rests solely on being the son of the legendary Dale Earnhardt, because his accomplishments on the track are mediocre.

4. B.J. Penn

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4. B.J. Penn

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The only thing worse than Penn are Penn fans who sound like Tito Ortiz with the excuse making when he loses, exclaiming he “only fights the best.” So he can only beat cans and lacks the skill to defeat the top fighters? He’s been living off the UFC 46 victory over Matt Hughes for years. In title fights, Penn is 5-5-1, has a career 16-9 record, lost four of his last six fights and his biggest win in the last 10 years was over a washed-up Hughes.

3. Derrick Rose

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3. Derrick Rose

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Once Rose realized he could get paid by sitting on the bench, “milking” an injury, he shut it down. He has gone from All-Star to professional bench warmer. Unfortunately, everyone in Chicago has convinced themselves they could win a title with Rose, but when he’s had the chance to get to the NBA Finals, he came up small. Since the 2010-11 season, Rose has played only 49 games and shows no desire to actually play anymore.

2. Joe Namath

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2. Joe Namath

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Namath is a prime example of the media hype machine and how a cocky “guarantee” just happened to come true. Super Bowl III was won by a Jets defense, which produced five turnovers and their kicker who scored nine of the 16 points. Namath didn’t even throw a touchdown. For his career, he threw 173 TD passes, 220 INTs, with a completion percentage of 50.1 and was 2-1 in the playoffs. He was the Trent Dilfer of his era, and not Hall of Fame worthy.

1. Muhammad Ali

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1. Muhammad Ali

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A legacy built on a loudmouth shtick. His biggest wins, put in perspective, lose some of their importance. Sonny Liston took a dive, Joe Frazier has a suspect resume and then there is the “rope-a-dope” against George Foreman. That’s it. That’s the list of “big wins.” Besides that, it was all talk and losses to Ken Norton, Larry Holmes and Trevor Berbick (the latter two Mike Tyson destroyed). He was a pompous blow-hard and fans fell for it.


Around the Web

  • Marcos Monteiro

    Pelé only wins 3 World Cups!!!!!!!!!!! what?????? only scored 1.283 goals????? wtf? it´s a complete joke, man

  • Jon Burrows

    I always thought Ali was incredibly overrated. Glad to see it’s a shared opinion.

  • Jermaine J-Diezel Bailey

    SERIOUSLY??!! Whoever wrote this article, I bet has either never played or was horrible at sports.