Top 10 Personalities in NFL History
Best NFL Personalities of All Time
In addition to the bone-crushing hits, incredible players and jaw-dropping plays, one of the greatest things about the NFL is the remarkable folks involved in the most profitable American sports league over the years -- in every sense of the word. Colorful is another adjective used to describe some of these personalities and even that doesn't do them justice, for good and/or bad reasons.
Before social media, before the Internet, even before the NFL merger, the things we've heard athletes, coaches and owners say have made us laugh, smile, frown and shake our heads, just like the actions they've executed. Of course, we mostly enjoy the former and latter of that group and we have quite a few personalities responsible for that over the years.
So with all the incredible personalities that have come and gone through the NFL and those that are still gracing it (or plaguing it) today, it's impossible to pick the absolute best, right? Yes and no. We couldn't decide on the top 10, so how about the top 11? We didn't think you would mind that bonus personality to make your day. Please enjoy the greatest NFL personalities of all time and comment below to let us know if we missed anyone!
A majority of Ditka's memorable moments came when he was a coach, especially during his tenure with the Bears. The things that have come out of this man's mouth over the years have absolutely baffled us, even those that weren't football-related:
"If God had wanted man to play soccer, he wouldn't have given us arms."
"I love me some me."
"I don't see outside of me."
"I think people change, but the media -- they never allowed me to change. They never allowed me to be a better person."
(Crying): "That's my teammate. That's my quarterback."
Those are just a small portion of the gems T.O. gave us during his illustrious NFL career that included the death of many quarterbacks' careers. Those arrogant statements are probably haunting Owens now as he looks for work and tries to pay his incredible amounts of child support when no NFL team wants him anymore.
Broadway Joe was everything the New York media could want in a quarterback for the Jets. He dated Farrah Fawcett, he guaranteed his team would win the Super Bowl over the heavily favored Colts and they did, he wore mink coats on the sidelines during games and he wasn't afraid to show some skin. Even now, we have gems like a 66-year-old drunk Joe telling sideline reporter Suzy Kolbar that he wanted to kiss her during a game. Only Broadway Joe.
"Just win, baby."
Those words will forever live in the hearts of Raiders fans, regardless of how horribly their franchise was run during Davis' final years. He wasn't in good enough physical or mental shape to be running a multimillion-dollar franchise before his death, but the things he did and said over the years, including his role in the NFL-AFL merger, make him one of the greatest personalities the league has ever seen.
Is there anyone else in the NFL today quite like Jerry Jones? Al Davis Jr. without the actual accomplishments of his won seemingly makes outlandish comments to the media once a week, ranging anywhere from "I want me some glory hole" to "Jimmy Johnson was a walk-around head coach." And who can forget a drunk Jerry dissing Bill Parcells and Tim Tebow to a well-timed youngster with a video-recording smartphone? Priceless.
Had he not been plagued quite so much by injuries, Clinton Portis could have had a Hall of Fame career. However, he more than made up for it with his alter egos that randomly showed up for press conferences from time to time to make us laugh, smile and/or shake our heads. It was always at least somewhat funny and very entertaining.
Chad Johnson Ochocinco
How can we leave off a man who changed his last name to incorrectly reflect his jersey number in spanish? Chad has since changed his surname back to Johnson, but the gold teeth, gold mohawk, gold cleats and outlandish things that have come out of his mouth in his up-and-down NFL career make him memorable, even if he did fall off the face of the earth after an extremely brief stint with the Patriots.
Not many remember Madden as a coach, although his Hall of Fame career on the sidelines is arguably the greatest of all time. However, everyone remembers Madden in the broadcast booth and his voice in his signature NFL video game.
A common, popular Madden term: "Boom!"
An uncommon Madden term, yet one that sums up his personality in a nutshell: "Don't worry about the horse being blind, just load the wagon."
Anyone remember "The Super Bowl Shuffle"? In the rap record, McMahon claimed: "I'm the pinky QB known as McMahon." He was a fantastic quarterback for the Bears -- arguably their best in franchise history -- and his brash, flamboyant personality went very well with his headband, mullet and shades. The guy redefined the word outrageous, one that he often used to describe himself.
Heck, even today he's appearing on late-night shows talking about monkey flying out of his rear-end. That's no knock against him because that was staged -- it's not a result of his dementia. If only he wasn't suffering from that horrible disease; McMahon has a lot of funny left in him.
No matter how many rap songs claim it, no one will ever be flashier than Deion Sanders. He's arguably the greatest cornerback to ever play in the NFL and his extremely flamboyant personality fit his playing style. The high-stepping scores and touchdown dances went right along with his flashy attire and shiny jewelry. He came across as an extremely arrogant player, but his smooth, charismatic talk forced everyone to like him. No one had as much of an effect on the sports culture world as Sanders and likely never will.
There's really no one in the NFL like Ray Lewis and there never has been. Now that he's retired, he'll be truly missed for many reasons:
- His extremely entertaining pre game pep rants to his teammates in a swaying huddle on the field.
- The off-the-wall things he said to reporters and interviewers at the most random times.
- The incredibly inspirational things he said to his teammates and to random outsiders who happen to get a glimpse of his "wisdom."
- His hard to toward Christianity after getting off following a murder trial.
The fact he went out on top was no coincidence and he'll be the first one to tell you that. Luckily for us, he'll be sharing some more wisdom on ESPN now that he's retiring as a player.