The NFL is a passionate and violent league. After the new helmet rule, which could result in an ejection, we decided to roll out the current top 5 dirtiest players in the league.
#5. Terrell Suggs
Suggs has been terrorizing NFL Quarterbacks for years. He holds the Ravens record for career sacks. Even at the age of 35, he is still the focal point of offensive coordinators. Suggs also has a long list of cheap shots, as well as virtually any time the Ravens and Steelers square off. Just ask Ben Roethlisberger.
2015: Low and uneccessary hit on Eagles QB Sam Bradford after he had handed the ball off to a RB. This was Bradford’s first game back after rupturing his ACL. Fortunately, Bradford was not hurt on the play.
2014: Low hit on Steelers RB LeGarrette Blount after the whistle. Blount was engaged by multiple Ravens defenders and was stopped when the officials signaled that the play was over. Suggs then dove at Blount’s lower body, folding him backwards. The play resulted in a personal foul.
Perhaps Suggs is misunderstood. Maybe he’s just the very competitive football player we know him as. After all, he does play one of the most violent positions in one of the most violent divisions in the NFL.
#4. Aqib Talib
Coming in at #4 on the Top 5 Dirtiest Players in the NFL list is none other than Aqib Talib. Anybody who has watched Talib play football this decade can probably come to an agreement as to why he made this list. He’s scrappy, aggressive, and always looking for an edge.
Here is why we placed him at #4:
2017: After bump and run coverage, Crabtree gets up from the ground and nonchalantly bumps shoulders with Talib. Talib then rips off Crabtree’s chain.
2017: In Talib Vs Crabtree Round 2, during a running play by Marshawn Lynch, Crabtree is blocking Talib. The play goes out of bounds and eventually ends up on the grass. The players are then throwing blows. Multiple helmets are ripped off on both teams. The ultimate victim in this? Crabtree’s chain, as it was ripped off again. After the game, Talib and Crabtree were both issued a 2 game suspension.
2016, Superbowl 50: Talib is covering WR Corey Brown on an out route. The catch is made, Brown cuts upfield close to the goal line, and Talib yanks him down by the facemask. Multiple flags were thrown on the play. After the Superbowl, Talib stated that he committed the foul on purpose.
Talib makes this list because he cannot control his temper on the field. But along with that temper comes the stats to back it up. Talib has snagged 34 career interceptions, 10 of which have been returned for TD’s.
#3 Richie Incognito
Incognito is a ticking time bomb. Nobody knows when he’s going to go off, but when he does, watch out. He is currently a free agent after announcing retirement from the Bills, then later recanting his retirement. Incognito was involved in the well known “bullying” affair against fellow OL Jonathon Martin in Miami. Martin ultimately left the team in 2013, and eventually the league in 2015. Incognito was suspended as a result of the incident.
More recently, Incognito was in the news for throwing a dumbbell at another gym patron. He was held for an involuntary mental evaluation following the incident.
Incognito’s bully label extends as far back as his college days in Nebraska. Richie once hit fellow OL Jack Limbaugh in the back, knocking him to the ground for no reason. Limbaugh quietly picked up his gear and went home.
You won’t find Incognito laying many helmet to helmet hits. He’s the only offensive player to make this list, and for good reason. He’s a bully, plain and simple. Incognito is currently a free agent, but let’s hope he will never plague a locker room again.
#2 Ndamukong Suh
Perhaps the most known dirty player on this list. Suh has been a nightmare for offenses since he joined the league in 2010, but he’s been on good behavior recently, which is maybe why he slipped to #2.
2010 – Lions vs Browns: Yes, the photo above is from this play. Browns QB Jake Delhomme takes a snap and is immediately met by Suh. Suh then grabs the face mask after Delhomme threw the ball, and proceeds to violently toss Delhomme on his back. Penalty markers ensued.
2011- The Stomp: During an incompletion by QB Aaron Rodgers, Suh was battling OL Evan Deitrich-Smith. The block ended up on the ground, and when Suh got up, he violently planted his cleat into Smith’s Arm. Suh was ejected and suspended an additional 2 games.
2013: After a tipped Vikings pass and Lions interception on defense, Suh made an unnecessary low block on Vikings Center John Sullivan. Suh was fined $100,000.
2014 – The Stomp II: After an Aaron Rodgers pass, Rodgers was knocked to the ground. Suh proceeds to back up onto the QB’s ankle, and places his entire weight onto it.
2015: After tackling Alfred Morris, Suh rips off the RB’s helmet and kicks it.
There is no doubt that Suh is cleaning up his play recently. I still won’t give him the benefit of the doubt. The biggest question is, why is he behaving? Is it him conforming to the league standards? Or is it the hit his wallet is taking?
#1: Vontaze Burfict
Now, some of the readers know that Burfict was an undrafted free agent. But how many knew that he would have been a 1st round pick had it not been for his disciplinary issues? Get ready, the list is long and still growing.
High School: Who knew that Burfict once met with Matt Barkley on the gridiron for a high school game? Burfict was playing for Centennial High School, in CA, and he was rushing Barkley on a passing play. Barkley took the snap and Burfict dove directly at his planted knee. The pass fell incomplete, and Barkley was not injured.
2009 – ASU Vs Stanford: It was Burfict on defense, and Andrew Luck at QB. But the hit wasn’t on a QB this time. Luck took the snap, and had no options downfield. He hit the checkdown to FB Owen Marecic in the flat. Marecic had a ton of open field, and took the pass 20 yards before his helmet met the helmet of full speed Burfict. The play resulted in a penalty.
2013: After a Green Bay extra point, Burfict is seen on tape hitting OL Ryan Taylor in the groin area. Taylor retaliated, and with some good acting, Burfict ended up on his back. Taylor ended up getting the penalty. Burfict was later fined for that move, as well as being fined for a helmet to helmet hit on WR James Jones in the same game.
2014: Panthers QB Cam Newton scored a rushing touchdown. Burfict responded by twisting the QB’s ankle. Burfict was fined $25,000 for this, as well as an ankle twist on TE Greg Olson.
2016: The Bengals were hosting Pittsburgh in the 1st round of the playoffs. Burfict sacks Ben Roethlisberger, and as the linebacker is getting up, he drops his knee into Roethlisberger’s shoulder. Big Ben has to leave the game, and Landry Jones steps in. Later in the game, Burfict lays a helmet to helmet hit on WR Antonio Brown, which eventually cost the Bengals the game.
2017 Training Camp: How can Burfict be a dirty player against his own teammate? Well, it happened. In the 2017 Bengals training camp, RB Giovanni Bernard took a hand off, and was met by Burfict. Burfict made the tackle into the right knee and put a majority of his weight into Bernard’s leg. This resulted in the players exchanging a few pleasantries, which eventually led into a scuffle.
Conclusion: What we’ve learned here is that football is still a violent game, played by violent men. It’s obvious that the NFL is trying to make the game safer, but it will never be completely safe. This list was difficult to make, as there are cases to be made for any of these players. Please take note of the honorable mentions – SS TJ Ward,CB Adam “Pacman” Jones, WR Juju Smith-Schuster, and WR Odell Beckham JR.
Terrell Suggs: www.cbssports.com
Aqib Talib: www.bleacherreport.com
Vontaze Burfict: www.pennlive.com
Richie Incognito: www.barstoolsports.com
Ndamukong Suh: www.espn.com
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