Touchdowns, meltdowns, and trash talk: Ranking the NFL's Content Kings
Someone wake Scott Hanson up from hibernation, because the NFL is back and it's better than ever! Actually, Andrew Luck's sudden retirement is the latest reminder that the state of this brutal game isn't as rosy as the healthy TV ratings suggest, but, hang on, they're going QUAD-BOX! FOOTBALL! INJECT THE TESTOSTERONE RIGHT INTO MY VEINS!
Anyway, as popular as the NFL is, there are certain people associated with the sport who generate more headlines than others. And as a website that depends on such headlines to put food on the table (and beer in the fridge to watch said football games), we are especially appreciative of these Content Kings. So as we did for the PGA Tour, it's time to rank those who give us the most to write about.
Most people on the list are active players, some are retired (Not Luck, whose Anchorman-milk beard didn't quite make the final cut), and a few aren't even players. But all of them keep fans on their toes and us pounding the keyboard like that drum at Panthers games. Fingers crossed these guys all make it through the season without getting killed by an angry linebacker or a stray football.
21.) Pete Carroll
This guy is going to be chomping on gum and getting “He looks GREAT for his age!” compliments long after the NFL is sued into oblivion for all the brain damage being inflicted.
But seriously, he looks GREAT for his age. He turns 68 this month! What's his secret?! Anyway, whether he's running up the score, making indefensible play-calling decisions or peddling conspiracy theories, he's always up to something.
20.) Patrick Mahomes
Arguably the NFL’s best player, he’s certainly the best-ever when it comes to throwing ridiculous no-look, sidearm passes:
I honestly can't recall this guy ever saying or doing anything interesting off the field, but those passes alone make him the league's highlight King. And that's enough to make this list.
19.) Todd Gurley
The Rams star might be the league's best all-around running back. More importantly, you never know when he’s going to send gamblers and fantasy football owners into a tizzy by taking a knee at the goal line.
18.) Adam Schefter
The ESPN reporter is certainly the Content (Gathering) King, as evidenced yet again by him breaking the Andrew Luck retirement story while he was “in between the bruschetta and penne alla vodka” at his mother-in-law’s 75th birthday party.
Profile Of ESPN Personality Adam Schefter
BRISTOL, CT - AUGUST 18: Adam Adam Schefter, who has been an NFL Insider at ESPN for five years, sits at office desk at ESPN Headquarters in Bristol, Conn., on Monday, August 18, 2014.(Photo by Christopher Capozziello/For The Washington Post via Getty Images)
The Washington Post
What a legend. I hope someone saved him a plate of penne.
17.) Ndamukong Suh
To be clear, we are NOT condoning trying to end an opponent’s career with dirty cheap shots. BUT. . . traffic-wise. . . that kind of stuff plays well. . . Just saying. . . Also, Suh is in one of the most randomly great golf photos of all time with Warren Buffett and Kathy Ireland:
Former model and current businesswoman Kathy Ireland follows the path of her putt with Warren Buffett behind her, at the Justin Boots indoor mini golf lane in Omaha, Neb., Saturday, May 4, 2013, at the annual Berkshire Hathaway shareholder meeting. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)
16.) Sean McVay
The successful and brilliant Rams coach also happens to be younger than a lot of his players—and dating a Ukrainian model:
Yeah, he’s good for business.
15.) J.J. Watt
When he’s not racking up sacks at a historic rate, he’s playing golf in a bathing suit or flipping 1,000-pound tires in workout videos that make Slyvester Stallone's training in "Rocky IV" tame by comparison.
14.) Jerry Jones
There are few people Americans love to hate more than the owner of “America’s Team.”
Just looking at him makes you mad right? In a weird way, Jerry Jones might be the most unifying force in our country today.
13.) Jalen Ramsey
This is how the Jaguars cornerback showed up to training camp this year:
12.) Rob Gronkowski
He drops a few spots because he's now retired—which means he’ll be even more fun to follow.
I can’t wait to see him at Patriots games doing body shots off his model girlfriend in Robert Kraft’s box.
11.) Bill Belichick
The robotic coach is so focused on X’s and O’s and Tom Brady's health that he didn’t even know Andrew Luck retired. What a miserable person. But what an unintentionally entertaining miserable person as well.
The guy is just bubbling with enthusiasm.
10.) Cam Newton
The NFL’s Russell Westbrook, a freakish, polarizing athlete with a passion for fashion. Never forget this hat-bowtie combo:
Carolina Panthers v Tampa Bay Buccaneers
TAMPA, FL - OCTOBER 29: Quarterback Cam Newton #1 of the Carolina Panthers answers questions from the media at a press conference after the game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium on October 29, 2017 in Tampa, Florida. Panthers defeated the Buccaneers 17 to 3. (Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images)
Don Juan Moore
Or him walking around with a giant rabbit's foot:
Seriously, WTF? The guy loves the spotlight. He's more like Click Newton when it comes to web traffic, am I right? Sorry, couldn't help it. Moving on. . .
9.) Jon Gruden
The star of HBO’s Raiders-focused “Hard Knocks” this year, there isn’t a bigger wildcard in the NFL. He can look like a genius (At least, he could when he coached the Bucs to a Super Bowl) or a complete bozo like when he traded away Oakland’s two superstars (Khalil Mack and Amari Cooper). He also usually looks just plain crazy.
NFL: AUG 15 Preseason - Raiders at Cardinals
GLENDALE, AZ - AUGUST 15: Oakland Raiders head coach Jon Gruden during a NFL preseason game between the Oakland Raiders and the Arizona Cardinals on August 15, 2019 at State Farm Stadium, in Glendale, Az. (Photo by Kevin French/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
8.) Eli Manning
The NFL’s resident corny dad, even a photo of Eli just sitting at his locker minding his own business has the potential to go viral. And of course, there are those funny faces he always makes. . .
7.) Peyton Manning
There have been many quarterbacks blessed with better arms, but none have been born with this guy’s comedic timing.
What a gift. We'd love to see even more of this guy as a GM, analyst or coach(!), but he's still around making headlines—and fantastic commercials.
6.) Baker Mayfield
It only took one year for the former Heisman Trophy winner to establish himself as one of the game's most electric players and personalities. Mayfield isn't afraid to rip everyone from former coaches or rookie quarterbacks. He's also not scared of posing with live tigers.
Keep the hits coming, Baker.
5.) Tony Romo
A triple threat thanks to his passionate announcing, impressive golf ability, and being the public's favorite punching bag for more than a decade as Cowboys QB, Romo stays in the news all year. But he’s at his best when he’s being fed the other team’s play calls. I mean, when he’s predicting them. Wink, wink.
4.) Russell Wilson
He’s a Super Bowl winning QB, he’s in nearly as many commercials as Peyton Manning, and he’s married to a popstar. The guy is a freaking content farm.
3.) Tom Brady
He’s a five-time winning Super Bowl QB, he’s still playing despite being nearly as old as Peyton Manning, and he’s married to the world’s most famous supermodel.
New England Patriots Training Camp
FOXBOROUGH, MA - AUGUST 3: New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady gets a kiss from his wife Gisele Bundchen following Patriots training camp at the Gillette Stadium practice facility in Foxborough, MA on Aug. 3, 2018. (Photo by John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
Love him or hate him, he's a legend.
2.) Antonio Brown
NFL: DEC 16 Patriots at Steelers
PITTSBURGH, PA -DECEMBER 16: Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown (84) looks on during the NFL football game between the New England Patriots and the Pittsburgh Steelers on December 16, 2018 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, PA. (Photo by Mark Alberti/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Prolific stats? Check. Spectacular highlights? Check. Fighting with teammates? Check. Threatening to retire over a helmet? Check. Wait, what?! There’s always something with this guy. And now he's paired with Jon Gruden in Oakland? Yes, please!
1.) Odell Beckham Jr.
Content GOATs Terrell Owens and Chad Ochocinco would be happy to see prima donna wide receivers holding the top two spots down. As for ODB, where do we begin? The circus catches, the sideline meltdowns, the constant jabs at the New York Giants for trading him, etc. It's going to be a fun season following this guy. Unless, of course, you’re a Giants fan like me.
Damn it all, this is going to be a rough season.
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