The NFL isn’t exactly kind to people with problems. Usually, they prefer to get rid of people instead of helping them recover or rehabilitate. Take the case of Wilson which is one of the sorriest episodes in the history of the league. His cocaine habit cost him his pro football career.
This saw him miss two seasons of football after violating the league’s drug policies. However, worse was to come. On the eve of Super Bowl XXIII, his coach found him in the bathroom taking cocaine. The Bengals had no choice but to leave him off the roster. Then the NFL banned him for life.
How was this ever a good idea? In 2003 Jack Del Rio thought it was a great plan to put an ax and a block of wood in the Jacksonville Jaguars locker room. The idea was that it would motivate his players and drive up their testosterone before their games. Nothing about this could go wrong.
Except, of course, the fact that it did. After several players took a swing at the block, Chris Hanson decided to follow suit. He missed the wood and inside chopped his kicking foot. This put him out for the rest of the season and consigned the locker room ax to Jaguars’ legend.
The only good thing about the birth of the Ravens is that they left the ‘Browns’ name behind them in Cleveland. However, it was still a shambolic way for the franchise to start off live in Maryland. Art Modell might be even more hated than LeBron James in Cleveland after abruptly taking their team away in 1996.
This is the same man who blasted Robert Irsay for sneaking away from Baltimore with the Colts. After promising not to move, he did exactly that. Fortunately for Cleveland, the Browns were reborn in 1999. But to rub salt into their wounds, the Ravens have won two Super Bowls while the Browns haven’t even got to one.
In 2007 the Patriots were a powerhouse. Three-time Super Bowl champions, they looked unstoppable. However, it wasn’t just their brilliance on the field that got them over the line. No, they weren’t shy about using some underhand tactics either. That’s where ‘Spygate’ comes along.
It emerged that the Patriots were videotaping other teams’ training without their knowledge. The NFL fined them and removed a first-round pick because of their behavior. However, things got worse for the NFL when they destroyed all the materials. Even US Senator Arlen Specter called for an investigation.
The main job of a referee in any contact sport is to protect the players’ safety. So when Jim Triplette accidentally struck Brown in the eye with a thrown flag in 1999, he definitely didn’t do his job properly. Brown missed the next three seasons as he tried to rehabilitate.
It was very embarrassing for the NFL who he sued for damages. Finally, he settled for a sum between $15 million and $25 million in 2002. He spent the last three seasons of his career with the Baltimore Ravens. Tragically, he died in 2011 after complications with his diabetes.
The NFL has spent a lot of time trying to erase Simpson from their history. But he’s definitely one of the most humiliating stories to come from the league in a long time. One of the first black athletes to become a true superstar, Simpson was the face of the NFL during his prime. However, his fame turned to notoriety.
In 1994, police charged Simpson with the murders of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend, Ron Goldman. The jury finally acquitted him after one of the most high-profile trials ever. However, a civil court found him responsible for the deaths. In sum, it’s one of the most shameful episodes in American history and embarrassing for the NFL to be associated with.
Robert Irsay was not a popular figure in Baltimore. After taking over the Colts, the hope was that he would reestablish the beloved franchise in Maryland. But he couldn’t manage to get a new stadium in Baltimore. After a legal battle, the city threatened to seize the Colts under eminent domain.
Irsay’s solution was to pack them up in the middle of the night and move to Indianapolis. The moving trucks all took different routes so that state police would struggle to track them. Finally, by 10 am the next day, the Colts were no longer in Baltimore and Irsay became a hated figure.
Almost 60 years later, this is still one of the most astounding moments to ever happen in the NFL. We’ve no idea how Marshall managed this, but the world is a better place because he did. The Vikings were playing the 49ers in San Francisco when Marshall ran in and scooped up a fumble.
Then the legendary Vikings defensive end ran 66 yards into the end zone. The problem was that it was the wrong end zone. He had run unopposed in the wrong direction without realizing it. It ended with him scoring a safety for the 49ers. In the end, the Vikings won anyway, but Marshall knew nobody would forget this.
The Atlanta Falcon’s Robinson had a sterling reputation in 1999. A devoutly religious man, he donated money and time to his native inner-city Hartford. To sum up, all of this led to him receiving the Bart Starr Award. An annual award, it’s a commendation of exemplary character and leadership.
So, of course, that same night, he tried to solicit oral sex from an undercover officer. He didn’t sleep well that night and played terribly in the Super Bowl the next day. Then he returned the Bart Starr award to the NFL. In short, this hilarious misjudgment is one of the greatest moments in Super Bowl history and incredibly embarrassing for everybody involved.