5 Biggest Divas in the NFL Right Now (2019)
The psychology of elite athletes is fascinating. Superstars are a self-confident lot, they can calm their nerves at the most pressure-packed times, and have an inhuman ability to shrug off devastating failures. But that confidence can be a double-edged sword. Their over-inflated egos create natural conflicts with their opponents, but also amongst their teammates. If you ever wanted to see the downside of a pro athletes’ ego on display, watch Michael Jordan’s Hall of Fame induction speech. With the news of Pittsburgh Steelers All-Pro Wide Receiver Antonio Brown demanding a trade, we put together our ranking of the biggest divas in the NFL right now. They’re in no particular order.
5. Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh Steelers (Current)
Antonio Brown is immensely talented and volatile. Brown wants the football at all times, regardless of defense. That desire is great when your team wins, but when you’re struggling, look out. That normal back and forth between receiver and quarterback has become toxic in Pittsburgh. AB has taken his frustrations with Big Ben and the offensive scheme to the next level.
The Brown/Steelers beef went nuclear in 2017. In a week four game against the Baltimore Ravens, Roethlisberger didn’t see Brown come open on a route. That led to a temper tantrum by the star receiver on the sidelines. Big Ben then accused AB of causing a distraction in post-game comments. Tempers cooled for a few weeks before a tweet in November from a former member of the Steelers’ PR team re-opened wounds. Ryan Scarpino tweeted Brown should show more gratitude towards Big Ben for his contract. Brown’s response to the tweet was, “trade me and see what happens.”
The last straw may have been Week 17 of the 2018 season. According to the team, Brown missed the important matchup against the Cincinnati Bengals with playoff implications due to injury. Turns out, the team punished Brown for an altercation he had with Big Ben during a Wednesday practice leading to the game. A separation seems well overdue.
4. Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers
NFL fans know Newton by his first name Cam, but he has another name–Scam Newton. It began in 2008 when Newton was the backup quarterback behind Tim Tebow at the University of Florida. Tebow had just won the national championship and announced he was returning to Gainesville for his senior year. Newton announced his intention to transfer in order to get more playing time before going to the pros.
In reality, Newton was facing expulsion from UF for alleged academic transgressions. The cheating was bad, but the news came after
His diva-like behavior has continued in the pros. His earned the nickname ‘Superman.’ But his out-of-control ego has taken the nickname thing too far. He does a Superman celebration everytime he scores a TD or makes a big play. The Carolina Panthers play the Superman theme during games, he wears Superman socks and cleats. Hell, he even dresses like a superhero in yogurt commercials. We get it, you’re good. You don’t have to shove it down our throats.
But Newton isn’t bulletproof. He doesn’t know how to handle criticism. He’s been short with the media after bad games and walks out of press conferences if he doesn’t like a reporter’s questions. His fans make give him a pass for avoiding the media, but how do you excuse not diving for a late-game fumble during Super Bowl 50? Newton clearly had a chance to recover the ball and lead a game-winning drive for Panthers. But Newton acknowledged in post-game comments, he made a ‘business decision’ to protect himself from injury rather than dive for the ball. Talk about selfish.
3. Jalen Ramsey, Jacksonville Jaguars
We don’t want to give the impression that only offensive players are divas. Most of the league’s prima donnas are quarterbacks or receivers, but Jaguars’ CB Jalen Ramsey is ‘going in’ on the rest of the league.
Ramsey has earned a reputation as one of the best trash talkers in the league. Ramsey rips apart the receivers and teams he faces almost on a weekly basis. That includes Steve Smith Sr. before he retired, AJ Green, Rob Gronkowski, and the Chiefs’ Tyreek Hill. His trash talk starts on-the-field
For more highlights of Ramsey’s hating on the league, read SBNation’s excellent timeline.
2. Odell Beckham Jr., New York Giants
Explosive is the best word to describe Odell Beckham Jr. He’s a dynamic game changer whose emotions can boil over when he’s set off. He’s taken on the entire St. Louis Rams sideline during a game because he was hit out of bounds. Then there’s his relationship with CB Josh Norman. Whenever these two are on the same field, the sparks fly. Their confrontations have led to on-the-field fights and one of the most ridiculous sideline tantrums ever by a New York Giant. Google “OBJ and net” for the comedy if you don’t believe us. We haven’t seen crocodile tears this bad since Terrell Owens and Tony Romo.
But Beckham’s diva-like behavior also extends to his personal life. He’s been caught on video with what appears to be a blunt in his hand by an Instagram model. On the weekend before his first career playoff game, Beckham and the rest of the Giants’ wide receiver corps partied in Miami with Justin Bieber on an Adderall-fueled yacht. Not exactly the smartest decision maker. OBJ rides the line between immaturity and an all-about-me attitude too precariously. Let’s hope he can put his past bad deeds behind him and win.
1. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers
Aaron Rodgers is an all-time thrower of the football and Super Bowl champion. When it comes to being one of the guys, he ain’t about that life. Rodgers is a bit vexing. As a profile in Bleacher Report highlighted, he’s same guy that texted “Happy Birthday” to a former third-string tight end who caught nine passes, but never gave his cellphone number to Jermichael Finley, his starting tight end, through six seasons together.
Rodgers also is estranged from his family for unknown reasons and during the 2016-17 season was criticized for possibly allowing that family drama affect his play on the field. We can’t confirm if the story is true or not, but when the spotlight on Rodgers gets too bright, he
He also doesn’t like his personal life to be discussed, even though he’s dated high-profile women including Olivia Munn and Danica Patrick. Rodgers should know that when you’re one of the best at your position, but only won one title, and your reclusive, you’ll be criticized. It’s only divas that elevate their self-worth and think they’re above judgement from the masses.