Sometimes you see a headline and think, “yup, that’s clickbait.” After all, with a headline that promises to name the most overrated player in the history of your favorite team, you know you’re not going to like what you see. But that’s the secret of the word overrated. In order to be overrated, someone has to think you’re pretty good. So this isn’t a list of band players, just players that have gotten more hype than they deserve.
The Most Overrated Player in the History of Each NFL Team: NFC Edition
The Green Bay Packers- Brett Favre
Stop. Stop right there. Stop panicking. This is a list about overrated players, not bad ones, remember? Frankly the Packers are such a fine organization with such a rich history, there aren’t many overrated players. Until quite recently, Brett Favre held all of the passing records. How in the world is he the most overrated player in the history of the franchise?
Because he played for 20 years, and he was elite for a handful of them. He only threw for 4,000 yards six times, and he threw at least 20 interceptions six times. Keep in mind, Favre wasn’t playing in the old days, where 20 pick seasons were common. Favre set the record for passing yards and touchdowns in a career, but he also threw the most interceptions. Are you really prepared to put Favre in the same conversation as Joe Montana?
The Chicago Bears- William “The Refrigerator” Perry
Remembered now fondly for his antics as a fullback during the legendary 1985 season, many forget that William “The Refrigerator” Perry was actually a defensive tackle. And he wasn’t terrible, but he wasn’t anything to write home about either. Perry was a bit-player on one of the best teams in NFL history, and he stole Walter Payton‘s Super Bowl touchdown. Never forget.
The Minnesota Vikings- Randall Cunningham
Vikings fans love to talk about Randall Cunningham. He’s remembered more for that 1998 season with Minnesota than he is for anything he did with the Philadelphia Eagles. But you know what? He was barely a Viking. He was there for three seasons, and he only made an impact in 1998. However, there are still those that put Cunningham in the same conversation as Fran Tarkenton, and that’s just silly.
The Detroit Lions- Roy Williams
If you thought this spot was going to Barry Sanders, go away. Seriously, click away from this screen. You’re wrong, and you need to learn more about football, but not from me. Here’s the problem with picking the most overrated Detroit Lion… nobody was overrating Lions. This is a franchise that has spent it’s entire existence being terrible.
In 2007, the Raiders and Lions had the first and second overall pick. The Raiders took the worst quarterback of all time, and the Lions took arguably the best receiver in history. What happened the next year? The Lions became the first 0-16 team in history.
Roy Williams gets the nod here because he had one good season, one time, and he never shut up about it. The Lions were getting blown out, and he would still show out after big catches. The Lions got sick of him and shipped him off the Dallas Cowboys, where he was supposed to replace Terrell Owens. Wonder how that worked out.
The Atlanta Falcons- Michael Vick
Michael Vick is the NFC equivalent of Bo Jackson. Dynamic athlete? Sure. Highlight machine? Absolutely. Video game cheat code? You bet. But while there’s a ton of sizzle, there’s just no steak. Go look at Michael Vick’s career numbers. His total yardage, passing and running, doesn’t even stack up against most quarterbacks that just passed the ball. He was a fun player to watch, but hardly someone that even qualifies for Hall of Fame consideration.
The Carolina Panthers- Cam Newton
This was a tough one because the Carolina Panthers are such a young franchise. It’s hard to find a player that is good enough to be considered while still being undeserving of praise. Steve Smith and Luke Kuechly are both deserving of the incredible praise they get.
So while this is a bit of a copout, Cam Newton is the guy. Newton has had exactly one spectacular season in his career so far, and it ended with him losing the Panthers the Super Bowl. Maybe Cam will return to the 2015 version of himself, but for now, he’s hardly the elite player people pretend he is.
The New Orleans Saints- Archie Manning
How many times have you heard people say that Archie Manning could’ve been the greatest quarterback in history if only he had good surrounding talent? Hell, when John Elway was drafted by the Baltimore Colts with the first overall pick, he refused to play for them because he didn’t want to be the “next” Archie Manning. It’s true that the Saints of the 70’s were terrible, but Archie Manning wasn’t exactly Barry Sanders, exceeding expectations.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers- Warren Sapp
Friendly reminder, Warren Sapp got into the Pro Football Hall of Fame before Michael Strahan did. Yup. That’s a fact, and a shameful one. If only Strahan had gone to work for NFL Network instead of Kelly. Look, there’s no disputing the fact that Warren Sapp had some fantastic seasons. In the late 90’s and early 2000’s, Sapp was a machine. But for the other eight years of his career? He was a problematic, lazy loud-mouth.
The Dallas Cowboys- Troy Aikman
This one is easy, right? Some will argue Emmitt Smith, but when you’re the NFL’s all-time leading rusher, you get a pardon. What did Troy Aikman ever do that was spectacular? He won three Super Bowls, but he did so on a loaded roster. A third of Aikman’s career yards and touchdowns were forced to Michael Irvin, and even by 1990’s standards, his numbers were remarkably unimpressive.
The Philadelphia Eagles- Ron Jaworski
People talk about Ron Jaworski like he was this iconic quarterback, but the reality is that he never accomplished much of anything. His stats were always mediocre, and in the best season of his career, he was humiliated by the Raiders in the Super Bowl. Poor Donovan McNabb never got the respect he deserved, but grab a cheesteak at Tony’s and they’ll still insist Jaws was good.
The New York Giants- Phil Simms
Recently, I was asked if I thought Eli Manning was the best quarterback in Giants history. To me, the answer was an obvious yes. After all, who else really has there been? The name Phil Simms was brought up and many eyes were rolled. When people think of Bill Parcells’ Giants teams, they don’t think about Simms, they think about Lawrence Taylor. Simms was such a bit-player that Jeff Hostetler stepped in and did the job just as well, winning a Super Bowl.
The Washington Redskins- Joe Theismann
Joe Theismann is lucky that Troy Aikman and Joe Namath played or he would be the most overrated quarterback of all time. It’s true that his career was cut short, and that he won a Super Bowl, but it’s not like he was tearing the NFL apart before then. Also, who wasn’t a Super Bowl quarterback for Joe Gibbs? Theismann’s legacy is that he suffered a gruesome injury, changed his last name to sound more like Heisman, and retired with a 56.7 completion percentage.
The Seattle Seahawks- Shaun Alexander
Obligatory “modern Seahawks fans don’t know who Shaun Alexander is” joke. For those who aren’t in the know, Alexander was a bruising, monster back that held the NFL’s record for rushing touchdowns in a season for exactly one year. Why does he make the list?
Because he was a touchdown poacher. He played behind a fantastic offensive line and they just fed him the ball over and over. And he was great. He was fantastic at this, even, but people think he belongs in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, when he’s not even the best back to suit up in Seattle over the last 20 years.
The San Francisco 49ers- Steve Young
Steve Young was perfectly okay. He always had solid numbers, and he even helped the San Francisco 49ers win Super Bowl number five. However, to say that there’s a little skepticism about how much he actually helped the team is fair. After all, this was a team that had just won four Super Bowls. And when Joe Montana went to Kansas City, he led them to the AFC Championship game. When you look at all of the talent that Young was able to play with, you just wonder why he didn’t achieve more.
The Los Angeles Rams and the Arizona Cardinals- Kurt Warner
Kurt Warner was a fantastic story, and a great quarterback for the Rams. But who wouldn’t have been? He had Marshall Faulk, arguably the greatest running back of all time, and two stud receivers. He got hurt, and Marc Bulger came in and had the same success.
When he went to play for the New York Giants, he was dreadful. He was absolutely terrible. And then when he got to Arizona, things got a little iffy. He was able to beat Matt Lienart for the job, and in a loaded offense, he beat up on a bad NFC West. The other three teams in that division were never even remotely competitive, and then he lost a shootout with Ben Roethlisberger despite the fact that Larry Fitzgerald is some kind of wizard.
Warner is going into the Pro Football Hall of Fame this year despite the fact that he spent nearly half of his career on the bench or under-performing. If Kurt Warner is going in, maybe there should be an argument for the likes of Rich Gannon, who did almost the same thing.
So that was the NFC edition of this list, congratulations on making it through the whole thing! Sorry if your favorite player made an appearance on this list, but there’s some good news as well. There’s a comment section down below just begging for your opinions! Or crudely written insults, both are welcome! Be sure to check out the AFC version as well!