|Bears QB Jay Cutler and Lions coach Jim Schwartz both earn a place on the list. (US Presswire)|
When contemplating the NFL's biggest jerks we came up with a lot of Detroit Lions. Keeping them to a minimum for this exercise was like asking Spartacus to fight the Roman army without a sword.
Yet miracles do exist, so we and we present the NFL's 10 biggest jerks while keeping Lions representatives to a minimum. But it's early. The bars are still open ... somewhere.
This list is a close cousin of an oldie but goodie . At a time when the NFL seems to be filled with so many crotchety, drunk-ety, bount-ety, bust a cap in the ass-ety pillars of the jerk community, this was not an easy group to pare. Unfortunately there's no jerk app.
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But we did it. That's we do here. Make the tough choices. There are some old school names, new names, Hall of Fame jerks, jerks of all creeds, sizes and shapes. Unlike Abraham Lincoln, however, none of our jerks hunts vampires.
Nos. 10-9: (tie) San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh and Detroit Lions coach Jim Schwartz: This is a tough one. Went to high school with Schwartz. Love him. Excellent coach, but his overreaction to a hard handshake from Harbaugh is a classic jerk reaction from a guy with a serious sideline temper.
Harbaugh is arrogant and just as sideline-angered as Schwartz, and his story about how the 49ers didn't really pursue Peyton Manning is actually hilarious. That's like saying you look at Rihanna and appreciate her eyes.
No. 8: Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler: If ever there was a jerk face prototype, it would be Cutler. Plays the part well with the best smirk in the NFL. His defenders say he's not so jerkish -- that his reactions are more because he despises the media. Yes, jerks are always misunderstood. I actually believe Cutler is maturing and one day will break free of his jerk chains, but for the moment, there's this NSFW moment.
No. 7: New York Jets defensive back Antonio Cromartie: Now has an amazing 12 kids: four from his wife and eight others with seven different women. Let that marinate and we will move on. (But first: that's a starting offense with a backup quarterback.)
There is a not-so-funny message here. It is impossible for a man to be a good father to his children in this kind of situation unless Cromartie has cloned himself. Thus the repercussions of jerkdom aren't just about football. They can be far more reaching.
No. 6: Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson: Benched in fourth quarter of a game last year. Benched for missing team meeting. Celebrates before scoring. More than once. Mad talented, crazy fast, super smart and a jerk.
This will be an interesting situation to watch. The Eagles just rewarded Jackson with a long-term deal. Historically, jerks don't handle this kind of thing well. Jerks are to fat contracts what a Kardashian is to ... oh, never mind. Jackson also is now the CEO of a rap label called Jaccpot Records. Nothing wrong with that. The problem, as always with a situation like this, is money. Someone has to fund this venture and it will probably be Jackson. Athletes funding their own business ventures never go wrong, right? And speaking of broke jerks.
No. 5: Chicago Bears wide receiver Brandon Marshall: You may notice this list is strong at wide receiver. Jerk has apparently spread to the position and locked on like a Borg tractor beam. In some ways Marshall exemplifies this phenomenon. Multiple accusations of woman beating but no convictions. One of the most talented wide receivers in football who was run out of Denver, run out of Miami and, if his jerk chromosomes kick in again (and they will), he'll be gone from Chicago in the near future, too.
No. 4: Special Brett Favre dispensation for Terrell Owens: T.O. checks in here, which is technically a violation of the jerk charter since Owens, you know, isn't currently in the NFL. He's been booted from the NFL, IFL, USFL, CFL, AFL, the AFL-CIO. UFOs and IPOs don't want him either. Owens is a lifetime jerk award winner, future Hall of Famer (should be at least) who was nasty, petulant and turbulent. His jerkiness is so pervasive that despite having some ability remaining no one will touch him. People fear catching jerk cooties. Love me some jerk.
No. 3: New Orleans Saints: A collective award. And who knows if they even did what they're accused of doing. If they're guilty, they belong in this spot. If they're innocent, then this is where Ndamukong Suh , leg stomper, dirty player, shall go. So ordered.
No. 2: Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger: Two sexual assault allegations (no convictions) but a four-game suspension for violation of the NFL's personal conduct policy. A well-earned jerk ranking.
No. 1: Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick: This question was put to Twitter: does Vick deserve to be forgiven for what were atrocities against defenseless animals? Hundreds of responses came in and it was overwhelming there are still a great many people who haven't forgiven Vick for actions of his own making.
But that is the question: When is Vick allowed to move on? When is that threshold from criminal to forgiven criminal crossed? To some, it already has. But to many, like me, though it's clear that Vick has changed, the crime was so disgraceful, more time is still needed to make sure the change I've seen in him is not an act but permanent. There's almost a simple formula here to follow. The worse the crime, the more time it takes for the re-evaluation.
This is an arrogant approach for me and others, particularly since everyone judging Vick has made their own errors. But there are mistakes and then there are mistakes. For Vick, it will still take more time.
A few honorable mentions: James Harrison, Randy Moss, Donte Stallworth (pled guilty to DUI manslaughter), Ray Lewis, O.J. Simpson (eternal nominee, Mount Jerkmore candidate), and no jerk list would be complete without Pacman Jones.
Top good guys (or the non-jerks)
No. 10: Cam Newton: Boy, does he look really lazy.
No. 9: Maurice Jones-Drew: His tweet questioning Jay Cutler’s heart notwithstanding, one of the league's good dudes.
No. 8: Matt Hasselbeck: Sarcastic but possesses good sense of humor, and has changed the direction for the better of every NFL team he's played on.
No. 7: Donald Driver: The opposite of the me-first jerk wide receiver.
No. 6: Calvin Johnson: Ditto.
No. 5: Tim Tebow: C'mon, he's a good dude. Not his fault media pays far too much attention to him.
No. 4: Chad Ochocinco: Sure, he's a little foul-mouthed on Twitter, and yes, he was once a showboat, but he was, and is, harmless. He's also, secretly, an incredibly solid person and goes out of his way to make people think he's not.
No. 3: Aaron Rodgers: Deserves a lifetime achievement good guy award for putting up with Brett Favre’s tomfoolery.
No. 2: DeMaurice Smith: Fighting the good fight for the union.
No. 1: Tom Coughlin: Yeah, that Tom Coughlin. This isn't just about his charity work. Jerks do charity work. This is about Coughlin's perseverance. Over the past few years, the only person who didn't fire Coughlin was Donald Trump. A handful of New York media were vitriolic and unfair, and Coughlin mostly kept his cool and should be a Hall of Famer.