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NFL Lockout Heroes and Villains


Best lockout:
Chad Ochocinco
Eighty-five set the standard for player activity during the lockout — riding a bull for 1.5 seconds, playing 30 minutes in a scrimmage for the MLS’s Sporting Kansas City and giving radio-TV interview updates on the status of Carson Palmer, Terrell Owens and Terrelle Pryor. Oh, and he “threatened” to “whoop (Marvin Lewis’) ass.”

Worst lockout:
Kenny Britt

Bayonne’s own Jersey boy had too much time on his hands and, as a result, had too many encounters with handcuffs — following a high speed car chase in his Porsche; after resisting arrest, obstructing justice and tampering with evidence at a Hoboken car wash; and with a pink feather boa around his neck at a Britney Spears concert.

Best merger:
Dallas Cowboys and Marvel Entertainment

The formation of “Captain America’s team” should provide additional revenue streams and untapped marketing opportunities for both Jerry Jones’ club and the comic book company behind recent blockbusters like Iron Man, X-Men and, of course, Captain America.

Worst merger:
Mr. and Mrs. Brandon Marshall

The Dolphins receiver was (allegedly) stabbed in the stomach by his wife, Michi Nogami-Marshall, in late April. Marshall originally told police that he had fallen and cut himself on a broken piece of a glass vase — which brought back memories of his infamous tale of a slip-and-slide through a TV to cut his arm in 2008.

Best Steeler quotes:
James Harrison in Men’s Journal
The “Hitman” poured kerosene on the blazing fire that is Harrison’s relationship with Roger Goodell, saying (among other things):

“My rep is James Harrison, mean son of a bitch who loves hitting the hell out of people. But up until last year, there was no word of me being dirty — till Roger Goodell, who’s a crook and a puppet, said I was the dirtiest player in the league. If that man was on fire and I had to piss to put him out, I wouldn’t do it. I hate him and will never respect him.”

Not the wisest words from the NFL’s Darth Vader villain, but definitely the most provocative and polarizing interview of the lockout.

Worst Steeler quotes:
Rashard Mendenhall on Twitter

The Steelers running back didn’t make many friends and ultimately lost millions of dollars with his truther tweeting following Osama bin Laden’s assassination:

“What kind of person celebrates death? It’s amazing how people can HATE a man they have never even heard speak. We’ve only heard one side…”

“I just have a hard time believing a plane could take a skyscraper down demolition style.”

Best Cowboy and beauty queen duo:
Tony Romo and Miss Missouri Candice Crawford

The quarterback who broke up with Carrie Underwood the day before her 29th birthday and may or may not have inspired the country-pop starlet’s “Cowboy Casanova” finally tied the knot, marrying TV personality and former Miss Missouri Candice Crawford in late May.

Worst Cowboy and beauty queen duo:
Roy Williams and Miss Texas Brooke Daniels

The underachieving ex-Cowboy wideout made the smooth move of proposing to former Miss Texas Brooke Daniels through the snail mail and he was surprised when she not only said “no” but also decided to keep the $76,000 engagement ring.

Best marketing:
Peyton and Eli Manning, DirecTV
The Manning Bros. did their best Crockett and Tubbs or Starsky and Hutch or whatever buddy cop duo there is impression. But unlike most, Peyton and Eli have sweet fake mustaches. DirecTV’s “Football Cops” are pure genius. If only Jeff George and Jeff Hostetler were still around, DirecTV could have had awesome quarterbacks with real ‘staches. Probably not as marketable; kind of like replacing Don Johnson with Colin Farrell — just a bad idea all the way around.

Worst marketing:
Peyton Hillis, Madden ’12 cover

Derek Jeter was more deserving of his starting AL shortstop All-Star vote than the “other Peyton” was of his Madden cover. Come to think of it, the original Peyton has never been on the cover of the NFL’s signature video game. EA Sports may not realize it, but the fan voting for Hillis started off as a joke. Then it went too far, as Hillis edged out Mike Vick in the final round. “Boom! Where’d that cover come from?”

Best owner:
Robert Kraft

The Patriots’ three-time Super Bowl-winning check-writer made all the right moves during the lockout. But that should be expected from an owner whose only coaching hires have been Pete Carroll, Bill Parcells and Bill Belichick. Kraft was not only a level-headed middle man who was respected on both sides of the aisle, but he was also a man whose wife, Myra, was fighting a battle with cancer (that was ultimately lost on July 20). Kraft continues to be the personification of dignity and class. Jeff Saturday was right to “hug it out” after the ugly 130-day negotiations.

Worst owner:
Al Davis

Born on the Fourth of July; you gotta love an 82-year-old who still wears jump suits and black leather jackets. So, it should come as no shock that Davis abstained from voting on the lockout resolution. Sure, the other 31 owners were ready to pressure the players into voting. But Davis does what Davis wants — Raiders, fellow owners or NFL be damned. On second thought, maybe he’s not the worst owner after all.