The Most Overrated Player in the History of Each NFL Franchise

New England Patriots: Tedy Bruschi

Gaining notoriety as a player becomes a bit easier when you’re on a team that consistently does well. Any member of the New England Patriots during the Brady/Belichick era has upped their status as a player due to the amount of national exposure the team garners. While Bruschi was a motivational leader that gave the utmost effort in every game, he wasn’t quite the dominant linebacker fans made him out to be. The now-analyst made just one Pro Bowl during his 13-year career, less than Brandon Meriweather and Larry Izzo did during their respective Patriots tenures.

New York Jets: Joe Namath

Everybody knows of Namath famously predicting his New York Jets to be victorious over the Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl III. What the grainy footage won’t remind you of is Namath’s inconsistencies as a passer throughout his playing career. Namath completed nine seasons of playing at least 10 games — he threw for more interceptions than touchdowns in seven of them. Following the Jets’ Super Bowl win, Namath spent the rest of his career marred by injuries and mediocrity. He led New York to just one winning season from 1970-1977.

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Dallas Cowboys: Leon Lett

Leon Lett was a part of multiple Super Bowl teams with the Cowboys. Though his name garnered a ton of notoriety, it wasn’t necessarily because Lett was that good of a player. The two-time Pro Bowler was never considered an All-Pro player — nor was he that good relative to some of his teammates (Jim Jeffcoat, Charles Haley). With his two infamous mistakes aside, Lett also was suspended on more than one occasion for drug-related issues. Lett played in all 16 games only once during his 10-year career. He also never registered more than 4.0 sacks in a single season.

New York Giants: Phil Simms

Simms will forever be a God within the New York sports scene. He led the Giants to two Super Bowls. Essentially, Simms can do no wrong for that franchise. When delving into his past as a player, it’s safe to say he was overrated. Simms only completed 55.4 percent of his passes over the course of his career. During one of his Pro Bowl years, Simms had a touchdown-to-interception ration of 22:20. This is hardly impressive by any stretch of the imagination. In his other Pro Bowl year, Simms had 15 touchdowns to nine interceptions. With those numbers, he likely wouldn’t sniff a Pro Bowl in the current era.

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Philadelphia Eagles: Ron Jaworski

‘Jaws’ is a popular figure — particularly in Philadelphia. Jaworski’s gregarious personality can be currently seen analyzing football games on television. However, he was once a starting quarterback for the Eagles. Jaworski only made one Pro Bowl during his NFL career. It included a very poor career completion rate of 53.1 percent. There was also Super Bowl XV versus the Raiders in which Jaworski was absolutely dreadful (in a 17-point loss). Many within the City of Brotherly Love depict Jaws as the team’s all-time best quarterback. We aren’t quite sure why, as Donovan McNabb was far more superior.

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Washington Redskins: DeAngelo Hall

Hall garnered the reputation of being a shutdown corner. He made one Pro Bowl with the Redskins, and was routinely in the conversation for All-Pro honors. We aren’t quite sure why. To put it frankly, Hall was a very average NFL player with terrific physical tools. He relied far too often on his recovery speed as opposed to technique. There were multiple seasons in which Hall allowed the most receiving yards in coverage. Aside from that, his attitude rubbed a lot of people the wrong way.

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Chicago Bears: William Perry

William ‘The Refrigerator’ Perry was a phenomenal athlete. A man of his stature (350 pounds) really shouldn’t have been moving with such impressive nimbleness.  Starring as both a defensive lineman and as a short-yardage back, Perry gained a ton of notoriety during the 1980s glory years of the Chicago Bears franchise. His big personality and lovable disposition made him a fan favorite. However as a player, Perry was not overly productive. He never made a Pro Bowl — nor did he ever eclipse 5.5 sacks in any individual season. Both conditioning issues and health problems led Perry to retiring at the age of 32.

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Detroit Lions: Roy Williams

Among all of the first-round wide receiver misses in the last 15 years (Charles Rogers, Mike Williams), the Detroit Lions hit somewhat with Roy Williams. The Texas native was billed as a No. 1 receiver. However, his numbers indicate someone more along the lines of a No. 2 or even a No. 3. Williams had a monster 2006 season in which he made the Pro Bowl and led the league in receiving yards (1,310). This was the only season in which Williams accrued a 1,000-yard campaign. The next highest total in a single season for Williams was a paltry 838 yards. After five underwhelming seasons with the Lions, Williams jumped to the Cowboys before crashing out of the league at the age of 30.

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Green Bay Packers: Gilbert Brown

Gilbert Brown was widely considered to be one of the better nose guards in the NFL during the mid-90s. He anchored a defense which ultimately bested Drew Blesdoe and the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XXXI. Brown was a run-stuffer at around 345 pounds. Though his reputation was that of a dominant player, Brown never made a Pro Bowl. He also only managed to accrue 7.0 sacks during his entire career. This specific statistic would lend itself to the notion of Brown being more of a one-dimension run stopper as opposed to a multi-faceted lineman.

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Minnesota Vikings: Herschel Walker

Herschel Walker is one of the best athletes to ever step foot in the NFL. There’s no denying his insane combination of power, speed, acceleration, and elusiveness. With all of that said, he wasn’t great at all for the Vikings. In two-and-a-half seasons, Walker failed to break the 900-yard mark. He wasn’t a dominant back — nor was he particularly productive. It wasn’t completely Walker’s fault. Minnesota acquired Walker after giving Dallas eight draft picks(!) and four players. It’s easily the largest trade in NFL history. While Minnesota didn’t win anything with Walker, the Cowboys went on to draft the likes of Emmitt Smith, Darren Woodson, and Russell Maryland with these picks.

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Atlanta Falcons: Michael Vick

Michael Vick is the most athletic quarterback in the history of the National Football League. Never has professional football seen a talent possessing Vick’s combination of elite arm strength, sprinter’s speed, and cat-quick agility. He was undoubtedly a very popular football player (up until his scandal involving dogs). For all of the flash plays, Vick remains as an overrated football player. Vick has a career completion percentage of only 56.2. With Atlanta, Vick’s overall record (38-28-1) was decent — though not excellent. The same can be said for his postseason record (2-2) and postseason quarterback rating (76.0) with Atlanta.

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Carolina Panthers: Josh Norman

The Josh Norman hype was super strong during the 2015 season. Many pegged him as an All-Pro defender. Some even considered him to be the best corner in all of football. The Washington Redskins agreed, as they gave him a five-year/$75 million deal in free agency. We have to say, it doesn’t appear as if Norman has justified the massive contract. Over the course of his career, he’s only made the Pro Bowl once. We aren’t quite sure why he’s been so outspoken as to his football prowess. Norman hasn’t done close to enough to be considered one of the best corners in football.

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New Orleans Saints: Archie Manning

The two-time Pro Bowler is a member of the New Orleans Saints Hall of Fame. When looking at Manning’s numbers, it’s a bit perplexing as to why this is the case. Manning threw for 125 touchdowns during his career…but also tossed 173 interceptions (and had a career 55.2 percent completion rate). His record as a starter was 35-101-3. Yes, that’s not a typo. Manning lost a considerable amount of games. The two Pro Bowl years are nice, though it certainly doesn’t warrant the Mississippi native garnering such accolades. He has the lowest winning percentage of any starting quarterback in league history (minimum 50 games).

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Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Dexter Jackson

Dexter Jackson was a former Super Bowl MVP. This alone is quite an accomplishment. A rangy player out of Florida State, Jackson patrolled the back end of the Buccaneers defense during its blowout win over the Oakland Raiders in Super Bowl XXXVII. Though he gained a lot of notoriety from this one performance, his play on the field left a lot to be desired. Jackson would struggle at times in coverage versus speedier receivers. Duly, he wasn’t much of a tackler — as he only broke the 60-tackle mark once in his career. After signing a big free agent deal with the Arizona Cardinals during the post-Super Bowl era, Jackson returned to Tampa — only to sparingly play parts of two other seasons.

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Arizona Cardinals: Beanie Wells

Beanie Wells was supposed to be a No. 1 back in the NFL. Many fantasy owners had him slated to breakout as a star on more than one occasion. To the dismay of both disgruntled fantasy players and the Cardinals’ front office, Wells was a complete bust. The former first-round pick played only four seasons before retiring. During this time, he had only one 1,000-yard season (2011). Aside from that, Wells combined for roughly 1,400 yards in the three other years he played professionally. His tenure in Arizona was a massive disappointment.

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Los Angeles Rams: Wendell Tyler

Wendell Tyler was considered to be a decent running back. The former UCLA star gained considerable notoriety during his time with the San Francisco 49ers. This included a Pro Bowl appearance and a Super Bowl win. However, Tyler was just ‘okay’ with the Rams. He did have two seasons with at least 1,000 yards rushing. With that said, Tyler also had a major fumbling problem. During his six-year stint with Los Angeles, Tyler fumbled a whopping 37 times.

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San Francisco 49ers: R.W. McQuarters

A first-round pick out of Oklahoma State, R.W. McQuarters was an elite athlete. Those in San Francisco were expecting McQuarters to be a shutdown corner. He also was pegged to be a fantastic returner on special teams. Neither ultimately came to fruition. McQuarters nabbed only one interception during his two seasons in San Francisco. Ultimately, he was jettisoned to the Chicago Bears after only 27 games with the franchise. McQuarters is an example of a player who lived off of his perceived reputation rather than his actual play on the field.

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Seattle Seahawks: Lofa Tatupu

Lofa Tatupu was a player who flamed out early. In essence, he was a momentary flash in the proverbial pan. Despite making three-straight Pro Bowls, Tatupu never could recapture that brilliance after inking a six-year/$42 million deal in 2008. His play tailed off considerably. Injuries piled up, and Tatupu simply couldn’t stay on the field. Though an intuitive and physical player, Tatupu didn’t have the quickness nor athleticism to stick with smaller players in space. Tatupu was released in 2010, and ultimately retired at the age of 28.

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Denver Broncos: Bill Romanowski

Romanowski built a following due to his foul behavior on the field. The former 49er, Raider, and Bronco was an intimidating presence that resorted to childish antics (i.e. spitting on opponents) to get in the heads of the opposition. In reality, the four-time Super Bowl winner was a beneficiary of playing on very good teams, and not the all-world talent he was made out to be. While his ironman streak is certainly impressive (didn’t miss a single game from 1988-2002), his pedestrian numbers and lack of accolades put him in a category of replacement-level players.

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Kansas City Chiefs: Larry Johnson

The Chiefs have a strong tradition at running back. Just in the past decade, Kansas City backs have broken the single-season touchdown record (Priest Holmes), set the career-high for yards per rushing attempt (Jamaal Charles), and, most recently, led the league in rushing as a rookie (Kareem Hunt). Johnson had his moment as KC’s lead bellcow, but it ended as abruptly as it started. After two 1,700-yard seasons, Johnson’s body betrayed him. In 2009 (Johnson’s last year in Kansas City) he averaged just 2.9 yards per carry, while young upstart Charles posted 1,120 yards on just 190 attempts (5.9 YPC).

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Los Angeles Chargers: Natrone Means

Means was an integral part on a San Diego Chargers team that made it all the way to the Super Bowl in 1994. The bruising back ran for 1,350 yards and 12 touchdowns that season, but didn’t do much else in the seasons that followed. He was moved to Jacksonville just two years after San Diego’s Super Bowl appearance, and never reached the 1,000-yard or 10-touchdown mark in a season again.

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Oakland Raiders: Bo Jackson

There’s no discounting Jackson’s athleticism. The two-sport athlete excelled professionally in both football and baseball. Jackson is considered one of the greatest collegiate football players of all-time, and made an immediate impact after joining the Raiders in 1987. That being said, Jackson’s NFL career was a bit disappointing given his talent level. Jackson played just four seasons in the NFL, totaling 2,782 yards on the ground and 16 touchdowns. He was good for a few memorable, highlight-reel runs, but Jackson’s short-stint as a pro football player left more to be desired.

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Houston Texans: Mario Williams

The Texans shocked the world when they selected Mario Williams over the electrifying USC rusher and reigning Heisman Trophy winner Reggie Bush. Bush’s up-and-down career would make one believe that Houston made the unequivocally correct choice in picking Williams. In turn, Williams’ mostly lackluster career has been inflated by Texans’ apologists. Williams started off strong, and had a semi-resurgence in his four-year stint with Buffalo, but complacency derailed a career that should have lasted 12-plus seasons.

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Indianapolis Colts: Joseph Addai

Playing alongside Peyton Manning has helped kick-start countless careers. While some of Manning’s teammates were supreme talents that would have succeeded under multiple circumstances (Edgerrin James, Marvin Harrison, and Reggie Wayne), there’s a group of average-to-above-average players that only stuck around in the league due to Manning’s ability to elevate his teammates. Addai hit the ground running after he was selected in the first round of 2006. After two 1,000-yard rushing seasons to begin his career, Addai sunk into mediocrity. He averaged just 3.8 yards per carry in his final four seasons, before being ousted from the league after the 2011 season.

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Jacksonville Jaguars: Mark Brunell

After sitting behind Brett Favre for a number of years in Green Bay, Brunell finally got a starting job with the expansion Jacksonville Jaguars in 1995. By most measures, Brunell performed fairly well. He put up an impressive 4,300-yard season in his second year, and led the Jaguars to the playoffs in four consecutive seasons. However, history seems to forget everything that happened to Brunell after that faithful 1999 season in which the Jags went 14-2. Brunell and Jacksonville failed to field one winning season in his last four years with the team, and he was eventually jettisoned to Washington where he didn’t fare much better. Brunell would become a backup for the rest of his career.

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Tennessee Titans: Steve McNair

Steve McNair was a great football player, but being great doesn’t excuse a player from being overrated. While McNair dazzled fans during his tenure in Tennessee, his career numbers aren’t equivalent to that of an all-time great. McNair made just three Pro Bowls in his 13-year career, and exactly zero All Pro teams. His biggest claim to fame was sharing the 2003 NFL MVP award with Peyton Manning – despite Manning besting him in just about every statistical category (yards, touchdowns, completion percentage, and team success).

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Baltimore Ravens: Bart Scott

It’s impossible to tell the story of the New York Jets’ rise and fall under Rex Ryan without including Scott’s now-famous “Can’t Wait” sound clip. But before Scott’s ill-advised proclamation, he was a part of the Ravens defense that terrorized the league throughout the new millennium. While Scott showed flashes of being an elite linebacker, he was never on the level of his Baltimore compatriots. Scott’s best season came in 2006 when he recorded 9.5 sacks and two interceptions. Scott had just two more interceptions and never had a single season of 5+ sacks for the rest of his career.

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Cincinnati Bengals: T.J. Houshmandzadeh

Cincinnati’s receiving corps was the talk of the town during the team’s run in the mid 2000’s. Led by the enigmatic Chad ‘Ochocinco’ Johnson, the Bengals featured a highly-potent offensive attack that could score points at will. Houshmandzadeh was the second option for QB Carson Palmer, and his quiet demeanor, steady play, and unique name endeared him to NFL fans. However, he wasn’t quite as good as many would suggest. The 6-foot-1 wide-out was one of the slower players at this position in all of football, and it showed when teams weren’t completely keyed in on Johnson. By the end of his career, Houshmandzadeh compiled just one season of 100+ receptions and two years of 1,000+ receiving yards.

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Cleveland Browns: Bernie Kosar

Kosar was a fine quarterback during his career. He took care of the ball, managed the game, and put his team in position to win. However, doing the bare minimum shouldn’t be a cause for celebration. Kosar is the beneficiary of playing QB for a franchise that has seen some of the worst quarterback-play in NFL history. Kosar’s mediocrity seemed like All-World talent when compared to Tim Couch, Kelly Holcomb, Johnny Manziel and all the other Cleveland QB’s that came after him. Kosar ended his career with a losing record as a starter, and zero 4,000-yard seasons.

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Pittsburgh Steelers: Lynn Swann

Swann’s spot on this list is in part due to John Stallworth never receiving enough credit. The Pittsburgh receiving duo were in the same draft class (1972), but Swann was a first-round pick while Stallworth had to wait until the fourth round to hear his name called. By 1984, Stallworth was polishing off the best season of his career (80/1,395/11), while Swann was already two years removed from the league. Stallworth finished his career with three seasons of over 1,000 receiving yards to Swann’s zero. It just so happens that Swann made a handful of miraculous plays in big games, which is why his name typically gets brought up before his teammate’s.

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Buffalo Bills: Doug Flutie

Flutie’s acclaim comes from his short stature, collegiate impact, and one good season of NFL quarterbacking. After being out of football for nearly ten seasons, Flutie made a return to the Buffalo Bills in 1998 and had enjoyed a strong stretch as their QB. Outside of that 25-game stretch, Flutie was dreadfully inaccurate and mostly forgettable.

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Miami Dolphins: Mercury Morris

Morris returned to the spotlight in 2007 when he relentlessly mocked the New England Patriots after they failed to complete a perfect season by losing to the New York Giants in Super Bowl XLII. Morris was a member of the 1972 Miami Dolphins team that remains the only unbeaten squad in NFL history. Despite being part of a team that holds that distinction, Morris was purely an above-average player that saw little success after the ’72 season. Morris totaled just one 1,000+ yard season in his career, finishing with just 4,133 yards and 31 scores in eight seasons.

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