NFL’s Most and Least Liked Players

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This week, as they do every year, Forbes revealed their list of the most and least liked players in the NFL. The poll, which asks fans to rate players based on if they like or dislike them, generated an “appeal” number for each player to arrive at their top ten rankings.

While the methodology is hardly scientific (Forbes reveals nothing of the geographic or demographic breakdown of the fans they asked), the results are enlightening, though surprising. Most obvious is the preponderance of QBs on the list, as they comprise half of the most liked players and 70% of the least liked players. What is hard to decipher is the logic fans demonstrated in making their selections. Forbes has one bit of analysis on the receivers and tight ends on the list that rings false to any observant fan:

“As for pass catchers: fans take a liking to workmanlike receivers Rob Gronkowski (58%) and Donald Driver (57%), but not to perceived divas Randy Moss (24%) and Santonio Homes (28%).”

It’s hard to believe that any fan would consider Donald Driver (who appeared on Dancing with the Stars) or Rob Gronkowski (with his reputation for partying) as “workmanlike.”

Gronkowski drunk

Other bizarre inclusions on the list:

  • Peyton Manning – Most Liked #4: Manning missed all of 2011 with injury and just changed teams as a high-priced free agent. Two things that usually hurt fans’ opinions of a player.
  • Matt Stafford – Most Liked #10: Stafford hardly resonates with most fans. He isn’t particularly popular or unpopular, but his public persona is non-existent. This seems like an overreaction based on a successful 2011 season for the Lions. The same sense applies to the three Packers on the most liked list as well.

Matt Leinart1

  • Matt Leinart – Least Liked #5: It’s not that Leinart is particularly likable, it’s just that it’s hard to understand why anyone would dislike a backup QB on his third team who has never had an impact on an opposing fan base.
  • Kyle Orton – Least Liked #7: Another backup QB, Orton has never done anything to engender fan dislike on a massive scale.
  • Brady Quinn – Least Liked #10: Who cares about Brady Quinn? We can’t make any sense of this one at all.

And it’s not just the inclusions that leave us confused, but some of the omissions as well. Tim Tebow, who is one of the most divisive players in the NFL, fails to appear on either list. Other players who usually rank near the top of most hated player lists like Ben Roethlisberger and Ray Lewis are nowhere to be found.

Tim tebow

While their results and analysis make for a fascinating read (we recommend perusing the whole article here), we just have a lot of difficulty understanding the results. We have requested additional information about the demographics of the poll on the hope that it will explain some of the bizarre results.

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