20 of the Biggest Trash-Talk Moments in NFL History

January 20, 2014 • Ben Heck • Features, Front Page, History, Lists

Yesterday’s Richard Sherman trash-talking of San Francisco 49ers wideout Michael Crabtree on the field, and the ensuing Sherman/Erin Andrews post-game interview got us thinking…what are some of the best trash-talking moments around the NFL over the years? There have been plenty of them, and we have decided to revisit some of the best ones this morning, in addition to discussing Sherman’s intimidating two-question post-game interview with Andrews following the victory.

We compiled a list that includes trash-talk moments such as one-on-one rivalries, on-field fights, post-game interviews and even an instance in which two players partook in trash-talk via the media leading up to the Super Bowl.

Richard Sherman’s “I’m the best corner in the league” post-game interview

Following All-Pro cornerback Richard Sherman’s big play last night to force a game-ending interception in the end zone, Sherman ran over to WR Michael Crabtree (the receiver he was covering) and slapped him on the butt. Not only did he do that, but he also got in his face and (likely) had some rude comments to make about the wideout. Crabtree pushed him away by slapping him on the face-mask. Sherman was penalized 15 yards for unsportsmanlike conduct, as he should have been.

Afterwards, sideline reporter Erin Andrews interviewed Sherman, but the post-game interview only lasted two questions…probably because Andrews wet her pants in fear of the over-emotional and ecstatic Sherman. The link to the video is above, but here’s an excerpt from it: “Well I’m the best corner in the game. If you try me with a sorry receiver like Crabtree, that’s the result you’re gonna get!”

Bill Romanowski spits on J.J. Stokes

Former steroid-infested linebacker Bill Romanowski has had countless of encounters with both opponents and teammates alike over his 16-year career. But perhaps the four-time Super Bowl champion is best-remembered for his incident on Monday Night Football while playing for the Denver Broncos in 1997. Romanowski allegedly spit in the face of San Francisco 49ers WR J.J. Stokes.

Other Romanowski moments throughout his career include, but not limited to: breaking Carolina QB Kerry Collins’ jaw on a helmet-to-helmet hit, kicking fullback Larry Centers in the head, ripping off the helmet of teammate Marcus Williams and poking him in the eye (Williams was forced to retire early as a result of an eye socket injury) and throwing a football at Bryan Cox’s crotch.

Yeah, I guess you could say Romanowski was not well-liked during his playing days. Note: the link above is an 8 1/2 minute long Romanowski interview in which he discusses the spitting incident and beating up ex-teammate Marcus Williams.

Richard Sherman taunts Tom Brady after win

Ah, yes. The list would not be complete without two separate Richard Sherman moments.

During last October’s Patriots/Seahawks game, Sherman was talking some smack to quarterback Tom Brady, who allegedly replied to Sherman and safety Earl Thomas with “see me after the game when we win” (that’s what he said according to Sherman). So, as we all know, the Seahawks ended up winning the game 24-23.

Naturally, Sherman went and found Brady on the field after the game to give him a piece of his mind. He even tweeted out a photo of Sherman and Brady with the caption “U mad, bro?” Though he deleted the tweet shortly after he posted it, the tweet basically went viral and is now one of his most well-known trash-talking incidents. Before yesterday, that is.


Deion Sanders lays some punches on Andre Rison

Rison and Sanders weren’t fans of each other. Especially not when they were going head-to-head on the football field. Both players had pretty big mouths, and egos, and enjoyed spouting off at opponents.

So it shouldn’t come as any surprise that the two went at it during a regular season game between the 49ers (Sanders) and Falcons (Rison) on October 16, 1994. If you watch the video (link above), you’ll see that Sanders clearly won the one-on-one bout. And the Niners won the game 42-3, and ended up being Super Bowl champions at the end of the season. Sorry, Andre.

Joe Namath Guarantees a Super Bowl victory

This is probably one of the very first documented cases of trash-talk in the NFL. It was way back prior to Super Bowl III between the New York Jets and heavily-favored Baltimore Colts.

Baltimore was led by quarterback Earl Morrall, who had led his team to a 13-1 record and defeated the Browns 34-0 in the NFL Championship game. During the 1968 season, Morrall was filling in for Hall of Fame quarterback Johnny Unitas, and had the Colts to a better record than the 35-year old Unitas ever had (Unitas led Baltimore to a 12-2 record in ’64).

The New York Jets went 11-3 during the regular season, and defeated the Oakland Raiders 27-23 in the AFL championship game to get to the Super Bowl in Miami, FL. Because AFL teams weren’t considered, at the time, as strong as the NFL teams, the Colts were favored by 18 points. But, despite this, the Jets were confident. Very confident. In fact, you could probably even say they were over-confident. Three days before the game, the 25-year old Broadway Joe was quoted saying “We’re going to win Sunday. I guarantee it.”

And the rest, as they say, is history. The Jets pulled off what is still known as one of the biggest upsets in professional sports history by beating the NFL champion Colts 16-7. Namath, 216 yards during the game, out-performed Morrall, who threw three interceptions before being replaced by Unitas.

Andre Johnson beats the crap out of Cortland Finnegan

You know it’s bad when you get a quiet receiver such as Houston’s Andre Johnson to completely snap and go haywire––and throw a few haymakers––at an opposing defensive back. But that’s exactly what St. Louis Rams CB (with the Titans at the time of the incident) does to his receivers. He trash-talks them so much throughout any given game, that he gets under their skin in many cases.

But after the 6’3″ All-Pro receiver Andre Johnson was done with him, you’d think Cortland would be done with trash-talk for a while, wouldn’t you? If you haven’t already seen it, check out the link above. You won’t regret it.

Johnson punch

Shannon Sharpe, Ray Buchanon trash talk via media prior to Falcons/Broncos Super Bowl

Denver’s Hall of Fame tight end Shannon Sharpe was well-known for his trash-talk throughout his career, but as we’ve seen time and time again, he backs it up with his play on the field.

During media week at the 1998 Super Bowl between Sharpe’s Broncos and Buchanon’s Falcons, the two went at it. Not head-to-head, though. Each insulted the other’s ugliness to the media, who, of course, egged the two on. Buchanon said Shannon looked like a horse, to which Shannon replied with “ahhhh, now I know he ain’t talkin’ with them big teeth in his mouth…I’ve never called anybody ugly. Do I think people are ugly? Yeah, I think he’s ugly. But, I never said that.”

There was also an instance in which Sharpe, during a game against the New England Patriots in 1997, was quoted, saying: “I’ll Call the President. President, we need the National Guard! We need as many men as you can spare! Because we are killing the Patriots! So call the dogs off! Send the National Guard, please!” Yeah, I guess you could say Shannon enjoys his trash talk from time to time.

Bart Scott’s “Can’t Wait” post-game interview

“Anybody can be beat. It felt great, poetic justice…we’re pissed off….we’re a good football team…for all you non-believers, disrespect us, talk crap about the defense…all we hear is about their defense, they can’t stop a nosebleed…25th in the league, and we’re the ones that get disrespected.” The New York Jets LB Bart Scott then finished off his post-game rant to ESPN’s Sal Paolantonio with “CAN’T WAIT” after Sal told him he’d see him in Pittsburgh for the AFC Championship game the following week.

The one-minute long rant––the above quote is paraphrased for time purposes––is now infamous following the Jets’ Divisional round upset of AFC East counterpart New England. The Jets had just beaten the Pats 28-21 on the road to advance to the 2010 AFC Championship game.

Any one of T.O. and Ochocinco’s trash-talk lines, TD celebrations

Terrell Owens and Chad “Ochocinco” Johnson were some of the best receivers during their prime. In fact, Owens’ career numbers (1.078 catches, 15,934 yards, 153 TDs) stack up with some of the best receivers in the history of the game. But they were both known for their egos and trash-talking, in addition to their brash touchdown celebrations.

There are far too many of them to list on here, so we’ll leave you with a link to a video counting down the Top 10 T.O. and Ochocinco moments instead. There are so many to choose from, whether it’s T.O.’s sharpie incident, popcorn fiasco, spiking the football on Dallas’ star, mocking the Ray Lewis dance or Ochocinco’s HOF jacket, sombrero or his proposal.


Mike Singletary trashes TE Vernon Davis in post-game presser

“It is more about them than it is about the team. Cannot play with them. Cannot win with them. Cannot coach with them. Can’t do it. I want winners. I want people that want to win.”

That was then-San Francisco 49ers head coach Mike Singletary going off on a post-game rant after his Niners were trounced by the Seahawks. The part specific to TE Vernon Davis was in reference to a mistake that Davis made in the game and then came off the field and threw a hissy fit. Luckily for current head coach Jim Harbaugh, Davis has done a lot of maturing since then and he’s now a total team player.

Welker’s “foot” references in press conference

New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan has been known to trash-talk himself, but in this case, it was division rival New England taking shots at coach Ryan’s supposed foot fetish in this 30-second clip from a presser leading up to the two teams’ 2010 AFC Divisional round match-up which, as we saw from the Bart Scott post-game rant above, the Jets ended up getting the last laugh with a 28-21 victory.

This is really more of a humorous trash-talking bit by Welker, and is rather entertaining despite the presser back-firing on New England in the end. He manages to squeeze in 10 foot references in one quick press conference. Props.

Freddie Mitchell’s Beef with New England Patriots

Anyone remember Freddie Mitchell? Yeah, don’t worry, we barely do either.

He was a four-year WR for the Philadelphia Eagles from 2001-04. And he had quite the mouth on him, too. The one and only moment that Mitchell is famous for is his 4th & 26 catch in Philly’s 2003 Divisional round victory over the Green Bay Packers. In his four seasons, he totaled just 90 catches for 1,263 yards and five touchdowns in 17 starts (63 total games).

Aside from the 4th & 26 play that set-up a 20-17 overtime victory, Mitchell is also known for his pre-Super Bowl comments about the New England Patriots’ secondary, including Pro Bowl safety Rodney Harrison. In an interview with Dan Patrick the week prior to Super Bowl XXXIX between Philly and New England, Mitchell was asked to identify the Pats’ secondary. He claimed he didn’t know them by name, only by number. He then said he “had something for Rodney Harrison.”

That’s actually really funny to think about, considering Mitchell was limited to just a single catch for 11 yards in the game, and Harrison caught the game-sealing interception to pull away with a 24-21 victory. It’s also fitting that it was Mitchell’s final game in the NFL. He was cut from the team the following May and never played in the league again.

Randy Moss “moons” Packers fans after TD

This is a gesture that landed the future Hall of Fame receiver, who was playing for the Minnesota Vikings at the time, a hefty fine. But I’m sure it was well worth it.

During Minnesota’s 2004 NFC Divisional round match-up with rival Green Bay at Lambeau Field, Moss caught a 34-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Daunte Culpepper that put the game out of reach in the fourth quarter. To celebrate his second touchdown of the game, Moss pretends to moon the crowd of Packers’ fans at Lambeau.

Moss, just like his former colleagues T.O. and Ocho, was well-known for his trash-talk and TD celebrations. So this was just one of his many over his illustrious 14-year career.

Moss Moon

Jay Cutler and Philip Rivers trash-talk with each other across the field

Back when Jay Cutler was Denver’s gunslinging first round pick, and Philip Rivers’ San Diego Chargers were the cream of the crop in the AFC West, there was a very entertaining rivalry between these two.

In a Monday Night Football match-up several years back, Cutler’s Broncos were trailing 23-3 in the fourth quarter of play. After Denver was stopped on fourth down and Cutler was heading towards the bench, Rivers began trash-talking him from the sideline––on the other side of the field. I honestly think I can say it was the first and only time I’ve seen two quarterbacks go at it from opposite sides of the field.

That’s good stuff right there. Rivers is still known as a very vocal player, though Cutler has never been seen yelling like that on the field ever since the incident.

Jim Rome pokes the bear, gets humiliated by Jim Everett on his show

This incident wasn’t even a result of a player talking trash, but rather television host Jim Rome talking trash to an NFL player. And Rome paid dearly for it.

Rome welcomed quarterback Jim Everett to his show back in 1994 and, as he had been doing for several years, referred to him as Chris Everett (a female tennis player). Everett didn’t take to this kindly, and he replied with “if you call me Chris Everett to my face one more time, we better take a station break.” And, knowing Mr. Rome, he of course takes the bait and calls him Chris about 15 seconds later. Everett then flips the table over and tackles him, knocking him out of his chair.

Brett Favre vs. Warren Sapp

Sapp and Favre, at the very top of their respective games around the same time period, were known to take shots at each other and talk some friendly trash during Packers/Bucs match-ups.

And though I always felt that the Sapp/Favre talk was always more in a friendly matter, because that respected each other immensely, I didn’t feel as though I could leave this off our list. Sapp, a Hall of Fame defensive tackle, and Favre, a future Hall of Fame quarterback, butted heads quite often, as Favre publicly acknowledged that Sapp was basically unblockable throughout his career.

Sapp was an egotist, and loved to run his mouth. On the other hand, Favre loved to run his mouth too, but it was always on a lighter note than most trash-talkers. This could be why this was a match made in heaven. It sure did make for some entertaining football.

Brett Favre & Warren Sapp - Packers vs. Bucs

Carson Palmer bails on Bengals, briefly “retires” rather than sticking it out in Cincy

This is a case of indirect trash-talk on veteran quarterback Carson Palmer’s part. But it’s still, nevertheless, trash-talk.

Palmer was selected with the No. 1 overall pick by the Bengals in 2003 following an outstanding career at the University of Southern California. He sat out his entire rookie season, but started his career under center in 2004. From ’04 to ’10, making 97 starts over the seven seasons (46-51), and being elected to two Pro Bowls. Despite two playoff appearances, Palmer, who was signed through the 2014 season, was growing frustrated with the organization.

Following the 2010 season, a season in which the Bengals finished with a 4-12 record and ended with a 10-game losing streak, Palmer requested to be traded. Team Owner/President Mike Brown denied that request. Palmer told head coach Marvin Lewis that he planned on retiring, so Cincinnati drafted current QB out of TCU Andy Dalton in the 2011 draft. There began an ugly divorce. Palmer was placed on the reserve list after being a no-show at training camp.

During the 2011 season, the Oakland Raiders lost quarterback Jason Campbell to injury, therefore they targeted Palmer, who was at home watching football on his couch. Cincinnati and Oakland negotiated a trade for the disgruntled quarterback and the rest, as they say, is history.

James Harrison trashes Commissioner Roger Goodell in Men’s Journal interview

It’s a well-known fact that during his Pittsburgh Steelers days, middle linebacker James Harrison had many a questionable plays that garnered plenty of attention from the commissioners office. And rightfully so. Many of the hits were flagrant on Harrison’s part, and Goodell began watching him like a hawk.

And, of course, Harrison didn’t take lightly to being “targeted” by Roger and his people in the NFL’s front office. And he took to an interview with Men’s Journal during the summer of 2011 to get out his frustration at the “evil” commissioner. “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.” And his criticism didn’t stop there. He also took shots at teammates––QB Ben Roethlisberger and RB Rashard Mendenhall.

About Ben’s performance in Super Bowl loss to Packers: “Hey, at least throw a pick on their side of the field instead of asking the defense to bail you out again. Or hand the ball off and stop trying to act like Peyton Manning. You ain’t that and you know it, man; you just get paid like he does.” He also called Mendenhall a “fumble machine.” Ouch, James.

Colin Cowherd’s on-air comments following Sean Taylor’s death

One day after Washington Redskins safety Sean Taylor was murdered following a botched home invasion, sports radio host Colin Cowherd made some very controversial comments regarding the situation, despite not knowing all the facts of the incident.

He stated that he believed he “brought it upon himself” which, of course, is extremely insensitive and was also an ignorant comment considering he didn’t know the circumstances. The worst part about the whole situation could, perhaps, be the fact that he stood by his comments once he did learn all of the details.

When asked about Taylor’s turnaround, Cowherd stated “Well, yeah, just because you clean the rug doesn’t mean you got everything out. Sometimes you’ve got stains, stuff so deep it never ever leaves.” I think this was the exact moment that Cowherd lost all credibility, and fans, that he had left.

Ryan Leaf goes off on media member in locker room

This is more of a post-game tirade than it is trash-talking, but I believe it still belongs on this list. Ryan Leaf, known as one of the league’s biggest draft busts in history, had quite the temper during his brief playing career. A playing career that was littered with disappointment from the former No. 2 overall pick of the San Diego Chargers in 1998.

He finally had enough of the negative attention he was getting, and went off on a reporter in the team locker room following a game. It was just one of many ugly scenes for Leaf. To be honest, nothing about Leaf’s NFL stint was pretty.

Leaf was out of the league by 2002 and began serving a seven-year jail term in December 2012 for multiple charges, including burglary and drug charges. His post-career days were just as ugly as his playing days, as he battled drug problems for years.


Notice a trend here?

It’s mostly diva wide receivers and mouthy defensive backs, with the occasional dramatic quarterback or head coach thrown in here or there. But or the most part, it’s the receiver/cornerback duos that garner the most dramatic, drawn-out trash-talking segments. They just love to talk.

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Did we miss any? We’d love to hear what other trash talk moments/tirades throughout NFL history we missed!

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One Response to 20 of the Biggest Trash-Talk Moments in NFL History

  1. Joey IRi$H says:

    Why does know one recognize Brady torching the lions Alphonso Smith- and earlier in his career torching a certain steelers cb-and after those CB’s trash talking Brady went out of his way to target those guys and lit em’ both up. After his first TD pass on the Pittsburgh cb in the playoffs, Brady ran down the field to find the cb,got in his face, and let him know what was up. Seriously, how can u not atleast have a reference to the trash talking leading up to that steeler playoff game, and Brady completely going all “GOAT” on him…just your average patriot hating bias…what else is new

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