Top 5 Biggest Scandals In NFL History

The NFL’s handling of the Ray Rice controversy has the nation in a stir. The powers that be could not have displayed a worse handling of the security footage, and as a result, the chum is in the water and everyone is taking a bite out of the NFL. But where does the case rank within the NFL’s long history of scandal? CraveOnline has the answer.

(Dis)Honorable Mention – Brett Favre’s seduction of Jenn Sterger 


I admit that Rae Carruth committing murder, the Vikings love boat controversy and Spygate, in all likeliness, should be ahead of this scandal. But I want the chance to discuss the Brett Favre embarrassment.

Favre’s one year with the New York Jets was a huge failure in more ways than one. If the 22 interceptions wasn’t bad enough, Favre destroyed his image after voicemails and pictures to Jets employee, Jen Sterger, were leaked in 2010.

Favre, a married man, fan favorite, and future Hall of Fame quarterback was, apparently, trying to hook up with Ms. Sterger. The desperate voicemails which can be heard in the linked video were already very embarrassing but the gunslinger didn’t stop there. To try and seal the deal, he sent a picture of his ‘little gunslinger’ to entice her.

Brett’s wife, Deanna Favre, stayed with the old quarterback, but the controversy destroyed his reputation. 

5.  New Orleans Saints’ Bountygate

‘Bountygate,’ as it was so famously dubbed, featured Saints’ defensive players having a slush fund that paid bonuses for inflicting injuries on opposing players. Defensive coordinator, Gregg Williams, which can be heard on the audio telling his players to injure opposing stars, was suspended indefinitely. Head coach Sean Payton, who knew about this and tried to cover it up was suspended for an entire season, along with many other suspensions on the roster, staff, and in management.

There are still some Bountygate apologists who see nothing wrong with what the Saints did and pass it off as nothing more than the violence to be expected in football. But to anyone who watched the Saints play during the years in question, particularly the 2010 NFC championship game against the Vikings, you would see what a dirty team they were and why such a punishment was necessary.

4. Aaron Hernandez Arrested For Murder

Aaron Hernandez Court Appearance

The Patriots tight end was a high profile player who played with Tom Brady and won a national championship with Tim Tebow in Florida. That was why it was so bizarre to discover that Hernandez was living the ‘thug culture’ lifestyle and was arrested for the murder of Odin Lloyd in June of 2013.

Lloyd was shot and killed in an industrial park just one mile from Hernandez’s home. Although he has yet to be convicted, there is quite the evidence against the former Patriot. For instance, he hired a team of house cleaners the same day Lloyd’s body was discovered. His cell phone was destroyed. Incriminating texts from both Lloyd and Hernandez are out there; Lloyd was last seen with Hernandez but security footage showed only three men returning together and Lloyd was not one of them. This evidence along with other pieces of evidence make things look very grim for Hernandez.

If that wasn’t enough, Hernandez faces murder charges from a drive-by shooting outside of a Boston nightclub in 2012. Who would have guessed that Hernandez was such a gangster?

3. Ray Rice Assaulting His Wife On Film  

If you haven’t seen the elevator security footage from an Atlantic City casino that captured Ray Rice assaulting his wife, then you may be living under a rock and thus probably don’t have any internet connection to even read this list. 

The original security footage was released in February of this year showing Rice dragging his unconscious fiancee out of an elevator. Rice admitted to hitting his wife, yet NFL commissioner Roger Goodell only suspended Rice two games. Although many critics were upset, the controversy didn’t reach epic proportions until the rest of the footage was released showing Rice spitting on his fiancee and punching her twice inside the elevator, which knocked her out. The public must not have had much of an imagination or was just so shocked from the severity of the video; it was then the outrage began.

The reason this ranks so high up on the list is that the NFL appears to be lying about seeing the video and it might actually bring down NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. Goodell is only popular amongst the owners but the fans and players do not view him in a favorable light whatsoever. I don’t know if the NFL shares the same publicist or PR agent as Lindsay Lohan, but they have been a shining example of what not do during this incident. 

2. Michael Vick Dog Fighting Scandal

Michael Vick Appears Appears in Court

The Atlanta Falcons quarterback went from scrambling away from defenders on the gridiron all the way to federal prison. Michael Vick pled guilty to the federal felony of dogfighting conspiracy charges. There were 53 pit bulls that showed signs of being subject to torture and were seized from Vick’s property along with 12 deceased pit bull terriers. The cruelty and severity of the treatment of these dogs on Vick’s property shell shocked the nation. It was revealed that they would drown dogs that didn’t perform; electrocute them; hang them; other horrendous acts as well.

Vick was suspended by the NFL, filed for bankruptcy, and spent 19 months in federal prison before returning to the NFL. 

1. O.J. Simpson Murder Trial 

Motorists Wave At O.J. Simpson During Police Freeway Pursuit

The NFL Hall of Famer was always a fan favorite. Simpson became even more likable to the public after doing Hollywood films and starring in comedies such as The Naked Gun as the goofy Nordberg. However, that all changed in 1994 when O.J. Simpson was wanted for the murders of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman.  The entire nation watched as Simpson was fleeing a copious amount of cop cars in his infamous white Ford Bronco. The 1995 murder trial that followed became the most discussed and watched trial of the century and was highlighted by Simpson’s controversial acquittal. 

Joshua Caudill is a writer for CraveOnline Sports, a surfing enthusiast, an unhealthy college sports fanatic, and an expert on all things Patrick Swayze. You can follow him on Twitter @JoshuaCaudill85 or “like”CraveOnline Sports on Facebook.

Photo Credit: Getty