Some players try to play the game the right way at all times. Then there are the dirtiest players of all time who try to win at any cost. These are the guys who aren’t afraid to break the rules or pay a fine (or even serve a suspension) if they think their actions will help their team.
Here is our list of the dirtiest players to ever suit up for an NFL franchise.
#1. Ndamukong Suh
Although Suh experienced a resurgence in his career after joining the Los Angeles Rams, he has just as many lowlights to his video collection as there are highlights. He has been fined, suspended, and even disqualified from games because of his actions. From stomping on players to ripping off their helmets, he clearly cares more about the win than if someone gets hurt.
#2. Bill Romanowski
Romanowski always had a bit of a temper. He played hard and fierce on the field, developing a reputation as a heavy hitter. If you got under his skin, however, there was no telling what he might do. J.J. Stokes found that out the hard way in 1997 after the two argued on the field. Carried live on Monday Night Football, Romanowski spit right in his face.
#3. Lyle Alzado
The 1970s were an era of hard tackles, dominating personalities, and franchise dominance. It was also a time when steroids were running rampant through the NFL. Alzado was vicious on the field, terrorizing players with his snap temper and unpredictable actions. He once tore off the helmet of Chris Ward, an OL for the New York Jets, and threw it down the field ten yards.
#4. Conrad Dobbler
Dobbler was a cerebral assassin on the field. He would purposely play clean during the first quarter of the game to lull everyone into a false sense of confidence. Then he would pull out every dirty trick in the book to get his way. He was named the dirtiest player in the league in 1977 – and the only surprising thing was that he didn’t make that list more often. Leg whipping, eye gouging, and biting in the pile were common.
#5. Dashon Goldson
You may not know this name if you follow the modern NFL, but you can’t ignore the number of unnecessary roughness penalties Goldson earned in 2009 – there were 20 of them. He received $190,000 in fines in 2013 before the increased emphasis on safety during tackles took place. He’s also been suspended as a repeat offender because of the actions he chose to take on the field.
There is a difference between playing hard and playing dirty when you’re in the NFL. Most players will not stand for someone who conducts themselves in the ways described above. Some exceptions to the rule exist, of course, like Dobbler – who was voted into the Pro Bowl by his peers. The game is changing, and so are the players. Will we see another character like these in the coming years?