October 13, 2011
According to NFL players, the two meanest guys in football are part of the league's chippiest rivalry. James Harrison(notes) and Ray Lewis(notes) were the runaway winners of Sports Illustrated's poll of the meanest players in the NFL. The two combined for 50 percent of the votes in the magazine's open ballot.
The top four, according to SI:
SI didn't discuss its methodology or how the question was phrased, other than to say 287 NFL players responded to the survey question. I'm curious to know what the question asked. Did it just say "who's the meanest" without any further qualification? Was there the "on-field" caveat or was it assumed that we're talking about off the field too. And, if that was the case, what makes these guys so mean off of it? Does Harrison replace Max Starks'(notes) protein snacks with Kalteen bars? When Ben Roethlisberger(notes) walks into the room, does he dim the lights and put on "Shrek 2"? Is Ndamukong Suh taking out the knees of the towel boy? Does Richard Seymour have a clique with Jason Campbell(notes) and Darren McFadden(notes) where they hang out at the mall and talk about behind Sebastian Janikowski's(notes) back about how much weight he's put on?
Other players in the top 10 included Richie Incognito(notes), Terrell Suggs(notes), Hines Ward(notes), Laron Landry(notes) and Steve Smith. The magazine reported that 68 players received at least one vote, 13 of which were linebackers, the most of any position. Also, Lions kicker Jason Hanson(notes) received a single vote from an unnamed player. My guess is that whoever voted for Hanson was probably confusing the 41-year-old kicker with Suh.
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