8. …And no shortage of worthy VILLAINS to root against
Roger Goodell, NFL commissioner
Misdeeds: Despite being one of the most powerful men in sports, the commissioner just can’t stop stepping on PR rakes. This year’s new national anthem policy banning protests on the field but allowing teams to stay in the locker room is the latest in a long line of blunders, from insufficient punishment for domestic assault to egregiously slow action on brain injuries.
Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas Cowboys running back
Misdeeds: He was suspended for six games in 2017 after an investigation of several alleged incidents of domestic assault. He appealed the suspension with the backing of owner Jerry Jones, but eventually withdrew it. Elliott was also caught on video pulling down a woman’s top at a 2017 St. Patrick’s Day parade.
Bill Belichick, New England Patriots coach
Misdeeds: He’s arguably the greatest coach in NFL history, but he relentlessly flaunts the rules and accrued the largest fine ever for a coach, thanks to Spygate. Game of Thrones author George R. R. Martin has compared the Pats to the Lannisters and called him “Evil Little Bill.”
Vontaze Burfict , Cincinnati Bengals linebacker
Misdeeds: He’s earned a reputation as the NFL’s dirtiest player, amassing more than $4 million in fines and multiple suspensions. Offenses include: late hits, kicking a player, twisting Cam Newton’s ankle, and giving the finger to Buffalo Bills fans. He’ll begin this year with a four-game PED suspension.
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