10 worst losers in NFL history

By Michael Dixon

Unless you live under a rock, you’ve likely heard someone’s opinion on the behavior of Cam Newton after Super Bowl 50. It was certainly not exemplary, but it wasn’t unprecedented either.

So, where does Newton’s post-game pity party put him with the rest of the worst losers in NFL history?

Cam Newton

We start with the most recent incident.

Yes, Cam Newton handled himself poorly in the post-game press conference. It’s okay to say that. Even if these comments were the reason he walked off, he still handled himself poorly.

In response to the backlash, Newton acknowledged that he was a “sore loser“and even broke out the famous, “you show me a good loser and I’ll show you a loser” line.

Not exactly the greatest thing to say, Cam, as plenty of your own teammates handled themselves fine after the Super Bowl defeat. Are they all losers?

This moment is being overplayed but given Newton’s profile and his status as a leader of the team and league, he has to do better than that.

Peyton Manning

While Newton fresh on our minds, let’s discuss some antics of his opposite number from Super Bowl 50, Peyton Manning.

Newton’s post-game behavior drew the ire of many, including actor Rob Lowe, who compared Manning to Newton.

Oh, Mr. Lowe. That is rich.

Was Peyton Manning gracious, classy, and humble when he called teammate and honorable mention for this list, Mike Vanderjagt, an idiot kicker in a televised interview weeks after a 41-0 playoff loss to the New York Jets?

Was he gracious, classy, and humble when he walked off of the field after the Indianapolis Colts Super Bowl XLIV to the New Orleans Saints without congratulating Drew Brees or any of the New Orleans Saints players and coaches?

Manning was the same age Newton is now when he made the comments towards Vanderjagt and significantly older during the Super Bowl XLIV loss.

Manning has been in the league longer than Newton. At the risk of sounding snarky, he’s also had more big game losses and has had far more chances to be gracious, classy, and humble. For nearly all of his career, Manning has been just that. He had a few moments, like Newton, in which he wasn’t.

Trent Williams

Moments after losing a playoff game to the Seattle Seahawks, Washington Redskins lineman Trent Williams decided to let Richard Sherman know exactly what he felt about him.

Okay, by now we know that Sherman is no stranger to controversy. He wasn’t exactly a gracious winner with Michael Crabtree, even if there was a bit of provocation.

But in this case, Sherman was handling himself in a fine way. Sure, we don’t know what was said or done on the field during the game, but it’s unlikely that it was anything different than what happens in basically every NFL game. One player punching another during post game handshakes, however, is shocking.

When it happens, you earn the label of sore loser.

Jim Schwartz

While we’re on the subject of handshake fights, we can’t just forget about Jim Schwartz.

Considering no punches were thrown and nobody was hurt, the sheer comedy of the melee that ensued when Schwartz chased Jim Harbaugh down is off the charts.

But while the moment was decidedly entertaining, it also showed Schwartz to be a bad loser.

To tell the full story, Schwartz isn’t what you’d call a gracious winner. Remember, this is the guy that requested his Buffalo Bills players carry him off the field in his victorious return to Detroit.

With that being said, when you pursue a fight with an opposing coach after a post game handshake, you earn a spot on this kind of list.

Bill Belichick

We have a few things to pick at here. After a 2014 blowout loss to the Chiefs on Monday Night Football, Bill Belichick’s press conference included four words which might as well go on his tombstone,  “We’re on to Cincinnati.” He also grabbed the arm of a replacement referee after Justin Tucker narrowly made a field goal to beat the Patriots in a 2012 game.

Perhaps the most noted instance came in a Ravens vs. Patriots rematch that season during the AFC Championship Game. The Baltimore Ravens defeated the Patriots 28-13 and Belichick decided not to do a post-game interview with CBS, something that drew the ire of Shannon Sharpe.

To be fair, Belichick isn’t exactly chatty after wins, either. Still, his reputation of being one of the worst losers in NFL history is well earned.

Bruce Irvin

We’ve now seen 50 teams lose a Super Bowl. Still, the Seahawks are the only runner-up to start a fight at the end of said loss.

To be fair, the New England Patriots weren’t exactly innocent in the whole fight and Irvin was far from the only Seahawks’ combatant.

But Irvin was the first (and still only) man to be ejected from a Super Bowl. Given that it came at the end of a hard fought loss, it’s not exactly a stretch to say that Irvin was not only a sore loser, but a sore loser on the biggest stage imaginable.

Dennis Green

Dennis Green is not the only coach to go off in a post game presser after a tough loss. With that said, his particular rant was one for the books.

Green was clearly agitated with the loss. His Arizona Cardinals were up 20-0 at one point and lost the game 24-23, allowing 14 points in the fourth quarter. Worse than that, they didn’t allow one offensive touchdown.

What lands Green on this list isn’t just the rant, but what provoked it. Green was not answering an insulting, or even semi-insulting question. Actually, if one listens closely, the only thing to be heard is a rather positive question about shutting down the Chicago Bears and their quarterback, Rex Grossman.

It’s hard to hear that and say that Green isn’t a sore loser.

Randy Moss

Randy Moss was no stranger to controversy in his career. For the sake of this discussion, the most notable incident was walking off of the field in a loss against the Washington Redskins with two seconds remaining.

For the record, Washington wasn’t in victory formation. The Vikings had just scored to cut the deficit to three points and were lining up for an onside kick. ESPN (via the Associated Press) quoted several teammates who were frustrated with Moss’ behavior, but said something else that was even more telling.

“It didn’t matter that they had almost no chance — in the 2 seconds that remained on the clock — to recover the kick, try a ridiculously long field goal to tie, or complete another Hail Mary touchdown pass to beat the Washington Redskins.”

Sure, it was a longshot. But given that Moss is only one of the best receivers ever, he’s the kind of guy the Vikings would want out there if they did somehow recover an onside kick in less than two seconds. Sure, that was all very unlikely and the onside kick did end the game, but one Hail Mary was possible.

Walking off of the field was not a good look for Moss.

Dez Bryant

In many ways, Bryant is the more modern day version of Moss. Like Moss, Bryant walked off of the field in a loss with time remaining, though his opponent was at least in victory formation.

Bryant has also shown himself to not be the kind of guy you want to be around on the sideline when things are going south.


Again, that’s not a great look for one of the leaders of the Dallas Cowboys.

By this point, Bryant has to know that when he’s on the field the cameras are always on him, and that’s not an acceptable way to act.

Mike Ditka

We’re calling Newton a sore loser because he said basically nothing. Like Dennis Green, Mike Ditka gets the label in part for the opposite reason.

Ditka also makes this list for a 1987 incident in San Francisco. After a 41-0 loss to the San Francisco 49ers, Ditka threw a piece of gum at a woman who was, presumably, heckling him. Sadly, camera phones did not exist in 1987 and it’s not likely that video exists.

As we’ve seen today, Iron Mike is not the only man to take a loss poorly. He is, however the only man to throw gum in the face of a fan of the opposing team. For that, he takes the cake. Or, in this case, he takes the gum.