The Buffalo Bills, past and present, are well represented on a Sporting News list of the 40 most hated players in NFL history.
Guard Richie Incognito is the only current Bills player to make it, checking in at No. 17.
"Incognito already was a highly-penalized offensive lineman and widely-regarded as a dirty player before a scandal broke in 2013," the Sporting News piece says. "Incognito played a role in harassing teammate Jonathan Martin and allegedly sent messages with racial slurs. Incognito did not play in 2014 before signing with the Bills the following season."
Incognito ranks four spots lower on the list than a former Bill who played his position: Conrad Dobler, who was with Buffalo from 1980 to 1981 and with whom I collaborated on a book entitled, "They Call me Dirty."
"Dobler was an interior offensive lineman for the Cardinals, Saints and Bills through the 1970s, and perhaps no offensive lineman played with a nastier edge," the piece says. "Dobler tried to hurt defensive linemen, and he let you know he was trying to hurt defensive linemen. Dobler’s unapologetic play made him one of that era’s most hated players on the field and by opposing fans."
The other former Buffalo players on the list are wide receiver Terrell Owens (No. 2), who was with the team in 2009, and running back Marshawn Lynch (No. 39), who joined the Bills as a first-round draft pick in 2007 and remained with them until 2010 before joining the Seattle Seahawks.
"Owens was a supremely-talented receiver, but he also was a supremely-selfish player who submarined multiple franchises during his playing career," the piece says. "Owens forced his way out of San Francisco only to have a two-year career in Philadelphia that ended with him doing sit-ups in a driveway before being suspended by the team. Owens resurfaced in Dallas, and that ended badly, too. After stints in Buffalo and Cincinnati, Owens’ 15-year career ended with Hall of Fame numbers. But he might have to wait longer because of all that damage."
On Lynch, the piece says: "Lynch was arrested in 2008 and 2012 for separate incidents, but that’s not the reason he’s here. He became a heel late in his career with Seattle, whether it was a crotch-grab during a touchdown run or an outright refusal to speak to the media. Who could forget “I’m here so I won’t get fined” before Super Bowl XLIX? He’s one of the most physical runners in NFL history, even if he had a fair share of haters."
A Western New Yorker, New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski, ranks No. 38.
"Gronk is the ultimate frat boy," the piece points out. "He drinks. He dances. He directs his own party-boy cruises. He gets away with all of it because, well, “Who doesn’t love Gronk?” Give credit to Gronkowski. He doesn’t apologize for any of it, and he doesn’t care what anybody thinks. For the haters, it’s just another reason to loathe the Patriots."
Topping the list is free-agent quarterback Michael Vick. Patriots QB Tom Brady came in at No. 5.