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    American Football In General 
  • As detailed numerous times below, kickers get hit with this the worst. One bad kick tends to be the standout moment of even Hall of Fame-caliber kickers, especially if it's a kick at, or near, the tail end of the game. No matter how many kicks were made previously, they will always be known as the kicker that missed that crucial end-game kick that would have either won them the game, or sent it to overtime.
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College

    College Football Examples 
  • Before Jim Marshall's Never Live It Down moment for the Vikings, there was Roy Riegels, an All-American player who played center for the California Golden Bears. In the 1929 Rose Bowl, he picked up a fumble by the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets and ran the wrong way, with his quarterback chasing and screaming at him to turn around. He was finally caught at the Bears' 3-yard line, only to be piled on by Yellow Jackets. The next play, Cal elected to punt to avoid yielding a safety, but the punt was blocked and Tech got the safety anyway. For the ultimate insult, Tech won the game 8–7 - those two points on the safety was the difference (to his credit, he had moved on from it and was able to turn it into positives for his later life).
  • To Buckeye fans and faithful, Woody Hayes is remembered as one of their best college football coaches, leading Ohio State to two consensus and three non-consensus National Championships and 13 division titles and giving their football program the prestige and style it has today. To most others—and especially to Clemson fans—he's remembered for one thing: punching an opposing player after an interception ruined OSU's comeback in the 1978 Gator Bowl. Hayes was fired by Ohio State the next day.
  • Southern Methodist University's football team, which had great players like Doak Walker and Eric Dickerson, is forever remembered as the only college football program to receive the "death penalty" for major infractions. The school was already on the hook for repeatedly breaking the rules, but when the NCAA found out they were paying players under the table, it was the final straw. The death penalty said that not only could the football team not play for the entire year, they couldn't even recruit new talent until two years later, which contributed to the school voluntarily taking another year off due to the exodus, leaving a lot of rank newbies behind, that resulted from the initial mandatory ban, and the school lost 55 scholarships as a result. The fact that it took the program 20 years after reinstatement to have another winning season, and another 10 years after that to reenter the national rankings, didn't help. This scandal crossed into a Never Live It Down moment for one non-athlete in particular: Bill Clements. Clements had been an oil tycoon who had become the first Republican Governor of Texas since Reconstruction when he was elected in 1978. Clements then became president of SMU after losing his bid for re-election in 1982, and with the illegal payments for college athletes ongoing, decided to phase out the payments vs. immediately stopping the payments (which would have potentially avoided the NCAA death penalty). Soon after this, Clements successfully won a second non-consecutive term as Texas Governor in 1986; but shortly after the scandal broke Clements (who had previously denied knowledge of the payments) confessed that he knew of and approved of continuing the illegal payouts. Not surprisingly, Clements' political career was destroyed, with calls for his impeachment and the Governor deciding not to run for re-election in 1990.
    • SMU's two-year shutdown, combined with an extra two years blocked from television appearances, contributed to the declining fortunes of the entire Southwest Conference. Member program Arkansas fled in 1991 for the Southeastern Conference, and a few years after that four other programs allied with the Big Eight Conference to form a new Big 12 Conference without SMU.
  • The Stanford University Band will always be known for "The Play" — an incident in 1982 where they stormed the field during play against Cal thinking the game was over, and allowed Cal to take advantage of the confusion and score a final game-winning touchdown, which ended in a trombone player being taken out in the end zone. It even necessitated a few rule changes, including that marching bands could no longer be on the field unless the game was over.
    • The rest of the Stanford team hasn't exactly lived it down either, since Stanford fans continue to argue that one of the laterals in the sequence of the play was an illegal forward pass and therefore the touchdown shouldn't count. This mentality is so persistent that, whenever Stanford has possession of the Stanford Axe, the rivalry's official trophy, they change the score for the 1982 game to say that Stanford won 20-19.
  • No matter what his accomplishments as a coach for other football teams might have been, Mike Price will be forever known in the public eye as the coach the Crimson Tide hired and fired in the span of a single postseason after spending the night with a stripper under the influence in May 2003.
  • In 2005, during the Army All-American Bowl (an all-star game for the best high school players), DeSean Jackson leaped towards the end zone and dropped the ball before he touched the ground. You would think he'd have learned his lesson, but he would later make a similar mistake while playing in the NFL for the Philadelphia Eagles, making both incidents that much more infamous for the repitition. Even now, any player who drops the ball before getting into the end zone is said to have "DeSean Jackson'd" themselves.
  • USC head coach Pete Carroll (now the coach of the Seattle Seahawks) is always going to have the Never Live It Down moment for his (small) part in the USC payment scandals in the mid-2000s hanging over his head.
  • Linebacker Manti Te'o had an extremely accomplished senior season in 2012 as part of the dominating Notre Dame defense that brought the school to its only BCS Championship Game. Te'o became more famous, however, for putting up that performance during a year where his grandmother and girlfriend both died within days of each other. This won him widespread media attention and public sympathy, which likely helped in an awards campaign that saw him become a #2 Heisman finalist behind Johnny Manziel and win practically every other trophy he was eligible for. Shortly after the end of the season, however, it came out that Te'o had not only never met his (online) girlfriend, but "she" had never existed. Te'o had not knowingly lied about having a girlfriend; rather, he had been part of perhaps the highest-profile "catfishing" hoax ever and was tricked for several years into thinking he was talking and texting with a Stanford volleyball player with leukemia. He was put under intense scrutiny by the once-adoring media for seemingly lying (or at least bending the truth) about the nature of their relationship for greater media attention and sympathy. This scandal, coupled with a combine performance that was probably affected by his off-field apology/explanation tour, impacted Te'o's draft stock, sliding him into the second round; after a fairly middling NFL career, his "fake girlfriend" story remains the only thing most people remember about him.
  • During a 2014 game against the University of Oregon Ducks, University of Utah running back Kaelin Clay ran towards the end zone, but dropped the ball before crossing the goal line. But it gets worse: not only did Clay not score a touchdown, the Ducks' Erick Dargan then picked up the ball Clay had dropped while he and his teammates were celebrating the touchdown they thought Clay had just scored. Although Dargan dropped the ball as well, fellow Oregon player Joe Walker picked it up and ran it all the way down to the other side of the field for an Oregon touchdown, tying the score on the way to a 51-27 blowout by the Ducks. After the game, comparisons between Kaelin Clay and DeSean Jackson weren't far behind.note 
  • Bob Stoops, University of Oklahoma coach from 1999-2017, will be remembered as "Big Game Bob" due to his inability to lead the university to major bowl game victories on a consistent basis. After leading OU to an undefeated national championship victory in the 2000/01 season, he was defeated by LSU in 2003/04, shellacked by USC in 2004/05, lost the 2006/07 Fiesta Bowl to Boise State on the game's signature "Hook'n'Ladder" and "Statue of Liberty" trick plays, and lost the 2008/09 National Championship to Florida, before finally winning the 2010/11 Fiesta Bowl by defeating UConn (a school more known for basketball than football). Following this, they upset the Crimson Tide in the 2013/14 Sugar Bowl, made the College Football Playoff (but were demolished by eventual runners-up Clemson) and soundly defeated Auburn in the 2016/17 Sugar Bowl, after which Stoops stepped down, but his reputation will always be that of a man whose teams would always come up short in big bowl games.
  • Les Miles, then head coach at LSU (Louisiana State University), was caught on camera during warmups performing his pre-game ritual: Eating some of the grass field. Endless grazing cattle jokes ensued. Miles learned to live with the jokes—in a 2014 ESPN commercial for the College Football Playoff (which the network covers), he's shown to be drinking a grass smoothie (or, at least what looks like one). Video available here.
  • Penn State examples:
    • Legendary Penn State coach Joe Paterno and the Penn State football program had a good reputation. Key word being had until the news that one of his former assistant coaches, Jerry Sandusky, was molesting kids and Paterno (and Penn State in general) swept it under the rug. Decades from now, the Penn State football program will be more remembered for this scandal. And Paterno's achievements will be forgottennote  because of this horrible decision by Penn State to cover it up (and justly so, in many people's minds, especially since Paterno was seen as one of the good coaches in college football). Paterno's wins were reinstated in 2014, but it might be too little, too late to restore his reputation.
    • Mike McQueary, a member of the coaching staff already has his Never Live It Down: Being the person who caught Sandusky in the act of the molesting of a kid and instead of stopping the man from molesting the poor child or even calling the police, he decided that it would be okay to just tell Paterno himself. This is a fact which enrages many a person, as not only has the man been questioned on morality (or toughness, seeing as Sandusky was an old, wrinkled man while McQueary himself was a former Penn State starting quarterback) but the fact that he decided to tell Paterno was, for a lack of better term, really stupid. Being the witness to the crime, McQueary's word would be actually taken seriously if he went to the police, compared to Paterno's, which would be classified as a second-hand account of a crime he didn't witness (or hearsay, to make things short). Some even believe that if McQueary had just called the cops, Paterno would still have his job. To the media, he's a cowardly, subhuman scumbag for his lack of action and to the student body, he's a Replacement Scrappy who did not take action and benefited from it.
    • This seems to have tarred even peripheral players: Late November 2017: Former Rutgers and Tampa Bay Bucs head coach Greg Schiano, then defensive coordinator at Ohio State, was the surprise choice to succeed Butch Davis at the University of Tennessee. The public outcry was immediate and near-universally negative, including on-campus protests and negative statements from prominent state politicians, with many citing his connection to the Sandusky case as the major reason for the protest.note  The athletic department at Tennessee immediately backtracked and rescinded the job offer. Though many think Tennessee fans used the Sandusky connection to torpedo the hiring of someone they felt was unworthy of the position on football merits.note 
  • Bobby Petrino, who already had a major "Never Live It Down" episode on his record with the Atlanta Falcons (see below), took it Up to Eleven at his next coaching stop of Arkansas. He was fired by the Razorbacks after the public found out that he was having an affair with a 25-year-old female co-worker, and had arranged for her to be hired to a staff position in the football program. (He'd eventually make it back to college head coaching, but never got back to the heights he'd reached at Arkansas or the first of his two stints at Louisville. While he did have a couple of good seasons in his second go-round at Louisville, those happened to be the seasons in which Heisman Trophy winner and future NFL MVP Lamar Jackson was at QB.)
  • Oklahoma State Coach Mike Gundy's ("COME AFTER ME! I'M A MAN! I'M FORTY!") rant in 2007.
  • Derek Dooley is today best known for two things: being one in a long line of post-Phillip Fulmer Dork Age coaches for the Tennessee Volunteers and the "Dumbass Miracle", a spectacular boner in which LSU beat Tennessee on a last-minute defensive penalty in 2010. It's been cited as a reason why he was fired before the 2012 season was out.
  • The Alabama Crimson Tide will never hear the end of it when it comes to what transpired during the final play of the 2013 Iron Bowl against the Auburn Tigers, which has become known as the "Kick Six" game. Long story short, the Alabama kicker attempts to kick a game-winning 57-yarder with one second remaining in the game, but because said kicker's leg wasn't strong enough, Auburn's Chris Davis was back at the end-zone to receive the missed kick. He actually managed to return the kick 100-yards the other way to score the winning touchdown for the Tigers.
  • Poor Blake O'Neill, the punter for the Michigan Wolverines. The guy will forever be known as the one who fumbled the punt attempt in the closing seconds of the 2015 Michigan vs. Michigan State match-up, which the Michigan State Spartans recovered, and returned for the game-winning touchdown. In his defense, the Michigan long snapper, Scott Sypniewski, provided O'Neill a really low snap that obviously messed up the timing of the punt attempt. However, the fact O'Neill fumbled, and had it returned for the opposing game winner, was what truly sealed the punter's fate. Had O'Neill simply fallen on the ball so that it would turn over on downs, or if Michigan State had only recovered it, they still would have been in no position to kick the game-winner afterwards since the punt was taking place around midfield with only a few seconds left on the clock. At best, they would have had to attempt a Hail Mary into the end-zone.
  • The SEC is best known for a high number of infractions among collegiate football conferences. It doesn't help that "SEC" can be, and often is, backro'd to "Surely Everyone's Cheating".
  • The 2019 Nebraska Cornhuskers team will be forever known as the team that appeared in preseason rankings despite finishing 4-8 the previous season. Thanks to inflated expectations and regressed offensive play, the team would finish 5-7 instead of their preseason projections, resulting in some pundits believing that head coach Scott Frost could be on the hot seat.
  • During Thanksgiving weekend in that same season, the Ole Miss Rebels and Mississippi State Bulldogs squared off in their annual rivalry game, known to one and all as the "Egg Bowl". State, which was hosting the game, had a 21–14 lead late in the fourth quarter, only to see Ole Miss wide receiver Elijah Moore catch a touchdown pass with 4 seconds left. All that was left to send the game to an all-but-certain overtime was the extra point. Only one problem... Moore got carried away, ran toward State's end zone logo, got on all fours, and then lifted one of his legs to "urinate" on the logo. That act drew a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty that was assessed on the ensuing extra point attempt. Which Rebels kicker Luke Logan missed, giving the Bulldogs the win.note 
  • Georgia head coach Kirby Smart won't be able to live down blowing double digit leads to Alabama in not one, but two consecutive seasons:
    • In the College Football Playoff National Championship at the end of the 2017 season, Georgia jumped to a 13-0 halftime lead before Alabama rallied to tie the game 20-20 to send the game into overtime. Georgia would lose the national championship after Alabama's backup quarterback Tua Tagovailoa threw the game-winning touchdown on 2nd and 26 immediately after taking a sack the previous play.
    • The next season saw Georgia jump to a 28-14 lead in the third quarter, only for that lead to be diminished late in the 4th quarter. To make matters worse for Bulldog fans, Alabama's game-winning touchdown also came from a backup quarterback, ironically being Jalen Hurts, who was replaced in the national championship game the previous season. Kirby Smart also won't be able to live down the unsuccessful fake punt on 4th and 11 late in the game when the game was tied, which managed to cost Georgia the SEC championship game.

NFL

The Super Bowl has its own page. Many examples of disappointing draft busts, terrible behavior, or on-field blunders can also be found on National Football League Notorious Figures.

     NFL In General 
  • The American Football Conference (AFC) is often criticized for being a very weak conference in comparison to the National Football Conference (NFC), especially since the Turn of the Millennium. Very few teams in the AFC ever make it very far in the playoffs, let alone the Super Bowl versus the NFC which has often seen different teams rise. Since 2003, the AFC has only had five different teams reach the Super Bowl, with only four different quarterbacks between them: the New England Patriots with Tom Bradynote , the Pittsburgh Steelers with Ben Roethlisbergernote , the Baltimore Ravens with Joe Flacconote , and both the Indianapolis Colts and the Denver Broncos with Peyton Manning as QB for both teams. Not helping matters is the New England Patriots headlining every AFC Championship game since the 2011 season. If it’s not the Patriots, then it would be either the Steelers or a Manning-led team in the AFC Championship, and sometimes they themselves would be facing the Patriots.
    • The 2019 season finally saw this streak end which saw both the Kansas City Chiefs and the Tennessee Titans headline the AFC Championship, as Titans had earlier defeated The New England Patriots in the Wild Card round. With Tom Brady jumping over to Tampa Bay, Ben Roethlisberger aging, and Peyton Manning retired, it's hopeful the AFC will see some fresh faces moving forward.
  • The AFC has a hard time living down the fact that the Conference went over a decade without a Super Bowl win. Since the Los Angeles Raiders defeated the Washington Redskins in the 1983 season, the AFC would see itself on the losing end of every Super Bowl for the rest of the 1980s and most of the 1990s, with many of the teams losing dominant fashionnote . This lasted until the 1997 season which saw the underdog Denver Broncos led by an aging but still hungry John Elway defeat the heavy favored Green Bay Packers led by then two-time MVP Brett Favre, a grand total of fourteen straight seasons between AFC wins.note  Since that point, the AFC closed the gap steadily and as of 2020 stands even with the NFC at 27 wins.
  • NFL referees in general receive a lot of backlash whenever they make a call that the fans believe to be blatantly wrong. Look through any of the NFL team sections below, and you'll be sure to find an example of fans hating on a call that the referees made. The result is fans claiming that their game was ruined due to "Refball."
  • Nike has faced criticism since taking over as the league's uniform sponsor in 2012, with nearly every one of their uniform redesigns has been met with severe backlash by fans. The main criticisms tend to surround new design features meant to be innovative, but come across as looking ridiculous and garish (the Tampa Bay Buccaneers "digital clock" numerals, the Jacksonville Jaguars gradient helmet, etc.) Some of the redesigns have been so vilified that teams like the Cleveland Browns immediately reverted to designs closer to their previous looks when the league gave them permission to.

    Arizona (Chicago/St. Louis/Phoenix) Cardinals 
  • The franchise as a whole is the oldest professional football team still in existence, but they will probably never live down their decades long reputation for Butt-Monkey status as well as their playoff drought that lasted all the way from their move out of Chicago to their move out of St. Louis. Indeed, during a stretch from 1942 to 1945, the team officially lost 19 straight games...and that doesn't even count the year they spent merged with the Pittsburgh Steelers as Card-Pitt, which was winless as well. Had the Card-Pitt season counted toward the Cardinals' streak, they (and not the Tampa Bay Buccaneers) would hold the NFL record for the longest losing streak, at 29 games.
  • In a 2001 game against the Giants, Cardinals kicker Bill Gramática leapt into the air... and tore his ACL on landing... after celebrating a field goal in the first quarter to put his team up 3-0.
  • Dennis Green's "THEY ARE WHO WE THOUGHT THEY WERE!" rant. The 2006 Cardinals vs. Bears game that Dennis Green's rant spawned from is also rather infamous to the point of having an entire Wikipedia page dedicated to it. The Cardinals blew a 20-point lead by giving up three second-half touchdowns in unconventional methods (two fumble recovery touchdowns and a punt return touchdown) to allow the Bears to come back and win the game 24-23. This is despite Chicago turning over the ball six times compared to Arizona's two.
  • Many Browns fans appreciate Derek Anderson for giving them a rare 10-6 winning record for the 2007 season, one of the few they've had since coming back in 1999. Unfortunately, he's more known for his 2010 ("That's fine") rant when he went off on a post-game reporter that was questioning why Derek was on the sideline laughing happily with a teammate while his Cardinal team was losing badly to the 49ers.
  • Poor Ryan Lindley. As a backup quarterback, Lindley will only ever be known for his disastrous performance in the 2015 Wild Card game against the Panthers where the Cardinals were forced to start him because they had already lost their first- and second-string quarterbacks to injury.

    Atlanta Falcons 
  • In 1991, the Falcons drafted a little-known QB named Brett Favre in the second roundnote . He played two games that year where he made four passing attempts, none of them completed, two of them intercepted, and he was sacked once. Come 1992, the Falcons traded him to the Packers, thinking he wouldn't amount to much, and hey, they got a pretty nice draft pick out of the deal. Favre quickly became the Packers' starting QB and the rest is history, while Atlanta is no doubt still kicking themselves for making such a trade.
  • Journeyman cornerback Charles Dimry had a Never Live It Down moment early in his career when, as a member of the Atlanta Falcons, he was torched by two-time defending champion 49ers early in the 1990 season for four of receiver Jerry Rice's five touchdowns (Dimry was in single coverage all game due to the Falcons' frequent blitzing). The humiliating display led to Dimry gaining the nickname "Toast".
  • Safety Eugene Robinson had a 16-year NFL career that included Super Bowl appearances with the Green Bay Packers and the Atlanta Falcons. However, he's best known for being arrested for soliciting a prostitute the night before the Falcons' Super Bowl XXXIII appearance against the Denver Broncos... after receiving the Athletes in Action/Bart Starr Award for being a positive role model earlier in the day. To add insult to injury, Broncos wide receiver Rod Smith torched him for an 80-yard touchdown reception in that Super Bowl (won by the Broncos).
  • For many, former Falcons QB Michael Vick will never be forgiven for his part in a dog fighting ring (and the killing of many of those dogs in an attempt to destroy evidence ahead of federal warrants). It should be noted that Vick did federal jail time for this (but for interstate gambling, not for the destruction of the animals). It's gotten to a point where, if any news is heard about a dog being injured or killed, many people like to joke that Vick was the culprit as a sort of Memetic Mutation.
    • Before that, there was his time he went to a health clinic under the alias Ron Mexico to hide his treatment for herpes.
  • Bobby Petrino has been a very successful coach on the college level with Louisville (twice) and Arkansas. But before his extramarital escapades at Arkansas, he was most (in)famous for his one and (so far) only NFL season with the Atlanta Falcons. Not only did Petrino resign from the Falcons with three games left in the 2007 season to take the job with Arkansas (the Falcons were a division worst 3-10 at the time), but he let his players know he was leaving via notes left in their lockers. This left him with a reputation as (to quote many, MANY football forums) "a carpetbagging scumbag who will bolt for greener pastures at the drop of a hat."
  • The Matt Ryan quarterback era has several, most of which involves Super Bowl LI, to the point all that needs to be mentioned is one score to bring back old wounds: 28-3
    1. Before his 2016 post-season run, Matt Ryan established himself as a great quarterback who puts up Hall of Fame-caliber numbers during the regular season and then turns into a pumpkin during the playoffs, posting a 1-4 record in his four appearances. That finally changed in 2016... and was promptly reignited again after Super Bowl LI.
    2. Just when it looked like things had finally changed for the Falcons, with a 2016 season where they made it all the way to the Super Bowl, the worst choke-job since the Oilers/Bills 1993 Wildcard game (see Tennessee Titans section)note  goes down against the New England Patriots. The Falcons were up 28-3 midway through the 3rd quarter, only to give up 31 unanswered points before losing the game in overtime while the Patriots set a record for the biggest comeback in Super Bowl history.
    3. Offensive Coordinator Kyle Shanahan received most of the criticism for the collapse due to his play-calling after the team went up by 25. Instead of sticking to the team's effective run game so the clock would keep going down, he insisted on the pass, which gave the Pats enough time to make a comeback. By the fourth quarter, when the Falcons had the ball within field goal range, up by eight points, and a little over four minutes to go, everyone expected him to call three straight runs to force New England to use all their timeouts, burn the clock once they ran out, then kick the field goal to go up by two scores if they didn't get a first down. Instead, he called one run, then three pass plays which resulted in Ryan getting sacked for a large loss, a holding penalty by the offensive line, then a short pass which knocked them out of field goal range and forced them to punt. New England proceeded to march down the field and tie it. Overall, out of the 16 plays they ran after their last score, they only ran the ball five times.
    4. It's become somewhat of a meme that if there's ever a game in the future where a team is leading 28-3, that lead will not be safe. Thus, giving Falcons fans a constant reminder that their team once blew a 28-3 lead.
  • The 2020 season. To say that it was an unholy disastrous nightmare for the Atlanta Falcons would be a severe understatement:
    1. The team arguably matched, if not surpassed the Super Bowl collapse in 2020, when they became the first team to blow fourth quarter leads of 15 points or more twice in the same season: Choking a 29-point lead away in Dallas (Week 2), then blowing a 16-point lead at home vs. Chicago the very next week. Both games were lost in nearly identical fashion: A defensive collapse paired with questionable offensive calls that failed to eat much clock. Both games had the Falcons at over 99% probability of winning the game during the final few minutes (99.1% against the Bears, and 99.9% against the Cowboys), yet they still somehow managed to lose both. The Cowboys game was especially embarrassing as the Falcons put up 39 points and gave up no turnovers. The overall record amongst teams that had that statistic within games was 440-0. The Falcons loss to the Cowboys made the record 440-1.
    2. The Dallas game would be here regardless of historical context because of one play: Dallas was down 39-37 with under two minutes to play and no time outs. They needed to recover an onside kick attempt to have a shot at winning, as otherwise, the Falcons would be able to run the clock out. Kicker Greg Zuerlein attempted a novel onside attempt: Placing the ball on its side rather than on a kicking tee, then kicking it so that it spun and slid over the turf, rather than produce the bounce a kick from a tee would bring. The Atlanta receiving team watched the ball roll forward, as if mesmerized by the novel spin... so mesmerized that they seemed to forget that it's only the kicking team that has to let the ball travel 10 yards—the receiving team can pounce on it at any time. Not only did they fail to do this, they allowed Dallas players to position themselves to block out them once the ball reached 10 yards. Cowboys recovered, kicked the winning field goal, and for a couple of days "FALL ON THE DAMN BALL" was the meme of the day.
    3. The Falcons went on to suffer another painful loss a couple weeks later to the Lions. The Falcons were sitting at 96.6% probability of winning it within the final minute after running back Todd Gurley scored a touchdown. However, Gurley wasn't supposed to score a touchdown; the Falcons only needed to score a field goal to win, and Gurley was instructed to fall just short of the endzone to allow the team to burn the clock and score an easy field goal. Gurley tried to drop, but the momentum of his run carried him into the endzone, giving the Lions the final minute to score a game-winning touchdown. Gurley thus became known as the guy that "lost the game by scoring a touchdown."
    4. Even after being eliminated from the playoffs, the suffering continued for the Falcons with their loss to the Buccaneers, which repeated the painful memories of the Super Bowl loss. Midway through the 3rd quarter, the Falcons were leading 24-7 and had a 95.3% probability of winning the game, only to allow the Buccaneers to pull off the comeback throughout the remainder of the second half to lose 31-27. The part that really made this sting is that it was, once again, a second half comeback performed by Tom Brady. Just for an added kick in the nuts, this loss to Tom Brady's Buccaneers put the Falcons overall win/loss record ever since the Super Bowl loss at 28-34, which just happens to be the final score of said Super Bowl. Good grief. What did the Falcons do to deserve this?
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    Baltimore Ravens 
  • Similar to the O.J. Simpson and Ben Roethlisberger examples, Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis is one of the greatest linebackers in NFL history. However, some fans will always suspect him of being a murderer, ever since he was involved in a murder case in January 2000, one year before the Ravens' Super Bowl win where Lewis won game MVP. While attending a Super Bowl party, Lewis' companions and another group got into a confrontation that resulted in the stabbing deaths of two people. Though Lewis was acquitted after he testified against two of his companions (neither of which were ultimately charged), many still suspect him of having had more involvement, especially since the all-white suit he wore that night disappeared and was never seen again.
  • Quarterback Trent Dilfer is known as a Super Bowl champion that got by thanks to an incredible defense making up for his atrocious game-managing offense. As a result, Dilfer is often cited as the worst quarterback to ever win a Super Bowl due to how "terrible" the Ravens offense was that year; at one point the Ravens went on a five-game winning streak without scoring a single touchdown. He's the only quarterback who wasn't re-signed the following season by a Super Bowl-winning team. note 
  • Linebacker Antwan Barnes is remembered primarily for his supposed cheap-shot on the Eagles kicker, Saverio Rocca, during a 2007 pre-season game.
  • Defensive coordinator Rex Ryan had a Never Live It Down moment when the Ravens were in position to ruin the Patriot's chance of having an undefeated 2007 season. The Ravens were holding onto the lead in the final moments of the game, and the defense was able to stop the Patriots offense on downs... only not really. As it turned out, Rex Ryan had called a timeout just a moment before the 4th-down play went off, and the Patriots were allowed to replay the down. They actually converted this time around, which would later lead to the Patriots scoring the game winner.
  • Stephen Hauschka went on to have a respectable career as the 14th most-accurate kicker in history and has a Super Bowl to his name with the 2014 Seahawks. If you're a Ravens fan however, Hauschka's brief two year stint with the team (2008-2009) is only ever remembered for missing what would have been the game-winning 44-yard field goal against the Favre-led Vikings.
  • Cornerback Domonique Foxworth had a very mediocre NFL career at best, but most fans will remember him for somehow getting a high-end contract of $28 million over a four-year deal to come to the team in 2009. Given Foxworth's poor play, a lot of Ravens fans will say that this was the worst deal for a player the team ever made.
  • In addition to his Never Live It Down moment as the "Patriot Killer", Bernard Pollard (now as a Raven) would later gain infamy for his rather poor display of sportsmanship after the Patriots went on to beat the Ravens in the 2011 AFC Championship Game, giving New England no credit for the win and going on to say that he hoped that the Giants would crush the Patriots in the Super Bowl. The Giants did beat the Patriots in the Super Bowl, but still...
  • The 2011 AFC Championship Game created two of the Ravens' spiritual successors to Jackie Smith and Scott Norwood: Lee Evans and Billy Cundiff, respectively. Evans dropped a potential game-winning touchdown pass. One play later, Cundiff's 32-yard field goal attempt (which would have tied the game) went wide left.
  • Due to his mediocre/average play during the regular season, Joe Flacco, the Ravens' quarterback for most of the 2010s, is often made fun of for his claim that he's one of the league's most "elite" quarterbacks to the point of it becoming a meme. To his credit, his success in the playoffs has been amongst the best to ever play the game. Especially his 2012 Super Bowl run where all people need to do is bring up his 11:0 touchdowns to interceptions ratio to remind people just how epic the run truly was. However, the same can't be said about his regular season performances. It took until his ninth season to finally throw for over 4000 yards, he's never thrown for 30 or more touchdowns, and outside of the 2014 season, his play has for the most part been nowhere close to living up to the quarterback standard after winning the Super Bowl. As a result, the high-priced contract he was rewarded with following his Super Bowl win was often ridiculed as being overpaid by many NFL fans, and any reputation as one of the better QBs of the NFL that he worked to build up early on was pretty much gone by the time the Ravens decided to draft Lamar Jackson in the 2018 Draft.
  • The Ray Rice domestic abuse scandal has not only caused this on the National Football League as a whole, but on commissioner Roger Goodell as well due to their initial handling of punishing the now former Ravens star running-back. Goodell and the league received a ton of backlash initially for only suspending Rice for two games, which then completely blew up in their face after TMZ released actual video footage of Rice punching his fiancée (whom he eventually married) out cold in an elevator in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Granted, Goodell tried to correct this by suspending Rice indefinitely, but that too backfired when Rice successfully appealed due to double jeopardy on his suspension (essentially, you can't suspend someone for the same event more than once, and you can't change a suspension once it's been put into effect). The NFL also changed the league's entire policy on how they will go about future domestic violence cases. However, the damage was already done with many people nowadays cracking jokes about how punishment for domestic violence was pathetically shallow in comparison to other league violations. "Suspended four games for performance enhancing drugs? Suspended four games for cheating? Suspended an entire season for marijuana possession? You were better off just beating your wife!" Of course, Rice himself didn't come out of the scandal smelling like roses, either. Once considered one of the better running backs in the league, the video of him beating his wife now overshadows his entire career, and despite being only 27 and thus still having a few good years left in the tank when the scandal broke, he's been essentially blacklisted by the league since.
  • The Ravens have a rough reputation when it comes to drafting wide receivers due to their first-round draft picks Travis Taylor, Mark Clayton, and Breshad Perriman not panning out as they would have hoped, which has resulted in them being nominated as some of the biggest busts to come out of the organization. The reputation is so bad that fans often completely gloss over that a second-round pick in Torrey Smith actually had some success here.
  • Sergio Kindle, a promising young Texas linebacker who was never able to get his NFL career going. He's only ever remembered for what was most likely a career ending injury where he fractured his skull after falling down two flights of stairs in his home. He's known nowadays as one of the Ravens' biggest draft busts, being their first overall 2010 Draft pick at #43 after the team had traded out of the 1st Round.
  • Cornerback Jimmy Smith is a decent defensive player, but most will remember him for the 4th-down goal-line stand against the 49ers in Super Bowl XLVII where it's often debated if he got away with pass-interference on Wide Receiver Michael Crabtree in the closing minutes of the game.
  • Defensive tackle Haloti Ngata will be known as the guy who put a major setback on Robert Griffin III's promising NFL career when Ngata hit Griffin's right knee during the 2012 Ravens/Redskins matchup. Especially by the time of the Redskins/Seahawks playoff matchup that year where a major controversy exploded that the Redskins were trying to hide Griffin's knee injury. The kicker was that Griffin injured his right knee even worse in that game to the point of finally requiring surgery after the loss. While the injury was in no way done by Ngata intentionally, a lot of fans agree that Griffin was just never the same after his incredible 2012 rookie year.
  • When it comes to Rashaan Melvin's career as a Ravens cornerback, a lot of people tend to remember him as the guy that Tom Brady picked on during the Ravens/Patriots 2014 Divisional playoff game. Melvin ended up surrendering as much as 224 yards, as well as 2 touchdowns, when the Patriot offense targeted receivers in his vicinity. As a result, some Ravens fans nowadays claim that he was the sole reason that their team lost that match.
  • Many Ravens fans were glad to see their defensive coordinator Dean Pees move on from the team following the 2017 season under the belief that his "bend but don't break" philosophy led to many 4th-quarter defensive collapses during the 2012-2017 years, and resulted in the Ravens missing out on the playoffs for 3 years straight. This is no better demonstrated than the 4th & 12 play near the end of their final 2017 regular season matchup against the Bengals where all the Ravens defense had to do was hold on, and they would be in the playoffs. Instead, the Ravens defense gives up a game winning 49-yard touchdown bomb to Tyler Boyd. To pour extra salt into the wounds, the eliminated Ravens had to listen to Buffalo shower the Bengals in praise and donations throughout the following week for helping the Bills finally make their first playoff appearance in 17 years.
  • Earl Thomas' brief one year stint with the 2019 Ravens is defined primarily by one specific play against the Titans in the AFC Divisional playoff game. The Titans running back, Derrick Henry, performed a stiff-arm so nasty upon Thomas that it completely turned the latter around as the two continued running. Thus, leading to a lot of fans cracking jokes that Earl Thomas was the best lead blocker for the other team.

    Buffalo Bills 
  • The '90s Buffalo Bills led by QB Jim Kelly and head coach Marv Levy is highly regarded by many as one of the most dominant forces in the AFC, going to four straight Super Bowls (1990-93), a feat no team has ever accomplished. Unfortunately for the Bills and their fans, they lost all four Super Bowls, which left a major stain on their legacy. These losses led to the derisive initialism Boy I Love Losing Superbowls.
  • In one of these Super Bowls (Super Bowl XXV), Bills kicker Scott Norwood will always be associated with two words: Wide Right. He missed a 47-yard go-ahead field goal (a long-distance field goal at that time) in the final seconds of Super Bowl XXV, leaving them exactly one point behind the New York Giants.
  • Thurman Thomas is a Hall of Fame running back and a major face of the '90s Bills, but one of his biggest mishaps was misplacing his helmet in Super Bowl XXVI, thus causing him to miss out Buffalo's first two offensive plays in the game. This small mistake just adds more fuel to the fire of Buffalo’s Super Bowl misfortune.
  • Wide receiver Don Beebe will probably go down in history first and foremost as the guy who knocked the football out of Leon Lett's hand in Super Bowl XXVII (see Dallas Cowboys folder). It's not the worst thing to be remembered for (certainly better than Lett's side of the moment), but that play, which ultimately had basically no impact on the outcome of the game, will likely overshadow everything else he did in his career, including winning a Super Bowl four years later.
  • O.J. "The Juice" Simpson of the Bills. Orenthal James Simpson was once a celebrated football player, actor, and media personality. Then, in 1994, he stood trial for the murder of his former wife and her male companion. So began the infamous "Trial of the Century" in which O.J. was found not guilty of both murders. Even so, he was Convicted by Public Opinion to the point he became an overnight pariah, and he's still viewed as a Karma Houdini.
    • If not the fact that he was acquitted, O.J. is also known for releasing a book called If I Did It in 2007. In the book, O.J maintained his innocence, but put forth a hypothetical situation in which he had committed the murders. It was viewed by the public at a large as a spectacularly stupid move, even from people who believe that O.J. was innocent. Later editions of the cover deemphasize the word "If" to the point it looks like the cover just says "I DID IT", causing O.J.'s reputation to sink even lower.note 
    • Besides O.J. himself, most of the prominent names from that trial came away with some sort of permanent stigma:
      1. Judge Lance Ito - A pushover who ran a circus of a courtroom.
      2. Prosecutors Marcia Clark and Christopher Darden - Incompetents who blew a slam dunk case.
      3. LAPD Detective Mark Fuhrman - A racist Cowboy Cop who tried Framing the Guilty Party, or a racist, Too Dumb to Live cop who blew a slam dunk case.
      4. Johnnie Cochran - An Amoral Attorney who rode the Chewbacca Defense to an acquittal.
      5. Kato Kaelin - A Too Dumb to Live slacker.
      6. Al Cowlings - O.J.'s teammate and friend who drove the white Ford Bronco on a low-speed chase with police, with a suicidal Simpson in the back seat.
  • Head coach Wade Phillips will always be remembered for his decision to bench QB Doug Flutie for Rob Johnson in the 1999 AFC Wild Card game against the Tennessee Titans. Flutie was a fan favorite among Bills fans and led the Bills to two playoffs. Despite Flutie's winning record, Phillips decided to start Johnson instead in the game as Johnson was the original starter before suffering a rib injury which led to Flutie taking over. The fans hate the decision as Rob Johnson looked less impressive as a starter. It seemed okay at first as the Bills kicked a potential game winning field goal with only 16 seconds left. And then the Music City Miracle happened. This loss is considered one of the worst in Buffalo's history, and the decision to start Johnson over Flutie only adds to this. Wade Phillips was fired after this game.
  • Bills punter Brian Moorman is forever known as the guy that took a brutal hit from Redskins safety Sean Taylor during the 2006 Pro Bowl.
  • Kick returner Mike Gillislee will forever be remembered as the guy who let a live kickoff roll into his own endzone in a 2016 game; the Jets' Doug Middleton fell on it for a touchdown.
  • Quarterback Nathan Peterman will be remembered for a highly questionable head coaching decision that happened during the Bills' 2017 regular season. Peterman was officially named the starter over Tyrod Taylor in the week 11 match-up against the Chargers, because the head coach, Sean McDermott, felt that Taylor hadn't been proving himself to be starter material through the first 10 games, especially coming after a huge 47-10 blowout loss to the Saints. The result? Peterman puts up a disastrous performance against the Chargers that led to 5 interceptions in just the first half, which forced the team to return to Taylor in the second half, who then remained the starter for the rest of the season. If it wasn't for the fact that the Bills miraculously made it to the playoffs due to everything going their way in week 17, people would have been pointing to this game as the reason for why the team fell short.
    • Things didn't get much better for Peterman when he was named the starter for the 2018 season, in which his play was so poor that he was benched in favor of not only rookie Josh Allen, but also recently signed journeymen Derek Anderson and Matt Barkley, both of whom have been out of the league for multiple years. By the time he was dealt to the Raiders on the back half of the 2018 season, Peterman ended his Bills tenure with 3 passing touchdowns, one rushing touchdown, and 12 interceptions. This all contributed to an abysmal 32.5 passer rating, which was statistically worse than if Peterman spiked the ball on every play.
  • A humiliating incident happened to the Bills during a 2018 game against the Los Angeles Chargers. After being picked apart by the Chargers 28-6 in the first half, linebacker Vontae Davis got so fed up with the Bills' performance that he promptly said "Screw This, I'm Outta Here!" and retired at halftime. It was one of the most talked-about points for the rest of the season. Bring up the name Vontae Davis now, and most people won't think of his Pro Bowl season with the Colts or his time with the Dolphins; they'll think of him as "that guy who retired at halftime."

    Carolina Panthers 
  • The Panthers' Rae Carruth will forever be known as the guy who hired a hitman to kill his pregnant girlfriend.
  • The 2001 Panthers went 1–15, winning only their first game of the season and losing the rest, setting the record of longest losing streak in a single season, which was later broken by the 2008 Detroit Lions' 0–16 season.
  • The successor to the 2010 Seahawks making the playoffs at just 7-9 comes the 2014 Carolina Panthers; getting in at just 7-8-1 due to how weak the NFC South division was this year. A repeat of the Seahawks-Saints Wild Card game debacle would then occur with the 11-5 Arizona Cardinals (who were without their top two QBs) having to go on the road to face the 7-8-1 Carolina Panthers.
  • Quarterback Cam Newton has gained a reputation as a Sore Loser due to his poor behavior during post-game press conferences. He's even walked out on them on multiple occasions; the most notable case being after his team had lost Super Bowl 50 to the Denver Broncos. Not helping matters for Newton was his poor performance and how he acted in the fourth quarter, with him curling into a fetal position after the Panthers were penalized, and him ducking out of a fumble recovery attempt after losing the ball. What was overlooked was that Newton would congratulate Peyton Manning on the field after the game was over.
  • Cornerback Josh Norman will be known for his fight with Odell Beckham Jr. where they were flagged for four personal foul penalties during the 2015 regular season game between the Giants and Panthers. The fight between Beckham and Norman was what prompted the NFL to create a new rule by automatically ejecting anyone from the game who commits two Unsportsmanlike Conduct penalties.
  • Quarterback Jake Delhomme had a long and successful career playing primarily for the Saints and Panthers, but his 2008 post-season loss against the Arizona Cardinals was just brutal to watch. In total for this game, Delhomme turned the ball over six times, which included 5 interceptions, and 1 lost fumble. Given how downward his career went after this, many believe that this game messed him up psychologically.
  • Tight end Greg Olsen will forever be known as "Third Leg Greg" after a rap song he made in college with his Miami Hurricanes teammates was leaked to the press and created controversy for its explicit lyrics. Olsen's verse consisted of him bragging about getting oral sex from a woman by after he "[dropped his] drawers and let her see [his] third leg."
  • A downplayed but noteworthy example. Going into the 2018 season, the Panthers were projected to be one of the top teams in the league. With a breakout season by running back Christian McCaffrey along with a 6-2 record, they certainly looked the part. Then came a horrendous thrashing courtesy of the Pittsburgh Steelers 52-21 on Thursday Night Football. The loss kicked off a 7 game losing streak which was capped off by a loss to their division rival in the Saints on Monday Night Football when QB Cam Newton failed to capitalize a Saints blunder and threw an incomplete pass ending their playoff hopes altogether.

    Chicago Bears 
  • Todd Bell and Al Harris were solid starters for the Chicago Bears. However, both players are best known for holding out in contract disputes during training camp in 1985. Their holdout lasted for the entire season... during which time the Bears went 15-1 and won the Super Bowl. When both players returned to the team the following year, they had lost their starting jobs, and neither player's career recovered.
  • Mike Ditka says that his biggest failure as a head coach was not finding a way to get Walter Payton, the former all-time leading rusher and probably the Bears' greatest player, a score in Super Bowl XX.
  • Poor Jay Cutler of the Bears will never live down coming out of the NFC Championship game. On the one hand, he did have a legitimate knee sprain, and it was the coach's decision to take him out. On the other hand, players have played with much worse injuries (Jay Cutler's biggest critic, Phillip Rivers, for instance, played on a torn ACL, an injury that is season-ending), and his moody attitude on the sidelines did nothing to endear him to anyone; for instance, ESPN said that if he were even a little emotional like Charles Woodson during that year's Super Bowl after he broke his collarbone, than this may have not been a controversy at all. Cutler's rather dour and apathetic attitude lead to him being turned into an online sensation, when Smokin' Jay Cutler was launched in 2012. Ironically, Cutler never smoked in real life.
    • At the same time, if it wasn't his withdrawal and reaction that he was remembered for in that game, he would probably have a hard time living down the absolutely dismal first half (the Bears were trailing 14-0 at halftime), or the fact that he largely got shown up by the team's second backup quarterback, the otherwise-unremarkable Caleb Hanie, who put up a 65.2% passer rating (vs. Cutler's 31.8%) and put 14 points on the board in just one quarter when Cutler had failed to create even one scoring drive in the entire first half.
    • In the same game, the first backup quarterback, Todd Collins, choked on the biggest stage of his career, wasting a huge interception when he failed to complete a single pass in the subsequent Bears drive, and was pulled out after just four plays in favor of Hanie. To the extent that he's not consigned to obscurity altogether, Bears fans will likely remember him for this and not much else.
  • Caleb Hanie is remembered partly for nearly pulling off a Miracle Rally in the aforementioned 2010 NFC Championship... and partly for never playing at that level again. In the 2011 season, Hanie was named the temporary starter after Jay Cutler was sidelined with a hand injury and lost four straight games before the Bears elected to bench him for Josh McCown for the last two games of the season. The lowlight of this stretch came in the Bears' Week 12 game against the Oakland Raiders when, with the Bears trailing by 5 with 4 seconds to go, he botched a spike play by hesitating and stepping back before spiking the ball, resulting in an intentional grounding penalty and costing the team one last chance to try for a winning score.
  • Running back Marion Barber III will always be fondly remembered for the two blunders he made in a 2011 Bears game that was lost to a Broncos team led by Tim Tebow. The First Mistake: Marion ran out of bounds during the Bears' final drive when Denver had no timeouts left to stop the clock; giving the Broncos an extra 45 seconds that were crucial for the Broncos to get a game-tying field goal to send the game to overtime. The Second Mistake: he fumbles in overtime, which led to Denver kicking the game-winning field goal.
  • Bears defensive end Lamarr Houston tore his ACL in 2014 doing a celebration. It was even more embarrassing when you realize that it happened while his team was losing badly, to the tune of 31 points.
  • Very few people will be forgetting tight end Zach Miller's horrific leg injury any time soon, which occurred during a 2017 match-up against the Saints. Flashback comparisons to a similar injury that happened to Napoleon McCallum have been abundant (see Las Vegas Raiders section).
  • Bears kicker Cody Parkey has hit the uprights so many times throughout his career that he's become a legend for it to the point that he's got an entire compilation video of his doinked kicks on Youtube.
    • Bears fans will never forget when he blew an attempt to win the 2018 NFC Wild Card game against the Eagles by missing what would have been the game-winning field goal. Parkey's kick hit the left end of the goal post before bouncing off the crossbar and on to the field, earning the play the nickname "The Double Doink." Parkey was effectively cut from the Bears some months later. Sadly, Parkey ended up partially Misblamed for missing the kick. Slow-motion footage of the play showed that the kick was tipped by Eagles defensive lineman Treyvon Hester glancing the ball off of his finger, and the NFL officially ruled the play a blocked kick. Nonetheless, Parkey still gets all of the blame for the Double Doink.
    • Even before the Double Doink debacle, Parkey's kicking woes were known much earlier in the season when he hit the goalposts four different times during a game against the Lions. The Bears handily won in spite of the missed FGs, but it ended up Harsher in Hindsight to Bears fans.invoked
  • The 2017 Draft. It was here that the Bears traded up one spot to the #2 overall pick to get a better position to pick their new franchise quarterback... and then used that pick on Mitchell Trubisky, leaving Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson still on the board (they were eventually taken by the Chiefs and Texans respectively). Trubisky ends up being a draft bust and a mediocre player while Mahomes and Watson went on to prove themselves to be generational talents as two of the best QBs in the league. The result is the Bears being forever mocked by fans as the team that took Trubisky over Mahomes and Watson.

    Cincinnati Bengals 
  • Their terrible record during the '90s era of the NFL was brutal. From 1991 to 2002, they only had one non-losing season by going 8-8 in 1996. It was so bad that the NFL Top Ten worst teams of all time just lists the Bengals of the '90s as their number 4 entry, leading to the derisive nickname "The Bungles."
  • The Bengals have had one major problem the last few decades that people love to jack on them for: their continued failure to win in the playoffs. As a whole, the Bengals haven't won a playoff game since 1990 where they defeated the Houston Oilers 41-14 in a Wild Card game. Notably, the Bengals have been owned by Mike Brown, the son of founder Paul Brown, since 1991- many Bengals fans blame his stingy leadership for the team's continued issues.
    • Before their 2016 postseason win against the Raiders, the Houston Texans had a total of two playoff wins ever since they entered the NFL in 2002. Guess who they're both against.
  • For Marvin Lewis, it doesn't matter if he coached a 2000 Ravens defense that was considered one of the greatest to ever play the game. It doesn't matter if he turned the Bengals into a respectable team that makes the playoffs year after year in stark contrast to the "Bungles" teams that preceded him. Marvin Lewis will be forever known as that guy who coached the same team for sixteen years... and never won a single playoff game. Following the 2018 season, Lewis was finally fired.
  • Chad Johnson was a great player for the Bengals for years who was likely best known for his showboating antics, most memorably changing his last name to "Ochocinco" for a while to reflect his jersey number. After he left the Bengals, however, Johnson got arrested for headbutting his wife after a month of marriage and divorced her a month later. After bouncing around a few teams upon leaving the Bengals, he hasn't played in the NFL since.
  • Andy Dalton is also subject to the same criticism that plagues Marvin Lewis. While he continues to become a better quarterback during the regular season, many will point out his 0-5 record in the post-season (though he was injured for the 2015 playoff game against the Steelers).
    • In fact he may be best known for inspiring the idea of The Dalton Line for grading QBs, as in not good enough to go anywhere in the playoffs, but not bad enough to be outright fired.
  • It will be awhile before the defensive players, Vontaze Burfict and Pacman Jones, live down their two costly personal foul penalties near the end of the 2015 AFC Wild Card game. Both of which allowed the Steelers to get into game-winning field-goal range. Their lead running back, Jeremy Hill, having a costly fumble after Burfict got what looked like the game-winning interception on Steelers Back-up QB Landry Jones was pretty brutal as well. However, it's often overlooked due to the Burfict and Jones penalties.
    • Burfict in particular got hit the hardest after the above mentioned game amongst the three players. He was already going up the ladder to be considered one of the dirtiest players to play in the NFL. However, his defenseless hit on Antonio Brown that sidelined the latter for the rest of the 2015 Playoffs was what truly cemented his status as a dirty player.note 
    • Due to Vontaze Burfict having a huge reputation as a dirty player, people usually get a kick out of it when karma finally comes back to bite him. There are two particularly noteworthy incidents of karma that fans love to bring up about Burfict. The first is when Burfict ends up receiving a concussion trying to tackle head-first into Joe Flacco's crotch, which gave Flacco the "Iron Dick" fan label since unlike Burfict, Flacco got up fine afterwards. The second is when JuJu Smith-Schuster lays Burfict out on an unsuspecting block only for JuJu to then stand, and taunt, on top of Burfict while he's lying on the ground injured from the block.note 
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    Cleveland Browns 
  • The Browns will probably never live down firing Paul Brown - the namesake of the Cleveland Browns, and the reason why the Browns were no-nonsense winners back in the '40s-'50s. Naturally, Paul Brown wasn't very pleased, and created his own franchise to get back at the Browns organization — the Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland's cross-state rival. To add insult to injury, the Bengals play in Paul Brown Stadium.
  • The Browns' troubles with finding a top QB through the draft date back to the original franchise. If current starting QB Baker Mayfield does prove to be the real deal (the jury's still out), he'll be the Browns' first top QB to come through the regular draft. The team's greatest-ever QB, Otto Graham, came as an effective free agent during the team's days in the old All-America Football Conference, and its greatest modern-era QB, Cleveland-area native Bernie Kosar, (legally) manipulated the draft rules in order to be selected in the supplemental draft because he wanted to play in Cleveland. Between these two, Frank Ryan had been drafted by the Rams, Bill Nelsen came in a trade from the Steelers, and Brian Sipe was picked by the Browns in the 13th round (the draft is now seven rounds). As for the ones they drafted?
    1. The Browns picked Harry Agganis out of Boston University in the first round in 1952. He turned the Browns down, taking less money to sign with the Boston Red Sox.Postscript 
    2. Two years later, they had the overall #1 pick and chose consensus top QB Bobby Garrett out of Stanford. The normally meticulous Brown didn't do enough research, only discovering after the draft that Garrett was in Air Force ROTC and had a two-year military commitment. The team then dealt Garrett to the Packers, getting him back in another deal in 1957, after he had a year under his belt in Green Bay. When Garrett arrived at the Browns' training camp that summer, the team discovered what had been holding him back: he stuttered so badly that his teammates at Stanford had to smack him on the back to get him to call plays. Garrett retired before the preseason ended and never played a down with the Browns.
    3. In 1970, the Browns were coming off consecutive losses in the NFL championship game, and Modell was desperate for a star QB due to Nelsen's suspect knees. He traded beloved wide receiver Paul Warfield to the Dolphins for the third overall pick, and drafted Mike Phipps, a hot prospect out of Purdue. To say it didn't work out was an understatement. By the time the Browns gave up on Phipps, he had gone 24–35–1 as a starter, completed less than 50% of his passes, and threw twice as many interceptions as touchdowns. In the meantime, Warfield continued to excel with the Dolphins, playing on their unbeaten 1972 team and eventually making the Hall of Fame.
  • Earnest Byner had a solid NFL career rushing for over 8,000 yards and 56 touchdowns, but all anyone remembers is The Fumble: Given the ball and a clear path to the end zone to give the Browns the lead vs. the Broncos in the 1987 AFC Championship Game, Byner was stripped of the ball at the 2-yard line and the Broncos recovered, preserving a Broncos victory (their second straight AFC Championship win over the Browns, with the 1986 win coming thanks to John Elway's famous last-second drive). Byner would get a Super Bowl ring in 1991 with Washington.
  • Art Modell, prior to 1995, was seen as a respected NFL owner whose big claim to fame was the inception of Monday Night Football. But afterwards, he's remembered for taking the Browns away from Cleveland to Baltimore. At the very least, Cleveland got to keep their team's name and legacy, it's just the players that moved. The problem stems from the fact that the Browns have been a putrid team ever since their return. (By contrast, it took the newly-minted Baltimore Ravens just four years to win a Super Bowl and another twelve years to add a second.)
  • Orlando Brown was an offensive linemen whose name will be remembered for a bizarre incident in a December 1999 game against the Jacksonville Jaguars. He was accidentally hit in the right eye by a penalty flag thrown by Jeff Triplette. Brown had to leave the temporarily. When he returned to the game, he proceeded to shove Triplette, resulting in his ejection from the game and drawing a suspension from the NFL. However, the suspension was lifted once the severity of the injury became known; the flag was weighed down with ball bearings and had actually caused severe damage to his eye. He missed the next three seasons due to temporary blindness, causing him to sue the NFL for $200 million in damages. He settled for a sum of somewhere between $15 to $20 million in 2002, and the NFL has modified the design of penalty flags.
  • Official Terry McAulay was the centerpiece of Bottlegate. The Cleveland Browns come into a late 2001 season game against the Jacksonville Jaguars needing a win to keep their slim playoff hopes alive, and late in the game, on a 4th down play they get a first down. After the Browns run a play, McAulay, in a shocking and audacious display of overstepping his bounds and flat out ignoring the rules on instant replay (once a play is run you can not review the previous play) announces he is going to review the play, and after doing so, rules the catch made by Quincy Morgan on the 4th down play wasn't a catch, turning the ball over to the Jaguars. The Browns fans, enraged by the ruling, begin throwing anything they could get their hands on, mostly plastic beer bottles, leading to a thirty-minute delay before the Jaguars were able to officially kneel out the clock.
    • The NFL itself caught as big a black eye as the refs and the Dawg Pound. After the enraged fans continued to rain trash on the field, the officials called the game for the Jaguars with 40 seconds left. Reasonable, given the circumstances. Then the league office called the stadium and ordered both teams (and the refs) back out to the field to finish out the game. At the time of that call, it had been about twenty minutes and many players on both teams had undressed and showered and were getting ready to leave. There was no reason to send them back out except "Rules are Rules." To make matters worse, when the fans still in the stands saw the teams (or just enough of both teams to finish things out), they thought the call had been reversed and the Browns would get a last chance. When they saw the Jaguars take a knee to run out the clock, their fury was ignited all over again.
    • To add embarrassment to injury, in a press conference later that day, Browns owner Al Lerner and general manager Carmen Policy basically shrugged their shoulders at the actions of their fans, claiming that no one was really hurt.note  Karsten The Oracle chronicles the entire debacle here.
  • Dwayne Rudd was a linebacker during the late 1990s and early 2000s whose Never Live It Down moment came due to a bizarre incident during Week 1 of the 2002 season. Playing for the Cleveland Browns (who had a 39-37 lead over the Kansas City Chiefs with just 10 seconds left); the Browns swarmed Chiefs quarterback Trent Green and appeared to sack him (Green, though, was somehow able to lateral to offensive tackle John Tait). In any event, Rudd started celebrating by taking his helmet off and tossing it into the air while Tait advanced to the 26-yard line. As if that wasn't bad enough, Rudd was penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct, and to make matters worse; the Chiefs would get one more playnote . With the ball placed half the distance to the goal, the Chiefs sent in kicker Morten Andersen, who then hit a 31-yard field goal for a 40-39 win. Rudd would play only one more season before leaving the NFL after the 2003 season.
  • A huge contributor as to why the Cleveland Browns have remained stuck near the bottom of the NFL's power rankings ever since they rejoined the NFL in 1999 is because they have an infamously poor track record of trying to find a franchise quarterback. They may have finally gotten their break with Baker Mayfield, the first overall draft pick in 2018 (time will tell if Mayfield is the real deal), but even if that turns out to be the case, it still took 19 years to happen. For several years, the Pittsburgh Steelers' Ben Roethlisberger had more wins in the Browns' current stadium (11) than any Browns QB; Mayfield finally passed Roethlisberger in Week 10 of the 2020 season.
    1. Their 2016 Week 1 starter, Robert Griffin III, was the 25th starting QB the Browns have had since re-entering the league in 1999 and was the fourth Week One starter in the last five seasons. To put that in context, their fellow AFC North teams, Baltimore, Cincinnati and Pittsburgh, have had 37 quarterbacks in that span, put together. The New England Patriots have started five quarterbacks in that timenote , while the Green Bay Packersnote , and the New York Giantsnote  each started six. The only other team who even reaches 20 are the Miami Dolphins. It is a list that includes four first round draft picks - Tim Couch, Brady Quinn, Brandon Weeden, and Johnny Manziel, none of whom lasted for more than five seasons, where you'd expect your first- or second-round quarterback to give you at least a decade of service. And only two, Tim Couch and Derek Anderson, have more than 32 (or two full seasons worth) of starts for the Browns.
    2. With injuries to Griffin and backup Josh McCown in the first two weeks of the season, rookie Cody Kessler became QB #26. He was also the fifth different starter the Browns had in five consecutive games (Manziel and Austin Davis having started the last two games of 2015).note  Rookie DeShone Kizer started the 2017 season as QB #27 and Week 1 QB #5... and didn't even make it past Week 5 as the starter, with Kevin Hogan becoming QB #28 on Week 6. As it turned out, Hogan's starting tenure lasted all of one week; Kizer got the starting job back in Week 7. And even then, Kizer, Kessler, and Hogan were all traded away in the 2018 offseason. During Week 1 of the 2018 season, former Buffalo starter Tyrod Taylor became starting QB #29/Week 1 #6. Three weeks later, Baker Mayfield, the first overall pick of the 2018 draft, became QB #30 (And later, Week 1 #7). Mayfield finally broke the streak when he started Week 1 in 2020note  and further defied it by retaining his position through the entire season and the postseason (and breaking a few more streaks in the process, leading the Browns to their first winning season since 2007, their first playoff appearance since 2002, and their first playoff win since 1995note ).
    3. Tim Couch was picked 1st overall in the 1999 Draft to build a new dynasty for the Browns. However, the quarterback started off with an injury-ridden career that, at the very least, resulted in Couch guiding the Browns to a long-awaited playoff appearance in 2002. Sadly, Couch ended up suffering a broken leg in the final game of the regular season, and had to sit on the sideline to watch back-up Kelly Holcomb play the Wild Card playoff game against the Steelers. Holcomb would end up throwing for 400 yards in a losing effort, which resulted in a quarterback controversy for next season between Couch and Holcomb, which Holcomb ended up winning. Due to his injuries, Couch never recovered his career again, and was out of football after Holcomb took over. Tim Couch is now known as one of the biggest draft busts in NFL history, though arguably being picked first overall for a team known for its Butt-Monkey status even before the relocation controversy (which resulted in a team with zero players on its roster prior to draft and free agency - in essence an expansion franchise) could only end in failure. Add to that the expectations he raised with the 2002 season and compare him to what came after and he does not look that bad. Before Mayfield started all 16 games in 2019, Couch was the last Browns quarterback to play a full 16-game season.
    4. Johnny Manziel was thought to be the star quarterback that the Cleveland Browns desperately needed when he was drafted. Instead, he was a benchwarmer for most of the time that he was with the team, and his numbers were nowhere near first-round draft pick status even when he did get to play. Not only did he not live up to the hype on the field, but these days, he's more widely known for a long string of alcohol abuse, partying, and irresponsible behavior off the field, including drunk driving and domestic abuse. Owner Jimmy Haslam will never live down the method he allegedly used to draft Manziel: asking a homeless guy on the street who to pick.
    5. In 2004, the Browns signed San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jeff Garcia as a free agent and thought they'd struck gold. Instead, Garcia and the team completely fell apart, and Garcia was released after less than a season. To add insult to injury, Garcia would then go on to lead two teams to the playoffs in 2006 (Philadelphia Eagles) and 2007 (Tampa Bay Buccaneers), leading many to speculate that the problem was with the Browns franchise rather than Garcia as a player.
  • Garcia is also not the only good player to have an exceptionally bad year with the Browns. In 1995, the Browns signed Atlanta Falcons star receiver Andre Rison with a salary that made him the highest-paid receiver in the NFL, with owner Art Modell bragging that Rison was "as good as Jerry Rice". Rison was a flop; he had at best a mediocre season with the Browns and was cut after the season concluded, only to win a Super Bowl ring with the Green Bay Packers the following year, a game in which he personally scored the Packers' first touchdown.
  • LeCharles Bentley was one of the top centers of the free agent class in 2006. However, he never got to play a single snap for the Browns, as he suffered a career-ending injury on the first play of training camp.
  • The Browns have an odd history with their players suffering staph infections. They've been sued by no less than six of their players for staph infection-related medical costs since 2008, including LeCharles Bentley.
  • While the Browns have, for the most part, remained a lackluster team ever since they rejoined the NFL in 1999, nothing compares to how brutal their 2016 and 2017 seasons were.
    1. In 2016, the Browns became only the tenth team to go 1-15. Following the 2008 Detroit Lions, the 2017 Cleveland Browns became the second team in NFL history to go 0-16, making them the only franchise to lose fifteen games in a season twice, let alone back to back. Browns fans responded to the "imperfect season" by throwing a parade for how bad their team was, further cementing it in the minds of the city.
    2. Nothing quite sums up the Browns penchant for unforgettable flubs like GPODAWUND. During a game in the 2016 season (which would end with them going 1-15) fans in the stands got the "DAWG POUND" banners mixed up. Resulting in GPODAWUND.
    3. Hue Jackson will be remembered as the head coach that led his team to a 1-31 record over the course of two seasons... and inexplicably was not fired until eight games into the following season (by which time the Browns were 2-5-1). This would make Jackson's one-year stint as the Raiders' head coach in 2011 look like a Super Bowl run.
    4. Corey Coleman will always be known as the wide receiver who sealed the Browns' fate at going 0-16. In the final regular season game against the Steelers, the Browns were down 4 with only a few minutes remaining. They had a potential drive going deep into Steeler territory within the final minutes to possibly score the game-winning touchdown only for Coleman to drop what should have been an easy catch on a 4th-down play around the 11-yard line. With a turnover on downs, the Steelers ran out the remainder of the clock.
  • The 2016 Browns/Redskins match-up ended up being this for the first ever female line judge, Sarah Thomas, who awarded the Redskins with a fumble recovery despite it being shown in broad daylight for everyone to see that the Browns' Duke Johnson recovered his own fumble. Following the game, the NFL choosing to defend the call instead of admitting that such an obvious mistake was made caused many conspiracy theories to run rampant the following weeks that mostly amounted to the NFL choosing to protect their first ever female judge so that they're not labeled as sexist.
  • Spencer Lanning is known primarily for being that punter who Antonio Brown kicked in the face when he tried to hurdle him during a punt return.
  • Myles Garrett will never live down an incident in Week 11 of the 2019 season: his brawl with Steelers QB Mason Rudolph. The Browns were leading 21-7 with eight seconds left in the game, when Garrett forcibly removed Rudolph’s helmet and hit him in the head with it. Though Rudolph deserves some of the blame for instigating the fight, it doesn’t excuse Garrett’s recklessness. To make matters worse, Rudolph had just come back from a concussion. Garrett was suspended for the remainder of the 2019 season as a result, and it's pretty much all anyone talks about when bringing him up.
    • Even worse is the aftermath with Garrett claiming Rudolph called him a racist slur during the fight. There is no proof whatsoever Rudolph said such a thing — the helmets have microphones, so it would have been known if Rudolph used a slur, and none of the other players in the scuffle corroborated Garrett's claim. Also, Garrett only began making these claims a week after the incident after the league officially suspended him for the entire season, rather than in the immediate aftermath. In the end, Garrett looks bad for playing the victim card instead of accepting responsibility for his actions.
    • Head Coach Freddie Kitchens will also never live down the fact he was seen wearing a shirt that reads "Pittsburgh Started It" in public.
  • 2019 Head Coach Freddie Kitchens will likely always be remembered for blowing what was expected to be a big season for the Browns. Going into 2019, hopes for the Browns were high: the 2018 season had been a huge turnaround for the Browns, who had finished 7-8-1 after going 0-16 one year earlier, Baker Mayfield was looking like the franchise quarterback Cleveland had been searching for for two decades, and the team had put together a promising supporting cast, including acquiring star receiver Odell Beckham Jr. from the New York Giants. The team proceeded to be extremely underwhelming, going 6-10 and missing the playoffs, and Kitchens was unsurprisingly fired at the conclusion of the season. The fact that the next head coach, Kevin Stefanski, got the team to an 11-5 regular season record and a playoff win with most of the same players just one year later only served to further highlight Kitchens' failures (as well as making it pretty clear that Kitchens, not the team as a whole, was the problem).

    Dallas Cowboys 
  • Linebacker Chuck Howley has the dubious honor of never living down a Super Bowl in which he won the MVP award. He won MVP following the Cowboys' loss to the Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl V, the only player to win it while on the losing team.
  • Jackie Smith was Mike Ditka's successor at tight end for the Dallas Cowboys and a Hall of Famer in his own right. But his biggest moment came in the 3rd quarter of Super Bowl XIII where he dropped a touchdown pass in the end zone. The Cowboys settled for a field goal there and ultimately lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers 35-31.
  • Poor Leon Lett, former defensive end for the Cowboys. He managed to have two of the NFL's all-time embarrassing blunders, within a year of each other:
    • In Super Bowl XXVII (Jan. 1993): While returning a Buffalo Bills fumble for a sure touchdown, he started showboating about twenty yards short of the end zone. This allowed Buffalo receiver Don Beebe to catch up and strip him of the ball. No harm done, though; The Cowboys were up 52-17 at the time. It did, however, cost the Cowboys the record for highest Super Bowl score ever.
    • The following Thanksgiving: With time running out, the Cowboys partially blocked a game-winning field goal attempt from the Miami Dolphins. All Dallas had to do to seal the win is let the ball roll dead. Miami was barred by rule from touching the ball again unless it was touched first by Dallas... Which is exactly what happened when Lett charged in - past several teammates trying to wave him off - and tried to recover the ball. He slipped on the snowy surface and ended up booting the ball forward, where Miami recovered and subsequently re-kicked for the win.
    • Lett would then become one of multiple players on those Cowboys teams (along with Michael Irvin, Erik Williams and Nate Newton) to be involved in drug scandals. So he can consider himself lucky if he's still most remembered for just an on-field gaffe - especially since both happened in seasons where the Cowboys still won the Super Bowl.
  • The Dallas Cowboys team overall has gotten a lot of heat as of late due to the fact that they haven't accomplished much ever since they last won the Super Bowl back in 1995. The reason being that they're supposed to be known as America's Team, and yet the Cowboys have been unable to pass the Divisional Round of the playoffs since 1995, and the result has been an abysmal 4-10 playoff record up to the current day. Ever since said 1995 Super Bowl season, excluding all the seasons that they missed the playoffs, the Dallas Cowboys have been ousted in the Wildcard game 4 times and in the Divisional game 6 times. To make matters worse, 6 of these 10 times, the Cowboys went one-and-done.
  • You'll be hard pressed to find an owner as successful as Jerry Jones who is held in such contempt by his fan base. There are three reasons for this:
    1. His firing of head coach Tom Landry when he first bought the team. While most long-time fans will admit it was probably time for a change, the ruthless, dismissive way Jones fired a living legend like Landry (literally the only head coach in Cowboys history at that point in time) left a bad tastes in fans' mouths that persists to this day.
    2. His firing of Landry's successor, Jimmy Johnson. After winning back-to-back Super Bowls and restoring the Cowboys' elite status, Jones and Johnson had a falling out (fueled by Jones wanting to be more hands-on in personnel matters, and Johnson not wanting to cede that power back to Jones), resulting in Johnson's firing. Most Cowboys fans believe that Jones wanted more credit for the Cowboys' success than he was getting and fired Johnson to try and prove it wasn't all Johnson. His replaced Johnson with former college coach Barry Switzer, considered by many to be the worst head coach to ever win a Super Bowl (fans are all but unanimous that he did it simply by inheriting the awesome team Johnson put together). The Cowboys haven't advanced past the divisional playoff round since Switzer's Super Bowl win in 1995.
    3. Once Jones took full control of personnel matters, his drafting and free agent strategy seemed to be to go after high risk/high reward players. He seemed to be trying to prove what a genius he was (or rather, that he was the real brains behind the '90s Super Bowl run, not Johnson) by grabbing diamonds in the roughnote  rather than taking more polished, less-risky picks. This had the side effect of leaving the Cowboys with little depth, as the higher picks tended to either be stars who'd eventually demand high pay (leaving less money for backups and role players) or busts who'd be released as soon as their contract was up. Things improved once he ceded day-to-day control to his son, Stephen Jones, but Jerry still holds override power on personnel matters. Infamously, he had to be talked out of drafting Johnny Manziel in 2014 and Paxton Lynch in 2016.
  • Tony Romo has had several moments throughout his career that the fans will never live him down for.
    1. First, he botched the hold on a potential go-ahead field goal over the Seattle Seahawks in the 2007 NFC Wild Card Playoff. After recovering the ball, he attempted to run it for a touchdown or a first down at the one yard-line but was tackled a yard short of the marker.
    2. Another infamous Romo incident took place in the following season, in which after the Cowboys clinched the NFC's top seed in the playoffs, Romo spent the bye week by going on vacation to Cabo San Lucas with then-girlfriend Jessica Simpson and tight end Jason Witten. The following week, the Cowboys were defeated at home by the eventual Super Bowl champions, the New York Giants, whom they swept in the regular season.
    3. Later, Romo became known as that quarterback who always wound up getting injured no matter how many times he tries to get back onto the field. The fact he was replaced by Dak Prescott, who had a stellar rookie 2016 year, drew many comparisons to the time when Drew Bledsoe got replaced by Tom Brady. He wound up retiring after that season and went straight into the CBS broadcast booth, where his immediate success has only slightly obscured the regrettable memories of his playing days.
  • Everson Walls was a four-time Pro Bowler, three time All-Pro selection, and a Super Bowl champion. Unfortunately, what most people remember him for was being responsible for giving up The Catch in the '81-'82 NFC Championship Game. As a side note, 1981 was Walls' rookie year.
  • Dallas fans hate the officials for what happened in the 2014 playoff match-up between Dallas vs. Green Bay regarding Dez Bryant's non-catch in the final minutes, which brought to question just how exactly the "Catch Rule" works. To explain, Dez Bryant made the grab around Green Bay's 5 yard-line, but upon coming down with the ball, attempted to dive as close as he can to the end-zone and landed just inches from the goal-line, only for the ball to bounce off the ground slightly in his hand. As a result, the refs claimed that Dez didn't have complete possession of the ball all the way through the catch, and was ruled incomplete. Had the catch been made, Dallas would have only been down five points and would have had first-and-inches from the goal-line to get what, at this point, would have been a surefire touchdown. Despite claims that Green Bay would have still gotten the ball back to go down and retake the lead, many Dallas fans went about claiming that they got ripped off. This has also turned into a Never Live It Down moment for Bryant himself for failing to come down with the catch. It's even been nicknamed as the "Dez Bryant Non-catch".
    • For extra salt in the wound for Cowboys fans, this incident followed a similar bout of questionable officiating that benefitted them in the Wild Card game against the Detroit Lions only a week prior (see Detroit's folder below), leading many to call it an act of karma.
  • Former head coach Jason Garrett had several.
    1. He's forever known as the man who successfully iced his own kicker.
    2. He's also become somewhat of a meme amongst NFL fans where they view him as someone who claps about everything, even when his team is losing.
    3. Finally, he's usually the defining example football fans will point to when they need to describe a coach that's the very definition of mediocrity. Particularly, the three seasons in a row (2011 to 2013) that his Cowboys went 8-8. And just to add a little bit of extra salt into the wound, his final 2019 season as the team's head coach resulted in another 8-8 record.
  • Ezekiel Elliott has a string of personal misconduct cases in 2016 which never had anything come out of them as far as the criminal system was concerned, including multiple domestic violence charges, getting into a bar fight, and allegedly ripping off a woman's shirt at a party. Despite all that, Elliott was more well-known for being suspended, un-suspended, suspended, un-suspended, suspended, un-suspended, and suspended again for six games stemming from these incidents. Multiple court cases, injunctions, and legal filings took place before even Elliott got sick of dealing with it. The back-and-forth about whether or not Elliott was suspended became something of a running joke that season, even after the suspension finally managed to stick.
  • The 2013 Cowboys will always be known for giving up 329 receiving yards to the Lions' Calvin Johnson...in one game.

    Denver Broncos 
  • Bring up the Denver Broncos' AFL history, and the first thing you'll hear about won't be that they had the first black regular starting QB in pro football's modern era (Marlin Briscoe). It won't even be their status as the league's Butt-Monkey (they were the only one of the original eight teams to have never posted a winning season). It will be the godawful yellow and brown uniforms (with matching vertically striped socks)note  they wore for their first two years of existence.note 
  • Denver also has the 1985 "Snowball Game" attached to them. Long story short: a Broncos fan threw a snowball onto the field while the San Francisco 49ers were attempting a field goal at the end of the first half with Denver leading 14–3. The snowball distracted holder Matt Kavanaugh, which caused him to mishandle the football and not hold it for kicker Ray Wersching. In desperation, he picked it up and attempted a forward pass, but there were no receivers downfield and it fell incomplete. The Broncos eventually won 17–16 on a 24-yard Rich Karlis field goal with 1:27 left in the game.
  • Denver has garnered a reputation for getting absolutely destroyed in the Super Bowl, sharing the record for most Super Bowl losses with five. At one point, they even shared the record for losses without a win with the Vikings and Bills, but the two victories at the very end of John Elway's career ended that. They still hold the record for largest margin of defeat (45, to the 49ers), and have three of the five worst losses in the Super Bowl.note 
  • Head coach Mike Shanahan's Never Live It Down moment came about as a result of his final 2008 team, who ended up missing the playoffs despite having a commanding three game lead over the San Diego Chargers with only three games remaining in the season. The Broncos ended up losing the final three games while the Chargers won out, and successfully stole away the AFC West division crown from the Broncos. As a result of the Broncos meltdown, Shanahan was fired after serving as the team's Head Coach for 14 seasons.
    • Jay Cutler is still mocked by Broncos fans today for his "I have a stronger arm than John Elway" proclamation. After he made this statement, the 2008 Broncos would blow their division lead, miss the playoffs, and Cutler would split the scene to the Chicago Bears.
  • Broncos head coach Josh McDaniels was accused of videotaping the San Francisco 49ers in 2010, a more serious repeat of the Spygate incident he was present for as a New England Patriots assistant. McDaniels is also having a teeny bit of a hard time living down the fact that his attempt to trade for then-Patriots QB Matt Cassel alienated then-Broncos star QB Jay Cutler to the point that he demanded a trade and was eventually sent to the Chicago Bears, who made the playoffs with Cutler while the Broncos floundered.
  • Due to Tim Tebow's reputation of being a poor quarterback, his standout 2011 season with the Denver Broncos caused a Never Live It Down moment for many teams who somehow lost to him within the final seconds of the game. These teams being the Dolphins, Chiefs, Jets, Chargers, Vikings, and Bears in the regular season, as well as the Steelers in the Wild Card round of the playoffs. The miracle run would later give birth to the meme that your team just got "Tebowed".
  • Rahim Moore. Forever labelled as that Broncos safety who gave up the "Mile High Miracle" in 2012 against the Ravens' Jacoby Jones. Because of his mistake, the Ravens were able to tie the game near the end of regulation and eventually won in double overtime.
  • GM John Elway's abysmal track record of drafting or picking starting quarterbacks. Check out this murderer's row of QBs he's signed or drafted: Brock Osweiler (this one is particularly bad because the other quarterback he considered in that draft was Russell Wilson), Trevor Siemian, Mark Sanchez, Case Keenum, Paxton Lynch, Jeff Driskel, and shell of his former self Joe Flacco. Yeah, he also got Peyton Manning to play in Denver, but that one was a gimme. To be fair to the man, he's been brilliant in acquisitions in just about every other position, bringing DeMarcus Ware, Aqib Talib, Emmanuel Sanders, CJ Anderson, TJ Ward and Phillip Lindsay on to great success, and the 2018 draft class (Bradley Chubb, Cortland Sutton, Josey Jewell, Daesean Hamilton) being one of the better ones in Broncos history. But those quarterback picks (many of which, fans have noted, have been physically similar to Elway himself) have kept the Broncos from playoff contention since their last Super Bowl victory.

    Detroit Lions 
  • After the Lions won the 1957 NFL Championship, they traded away their former starting QB, legendary Hall of Famer Bobby Layne, due to him having been injured just prior to the postseason. Aprocryphally, Layne responded by saying the Lions wouldn't win another championship for 50 years. The Curse of Bobby Layne has proven more powerful than even he thought- the Lions haven't even visited a championship game since then, the longest stretch of any NFL team.
  • A rookie with the Detroit Lions in the '60s, Garo Yepremian (who went on to greater fame and infamy with the Miami Dolphins), kicked a game-winning extra point in one game, after which (according to teammate Alex Karras) he excitedly yelled, "I keek a touchdown!" The phrase instantly became grist for Johnny Carson and other comedians, and was eventually used as the title of his biography.
  • The Lions' perpetual losing record essentially forced out one of the game's all-time greats. Barry Sanders, currently third on the all-time rushing yardage list, played for the Lions. He retired at age 30 when he was in striking distance of the recordnote , not because of health issues or injuries, but because he was tired of playing for an organization that refused to make moves to build a better team and the Lions refused to let him simply go to a different team (which would have been his preferred solution), even after he offered to pay back his entire signing bonus if they would release him.
  • Matt Millen was a former linebacker with the Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders, San Francisco 49ers, and Washington Redskins (12 seasons and part of 4 Super Bowl champions during that span) followed by a prominent broadcasting career. He will be best known, however, for taking the job as the general manager of the Detroit Lions without any front office experience and doing really poorly.
    • His draft record helped sink the team from its position as relatively average to the Butt Monkeys of the NFL, which was also evident by his being an apparent Karma Houdini for much of that term. Ironically, he got the boot during the 2008 season, just as the Lions hit rock bottom (ultimately finishing 0-16, becoming the first team to go winless in a sixteen-game season).
    • Matt also will never live down his horrible track record when it came to the draft, particularly his love of drafting wide receivers. In his 8-year span, he took four of them with first round picks: Charles Rogersnote , Roy Williamsnote , Mike Williamsnote , and finally, Calvin Johnsonnote .
  • As mentioned above, the Lions will never live down their 2008 season, in which they went 0-16, becoming the first NFL team since the 1976 Buccaneers (check out their section below for more information) to lose all of their regular season games. While there have been longer losing streaks, and other teams had lost entire seasons before, none of them had done so since the expansion to 16 games.
    • Quarterback Dan Orlovsky will never get over defining the 0-16 season of 2008 by inadvertently running out of the back of his own endzone, giving the Minnesota Vikings a safety. The two points was the margin of victory for the Vikings. On the bright side, Colts fans may give him a pass since Dan was partly responsible for saving the Colts from a similar winless season in 2011.
    • Going 0-16 left a pretty big stain on the preseason when it comes to how fans view it as being four meaningless games that should either be reduced to two or just not exist at all. No matter how well a team is looking during a preseason, many will point out that it didn't do much good for the Lions, who went 4-0 during the 2008 preseason only to go on not winning a single game for the regular season.
  • Jim Schwartz deserves a lot of credit for making the Detroit Lions a respectable team during his 2009-2013 tenure as their head coach, but most will remember him for the incident against the 49ers where he tried to pick a fight with Jim Harbaugh after the game.
  • While playing for the Lions from 2010 to 2014, Ndamukong Suh, despite being one of the best defensive tackles to ever play in the league, gained a reputation as a dirty player for several incidents, such as a Groin Attack to Matt Schaub, stomping on Evan Dietrich-Smith, standing on Aaron Rodgers' leg, forearming Jay Cutler from behind, low-blocking John Sullivan, and kicking Ryan Fitzpatrick in the head. Suh has since moved on to playing for the Dolphins, Rams, and Buccaneers (the last mentioned example being a dirty hit that he pulled as a Dolphin).
  • It will be awhile for Lions fans to forgive the officials for the 2014 playoff matchup between Dallas and Detroit where the refs pick up a flag off a call that looked like a pretty blatant pass interference penalty by Hitchens on Pettigrew. Many Lions fans went about claiming that the refs screwed them over from possible victory since they were up three points late in the fourth quarter, and would have been in near scoring position to extend their lead even further had the penalty been accepted.
  • In 2014, Lions linebacker Stephen Tulloch tore his ACL while celebrating a tackle... that a teammate had made.
  • Calvin "Megatron" Johnson retired after the 2015 season due to very similar reasons as Sanders. He was one of the best Wide Receivers of his era and could probably have put up even more impressive numbers with other teams, not to mention winning championships, but... well, he played for the Lions, so that's that.
    • Johnson is also known for being the one who ignited the whole "Catch Rule" controversy that has plagued the NFL in The New '10s and The New '20s due to his non-touchdown catch against the Bears back in the 2011 season where the referees ruled he had not completed the catch by rule because he tossed the ball away after he had caught it with both feet down and fell to the ground. This led to the rule being rewritten several times during the succeeding years and an increase in catch reviews during games, annoying the majority of NFL fans who feel the league is overcomplicating a simple game action.
  • Similar to the Bengals, the Lions are often jacked on for having not won a playoff game since 1991 where they defeated the Dallas Cowboys 38-6 in the Divisional game.

    Green Bay Packers 
  • John Hadl was one of the premier passers of the AFL, with four All-Star appearances and a championship win with the Chargers. Later, with the L.A. Rams, he also earned 2 Pro Bowls appearances as well as an All-Pro season. A lot of his good reputation, however, vanished midway through the 1974 season, when the Rams traded the 34-year-old passer to Green Bay in exchange for five draft picks (two first round picks, two second round picks, and one third round pick). To say the trade was a disaster for Green Bay would be an understatement; he went 7-12 as a starter, threw 9 touchdowns against 29 interceptions, and was gone from the team after less than 2 seasons. The Rams, meanwhile, used their picks to become a dominant force in the NFC well into the '80s, whereas the Packers would continue to flounder until the arrival of Brett Favre and Mike Holmgren in the '90s.
  • Charles Martin was a so-so defensive lineman who played most of his career with the Packers. The only time his name gets brought up is when he body slammed quarterback Jim McMahon a few full seconds after he had already thrown the ball, which resulted in a successful effort to knock McMahon out for the game, and ultimately the rest of the season. Many Packers fans will say that this event was the darkest moment in their team's long history, and Bears fans came to really hate Martin with claims being made that McMahon's injury kept the Bears from going on a Super Bowl repeat.
  • Picked #2 overall in the 1989 Draft, offensive lineman Tony Mandarich is known as one of the biggest busts in history after three mediocre seasons on the Packers. It doesn't help that of the top five in that draft class, all four of the others (Troy Aikman, Barry Sanders, Derrick Thomas and Deion Sanders, in that order) are in the Hall of Fame. Furthermore, Mandarich had used steroids to boost his performance in college, which may have contributed to why he slipped so far after joining the NFL. He played better protecting Peyton Manning after joining the Colts, but most will remember him for never living up to his high draft status.
  • In a mixed-bag version, kicker Chester Marcol's career is defined by the moment in a Week 1 game against the Chicago Bears when he successfully converted a blocked field goal for a touchdown. The number of gaffes that have happened in similar situations (i.e. Garo Yepremian) only makes it that much more impressive that Marcol actually successfully made a play out of it. As does the fact that it happened in overtime, making Marcol's touchdown an automatic game-winner. It would be an entirely positive example except that it eventually came out that Marcol was high on cocaine during that game and that's become part of the story of the play, so his struggles with drug addiction will also always be one of the first things people remember about him.
  • Brett Favre became better known for his late-career "I'm retiring/I'm not retiring/I'm not sure" merry-go-round than being the NFL's all-time leader in nearly every passing category, especially when many of those records were broken just a few years after his retirement.
    • Not to mention his penchant for texting close-up photos of a certain part of his anatomy to female co-workers.
    • And for taking a fall so Giants DE Michael Strahan could set the single-season record for sacks.
    • Or his tendency to throw sometimes season-ending interceptions, especially in the postseason, something that has only become more of a part of his reputation as his interceptions have become one of the few career records he still holds on to. The fact that he was succeeded by Aaron Rodgers, who is known for his record low interception rate, only makes Favre's interception tendencies that much more striking by comparison.
  • Speaking of Favre, it's the Green Bay fans who will never live down their reaction to how the Packers handled the Favre un-retirement situation. In the wake of Favre's initial announcement, the Packers had promoted Aaron Rodgers to starting quarterback, only for Favre to rescind his retirement and return to the Packers with the intention of being reinstated as the starter, and it was clear that the Packers would likely lose whichever quarterback didn't get the starting role. To the shock of many, the Packers decided to trade Favre away and stay the course with Rodgers. More than a few fans were up in arms at this decision, expressing disbelief and fury that the team would jettison their longtime star quarterback in favor of a virtual unknown, and Rodgers himself was the target of much of the anger. Said fans were mighty embarassed when Rodgers turned out to be, if anything, better than Favre, becoming the first quarterback in NFL history to throw for 4,000 yards in each of his first two seasons as a starter and leading the team to a Super Bowl victory in his third season (which, incidentally, was also Favre's final, extremely underwhelming season), after which even his biggest doubters had to admit that the team made the right call in choosing Rodgers. Today, Rodgers, still leading his team to winning seasons and playoff games a full decade after Favre hung up his helmet, is every bit as beloved by Green Bay fans as his predecessor.
  • The infamous "4th and 26" play in the 2003-2004 divisional playoff round against the Philadelphia Eagles. With 1:12 remaining on the play clock, the Packers were ahead 17-14 and the Philadelphia Eagles were on fourth down with 26 yards to get a first thanks to a sack and a penalty earlier in the drive. All the Packers had to do was hold them short of the (very long) first down and they would win... and they failed, with Philadelphia pulling off a 28-yard play to convert the first down, allowing them to kick a tying field goal in the final seconds of the game and sending the game into overtime, where Philadelphia would kick another field goal to win 20-17. It's a legendary play from the Eagles' side of things, but an infamous defensive failure in the minds of many Packers fans.
  • The replacement referees during the 2012 season would become known for the "Fail Mary" game between the Packers and Seahawks. The referees ruled the final catch in the end zone was a simultaneous possession, despite the Seahawks committing an offensive pass interference penalty that should've ended the game right there, but the referees somehow missed it. Not only was there a no-call for pass interference, but the replacement referees gave separate signals of both a touchdown and a touchback. They finally had it reviewed by the booth upstairs, and even had it reviewed by an independent body the following day... and all of them ruled that the touchdown stood. The Fail Mary ultimately led to the end of the Referee Lockout.
  • The Packers' meltdown in the 2014 NFC Championship vs. the Seahawks. Leading 19-7 at 5:00 in the 4th quarter, the Packers attempted to run out the clock rather than passing. Their attempt only ran out one minute, giving the Seahawks the ball with 4:00. That gave the Seahawks a chance to score a touchdown and an successful onside kick that tight end Brandon Bostick embarrassingly let bounce off his helmet. This led to another touchdown by Marshawn Lynch. The Seahawks would win in overtime 28–22.
  • The entire Aaron Rodgers/Mike McCarthy era has become this in hindsight. On one hand, they comprised one of the most successful QB/Coach combos ever, as the Packers made multiple playoff appearances with a Super Bowl win to boot. On the other, much like Mike Tomlin’s drama-filled Steelers, the McCarthy/Rodgers Packers more often than not failed to play up to their potential, often losing very winnable games against easy opponents or failing to reach the Super Bowl despite great regular seasons. Though it's difficult to discern how much of the reported drama behind the scenes was overblown by the media, the common consensus is that the two hated each other, with McCarthy accusing Rodgers, undoubtedly one of the best QBs of the decade, of being a diva with a poor work ethic, while Rodgers held a serious grudge against McCarthy for his role in passing him up in the 2005 Draft when he was an offensive coordinator for the 49ers and for throwing his players under the bus. Once Rodgers suffered a season-ending shoulder injury in 2017, McCarthy’s flaws as a coach became very apparent, as the Packers missed the 2017 and 2018 playoffs. McCarthy was fired halfway through the 2018 season, marking the first time ever the Packers had fired a coach during the regular season, and the team returned to playoff success the following year.
  • McCarthy’s replacement, Matt LaFleur, will never live down his play calling at the end of the 2020 NFC Championship Game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Down by 8 on a fourth-and-goal at the 8-yard line with just under two minutes to go in the game, LaFleur decided to bring on the field goal unit rather than go for the touchdown and two-point conversion to tie the game. While it's true that getting the tie was no guarantee, especially given that the Packers had missed a two-point conversion earlier in the game, LaFleur's plan essentially gambled on the Packers defense being able to stop the Buccaneers and get the ball back in time to mount another scoring drive, which was also far from a certaintynote . What's more, LaFleur didn't communicate this plan ahead of time to Aaron Rodgers, who said after the game that his decisions on third down were based on the belief that he still had one more shot at the end zone if he failed to score on that play, and that he would have played the down differently if he had known that it was his last chance. In the end, the Packers were unable to get the ball back and lost by 5.
    • LaFleur's decision here also re-ignited controversy from earlier in the season, particularly related to his and the team's choices in the NFL draft, in which the team chose to trade up to select a quarterback in the first round and did not take a single wide receiver, despite the fact that it was a receiver-heavy class and that the team has one of the best passing quarterbacks in the league but was coming into the season with a fairly weak receiving corps to go with thatnote . Some of the controversy had died down as LaFleur looked poised to take the Packers to the Super Bowl, but when LaFleur made the questionable call in the NFC Championship, the earlier decisions came back into the spotlight because in the context of each other, the two situations painted a picture of LaFleur and the larger Packers management not trusting Aaron Rodgers.
  • While Matt LaFleur gets most of the blame for the Packers' 2020 NFC Championship loss, and not without reason (see previous point), fans and analysts also criticized the officials for calling a defensive pass interference penalty against Packers cornerback Kevin King in the final two minutes when they had been no-calling comparable fouls all game, including a very similar action committed by a Buccaneers cornerback on a game-changing Tampa Bay interception. The general consensus was that the penalty call was potentially correct — King grabbed the receiver's jersey, which could qualify as defensive pass interference depending on other factors — but also massively unfair given what Tampa Bay had gotten away with, and more than a few people thought the officials should have let the penalty go just to keep things balanced.note  Since the penalty play was on a third down, if the penalty hadn't been called, the Buccaneers would probably have been forced to punt and the Packers would have had another chance to try for a game-winning touchdown.

    Houston Texans 
  • Just like the Lions regarding Barry Sanders and Calvin Johnson, the Texans are considered to have wasted the talent of wide receiver Andre Johnson, who is 9th all-time in NFL career receptions and 10th all-time in NFL receiving yards. The biggest criticisms is that Andre Johnson could have been much greater had the Texans provided him a franchise quarterback, or if he had just simply played for a better team during his 2003 - 2014 tenure with the Texans since the team only saw the playoffs twice during that time-frame in 2011 and 2012.
  • Quarterback Sage Rosenfels is forever known for the "Rosencopter" play where he ends up getting spin-hurdled through the air by several Colts defenders, ends up fumbling the ball away, and has it returned the other way for a Colts touchdown. A majority of NFL fans agree that Rosenfels' fumble was what allowed the Colts to come back to win despite just 4 minutes remaining in the game, and being down 27-17.
  • Poor Brian Hoyer. Many Texan fans will remember him for his poor performance in the 2015 Wild Card game against the Kansas City Chiefs. In the game, Hoyer was held to just 15 of 34 passes for 134 yards and was intercepted four times. The Texan would lose in a 30-0 shut out, the first shutout loss in ten years. On the other hand, Hoyer is also the only quarterback who left the Cleveland Browns with a winning record since they came back in 1999note .
  • Quarterback Brock Osweiler is set to never live down his time as a starting quarterback. Originally a backup QB for Peyton Manning for the Denver Broncos, Osweiler looked set to take over the starting role once Manning retired after Super Bowl 50. Instead, Osweiler accepted a $72 million, four-year deal with the Texans. Without the same weapons he had in Denver, Osweiler's flaws began to show, as he threw a record 16 interceptions. He was benched in Week 15. Although he would start in the playoffs and win against an injury-riddled Oakland Raiders, Osweiler is often remembered as a major trade bust. The Texans wound up trading him and a second round pick to the Browns for a measly fourth round pick, essentially giving him and a valuable pick away just to open back up their wasted cap space.
  • It may be a very long time before the Texans live down their performance in the 2019 AFC Divisional Playoff round against the Kansas City Chiefs. They had a 24-0 lead with 10 minutes left in the first half, only to allow 28 points by halftime and seven unanswered touchdowns overall. The final score? 51-31. This made the Texans the first team in NFL history to lose by at least 20 points after leading by at least 20 points.
  • In the 2020 offseason, head coach Bill O'Brien was given general manager responsibilities and proceeded to trade receiver DeAndre Hopkins, widely considered to be a top WR, to the Arizona Cardinals. For the trade, the Texans got running back David Johnson, Arizona's second round pick for 2020, and swapped their 4th round picks for 2021. Johnson, being 29 years old, was already considered past his prime for the RB position and wasn't considered a top RB to begin with. Hopkins could have likely gone for at least two first round picks, but it came out that the Texans approached the Cardinals on the trade, with O'Brien seeking to get rid of their star seemingly just for personal reasons. Hopkins continued to stand out in Arizona, while Johnson put up middling numbers. This led to the Texans' overall performance to plummet the following year, all with greatly reduced draft stock due to O'Brien's poor trade decisions; he was fired as both GM and coach early in the 2020 season.

    Indianapolis (Baltimore) Colts 
  • Quarterback Earl Morrall, "The Patron Saint of Backup Quarterbacks": Over 20,000 career passing yards; won the NFL MVP Award for leading the Baltimore Colts to a 13-1 regular season in 1968; won Super Bowl V; played the balance of the Dolphins' 1972 perfect season, during which he became Comeback Player of the Year; in all, a solid 20-year pro career. Yet today some only remember him for his stint on Baltimore losing Super Bowl III to the New York Jets.
  • The Baltimore Colts were one of the NFL's flagship franchises before Robert Irsay bought the team in 1972.note  He gained a reputation as a drunken lunatic more concerned with a perceived lack of respect than how his team was actually doing. This was cemented when, in a live impromptu press conference in 1983note  he went on a (possibly intoxicated) tirade against the media for stirring up rumors that he was moving the Colts to Memphis or Phoenix. This rant pointedly did not mention Indianapolis. This was followed just a couple of months later by the Colts' infamous midnight move out of Baltimore to Indianapolis in March 1984. To this day, Irsay remains a reviled figure in Baltimore.
  • Jim Mora's "PLAYOFFS?!?" rant. Most people couldn't tell you who Mora's Colts had played before that press conference (it was the 49ers), what the score to the game was (the Niners won, 40-21), or anything else about Mora's time as the head coach of the team. All anyone remembers Mora for is this one soundbite. Which is a little odd, considering Mora had a reputation for ranting at the drop of a hat, yet this rant which only lasted a couple of seconds is the only one anybody thinks of.
  • Bill Polian was one of the most successful general managers in the NFL, having built the Buffalo Bills teams that went to (and lost) four straight Super Bowls, as well as drafting Peyton Manning over Ryan Leaf during his time with the Colts. He was also known for his controversial decision to forgo a chance for a perfect season when he pulled the Colts' starters against the Jets and the Bills in the last two weeks of the 2009 season (prior to the losses, the Colts were 14-0), stating that he wanted to have the starters rested up for the playoffs and that a perfect season was not a goal for them. Then came a disastrous 2-14 season in 2011 where, with Peyton Manning out for the season with a neck injury and thus no longer masking the flaws on the roster, the lack of talent on the team was thoroughly exposed. Polian, who as GM was responsible for building the team, was promptly fired the next offseason.
  • Peyton Manning, even after winning Super Bowl XLI, can't seem to get away from the reputation of soiling himself in the playoffs. The Colts were unbeatable in the regular season until they started resting starters after securing the first seed in the AFC, then got bowled over in their first playoff game by a Steeler team that qualified for the playoffs by the skin of their teeth, with Peyton Manning playing poorly most of the game. Added to that is Manning throwing a Super Bowl losing interception against the Saints, playing absolutely horrible in a blowout Super Bowl loss to the Seahawks, constantly losing to rivals New England Patriots, with Patriots QB Tom Brady frequently outplaying him in their matchups (while his little brother Eli has beaten Brady twice in the Super Bowl), and a handful more losses in their first playoff games to Wild Card teams like the Chargers. The Mile High Miracle game where the Ravens went into Denver and upset the #1 seeded team in the AFC was also a pretty damaging loss to his cred particularly because the Ravens' game winning field-goal was set up by a Manning interception. However, these sounds diminished a bit after Manning created a storybook ending to his career by winning Super Bowl 50.
  • Colts kicker Mike Vanderjagt is known as one of the most accurate kickers to ever play the game. However, he ended up with a huge Never Live It Down moment in the 2005 playoff game against the Steelers where he missed a 46-yard field goal in an attempt to tie the game with just 18 seconds left in the 4th quarter. The Colts ended up losing 21-18. As a result, Mike was not resigned by the Colts the following season, and following a brief 2006 stint with the Cowboys, he disappeared from the NFL altogether, to the point of joining Canada's Toronto Argonautsnote  for a year.
    • Vanderjagt is also refereed to by fans as the "liquored-up idiot kicker", thanks to Peyton Manning's interview at the 2003 Pro Bowl.note 
  • During a 2015 matchup against the Patriots, the Colts ended up running perhaps the worst fake punt ever. What was supposed to happen was the Colts were trying to draw the New England Patriots offsides to get a first down on penalty yards. If that didn't work, the Colts had planned to just take a delay-of-game penalty and punt the ball away. The trouble is that the center, for some reason, snapped the ball even though he had been explicitly told to do nothing. The resulting attempt at salvaging something from the botched play was a total disaster, including the announcers openly wondering "what in the world was that?" on air. A lot of fans debate if this is perhaps the play that could finally dethrone Mark Sanchez's Butt Fumble as the biggest Epic Fail ever seen in the NFL.
  • Ever since putting up a "2014 AFC Finalist" banner in their stadium, the Colts have often been mocked as a franchise that congratulates itself for achieving the littlest of things. The Patriots and their fanbase in particular enjoy making fun of this debacle due to the 2014 AFC Championship being the game where they not only destroyed the Colts 45-7, this was also what led to the whole "Deflategate" scandal when the Colts accused them of deflating footballs. As a result, what's left in the eyes of many fans is the Colts coming off as Sore Losers.
  • Very few NFL fans will forgive the Colts for sending a potential future Hall of Fame QB in Andrew Luck to an early retirement. For most of his 2012-2018 career with the Colts, Luck had to deal with horrible protection from a god-awful offensive line, which the Colts front office took forever to finally address. The result was Luck being one of the most sacked or hit QBs throughout his years with the Colts, which resulted in multiple injuries. The list of injuries that Luck had to deal with is actually quite staggering: a lacerated kidney, injured ribs, a concussion, torn throwing shoulder cartilage, and injuries to the calf and ankle just to name a few. The shoulder injury in particular was bad enough that it kept him out for the entirety of the 2017 season. There was a Hope Spot where he came back strong in 2018, to the point of winning Comeback Player of the Year (and might have been league MVP if it hadn't been for a season for the ages from Patrick Mahomes), and it seemed like the Colts finally did their job at getting protection for their prized QB. Unfortunately, the damage was already done. Luck wound up getting injured again with a nagging ankle injury during the following off-season. By this point, he had officially had enough. Shocking the world, Luck suddenly announces his retirement during a 2019 pre-season game. When he arrived on the field to inform his teammates of his decision, the Colts fans in the stadium who got word of what just happened actually started booing him as Luck exited. As another Never Live It Down, almost everyone tends to agree that this was not a good look for Colts fans, coming off as nothing more than extremely ungrateful because Luck chose his health over satisfying the fanbase.
  • A common form of mockery that fans tend to poke fun at the Colts for is the fact that they were only able to come away with one Super Bowl win throughout two decades (1998-2018) where they fielded two Hall of Fame caliber quarterbacks in Peyton Manning and Andrew Luck. As mentioned above, this is primarily due to Manning's reputation as a choke artist come playoff time and because Luck was left to die behind a horrible offensive line year after year until he was left mentally broken to the point of retiring.

    Jacksonville Jaguars 
  • The 1999 season is a painful memory for many Jaguar fans. The team managed to put together an incredible 14-2 record and were set for a Super Bowl run. Unfortunately, there was one thing that stood in their way: the Tennessee Titans. All three of the Jags' losses came from the same team, losing to the Titans twice in the regular season and then losing to them again in the AFC Championship.
  • The Jaguars got off to an extremely promising start for an expansion team, making the playoffs in four of their first five seasons and the AFC Championship twice in that span, including their second ever season. However, since then, the Jags have steadily slid to the NFL's basement, becoming a regular target of mockery for on-field ineptitude, off-field management debacles, and its relatively tiny fanbase in a small media market. Since the departure of their first starting QB, Mark Brunell, the Jaguars have been unable to rebuild around a new quarterback, going through multiple first-round QB draft picks in Byron Leftwichnote , Blaine Gabbertnote , and Blake Bortlesnote  along with David Garrard and Chad Henne but were still unable to get anything going. The result of this instability left the Jaguars with only two double-digit win seasons in the '00s in 2005 and 2007 (which were also their only playoff appearances).
  • In 2003, rookie head coach Jack Del Rio put a tree stump and axe in the team locker room for players to hack away at as a symbol for them to "Keep chopping wood!" out on the field. Not only was this a transparently unimaginative Follow the Leader of Jon Gruden's well-publicized "Pound the rock!" gimmick used the previous year in Tampa Bay on the way to a Super Bowl victory, this proved to be a real danger to the Jags players: Pro Bowl punter Chris Hanson botched a swing and hacked into his own leg, ending his season.
  • Throughout the '10s, Jacksonville failed to put up a single winning season... outside of 2017, when their incredible "Sacksonville" defensive squad came out of nowhere and took them to an AFC Championship. However, almost none of the components of that team stuck around past the next season due to the oppressive culture fostered by executive VP Tom Coughlin, a notorious Drill Sergeant Nasty and Control Freak. The Jags ended up putting up over one-fourth of all the player grievances filed with the NFLPA that season, to the point the union put out a public notice advising free agents not to sign with the Jaguars. The Jags ended up back in the division cellar in 2018, and Coughlin was fired. It wasn't enough to stop the bleeding; the team soon collapsed to the league cellar with a one-win season in 2020.

    Kansas City Chiefs (Dallas Texans) 
  • Abner Haynes was a solid running back for several years in the American Football League, scoring two touchdowns for the Dallas Texans (now Kansas City Chiefs) over the Houston Oilers during the 1962 AFL Championship. Unfortunately, Haynes' claim to notoriety was confusing coach Hank Stram's instructions for the overtime coin toss and saying "We'll kick to the clock"; giving away both the right to receive the ball for the first overtime AND the right to choose having the wind at his back (which Stram wanted in order to set up the possibility of having favorable winds for a game-winning field goal). Like Yepremian and Leon Lett in the Super Bowl, Haynes would be let off the hook as the Texans got that wind advantage for the second overtime and scored an easy game-winning field goal.
  • Christian Okoye, a fearsome 250 pound Chiefs fullback known as "The Nigerian Nightmare" getting absolutely brickwalled by Denver Broncos safety Steve Atwater. This shouldn't be anything to be ashamed of, since Atwater was a ferocious hitter, but Okoye was said to have been psychologically destroyed by the hit and was never the same player afterwards, while Atwater is considered one of the greatest defensive backs of all time and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2019.
  • Then-Kansas City Chiefs safety Bernard Pollard gained infamy when he accidentally injured Tom Brady in the Patriots' 2008 opening game, sidelining him for the rest of the season. Pollard became known as a "Patriot Killer" (which he says that he's "fine and dandy" with) due to him being involved, directly or indirectly, in the injuries of Wes Welker (in 2009, then as a member of the Houston Texans), Rob Gronkowski (in the 2011 AFC Championship Game, as a member of the Baltimore Ravens), and Stevan Ridley (in the 2012 AFC Championship Game, again, as a Raven).
  • The KC defense's performance in a 2011 loss to the Jets was abysmal just looking at the final score (37-10), but that number obscures just how poor and undisciplined their play was during one particular 97-yard drive in the third quarter. The Jets scored their fifth touchdown of the game on that drive while putting up a net total of nine yards on offense, not even enough for a first down—the Chiefs essentially gave them seven points through numerous penalties, including one 15-yard flag delivered against the head coach, Todd Haley, after he cursed out a referee. This led to Haley being fired the next day. (See more on this play and its ripple effects here.)
  • The 2012 death of Jovan Belcher, a 25-year-old Chiefs linebacker who killed his girlfriend in cold blood and then drove to Arrowhead Stadium and committed suicide by shooting himself in front of his team's staff, will likely be a hard thing for many Chiefs fans to shake from their memory for many years to come.
  • The 2013 postseason Wild Card loss against the Colts was pretty brutal. The Chiefs overwhelmed the Colts 38-10 in the first half of the game only to get outscored 6-35 in the second half to eventually lose the game 45-44. It ranks up there as one of the biggest meltdowns to ever occur. What primarily led to the collapse was the amount of injuries that were piling up on the Chiefs' defense throughout the game. That wounded defense just couldn't hold out against Andrew Luck's offense for the second half.
  • The Chiefs will always be known as the team that didn't have a single touchdown scored by a wide receiver during the 2014 season.
  • Similar to the 2013 example, another brutal playoff loss occurred in 2017 regarding their Wild Card loss to the Titans. The Chiefs had complete control of the game going up 21-3 by halftime only to get outscored 0-19 in the second half, and ended up losing the game 21-22. One particular play that will forever be etched into the brains of stunned Chiefs fans is watching one of Marcus Mariota's passes get deflected back to him only to run it in for the touchdown himself, especially since said play jumpstarted the Titans comeback.
  • Travis Kelce is undoubtedly one of the best tight ends in the game but he is also remembered for an incident with a referee during a game vs the Jacksonville Jaguars in the 2016 season. Angered at the nearby referee for not calling an obvious pass interference, the frustrated Kelce threw a towel in the direction of the ref which would led to an ejection from the game.
  • A subversion: Much like the Bengals and Lions, the Chiefs also had a long playoff drought since the 1993 season in which they defeated the Houston Oilers in the divisional round. Since then, the Chiefs suffered many playoff losses. This eventually ended however as of the 2015 season which saw the Chiefs rally from a 1-5 start and go on an incredible ten game win streak to earn a playoff spot. The Chiefs faced and destroy the Houston Texans in the Wild Card round 30-0, finally ending their playoff drought; their success in recent years have largely wiped out the memory of that era from anyone except the fans who lived through it.

    Las Vegas (Oakland/Los Angeles) Raiders 
  • The late Jack Tatum was a legendary member of the '70s Oakland Raiders. Known as "The Assassin", he was a three-time Pro Bowler, two-time All Pro, a member of the Raiders' Super Bowl championship team in 1977. He was even part of the infamous "Immaculate Reception" - he was the Raider that knocked the ball out of Frenchy Fuqua's hands and into Franco Harris'. But he could never shake the stigma of being "the guy who crippled Darryl Stingley". It didn't help his cause that he felt no need to apologize or to feel remorse for it (this attitude is thought by many to be the reason Tatum was kept out the Pro Football Hall of Fame).
  • Cornerback Lester Hayes had a remarkable 10-year career with the Raiders which saw him win two Super Bowls, make 5 Pro Bowl appearances, and win the Defensive Player of the Year award in 1980. However, his name will always be associated with "Stick-Um", a tacky substance that he used on his hands to more easily snag interceptions (he led the league with 13 picks in 1980). The NFL subsequently passed the aptly named "Lester Hayes Rule", banning the use of such foreign substances, and his interception numbers noticeably dipped.
  • Head coach Bill Callahan may have lead the Raiders to the 2002 Super Bowl after Jon Gruden was fired, but Callahan is not at all remembered fondly among Raider fans. It's either the fact that he did not change the Gruden offense during the 2002 Super Bowl to answer the Buccaneers' defense, which was highly questionable since the Buccaneers were coached by Jon Gruden during that Super Bowl, or it could also be his "Dumbest Team in America" rant the following season.
  • Rich Gannon, as great a quarterback career as he may have had, will never live down the 2002 Super Bowl against the Buccaneers where he threw a record of five interceptions in a 48-21 beat-down for his Raiders. To make matters worse, three of said interceptions were pick-sixes.
  • The 2006 Raiders team became a laughingstock by hiring offensive coordinator Tom Walsh, who by that point had spent several years out of football by running a bed and breakfast in Swan Valley, Idaho, where he also served as the town's mayor. His offense was an even bigger joke, one of the worst that year with their QBs only throwing 7 TDs, only scoring 168 and being shut-out three times, ranking dead last in offense. This paltry showing lead them to a 2-14 record, which was easily rock bottom in the Raiders' long era of ineptitude. This led them to...
  • JaMarcus Russell went #1 overall in the 2007 Draft and was seen as the future for the Raiders to build a new dynasty around. However, Russell's poor play and weight issues left him with just a 7-18 record through 3 seasons for the Raiders, which led to him getting cut after the 2009 season, and he has been out of football ever since despite several comeback attempts. He remains considered one of the biggest busts in NFL history next to Ryan Leaf.
  • Head Coach Hue Jackson only lasted one year (2011) for one specific reason. Jackson's contract was terminated due to the god-awful Carson Palmer trade that brought the disgruntled Bengals quarterback (who had played for Jackson in college) to the Raiders in exchange for the Raiders' 1st Round Draft pick for 2012 and their 2nd Round Draft Pick for 2013. A vast majority of fans have called it one of the most lopsided deals to go down in NFL history since Palmer was refusing to play for the Bengals, essentially meaning they got those draft picks for free. Palmer being gone from the Raiders after just two seasons made the deal look even worse.
  • Third string QB Conner Cook will never live down his awful performance against the Houston Texans in the 2016-17 Wild Card playoff game. It was the first playoff appearance for the Oakland Raiders since 2002 with a great 12-4 record, the Raiders' best season in many years. Unfortunately, starting QB Derek Carr, who had a near MVP season, was injured in Week 16 and back-up QB Matt Mc Gloin was injured the following week. Therefore Cook had to start. Cook was intercepted three times, was held to just 202 total yards, and went 2-for-16 on third down conversions. To make matter worse, he was outplayed by Brock Osweiler, who had a terrible season and was already considered a trade flop. The Raiders lost 27-14 and sadly went back to mediocrity; Conner Cook would never start for a team again.
  • As mentioned under the Steelers folder below, wide receiver Antonio Brown was traded to the Raiders in the 2019 season following his antics the previous year. Unfortunately, his diva behavior came with him. In the preseason, Antonio Brown did all of the following:
    1. Showed up to training camp in a hot air balloon.
    2. Contracted frostbite after stepping into a cryotherapy chamber barefoot.
    3. Threatened to sit out the season because the NFL wouldn't let him wear his preferred choice of helmet. He ultimately would after a few weeks.
    4. Got into an angry confrontation with GM Mike Mayock, calling him a "cracker" (derogatory slang for a white person) and having to be restrained by his teammates.
    5. Kicking a football in Mayock's office and yelling "fine me for that!"
    6. Ended up ultimately cut by the Raiders just after signing him a new contract. Two days later, the Patriots would scoop him up. Brown would only play one game with the Patriots before being cut from them too, after Brown's former trainer accused him of rape.
  • The 2010 Oakland Raiders season is a hard one to live down for the team. They went 8-8 for the season, which is considered good for the Raiders of this period. They are also the first team to sweep their divisional opponents and not win the division, as they managed to finish 3rd in the division that year.

    Los Angeles (San Diego) Chargers 
  • Ryan Leaf was the #2 overall pick in the 1998 Draft (the same year as Peyton Manning, who went #1 overall). He was seen as the future that the Chargers were planning to build a dynasty around, but extremely poor play (and a worse attitude) resulted in him getting released after just three seasons. Ryan bounced around the Buccaneers and Cowboys before retiring from football following the 2001 season. As a result, Leaf is known as one of the biggest busts in NFL history, especially when compared to Manning, who went on to have a glorious career for the Colts and Broncos. For added Never Live It Down, he's become known for his legal problems off the field that has resulted in him serving time in jail.
  • Bobby Beathard, the General Manager responsible for Leaf being drafted by the Chargers, was a legendary executive. He was head of player personnel for the Miami Dolphins during their back-to-back championship years, then teamed with coach Joe Gibbs to turn Washington into a three-time Super Bowl team (winning twice), then moved on to run San Diego, leading to their first Super Bowl appearance in 1994. Despite his track record as a champion builder, Leaf's brief but disastrous time with the Chargers ultimately cost Beathard his job and much of his good reputation.
  • Marty Schottenheimer, because of his continued failures in the playoffs, is known as the guy who got fired after an incredible 14-2 season as head coach of the Chargers. Granted, the Chargers were only 0-2 under him the following season, but when you include his 5 one-and-dones when he was coaching the Chiefs previously and his stint as Browns HC (which included The Drive and the above-mentioned Ernest Byner fumble), which the Chargers front office likely took note of when they decided to fire him.
  • The 2010 Chargers are known as the team that ended up missing the playoffs despite boosting both the #1 offense and #1 defense that year. The primary cause of their downfall? Besides failing to convert a few crucial plays, their special teams were among the worst in the league, allowing four blocked (and one deflected) punts, three kickoff return touchdowns, and one punt return touchdown. These special team foibles cost the Chargers five games- they would have only needed one more win in any of them to win their division and make the playoffs.
  • Quarterback Philip Rivers has had an incredible career that will likely get him into the Hall of Fame based on his seasonal stats alone. On the other hand, he's also known as that quarterback who could never get over the hump in the playoffs, having never been able to reach the Super Bowl. In addition, Philip Rivers has his infamous Fumbled Snap attached to his name that kept the Chargers from finishing off the Chiefs in their October 31, 2011 match-up (the Chiefs went on to win in overtime). What makes this fumble a disaster over many other fumbles is that it occurred on an incredibly needless play where all the Chargers were doing was attempting to center the ball so that they could kick the field goal from the middle of the field.
  • During a Chargers-Broncos game in the 2011 season, kicker Nick Novak needed to kick a game-winning field goal. Before all that, he needed to relieve himself. With no time to use the restroom, Nick Novak used a Gatorade cup in the corner while a coach gave him some extra cover with a towel. Unfortunately for Novak, the camera catches him in time as he relieves himself. The Chargers would still lose the game by the way.
  • Giving up a pivotal 4th & 29 to the Ravens is often brought up as a means to poke fun at the Chargers. A lot of fans will say that it was the deciding play that was going to send either the Chargers or Ravens to the 2012 playoffs. The result of the Ravens winning here ended up sending them all the way to winning the Super Bowl.
  • Owner Dean Spanos will never live down (or, at the very least, admit) the disaster of moving the Chargers to Los Angeles in 2017. note  Fans in San Diego were understandably upset by their team leaving, but then the press, officials, and football fans in Los Angeles made it clear that they didn't even want the Chargers to move there (the Rams had just moved back to L.A. the year before and, unlike the Chargers, already had a built-in fanbase). At a basketball game between the Lakers and Clippers, the Chargers' regular logo was shown on the video board and was "booed heartily". The team tried to create a new logo for the new city, but the result was widely mocked with many deriding it as the love child of the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball team's and Tampa Bay Lightning hockey team's logos. Once the season started, they struggled to sell out tickets for their temporary stadium, the StubHub Center (now Dignity Health Sports Park), which was built as a soccer-specific stadium and only holds 27,000 people (by NFL rule, the minimum for a permanent stadium is 60,000). The ones they did sell were mostly bought by fans of the visiting team who are either transplants that live in the Southern California area or wanted to take a trip and escape colder climates in their own cities, leading to the games essentially being a ninth home game for the visitor. At this point, the rest of the NFL owners and league management think it would be best for the team to just move back to San Diego.

    Los Angeles (Cleveland/St. Louis) Rams 
  • The franchise as a whole will probably also never live down its propensity to move around in search of more fans, starting with being moved out of Cleveland - a city since known for its woobie status in any sport ever - to Los Angeles as reigning champions to avoid competition with the upstart Browns that had just entered the NFL from a rival league. In 1995, the team moved out of the highly competitive L.A. sports market to St. Louis, ironically the same year that the Raiders also left and they probably would have been able to recapture fans. St. Louis built them a stadium that was still not fully paid for when - naturally - the Rams moved again, this time back to Los Angeles, where once again they mistimed their move, entering the market at the same time the Chargers moved from San Diego. Expect renewed relocation speculation if and when the Rams post a couple of seasons below .500 in a row.
  • Jim Everett was the quarterback for the Rams when they were originally in Los Angeles during the late 1980s and early 1990s, leading his team to the NFC Championship Game prior to the 1989 season vs. division rival and defending Super Bowl champion San Francisco 49ers. However, Everett will best be remembered for an incident during that game, where Everett (fearing the Niners' pass rush) curled up into the fetal position to avoid a hard hit, thus resulting in the play being known as the "Phantom Sack" and Jim Rome infamously nicknaming Everett "Chris" (referring to the female tennis great Chris Evert). This led to Rome getting his own moment when Everett assaulted him on his TV show, Talk2, because Rome repeatedly called him "Chris" to his face. According to Everett, he thought the show was hosted by industry legend Roy Firestone, and probably wouldn't have appeared had he known.
  • Sam Bradford won the NFL Rookie of the Year in 2010 and led the St. Louis Rams to playoff contention in 2010, but most people nowadays see him as that always injured quarterback who has somehow obtained almost $80 million in earnings thanks to the ridiculously lucrative rookie deal he was able to get as the Rams' 1st overall 2010 draft pick. Including several other examples, like what happened to JaMarcus Russell (see Las Vegas), the Bradford deal was one of the major contributors as to why salary caps were lowered substantially for rookies entering the NFL starting the following season.
  • Harvey Dahl would like the refs to know that "that's not fucking holding!" During a 2011 game against the Cincinnati Bengals, Dahl was called for holding, and cursed at the refs as the penalty was being announced, which the referee's microphone picked up, broadcasting it not just to the whole stadium, but the live TV coverage. While Dahl has gone on to play for multiple different teams throughout his career, this one Precision F-Strike still follows him everywhere.
  • Veteran defensive end William Hayes (currently with Miami) isn't exactly a household name. Unless you mention the guy from NFL Network's Hard Knocks, who believes mermaids are real and dinosaurs are myths.
  • The Jeff Fisher era, despite taking the Rams from a 1-15 disaster to a team that frequently upset the league's best teams, was soundly mocked as time went on for failing to get a better record than 7-9. It got to the point that during a team meeting in the 2016 offseason, shown on Hard Knocks, Fisher outright stated that there would be "none of this 7-9 bullshit". He was right: the team went 4-12 and Fisher was fired at the tail end of the season.
    • The 2017 NFL season poured salt in the wound: Three of Fisher's former quarterbacks - the Rams' Jared Goff, the Vikings' Case Keenum and the Eagles' Nick Foles, all of which looked like bums under him - performed very well during the regular season and reached the playoffs, with Foles and the Eagles winning the Super Bowl (and Foles winning MVP to boot).
  • The 2017 season was very successful for the team, ending with an 11-5 record and making the playoffs for the first time since 2004. However, the team was widely mocked for choosing to replace the gold horn decals from their helmets with white ones while leaving the gold trim and numbering on their jerseys, resulting in a look that clashed horribly. While the reason was that the team planned to remove all gold from their color scheme and the NFL refused to let them change their jerseys until 2019, many felt the Rams would've been better off sticking with the current look until they could make the wholesale change instead of attempting to phase into it year by year.
    • The Rams later reversed their decision to phase out the gold by adopting new uniforms and even a new logo for the 2020 season. These new designs have been met with widespread criticism for trying to unnecessarily modernize iconography that was considered one of the classiest in the league with a new design language that looked cheap and tacky by comparison.
  • Rams cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman will always be known for being the cause of the infamous non-pass-interference call in the 2018 NFC Championship (see New Orleans Saints section).

    Miami Dolphins 
  • Garo Yepremian was one of the greatest kickers in NFL history and a key part of the Miami Dolphins dynasty of the early '70s. But mention his name to most people and the first thing they think of is his embarrassing attempt at passing the ball in the closing minutes of Super Bowl VII, which led to the Redskins recovering the ball and scoring, thus preventing the Dolphins capping their otherwise-perfect '72 season with a shutout victory in the big game.
  • The 1972 Miami Dolphins are the only undefeated team in modern NFL history (from 1960 onward) going 17-0, including the playoffs. Since then, some of those team members have had a goofy ritual where they'd pop champagne and light "victory cigars" after there are no more undefeated teams in a season. For a while, it was good fun, but after a few years it was largely seen as a group of sad old men celebrating their Glory Days. They haven't done this since at least the early 2000s, and for years before that point, Mercury Morris was the only one still publicly doing the ritual. But to this day, when the NFL's last undefeated team goes down that year, jokes about the '72 Dolphins breaking out the champagne abound.
  • Dan Marino was a first-ballot Hall of Famer and is considered one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever play the game, but not managing to win at least one Super Bowl has always been a stain on his legacy. The one Super Bowl his Dolphins were in ended up being a brutal beat-down from the 49ers despite being the exact season where Marino broke the regular-season touchdown record (getting 48).
  • The 1993 season is a painful memory for many Dolphin fans due to it being considered one of the worst regular season collapses in NFL history. Due to them losing their last 5 games of the season, they're the only team to ever miss the playoffs despite starting off with a commanding 9-2 record. One notable problem that led to the collapse was the team's injuries at the quarterback position, such as Dan Marino going down with a season-ending Achilles tendon injury in week 5.
  • The 1999 AFC East division playoff game traumatized not only Dolphin fans but also its QB, its coach, and quite possibly the entire franchise. After a 9-7 season and a squeeze through the wild card round, expectations weren't exactly high for the franchise to make it much deeper in the playoffs, but no one could have anticipated how badly they would lose to the Jaguars. In one of the biggest blowouts in modern NFL history, the Jags buried the Dolphins, leading them 41-0 during the second quarter and ending the game 62-7. This game convinced two future Hall of Famers, coach Jimmy Johnson and legendary Dolphins quarterback Dan Marino, to retire from football altogether. In the decades since this game, the Dolphins have only visited the playoffs four times.
  • The 2007 season is another painful year for them. As their divisional rivals, the New England Patriots, attained the first perfect regular season since the 1972 Dolphins (and the first in the 16-game schedule), they nearly had the first 0-16 season a year before the Detroit Lions, with their only win being against the Baltimore Ravens in overtime. On the plus side, the Patriots wouldn't seal the deal for another perfect season by losing the Super Bowl, and the next year, the Dolphins finished 11-5, beating out the Patriots as the division winner, and making the greatest single-season turnaround for an NFL team, although this is because they, along with the AFC East, played the two worst divisions in NFL history, the AFC West and NFC West, as well as the Matt Cassel-led Patriots and Brett Favre-led Jets, who were leading the division at 8-3 until Favre got hurt, and the Dolphins were reliant on the Wildcat offense, which caught many teams off guard initially. The following season, the Dolphins played a much harder schedule (AFC South and NFC South), and combined with QB Chad Pennington getting hurt again, and teams successfully defending against the Wildcat, they dropped back to a mediocre 7-9.
  • Richie Incognito, a journeyman offensive lineman playing for Miami at the time, will forever be associated with 2013's Bullygate, where he, along with Mike Pouncey and John Jerry, made racial and threatening messages and remarks to Jonathan Martin, in a misguided attempt to toughen him up, after being asked by the coaching staff to do so. And Martin, who initially responded in kind and made public his explicit drug use during the season, is forever known for quitting on the team and being a wimp.
  • The Dolphins have developed a bit of a reputation as a team that gets destroyed by the Ravens. Particularly in the late 2010s where the last 3 match-ups between the two teams have been complete thrashings at 38-6, 40-0, and 59-10. The last of which was so bad that it caused several Dolphin players to want to be traded off the team despite it being just the 2019 season opener. If you ask a Dolphins fan why the Ravens seem to be kicking their asses so badly, they will probably tell ya that it's karma for the Dolphins managing to get their only victory during their dreadful 2007 season against the Ravens. That this is the Ravens taking out their anger for the loss on them. It gets worse when you consider that the Dolphins are only 1-8 overall against the Ravens following the 2007 season.

    Minnesota Vikings 
  • Until the Bills lost four consecutive Super Bowls, the Vikings had their own Never Live It Down reputation as perennial Super Bowl losers - losing in all four of their appearances, the last of which was Super Bowl XI in 1976, in an eight-year span.
  • Jim Marshall was a two-time NFL Pro Bowler, a member of the legendary Vikings' "Purple People Eaters" defense, unofficially recorded 127 sacks, holds the record for consecutive games played (282) and started (270) for defensive players and who recovered more fumbles than anyone in history. But he's forever remembered as "the guy who ran the wrong way" - on October 25, 1964, he recovered a fumble and ran it 66 yards into the Vikings' own end zone, scoring a safety for the San Francisco 49ers (the Vikings still won the game, largely because Marshall forced another fumble later). There's a reason he's called "Wrong Way" Marshall.note 
  • Herschel Walker is considered one of the greatest college players of all time. He was one of the marquee names of the USFL's brief existence (rushing for an unofficial professional record 2,411 yards in 1985) and was an All-Pro in both of his first two NFL seasons. Then came the infamous 1989 trade that sent Walker from the Dallas Cowboys to the Minnesota Vikings. The Vikings paid an unprecedented price for Walker; including three first-round draft picks, two second-round picks, and five players. The Cowboys turned those picks (one of whom was Emmitt Smith, who would become the NFL's all-time leading rusher) into a foundation for winning three Super Bowl championships in the next six seasons. The Vikings, in turned, floundered. They inexplicably tried to turn Walker into a straight-ahead power runner (whereas Walker had previously used his Olympic-class speed to get to the outside and take on much smaller defenders). Walker was a flop as a Viking and was traded to Philadelphia after only two-and-a-half seasons (where his total rushing stats didn't match his last full season in Dallas). "Herschel Walker Trade" has become code in the sports world for "incredibly lopsided trade". Walker, for his part, went on to become a respected all-purpose player for both the Eagles and New York Giants before finishing as a Cowboy again and currently ranks eighth in the NFL's all-time all-purpose yards list.
  • Most Vikings fans will tell you that their team has somehow been cursed to forever get screwed over by their kickers due to the following examples:
    1. The 1998 Vikings were the third team in NFL history to win at least 15 games in a single season (after the 1984 San Francisco 49ers and the 1985 Chicago Bears), and kicker Gary Anderson had his best year in 1998, being perfect on every extra point and field goal attempt. All that gets overlooked because of what happened in the 1998-99 NFC Championship Game against the Atlanta Falcons, when his 39-yard field goal attempt before the two-minute warning sailed wide left, sending the game into overtime (which they lost). This FG attempt was his only miss that season. This loss made them the first 15+ win team to not get to the Super Bowl, let alone win it.
    2. Blair Walsh will always have the 27-yard field goal miss to win the 2015 Wild Card game against the Seahawks hanging over his head. The Seahawks went on to win 10-9. Unable to shake off that field goal, Walsh continued to struggle in 2016 until the Vikings cut him mid season. note 
    3. During the 2018 offseason, the Vikings decided to spend as high as a 5th round draft pick on a kicker named Daniel Carlson in the hopes that he would finally solve the team's kicking issues. That however came crashing down in just the 2nd game of the season against the Packers where Carlson missed three field goal attempts, two of them in overtime, which resulted in the game ending in a tie. Due to the disaster against the Packers, the Vikings waived him from the team shortly after. The result is the Vikings being mocked as a team that used a 5th round pick for a kicker that they ended up ditching almost immediately. By the end of the season, the Vikings had just barely missed out on the playoffs and would have made it in had Carlson just made one of these field goals so that their tie was a win instead. To pour extra salt into their wounds, Carlson ended up getting picked up by the Raiders and proceeded to make 94% of his 2018 field goal attempts, setting a new Raider kicking record in the process. Many Vikings fans now feel like the team gave up on Carlson too early.
    4. Similar to the previous example, the Vikings decided to spend yet another 5th round draft pick during the 2019 preseason by trading with the Ravens for Kaare Vedvik; a kicker behind Justin Tucker that the Ravens were showing off during their preseason games for potential trade offers. Vedvik ended up being incredibly underwhelming for the Vikings by missing several kicks during the remainder of preseason. Thus, resulting in him being cut before the start of the season. Of course, this led to the Vikings being mocked for, yet again, wasting a 5th round pick on a kicker that was barely with the team.
  • Their 2003 season is one that many Vikings fans have miserable memories with. Despite getting off to a great 6-0 start that made the playoffs look like a Foregone Conclusion, things went rapidly downhill as they lost 6 of 9, with their last hope at the playoffs to beat the 3-12 Arizona Cardinals. And as they led by 11 at the climax of the game, the Cardinals scored a touchdown with less than two minutes left. They kept the drive going, and with no time left, Josh McCown escaped the Vikings and threw a pass that scored a touchdown and put the Cardinals ahead by exactly one point, literally knocking the Vikings out of the playoffs on the final play of the final week. They were crying on the field after that, and it's safe to say their fans watching on TV were, too. And the name Nate Poole - the one who caught that touchdown pass - will forever live in infamy to them.
  • Quarterback Brett Favre's two year stint with the Vikings is defined primarily by his mistake in the 2009 NFC Championship game against the Saints where he ended up throwing a last-minute interception to Tracy Porter. At the point of the interception, the score was tied 28-28, and the Vikings were only a couple yards out of field-goal range to attempt the game-winning kick. Following the interception, the Vikings ended up losing in overtime, and the Saints moved on to eventually becoming the champions of Super Bowl XLIV.
    • Favre's second season was even worse: while the 2009 Vikings lost their shot at the Super Bowl with that gaffe, the 2010 Vikings never had one to begin with, finishing 6-10 and falling well short of the playoffs, and Favre himself ended up calling it quits two games early after getting knocked out in Week 15note . To add insult to injury, this was the year that the Packers, led by Favre's former backup Aaron Rodgers, won the Super Bowl.
  • In addition to the 2003 season above, their 2016 season started 5-0, but they proceeded to lose eight of their next ten games, making them the only team in NFL history to start at least 5-0 more than once and miss the playoffs both times.
  • The 2005 season is something Minnesota fans would love to forget altogether. The season was plagued by the infamous "Love Boat Scandal" that seen 17 members of the team partaking in an orgy of sexual acts with prostitutes from all across America. This incident also led to the head coach, Mike Tice, being let go at season's end.

    New England (Boston) Patriots 
  • Dolphins fans, and especially Dolphins Head Coach, Don Shula, will perhaps never forgive the Patriots for what they pulled during the 1982 "Snowplow Game." The conditions of the Foxborough field were horrible due to a previous snowstorm that froze the field over. The result was a messy game that stayed 0-0 all the way until the final minutes. When it was time to attempt a field goal late in the 4th quarter, Patriots Head Coach, Ron Meyer, choose to do the unthinkable where he orders his snowplow operator, Mark Henderson, to go out onto the field to remove the snow at the spot where they're going to kick. The plan was a success as it allowed the Patriots to score the field goal, and win 3-0. After many complaints were heard, the use of snowplows to remove snow during the game was deemed an unfair act, and was banned the following year.
  • Drafting Tony Eason in the same 1983 Draft where Dan Marino fell late in the 1st round to division rival Miami, after failed attempts to trade up for Jim Kelly (taken one spot earlier by division rival Buffalo) and a failed attempt at a draft day trade for John Elway (taken No. 1 by Baltimore, ultimately secured by Denver). All four QBs would ultimately lead their respective teams to the Super Bowl in the Eighties and early Nineties, and fall victim to ass-beatings from dominant NFC teams, but whereas the other three were bona fide Hall of Famers in spite of that, Eason was a mediocre signal caller derided as a weakling by his own team, who preferred longtime skipper Steve Grogan.
  • The Patriots of 1990 was involved in a sexual harassment case when several players sexually harassed Boston Herald reporter Lisa Olson and walked around naked near her. The incident resulted in the players and the team being fined and only dug themselves deeper when then-owner Victor Kiam referred to Olson as a "classic bitch". While he would apologize for that comment, it did nothing to help the Pats as they only won one game that year, this worst record in Patriots history. Note  A couple of notable "highlights" include playing the Redskins on national TV and being down 9-0 before the 'Skins ran a single offensive play and the final game of the season, which was at home, but it might as well have been a road game as mostly Giants fans were in attendance, a fitting sign of how much of a dark cloud this scandal left over the franchise.
  • Drew Bledsoe was the first great quarterback of the Patriots and the man who saved the franchise, went to four Pro Bowls, is in the top 10 all time for passing yardage, led the Patriots to the Super Bowl in 1996 (they lost 21-35 to the Brett Favre-led Green Bay Packers), and is considered one of the greatest quarterbacks of his time, but to the casual fan, he's only known as "the guy who got injured so Tom Brady could take over"... and later "the guy who got benched so Tony Romo could take over".
  • The Patriots are never going to live down their 2001 AFC Divisional playoff match-up against the Raiders due to it being known as the "Tuck Rule Game" where Tom Brady's fumble near the end of the game ended up not counting as one because he tucked it. As a result, the Patriots retained possession of the ball, and went on to kick the game-winning field-goal. Even to this day, cries of Raiders fans feeling like they got ripped off have been abundant, and was made loud-and-clear when the NFL decided to finally get rid of the Tuck Rule in 2013note .
  • As a result of the 2007 Spygate scandalnote , some football fans will always accuse the New England Patriots of being cheaters, leading to them being called "The Cheatriots", and referring to Patriots coach Bill Belichick as "Bill Beli-cheat", despite him apologizing for the scandal. They even went as far as to question whether their Super Bowl wins are tainted because of that. The ironic thing about Spygate is that Super Bowl-winning coaches Jimmy Johnson, Bill Cowher, Mike Shanahan, and Dick Vermeil stated that it was common practice back then for teams to film their opponents' signals, and they've admitted to doing this.
  • The year "Spygate" broke, the Patriots went undefeated in the regular season and the playoffs... but lost in the Super Bowlnote . Then the next time they made it to the big game, they lost again, to the very same team that upset them in 2008 (the New York Giants). Even though they've won three Super Bowls since, many, especially Giants fans, love to remind Patriots fans that as great as the team is, they've never been able to beat the Giants in the big game.
  • Since coming back from his knee surgery in 2009, Brady has been perceived as being favored and protected by the referees (and having his toughness called into question) after Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs swiped at Brady's knee, causing Brady to call for, and getting, a flag against the Ravens, extending the Patriots' drive. This is despite Brady getting one of the fewest roughing-the-passer calls (from the 2010 season through the first few weeks of the 2011 season), alongside both Peyton and Eli Manning, Joe Flacco, and Tony Romo. Not helping matters is how the detractors would blame Brady for "pussifying" the NFL by having a rule named after him ("The Tom Brady Rule"), which prohibits defenders on the ground from lunging or diving at the QBs knees or lower legs. Said rule was a clarification to a 2006 rule prohibiting low hits on QBs unless if it's coming off a block ("The Carson Palmer Rule").
    Tom Brady, if you're listening, take off the skirt and put on some slacks. Toughen up! — Rodney Harrison, NBC Sports commentator and Brady's former teammate
  • Just when it seemed like the Patriots finally overcame the "cheater" label by winning their fourth Super Bowl, Deflategate happened. The Patriots were accused of deflating 11 out of 12 balls during the first half of the AFC Championship game against the Colts for the 2014 season. At first, the issue was mostly laughed at, because the Patriots dominated the Colts mostly during the second half, when the deflated balls were replaced with the proper ones. However, in April 2015, the NFL investigation concluded that the Patriots "more than probably not" cheated intentionally and that the Tom Brady was likely "generally aware" of it. This was mainly because of allegedly suspicious text messages between him and locker room attendants whom the league claimed deflated the balls and his alleged refusal to cooperate with the investigation itself. The Patriots along with Tom Brady were once again punished with Brady being suspended for four games, and the NFL was subsequently dragged into court. It was a very slow process, as the four-game suspension on Brady managed to take over an entire NFL season and multiple court hearings before it finally stuck. Despite Brady ultimately accepting the suspensionnote , Roger Goodell has already been convicted in the court of public opinion for his part in the ugliest one-sided dispute between an official and a player since Campbell vs. Richard six decades earlier, and his handling of the case isn't doing him any favors in the Ezekiel Elliott domestic violence case the next year.
    • The irony (again) is that back in the 2006 season, Peyton Manning and Brady lobbied to have more control over the game balls, and that Aaron Rodgers and Eli Manning, among others, have similar preparations to their footballs done. Also, in a 2014 game between the Panthers and Vikings, both teams were caught on camera warming up their footballs with on-field heaters, and were warned by the NFL not to do this anymore.
    • Essentially, when the Patriots are doing something perceived as questionable, their actions are treated as Felony Misdemeanors by the general public, despite that they aren't the only team who would bend (if not outright break) the rules to gain an advantage.
    • What makes Deflategate worse in hindsight is, according to an ESPN article in September 2015, it was seen by some owners as Goodell's apology for mishandling some of the recent scandals, including Ray Rice, Adrian Peterson, and Spygate; in the latter case, it was perceived as "going too light", despite the fact that at the time, it was one of the harshest penaltiesnote , until it was surpassed by the Bountygate penalties (see New Orleans).
  • No matter how good of a player he was, Aaron Hernandez will always be remembered as the guy who was charged with three murders and convicted of one. Apparently, he literally couldn't live it down — while serving a life-without-parole sentence for the conviction, he killed himself in his cell. Even the posthumous revelation that Hernandez had had an extremely severe case of CTE (the worst ever documented in anyone under 40) — a condition which is known to cause problems with emotional and impulse control — at the time hasn't done much to mitigate this stain on his legacy.
  • Despite passing for over 500 yards in Super Bowl LII, Tom Brady is most remembered in that game for a trick play that he failed to convert when he dropped a pass thrown to him. The sting is made worse when the Philadelphia Eagles tried a similar play, but successfully converted for a touchdown when quarterback Nick Foles caught a pass in the end zone.
    • Similarly, despite all of those record numbers put up (and having a vocal faction of NFL fans who believe him to be the greatest quarterback ever), Brady is also constantly teased for losing the Super Bowl to a backup quarterback (Foles having come on for Carson Wentz after Wentz' injury in the Divisional game).
    • In that same Super Bowl, head coach Bill Belichick will be forever known for a very questionable decision where he benched one of the Patriots' star defensive players, Malcolm Butler, this coming after Butler had played throughout the 2017 regular season and playoffs as a starter for about 98% of the snaps. Belichick was also criticized for telling Butler that he wouldn't be playing during the singing of the National Anthem, which was just ten minutes before the game started, after Butler had suited up with the full intention of playing. The decision brought a lot of backlash and criticism towards Belichick following the game with many people claiming that what he did to Butler was "cruel" given that it's an NFL player's dream to finally get a chance to play in the Super Bowl, and become a champion. To this day, Belichick refuses to explain why he benched Butler, leading to all kinds of theories about Butler's behavior or some sort of agenda on Belichick's part, none of which have been proven.
  • Rob Gronkowski will go down as one of the best TEs to every play the game. Unfortunately, he will also be known for one of the dirtiest hits ever seen in the game when he decides to hit and injure the Bills' Tre'Davious White long after the play was over.
  • The 2019 Wild Card game against the Tennessee Titans will live in infamy. It was Tom Brady's final game as a Patriot, and his final pass was a pick-six, caught and hauled in by Logan Ryan, an ex-Patriot. The Titans were coached by ex-Patriot Mike Vrabel. The only reason the Patriots had to play that game was because of a shock week 17 loss against the Miami Dolphins, coached by ex-Patriot DB coach Brian Flores. What killed the Patriots dynasty in the end were former Patriots.

    New Orleans Saints 
  • For decades, the Saints were one of the worst teams in the league, not recording a winning season for two decades and not winning a playoff game for more than another afterwards. During this time, the Saints were known as the "Ain'ts" for very good reason.note  The team was so terrible that they ruined the promising career of their own star player, quarterback Archie Manning, who is more known for being the father of Peyton and Eli Manning among the younger generation largely because the Saints essentially held him hostage, keeping him from leaving for another team until late in his career and keeping him from ever having a winning season despite leading the league in several passing statistics early in his career. Archie's time in pro football becoming a big case of What Could Have Been.
  • Jim Mora's infamous press conference rants. ("Coulda Woulda Shoulda", "You Will Never Know", "Diddly Poo", and "Playoffs?!")
  • The Ricky Williams trade: For the 1999 season, coach Mike Ditka (who had coached the 1985 Super Bowl winning Chicago Bears) traded all of their draft picks for that year, plus their 2000 first round draft pick, to the Washington Redskins to draft running back Ricky Williams in the first round. Williams was plagued with injuries during the regular season games, and after posting a losing record, Ditka was fired from the Saints after the season ended. Related to that is their appearance on the cover of the August 9, 1999 issue of ESPN The Magazine, which shows Williams and Ditka as the bride and the groom, respectively. The Williams trade is as much, if not more, of a NLID moment for Ditka than for the Saints. For many - especially Saints fans - it eclipses Ditka's Hall of Fame playing career and his stint as the coach of the "Super Bowl Shuffle" 1985 Chicago Bears.
  • Aaron Brooks, the guy who once defeated the defending Super Bowl champion St. Louis Rams twice in one season, the second of which was the Saints' first ever playoff win, for a brief time held most of the Saints all-time passing records and was the QB responsible for the River City Relay, throwing a key block that allowed the touchdown. It is unfortunate then, that the only play of his that is really remembered is that time he threw a backwards pass to avoid a sack. The reason for its infamy was that a glitch in Madden NFL caused the quarterback to throw the ball backwards, resulting in a fumble and live ball, happened just a year later, causing it to be known as the Aaron Brooks glitch.
  • The River City Relay, a last second Hail Mary against the 2003 Jaguars that featured three successful laterals on the way to a touchdown, is the only one of its kind in NFL history. However, John Carney, one of the best kickers in NFL history, will never live down missing the extra point that would have tied the game and sent it into overtime. While the Saints would have been eliminated from playoff contention anyway that day after a Dallas Cowboys win, the missed PAT stands out representation of the Saints' reputation as the league's Butt-Monkey in the pre-Brees era.
  • The Saints defense as a whole will never live down the moment in the 2010 NFC Wild Card when up to six defenders failed to bring down Running Back Marshawn Lynch on his 67-yard touchdown run, which cemented Lynch's status as "Beast Mode". For added Never Live It Down, Saints defender, Tracy Porter, is usually remembered as the guy that Lynch stiff-armed to the ground midway through this touchdown run.note 
  • "Bountygate"): In the offseason of 2012, it was revealed that the Saints defense and coaches were operating under a "pay-for-performance" scheme, established by former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams and funded primarily by the players. This scheme includes paying the defensive players extra for getting players carted off the field with injuries, which put them in a world of trouble with the commissioner because the practice circumvented the salary cap and caused them to earn the reputation for being cheap shot artists. Many angry Arizona fans point to this as the cause for Kurt Warner's retirement. The scandal got worse when it was found out that head coach Sean Payton and general manager Mickey Loomis knew about this and did nothing to stop it and that Gregg Williams was found to have been practicing this system when he was on other teams, most importantly as the defensive coordinator of the Redskins at the time when Peyton Manning received what would be the start of his career-threatening problems with neck injuries.
  • Even the stadium has a Never Live It Down moment. The Mercedes-Benz Superdome's power went out during Super Bowl XLVII between the Ravens and the 49ers, causing the game to be delayed for over half an hour. It's often jacked on by many fans and viewers.
  • For many Saints fans, the Sean Payton / Drew Brees combo (2006-2020) was the high point of the entire franchise's history, as the team finally shed their label of being one of the NFL's worst franchises and fielded a respectable high-power offensive team that made the playoffs a majority of the time. As the years went on however, fans began to mock the Saints of this era as underperformers due to the amount of times they came up short, only winning the 2009 Super Bowl and never even making it back to playing within another. At first, most just blamed it on their defense as many of the early Drew Brees years was him trying to carry one of the worst defenses in the league year after year, which constantly led them to losing shootouts despite Brees putting up record-breaking passing numbers. However, their losses started to get really ridiculous in the late 2010s, because despite finally balancing their team, they still somehow found ways to choke in the playoffs. Their 4 playoff losses from 2017 to 2020 were so insane that it's basically become a meme to poke fun at the Saints for being the ultimate choke artists. Just for added details of these later years:
    1. 2017's Saints/Vikings Divisional playoff game gave us the "Minneapolis Miracle." Marcus Williams will be forever known for completely botching his tackle on wide receiver Stefon Diggs in the final seconds. As Diggs leapt to make the catch, Williams launched himself at Diggs too low, sliding under Diggs and bumping into his own teammate, Ken Crawley. Diggs managed to stay off the ground despite Williams slightly making contact, and with no other Saints player left in his way, Diggs was free to run to the end zone for the game-winning 61-yard touchdown.
    2. 2018's Saints/Rams NFC Championship playoff game gave us the most obvious defensive pass-interference play that the refs somehow completely missed. Rams cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman slammed into Saints wide receiver Tommylee Lewis long before the ball actually got to him, resulting in the drive stalling instead of the Saints being allowed to get the first down, drain out the remainder of the clock, and kick the game-winning field goal as time expires. Instead, the Saints had to settle for the field goal earlier than they wanted, giving the Rams enough time to go downfield, kick the game-tying field goal to send it to overtime, and eventually beat the Saints on a game-winning field goal. In the end, almost everyone, even non-Saints fans, believed that the Saints got screwed over, with some conspiring the game was rigged to help the NFL to energize a rather muted LA fanbase. The backlash to the non-call on the pass-interference play was so loud that it prompted the NFL to make a new rule to allow teams to challenge pass-interference calls that they believed to be wrong. However, the rule only lasted for the 2019 season due to referees refusing to overturn the vast majority of the pass-interference calls that were challenged, leaving many fans believing that the rule was only made to quickly shut up the backlash with no intent on following through.
    3. 2019's Saints/Vikings Wild Card playoff game resulted in another brutal playoff exit due to the belief that the refs screwed the Saints over again. The score remained tied going into overtime, where the Vikings put together a drive deep into Saints territory that capped off with a game-winning touchdown pass to Vikings tight end, Kyle Rudolph. However, Rudolph extended his arm to push away Saints defensive back P.J. Williams moments before the catch, a seemingly clear example of offensive pass-interference that wasn't called on Rudolph.

    New York Giants 
  • The New York Giants will never live down the Miracle at the Meadowlands. On the last play of a November 1978 game, the Giants had the ball, there were thirty seconds left on the clock, and the Giants were leading 17-13. All they needed to do to win was take a knee, but instead they ran a hand off. The exchange was fumbled, and Eagles cornerback Herm Edwards picked up the ball and returned it for a game-winning touchdown for the Eagles, 19-17. Offensive coordinator Bob Gibson was fired the day after the game and never worked at any level of football ever again thanks to the stigma of being associated with this play. So great was Gibson's personal shame over the call that he refused to ever speak about it to anyone; in a 2008 phone call to ESPN, Gibson said "I haven't talked about the game for thirty years, and I'm not about to start now".
    • The Miracle at the Meadowlands even created a shift in thinking across the NFL. Before, kneeling to run out the clock to win the game was seen as, while not unacceptable, at least partly cowardly by refusing to give the other team a chance. The fact that the Giants lost a game by refusing to kneel down saw teams adopting kneeling as the way to end a game when they had the lead, as it began to show up much more often as early as the week after the miracle game.
    • This is also an example of a good moment never being lived down; Herm Edwards says that this is basically all anyone remembers about his time as a player, which he's perfectly fine with because it was such an unbelievable play (though see his Jets Never Live It Down moment for his defining moment as a coach).
  • Even though Lawrence Taylor is in contention for the title of greatest defensive player of all time, the younger generation of fans only know him as a drug-addled ex-football player who likes underage prostitutes. If they do mention Taylor football career, it'll be that sack against Joe Theismann that ended the latter's career. (In fairness to Taylor, the reason for that sack's infamy is simply because of how horrific the injury was; Taylor himself was visibly distraught as soon as it happened.)
  • Tiki Barber, former running back and current radio personality, was one of the New York football Giants top running backs of all time. He amassed over 10,000 rushing yards in his career with the G-Men. However, he's best known by Giants fans for infamously retiring after the 2006 season to enter a media job, where he publicly criticized the Giants' coach and QB, only for the team to win their first Super Bowl since 1990 the following season without him. A few years later, Barber lost many of his media jobs after a public divorce with his pregnant wife following an affair with a young NBC intern. When he was honored at the Giants Ring of Honor just a few months later, he was booed by the very Giants fans who once respected and cheered for him, at least in part because he brought said girlfriend to the ceremony.
  • Plaxico Burress caught the game-winning touchdown pass in Super Bowl XLII. However, he's better known for shooting himself in the leg by tucking a gun into his pants and spending a year in jail for it.note 
  • The Miracle at the New Meadowlands: The Giants led the Eagles 31-10 in the fourth quarter of a 2010 game, but the Eagles scored 21 unanswered points to tie. The Giants got the ball back but were forced to punt after going three and out. DeSean Jackson returned the ball all the way to the Giants' end zone as time expired for the game-winning touchdown. Likewise, Giants punter Matt Dodge will never live down the decision to punt the ball in play rather than kicking it out of bounds, which would have forced overtime, and for completely whiffing on an attempted tackle of Jackson.
  • Quarterback Eli Manning's career is summed up in two ways. On one hand, he's a 2-time MVP Super Bowl Champion. On the other hand, he has come up short in every other season by either missing the playoffs or getting ousted in the first round. The same criticism can be applied to Head Coach Tom Coughlin, who was forced to step down as the coach following the 2015 season due to the fact that he had missed the playoffs 6 of the past 7 years, the one year they made it within that time-frame being when they won the 2011 Super Bowl.
    • Manning is also well known for the events of the 2004 NFL Draft. The Chargers held the first overall pick and Manning was the most coveted player in the draft. However, Manning and his family did not want him to play for the organization due to their mishandling of Ryan Leaf's personal issues in the late 90s and their poor development of then starting quarterback Drew Brees. The Chargers drafted him anyway, but they were able to work out a trade with the Giants whereby the Giants would draft and then trade future Pro Bowler Philip Rivers and several draft picks to the Chargers for Manning. While the trade worked out for both sides, many believe that Manning was being entitled and should have accepted where he was drafted.
  • Odell Beckham Jr. made waves during his rookie year where he made a touchdown catch while diving backwards with full extension of his right hand using only three fingers. Since then, he has become well-known for three not so great things.
    1. Throwing a temper tantrum on the sideline during a game against the Redskins where he punched the kicking net and then got hit in the face by the net's momentum as he was walking away. However, he proved some sense of humor in later games "reconciling" with the kicking net and even making it a "marriage proposal" as touchdown celebrations. Reactions were mixed, though you can't deny the man is able to have a laugh at his and/or the media's expense.
    2. His confrontation with Josh Norman where they were flagged for four personal foul penalties during the 2015 regular season game between the Giants and Panthers. The fight between Beckham and Norman was what prompted the NFL to create a new rule by automatically ejecting anyone from the game who commits two Unsportsmanlike Conduct penalties.
    3. After their last regular-season game and the playoffs looming, he took a trip down to Miami with the other Giants receivers and posted a picture of them shirtless on a boat (and allegedly did illegal drugs). During the following playoff game against the Packers, he only caught four passes for 28 yards and had several key drops, including a potential touchdown, which contributed to a 31-13 blowout loss. When it was over, he punched a hole in the locker room wall in frustration and was ripped to shreds by the New York media.
  • It really is an incredible story that defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul is still able to play the game at such a high level, because everyone will remember him as the guy that blew off part of his right hand in a fireworks accident.
  • Ben McAdoo's two year tenure as the Giants head coach (2016-17) will always be remembered for the controversial move where he benched Eli Manning for Geno Smith to be the starting QB in their week 13 match-up against the Raiders. Thus, forcing Eli's starting QB streak to end at 210 games. A lot of NFL fans and players criticized McAdoo for the move with claims that Eli was nowhere close to being done, and that he had a legitimate shot at reaching Brett Favre's record of 297 games. For many, the streak coming to an end from a simple benching was poor taste.
  • It will be a long time, if ever, before quarterback Daniel Jones will be able to live down the moment in the Giants' 2020 Week 7 game against the Philadelphia Eagles when he capped off an 80-yard run by... tripping and falling on his face inside the Eagles' 20. The Giants got a touchdown on that drive anyway, but Jones was nonetheless soundly mocked for spectacularly evading the Eagles' defenders only to be brought down by the "turf monster".

    New York Jets (Titans) 
  • Joe Namath was one of America's first rock star athletes, best known for his guarantee of victory for his underdog New York Jets over the heavily favored Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl III. Now most people, especially younger fans, think of him first and foremost for drunkenly hitting on ESPN's Suzy Kolber during a Monday Night game.note  It doesn't help that the incident provided the name for one of the most popular sports humor blogs around: Kissing Suzy Kolber. Namath himself considers the incident an Old Shame, apologized to Kolber on more than one occasion and has been sober ever since.
    • In his own era, Namath was lambasted for wearing a mink coat on the sidelines.
    • Well, that and the pantyhose. He shaved his legs and wore pantyhose under his game pants in cold weather to keep his legs warm. Word got to the makers of Beautymist hose and they asked him to shill for them. The rest, as they say, is history.
    • Namath's guarantee of victory is an unusual good moment to never be lived down. Although Namath played very well (he completed 17 of 28 passes, threw for 206 yards and registered an 83.3 passer rating, which is generally considered good—especially in an era where passing in general wasn't that good—and managed the game very well) and deserved the MVP, he wasn't spectacular in the game (the Jets won 16-7 mostly because of exceptional defense), nor in his career. However, because he made headlines for his statement, and because the game was a huge upset by a team from a supposedly inferior league, he's usually thought of as an elite pro passer (this isn't entirely wrong—he became the first quarterback in football history to throw for at least 4,000 yards).
    • Namath also ended up on Richard Nixon's "enemies list", for reasons known only to Nixon and his cronies.
  • Defensive tackle Marty Lyons' career is remembered above all else for Lyons being the subject of referee Ben Dreith's famous "giving him the business" penalty call. Decades later, Lyons told a reporter that he gets asked about that call virtually every time he makes a public appearance, saying, "I wish I had a dollar for every time somebody asked me about giving him the business."
  • In 1994, after a rough last few seasons, the Jets were looking to reverse their fortunes with new head coach Pete Carroll. Heading into week 13, the Jets were 6-5, in midst of the playoff hunt as they faced the Dan Marino-led Miami Dolphins. If they won, they would have been tied for first in the AFC East and looked to be in good shape leading by double digits late in the game. But close to the end zone with little time left, Marino executed "The Clock Play", in which he tossed the game-winning touchdown after faking a spike to kill the clock. This shocking loss would psychologically crush the Jets; they would lose the last four games of the season to finish in last place in the AFC East, and Carroll was fired. The Jets' fortunes wouldn't improve, as they only won four games total in the next two seasons.
  • The Jets have a blunderous history with their drafts, which is always brought up before and during Draft Day, which was hosted for years in the Jets' home turf. Some examples include them passing up Dan Marino for Ken O'Brien, Jerry Rice for Al Toon, Emmitt Smith for Blair Thomas, and Warren Sapp for tight end Kyle Brady (despite the Jets fans loudly chanting "WE WANT SAPP!").
    So New York, New York becomes Tight End, Tight End. — Chris Berman, during the 1992 NFL Draft, after the Giants and Jets drafted tight ends in the first round.
    • Then there's Vernon Gholston, the Jets' 2008 first-rounder. Drafted as a pass rusher, Gholston never even recorded a sack in his three-year career, during which 600 other players recorded at least one.
  • Former New York Jets linebacker Mo Lewis is known as that guy who injured Drew Bledsoe and indirectly started the Patriots' 2000s dynasty, led by an unknown, sixth-round draft pick backup QB named Tom Brady.
  • Former safety Damien Robinson is best known for this play, where he tries to injure Saints QB Aaron Brooks, only to be at the receiving end of one very PO'ed Kyle Turley.
  • Coach Herman Edwards' ("Hello! You play... to win... the game!") rant.note 
  • Jets coach Sal Alosi will never live down tripping a Dolphins player by sticking his knee out into the field of the play from the sideline. He was immediately suspended and later resigned for the incident and hasn't worked in the NFL since.
  • It may take quite a few years (unless they pull off their promise soon) for Jets detractors to let them and their fans forget about the 2011 season, in which almost everything went wrong for them. After two good seasons in 2009 and 2010, the Jets enter 2011 and head coach Rex Ryan guarantees a Super Bowl win that season. So at 8-5 with three games to play, the Jets go on to... get destroyed by the Eagles (who they've never beaten in the regular season), get beaten badly by cross-town rivals New York Giants in a comeback that started with a touchdown play that ties for the longest in NFL history (this game happened on Christmas Eve no less), and then losing a very winnable game to the division rival Miami Dolphins, finishing 8-8 and missing the playoffs entirely. The Giants, who were average before beating the Jets, then went on to win the title the Jets promised to win that season, this win coming over the Jets' probably most hated rival, the New England Patriots, so even two full weeks before the Super Bowl, every non-masochistic Jets fan knew that this would suck either way. This chain of events claimed the innocent lives of many televisions belonging to Jets fans.
  • The 2012 New York Jets gained a reputation for being "a circus", which Rex Ryan has denied at the start of the season, and said that this year's team would be the best team he's ever coached. Here's what actually happened to them this season:
    1. Traded for Broncos QB Tim Tebow, starting a QB controversy between Mark Sanchez and Tebow, then virtually sitting on Tebow for the entire season (he saw the field for fewer than thirty snaps for the entire season, the majority of which were on special teams). This was after Sanchez renewed his contract with the Jets, despite his disappointing performances the previous season. This also caused newly-signed backup QB Drew Stanton to demand a trade, as he was promised that the Jets would not sign another quarterback after him. (The Jets traded for Tebow less than an month after signing Stanton.) Sanchez's signing took place after the Jets considered signing free agent Peyton Manning, following his release from the Colts.
    2. A 20-man brawl occurred during training camp, which was started by Jets players Joe McKnight and D'Anton Lynn.
    3. Lost Darrelle Revis (their best defensive player) and Santonio Holmes (their best offensive player) to season-ending injuries in two consecutive weeks.
    4. Getting humiliated 49-19 on Thanksgiving Night against the Patriots, in which their rivals scored 21 points in 52 seconds during the 2nd quarter, with one of the lowlights being Sanchez, trying to salvage a play, slid into Jets lineman Brandon Moore's butt, causing him to fumble the ball, which was recovered by Patriots safety Steve Gregory, who returned it for a touchdown. This play has since been dubbed "The Butt Fumble". ESPN's popular Not Top Plays had that particular play as the Worst of the Worst until it finally retired the play at the start of the 2013 seasonnote . By that time, the Butt Fumble had "won" for 40 straight weeks. Talk about changing the rules, as prior to that, Worst of the Worst plays lasted a maximum of 9 weeks. What makes it even worse is that the Butt Fumble was partially a good play by the Patriots' defense, since lineman Vince Wilfork contributed to the collision by shoving Moore into Sanchez's way, but that part is often forgotten, which makes it seem like an even worse gaffe by Sanchez than it actually was.
    5. During the Jets' loss to the Patriots, Jets superfan Fireman Ed left the game at halftime, and the next day, he announced his retirement as "Fireman Ed", but would still attend Jets games.
    6. Bypassing the still-popular Tebow twice when it came to QB switches: going to third-string Greg McElroy when they finally decided to bench Sanchez, then going back to Sanchez when McElroy got knocked out with a rib injury. At the point of the second switch, the Jets had been eliminated from playoff contention, so there was little reason not to give the fans what they wanted in Tebow (the only thing they wanted at that point, really). Ryan later claimed that Tebow's poor practice performances put Tebow in his doghouse from the start, which only served to suggest that no one in the Jets organization did any research on Tebow past SportsCenter highlights, since Tebow's horrible practice play was one of the most well-known things about him.
    7. Not holding the supposedly mandatory end-of-season media day, which also led to yet another firestorm of controversy.
    8. Owner Woody Johnson trying to pass the buck on the Tebow fiasco by claiming he was forced into trading for Tebow. But he wouldn't say by who or how (who could force a team owner to sign a player he didn't want?) He may have meant "talked into" rather than "forced", but that still begs the question "By who?" Head coach Rex Ryan clearly didn't want him and GM Mike Tannenbaum was clearly on Mark Sanchez's side (as evidenced by the massive contract extension he gave Sanchez).
  • John Idzik was a veteran executive brought in by Jets as a GM in 2013 after he helped put together the Super Bowl winning Seahawks roster. The expectation was that he will use the 12 picks Jets had in the loaded 2014 Draft to reload the roster that was still just a few years removed from back to back AFC Championship losses. What proceeded became known as The Idzik 12, one of the worst executed drafts in NFL history. Not only did he refuse to trade up for Odell Beckham Jr. (which was a Rex Ryan suggestion), but of the 12 picks only 2 were on any NFL roster just 4 years later, with WR Quincy Enunwa the only one still a Jet. After the 2014 season, both Idzik and Ryan were fired (Idzik became cap consultant for the Jaguars, Ryan coached the Bills for 2 seasons before moving on to become a TV analyst) and the Jets haven't made the playoffs since.
  • Quarterback Geno Smith will probably never live down missing most of the 2015 season after a locker-room argument with teammate IK Enemkpali resulted in the latter punching Smith in the face and breaking his jaw. That his replacement Ryan Fitzpatrick proceeded to have the best season of his life and nearly guided the Jets to the playoffs only makes it worse.
  • The New York Jets are also well-known for losing to teams which have not won a game late in the season. Their losses which eventually prevented winless seasons included the 1980 New Orleans Saints, the 1991 Indianapolis Colts, and the 2019 Cincinnati Bengals.
    • 2019 deserves special mention, as it was a season where the Jets actually lost against two noteworthy winless teams. Along with the loss to the 0-11 Bengals, the Jets also lost to an 0-7 Dolphins team that was playing so badly up to this point that everyone was convinced Miami was tanking.
  • QB Sam Darnold quickly became a butt end of jokes after he made a passing comment while mic’d up during a Monday night game against the Patriots. On the sidelines, Darnold claimed he was “seeing ghosts”, a term used by players to describe an opposing team doing the opposite play than expected. However, as this was a term not well known to even casual football fans, it appeared as if Darnold was scared of the Patriot defense who had utterly dominated Darnold with four interceptions and beat the Jets 33-0. Not helping matters is the fact this game took place a few days before Halloween that year, so all kinds of jokes propped up as if Darnold was literally seeing ghosts. Other teams the Jets would face such as the Miami Dolphins would even play the Ghostbusters theme if Darnold was picked off. The commentators even took a jab at him during an unrelated incident at a Giants gamenote  in which a cat got onto the field, snarking that someone should summon the ghosts to get rid of the cat.
    Announcer: So we've gone from "seeing ghosts" to black cats on Monday Night Football at MetLife.
  • Defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, previously best known for his role in Bountygate (see New Orleans Saints), became nationally known again for a play call he made against the Las Vegas Raiders late in the 2020 season. With the Jets on the cusp of finally getting their first win of the season, the Raiders had the ball at midfield with 13 seconds left on the game clock, no timeouts remaining, and were down by four points. All the Jets needed to do was line the defenders deep and play prevent defense to keep Las Vegas out of the end zone. Instead, Williams made the bizarre call of blitzing eight defenders while leaving the three remaining secondary players to play one on one coverage with the Raiders wideouts. The result? QB Derek Carr managed to evade all of the blitzers and throw a strike to Henry Ruggs III after Ruggs beat rookie cornerback Lamar Jackson on a double move. Without any safeties providing backup, Ruggs walked into the end zone for the game winning touchdown. Williams was roundly criticized by just about everyone, including his own players, for making the play call, and he was fired by the Jets the very next day.

    Philadelphia Eagles 
  • Fans of the Eagles have had quite a few incidents that have forever labelled the entire city as complete scum and the American equivalent to soccer hooligans. Most notably pelting opposing teams and Santa Claus with snowballs, cheering career-ending injuries to opposing players, and, most significantly, having so many fans being arrested during games that they felt it necessary to have a courthouse under their previous stadium. Needless to say, most Philadelphians consider this label unfair.
  • Wendell Davis is best remembered for blowing out both his knees on the same play during a 1993 game at Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia (whose Astroturf was, by all accounts, as hard as concrete).
  • Mike Mamula became synonymous with the term "workout warrior" in context to the NFL Draft. Mamula was a defensive end from Boston College of middling draft stock in 1995. His dazzling display at that year's draft combine, where he set scored off the charts for his position at the measurable drills (such at the 40-yard dash and bench press), lifted him from a mid-round prospect to a first-round selection by Philadelphia. His five-year career was decent enough, but not up to first-round standards. But ever since, he's gained the reputation as the poster boy for players who act as living Shmuck Bait to teams so enamored by their physical prowess, they don't even question whether or not they can actually play. Even worse, the Buccaneers, who had traded first-round picks with the Eagles, drafted future hall of famer Warren Sapp with Philly's pick, then another hall of famer in Derrick Brooks.
  • Ricky Watters was one of the best running backs in the NFL during the 1990s with the San Francisco 49ers (winning a Super Bowl with them); Philadelphia Eagles, and Seattle Seahawks - rushing for just over 10,000 yards in his career. But usually the first thing folks know about him was his penchant of being a Motor Mouth, in particular his comments during a press conference following his first game as an Eagle in 1995. During that game, he decided not to stretch to make a catch that would have likely resulted in his getting blasted by a Tampa Bay Buccaneers defender, and during the press conference when it was brought up, answered with "For who? For what?"
  • A vast majority of Eagles fans will admit that they enjoyed the hell out of the Andy Reid / Donovan McNabb era of the franchise that lasted from 1999 to 2009 since the team was great enough to almost always remain in playoff contention throughout these years. Unfortunately, not managing to win the Eagles at least one Super Bowl throughout this era left quite a bad stain on the legacy of the Reid / McNabb combo.
  • Eagles QB Donovan McNabb has had two Never Live It Down moments.
    • McNabb's also known for allegedly vomiting during Super Bowl XXXIX, which he has disputed. (McNabb actually vomited twice in Florida: during a game against the Bucs in Tampa Bay in the 2006 season, and the Jaguars at Jacksonville, where SB39 later took place, in 2002.)
    • Another for McNabb was in 2008 when the Eagles vs. Bengals match-up ended in a tie. McNabb outright admits following the game that he didn't know regular season games don't go beyond one overtime period, which brought him a lot of mockery about not knowing the rules of the game.
  • A career highlight for DeSean Jackson will inevitably be the Miracle at the New Meadowlands, but a career lowlight is the exact thing that happened to him in college, the touchdown that wasn't. During a Eagles game against the Dallas Cowboys, Jackson caught a long pass from Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb and raced into the end zone... without the football. Jackson dropped it behind him just before crossing the goal line, which was ruled a fumble, invalidating the touchdown.
  • Before the 2011 NFL season, former Tennessee Titans quarterback Vince Young was pretty excited about playing for the Philadelphia Eagles, saying that it was the "Dream Team". With a joint effort of the media overblowing this statement and the Eagles not living up to the hype, ultimately finishing 8-8 and missing the playoffs, the nickname has instantly gone from one used by the fans to the ones used by the haters. If you're an Eagles fan who hasn't heard at least one detractor joke that the reason why they were called the "Dream Team" because A) they haven't woken up and started to play like how they're supposed to or B) they just keep dreaming of winning anything, consider yourself lucky.
    • And as if that wasn't bad enough, their following 2012 season was even worse. While they got off to a promising 3-1 start (including beating the eventual Super Bowl winning Baltimore Ravens), they proceeded to lose all but one of their games after that, ridiculed with several Hope Spot losses combined with some blowouts too. They ended 4-12, and to drive that point further home, all four of their wins escaping defeat as narrowly as you can getnote . This was the end of an era, as it ultimately resulted in the termination of Andy Reid after almost a decade and a half.
  • Head coach Chip Kelly (2013-2015 era) is always going to be looked down on in the eyes of many fans, especially Philadelphia fans, as the man who messed up the Eagles in an attempt to build a team that would be designed for his system. His dismantling included several of the Eagle's best players that were forced out the door, such as a decent running back in LeSean McCoy being traded to the Bills, as well as star receiver DeSean Jackson who became a player for the rival Redskins. Kelly's tenure also included several controversial decisions. First, he traded away Nick Foles for the constantly injured Sam Bradford when the former quarterback was doing really well as the Eagle starter before Foles' injury against the Texans forced him onto IR. The second controversial decision was overpaying for the running-back free-agent DeMarco Murray to come to the Eagles so that he wouldn't return to Dallas since it was obvious to everyone that Tony Romo benefited greatly from Murray's play behind their great offensive line. Because Murray was not designed for Chip Kelly's offensive system (Kelly's system was build for side-runs while Murray is an up-the-gut runner), the running back ended up having one of his worst seasons ever, and was gone from the team after just one year on the Eagles. The team's 7–9 record by the end of the 2015 season was the point where the Eagles decided that enough was enough, and finally chose to fire Kelly.
  • If the Eagles fans' reputation was low in recent years, it hit rock bottom after the 2017/18 NFC Championship Game, where not only did Vikings fans watch their most important game in almost a decade be a spectacular failure, but there were reports of things such as beer cans at being thrown at them and other scary confrontational incidents that caused detractors to hate them even more.

    Pittsburgh Steelers 
  • The infamous "bumblebee" uniforms are often ranked as one of the ugliest uniforms in NFL history. The uniforms, which made their official debut in 1934, wore horizontal stripes (with matching socks) and blocked off numbers, which many spectators ridiculed for making the players look like prison convicts. The uniforms were ditched in 1935 and would’ve likely been forgotten to the annals of history... had the Steelers not brought them back in 2012 as their throwbacks. Much to the delight of many, the uniforms were officially retired in 2017 in favor of their 70’s throwbacks.
  • Walt Kiesling was a Hall of Fame lineman for various teams during the early years of the NFL, later serving as a long time assistant and, on 3 separate occasions, head coach for the Steelers. Unfortunately for him, many fans, especially Steelers fans, will only remember him for his decision to cut Johnny Unitas after the 1955 preseason.
  • Neil O'Donnell is still despised among Steelers fans for his horrendous performance in Super Bowl XXX, chucking three picks during the game. In particular, the two picks by Larry Brown, both of which were thrown without a Steelers receiver in sight of the ball, and both of which set up Cowboys touchdowns. The Steelers would lose 27-17. O'Donnell was never given a chance to overcome that game, leaving the team for the Jets after the season. Sadly, O'Donnell actually had the lowest interception percentage in NFL history at the time of his retirement, but that still won't get him a break in Pittsburgh, even though he's the only quarterback to actually play in the Super Bowl for them between Bradshaw and Roethlisberger.
  • Gordon McCarter was a longtime NFL referee who had a solid, if unremarkable career until his final season in 1995; when his crew erroneously called the Pittsburgh Steelers for having too many men on the field in a game vs. the Minnesota Vikings; resulting in Steelers head coach Bill Cowher (who had obtained a photo proving the call was incorrect) jamming the picture in McCarter's pocket before walking into the locker room at halftime.note 
  • Phil Luckett refereed the Steelers-Lions game on 1998 Thanksgiving; and would end up witnessing Steeler running back Jerome Bettis partially calling heads before apparently remembering he was supposed to call tails (resulting in the "Heads-Tails" incident). In any event, Detroit would win the toss and convert for the winning field goal. Steelers fans have not forgotten this. The Steelers-Lions coin toss flub led to the "Jerome Bettis Rule" being passed the following week; the new rule states that the visiting team must make the call before the coin is flipped.
  • Ben Roethlisberger has won two Super Bowls and played in a third as the Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback, but he'll probably always be remembered for his two sexual assault cases, even though nothing legally came out of themnote . A common nickname for him on message boards is "Ben Rapelispervert". Prior to that, he had another NLID when he nearly killed himself in a motorcycle crash. To be fair, the accident wasn't his fault—-he was struck by another vehicle, but he was riding without a license and, of all people, was not wearing a helmet.
  • The Steelers have maintained their reputation of being one of the most successful and respected franchises in the NFL, famous for their Steel Curtain Dynasty in the '70s. The 2005 season threatened to unravel all that when the Steelers made it to the Super Bowl against the Seattle Seahawks. One disputed touchdown call, among others, during the Super Bowl tarnished what should have been a storybook season for the Steelers. However, the only thing most people remember about that Super Bowl outside of Pittsburgh, is the possible wrong calls that ruined the game, and the suspicion that the game was fixed in the Steelers' favor. As a result, many fans whom aren't Steelers fans, especially those in Seattle, have created the name "The Squealers" or "The Stealers" and believe that refs give preferential treatment to the Steelers, particularly in the postseason.
    • Which is ironic, as not three weeks prior to that Super Bowl, referee Pete Morelli had his own Never Live it Down moment by screwing Steelers safety Troy Polamalu out of the most obvious interception ever challenged in the AFC Divisional Playoff game against the Indianapolis Colts. Polamalu had dove in front of a pass, caught it, fell to the ground in total control of the ball, rolled with total control of the ball, got up, and knocked the ball out of his hands with his knee and fell on the ball. The ruling on the field was an interception, followed by a fumble, followed by a Steelers recovery. Colts head coach Tony Dungy only challenged the call because it was the only hope the Colts had of climbing back into the game. Morelli spent five minutes watching, in slow motion, Polamalu move five yards with complete control of the ball before deciding there was incontrovertible evidence to overturn the call on the field, and ruled it an incomplete pass. The Steelers still won the game, in part thanks the Colts' kicker, Mike Vanderjagt's, own Never Live It Down moment of missing a 46-yard field goal very late in the 4th quarter, but the Morelli's decision on the interception was so obviously wrong that even the NFL admitted after the game he had made the wrong call.
  • Steelers defensive tackle Kimo von Oelhoffen is forever known as the guy that blew out Carson Palmer's knee in the 2005 Wild Card game between the Bengals and Steelers. What makes this sting even more for Bengals fans is that the Bengals were having one of their best years that many had them pegged as a Super Bowl contender. Another thing that made this incident sting for fans was when they realized that Oelhoffen was originally a Bengal before he became a member of the Steelers, so it ended up feeling like Palmer was injured by one of his own.
  • Plaxico Burress will never top shooting himself in the leg (see New York Giants folder) as far as NLID moments go, but he also has an on-field one from his 2002 rookie season in Pittsburgh: during a game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, he blew a great catch by spiking a live ball, which made it a fumble that was recovered by Jacksonville. The Steelers ended up winning anyway, but the incident has gone down in sports infamy alongside the likes of Leon Lett's Thanksgiving Day blocked field goal blunder as a remarkably stupid and completely avoidable mistake.
  • Mike Tomlin will forever have the Tomlining incident, where he slightly steps on the field to try to interrupt Jacoby Jones' kickoff return, attached to his name. The moment has been parodied to oblivion such as where Tomlin is seen trying to win a dance-off.
  • There's no denying that the overall Steelers era under head coach Mike Tomlin (2007 - present) has built up a good reputation of showing off a high-powered offense that almost always places them amongst one of the top teams of the league, especially in the AFC. On the other hand, Tomlin's Steelers have become known for being a squad that hasn't been playing up to their potential, because they tend to play down to their competition, which results in them sometimes losing out on games against bottom dweller teams that they had no business somehow ending up on the losing side. The prime example people usually bring up is their four losses to the Oakland Raiders in 2006, 2012, 2013, and 2018, all of which were years that the Raiders fielded an abysmal team. Such crucial, mind-baffling losses tend to make the difference down the line when it comes to the Steelers losing out on a high playoff seed and not earning a first-round bye, which forces them to go on the road to face their playoff competition. As a result, their playoff runs have resulted in failure under Tomlin outside of their 2008 Super Bowl run. Steeler fans end up complaining that the team wouldn't be having said playoff issues if they actually won a better playoff seed for home field advantage by actually taking the bad teams they play down to in the regular season seriously.
  • The Steelers 2011 Wild Card game against Denver is a major one due to now being known as the team that gave up over 300 yards to Tebow despite his poor passing reputation, as well as giving up a game-ending 80-yard touchdown reception on the first play of overtime. As a side note, this game was the first one to be contested under the modified sudden death rules passed in 2010 (which states that during overtime, if the first team gets only a field goal at the end of their drive, then the other team gets one possession to match or beat that), which ended up being completely irrelevant because the Broncos won it on a touchdown.
  • Losing consistently to the New England Patriots, particularly during their 2000s-2010s Brady/Belichick era is a stamp that is very difficult for the Steelers to live down. Since 2000, the Steelers have met the Patriots in the postseason three separate times (2001, 2004 and 2016), all in the AFC Championship game, the final doorstep to the Super Bowl, and lost each time. To make matters worse, each time the Patriots went on to win the Super Bowl. It has gotten so bad to the point whenever the Steelers did reach the Super Bowl (2005, 2008, and 2010), detractors are quick to point out that those teams were fortunate that they didn't have to face the Patriots to get there (the Patriots were usually taken out by another team or, in 2008, didn't reach the postseason at all). Whether it's true or not, and while the Steelers have been very successful in their own right, the Patriots have been a consistent, nagging problem for Pittsburgh and a puzzle the Steelers have yet to be able to solve. How much of a massive pain in the ass have the Patriots been for Pittsburgh? Prior to the 2017 matchup note , the Steelers defense had not intercepted a Tom Brady pass for 12 years (22 TD's, 0 INTS in that span).
    • Related to the above, during the 2017 regular season, the team narrowly lost to New England partly because of a controversial decision by the referees to overturn what would have been the game winning touchdown. Once the playoffs arrived, several members of the Steelers discussed how they were eager for a rematch against New England in the AFC Championship and finally get over the hump. Unfortunately, they chose to do this during the week leading up to their Divisional Round game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, who took the Steelers' attitude as a sign of disrespect (especially as Jacksonville had handed them one of their other two losses during the regular season, picking Roethlisberger five times during that game). Jacksonville proceeded to stun Pittsburgh by winning 45-42. After the game, the Steelers were mocked for seemingly being so focused on New England that they forgot they had to beat Jacksonville first.note 
    • Then in 2018, the Steelers knocked off both Jacksonville as well as finally snapping their losing streak against New England. Seems smooth sailing, right? Except the Steelers continued their unfortunate trends mentioned above and faltered down the stretch to teams they should've beaten and missed the playoffs entirely for the first time in five years. These Steelers just can't seem to get it together. Oh, and in the 2019 season opener, New England proceeded to get payback in a 33-3 humiliation of the Steelers in Foxboro, resetting things back to the square one with the hated Patriots.
  • The 2017 and 2018 Steeler teams are known for providing some of the biggest sports drama to ever come out of the NFL. This is primarily due to their 3 star offensive players, Ben Roethlisberger, Le'veon Bell, and Antonio Brown (aka the Three Killer Bs) all stirring up a storm that ended up bringing a lot of negative focus to the Steeler organization. For added details:
    1. The Le'veon Bell drama came from feeling that the Steelers were undervaluing him despite potentially being the best RB in the league. He had become a free-agent after the 2016 season, but instead of paying him a high contract, or giving him a chance to sign a long-term deal with another team, the Steelers chose to give him the franchise tag for the 2017 season. Bell reportedly felt that the Steelers' offer of 30 million over 2 years was a joke for someone who was arguably the top RB in the league. He threatened the Steelers that he would sit out in the following 2018 season if they decided to franchise tag him again instead of giving him the more valuable contract that he sought, but the Steelers refused and went through with tagging him once more. Thus, Bell chose to sit out playing the 2018 season. In the end, the Steelers didn't offer a high-end contract or tag Bell a 3rd time following the 2018 season, which Bell finally departed from the team by signing with the Jets during the 2019 off-season, ultimately receiving less money to play for a far worse team.
    2. Roethlisberger is no doubt one of the NFL's top QBs. However, he still makes mistakes (as does every quarterback), such as his tendency to throw some highly-questionable interceptions due to being a risk-taker. The drama comes from the fact that he doesn't accept those mistakes. Instead, he would constantly blame his teammates on local radio, up to accusing his receivers of running the wrong routes or dropping "easy" catches. This blame game in particular really soured his QB-to-WR relationship with Antonio Brown...
    3. The Antonio Brown drama was probably the worst of it all. Throughout the 2018 season, it had become noticeably clear that he was done with playing for the Steelers to the point that he actually sat himself out in the final game against the Bengals even though the Steelers still had a chance at making the playoffs. Jealously had also started to creep in where he began to feel that the team was favoring their upcoming #2 WR, JuJu Smith-Schuster, over him. Add in his soured relationship with Roethlisberger, and you suddenly have Brown desiring to be traded away. His divaness had also gotten worse, to the point of wanting the fans to start calling him "Mr. Big Chest" for whatever reason. Eventually, the Steelers agreed that Antonio Brown was just too much for their own good and traded him off to the Oakland Raiders during the 2019 offseason. Just to poor extra salt into the wound, they only managed to get 3rd and 5th round draft picks out of him despite him being arguably the best WR in the league because his diva antics effectively killed any high-end trade value he would have had.note  (It may not entirely be his fault, however; analysts have noted that the onset of this behavior coincides with a brutal concussion hit he took in the 2015-16 AFC Wild Card game (see Cincinnati Bengals folder), which raises the possibility that head trauma and CTE may be a factor.)
    4. In the end, with Antonio Brown and Le'veon Bell gone from the team following the 2018 season, it has left the Steelers with a notable reputation for drama they will never be able to live down. They are now known as a team that arguably had one of the greatest QB/RB/WR offensive trios ever seen in the NFL yet failed to come away with at least one Super Bowl with it due to the drama that they brought to the team. It was so embarrassing that one particular Steelers fan was able to put together a video of almost two hours on YouTube detailing all the drama that unfolded with the team throughout the 2018 season.
  • The Steelers' home loss to the Browns in the 2020 Wild Card, a terrible end to a season that the Steelers had started 11-0. The Browns hadn't won a postseason game in 26 years, hadn't won one on the road since 1969, and hadn't beaten the Steelers in Pittsburgh in any game for over a decade, so the Steelers didn't see them as a real threat, especially with Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski and several of his players having to sit the game out due to COVID-19; multiple Steelers, most notably receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster, dismissed their opponents as the "same old Browns". Come game day, however, things went wrong for the Steelers literally from the first snap, which flew over Ben Roethlisberger's head and came down on about the two-yard line; Roethlisberger and running back James Conner ran after it but were unable to get on top of it, and the Browns batted it into the endzone and then fell on it for a touchdown. It didn't get much better from there: the Browns wound up scoring 28 unanswered points in the first quarter alone (21 of them, including that first score, off of turnovers) and were up 35-10 at halftime. The Steelers rallied in the second half with 16 points in the third quarter, but two failed two-point conversion attempts, a baffling call to punt on a fourth-and-one, and a late fourth quarter interception allowed the Browns to hold onto the lead, ultimately recording a 48-37 victory.

    San Francisco 49ers 
  • Steve DeBerg played for 20 years for six teams, along the way becoming the oldest player ever on a Super Bowl roster (with Atlanta in 1998). But what's he known for? Having his starting job repeatedly ripped from him by incoming future Hall of Famers: He was San Francisco's starting QB when they drafted Joe Montana (1980). He was then traded to Denver, who traded for John Elway (1983). He was then traded to lowly Tampa Bay, where he had some success... then the USFL folded and Tampa suddenly had Steve Young (1987).
  • Poor Roger Craig! Despite being a great running back who went to four Pro Bowls and was one of the major faces of the 49ers '80s dynasty (winning 3 Super Bowls with them), many 49er fans, particularly older fans, will never forget his infamous fumble late in the 4th quarter of the 1990 NFC Championship against the New York Giants. The fumble was recovered by the Giants, who in turn hit a game-winning field goal. This loss prevented the Niners (who were defending Super Bowl champions for the third straight year) from the possibility of having a Three-Peat, a feat no NFL team has ever succeeded in doing. It's made even worse because Craig boasted about a Three-Peat in the previous Super Bowl.
  • Wide receiver Terrell Owens had a very short but sweet run with the 49ers in the late '90s and early 2000s. His run is primarily defined by his iconic game-winning catch from QB Steve Young in the 1998 NFC Wild Card game against the Green Bay Packers, also known as "The Catch II". However, he is also primarily defined by celebrating twice on the Dallas star after scoring touchdowns during a game against the Cowboys in the 2000 season. Owens was leveled by Dallas safety George Teague midfield after the second celebration, only for Owens to get back up and celebrate more. This gave Owens the reputation of being a major showboater, as he would continue to up the celebrations with different teams he played for.
  • In hindsight, the 2005 Draft is this to the 49ers. Then head coach Mike Nolan famously passed over California's (and Bay Area native) Aaron Rodgers for Utah's Alex Smith. It was highly expected the 49ers would chose Rodgers due to his impressive college career and being local of the Bay Area, but Nolan believed Rodgers' attitude could not co-exist with his own, instead preferring Smith's cerebral, introspective, and non-confrontational nature. Today, however, it's looked at as a major mistake for the 49ers because Aaron Rodgers would turn out to be one of the great NFL quarterbacks of all time, leading the Packers to many playoff appearances and a Super Bowl win. Alex Smith did turn out to be a solid quarterback himself, as he did eventually make his way to the Pro Bowl... except he achieved most of his success with the Kansas City Chiefs after the 49ers got rid of him (see below for details).
  • The "Battle of the Bay" between the 49ers and the then-Oakland Raiders was a rare inter-conference rivalry that turned dark during a preseason game in 2011. One fan was beaten in a Candlestick Park restroom, and another wearing a "Fuck the Niners" shirt was shot multiple times (thankfully, he survived). These incidents led to the NFL cancelling the annual preseason meeting between the teams. The Raiders eventually moved to Las Vegas in 2020, putting an end to the rivalry.
  • Kyle Williams will forever be known among 49er fans for his two costly screw-up punt returns during the 2011 NFC Championship against the New York Giants. After a Giants punt, the football grazed William's knee, resulting in the Giants retaining possession of the ball. If that wasn't bad enough, history then seemed to repeat itself with Roger Craig's fumble, Kyle Williams fumbled the ball himself after a Giants punt during overtime, resulting in a game winning field goal exactly like the 1990 championship. Williams wound up receiving death threats from angry 49ers' fans and was gone from the team the next season.
  • Alex Smith's time as quarterback has a mixed rep among 49er fans, though he'll always have that spectacular win over the New Orleans Saints in the 2011 NFC Divisional round (aka "The Catch 3" game). His biggest never live it down moment has less to do with him than the team: namely, the fact he lost his starting job to Colin Kaepernick in the 2012 season. Smith looked poised for an MVP season as he lead the league in completion percentage at the time (70%) and was ranked third in the NFL in passer rating (104.1) with his 49ers team predicted to reach the Super Bowl that season. However, he suffered a concussion in week 10 against the Rams thus getting taken out of the game and Kaepernick took over. While Smith was medically cleared to play, coach Jim Harbaugh was impressed with Kaepernick enough to promote him to starter; causing Smith to lose his starting job. The 49ers still made their way to the Super Bowl that year anyway under Kaepernick, eventually losing a close game to The Ravens. A small but very vocal base strongly believes that the 49ers could have had a bigger chance at winning the Super Bowl had Alex Smith started. The arguments are further fueled since Smith, once traded to the Kansas City Chiefs, led his team to multiple playoff appearances while Kaepernick slowly regressed as a quarterback to eventually fighting for his own starting job against Blaine Gabbert.
  • Mike Singletary's short-lived stint as the 49ers head coach was most notable for his strangely intense and sometimes barely coherent press conferences, where he frequently buried his own players for being "losers". This was most infamously captured right after his first game as coach in his "I WANT WINNERS!" speech.
  • Jim Harbaugh's time is very fondly remembered by many 49er fans from 2011-2014, thanks to him turning the franchise around with 3 NFC Championship appearances including a Super Bowl appearance. But unfortunately like Andy Reid's time with the Eagles, not winning a Super Bowl for the 49ers and two heartbreaking losses in the 2011 and 2013 NFC title games has left a bad stain on Harbaugh's time as head coach. The losses are even sadder because each one was very close.
    • Higher management forcing out Jim Harbaugh after four years as the team's head coach has not been well received for many 49ers fans. The relationship between Harbaugh and 49er higher-ups was not on good terms, and they were waiting for the opportunity to finally get Harbaugh out of San Francisco. The two sides split on "mutual terms" after the 2014 season, though Harbaugh later stated he was essentially forced out, and Harbaugh got a college job as head coach at his alma mater of Michigan. The kicker that really makes this sting for 49ers fans is the drop back down to mediocrity after Harbaugh's departure, with a 5-11 record for the 2015 season.
  • Colin Kaepernick took over as starting quarterback for the 49ers after Alex Smith was injured, putting up very solid numbers that helped lead the team to two consecutive NFC Championship games. In 2016, Kaepernick started staying seated (later changed to kneeling) for the National Anthem as a protest against police brutality towards African-Americans. Kaepernick drew further ire when he wore socks depicting police officers as pigs, revealed he didn't vote in the 2016 US Presidential election, and wore a shirt with the recently-deceased Fidel Castro on it. Kaepernick's politics soon became the only thing anyone talked about when mentioning him; he was #1 in jersey sales for a while from the number of people who bought them just to deface them. The 49ers went 2-14 that year, giving more fuel to his detractors. Kaepernick was cut from the 49ers at the end of the season, and his subsequent struggle to find an open QB position has further added fuel to the controversy, with supporters saying he's still good enough for such a spot, and detractors saying that the drama he brings is too big of a drawback and/or that he's past his prime and not worth signing. Kaepernick's stature started to improve in 2020 as the murders of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd by police officers led to massive nationwide protests against police brutality, with the NFL taking a similar stance to the one Kaepernick originally had. Even so, Kaepernick remains a political pariah in the football world, and whether he'll ever return to the NFL or not remains up in the air.
  • Linebacker Reuben Foster will sadly be remembered for his two arrests that got him cut from the 49ers despite having a stellar rookie season. Foster was set for a long-term deal with the team until he was arrested on suspicion of domestic violence, threats, and assault weapon possession charges. After his girlfriend revealed she fabricated the story for money, Foster was cleared of charges and returned to the team but would face suspension. Foster would soon be arrested again for similar charges, and was finally cut from the team altogether. The kicker, the 49ers would form a dominant defense that played a key role in their successful 2019 season. One wonders how much of an impact Foster would have had if he stayed around.

    Seattle Seahawks 
  • Brian "The Boz" Bosworth was one of the most heralded, outlandish players in college football in the late '80s. Bosworth is considered one of the draft's all-time busts due to a combination of injuries and not being able to adjust to the NFL's higher level of competition. His only memorable moment on the pro level was a Monday Night game where he hit Raiders' Bo Jackson head-on on a goal-line play and Jackson simply ran right through him.
  • Phil Luckett was referee for a game between the New York Jets and Seattle Seahawks in which Luckett's crew erroneously ruled New York Jets quarterback Vinny Testaverde had scored the winning touchdown despite reviews clearly showing the ball did not cross the goal line. In fact, the only part of Testaverde that even crossed the goal line was his white helmet. The victory snuffed out the already faint playoff hopes for the Seahawks and almost single-handedly led to the return of instant replay.
  • While Matt Hasselbeck is fondly remembered for his time as quarterback, there are people who won't forget his infamous "We want the ball and we're going to score!" boast in the 2003 Wild Card game against the Packers. Hasselbeck did throw for the winning touchdown...unfortunately for Seattle, it was a pick-six to Green Bay cornerback Al Harris.note 
  • During his 20th and final season, Hall of Fame receiver Jerry Rice was traded from the Oakland Raiders to the Seattle Seahawks. Rice had worn #80 throughout his pro career and wanted to do the same in Seattle. The problem? The number had been retired in honor of Steve Largent: Arguably the best player in franchise history and the man Rice beat for most of his receiving records. Rather than choose another number, Rice called Largent and asked permission to wear #80, which Largent graciously granted. Plenty of NFL fans - especially Seahawks fans - found and still find the whole thing a classless move by Rice. Granted, Rice had been such a class act up to this point, it made the jersey number controversy stand out even more.
  • Due to the NFC West being a weak overall division at the time, the Seahawks are forever known as the team that made the 2010 playoffs with just a 7-9 record. As a result, the 11-5 Saints having to go on the road to play the 7-9 Seahawks in the Wild Card game is often the prime example of proof as to why the playoff format was still flawed: forcing a wild-card team (5th-seeded Saints) to go on the road against a division winner with a worse record (4th-seeded Seahawks).
  • Golden Tate will forever be remembered as the wide receiver who gave Seattle the win in the 2012 Packers-Seahawks match that ended the short-lived era of the replacement refs. Tate got away with a blatant push-off on Sam Shields, which should have ended the game right there and then somehow wrestled the ball out of M.D. Jennings' hands after the two of them had already hit the ground.
  • Former Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman is always remembered for his "I'm the best corner in the game" boast after the 2013 NFC Championship, in which the Seahawks defeated the 49ers. After tipping a pass intended for 49ers wide receiver Michael Crabtree, leading to a game winning interception by Malcolm Smith, Sherman then proceeded to taunt Crabtree during a post-game interview, with Sherman yelling directly at the camera that he's "the best corner in the game", adding "when you try me with a sorry receiver like Crabtree, that's the result you're gonna get!"
  • Seahawks coach Pete Carroll will always be remembered for what many have called the most questioned and questionable calls in football history: electing to call a pass play rather than hand the ball off to Marshawn Lynch in Super Bowl XLIX, resulting in a game-ending interception. Reasons why this was questioned so:
    • One, they were on the 1-yard line and the Patriots defense had failed to prevent Lynch from gaining one or more yards the entire game.
    • Two, an incomplete pass (the best-case scenario aside from an actual completion) would have stopped the clock, defeating the stated purpose of running down the clock.
    • Three, all of the Patriots' scoring drives had been long, sustained drives, not quick ones. It would probably not have been much of a challenge for the Seahawks defense to hold them back for 20 seconds.
      • While Carroll deserves some of the blame for this questionable call, he wasn't the only one responsible as offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell was the one who came up with the call as well, and there have been a few number of Seahawks fans who hold the latter completely responsible and voiced their dissent of him still being their coordinator for the next few seasons until he was finally let go in 2018. Bevell is now OC of the Detroit Lions.
  • In the same Super Bowl, Linebacker Bruce Irvin will probably be remembered for being the first player to be ejected in a Super Bowl. After rushing some of the Patriots players, which started a brawl involving players from both teams that resulted in an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for Seattle, Irvin threw a closed hand punch at Rob Gronkowski; leading to the ejection. This action caused many detractors to remember the Seahawks as "sore losers." Other than that, Irvin is probably best known for sharing his name with a Tekken character than anything else.
  • The Seahawks once again found themselves facing the one yard line at a crucial moment. In the final game of the 2019 season vs. the 49ers, a very important game with huge playoff ramifications, the Seahawks were behind 26-21 in the closing minutes of the game. After getting a crucial first down near goal line and spiking the ball, they looked to redeem themselves by preparing a retuning Marshawn Lynch run the ball in for the win. Unfortunately, the Seahawks were flagged for delay of game due to miscommunication and lost five yards. After two failed passes, QB Russell Wilson threw to receiver Jacob Hollister on 4th down which looked like win. However, Hollister was stopped by 49ers linebacker Dre Greenlaw by inches of the goal-line. The 49ers would win the game and earn the #1 seed in the NFC.
  • During the 2020 offseason, the Seahawks, trying to put their team over the hump and win the Super Bowl, received Pro Bowl safety Jamal Adamsnote  from the Jets in exchange for first-round picks for the 2021 and 2022 drafts, as well as a third-round pick for the 2021 draft. Unfortunately for the Seahawks, Adams proceeded to miss several games with injuries and prove to have a subpar season in pass coverage, finishing the 2020 season with zero interceptions and allowing a passer rating of 121.7. The Seahawks, a Super Bowl favorite at the start of the year, had defensive struggles throughout the season and were eliminated after the wild card round, leading many fans and experts to question whether the draft capital they gave up for Adams was worth it.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers 
  • The 1976/77 Tampa Bay Buccaneers, in their first two seasons, put together a 26-game losing streak that finally ended when the Bucs beat another team known for its Butt-Monkey status (the Saints). There have been other teams that went winless all season, but no other team has as long a losing streak at the pro level.note  Even after winning a Super Bowl, the Bucs are still considered one of the most hapless franchises in pro football.
  • Ol' Bucco Bruce and the "assault on the eyes" Creamsicle orange uniforms have often been cited as the most embarrassing designs in modern NFL history. Though the uniforms have some defenders, many see getting rid of them after the team's purchase by Malcolm Butler as an important Growing the Beard moment before the Bucs rose to prominence in the late '90s/early '00s.
  • The Bucs' bad history of rookie drafts, especially during Hugh Culverhouse's ownership, were topped by the mishandling in 1986 of Bo Jackson. Universally viewed as the best player in the draft, and with the Bucs drafting first overall, there should have been no way to blow this. But Culverhouse objected to Jackson wanting to spend his summers playing pro baseball as a two-sport athlete. While trying to woo Jackson to play for the team, Culverhouse had Bo visit Tampa Bay by flying him down by private jet... only for Bo to find out that this was against NCAA rules, which cost him the rest of his baseball eligibility. Under the assumption that Culverhouse and the Bucs did that on purpose to steer him away from baseball, Bo publicly refused to accept getting drafted by the team. The Bucs still drafted him, thinking he was bluffing or would accept it in time. Bo sat out the year, went to play pro baseball, and waited until the following year to resubmit for draft eligibility, at which point the Raiders - who were comfortable with Bo playing both sports - drafted him. Tampa Bay never even tried to trade the signing rights for him when they could, meaning their entire effort was for nothing.
    • In terms of draft embarrassments, running a close second was the Sean Ferrell / Booker Reese fiasco. Drafting eleventh overall in 1982, they had options to draft Guard Ferrell - a highly scouted offensive lineman - or Linebacker Reese from a small Florida program Bethune-Cookman, but they were still arguing over which to draft. So they called their desk at the New York draft floor with instructions to fill out two cards with either name, and wait for further instructions. However, because of the glitchy phone lines - the draft was not yet the big deal it is today - the guy at the table misheard the instructions and filled out the card for Ferrell and walked it up. Stunned by the unforced error, the Bucs went and made the situation worse by trading their 1983 First Round pick to get back into the current draft to snag Reese, whom they feared could get picked by someone else. There were multiple ironies here: Ferrell turned out to be a solid OL for the Bucs for the few years he played before leaving in free agency; Reese, who really wasn't on any other team's radar, got overwhelmed by the pressure and flamed out due to a combination of on-field injury and off-field drug woes; and the Bucs paid a terrible price because without that 1983 First Rounder they missed out on the chance to draft Dan Marino or any other QB from that coveted year at a time they were losing their starter Doug Williams to a spiteful contract fight with owner Culverhouse. This was the point where the Bucs - coming off a current run of making the playoffs - fell apart into the malaise that haunted the team through the 1980s until the late 1990s.
  • Head Coach Jon Gruden will always have the 2002 Super Bowl victory attached to his name, but a plethora of people see it as undeserved since he won it with an incredible defense that was built up by former Head Coach Tony Dungy before being fired following the 2001 season. As a result, many people believe that the main reason Gruden won a Super Bowl is because he rode Tony's coattails. Additionally, others believe he had an unfair advantage in that Super Bowl because the team that he faced, the Oakland Raiders, was the team he had coached the previous 4 seasons. Their coach Bill Callahan used exact Gruden's players and playbook, giving Gruden an additional advantage. The fact that Gruden largely struggled the following six years, only making two wild card playoff appearances before being fired after the 2008 season, doesn't help his case.
    • In addition, Jon Gruden has said it on record that his biggest regret as Head Coach was passing on Aaron Rodgers in the 2005 draft, and that he believes this was the primary reason he was fired.
  • If there's one thing most people remember Bucs GM Jason Licht for, it's that time he drafted kicker Roberto Aguayo in the second round of the 2016 NFL Draft. The Bucs didn't even get much of a shelf life for him, as Aguayo was gone the next year. Years later, Licht was still catching flak for it from Bucs fans and mockery from the rest of the NFL.
  • Safety Chris Conte is primarily known for a Monday Night Football game in 2018, when Steelers tight end Vance McDonald viciously stiff armed him on route to a 75 yard touchdown. Adding to the embarrassment was that Conte tore his PCL that game and wound up retiring at the end of the season, leading many to joke that McDonald literally stiff armed Conte into retirement.

    Tennessee Titans (Houston/Tennessee Oilers) 
  • Oilers Wide Receiver Mike Renfro is perhaps better known for a non-touchdown against the Steelers in the 1979 AFC Championship. Down 10-17 in the third quarter, Renfro caught a pass that appeared to be out of bounds. However, various replays showed Renfro had both feet down before going out of bounds. Sadly, as instant replay was not a thing at the time, the referees upheld the previous call, and the Oilers were denied a game tying touchdown. This moment advocated the NFL to implement instant replay.
  • Jerry Glanville will likely be remembered either for the aforementioned "Not For Long" rant and (especially when he was coaching the Houston Oilers) a penchant for leaving tickets for long-dead celebrities such as James Dean and Elvis Presley, cementing Glanville's reputation as something of a Cloud Cuckoolander. Jim Daopoulos, a former NFL official and later supervisor of officials, will likely be remembered for said incident, which was during his first year as an NFL official in 1989 where he was on the receiving end of Jerry Glanville's rant.
  • The-then Houston Oilers will never live down blowing a 35-3 lead over the Buffalo Bills in the 1993 Wild Card playoff. That's right, they led by 32 points before the Bills closed the gap in the second half. Though Houston kicked a field goal to force overtime, Buffalo capped off the improbable comeback by kicking a field goal of their own.
    • Houston quarterback Warren Moon gets it because of this game for throwing the pick to Bills defensive back Nate Odomes, which set up the field goal.
    • After the interception, wide receiver Haywood Jeffiresnote  sealed Houston's fate by committing a 15-yard face-mask penalty on Odomes that put the ball on Houston's 20-yard line.
  • You may never hear of a more notorious and turbulent season than that of the 1993 Oilers. This season is often considered the last hurrah for the team before leaving for Tennessee, so of course it couldn't have been quiet. Here is just a quick rundown.
    • After making the playoffs for six straight seasons and failing to make it past the divisional round, team owner Bud Adams threatened to dismantle the roster and start from scratch if they didn't win the Super Bowl that year (though the NFL implementing a salary cap starting the next season would have likely led to mass cuts in either case).
    • The quarterback controversy between Warren Moon and Cody Carlson. Warren Moon had been a fantastic QB and arguably the face of the team, but his age and the meltdown against the Bills (and in the playoffs in general) left his future in question. After four games, Moon was benched for Carlson, though he thankfully managed to come back and have a Pro Bowl season.
    • Offensive Tackle David Williams getting fined $111,111 by the Oilers for missing a game. Why did he miss? Williams’ wife went into labor and chose to support her and be present for the birth of his first-born son. Oilers owner Bud Adams called it “misplaced priorities”, which angered many sympathetic fans and players. This moment has been labeled “Baby Gate".
    • Reserve Defensive Lineman Jeff Alm's suicide and the circumstances surrounding it. While driving under the influence after a night out with a childhood friend, Alm got into a horrible car crash that resulted in said friend's death; a despairing Alm shot himself after calling 911. The team would wear his number in his honor the rest of the season.
    • Tensions between offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride and defensive coordinator Buddy Ryan. Ryan was hired for the '93 season and did not get along at all with Gilbride for his questionable play calling, while Gilbride hated Ryan for meddling with the team despite being a newcomer. This culminated with a fight on the sideline on the last game of the season that started when Ryan sucker-punched Gilbride for a terrible call that resulted in a fumble. The two brawled until they were separated by players. Both men needed police escort out of the building. This moment pretty much overshadowed the rest of the season.
    • On a more positive note, the Oilers put up an incredible 12-4 record despite the drama and losing 4 of the first five games of the season. This allowed the Oilers a 2nd seed and a first-round bye. Sadly, the Oilers would lose on their own turf against the unlikely Kanas City Chiefs led by an aging Joe Montana and Marcus Allen despite having a 10-0 lead in the first half. This would be the final playoff game for the Houston Oilers before leaving H-Town.note 
    • True to his word, Bud Adams dissolved the team right after the loss, starting with Warren Moon, who was traded to the Vikings. Buddy Ryan would jump to Arizona first chance he got, and Kevin Gilbride was fired not long after. The Oilers would become mediocre the following season and stay that way until they moved to Tennessee.
  • Wide Receiver Kevin Dyson will always be remembered for the famous "One Yard Short" final play in Super Bowl XXXIV, which saw Dyson get tackled at the last second by Rams linebacker Mike Jones. Not in a bad way, though; despite it being a losing effort, Dyson reaching out for the end zone as he went down is considered a brave final effort by Dyson and a show of heart.
    • In an even more positive way he is also known as the player who capped off the Music City Miracle by catching the lateral from Frank Wycheck and running it for a TD.
  • Titans' Albert Haynesworth stomping on the face of Andre Gurode after Gurode's helmet came off is Haynesworth's defining Never Live It Down moment for a plethora of people.
  • Cortland Finnegan of the Titans is known as that guy who ended up in a brawl with the Texans' Andre Johnson during a 2010 game. A lot of people will say that Johnson won the fight, and even when Finnegan announced his retirement in 2015, most fans pointed out how they only knew him as the guy that got in a fight that one time.

    Washington Football Team (Boston Braves, Boston/Washington Redskins) 
  • Founding owner George Preston Marshall was one of the most influential people in the early history of pro football. He gave the team their controversial nickname (they used to be the Boston Football Braves) and moved them to DC. He also - together with George Halas, who he loved and hated in equal amounts - came up with rule changes that are now considered iconic of the pre-merger NFL. What is he remembered for? Being an avowed racist (possibly because he wanted to secure the Southern market) and being forced by the federal government (who owned the stadium his team played in) to sign a black player after every other team in the NFL had already done so, some of them over a decade earlier. The vast majority of the fandom breathed a (slightly guilty) sigh of relief when Marshall died in 1969 and minority owners Jack Kent Cooke and Edward Bennett Williams took control; he has since been removed from the Washington Ring of Honor.
  • Joe Theismann, All-American quarterback at Notre Dame and 12-year veteran, Super Bowl Champion and two-time Pro Bowler with the Washington Redskins. Remembered for 1) changing his name pronunciation (from THEES-man to THIGHS-man) in college as part of a failed Heisman Trophy campaign, based on a suggestion by then-Notre Dame PR Director Roger Valdiserri, 2) getting his leg broken in two places from a Lawrence Taylor sack, which ended his playing career, and 3) calling Patriots running back Danny Woodhead "Woodcock".
  • Quarterback Heath Shuler went #3 overall in the 1994 Draft to be the future for the Redskins, but poor play ended up getting him benched after just two years. He would then get traded away to the Saints and is now out of football, having taken a respectable job within the U.S. House of Representatives. Still, D.C. fans will always remember him for never living up to the hype for his football career, and he is now considered to be one of the biggest NFL busts.
  • Over a 15-year career, quarterback Gus Frerotte reached the Pro Bowl once, led two teams to the playoffs, and even had an NFL record-tying 99-yard touchdown pass. But any time his name is mentioned, especially in the Washington, D.C. area, all people think about is the time he celebrated a Redskins touchdown by headbutting a wall, spraining his neck, and causing him to miss the rest of the game. The game ended in a tie. If the Redskins had won, they would've made the playoffs.
  • Current team owner Daniel Snyder has to deal with the fact that every offseason, he will sign for an exorbitant amount of money a player well past his prime. This has yet to result in any sustained success- the team has only made five playoffs during his two decades of ownership. Additionally, Snyder is widely hated by his team's fans for his exploitative business practice, which most notoriously included charging fans to watch training camp.
    • He also inherited original owner George Preston Marshall's problem of the team's name. He had long resisted every attempt to rename it, and his attempts to appease Native Americans calling for a name change were... less than satisfying. (He founded the non-profit Original Americans Foundation that is supposed to address the problems in the Native community... but people made fun of the acronym the name of the non-profit formed.) The Redskins name was finally retired in 2020, but only due to the number of sponsors threatening to relinquish sponsorship of the team if they didn't change their name.
  • Joe Gibbs is a legend for coaching the Redskins to 3 Super Bowl wins during his 1981-1992 tenure with the team. On the other hand, his brief, and much less memorable, return to coaching the team during the 2004-2007 years is defined primarily by his mistake during a 2007 game against the Bills where he didn't know about the rule that disallowed consecutive timeouts. In the final seconds of the game, Gibbs tries to use two back-to-back timeouts in an attempt to ice Rian Lindell's 51-yard kick. The result is a 15-yard unsportsmanlike behavior penalty that allows for Lindell to kick a much easier 36-yard game-winner.
  • Following his Never Live It Down moment on the Titans, Albert Haynesworth would join the Washington Redskins for an insane $100 million deal where he did nothing, literally. His also suddenly coming to the organization out of shape then quickly led his detractors to derisively call him "Fat Albert" and/or "Albert Haynesworthless".
    • His most infamous moment with the Skins came in the Monday Night game against the Eagles, when he fell down in the red zone and was very slow to get up, allowing Michael Vick to scramble and throw a TD. The Eagles won 59-28, and Haynesworth was singled out for his lack of effort.
  • Quarterback Kirk Cousins would like to know if "You like that?" Cousins, subbing for then-starter Robert Griffin III, orchestrated the largest comeback in Washington history, coming back from a 24-0 deficit to Tampa Bay, ultimately winning 31-30 on a last-second scoring pass. Cousins' reaction was part adrenaline from such a rousing victory and part venting at the media, who were mostly dubious as to Cousins' actual playing skills.
    • Cousins is also known for a bizarre mistake he made against the Eagles during the 2015 season where he botched a scoring opportunity at the end of the 1st half because he took a knee rather than spike the ball. This resulted in the remaining seconds of the half disappearing due to the Redskins being out of timeouts. Years later, a 2021 interview with former Head Coach Jay Gruden revealed what happened during this moment. Basically, Cousins panicked during the play due to his two wide receivers, Pierre Garcon and DeSean Jackson, refusing to go along with the playcall (which would have been a back-shoulder fade attempt at a touchdown in the endzone). The moment Cousins realized that his wide receivers had basically left him out to dry by not running the fade route, he had no idea what he was supposed to do, and just ended up taking a knee.
  • It will be awhile before the team is able to live down how badly they botched the Robert Griffin III era (2012-2015).
    1. Despite a promising 2012 rookie season for the quarterback that even rewarded him as the 2012 Offensive Rookie of the Year, Griffin ended up suffering a major setback after having his right knee injured by the Ravens' Haloti Ngata during the 2012 regular season. Griffin then re-aggravated it in the playoff game against the Seahawks to the point of finally needing to have surgery to repair the right knee, which resulted in major controversy on the Redskins for having Griffin play out the rest of the playoff game after re-aggravating the knee injury despite not being medically cleared to return.
    2. Following 2012, Griffin spent 2013 and 2014 injury-ridden, which resulted in him being benched for back-up quarterbacks, Kirk Cousins and Colt McCoy.
    3. The 2015 season hit Griffin the worst as he was hit with a season-ending concussion during the second preseason game, which resulted in Kirk Cousins being named the starter for the season. Given how Griffin was sidelined for the 2015 season despite being healthy enough to return to the field weeks later, Head Coach Jay Gruden chose to keep him benched in favor of Kirk Cousins continuing to play out the season.
    4. Eventually, enough was enough, and the Redskins finally released Griffin after the 2015 season. Once it all said and done, the Redskin organization, and its Head Coaches Mike Shanahan and Jay Gruden, are usually the ones blamed for how bad the Griffin situation spiraled out of control: The organization for spoiling Griffin too much as the team's upcoming savior, Mike Shanahan for ignoring his quarterback's 2012 knee injury, and Jay Gruden for choosing to go forward with Cousins rather than Griffin.

Outside the US

    Examples from American Football outside the US 
  • Some of the announcers and color commentators of Ran NFL are former players and coaches themselves and especially Jan Stecker (ex-Cologne Crocodiles) and Roman Motzkus (ex-Berlin Adler) often like to rub in a Noodle Incident or other from their playing days, especially given that they played several close and important games against one another and Stecker apparently wasn't always perfect in his quarterbacking...

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