The Most Annoying Athletes And Leagues In Sports History

When you're a sports fan, you love the guys on your team, and you hate the guys on the other team. It's nothing personal, of course. That's just how it works. But then there are those rare exceptions—players so annoying that you can't stand them even when they're on your own team, individuals so obnoxious you just pray someone wipes that smug grin off their face no matter what the cost. It doesn't stop at players, either: there are some entire leagues fans may want to smack because they're just so arrogant. So take your blood pressure medication and get ready with that bucket of haterade, because it's time to look at the most annoying athletes and leagues in sports history.

John McEnroe

I've always been a fan of tennis legend John McEnroe. And speaking as a fan, let me say this: the guy is incredibly annoying. It's not just that during his playing days he ranted like a petulant jerk at umpires, fans, and occasionally opponents, belittling people for doing their jobs when he failed to do his. No, the most annoying part is the fact that after he retired, he then turned his obnoxious behavior into a marketing schtick, using his "bad boy" image to get endorsement deals and commentating gigs. Way to double down on the d-baggery, John.

Terrell Owens

Some people are of the opinion that if you can back up your smack talk, it's okay. You know, if you can walk the walk, it's not bragging if it's true, yada yada. Terrell Owens disproved this every time he opened his flapping gob to aggrandize himself more. And when he wasn't showboating or choreographing celebrations, he was badmouthing his own teammates, such as when he famously threw Donovan McNabb under the bus after the Eagles lost the Super Bowl. For a guy with a 4-8 career record in the playoffs, I'm not sure exactly what T.O. was bragging about. Guess he couldn't walk the walk after all.

Lance Armstrong

Has anyone ever spouted so much sanctimonious claptrap so disingenuously as notorious cheater Lance Armstrong? Over the course of his career, the seven-time Tour de France winner—or, more accurately, zero-time Tour de France winner, given that all of his titles have been stripped—made a point to slag anyone caught cheating while also vehemently trashing anyone who dared impugn his own honor. Brazenly cheating is obnoxious enough, but the way he held himself up as a model of sports integrity? Now that's truly annoying.

Alex Rodriguez

Do I even need to explain this one? Just for the sake of thoroughness, though, let me present exhibit A in the case for Alex Rodriguez being not just one of the most annoying athletes of all time, but one of the most annoying human beings ever, full stop: the guy has a painting of himself as a centaur hanging above his bed. Sure, we've all wanted to do this, but only A-Rod has had the gumption to actually get it done. At least we now know the real reason Rodriguez was pounding all those horse steroids. It had nothing to do with baseball. The guy was just trying to live out his dream.


For those of you who blissfully missed it, the XFL was a football league that launched back in 1999 with one simple idea: the NFL wasn't cartoonishly violent enough. Founded by World Wrestling Federation honcho Vince McMahon, the XFL tried to fuse the pro-wrestling ethos with high-speed football by tweaking the rules to encourage even more violence. If that also meant needing to also fuse some spines, well, so be it. How annoying was the XFL? It was so obnoxious, even the football-loving fans of America weren't willing to support it, forcing the league to fold after just one season.

Dennis Rodman

Ugh. Like most of the tools on this list, Dennis Rodman was a great athlete. And like most of them, he used this as an excuse to act like the most obnoxious jerk on the planet. Between headbutting a ref during a game, becoming commissioner of the Lingerie Football League, and traveling to North Korea as a publicity stunt for dictator Kim Jong-un, there's pretty much no idea too stupid for Rodman. The dude has been out of the league for over 15 years and he's still chasing headlines, trying stunt after stunt to remain relevant. It would actually be kind of sad, if it weren't so annoying.

Brett Favre

Let's take a quick informal poll. Raise your hand if you think the most annoying thing about Brett Favre is all those fake retirements. Okay. Now raise your hand if you think the part where he was texting random women photos of his junk is the most annoying thing about Brett Favre. You just raised both hands, didn't you? That's fair. But honestly, maybe the most annoying part about Favre? The way the media had their lips so firmly attached to his backside it was like an audition for Human Centipede 4. Looking at you, ESPN. Nowadays he's pretty much just hawking Wrangler jeans, but one thing's for sure: I'd rather go without pants than buy anything Favre is selling.

Floyd Mayweather, Jr.

It's tempting to say that Mayweather's most obnoxious trait is actually his skill in the ring, because while excellence is nice, being boring is boring. And this dude's fighting style is as boring as it gets. But that's okay, because there are far more annoying things about Mayweather, from his constant chest pounding antics, to his refusal to fight any real challengers (Pacquiao only would have counted if the fight had been five years earlier), to his numerous domestic abuse issues, to that time he recorded a video of himself setting $100 bills on fire just to taunt poor people. Luckily, he's finally getting old, so hopefully we can be done with this annoying fool sooner rather than later.

Ty Cobb

Here's a fun story about Baseball Hall of Famer Ty Cobb. Once upon a time, a handicapped fan made the mistake of razzing Cobb during a game. Cobb attacked the fan, throwing him to the ground. When horrified bystanders pleaded with him to stop because the guy had no hands—let's just repeat that, the guy had no hands—Cobb shouted, "I don't care if he has no feet!" and began stomping on him until security finally intervened. Cobb was also a notorious racist, and was known to intentionally injure opposing players. No wonder he earned the most ironic nickname in sports history, "The Georgia Peach."


The NFL is so annoying, for so many reasons, it's almost impossible to even narrow it down to specifics. It's like they've created an entirely new fifth dimension consisting of pure annoyance. Commissioner Roger Goodell is a complete buffoon, arbitrarily judging matters not on merit or for justice, but purely for public relations reasons and to satisfy the bottom line. The league intentionally covered up the brain damage being caused by concussions while simultaneously marketing DVDs of the game's hardest hits. They pretty much do anything they want because they believe fans are so besotted with the game that they'll just take it. Even more annoying? So far, we're proving them right. You win, NFL, you obnoxious jerks. You win.