The same helmets, mouthpieces, and facemasks that protect NFL players from the hits they take to the head are the same tools that often protect NFL players from potential hits to their bank accounts.
Trash-talking at the sport’s highest level can be an expensive habit. San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick was handed a $5,500 league fine earlier this season for using “inappropriate language” on the field. Peyton Manning, the league’s closest thing to a presidential candidate, was even docked $8,000 for taunting during the preseason.
But unlike the NBA, where courtside cameras and intimate arena seating allow us to see and hear every bit of body language and every verbal interaction, the NFL enjoys a safer distance from prying ears and eyes. And if we can’t hear it all, then the league can’t hear it all, which means a lot of fine-able offenses are going unpunished.
We know NFL players talk trash. Like the NBA, pro football no doubt has its share of prolific trash-talkers. But some of their most entertaining material is hidden beneath helmets, muffled by mouthpieces and, well, masked by facemasks. And yet enough of it gets through (thank you, NFL Films) that we can still put together a list of the league’s top trash talkers…even if we’ll never know all that they’re saying.
And if you know anything about the game, you wouldn’t be surprised to find out many of football’s sultans of smack are wide receivers and cornerbacks: the flashiest, most isolated (and therefore most attention-grabbing) offensive players on the field and the defensive players who need to play with more confidence than anyone else on the field.
Perhaps the NFL’s residing godfather of gab is 11-year veteran cornerback DeAngelo Hall. Since entering the league with Atlanta in 2004, through a stop in Oakland and now with Washington, Hall has traded words with just about any elite receiver (and elite trash-talker) you can come up with, Chad Johnson and Terrell Owens to Roddy White and Dez Bryant.
Hall made news recently for tearing his repaired ACL while making a pizza but with this being Hall’s 31st birthday, it only seems right to recognize him for things he’s done on the field. He’s our headliner in this list: The NFL’s Biggest Trash-Talkers Know How to Play the Game.
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image via Nike