In order to be successful at the NFL level, teams need to function as one and ignore any distractions, whether external or internal. A divided locker room will eventually destroy a club from within, regardless of the talent.
On the surface, most teams look as though they get along quite well. The players support and encourage one another on every play and celebrate together when they score or when there’s a key defensive stop.
What many fans don’t see, however, are the teammates that absolutely despise one another. Whether one player thinks another is completely annoying and incompetent or they can’t stand to look at each other, things can often get contentious.
Let’s have a look at several sets of teammates who would do anything to rid themselves of each other.
Donovan McNabb & Terrell Owens (Eagles)
When the Philadelphia Eagles secured Donovan McNabb behind center, the team became an immediate powerhouse. Following the acquisition of wide receiver Terrell Owens, however, the Eagles became Super Bowl favorites.
While McNabb and Owens did reach Super Bowl 39, it wasn’t because the two teammates got along. In fact, they hated each other. Now, a decade and a half later, they are still taking jabs at each other. McNabb is convinced Owens is responsible for breaking up the team after their 24-21 loss to the Patriots.
Michael Irvin & Everett McIver (Cowboys)
The notorious fight between Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Michael Irvin and offensive lineman Everett McIver over a simple haircut sounds like something out of a murder mystery novel, to say the least.
During training camp at Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls, Texas in 1998, McIver was sitting in the barber’s chair getting a haircut when Irvin walked in wanting one of his own.
Things went south immediately. Irvin demanded he get a haircut first due to seniority. McIver refused to surrender his seat, shoving Irvin in protest. The two proceeded to exchange blows before Irvin grabbed a pair of scissors and stuck it into McIver’s neck.
Peyton Manning & Mike Vanderjagt (Colts)
While playing for the Indianapolis Colts, Hall of fame quarterback Peyton Manning led his team to two Super Bowl appearances and one Vince Lombardi trophy. Although Manning deserves the credit, his kicker, Mike Vanderjagt, played a key role in helping the team succeed.
Vanderjagt was a talented player, but he was also quite mouthy. He was vocal and liked to run his mouth unprovoked, which apparently got under Manning’s skin. In fact, Manning referred to Vanderjagt as the “idiot kicker.” And no, it wasn’t a term of endearment.
Bill Romanowski & Marcus Williams (Raiders)
Former tight end Marcus Williams was an undrafted free agent when the Oakland Raiders picked him up in 2001. His NFL career was short-lived, however, due to an altercation with teammate Bill Romanowski.
During training camp prior to the 2003 season, Romanowski ripped off Williams’ helmet off and proceeded to physically assault him by punching him in the face. The blow broke a bone in Williams’ left eye and also injured his brain.
Romanowski’s punch ended Williams’ NFL career. He was just 27 years old.