Five NFL teammates who absolutely despised each other

Profile Picture: Andrew Champagne

September 8th, 2021

Just because players suit up for the same team doesn’t mean they have to like each other. On the contrary, there have been plenty of times in NFL history where well-known athletes haven’t gotten along. Here are five such instances sure to bring back plenty of memories.

5. Doug Flutie and... well, pretty much everyone (Chicago Bears)

This was chronicled in the excellent ESPN documentary, The ’85 Bears. When Jim McMahon was lost due to a season-ending injury stemming from a cheap shot, Mike Ditka made the decision to sign Doug Flutie, rather than start backups Mike Tomczak or Steve Fuller. Flutie was ineffective, and when asked about the situation and if Tomczak or Fuller would’ve helped the Bears repeat in 1986, Hall of Famer Richard Dent visibly restrained himself when saying, "our chances are better."

4. Jim Kelly and Howard Ballard (Buffalo Bills)

Before the Bills went on a tear and made four straight Super Bowls, they had to overcome internal tension. Quarterback Jim Kelly ripped offensive lineman Howard Ballard to shreds after a 1989 contest where Ballard missed a block on Jon Hand, who tackled Kelly and separated his left shoulder. It was the low point in a series of disputes within the locker room, ones that can be seen as the growing pains of a young team that needed to mature.

3. Peyton Manning and Mike Vanderjagt (Indianapolis Colts)

Mike Vanderjagt was one of the best kickers in football at his peak, but he made the mistake of angering his team’s franchise quarterback by questioning both him and head coach Tony Dungy. Manning infamously referred to Vanderjagt as an "idiot kicker" in an interview, and a few years later, the place-kicker left to join the Dallas Cowboys.

2. Steve Young and Joe Montana (San Francisco 49ers)

This classic quarterback controversy featured two Hall of Famers, both of whom may have had a point. Montana would win four Super Bowls for the squad and probably felt like the starting job should’ve been his for as long as he wanted it. Young, meanwhile, was brilliant in backup and fill-in duty, and almost certainly felt like he earned the job. Montana was traded to Kansas City prior to the 1993 season, and Young led San Francisco to another Super Bowl win to cap off the 1994 campaign.

1. Donovan McNabb and Terrell Owens (Philadelphia Eagles)

When these two were on good terms, few QB-WR combinations were better. However, that harmony was short-lived. Owens was suspended midway through the 2005 season, and the image of him doing sit-ups in his driveway remains prominent in the minds of Eagles fans.

Things haven’t gotten better between the two, and earlier this week, Owens even challenged McNabb to a celebrity boxing match (can this fad PLEASE end?).