Special Report

Teams that Play the Dirtiest

Grant Suneson

Source: Harry How / Getty Images

6. Los Angeles Chargers
> Personal fouls: 13
> Games suspended: 4 games
> League: NFL

In 2018, eight different Los Angeles Chargers were fined or had their salaries docked by the NFL. The team ranked third in personal fouls committed, with 13 during the season — many for roughing the passer. Defensive tackle Corey Liuget was also suspended for four games due to a PED suspension, one of just a handful of players to be caught for such an infraction.

Source: Harry How / Getty Images

5. Oklahoma City Thunder
> Flagrant fouls: 5
> Games suspended: 3 games
> League: NBA

For all his great play, Russell Westbrook had a difficult time controlling his emotions last season, and it hurt his team. Westbrook had four flagrant fouls himself in the 2018-2019 season — a higher total than 13 entire teams. He also earned a one-game suspension by racking up 16 technical fouls. The Thunder were also slapped with tens of thousands of dollars in fines and two games worth of suspensions stemming from a scrap the team got into with the Chicago Bulls in a December 2018 game.

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4. New York Rangers
> Flagrant fouls: 28
> Games suspended: 0 games
> League: NHL

The New York Rangers lacked discipline all throughout the 2018-2019 NHL season, racking up an astonishing 854 penalty minutes, the most in the NHL. League average is less than 680. They also had the most major penalties, with 28. Frustration may have gotten the best of the Rangers, as they missed the playoffs for the second straight year, posting a 32-36-14 record.

Source: Kevin C. Cox / Getty Images

3. Atlanta Hawks
> Flagrant fouls: 8
> Games suspended: 0 games
> League: NBA

No NBA team had more flagrant fouls than the Atlanta Hawks. The team racked up eight of those major infractions. For context, most NBA teams had four or fewer all season. Alex Len was the major contributor, with three, but his teammate John Collins had two flagrants as well. Len has a history of crossing the line with opponents and upset the 76ers when he elbowed Jimmy Butler in the jaw in a January game against Philadelphia.

 

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2. Boston Bruins
> Major penalties: 27
> Games suspended: 4 games
> League: NHL

The Boston Bruins finished second to the Rangers in terms of penalty minutes, with 797, and majors, with 27. The NHL twice felt the need to step in and discipline Bruins players for illegal and dangerous hits against their opponents. David Backes received a three-game ban and lost $200,000 for checking an opponent in the head. Defenseman Charles McAvoy was punished for a similar infraction and banned for a single game.

Source: Patrick Smith / Getty Images

 

1. Cincinnati Bengals
> Personal fouls: 16
> Games suspended: 4 games
> League: NFL

A litany of fouls and suspensions for misconduct landed the Cincinnati Bengals at the top of the list of the dirtiest teams in sports. The Bengals led the NFL with 16 personal fouls in 2018 — four for roughing the passer and a dozen for unnecessary roughness. Cincinnati racked up over $2 million in fines and lost salary that season for illegal hits and performance-enhancing drug suspensions. The lion’s share of that came from Vontaze Burfict. The linebacker, now an Oakland Raider, was fined for two helmet-to-helmet hits against the Pittsburgh Steelers and for testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs, earning a four-game suspension.