Which NFL Team Has The Most Arrests? It’s Probably Not Who You Expect…

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Without a doubt, the NFL is one of the United State’s most notable institutions.

During the season, the league absolutely owns Thursdays, Sundays, and Mondays, and during the playoff push takes over Saturdays just for good measure.

The Top 20 most watched TV programs in US history are all Super Bowls (except for the M*A*S*H finale in 1983, which clocks in at 11) and the sheer size of the league is hard to comprehend. It’s valued at $163B, which is almost more than the NBA and MLB combined, but that almost seems to undersell its importance in society, as it’s one of the few things that people of all backgrounds and walks of life can relate to and is the anchor that brings so many of us together.

But, there’s always been a dark cloud over the league for one main reason.

No, not player safety and CTE, but the off-field actions of a small number of players that cast a shadow of suspicion over everyone.

NFL player arrests are about as high-profile as you can get. Names like Aaron Hernandez, Ray Rice, and Henry Ruggs III all come to mind immediately, but there’s no shortage of players running into trouble with the law.

Now, as a Steelers fan, I’d be quick to say that the Baltimore Ravens are probably responsible for nearly all of those problems, but some data is coming out thanks to FlashPicks that turns my view of which teams have the most players arrested on its head.

According to their study, a total of 1,065 arrests of NFL players have occurred since 2000. That’s not to say over one thousand players have been arrested as there are a few repeat offenders (Adam “Packman” Jones and Aldon Smith are tied for the most with 10 each) but in total that’s how many times an NFL player was taken into custody.

The most common offense was a DUI, which accounted for 23.9% (or 247) of the incidents, and each team averaged just over 33 arrests during the 23 plus year period. Wide receivers got arrested more than any other position (182), followed by cornerbacks with 149.

Things get very interesting when you break it down by team though. Again, if I was to take a guess just based off personal biases and my impression of the news, I’d say the Raiders, Ravens, and Eagles would probably be near the top, but the actual data paints an entirely different story.

The Minnesota Vikings are the most arrested team in the NFL, racking up a total of 60, over 80% higher than league average. Following them are the Denver Broncos with 56, Cincinnati Bengals with 54, Jacksonville Jaguars with 45, and the defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs with 43.

Of the three teams I thought would be high on the list, the Ravens are highest at 14th, with the Raiders following at 17th, and the Eagles coming in 30th with 21.

The five teams with the lowest number of arrests are the New York Giants (24), Los Angeles Rams (23), Philadelphia Eagles (21), Detroit Lions (19), and Houston Texans (17).

Here’s the complete list of team arrests since 2000.

Okay, are you as surprised as I am? The Purple People Eaters are the most arrested team in the NFL? Maybe I don’t pay enough attention or maybe there was a wild run of arrests in the early 2000’s when I was too young to realize what was going on, but man that’s very shocking to me.

It’s worth noting that the Texans have only been around since 2002, which certainly makes their “good behavior” easier to attain, but if you assume their arrest rate remained constant for 2 additional seasons that still puts them at around 19 total arrests, which would tie them with the Lions for least in the league.

I also think it’s interesting that the distribution of arrests by teams doesn’t fit the 80/20 rule seen often in statistics, though there are 13 teams above the league average rate and 19 below, showing some franchises are more susceptible than others. I believe the movement of players between teams can account for some of the leveling effect.

To be honest, I don’t know if there’s a major takeaway from the study other than this: Things aren’t always as they may seem or as you think they are, so be willing to keep your mind open.

What are your thoughts on this list? Be sure to let us know.

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock