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Ndamukong Suh, Jay Cutler, Darrelle Revis among NFL's best heels

Villains are a crucial part of sports fandom, often generating even more passion than underdogs and heroes -- as anyone who rooted against Duke in Monday night's NCAA men's basketball title game can attest. Of course, this truth extends to the NFL, as well, with plenty of teams and individual players attracting their fair share of haters. As the Blue Devils celebrate yet another a championship, we ask this question: Which player makes for the best heel in the NFL today? That is, who do fans seem to love to hate the most?

Darrelle Revis. He's been referred to as an assassin for hire, based on his penchant for finding the best deal at every stop. And while fans don't find that skill as admirable as I do -- they should, by the way -- Revis has a consistent ability to back up his big-money deals with the most supreme shutdown talent in the league. That's the true mark of a heel; someone with an ability that cannot be denied and can seldom be beat. Now he's back with the Jets, ready to re-ignite a years-old Patriot rivalry again. If we're talking about the true "heels" of the NFL, I would start with the Patriots and Cowboys. New England qualifies due to the immense success and controversy that has marked the Bill Belichick era. People love to hate Dallas, meanwhile, without even knowing why, at this point -- probably because their dad and weird uncle do.

But if we're looking at a player, Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler seems to be the winner of this dubious distinction. Most fans have the perception -- whether it's deserved or not -- that he doesn't care, and fans can tolerate everything but apathy. His body language has only furthered this feeling. Like I said, maybe it's not fair, but there is certainly one way he can change the perception. Maybe in just trying to smooth over his outward aura on and off the field, he could engender more support from the masses. I hope he can be successful. My vote is for Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman. He is not shy about telling you how good he and the Seattle defense are. Then there's the style of coverage the Seahawks play (some press), in which Sherman seems to dare you to go after him. I won't be surprised if the answer next year at this time is Jameis Winston, who is bringing a lot of baggage with him to the NFL.

Among current players, though, I will go with defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh. I have to think that, for the past few seasons, even Lions fans had to grit their teeth before deciding to cheer for him. Now, of course, that dilemma is on Dolphins fans. Also high on the list is Jay Cutler -- truth be told, I don't think even Bear backers like the Chicago quarterback. The difference? Suh is a talented player, and it's easier to work up a dislike for a talented player than it is for a guy like Cutler, who seemingly is only going through the motions about half the time. After narrowing it down to three -- Richard Sherman, Tony Romo and Tom Brady -- I decided on Sherman. The Seattle cornerback's bluster really gets to people, even if he backs up what he says. That's not necessarily a bad thing; Seahawks fans obviously like the way he makes plays and impacts games. But if you back a Seahawks opponent, it has to be hard to see him shut down a receiver and then boast about his success. I'll give you one who hasn't even taken a snap in the NFL but who will fit the bill perfectly: Jameis Winston. The presumptive No. 1 overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft is entering the league after being one of the most infamous players in college football during a Florida State career highlighted by both success and troubling off-the-field issues. While Seminoles fans are undoubtedly in the quarterback's corner -- to be joined soon by those in Tampa Bay, assuming the Bucs do indeed select him -- I'm not sure many others will cheer him on, given what little they know about Winston the person beyond his negative press clippings.

Richard Sherman, 
Johnny Manziel, 
Tony Romo and 
Ndamukong Suh surely will get their share of votes, but the rookie from FSU could experience another level of dislike. 

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