Pittsburgh Steelers named the most disruptive team in the NFL, due to player infractions
- A new ranking has revealed which NFL teams have caused the most disruption over the last three seasons based on player infractions
- Since the 2020 season, the Steelers have amassed 30 infractions – making them six more disruptive than rival the Baltimore Ravens
- While A.J. Brown is one of the league’s biggest offenders, the most-disruptive player is Seattle Seahawks’ D.K. Metcalf, with 7 infractions
- A sports betting expert speculates why some NFL players may struggle to avoid suspension, and how this impacts their supporters
A new ranking has revealed which team has caused the most disruption in the NFL over the last three seasons – and it turns out the Pittsburgh Steelers came out on top.
The findings, collated by researchers at sportsbook reviewer JustGamblers, looked at player suspension data to identify who has seen the highest volume of infractions in recent years, and how much each offence has cost the – revealing the most problematic team.
According to the NFL, infractions of the rules are taken very seriously, so clubs risk being fined up to $500k for each violation that “affects the competitive aspects of the game”.
These violations can also impact fans’ experience – especially if they result in a players’ temporary removal from the game, or yardage penalties applied to a high-pressure play.
Of all the teams in the league, the Pittsburgh Steelers have caused the most upset since 2020, amassing a huge 30 infractions over three years – totalling a huge $5.3 million. This is the highest volume of rule violations, with the league average standing at 13.
The team is also performing particularly poorly when compared to rivals the Baltimore Ravens, the Cincinnati Bengals, and the Cleveland Browns (12, 14 and 16 respectively).
The most common offence committed by Pittstburgh Steelers’ players over this period was making obscene gestures – interestingly, all of which occurred during week 12 of the schedule each year – while unsportsmanlike conduct was also a frequent issue.
Each of these violations have proven consistently costly for the team too, as they equate to $178k each time when the total fines are divided over the number of infractions.
On the other end of the scale, the most well-behaved team in the NFL was crowned as the Atlanta Falcons, who have amassed only five infractions in the last three seasons. This is 83% less than the Pittsburgh Steelers, and 62% lower than the league average.
And despite seeing five player suspensions ahead of the 2023 season, the Detroit Lions sit below the league average in the ranking, amassing 12 infractions between 2020 and 2022.
Speculation is also rife around gambling infractions, with the NFL announcing that both Isaiah Rodgers and Demetrius Taylor are suspended indefinitely for betting on NFL games, while Nicholas Petit-Frere is also suspended for the Tennessee Titans’ first six games.
The top ten most disruptive teams in the NFL, ranked
|Rank||Team||No. of Infractions||Total Fines||Disruption %, Compared to League Avg (13)|
|1||Pittsburgh Steelers||30||$5,342,533||150% higher|
|2||Dallas Cowboys||25||$292,158||108% higher|
|3||Las Vegas Raiders||21||$252,159||75% higher|
|4||New Orleans Saints||21||$267,823||75% higher|
|5||Denver Broncos||20||$208,481||67% higher|
|6||Los Angeles Rams||17||$176,612||42% higher|
|7||Cleveland Browns||16||$156,623||33% higher|
|8||Seattle Seahawks||16||$155,023||33% higher|
|9||Kansas City Chiefs||16||$168,079||33% higher|
|10||Cincinnati Bengals||14||$141,876||17% higher|
On a league-wide level, the most common infraction was unsportsmanlike conduct, which includes things like verbal abuse, taunting an official, or feigning an injury. Other common issues included fighting, roughting the passer, and hits on defenceless players.
Some positions are more prone to penalties than others, the data shows, with the majority of violations caused by wide receivers, followed by cornerbacks and defensive ends.
As well as looking at the most disruptive teams, the analysis looked at the players that frequently incur infractions. The Seattle Seahawks’ D.K. Metcalf was named the most problematic player, having amassed seven infractions between the 2020 and 2022 seasons.
Speaking on the findings, a JustGamblers spokesperson said: “While the majority of infractions affect teams and players more than they affect how they’re seen by fans, some do have a negative impact on how teams are perceived – particularly those that affect play.
“For example, if the Pittsburgh Steelers were playing a high-pressure game towards the end of the season, and a player is given a yardage penalty or the loss of a down which impacts the end result, fans will become frustrated that this behavior couldn’t have been avoided.
“American football is an intense sport that causes high emotions, and so it’s understandable that sometimes players slip up and act in an unsavory way on the pitch. However, it’s important they remain mindful of the financial and reputational impact of their actions.”
Data gathered from Sportrac.
Full NFL Team Ranking