Sean Pendergast

Deshaun Watson Tabbed As Most Hated NFL Player In Texas

Deshaun Watson is an unpopular figure here in the great state of Texas.
Deshaun Watson is an unpopular figure here in the great state of Texas. Photo by Eric Sauseda
How does one measure, quantitatively, an emotion such as dislike, or even extreme hatred. It's such a subjective, volatile thing, that to attach some sort of numeric rating to it feels a little odd. Thankfully, because we live in the age of the internet and social media, an area of our lives that is FLUSH with fresh hatred each and every day, quantifying sheer vitriol is actually possible. WHAT A WORLD!

So when you lay down at night, and your head hits the pillow, faithful Houston Texan fan, and you ask yourself "Self, is my hatred for Deshaun Watson consuming me in some sort of echo chamber where I am all by myself, or are there others like me out there?" — fear not! You are not even close to alone. In fact, we can tell you with data-driven accuracy that you are in a large swath of Texans who carry great scorn for the soon to be former Houston Texans quarterback.

How do we know this? Well, that brings us back to the internet and social media. A gambling website called BetOnline  (, Twitter: @betonline_ag) tracked Twitter data for over a month (over 130,000 tweets) based on geotags, hashtags and direct keyword associations related to fans’ disdain for NFL players, and while Watson did not carry enough states to come even close to winning a "presidential election of hate," he would certainly make a fine "governor of dislike" for our fair state.

Here is the map:
Deshaun Watson is not well liked in the state of Texas.
Photo courtesy of
And here is the State-by-State breakdown, as follows, along with the likely reason the player is hated in these states:

DESHAUN WATSON, Houston Texans QB: 1 state (TX)
When you request a trade from a team that just gave you a $160 million contract four months prior, and then get rendered untradeable because you have been sued by 22 women for allegedly being anywhere from creepy to felonious in a massage environment... well, people will turn on you.

JAMEIS WINSTON, New Orleans Saints QB: 1 state (FL)
Winston was a national champion and Heisman winner at Florida State. That, however, did not cancel out the fact that he was a failed No. 1 overall pick in Tampa Bay, with 30 interceptions in his final season in Tampa. It probably doesn't help that Winston has his own Watson-esque legal issues off the field, both in college and while in the NFL.

BAKER MAYFIELD, Cleveland Browns QB: 2 states (PA, WV)
Mayfield is hated in these two states for two simple reasons — he is the quarterback of the Cleveland Browns, AND the Browns are now good enough to where it is worth expending the energy to hate them. I would also sprinkle in that Mayfield has always been a little worthy of sports hate, even back at Oklahoma.

AARON RODGERS, Green Bay Packers QB: 4 states (MI, IL, MN, ND)
This is the "Great White North" version of the Mayfield hate, based almost purely on geography. If you brush up against the state of Wisconsin, then you hate Aaron Rodgers. I do wonder why North Dakota hates him so much more than South Dakota. That's weird.

ANTONIO BROWN, Tampa Bay Buccaneers WR: 6 states (CT, RI, MA, VT, NH, ME)
Antonio Brown was signed by the Patriots, to some criticism, in 2019, and played in just one game before the team cut him as more details came out about his controversial off the field transgressions, including an investigation into sexual assault accusations. Apparently, the whole New England region is in lockstep on hating Brown.

TOM BRADY, Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB: 36 states (Every other state)
If you're an American, living in any of the 36 states left over, chances are your favorite team has been beaten by Tom Brady in a Super Bowl. After all, he HAS won seven of them.

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Sean Pendergast is a contributing freelance writer who covers Houston area sports daily in the News section, with periodic columns and features, as well. He also hosts the morning drive on SportsRadio 610, as well as the pre-game and post game shows for the Houston Texans.
Contact: Sean Pendergast