The NFL announced on March 23 it would follow the lead of fútbol and institute a “two strikes and you’re out” policy regarding personal fouls for next season.

That means when a player commits two personal fouls in one game in 2016, he’ll be immediately ejected.

This could have wide-ranging ramifications on the sport, potentially cutting down on roughing the passer penalties, aggressive facemask grabs and generally unsportsmanlike conduct.

Though personal foul data isn’t readily available around the web (perhaps it will be collected more diligently next season), PointAfter does possess general penalty data from past seasons.

The data visualization site, a part of Graphiq, combed penalty data from 2014-15 to determine which NFL players have averaged the most infractions per game over the past two seasons.

These guys might have to tone down their play in 2024.

Please Note: Penalty data purchased from Sportradar. Ties were broken by ranking the player with the greater amount of total 2014-15 penalties higher. If that value was also the same, PointAfter deferred to average yards lost per penalty. If that amount was also the same, as happened with one pair of players, they were denoted as tied.

The Most Penalized NFL Players: A Quick Overview

  • Most Penalized Player: Brandon Browner led with 1.36 penalties per game and 34 total penalties.
  • High Yardage Impact: D.J. Hayden’s penalties averaged the most yards lost per penalty at 14.06.
  • Notable Players: Ndamukong Suh, known for personal fouls, averaged 0.63 penalties per game, but had the least yards lost per penalty (5.15).
  • Consistent Offenders: Players like Greg Robinson and Jerry Hughes frequently incurred penalties, with 24 and 22 total penalties respectively.
  • Position Trends: Offensive linemen, like David Bakhtiari and Orlando Franklin, commonly appeared on the list, highlighting the high-risk positions for penalties.
  • Disciplinary Changes: New “two strikes and you’re out” policy in 2016 will impact these frequently penalized players, potentially reducing rough and unsportsmanlike conduct.

Notable Takeaways

Bengals Steelers Facemask AJ Green

  • J.J. Watt narrowly missed out on this list, as one of 10 active players who’ve averaged exactly half a penalty per game between 2014-15.
  • Offensive linemen committed the most penalties over the last two seasons, with 1,776 accepted. They also committed the most on a per-player basis, with the average lineman (who committed at least one penalty) committing 6.19 penalties between 2014-15. Defensive backs weren’t close behind.
  • Ndamukong Suh lives up to his sullied reputation by qualifying for this article. However, despite his penchant for personal fouls, his amount of average yards lost per penalty (5.15) ranks dead last among the 41 players mentioned here.
  • Only one player averaged more than one penalty per game, and he somehow led the league in total penalties each year. Read on to find out who that was, as well as the 40 other guys who averaged more than one penalty per two games played between 2014-15.

#41. Everson Griffen

Penalties per game: 0.52
Total 2014-15 penalties: 16
Yards per penalty: 5.56 (40th)

#40. Kyle Long

Penalties per game: 0.52
Total 2014-15 penalties: 16
Yards per penalty: 7.31 (31st)

#39. Patrick Peterson

Penalties per game: 0.53
Total 2014-15 penalties: 17
Yards per penalty: 7.82 (26th)

#38. Matt Kalil

Penalties per game: 0.53
Total 2014-15 penalties: 17
Yards per penalty: 8.82 (13th)

#37. Dre Kirkpatrick

Penalties per game: 0.53
Total 2014-15 penalties: 17
Yards per penalty: 9.00 (12th)

#36. Xavier Rhodes

Penalties per game: 0.53
Total 2014-15 penalties: 17
Yards per penalty: 9.82 (8th)

#35. Morris Claiborne

Penalties per game: 0.53
Total 2014-15 penalties: 8
Yards per penalty: 9.88 (7th)

#34. Orlando Franklin

Penalties per game: 0.54
Total 2014-15 penalties: 14
Yards per penalty: 8.21 (T-18th)

#33. Willie Colon

Penalties per game: 0.55
Total 2014-15 penalties: 12
Yards per penalty: 7.25 (32nd)

#32. Bashaud Breeland

Bashuad Breeland Doug Baldwin

Penalties per game: 0.55
Total 2014-15 penalties: 17
Yards per penalty: 12.18 (2nd)

#31. Trent Williams

Penalties per game: 0.55
Total 2014-15 penalties: 16
Yards per penalty: 7.88 (25th)

#30. Russell Okung

Penalties per game: 0.56
Total 2014-15 penalties: 15
Yards per penalty: 5.60 (39th)

#29. Ahmad Brooks

Penalties per game: 0.56
Total 2014-15 penalties: 15
Yards per penalty: 6.60 (37th)

#28. Donovan Smith

Penalties per game: 0.56
Total 2014-15 penalties: 9
Yards per penalty: 7.22 (33rd)

#27. Delvin Breaux

Delvin Breaux Terrance Williams

Penalties per game: 0.56
Total 2014-15 penalties: 9
Yards per penalty: 8.11 (T-20th)

#26. Will Beatty

Penalties per game: 0.56
Total 2014-15 penalties: 9
Yards per penalty: 9.44 (10th)

#25. Michael Bennett

Penalties per game: 0.56
Total 2014-15 penalties: 18
Yards per penalty: 7.50 (30th)

#24. Buster Skrine

Penalties per game: 0.56
Total 2014-15 penalties: 18
Yards per penalty: 11.00 (T-4th)

#23. Blidi Wreh-Wilson

Penalties per game: 0.57
Total 2014-15 penalties: 12
Yards per penalty: 11.50 (3rd)

#22. Lane Johnson

Penalties per game: 0.57
Total 2014-15 penalties: 16
Yards per penalty: 7.19 (34th)

#21. Gosder Cherilus

Penalties per game: 0.58
Total 2014-15 penalties: 15
Yards per penalty: 7.60 (29th)

#20. Jordan Mills

Penalties per game: 0.58
Total 2014-15 penalties: 11
Yards per penalty: 6.82 (36th)

#19. Byron Maxwell

Penalties per game: 0.59
Total 2014-15 penalties: 16
Yards per penalty: 10.63 (6th)

#18. Ereck Flowers

Penalties per game: 0.60
Total 2014-15 penalties: 9
Yards per penalty: 8.11 (T-20th)

Note: Flowers tied for 17th.

#17. Vontaze Burfict

Penalties per game: 0.60
Total 2014-15 penalties: 9
Yards per penalty: 8.11 (T-20th)

Note: Burfict tied for 17th.

#16. Jason Peters

Penalties per game: 0.60
Total 2014-15 penalties: 18
Yards per penalty: 6.83 (35th)

#15. Ja’Wuan James

Ja'Wuan James Holding Justin Houston

Penalties per game: 0.61
Total 2014-15 penalties: 14
Yards per penalty: 8.21 (T-18th)

#14. Andy Levitre

Penalties per game: 0.61
Total 2014-15 penalties: 19
Yards per penalty: 8.42 (17th)

#13. D.J. Hayden

Penalties per game: 0.62
Total 2014-15 penalties: 16
Yards per penalty: 14.06 (1st)

#12. Mike Remmers

Penalties per game: 0.62
Total 2014-15 penalties: 13
Yards per penalty: 6.23 (38th)

#11. Ndamukong Suh

Penalties per game: 0.63
Total 2014-15 penalties: 20
Yards per penalty: 5.15 (41st)

#10. David Bakhtiari

Penalties per game: 0.63
Total 2014-15 penalties: 19
Yards per penalty: 8.11 (23rd)

#9. Demar Dotson

Penalties per game: 0.68
Total 2014-15 penalties: 15
Yards per penalty: 8.47 (16th)

#8. Jerry Hughes

Penalties per game: 0.69
Total 2014-15 penalties: 22
Yards per penalty: 8.77 (14th)

#7. Andre Smith

Penalties per game: 0.70
Total 2014-15 penalties: 16
Yards per penalty: 7.81 (27th)

#6. D.J. Fluker

Penalties per game: 0.71
Total 2014-15 penalties: 20
Yards per penalty: 8.10 (24th)

#5. Tharold Simon

Tharold Simon Brandon LaFell

Penalties per game: 0.73
Total 2014-15 penalties: 8
Yards per penalty: 9.25 (11th)

#4. Cortez Allen

Penalties per game: 0.75
Total 2014-15 penalties: 9
Yards per penalty: 11.00 (T-4th)

#3. Greg Robinson

Penalties per game: 0.75
Total 2014-15 penalties: 24
Yards per penalty: 8.71 (15th)

#2. Anthony Collins

Penalties per game: 0.90
Total 2014-15 penalties: 9
Yards per penalty: 7.78 (28th)

#1. Brandon Browner

Penalties per game: 1.36
Total 2014-15 penalties: 34
Yards per penalty: 9.56 (9th)

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