Revenge is a dish best served cold, but things are going to get spicy this year when these men get a shot at exacting retribution. Who doesn’t love a little pettiness, a little get-back?

How does it feel when you prove someone wrong who doubted you? How about when some bozo doesn’t take your advice, and you were proved right?! Do you gloat a little when you see an ex has a little misfortune or finds someone who can’t measure up to you…

Are you Mr. Highroad? Please, I know you’ve felt satisfaction in seeing a showboating athlete get dominated. C’mon, swing that leg down from the high horse bud. One of the great poets of our generation once said, “revenge is like the sweetest joy, next to getting cookies!” (or something like that from Mr. Shakur).

Maybe you’re one of those that is cringing at the above level of pettiness… please, spare us all 🙄 don’t act like you don’t think a little thing called KARMA makes the world a better and more fair place!

We know you like it 😏 revel in it for a hot second. Let the tiniest of smirks slowly creep across your lips for three beats. Apparently, some of you agree.

The matchups below are no mere “player faces his former team”… OHHH NO!! We need better than that. MUCH better.

The Harbaugh Bowl doesn’t cut it. That’s going to be a brotherly love fest. Rams against Lions will not make this list. Stafford and Detroit have respect for each other. I can’t say the same for Goff, but it doesn’t scratch that itch quite enough.

One of the great revenge stories in cinema: The Count of Monte Cristo

Even after some of these players get paid a king’s ransom, a few will be driven by the powerful thirst for revenge.

These games are the ones packed with the most acrimony, and each figure will have malice in their hearts when they get a chance to enact some long-awaited vengeance on gameday.

Remember Baltimore Steve Smith Sr. promising blood and guts, then eviscerating the team that gave up on him, in the Panthers? One of the most dramatic revenge games I’ve ever seen was Seattle and the 12’s vs. Broncos QB, Russell Wilson. The DJ was playing an all-Future playlist before the game 😤 all to get in the head of a player that forced his way out, complaining about teammates, head coach, general manager, and trying to get the latter two fired.

There were many candidates for this list… but as I said, only the most toxic will do 😈😈😈

10. Bears, D’Andre Swift @ Lions, David Montgomery (Week 13) – This man Swift chose Chicago so he could tear the Lions a NEW ONE for not letting him join the Detroit ascent, after all he sacrificed! Let’s not forget that Montgomery always looks angry, and his successor in Chicago (Khalil Herbert) has not lived up to his contributions. These two are in position to deliver some literal body blows to their former employers.

9. Texans vs. Titans (Week 12) – The Titans sure riled up the division rival Texans last year by wearing the Oilers throwbacks. Controversial because Tennessee owns the rights to the Houston throwbacks due to the move. (That’s terrible. I’m so relieved that Seattle retained the rights to the Sonics’ team colors, logo and history). You think owner, Cal McNair is just itching to use the new baby blue accent jerseys against Amy Adams Strunk’s team?

8. 49ers, K.J. Wright @ Seahawks (Week 6) – Our beloved legend, Kenneth Bernard Wright Jr. accepted a job with the hated Niners when the Seahawks declined to hire him. He said, this isn’t some revenge thing… yes, it is K.J. 👺 we can see right through the high-road talk 👿 so go on and try to prove what you need to prove big fella. May the Niners do terribly as a team (so Seattle can avenge a season sweep last year), but Wright’s coaching job allow him to get hired in a few years as a coach for SEATTLE (where he belongs).

7. Seahawks, Geno Smith / Leonard Williams / Tariq Woolen vs. Jets, D.J. Reed / Sauce Gardner (Week 13) – Geno and Williams both face former teams that got rid of them, while D.J. Reed is in the very same position on the other side. He absolutely is out to prove something against the Seahawks each and every time out. Meanwhile, the real battle may be centered around the ongoing debate about if Riq the Freak should’ve won DROY over Sauce after the 2022 season. There’s probably also still a little residual hate for the Hawks in the heart of Aaron Rodgers, marinating from his epic battles with the L.O.B. when he was with the Packers.

6. Chiefs, Hollywood Brown vs. Ravens (Week 1) – The very first game of the season is going to hit like processed sugar at an 8-year old’s birthday party. Baltimore was having a magical season, with DC, Mike Macdonald leading the top defense in the league, and Lamar tearing it up on offense to win a 2nd MVP title. The Chiefs knocked them off in an upset in the AFC ‘ship, and Kansas City went on to win the title that matters most: a Lombardi trophy 🏆 Brown is happy about his escape from Baltimore, but the Ravens now have a Derrick Henry.

5. Chiefs @ 49ers (Week 7) – The team in Santa Clara lost two Super Bowls in four years to the same team… Youch! This includes the first ever Super Bowl to go to OT, just 3 months ago! Talk about heartbreak. This is a new season, and a chance to get up off the mat and exorcise some demons.

4. Lions @ 49ers (Week 17) – The Lions get to face the team that killed the wave of feverish, boundless optimism in Detroit. It was a bitter defeat at the hands of the 49ers after Detroit took a 24-7 lead in an NFC Championship game that had them dreaming of the Super Bowl (a place no Lions has ever been). You should’ve heard the crowd at the draft whenever any Niner stepped to the mic 🎤🤬 Yeah there’s some scorn in there.

3. Texans, Stefon Diggs @ Vikings (Week 3), vs. Bills (Week 5) – Here’s a 2-for-1 deal for ya’ll! Diggs may have had falling outs with two teams in his career, being traded twice despite his incredible talents. He may still have feelings about Minnesota, but his most recent exit from Buffalo might still be hurting. Look for him to come out with some competitive fire.

2. Eagles, Saquon Barkley @ Giants (Week 7) – Barkley heads back to Pennsylvania by joining a division rival, and everyone (including Tiki Barber) had something to say about it. It all felt a little personal, especially after the Giants repeatedly refused to pay him, choosing instead to pay one Daniel Jones. Saquon’s daughter dealt the most crushing blow, by saying, “Daddy, does this mean we are gonna win now?” HOO BOY, this is gonna get New York fans’ (assuredly the most reasonable fan base… right?) blood boiling👹.

1. Steelers, Russell Wilson @ Broncos (Week 2) – Now THIS is what we’re talking about people! Denver is deciding to pay Wilson $85M to not play for them, after trading the aforementioned king’s ransom, then subsequently casting him aside like trash. You know Russell will be motivated to show that he isn’t washed, and most of all to save his legacy. Sean Payton embarrassed and wrested control of the organization from RW3. This will be a fascinating game, and possibly one of the most memorable of the season.

Honorable Mention:
Vikings, Dallas Turner & J.J. McCarthy vs. Falcons, Cousins (Week 14) – Look, these are rookies, so they may not have a whole lot of spite in their hearts yet. But how about a chip on the shoulder? Turner was widely being mocked as the pass rusher (and defender, in general) off the board in the 2024 NFL Draft… but he watched as a record, 14 consecutive offensive players were selected. Then a different dude was taken by the Colts at 15. McCarthy may have something to prove for all who doubted him, desiring to get in on the action against a team who surprisingly took Michael Penix Jr. at QB. Of course, Captain Kirk will be motivated to show the Vikings that they should’ve given him a deal that would’ve kept him in purple.