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25 Athletes Who Never Got The Credit They Rightly Deserved

Athletes Who Never Got The Credit They Deserved

Boomer Esiason
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In professional sports, some players will always be underrated and never get the credit they deserve no matter what they have accomplished to earn it. Here is a list of 25 athletes who fall into that category.

25. Trent Dilfer

Trent Dilfer
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25. Trent Dilfer

Trent Dilfer
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Baltimore Ravens quarterback Trent Dilfer only started eight regular season games for the team in 2000, yet he went on to lead them to a win in Super Bowl XXV. He is often labeled as a 'game manager' and does not get the credit any QB should receive after bringing the organization a title.

24. Detlef Schrempf

Seattle Supersonics Detlef Schrempf
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24. Detlef Schrempf

Seattle Supersonics Detlef Schrempf
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Detlef Schrempf is often remembered more for his awkward hairstyle than he was for his play on the court, but the German forward scored over 15,000 points in his career and was a pivotal piece of the Seattle Supersonics roster that took the Michael Jordan Chicago Bulls to six games in the 1996 NBA finals.

23. Eric Gagne

Eric Gagne
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23. Eric Gagne

Eric Gagne
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Closer Eric Gagne had one of the best seasons for a reliever in MLB history in 2003, saving 55 games with a 1.20 ERA on his way to a Cy Young Award. He saved a career total of 187 games, mainly for the Los Angeles Dodgers, but is often discredited by poor performances with the Boston Red Sox and Milwaukee Brewers late in his career.

22. Eric Lindros

Eric Lindros
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22. Eric Lindros

Eric Lindros
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Philadelphia Flyers forward Eric Lindros was one of the most prolific talents of his generation and was on his way to a Hall Of Fame career, but his bruising style of play led to concussion problems and other injuries making him unreliable. Had he not missed so many games, he might have gotten the credit his ability warranted.

21. Mark Brunell

Mark Brunell Jacksonville Jaguars
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21. Mark Brunell

Mark Brunell Jacksonville Jaguars
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Quarterback Mark Brunell started 10 games for the Jacksonville Jaguars in what was their inaugural season in 1995. Just a year later in 1996, he led the NFL in passing yards with 4,367 and took the team to the AFC Championship game in the organization's second season. He went on to lead the team to a 14-2 record in 1999, but despite these achievements he is rarely mentioned as a top QB of his era.

20. Chauncey Billups

Detroit Pistons Chauncey Billups
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20. Chauncey Billups

Detroit Pistons Chauncey Billups
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PG Chauncey Billups led the Detroit Pistons to a championship in 2004 and was named NBA Finals MVP. The five-time All-Star also anchored the roster that owns the best single-season record for the Pistons, going 64-18 in 2006. Still, he does not get the same respect as many other post-millennial point guards who have not achieved nearly as much, and he is often underrated by the press.

19. Bartolo Colon

Bartolo Colon
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19. Bartolo Colon

Bartolo Colon
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SP Bartolo Colon has won almost 200 games (198), won a Cy Young Award for his 2005 campaign with the Anaheim Angels and has 12 double-digit win seasons under his belt. Yet he always seems to be remembered for four injury-plagued seasons between 2006-09 rather than his impressive track record.

18. Alexander Mogilny

Alexander Mogilny
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18. Alexander Mogilny

Alexander Mogilny
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Right-winger Alexander Mogilny was easily one of the most prolific scorers of his generation, yet he is rarely mentioned in the conversation. He scored the tenth most goals (321) during the 90s and made six All-Star Games. Mogilny finished his career with 473 goals and 1,032 points overall, but he had a difficult time staying healthy and rarely made it through a full season, which hurt his reputation.

17. Phil Simms

Phil Simms
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17. Phil Simms

Phil Simms
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New York Giants QB Phil Simms threw for over 33,000 yards over his 14 years with the organization, winning two Super Bowl rings with Bill Parcells. Although Simms led the team to an 11-3 regular season record prior to breaking his foot in 1990, he missed the Super Bowl due to the injury and rarely gets credit for the run. If Simms had played in that game rather than Jeff Hostetler, he might be in the Hall Of Fame today.

16. Jeff Hornacek

Jeff Hornacek
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16. Jeff Hornacek

Jeff Hornacek
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SG Jeff Hornacek was never dominant in the NBA, but he had an extremely solid 15-season run. He was a high percentage shooter (.496 career FG percentage) and scored over 15,000 points. Had the Utah Jazz beaten the Chicago Bulls in either the 1997 or 1998 NBA Finals, Hornacek might not be as underrated as he is today.

15. Bobby Abreu

Bobby Abreu
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15. Bobby Abreu

Bobby Abreu
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OF Bobby Abreu is one of the most dynamic and versatile offensive players in MLB history, yet no one seems to realize it. He has a career .291 average, 2,466 hits, 288 HRs, 1,363 RBIs, 400 stolen bases and has scored 1,453 runs, but somehow he's rarely referenced as a future Hall Of Famer.

14. Esa Tikkanen

Esa Tikkanen
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14. Esa Tikkanen

Esa Tikkanen
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Left-winger Esa Tikkanen was an integral part of the 80s Edmonton Oilers dynasty teams, but he is often an afterthought to Wayne Gretzky, Mark Messier and Grant Fuhr. Tikkanen won four cups with the Oilers and one with the New York Rangers. He is truly one of the most underrated role players of his time.

13. Bill Laimbeer

Bill Laimbeer
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13. Bill Laimbeer

Bill Laimbeer
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Bill Laimbeer spent 12 seasons with the Detroit Pistons, won two championships (1989,1990), was a four-time All-Star and won a rebounding crown in 1986. He was undoubtedly the most feared big man of his generation, known for punishing physical defense and starting fights. Unfortunately for Laimbeer, most of the players from his era despise him, and he is remembered more for being a pest than his solid play on the court.

12. Paul Kariya

Paul Kariya
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12. Paul Kariya

Paul Kariya
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Left-winger Paul Kariya is a seven-time All-Star and clearly one of the most prolific players of his time, but he's often remembered for not getting the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim over the hump and to a championship win during the 2003 Stanley Cup Finals. For that reason, he plays second-fiddle to Teemu Selanne in Ducks' folklore despite similar individual ability.

11. Mike Mussina

Mike Mussina
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11. Mike Mussina

Mike Mussina
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The 'moose' Mike Mussina is a five-time All-Star, seven-time Gold-Glove winner and won 270 games in his MLB career with the Baltimore Orioles and New York Yankees. Despite having eleven 15-plus win seasons, Mussina gets unfairly labeled as a compiler and did not get much love in his first year on the Hall Of Fame ballot in 2014, which is absurd.

10. Bernard King

New York Knicks Bernard King
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10. Bernard King

New York Knicks Bernard King
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SF Bernard King is one of the most purely talented players in NBA history. He is 42nd all time in points scored with 19,655 in just 874 games over the course of 14 seasons. King won a scoring title in 1985, was a four-time All-Star and two-time All-NBA First Team member. It took him 20 years to be inducted into the Hall Of Fame finally in 2013, and if not for injuries he would have been a top 25 player of all time.

9. Tim Raines

Tim Raines
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9. Tim Raines

Tim Raines
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OF Tim Raines is fifth all-time in stolen bases with 808 and hit for a career average of .294 with 2,605 hits. He was a seven-time All-Star, three-time World Series champion and won a batting title in 1986. He has been retired for 12 years and has yet to be elected to the Hall Of Fame, which is an abomination. Anything short of a spot in Cooperstown is insulting one of the greatest players the game has ever seen.

8. Brian Westbrook

Brian Westbrook
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8. Brian Westbrook

Brian Westbrook
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RB Brian Westbrook is one of the most versatile backs in NFL history, but his career was cut short by lingering concussion issues. Westbrook was not only an exceptional rusher, but he also had an unbelievable knack for producing in the passing game. In just nine seasons, he accumulated 6,335 yards rushing, 3,940 yards receiving and scored 71 total TDs. He should be on the list of most dynamic backs of all time but rarely is.

7. Paul Konerko

Paul Konerko
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7. Paul Konerko

Paul Konerko
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First-baseman Paul Konerko is one of the most consistent sluggers of his generation. Even with 439 HRs, six All-Star appearances and a 2005 World Series title with the Chicago White Sox, Konerko's career has been overlooked nationally at times, and he's never gotten the credit he truly deserves.

6. Keith Hernandez

Keith Hernandez
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6. Keith Hernandez

Keith Hernandez
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First baseman Keith Hernandez is arguably the best defensive player at the position in MLB history. He won a batting title, is an 11-time Gold-Glove winner, five-time All-Star and two-time World Series champion. Hernandez also shared a rare NL co-MVP award along with Willie Stargell in 1979. Hernandez is clearly one of the biggest Hall Of Fame snubs ever in MLB.

5. Chris Osgood

Chris Osgood
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5. Chris Osgood

Chris Osgood
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Goaltender Chris Osgood won three Stanley Cups (two as a starter, 1998 & 2008) over two different tours of duty with the Detroit Red Wings. He is tenth all-time in wins with 401, however, when thinking of the Red Wings and Stanley Cups, it's Steve Yzerman and Sergei Fedorov who first come to mind with Osgood's impact often going overlooked.

4. Todd Helton

Todd Helton
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4. Todd Helton

Todd Helton
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First baseman Todd Helton had an incredibly productive career for the Colorado Rockies, but when his name is brought up in discussion, many claim that he was simply a product of playing in the thin air of Coors Field in Denver. However, Helton is 16th all-time in doubles with 592, hit 369 HRs, won three Gold Gloves and made five All-Star appearances. Helton deserves more credit, and the thin air deserves less.

3. Donovan McNabb

Donovan McNabb
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3. Donovan McNabb

Donovan McNabb
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Donovan McNabb took a ridiculous amount of unwarranted criticism during his time with the Philadelphia Eagles and always received the brunt of the blame for the Eagles' inability to win a Super Bowl whether it was his fault or not. The six-time Pro-Bowl QB was not highly turnover-prone and threw for over 37,000 career yards, good for 17th all-time. Had he won a title he would have been a lock Hall Of Famer and gotten the respect he deserved.

2. Boomer Esiason

Boomer Esiason
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2. Boomer Esiason

Boomer Esiason
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Quarterback Boomer Esiason is 16th all-time in passing yards with 37,920 and was All-Pro in 1988, but he's often thought of more for his rocky relationship with the Bengals' front office and the team's loss in Super Bowl XXIII to Joe Montana and the San Francisco 49ers. He simply deserves more respect than he gets and would have made the Hall Of Fame had he won a ring.

1. Scottie Pippen

Scottie Pippen
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1. Scottie Pippen

Scottie Pippen
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At last, we reach the age-old Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen debate. There is no doubt Jordan had been dominant prior to Pippen's arrival in 1987, but the talent of one star is never enough to win a championship in the NBA, let alone six. The two players undoubtedly complemented each other's skills, but make no mistake -- Michael Jordan did not make Scottie Pippen, and Jordan never won a thing without him.

Timothy Downs is a fantasy sports writer for RantSports.com. You can add him on Google or follow on Twitter @Tidow1212.