By DJ Siddiqi @DJSiddiqi on July 26, 2014
Across the four major U.S. sports, there have been many great athletes who failed to win a championship during the course of their careers. Whether it was due to playing for a bad organization or just sheer bad luck, these 25 athletes failed to win a championship in their respective sports.
Curtis Martin is one of those elite players who have been forgotten with time. His career spanned 13 seasons from 1995 through 2007. The former New York Jet currently ranks fourth all-time in rushing yards. The RB was never flashy nor overpowering -- he was just a consistent starting running back for a decade straight. Martin's closest call to winning a Super Bowl came when the New England Patriots lost Super Bowl XXXI.
Cris Carter played during the Jerry Rice era. He was known as a dominant red-zone threat during his NFL career. The former Minnesota Viking ranks No. 4 in receptions and receiving touchdowns. He was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2013. However, the touchdown machine never played in a Super Bowl.
Patrick Ewing was a skilled center who dominated at the collegiate and pro levels. Ewing was the face of the New York Knicks' franchise for a decade and a half, but never won a championship. He advanced to the NBA Finals during the 1994 and 1999 seasons, but his Knicks came up short both times. The former Georgetown product suffered from playing during the Michael Jordan era, when M.J. won six championships in an eight-year period.
Terrell Owens was a playmaker at wide receiver during the peak of the wide receiver craze of the mid-2000s. As T.O.'s production on the field grew, so did his ego and antics off of the field. The prima donna receiver ended his NFL career ranked in the top six in every major receiving category. His closest call to winning a championship was in Super Bowl XXXIX, when his Philadelphia Eagles fell to the New England Patriots.
Like Owens, Randy Moss came of age during the golden era of wide receivers. Moss ended his career near the top of the all-time marks in every major receiving category when he called it a career following the 2012 season. Unfortunately for Moss, his teams failed to win in his two Super Bowl appearances during his 14-year NFL career.
Champ Bailey will be entering his 16th season in the NFL in 2014. Over the past 15 years, Bailey has established himself as one of the greatest cover corners in the history of the NFL. Despite his individual success, the cornerback advanced to his first Super Bowl last season at the age of 35. Unfortunately for the 15-year CB, his Denver Broncos fell to the Seattle Seahawks, 43-8, in Super Bowl XLVIII.
John Stockton has become a bit of a forgotten man in the 11 years since he retired, but there is a reason why he is the NBA career assists leader by 4,000 dimes. The point guard paired with the "Mailman" Karl Malone, but the duo failed to knock off Michael Jordan's Chicago Bulls during the 1997 and 1998 NBA Finals.
Steve Nash is one of the few multiple-time MVP award winners in NBA history. He also just so happens to rank third all-time in assists. Despite Nash's success as an individual player and his ability to make his teammates better, the two-time MVP has yet to even play in the NBA Finals.
Warren Moon played a good chunk of his career in the CFL, where he won five Grey Cups. The quarterback took his talents to the NFL, where he established himself as one of the league's most prolific passers. However, Moon never achieved the same type of championship success in the NFL as he did in the CFL. The Hall-of-Fame QB never advanced past the Divisional Round of the playoffs.
LaDainian Tomlinson was one of the last great backs before passing took over the landscape of the NFL. Drafted by the San Diego Chargers with the No. 5 overall pick, Tomlinson was with the Chargers through the good and the bad. As good as San Diego became as L.T.'s career progressed, the former MVP never had the chance to play in a Super Bowl.
Dan Fouts was the first quarterback to truly dominate the NFL through the air. A Hall-of-Famer who played his entire 15-year career with the San Diego Chargers, Fouts advanced only as far as the AFC Conference Championship Game twice, only to lose on both occasions.
Jim Kelly teamed with Thurman Thomas and Andre Reed to form the NFL's best offense of the early 90s. The Bills dominated the AFC in advancing to four-consecutive Super Bowls from 1990-1993. The issue is, they lost each one of those Super Bowls, and in three of those games, they were absolutely dominated on the big stage.
Ernie Banks was a 14-time All-Star and two-time NL MVP award winner with the Chicago Cubs. Banks played 19 years with the Cubs from 1953-1971, The former Cub never had the opportunity to play in a World Series.
Charles Barkley was one of the league's best big men despite his small stature at just 6-foot-6. Barkley was so dominant on the glass that he led the NBA in rebounding in 1987, and led the league in offensive rebounds in three-consecutive seasons. Sir Charles was named NBA MVP in 1993, but his Phoenix Suns lost in the NBA Finals that year to Jordan's Bulls.
As mentioned earlier, "The Mailman" teamed with John Stockton for 18 seasons together. However, the duo failed to bring the Utah Jazz a championship. Karl Malone would end up joining the Los Angeles Lakers during the 2003-04 season in a last attempt to win an NBA Championship, but fell short again as the Lakers fell to the Detroit Pistons in the 2004 NBA Finals.
It's pretty ridiculous how many accolades and accomplishments Bruce Smith collected during his 19-year NFL career. Smith is the all-time NFL sacks leader, is a member of two NFL All-Decade teams and is a nine-time first-team All-Pro selection. In spite of all of these individual accomplishments, Smith never won a Lombardi Trophy, as he was a member of those Bills teams that lost four-consecutive Super Bowls.
Tony Gonzalez recently called it a career following the conclusion of the 2013 season. The former Kansas City Chief and Atlanta Falcon is easily the NFL's greatest pass-catching tight end, as he holds all major records for the position. However, his teams not only never won a Lombardi Trophy, they never had much playoff success either. The tight end won just one playoff game in his NFL career.
If it weren't for injuries derailing Ken Griffey Jr.'s career in the early 2000s, Griffey may have been No. 1 on this list. However, injuries did derail Griffey's career, and from 2002-2004, "The Kid" played in just 206 total games. The former Seattle Mariner never played in a World Series.
The former Los Angeles King is the greatest NHL player to have never won a Stanley Cup. In a sport where the greats tend to win at least one, if not several championships, Marcel Dionne was an exception. The former center ended his NHL career with eight seasons of at least 100 points.
Ty Cobb dominated his era and won 14 batting championships. Regarded as one of the best hitters of all time, if not the best hitter, Cobb's Detroit Tigers lost in three-consecutive World Series appearances from 1907-1909.
Considered by some to be the greatest hitter in baseball history, Ted Williams is the last player to bat .400 in a single season. Williams accomplished the feat when he batted .406 in 1941. However, the Boston Red Sox lost the 1946 World Series in Williams' lone postseason appearance.
Fran Tarkenton was a former NFL MVP and a nine-time Pro Bowl selection. He led the Minnesota Vikings to three NFC Conference titles in the span of four years. Unfortunately for Tarkenton, the Vikings lost in each one of those championship games.
Barry Sanders had one of the finest 10-year careers of any professional athlete in sports history. Sanders ran for over 2,000 yards in 1997, a season in which he also won the MVP award. In every season of his career, the running back went to the Pro Bowl. However, during his 10 years in Detroit, the franchise won just one playoff game and advanced past the wild card round just once.
Barry Bonds ended his professional baseball career as MLB's all-time leader in home runs. What has tainted Bonds' legacy is the steroid scandal that surrounded him for several years during his final years with the San Francisco Giants. Regardless, he was considered one of the best players in the game before steroids engulfed his career. The former Giant dominated an era in which steroids were used all throughout baseball.
It's hard to argue that Dan Marino doesn't belong as the No. 1 athlete on this list. Before being overtaken by Brett Favre and Peyton Manning in recent years, Marino ended his career following the 1999 season as the NFL's all-time leader in touchdowns and passing yards. The former Miami Dolphin led his team to the Super Bowl following his second season, where the Fins fell to the San Francisco 49ers. Marino never returned to the big game.
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