LaDainian Tomlinson was the fifth pick in round one of the 2001 NFL Draft by the San Diego Chargers. He finished his career ranked second in NFL history with 145 rushing touchdowns, third in rushing/receiving touchdowns with 162, fifth in rushing yards and yards from scrimmage and won the 2006 NFL MVP award. Tomlinson also had at least 10 rushing touchdowns in his first nine seasons while he had at least 1,100 rushing yards in his first eight seasons.
Tomlinson said that he would rather make it to the Hall of Fame without a ring than win a ring without going to the Hall of Fame because one has to sacrifice so much individually to be good. Former New England Patriots linebacker Tedy Bruschi, who is a three time Super Bowl champion, said he disagreed because one does not control what the 44 writers on the Hall of Fame committee may think, but one can control if he wins a ring. Cris Carter spent 12 of his 16 seasons with the Minnesota Vikings. When Carter retired in 2002, he ranked second all-time in receptions and touchdown receptions and fourth all-time in receiving yards as well as receiving/rushing touchdowns. Carter is not in the Hall of Fame, which is an embarrassment on the part of voters, so Bruschi has a point when one uses him as an example.
I disagree with Bruschi in a sense that the only way a player can control whether his team wins or loses every game is if he plays defense, offense and special teams on almost every down, which is unrealistic. LT had 23 rushing attempts for 123 yards, two touchdowns and no fumbles to go along with two receptions for 64 yards in a 2006 playoff loss against New England. This is an example of which I am sure there are many where a player could not control the outcome of the game. One could argue that there was a weak link on the roster of last year’s Super Bowl champions. The New York Giants ranked last in the NFL with an average of 3.5 yards per rush attempt during the regular season. Other than their first playoff game, they were a poor rushing team in the postseason as well. Therefore owning a Super Bowl ring does not necessarily mean a player was great that season, but there is no debating that about a Hall of Fame member.