Ranking The 25 Best NFL Players To Never Win A Super Bowl
25 Great Players Who Never Won The Super Bowl
When the Super Bowl 2014 matchup of the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks was officially set in stone, there were a number of story lines that popped up, with nearly every single one of them involving the legacy of one individual or another. This is quite an obvious connection to be made, as the Super Bowl is always the biggest event of the sporting year, and as the championship game of the NFL, it normally puts many great players on the field.
Of course, with football being a team sport, it is nearly impossible to truly have one great player win a game by themselves, as it really does take a 53 man effort to win the Super Bowl. The result of this is that there are a large number of great football players who have never, and will never, win the Super Bowl despite showing great individual brilliance for a prolonged career.
Keeping in mind the nature of football being a team sport that watches many great players go without winning the Super Bowl during a Hall of Fame worthy career, I have decided to form a list of the 25 greatest NFL players to never raise the Vince Lombardi Trophy. Each player on this list had a career that placed them in the pantheon of the greatest players to ever suit up on a football field, and often times even came up just short from reaching the game's pinnacle in terms of team accomplishments.
There will surely be a number of people who disagree with some of the selections I have made when formulating this list, and to that extent I encourage you to leave a comment with who you feel should or shouldn't be on the list. All comments will surely create great conversation, and are surely welcomed.
25. Jim Kelly
Jim Kelly helped innovate the no-huddle offense during his 11-year career with the Buffalo Bills, and did so in great fashion. During his time behind center, Kelly threw for 35,467 yards, 237 touchdowns, and led the Bills to four consecutive Super Bowl appearances, although they lost each one. Still, the quarterback was inducted into the Hall of Fame on his first try in 2002 and was a phenomenal quarterback.
24. John Hannah
John Hannah played left guard for the New England Patriots from 1973-85, and ensured that his quarterback was almost never hit from the blindside. Hannah made nine Pro Bowls, 10 All-Pro Teams, and was named to the 1970's NFL All Decade Team, 1980 NFL All Decade Team, and 75th NFL Anniversary All-Time Team, and is regarded as many as the best offensive lineman ever.
23. Brian Urlacher
Brian Urlacher may have only retired from the Chicago Bears in 2012, but he is already an all-time great at the position of linebacker. Over a 13-year career, Urlacher made eight Pro Bowl Teams, picked up 41.5 sacks, 1,353 tackles and 22 interceptions.
22. Kellen Winslow
Kellen Winslow helped turn the position of tight end from a position that mainly blocked to one that contributed in catching passes during his nine-year career with the San Diego Chargers, although this never turned into a Super Bowl victory. All in all, Winslow went to five Pro Bowls, caught 541 passes, had 6741 receiving yards, and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1995.
21. Ken Houston
Ken Houston was a dominant safety for the Houston Oilers and Washington Redskins from 1967-80, as he made 12 Pro Bowls, intercepted 49 passes, recovered 21 fumbles, and scored 12 touchdowns. For the totality of his career, Houston was a dominant figure at safety and is regarded as one of the best to have ever played in the NFL at the position.
20. James Lofton
James Lofton was one of the premier receivers in the NFL from 1978-93, as he compiled 764 receptions, 75 touchdowns, and 14,004 career receiving yards. This production helped Lofton gain entrance into eight Pro Bowls, the 1980 NFL All-Decade Team, and the NFL Hall of Fame.
19. Steve Largent
Steve Largent was one of the most sure handed receivers to ever step on a football field during his career with the Seattle Seahawks, as he went from expansion draft anonymity to Hall of Fame inductee in 1995. When Largent left the game, he held receiving records for career yards, most consecutive games with a reception, career receiving yards, and career touchdown receptions.
18. Alan Page
Alan Page earned his fame at defensive tackle for the Minnesota Vikings as part of the famed Purple Purple Eaters, which consisted of four players who dominated the defensive line. Page was surely the greatest out of the four, as he picked up 148.5 career sacks, nine trips to the Pro Bowl, the 1971 NFL MVP Award, and a spot in the NFL Hall of Fame.
17. Dan Fouts
Dan Fouts was the quarterback of the San Diego Chargers teams that dominated opposing teams in the late 1970's and early 1980's, although they were never able to convert come playoff time. Still, Fouts was able to make it to six Pro Bowls, win the 1982 NFL MVP, throw for 43,040 yards, and be inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame.
16. Warren Moon
Warren Moon became one of the first great African-American NFL quarterbacks upon signing with the Houston Oilers in 1984, and he had a career that all football fans were proud of. Throughout his 17 seasons in the NFL, Moon threw for 49,325 yards, 291 touchdowns, went to nine Pro Bowls, and went into the Hall of Fame in 2006. Arguably the only thing missing from Moon's resume was a Super Bowl victory.
15. Junior Seau
Junior Seau was known for seemingly being everywhere on the field at the same time during his 20-year career, and the statistics back this thought up. Seau picked up 1,849 career tackles, 56.5 sacks, 18 interceptions, went to 12 Pro Bowls, and surely will be posthumously inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2015 when he becomes eligible.
14. Eric Dickerson
Eric Dickerson broke into the NFL with almost unparalleled success, as he rushed for 1,808 yards and 2,105 yards in his first two seasons for the Los Angeles Rams. Of course, the dominance would not stop there for Dickerson, as he would rush for 13,259 career yards, 90 touchdowns, and earned induction into the Hall of Fame for his dominance. Unfortunately, Dickerson was too busy keeping the team on his back and did not have enough support to win the Super bowl.
13. Dick Butkus
Dick Butkus was the epitome of a mean and physical quarterback during his time with the Chicago Bears, as he went to eight Pro Bowls, was a two time NFL Defensive Player of the Year, and generally scared opposing players into oblivion. To this day, Butkus is regarded as not only one of the best linebackers ever, but one of the best players regardless of position, despite not winning the Super Bowl.
12. Fran Tarkenton
Fran Tarkenton set the path for all quarterbacks who can scramble with the football, as he used his legs to great efficiency in an effort to aid his great arm. In terms of statistical output, this read out to 47,003 passing yards, 342 passing touchdowns, 3,674 rushing yards, and 32 rushing touchdowns over a 19-year career with the Minnesota Vikings and New York Giants.
11. Earl Campbell
Earl Campbell was one of the most dominating forces to ever step on a football field, as his physicality with the football ensured no defender wanted to tackle him. This hard-nosed style of play also resulted in career totals of 9,407 rushing yards, 74 touchdowns, and a spot in the NFL Hall of Fame.
10. Terrell Owens
Terrell Owens may have been one of the biggest locker room nuisances during his 15-year NFL career, but he also happens to be one of the best wide receivers ever. During his career, Owens went to six Pro Bowls, caught 1,078 passes, 15,934 yards, 153 touchdowns, and generally changed games with his mix of speed, size and flamboyant nature.
9. LaDainian Tomlinson
LaDainian Tomlinson was one of the best dual threat running backs to ever suit up during his 12-year career with the San Diego Chargers and New York Jets. Simply put, nobody could stop him when healthy, as he led the league in rushing yards twice, was named to the 2000 All-NFL Decade Team, picked up 13,684 career rushing yards, 145 rushing touchdowns and 17 receiving touchdowns.
8. Tony Gonzalez
Tony Gonzalez may have only retired at the end of the 2013 season, but he already is extremely deserving of being on this list. Over a 17-season career with the Atlanta Falcons and Kansas City Chiefs, Gonzalez picked up 1,325 receptions, 15,127 receiving yards, 111 touchdowns, 13 Pro Bowl appearances, and a spot as arguably the best tight end ever.
7. Cris Carter
Cris Carter was so dominant at wide receiver during his 16-year NFL career that Buddy Ryan once said, "All he does is catch touchdowns." One could argue that this statement was correct in alluding to Carter's great play, as he caught 1,101 passes, picked up 13,899 receiving yards, went to eight Pro Bowls, and was inducted into the Hall of Fame.
6. Deacon Jones
Deacon Jones was such a dominant force at defensive end from 1961-74 for the Los Angeles Rams, San Diego Chargers and Washington Redskins that he formed the term sack, which we all know is still used today. Nobody on the offensive line could stop Jones during his playing days, as he racked up 173.5 official sacks, went to eight Pro Bowls, and was inducted into the Hall of Fame as a true legend.
5. O.J. Simpson
Whatever you think about O.J. Simpson off the football field, there is no doubting he was a force to be reckoned with on it. Over his 11-season career with the Buffalo Bills and San Francisco 49ers, he went to six Pro Bowls, won the 1973 NFL MVP, and became the only player to rush for 2,000 yards in a 14-game season.
4. Randy Moss
Randy Moss was a controversial figure during his 14-year NFL career, but his play on the field surely will outlast any antics. Moss was equally dominant in the air and with the football in his hands, and in fact, the 982 receiving yards, 15,292 receiving yards, and 156 receiving touchdowns actually seems a bit low considering how dominant he was when on top form.
3. Bruce Smith
Bruce Smith was a dominant force at defensive end for the Buffalo Bills and Washington Redskins, and his career record 200 sacks is indicative of this. Smith went to 11 Pro Bowls, was named to the 1980 and 1990 NFL All-Decade Teams, and was a two time AP Defensive Player of the Year. Unfortunately, he was never able to win the Super Bowl, as he lost four times in a row with the Bills from 1990-93.
2. Dan Marino
Dan Marino would surely be considered the best quarterback to ever play football if not for his inability to win the Super Bowl, but that is the nature of the sporting world. During his 17-season career with the Miami Dolphins, Marino made nine Pro Bowls, threw for 61,361 yards, 420 touchdowns, and set single season and career records at the quarterback position. It's suffice to say that Marino was a machine with the football and is one of the best quarterbacks ever, even if he didn't win a Super Bowl.
1. Barry Sanders
Barry Sanders could very well be the best running back ever, as his mix of speed, quickness and elusiveness was nearly impossible to stop. Over 10 seasons with the Detroit Lions, Sanders rushed for 15,269 yards, and 99 touchdowns, and likely would have been the NFL career leader in both if he didn't retire after a 1,491 yard season in 1998 at the age of 30.