Top 10 Players To Never Win A Super Bowl
The Superbowl, victory in the biggest game of them all is easily the highlight of any player’s career. Victory in the NFL’s centrepiece creates heroes and cements legacies. For some despite all their on the field credentials victory in the Superbowl and NFL immortality is one step too far. This article looks at the ten greatest players who never basked in championship glory.
10 – Brian Urlacher
Throughout the noughties Urlacher was the catalyst who spearheaded the Bears brutal defence. In 2000 Urlacher burst onto the pro scene winning defensive rookie of the year. For well over a decade he continued to strike fear into his opponents, appearing in eight pro bowls and winning defensive player of the year in 2005. He finished his career with 41.5 sacks and 22 interceptions, impressive numbers for a linebacker. Urlacher and the Bears came close to winning the Superbowl but came up short against the Indianapolis Colts in Superbowl XLI. Championship glory is the only thing missing from what is sure to be a first ballot hall of fame career.
9 – Champ Bailey
Bailey is one of the fastest players to ever play the game and is arguably the game’s greatest ever cornerback. Voted to twelve pro bowls Bailey constantly shut down some of the game’s most elite receivers. The definition of a true shut down corner Bailey finished his career with 52 interceptions. In his lone Superbowl appearance (which would be his final game) and with his roll diminished to the roll of nickleback Bailey and the Broncos were blown away by the Seattle Seahawks.
8 – Jim Kelly
Kelly is the only quarterback in NFL history to lead his team to four straight Superbowls, a feat he did with the Buffalo Bills between 1991 – 1994. Unfortunately for Kelly and his team mates the Bills would go on to lose all four games. Before the Bills Kelly had to prove himself in the USFL, his success there translated to the NFL and he finished his career with 320 touchdowns and over 45,000 passing yards. He was inducted into the NFL hall of fame in 2002 and remains the last Bills quarterback to win a playoff game.
7 – Fran Tarkenton
Tarkenton was the NFL’s first true scrambling quarterback years before scrambling was the thing to do. He was to lead the Vikings to three Superbowl appearances in four years but like Kelly in the years to come he was to find himself on the losing side on each of his three appearances. Upon his retirement the 1975 NFL MVP was the career leader in passing yards and touchdowns (47,003 yards and 342 touchdowns)
6 – Bruce Smith
Former Bills defensive end Bruce Smith is the NFL’s symbol of consistency. He is the only player in NFL history to record 200 sacks and was such a dominant pass rushing force that he was voted to the NFL’s 1980’s and 1990’s all decade teams. In thirteen of his nineteen season he was to record a minimum of ten sacks. His ability to terrorise the opposition quarterback was unrivalled but unfortunately for him he was a part of the Bills teams which lost four straight Superbowls including a blowout 52 – 17 defeat to the Dallas Cowboys.
5 – Warren Moon
Moon’s path to the NFL was paved with adversity and severe racial prejudice. Overlooked in the NFL draft due to his colour Moon was to patiently apply his trade in the CFL before finally being given a chance in the NFL. Moon’s arrival at the highest level didn’t disappoint, the 1990 NFL MVP appeared in nine pro bowls and threw for 49,325 yards and 291 touchdowns. Although he never got the opportunity to play in the Superbowl Moon paved the way for future African Americans to play the quarterback position, this legacy far outweighs any championship.
4 – Randy Moss
Moss was able to stretch the field unlike anyone else who has ever played the wide receiver position. His freak physical size and speed allowed him to bully opposing defensive backs and during his rookie season he caught an unprecedented and NFL record seventeen touchdown passes. Over the course of his career Moss had ten 1000yard seasons and finished third all-time with 15,292 yards and second all-time with 156 touchdowns. He twice had the chance to win the Superbowl but found himself on the losing side with the 2007 New England Patriots and the 2012 San Francisco 49ers.
3 – Tony Gonzalez
Gonzalez is the NFL’s greatest ever tight end and holds every major record for the position, including most receiving yards for a tight end (15,127) and touchdowns (111) He was to appear in an NFL record fourteen pro bowls and is one of the NFL’s iron men, missing just two games in a seventeen year career. Despite his hall of fame career Gonzalez struggled in the playoffs, it took until his penultimate season to win his first playoff game. Throughout his career Gonzalez finished with a 1 – 6 playoff record.
2 – Dan Marino
Despite never winning the Superbowl Marino is regarded as one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever play the game. Following his seventeen year career with the Miami Dolphins Marino was to retire holding multiple records including most passing yards (61,361) and touchdowns. (420.) During his career Marino led the Dolphins to the playoffs ten times. The highlight culminated in an appearance against Joe Montana’s 49ers in Superbowl XIX which the 49ers won 38 – 16. This was to spark the 49ers dynasty and would be as close as Marino would come to winning the Superbowl.
1 – Barry Sanders
Sanders is the most explosive back in NFL history and is the game’s greatest player to never win the Superbowl. During his ten year career Sanders averaged over 1500 yards per season and is a member of the exclusive 2000 yards in a season club. He appeared in the pro bowl every year he played, was a four time rushing champion and was the league’s 1991 MVP. He retired in the prime of his career and within touching distance of the NFL’s all-time rushing record stating that he was emotionally broken by the Lions culture of losing.