10 Best NFL Players To Never Win A Super Bowl
The last Super Bowl was a tremendous victory for the Los Angeles Rams but especially for Matthew Stafford. After thirteen seasons, the former No. 1 draft pick was finally able to escape the list of one of the NFL’s best players to not win a Super Bowl. Sadly, the rest of this list is plentiful because, despite plenty of chances, some NFL legends have never been able to lift the Lombardi Trophy.
Some came close with a shot (or three) in the Super Bowl but failed to win. Others, surprisingly, never even made it that far, losing in the playoffs despite all their incredible talent. It’s amazing how men can be in the Hall of Fame with records that will probably never be broken but still don’t have a Super Bowl ring, while long-forgotten guys do. These are the top ten NFL stars to win a Super Bowl to remind fans how unfair this Big Game can be.
ten Barry Sander
Much like Jim Brown, it’s arguable that Barry Sanders could hold huge NFL records if he hadn’t decided to retire after just ten seasons. During this time, Sanders racked up an impressive array of success for the Detroit Lions, as the Heisman Trophy winner was twice Offensive Player of the Year, won the Pro Bowl each season, and was the 1997 MVP.
He led the way in rushing yards four times and his 1997 season was a stellar one. Amazingly, Sanders retired before breaking the all-time record and the Lions never got past the NFC title game, but his legacy remains as one of the greatest players in Detroit history.
For Minnesota Vikings fans, Fran Tarkenton is still one of the best QBs in franchise history. His career was notable for playing for Minnesota from 1961 to 1966, taking a five-year hiatus with the Giants and then seven more at Minnesota.
He led the Vikings to three Super Bowls in that time, but unfortunately each was a tough loss with Tarkenton having a bad game. Still, that doesn’t take into account his career rushes of 47,003 yards and 342 touchdowns, both records at the time of his retirement. So while he may never get that elusive victory, at least Tarkenton has helped the Vikings taste the Super Bowl a few times.
8 Randy Moss
Twice Randy Moss had a chance to win the Super Bowl, but each time he couldn’t add it. A two-time All-American, Moss started for the Vikings before being traded to the Raiders. In 2007, he joined the Patriots, part of that team that went undefeated in the regular season only to suffer an upset Super Bowl loss to the Giants. It was more bitter considering that Moss had just set the single-season touchdown record.
He had another Super Bowl hit with the 49ers only to lose to the Ravens. So despite being second all-time in single-season receptions and one of the best wide receivers in history, Moss never got that Super Bowl ring.
7 Dick Butkus
He may not hold the records like the others, but Dick Butkus excelled at changing what a middle linebacker could do. One of the fiercest and most feared players in the game, Butkus didn’t attack his opponents, he maimed them and left them fouls.
Eight-time Pro Bowler and two-time Defensive Player of the Year, Butkus had the misfortune of being the best player of a bad spell for the Chicago Bears. Had they had the offense match its ferocity, the Bears could have won a lot more. His post-game career as a broadcaster and actor may make one forget how fearsome Butkus was in his heyday.
6 OJ Simpson
Yes, OJ Simpson’s legacy is very different today. But make no mistake, in his heyday, “the Juice” was one of the most outstanding players the game had ever seen. He was the first to rush for 2,000 yards in a season and still holds the record for single-season yards per game average.
Yet despite this talent and fame, Simpson was never able to help the Bills or later the 49’ers to a Super Bowl. His name means something very different today, but Simpson still has to rank among the best players never to have had the chance to compete in the Big Game.
5 Eric Dickerson
After a stellar college career, Eric Dickerson was an easy No. 2 pick in the Rams’ 1983 draft. Notable for his glasses (due to his nearsightedness), Dickerson led the league in rushing in four seasons, six-time Pro Bowler, and still holds the single-season rushing record.
In eleven seasons, the Rams’ closest to the Super Bowl was losing the 1986 NFC title game to the Bears. Dickerson was traded to the Colts, where he still had good numbers but no playoff success. Despite being an obvious choice for the Hall of Famer, Dickerson never got the chance to chase down a Super Bowl title he deserved.
4 Tony Gonzalez
Before Tony Gonzalez arrived, few people cared so much about the tight end position. Gonzalez redefined what a TE meant during a career that included 14 Pro Bowl appearances, just two of 270 missed games and just two of 1,327 fumbles.
He holds the NFL records for total receiving yards (15,127) and receptions by tight end (1,325) and is third all-time on the receptions list. Unfortunately, all of that didn’t help the Chiefs or Falcons do well in the playoffs. An easy Hall of Fame pick, Gonzalez also ranks as the best tight end to never make it to the Big Game.
3 Terrell Owens
Although he was repeatedly criticized for his ego and behavior, Terrell Owens was one of the leading players of his time. Of the 49ers at the Eagles, Owens ranks third in yards fetched and touchdowns received and remains the only man to score two or more touchdowns against all 32 NFL teams.
It is also impressive the number of records he holds in five different teams. He had nine receptions for 122 yards on a half-broken leg in Super Bowl 39, which the Eagles lost. While he has made enemies with his attitude, TO’s many records make him one of the best receivers not to win a championship.
2 Jim Kelly
It’s one thing to never go to the Super Bowl. It’s another to only have one chance. But imagine going to four straight Super Bowls and none of them being a win. That was the fate of Jim Kelly, who helped turn the Buffalo Bills into a four-straight AFC championship powerhouse from 1991-94.
Yet each time, the Bills lost, which must have hurt. Kelly was a fun guy and talented QB, so it’s sad that he’s best known for one of the greatest “coming soon” stories in NFL history.
1 Dan Marin
A classic scene from the 1999 Adam Sandler film Little Nicky has Dan Marino literally offering to sell his soul to win a Super Bowl. Despite all of his incredible accolades, Marino will sadly go down as the best QB to never win the big bucks. With 155 wins among dozens of titles, the nine-time Pro Bowler and MVP has always been formidable, with his quick arm leading the Dolphins to wins.
Yet his only Super Bowl appearance was crushed by Joe Montana and the 49ers. Marino had a successful post-game career as a broadcaster, but unfortunately Marino never added a ring to his many accolades.
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