by Charles McDonald, buy it Hardy, Christian D'Andrea, Adam Stites, and also James Brady january 29, 2019, 1:00pm EST


no everyone it s okay to hoist the Lombardi Trophy. Also some that the best players in NFL background were never able to success a Super bowl — football player who had bonafide room of call careers.

Greatness doesn’t guarantee a Super key ring, or in some instances even a possibility at a ring. Terrell Owens, Tony Gonzalez, LaDainian Tomlinson, Cris Carter, Eric Dickerson, Tony Gonzalez — the variety of titans who have actually come up empty-handed go on and also on.

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It’s virtually impossible to list every truly great player that didn’t success the large game. Instead, we picked out eight players we still can’t think don’t have a Super key championship on their resume.

Randy Moss

Depending on that you talk to, Randy Moss just might be the finest receiver of all time. He’s absolutely one the the ideal receivers to ever step top top a football ar — he was a first-ballot room of Fame selection last year.

Despite a job that consists of 982 receptions, 15,292 receiving yards, and 156 touchdowns, Moss to be unable come clinch a Lombardi trophy. That contains his legendary 2007 stint for the brand-new England Patriots. Moss captured an NFL-record 23 touchdowns because that a Patriots the took a perfect 18-0 record into the supervisor Bowl. They ended up losing to the new York Giants 17-14.

It’s almost criminal that one of the best receivers in NFL history never got a Super bowl while play for among the best teams in the history of the NFL.

Moss obtained one more chance in ~ a ring in his final season in the league. After a short retirement, Moss came back to play because that the 49ers in 2012. They go on come Super bowl XLVII, wherein they lost to the Ravens — one more close three-point loss for Moss’ team.

Barry Sanders

Arguing the Barry Sanders is the ideal running earlier of every time is a lot like making the situation that Randy Moss was the best receiver. Neither played long enough to chase down major career records, yet both were together freakishly unstoppable as the NFL has ever before seen.

Sanders won the Heisman Trophy in 1988 through the many absurdly leading season the football everyone has ever had. Then he do NFL defenses watch silly because that 10 years, earning a agree Bowl nod in every 10 seasons.

He averaged 99.8 rushing yards every game, 5.0 yards per carry, and is one of only three players to ever eclipse 15,000 yards. What he never gained was a trip to the Super bowl — other no Lions team has ever before done.

Sanders to be a member the the only Lions team to play in the NFC Championship in the Super key era. Detroit lost that game, 41-10, to Washington in January 1992.

His career finished abruptly with an unanticipated retirement a couple weeks after ~ his 31st birthday. Sanders did much more than sufficient to be an easy very first ballot hall of reputation entry, but unfortunately, we never got to watch him win it all.

Larry Fitzgerald

In January, Larry Fitzgerald announced hell return for a 15th NFL season v the Arizona Cardinals. One more year should be much more than sufficient to offer him the second spot top top the career receptions perform (he’s just 22 behind Tony Gonzalez), yet it nearly definitely won’t gain him his an initial Super key ring. No unless Kliff Kingsbury is a wonder worker in his first NFL season.

Fitzgerald will probably finish his career 0-1 in super Bowls. It is a shame since he played several of the most leading postseason football of any receiver in NFL history.

He perfect Super bowl 43 with 7 receptions for 127 yards and two touchdowns against the Steelers. The was after ~ he had 152 receiving yards and three touchdowns in the NFC Championship, and also 166 yards and also a touchdown in the Divisional Round. In 4 games that postseason, he had 30 records for 546 yards and seven touchdowns.

His clutch 64-yard touchdown in the supervisor Bowl placed the Cardinals on height late in the 4th quarter:

And it would’ve offered them the success if Ben Roethlisberger hadn’t answered through a touchdown pass to Santonio Holmes.

Fitzgerald will complete his career second all-time in receiving yards, likely 2nd in receptions, and likely sixth in receiving touchdowns. But maybe the most wild stat the his career is the he’s one of eight players v 10 or much more receiving touchdowns in the playoffs. He obtained there in nine games.

That should’ve got Fitzgerald the Super key ring he deserves. Unfortunately, the Cardinals couldn’t item things in addition to enough consistency to provide him the chance.

Junior Seau

Seau was the quintessential multipurpose linebacker; a West coastline wrecking round who had the intelligence, size, and athleticism come cover any kind of situation in an opponent’s playbook. Regrettably for him, he to be star-crossed by gift drafted by the league’s most cursed franchise (non-Browns edition), the Chargers. In mountain Diego, his quarterbacks were part wretched combination of players favor Billy Joe Tolliver, man Friesz, Stan Humphries, Craig Whelihan, Jim Harbaugh, and Ryan Leaf. The fact the franchise even made it to Super bowl 29 is a testament to Seau’s playmaking.

When his Chargers tenure came to an end, he checked out the Dolphins together a 34-year-old linebacker, to let go 18 games in 3 seasons, and also generally looked to wash up. And then, whoops, turns out that’s just a byproduct of playing in Miami, came to be a an useful veteran presence, and looked like he’d lastly win a ring in the many Rodney Harrison-ish of ways — through escaping mountain Diego and playing for invoice Belichick.

Seau spent four seasons in brand-new England, somehow ideal at the start of the franchise’s longest championship dryness of the millennium. He observed the Pats walk 18-0 in 2007 just to acquire upended by the Giants in that year’s supervisor Bowl. He retired after the 2009 season, to win zero more playoff gamings along the way.

His life after football played out favor a roman tragedy, finishing with a battle versus CTE and his untimely death in 2012, years before his family would enshrine him as a first-ballot room of Famer. Through or there is no a ring hell be mental as among the biggest players to ever before take the field, however if you’re searching for worthy candidates for “best player to never win a at sight Bowl,” Seau’s 20-year career, 1,846 tackles, and 10 All-Pro awards definitely puts the in the running.

Frank Gore

It’s no rare because that an elite player to spend the bulk of his career v a poor team. Yes nothing unique about Frank Gore’s situation — but few players who have played at the level he has actually for as long as he has actually did it v his level the dedication, occupational ethic, and satisfaction. Gore rarely complained when the 49ers were a devastating team, and also he didn’t complain when he join the on-the-cusp Colts, that then collapsed, or the Dolphins, who weren’t particularly an excellent when he join them.

Gore is nicknamed “The Inconvenient Truth” because that a reason: 5 Pro Bowls, nine 1,000-yard rushing periods (with an additional three that at least 850 yards), and also fourth all-time in career rushing yards. The guy runs hard, in every solitary situation, and also just as soon as you think he might be slowing down, he’ll burn you because that a large gain. Throughout his career, opposing players have frequently referred come Gore as one of the most daunting players come tackle.

It never seemed feasible that Gore would reach a harsh decline and climate retire. He’d just chug along, shouldering defenders into the turf until he decided to cave up the cleats. After he ongoing to develop at 35 years old in Miami this previous season, it is still the case.

Dan Marino

Doesn’t the seem like Dan Marino has actually a Super bowl ring? let’s say the weekly trivia night and also you have to name as plenty of Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks together you deserve to in one minute so that your team, Tony Romo knows the Question prior to It’s Asked, deserve to beat those nerds at the following table through a name prefer Trivial search of Happiness. She listing Tom Brady, the Manning brothers, trojan Aikman, Joe Montana ... Perhaps Dan Marino slips in there. Due to the fact that it sound right.

But nope, Marino went to the at sight Bowl just once in the 1984 season. The Dolphins obtained smoked 38-16 by Montana’s 49ers.

Marino had actually a prolific career, spending all 17 periods with the Dolphins and also getting inducted right into the hall of reputation on the first ballot. That threw because that 61,361 yards in his career (fifth-most in NFL history), 420 touchdowns (also fifth-most), and 8,358 pass attempts (yep, fifth-most), completing 4,967 of lock (hey, fifth-most again). He won 147 continual season games, which ranks ... Fif—wait, sixth all-time. Anyone ahead of that in those rankings is one of two people a other Hall the Famer or will be as soon as he’s eligible.

He also helped do the dolphins popular, i beg your pardon seems nearly impossible nowadays.

Pretty much EVERY hall of Famer top top the Bills groups that lost four straight super Bowls — yet especially Bruce Smith

Jim Kelly. Thurman Thomas. James Lofton. Bruce Smith. Andre Reed. Coach Marv Levy. All pro Football room of Famers. All aided the Bills during their four-year run as the many Sisyphean team in at sight Bowl history (though Lofton was just on those an initial three runner-up teams).

It to be a cruel fate for every those men. It no seem right that none can claim a championship. But let’s single out smith in particular because defenders require love as well — and he was among the best.

Smith’s manufacturing can’t be suitable — he is the NFL’s all-time bag leader (with 200!). His longevity is virtually unparalleled, too. The played for 19 seasons and finally retired in ~ the age of 40. He was such a grasp on the field that pass rushers after ~ him every studied his game — and also still do, a decade and also a half since his critical NFL game.

It’s just fitting that among Smith’s most memorable plays come in the super Bowl, the Bills’ an initial — and closest — loss. In Super key XXV, smith bulldozed through the Giants attack line in the blink of one eye come take down quarterback Jeff Hostetler for a safety.

photo by Gin Ellis/Getty images That put the bills up 12-3 in the second quarter.

It would have actually been the most defining play of the game, if not for a little something called wide Right.

Wes Welker

No, Wes Welker probably doesn’t count as one of the ideal to ever before do it, however looking earlier it’s pretty remarkable that that was never ever a component of a at sight Bowl-winning team. Despite spending 6 years with Tom Brady and two years with Peyton Manning, Welker never ever won a Super key ring.

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He did play in 3 Super Bowls, though. He to be a member the the record-setting 2007 Patriots team through Randy Moss that shed to the Giants, played because that the 2011 Patriots that additionally lost come the Giants, and the 2013 Broncos team that obtained annihilated by the Seahawks in Super bowl XLVIII.

Eight years through arguably the height two quarterbacks of all time and also no Super bowl ring to display for it. Life ain’t fair.