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


no everyone gets to hoist the Lombardi Trophy. Even some the the ideal players in NFL background were never able to win a Super bowl — football player who had actually bonafide hall of fame careers.

Greatness doesn’t guarantee a Super bowl ring, or in some cases 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 practically impossible to list every truly great player who didn’t victory the big game. Instead, we picked the end eight players us still can’t believe don’t have a Super bowl championship on their resume.

Randy Moss

Depending on who you speak to, Randy Moss just could be the finest receiver of all time. He’s definitely one that the finest receivers to ever before step top top a football field — he to be a first-ballot room of Fame selection last year.

Despite a career that has 982 receptions, 15,292 receiving yards, and 156 touchdowns, Moss to be unable to clinch a Lombardi trophy. That has his legendary 2007 stint because that 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 super Bowl. They ended up losing to the brand-new York Giants 17-14.

It’s nearly criminal that one of the finest receivers in NFL background never obtained a Super bowl while play for among the ideal teams in the history of the NFL.

Moss got one more chance in ~ a ring in his last season in the league. ~ a brief retirement, Moss came ago to play because that the 49ers in 2012. They went on come Super bowl XLVII, whereby they lost to the Ravens — an additional close three-point loss because that Moss’ team.

Barry Sanders

Arguing the Barry Sanders is the finest running ago of every time is a lot choose making the instance that Randy Moss was the finest receiver. Neither play long enough to chase down major career records, however both were as freakishly unstoppable together the NFL has ever before seen.

Sanders won the Heisman Trophy in 1988 with the most absurdly leading season the football anyone has ever before had. Then he do NFL defenses watch silly because that 10 years, earning a pro Bowl nod in all 10 seasons.

He averaged 99.8 rushing yards every game, 5.0 yards every carry, and also is one of only 3 players to ever before eclipse 15,000 yards. What that never obtained was a expedition to the Super key — miscellaneous no Lions team has ever before done.

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

His career ended abruptly with an unforeseen retirement a pair weeks after his 31st birthday. Sanders did much more than sufficient to be an easy very first ballot hall of fame entry, yet unfortunately, us never gained to check out him win it all.

Larry Fitzgerald

In January, Larry Fitzgerald announced he’ll return for a 15th NFL season v the Arizona Cardinals. One an ext year should be much more than sufficient to offer him the 2nd spot on the career receptions perform (he’s only 22 behind Tony Gonzalez), however it virtually definitely won’t get him his an initial Super key ring. No unless Kliff Kingsbury is a wonder worker in his very first NFL season.

Fitzgerald will probably finish his job 0-1 in at sight Bowls. It is a shame due to the fact that he played several of the most dominant postseason soccer of any type of receiver in NFL history.

He finished Super bowl 43 with 7 receptions for 127 yards and also two touchdowns versus the Steelers. The was ~ he had actually 152 receiving yards and three touchdowns in the NFC Championship, and 166 yards and also a touchdown in the Divisional Round. In four games the postseason, he had actually 30 catches for 546 yards and seven touchdowns.

His clutch 64-yard touchdown in the super Bowl put the Cardinals on peak late in the fourth quarter:

And the would’ve given them the success if Ben Roethlisberger hadn’t answered v a touchdown happen to Santonio Holmes.

Fitzgerald will end up his career second all-time in receiving yards, likely second in receptions, and likely sixth in receiving touchdowns. Yet maybe the most wild stat the his career is the he’s among eight players with 10 or an ext receiving touchdowns in the playoffs. He got there in nine games.

That should’ve acquired Fitzgerald the Super key ring he deserves. Unfortunately, the Cardinals couldn’t piece things in addition to enough consistency to give him that chance.

Junior Seau

Seau to be the quintessential multi-purpose linebacker; a West shore wrecking sphere who had actually the intelligence, size, and athleticism come cover any situation in one opponent’s playbook. Regrettably for him, he was star-crossed by gift drafted by the league’s most cursed franchise (non-Browns edition), the Chargers. In san Diego, his quarterbacks were some wretched mix of players choose Billy Joe Tolliver, john Friesz, Stan Humphries, Craig Whelihan, Jim Harbaugh, and also Ryan Leaf. The truth the franchise even made it to Super bowl 29 is a testament to Seau’s playmaking.

When his Chargers tenure involved an end, he went to the Dolphins together a 34-year-old linebacker, to let go 18 games in 3 seasons, and also generally looked wash up. And then, whoops, turns out that’s simply a byproduct of playing in Miami, became a an important veteran presence, and also looked choose he’d ultimately win a ring in the many Rodney Harrison-ish of methods — by escaping mountain Diego and also playing for bill Belichick.

Seau spent 4 seasons in brand-new England, somehow right at the start of the franchise’s longest championship drought of the millennium. He observed the Pats go 18-0 in 2007 only to acquire upended by the Giants in that year’s supervisor Bowl. He retirement after the 2009 season, win zero much more playoff games along the way.

His life after football played out choose a roman inn tragedy, ending with a battle versus CTE and his untimely fatality in 2012, years before his family would enshrine him as a first-ballot room of Famer. With or without a ring he’ll be remembered as among the greatest players to ever take the field, but 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 absolutely puts that in the running.

Frank Gore

It’s not rare because that an elite player to invest the mass of his career through a bad team. Yes sir nothing unique about Frank Gore’s situation — but couple of players who have played at the level he has for as lengthy as he has actually did it through his level the dedication, work ethic, and also satisfaction. Gore rarely complained as soon as the 49ers were a destructive team, and he didn’t complain once he joined the on-the-cusp Colts, that then collapsed, or the Dolphins, that weren’t particularly an excellent when he joined them.

Gore is nicknamed “The Inconvenient Truth” because that a reason: 5 Pro Bowls, nine 1,000-yard rushing seasons (with an additional three that at the very 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 could be slowing down, he’ll burn you for a large gain. Throughout his career, opposing players have frequently referred come Gore as among the most daunting players come tackle.

It never seemed possible that Gore would certainly reach a harsh decrease and climate retire. He’d just chug along, shouldering defenders into the turf until he made decision to cave up the cleats. After he continued to create at 35 years old in Miami this previous season, that’s still the case.

Dan Marino

Doesn’t the seem favor Dan Marino has actually a Super key ring? let’s say that weekly trivia night and also you need to name as plenty of Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks as you can in one minute so that your team, Tony Romo to know the Question before It’s Asked, deserve to beat those nerds in ~ the following table with a name prefer Trivial pursuit 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 checked out the super Bowl simply once in the 1984 season. The Dolphins obtained smoked 38-16 by Montana’s 49ers.

Marino had a prolific career, spending every 17 seasons with the Dolphins and getting inducted right into the hall of reputation on the an initial ballot. He threw because that 61,361 yards in his job (fifth-most in NFL history), 420 touchdowns (also fifth-most), and 8,358 happen attempts (yep, fifth-most), completing 4,967 of castle (hey, fifth-most again). He winner 147 consistent season games, which ranks ... Fif—wait, 6th all-time. Everyone ahead of the in those rankings is one of two people a other Hall that Famer or will be when he’s eligible.

He additionally helped do the dolphin popular, which seems almost impossible nowadays.

Pretty much EVERY room of Famer on the Bills teams that lost 4 straight supervisor Bowls — but 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 operation as the many Sisyphean team in supervisor Bowl history (though Lofton was just on those very first three runner-up teams).

It to be a devilish fate for all those men. It doesn’t seem ideal that none can claim a championship. However let’s solitary out blacksmith in certain because defenders require love too — and he was among the best.

Smith’s manufacturing can’t be matched — he’s the NFL’s all-time sack leader (with 200!). His longevity is almost unparalleled, too. The played because that 19 seasons and finally retired at the period of 40. He was such a grasp on the ar that happen rushers ~ him every studied his video game — and also still do, a decade and a fifty percent since his last NFL game.

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

photograph by Gin Ellis/Getty photos That placed the receipt up 12-3 in the 2nd quarter.

It would have been the most specifying play of the game, if not for a tiny something called broad Right.

Wes Welker

No, Wes Welker probably doesn’t counting as one of the ideal to ever do it, but looking back it’s pretty exceptional that that was never ever a component of a super Bowl-winning team. Regardless of spending six years v Tom Brady and two years v Peyton Manning, Welker never ever won a Super bowl ring.

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He did play in three Super Bowls, though. He to be a member of the record-setting 2007 Patriots team with Randy Moss that lost to the Giants, played because that the 2011 Patriots that also lost to the Giants, and also the 2013 Broncos team that got annihilated by the Seahawks in Super key XLVIII.

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