Today we will be taking a look at 10 of the greatest players who never had the opportunity to play in the Super Bowl. These players were well deserving of winning a ring, but never had the right team around them to get there.
Tony Gonzalez is probably the greatest tight end to have ever played the game. Gonzalez has played 15 years in the league and still has not reached the big game.
If he doesn't retire, Gonzalez should have a shot to win a ring with the Atlanta Falcons. They have a good team and are playoff contenders right now. However, the chances of Gonzalez actually playing in the Super Bowl are unlikely.
Gonzalez, just like everyone else on this list, deserves a ring. It would be a shame to see a good player and a good person like him not even get a chance.
LaDainian Tomlinson, the fifth all-time leading rusher in NFL history, is mulling retirement after his second season with the New York Jets.
Tomlinson, who was once the best running back in the league, now plays a backup role to Jets running back Shonne Green. Through the early 2000's, Tomlinson was a level above everyone else playing the game. He seemed unstoppable. Things then changed for Tomlinson.
He had two sluggish years in San Diego, which led to his move to the Jets. However, his career stats speak on their own. He has over 13,000 yards rushing and 162 total touchdowns.
His best chance of winning the Super Bowl was in San Diego. The Chargers looked like they were the best team in the league for multiple years, but could never find their way through the playoffs.
Ed Reed is another player who has few, if any, years left to win a title. Reed is regarded as one of the best safeties of all time and has come close to playing in a Super Bowl, but has never gotten there.
Reed has 57 interceptions in his career and has led the Ravens secondary since his arrival in 2002. Quarterbacks hate going back to pass knowing that Reed is lurking. Reed is a ball hog and is one of the fiercest players to ever play the game.
His best chance to get to the Super Bowl may have been this year in the AFC Championship Game against the Patriots. The Ravens were only a 31-yard field goal away from sending it into overtime. The field goal was missed, however, and the Ravens were sent packing.
Eric Dickerson played 11 NFL seasons and is now in the Hall of Fame. He rushed for over 13,000 yards in his career and ran for 90 touchdowns.
The only downside to his career was that he never got close to winning a Super Bowl. Dickerson's career was short. He had nine good seasons with the Los Angeles Rams and Indianapolis Colts, and finished his career by playing one season with the Los Angeles Rams and Atlanta Falcons.
Careers for running backs are usually short; even for the great ones. If Dickerson had this kind of skill at any other position, he would most likely have played in a Super Bowl.
Before O.J. Simpson got in trouble with the law, he was a pretty good football player. He averaged 4.7 yards per carry and had 61 rushing touchdowns in his 11 seasons in the league.
Simpson had a short life span in the NFL. He played 11 seasons and had five 1,000-yard seasons, including rushing for 2,000 yards in 1973. Simpson is another player who never came close to playing in a Super Bowl. He gave up his career early to pursue an acting career before his trouble with the law.
Earl Campbell is the definition of a power running back. Campbell ran the ball over 300 times in five of his first six seasons. The only exception was in 1982 when he was injured and only played nine games.
Campbell's career finished with 74 rushing touchdowns in just eight seasons. The Super Bowl would have been the perfect game for Campbell. It's a game where a player needs to put everything on the line and leave everything on the field. Campbell played with that same mentality. It is a shame that his talents were not seen on the biggest stage.
After Jerry Rice, the argument can be made that Cris Carter is the second best wide receiver of all time. Carter is fourth on the all-time touchdown list and fourth in career receptions.
Carter played the majority of his career with the Minnesota Vikings and came close to the Super Bowl a number of times.
With the combination of Carter and Randy Moss, the Vikings had a dangerous threat with Dante Culpepper throwing the ball. However, they never made it all the way and Carter never got to experience the thrill of winning a championship.
Warren Moon had a shaky start to his NFL career. He was not drafted, even though he had success in his college career.
After playing in the Canadian Football League, Moon finally got his chance with the Houston Oilers. He had a rough first few seasons with them, but in 1988 he started to turn into a star quarterback. Moon never seemed to get respect for being a good quarterback in the NFL, and he struggled to gain the confidence of the Oilers' owner.
After his trade to the Vikings, Moon had continued success and went on to finish his career with the Seattle Seahawks and Kansas City Chiefs. He finished with over 47,000 passing yards and 291 touchdowns.
The man who coined the term "sack" never played in a Super Bowl. Deacon Jones was the Julius Peppers of his day. He had tremendous speed and versatility. The speed he was able to show while running sideline to sideline was not seen before Jones came along.
Unofficially, according to team sites that Jones played for, he would have recorded 194 sacks in his career. That would place him third on the all-time list.
He would also have the single-season record for most sacks in a season, with 26, set in 1967. The following year he had 24 sacks, and in his last four years he averaged over 20 sacks in a season.
Barry Sanders is the perfect type of player fans would like to see in the Super Bowl. He was as exciting as he was skilled. He had a popular fanbase and was loyal to his team and to the city of Detroit.
Sanders is one of only four running backs in the history of the league to average over five yards per carry in his career. This led him to finish second on the all-time rushing yards list after just 10 years in the NFL. He has since fallen to third but could have easily broken the all-time mark.
Sanders' playoff opportunity was rare. In six games, the Lions only won once during Sanders' time in Detroit.