Every year, there is a sentimental choice for winning the Super Bowl. This player or coach has put in the time and endured the pain to be awarded a title.
For some, it’s a fitting end to an outstanding career. Others earn a championship that helps permanently silence their critics.
Here are players and coaches we most want to see earn a ring in 2012.
The prognosticators at NFL.com have proclaimed the Denver Broncos the early favorites to win the AFC West, with an outside shot of making the Super Bowl.
But if the San Diego Chargers can develop some chemistry, they could be the overwhelming choice to win the divisional crown regardless of how well QB Peyton Manning plays.
A mandate from the Spanos family has the team's front office scrambling to make the playoffs this season after a two-year absence.
You have to be impressed with San Diego's free-agent acquisitions and strong draft selections, as the Chargers have laid the groundwork for something special happening this year.
It must be close to the start of training camp, because Dallas Cowboys QB Tony Romo is once again on the hot seat.
The pressure is on him to win a Super Bowl—especially after the divisional-rival New York Giants won a second Super Bowl title in five seasons.
This year, Romo had better win the big game, or Big D will demand a new quarterback.
He can set the tone for the upcoming season by defeating the reigning champs in prime time during Week 1.
But don’t forget, Romo doesn’t pass-block, run or catch the football. He can put up 30 points on a scoreboard, but unfortunately, the Cowboys defense gave up 31 or more points in all of the team's losses last season.
It hasn’t been a great offseason for the New Orleans Saints, as the entire franchise has been put under the microscope as a result of Bountygate.
The team’s front office had no other choice but to cave in to QB Drew Brees' demands during contract negotiations. It couldn’t afford another black eye with a highly publicized holdout during training camp.
Now, Brees will be ready to play from day one, and the league had better be prepared, as the Saints are coming with a purpose this season.
They will play with a chip on their collective shoulder, as the Saints will try to prove their Super Bowl title isn’t tainted by this recent scandal.
This should be self-explanatory, as LB Ray Lewis is heading into the twilight of his NFL career.
A Super Bowl title in his hometown would be a fitting end for this certain Hall of Famer.
Lewis is very lucky that he plays on a team where the majority of the roster is young and in the prime of their careers. So, it’s not unrealistic that the Baltimore Ravens could contend for a Super Bowl title once again this season.
To become a true contender, the Ravens offense must become more balance and not rely solely on RB Ray Rice to carry the load.
It’s very difficult for NFL teams to win consecutive Super Bowl titles, as they must have a little luck in their pocket and avoid major injuries to key players.
But, if there’s one coach that can instill pride and passion to win another Super Bowl, it’s New York Giants head coach Tom Coughlin.
His credibility is beyond reproach, as he has already won two Super Bowl titles. In 2008, Coughlin led the Giants to an 11-1 record following a Super Bowl-winning season before the bottom fell out (WR Plaxico Burress’ shooting incident).
If his team wants to make a run at greatness, then it will listen to Coughlin’s directions.