Fair or not, the legacy of many players is determined by whether or not they were fortunate enough to win a Super Bowl ring.
While players certainly play a role in determining the fate of their team, the reality is that football is a team sport with many outside factors that are out of the hands of the individual player. As a result, there are a lot of excellent football players that have not been able to hoist the Lombardi Trophy, despite how dominant they have been in their careers.
Here are the top 50 players, ranked, that find themselves without a Super Bowl ring.
We start our list with a rookie, but not just any rookie. Cam Newton's 2012 season was among the most impressive seasons by any rookie in history; nevermind a quarterback.
Within a few short weeks, Newton was able to erase all doubts about his accuracy and ability to pick up and NFL offense, throwing for over 400 yards in his first two starts.
The amount of potential Newton exudes is scary; within a few years, if he continues to develop, he should be one of the best players in the NFL and have the Panthers in Super Bowl contention year after year.
While the whole "Dream Team" thing never quite worked out for the Eagles, they did get a ton of production from most of their free agents, most notably Jason Babin.
The former Titan exploded for 18 sacks in 2011. While sack totals don't tell the whole story, it was still more than Jason Pierre-Paul and just 1.5 fewer than DeMarcus Ware's ridiculous total of 19.5.
Yes, he does benefit from playing next to other tremendously talented players in Trent Cole and Cullen Jenkins, but Babin has given the Eagles the added speed rush they were lacking in years' past.
Having been the first overall pick in the 2008 draft, Long as ascended into becoming one of, if not the best offensive tackle in all of football.
Since his rookie season in 2008, Long has gone to the Pro Bowl every year of his career. While nagging injuries left him with perhaps his worst season as a pro in 2011, re-signing him by the start of next season remains to be a top priority for the Dolphins.
When healthy, "Run DMC" is one of the best home-run threats in the league.
The only thing that holds back McFadden from being considered one of the best runners in the game next to the likes of Adrian Peterson and Ray Rice is health—since being drafted in 2008, McFadden has yet to play more than 13 games in a season.
When McFadden is healthy and at 100 percent, the Raiders' offense is exponentially more productive and difficult to defend.
In what was a very up-and-down season for the Kansas City Chiefs, Tamba Hali was his usual, disruptive self all season long.
After signing a big extension with the Chiefs last offseason, many feared that Hali's production would slip because he was not chasing a cash prize like he was in 2010. But Hali was able to answer his critics by nabbing 12 sacks of his own, despite working opposite a rookie in Justin Houston.
Now that Hali has more pieces around him as the Chiefs roll into 2012 fully healthy, Hali could be poised for an even bigger season.
Coming out of school for the 2011 draft, Green was considered by many to be the single best prospect in the draft, and for good reason. In addition to his ideal size and speed ratio, Green was a polished route-runner with tremendous leaping ability; in other words, Green is the whole package at wide receiver.
As good as Andy Dalton was in his rookie year, having a player like Green to throw to made things a lot easier, especially in the red zone.
It will not be long before Green is mentioned with the likes of Megatron and Larry Fitzgerald as being one of the best in the world at his craft.
Darren Sproles was not only able to replace Reggie Bush as the Saints' scat-back; he turned out to be an upgrade over the former first-round pick.
Sproles, known for his amazing quickness and agility, is as tough of a runner as they come for a man his size. It is no accident that he was able to break the all-purpose yards record last year.
In only his second year, Joe Haden has emerged as one of the top corners in the AFC on an underrated Browns defense.
He has been able to shut down opposing teams' top receivers on a somewhat regular basis, in a similar (yet not quite as consistent) fashion as Darrelle Revis.
Going into just his third season, if Haden continues to develop, he will eventually get the recognition he deserves if the Browns ever become relevant.
While players like Patrick Willis and Justin Smith get most of the attention in the 49ers' defense, Bowman is a star in the making working alongside Willis at inside linebacker.
In fact, Bowman actually out-tackled Willis, racking up an eye-popping 143 tackles in 2011.
If Bowman was on about 28 other teams, he would get a lot more recognition and would likely be the best linebacker on the team.
Thomas is everything NFL teams look for in a let tackle, as he possesses the ideal size, athleticism, technique, and toughness that makeup the best lineman in the league.
Having been to the Pro Bowl in every season of his NFL career, Thomas is a cornerstone of the Browns offense.
Unfortunately, unless the Browns can undergo a major improvement soon, his odds of ever winning a title are low as long as he remains in Cleveland.
When the Bears added Peppers back at the start of the 2010 offseason, he, along with the return of Brian Urlacher, were able to put the Bears defense back into championship form almost immediately.
A consistent double-digit sack producer, Peppers is also a monster to deal with in the run game.
Now that the Bears were able to lock up Matt Forte for the 2012 season, the time is now for Peppers and the Bears to finally get their Super Bowl ring.
Despite missing six games in 2011, Jackson still rated as the best running back of the season in PFF's rankings.
After averaging 5.5 yards per carry, Jackson has established himself as one of the best runners in the game, earning himself a brand new contract.
Even with all of the additions they made in the offseason, keeping their star runner healthy and productive will be essential for the Bills to compete in the AFC East.
Steve Smith underwent a career rebirth with Cam Newton at quarterback, nabbing over 1,300 receiving yards in 2011—almost triple what his totals were in 2010 when Jimmy Clausen was throwing to him.
As Cam Newton continues to develop, Smith's numbers should only continue to rise, even as age begins to catch up with him.
Not only is Johnson a tackling machine for the Chiefs (131 tackles in 2011), but he is excellent in space and as a coverage player.
In today's age of pass-first offense, athletic, instinctive linebackers like Johnson who can also excel in the run game are becoming a premium.
As the Chiefs continue to upgrade their defensive line, Johnson should have even more impressive numbers in 2012.
After a disappointing 2010 season as a member of one of the league's worst defenses, Cushing had an incredible rebound season in 2011.
Pro Football Focus had Cushing rated as the second-best inside linebacker of 2011. He also had more combined sacks, hits, and hurries (35) than any other inside linebacker.
With longtime-starter DeMeco Ryans now in Philadelphia, it is time for Cushing to embrace a leadership role and become the face of the now-vaunted Texan defense.
While Ed Reed is clearly associated with Ray Lewis as being the longtime leaders of the consistent Ravens defense over the past decade, there is one major difference between the two future Hall of Famers in terms of career accolades: Reed, drafted two years after the Ravens' first and only Super Bowl victory in 2000, has yet to win himself a title.
Now, Reed is not quite the same player he was even four or five years ago, but he is always a threat to make a game-changing interception with his unparalleled instincts.
At age 33, Reed has already flirted with retirement. His chances of finally getting himself a ring diminish exponentially with each passing year.
Wallace was drafted just a few months after the Steelers won their latest Super Bowl in the 2008-2009 season, making him barely qualify for this list.
The emergence of Wallace has given the Steelers a dimension of speed that few teams can claim they have.
In just three seasons in the NFL, Wallace as averaged over 1,000 yards per season. In 2010, he had a ridiculous per-catch average of 21 yards.
As Wallace continues to improve as a route-runner, he will soon be, if not already, considered along with one of the game's elite receivers.
There is a reason why the Jets were able to survive the loss of Kris Jenkins two years in a row and not miss a beat on defense, and that reason is Sione Pouha.
While Pouha is not going to post big sack numbers, he is the perhaps the best 3-4 nose tackle in the game today. According to Pro Football Focus, Pouha had the highest grade for the 2011 season of every defensive tackle.
Now in the prime of his career, Pouha should start to get more of the recognition he deserves as he continues to dominate the line of scrimmage.
While the 2011 version of White was not as dominant as he 2010 and 2009 version, he is still one of the best intermediate receivers in the game.
His slight drop in production could also be attributed to the emergence of Julio Jones; after all, there is only one ball to go around.
Still, 1,296 yards is nothing to sniff at, and White remains to be one of the most feared receivers in the game.
While Vick certainly has his flaws as a pure pocket passer, as he tends to struggle with blitz pickup, there is no denying that he is one of the most talented players in the league as a true dual-threat quarterback.
The biggest issue with Vick throughout his career (on the field, of course) has been his health; he has only started all 16 regular season games just once in his career.
If he can stay healthy in 2012, the Eagles have the potential of being the "Dream Team" they originally set out to be.
While Mike Wallace is now a well-known commodity amongst fantasy owners, Brown is loaded with as much, if not more ability than Wallace.
Last year, his teammates voted him as the team MVP, beating out the likes of Big Ben and Mike Wallace. The fact that the same teammates who see him practice every day gave him such and honor speaks volumes about his ability.
Should Wallace leave Pittsburgh next year via free agency, the Steelers can take comfort in knowing they still have another stud receiver on their roster that is only going to get better with time.
While his production took a slight dip in 2011, there is no denying the fact that Ngata is one of the most dominant defensive lineman in the NFL.
However, without Terrell Suggs lining up next to him, it is going to be interesting to see how Ngata will respond to being the focal point of opposing offensive lines throughout the entire season.
As both a runner and as a receiver, there is not questioning how much the Bears lean on Matt Forte.
Before suffering a season-ending injury against the Chiefs, Forte was averaging 4.9 yards per carry, which is even more impressive when you consider the ineptitude of the Bears' offensive line.
Now that he was finally able to get the deal he wanted, he can focus solely on football and getting the Bears back in contention in what is an increasingly tough division.
Before being publicly embarrassed by then-head coach Mike Singletary, Davis was viewed as a player who never could take advantage of his incredible athletic ability.
Since then, Davis has emerged as one of the best and most complete tight ends in the game. Last year, Davis was the primary source of big-play ability for the 49ers, which was on display in the divisional playoffs against the Saints.
If Davis continues to play at this level, a berth into Canton could be in his future.
Now that he has finally proven that he can survive a full 16-game season, the sky is the limit for the former first-overall pick in the 2009 draft.
Without much of a running game, the Lions were forced to lean on Stafford's talented arm, and he responded with an impressive 5031 yards and 41 touchdowns.
If Stafford can continue to stay healthy, it is only a matter of time before he Lions start making runs at championships.
While players like Haloti Ngata and Casey Hampton get all of the notoriety as the best defensive tackles in the AFC North, the truth is that Atkins was as good as any defensive tackle in the AFC last year.
Last year's nine-sack performance from the defensive tackle position was most impressive, especially since he did it without being on the field for every snap.
At the ripe young age of 24 and going into his third NFL season, Atkins is only going to get better, which is a scary proposition for opposing AFC North offensive line.
The Texans did no make such a massive improvement on defense in one year by accident.
By far, the Texans' best move of the 2011 offseason was dropping out of the Nnamdi Asomugha race and "settling" for Jonathan Joseph.
As it turns out, not only was Joseph a cheaper and more certain commodity, but he turned out to be the superior player than Nnamdi in 2011. Other than Darrelle Revis, Joseph was perhaps the best corner in the AFC last year, shutting down receivers on a regular basis.
Before the 2011 season, it was widely accepted that despite not winning a Super Bowl with the Chargers, Philip Rivers was the superior quarterback to Eli Manning, who was the Chargers' original draft pick.
While Eli's ascendance into the "elite" category combined with Rivers' up-and-down 2011 season have put him behind Manning in most quarterback rankings, Rivers is still and elite thrower that is the key to the Chargers' success.
The comparisons to Manning will last for the rest of his career, but Rivers is still among the best quarterbacks in the NFL, with or without a ring.
Mangold is the league's best center by a wide margin, as he is able to hold off the likes of Vince Wilfork on his own on a consistent basis.
For those that dare think that Mangold is overrated, just take a look at the Jets' offensive line against the Ravens last year when Mangold was out with an injury. The Jets' line produced just 35 rushing yards while Sanchez was shell-shocked into having perhaps his worst game ever as a Jet.
Being far and away the best offensive player on the Jets, the Jets need him to stay healthy next season if they want to get back to their winning ways under Rex Ryan.
It is hardly a secret that Ray Rice is what keeps wheels churning on Baltimore's offense. A great runner and a terrific receiver out of the backfield, Rice does it all.
The Ravens' brass also recognizes what he means to the team, evidenced by the five-year, $40 million contract they gave him last week.
As the Ravens' defense continues to age and the identity of the team begins to shift to the offensive side, Rice's value to the Ravens will only increase with time.
In just a few short years, Arian Foster has gone from being an unknown commodity on the bottom of the depth chart to the consensus number one pick in fantasy leagues.
While running behind a terrific offensive line certainly helps, Foster's fluidity as vision as a runner is what separates him from the rest of the pack.
Last year, the Texans were able to survive the loss of two quarterbacks because of the efficiency of their running game, and the Texans could not have done so without Foster.
The most highly-prized free agent of 2012, Williams' is now in an excellent position to only increase his already-impressive production.
Not only will he be back in his more natural position at defensive end, but he will join Kyle Williams, Marcel Dareus, and Mark Anderson in what has a chance to be the best defensive line in football.
How far the Bills go may depend on Ryan Fitzpatrick's ability to get back to his early-2011 form, but the sky is the limit for Williams now that he is in an ideal environment to produce at a high level right away as a Buffalo Bill.
While health has not been on his side recently, Johnson is still considered one of the most dominant receivers in the game when he is playing at 100 percent.
However, at age 31, Johnson's window to win a Super Bowl is slowly closing. The good news is that the Texans finally have the defense and running game to compliment Johnson's big plays in the passing game to make them legitimate contenders.
With such inconsistency at quarterback, the Jaguars lean more on their top runner more than any other team in the NFL to generate offense, as MJD was responsible for 46 percent of the team's offensive production in 2011.
Oh, by the way, he led the NFL in rushing with 1606 yards.
While known for being a little "bowling ball", referring to his physical style of running, he also has elusiveness and versatility as a receiver that puts him on top as one of the best runners in the game.
Unfortunately for MJD, as long as he remains a Jaguar, his odds of winning a Super Bowl in his career seem slim with their quarterback situation.
While he is not the complete package at the position that Rob Gronkowski is, the former Miami basketball player is an absolute nightmare for defenses to match-up against.
With over 1,300 receiving yards and 11 touchdowns in an offense with so many other weapons, Graham has emerged as the top threat in New Orleans.
After such an explosive season in his first season as a full-time player, Graham figures to only get better with time.
In just his first season, Miller was already among the most dominant defenders in the game, as his 11.5-sack season from the SAM linebacker position were enough to earn him Defensive Rookie of the Year honors.
Headed into his second season with a full offseason under his belt for the first time, Miller should be considered among the best in the league at his position sooner than later.
The reality is, as a bona-fide pass-rusher with coverage ability, Miller is already one of the best defenders in the league.
Tony Romo is one of the most scrutinized players in the NFL. Paying for the Cowboys, anything short of Super Bowl victories is considered to be total failure.
Listen, Cowboy fans: if you do not want Tony Romo because he is not a "winner" (whatever that means), there are at least 25 other teams that would let them be their quarterback in a heart beat.
The truth is, the biggest reason why the Cowboys are even relevant every year is because of the play of Tony Romo; not the other way around as Cowboys fans claim.
When McCoy was coming out of the draft back in 2009, he was seen as a change-of-pace back that could not handle a full workload.
So far, McCoy has defied the odds and has not only become the best offensive weapon on the Eagles, he has established himself as one of the mostly dynamic backs in football.
With his insane agility and lateral quickness, McCoy is nearly impossible to tackle in the open field, which was a big reason why he was able to break the Eagles' single-season touchdown record with 17 scores.
The reigning DPOY will likely not play this season after tearing his Achilles playing basketball, but he should still be considered one of the best defenders in the game.
Not only did he post 14 sacks in 2011, but he draws consistent double coverage, opening up opportunities for other defensive lineman to make plays.
We will learn the true worth of T-Sizzle as the Ravens prepare to try and not miss a beat on defense without him in the lineup.
Since being signed by the Bills back in 2004 as an undrafted free agent, Peters has made the incredible ascension to being perhaps the league's best offensive lineman.
Both an athletic pass protector and a mauler in the run game that makes plays in the second level, Peters is everything you could ever want in a left tackle.
Unfortunately, Peters will not be able to defend his status as the leagues' best left tackle in 2012, as he suffered a season-ending injury after rupturing his Achillies.
Despite having been a staple in New England for half of a decade and perhaps the best receiver in franchise history, Welker has yet to win a Super Bowl since pairing with Tom Brady.
Still, Welker has set a new standard for slot receivers. He has revolutionized the position to the point where he is considered a "number one" receiver that spends most of his time on the inside.
After catching an astounding 122 passes in 2011, Welker hardly seems to be ready for a letdown. That is, of course, assuming he stays in New England past this upcoming season, which is far from being a certain proposition.
Few receivers would be able to handle Fitzgerald's quarterback situation as well as he has during the course of his career.
With the exception of Kurt Warner, Fitz has dealt with some terrible starting quarterbacks, yet he has found a way to produce on a consistent level year after year.
With Warner, Fitzgerald was able to come within a final two-minute Ben Roethlisberger drive of winning the Super Bowl, causing us to ponder just how much Fitzgerald would accomplish in his career if he was paired with a top-end quarterback year after year.
Having been the leader of the 49ers' defense since he was drafted in 2007, Willis is everything you would want in a middle linebacker.
Smart, physical, instinctive, and an excellent technician, Willis has been the most consistent player on the 49ers over the last five seasons.
By the time Willis is done, his name will be mentioned with the likes of Ray Lewis as being one of the best linebackers of the 21st century.
Despite the fact that the Vikings were pretty irrelevant throughout the 2011 season, Jared Allen enjoyed a historic season at defensive end.
Allen, with 22 sacks on the season, was literally inches away from breaking Michael Strahan's single-season sack record of 22.5 he set back in 2001.
Unfortunately for Allen, his best chance of winning a Super Bowl may have already came and went with Brett Favre back in 2009.
In 2011, Rob Gronkowski may have had the best season by a tight end in NFL history. Not only did he score a record-breaking 17 touchdowns, he also had more receiving yards in 2011 than any other tight end in history.
On top of being perhaps the most difficult man in the NFL to cover, he was as effective as a small tackle as a run blocker.
Not only is Gronk head-and-shoulders the best tight end in the game; when he is done, he could be known as the best tight end ever to play the game if he continues at this rate.
It seems comical that there was once a debate between CJ2K and Peterson as to who the best runner in the game was.
Adrian is the total package; physical, fast, agile, explosive, and smart, Peterson is the foundation of the Vikings' offense.
Not only is Adrian the best runner in football; he should be a shoe-in for Canton and be mentioned with the best running backs in NFL history when all is said and done.
Arguably the best defensive lineman in the NFL last season, Smith was a legitimate candidate for Defensive Player of the Year last season.
His 7.5 sack totals may seem modest for a DPOY candidate, but numbers do not do justice in terms of what Smuth brings to the table. Not only does he draw blockers, but he beats double teams on a relatively consistent basis.
Now cemented as the best receiver in the game today, there are few humans on the planet with as much athletic talent as Megatron.
With over 1600 yards and 16 touchdowns in 2011, Johnson has the stats and production to back up his insane ability.
As good as Matthew Stafford was in his first injury-free season as the Lions' quarterback, having a player like Calvin Johnson to throw to makes his job exponentially better.
Since entering the league back in 2005, Ware has become the gold standard for 3-4 outside linebackers.
With the exception of his eight-sack rookie season, Ware has eclipsed the 10-sack mark in each season as a pro, reaching the 20-sack mark in 2008.
While he will always be known for being a terrorizing pass-rusher, Ware has evolved into a complete player in the run game as well. Even as the Cowboys' defense fluctuates between greatness and facepalm-worth every year, Ware has been his same dominant self year after year.
Because of his consistent dominance year after year, Ware could be the best front-seven defender in the game today.
By now, there is no debate as to who the best corner in the NFL is. The debate now is whether or not Darrelle will retire as the best corner ever to take the field.
Ranked as the top defender in the NFL's Top-100 list, Revis changes the game in a way that few players can. Usually, when a team has a top-level corner, such as Champ Bailey or Jonathan Joseph, they are able to shut down the number two receiver, allowing the rest of the coverage to roll to the primary target.
Revis is unique in that he can take away the top receiver on such a remarkably consistent basis.
If the Jets never win a Super Bowl during Revis' tenure, it certainly will not be because of his shortcomings as a corner.