With the Indianapolis Colts and New Orleans Saints squaring off in Super Bowl XLIV comes a matchup between two of the top quarterbacks in the NFL in Peyton Manning and Drew Brees.
Until 2007, Manning's legacy as one of the greatest quarterbacks in the NFL was always questioned since he had never won a Super Bowl, despite the Colts reaching the playoffs six of his first eight seasons.
As he approaches his second Super Bowl victory in four years, many are questioning if Manning's legacy will be completed with a win over the Saints on Sunday. In 12 seasons, he's started every game for the Colts, throwing for over 50,000 yards and 366 touchdowns.
While his career should go down as one of the greatest in NFL history for his position, there are a handful of active quarterbacks looking to boost their legacy with a Super Bowl victory to get over the edge like Manning did.
Here's a list of 10 quarterbacks who may need a Super Bowl ring to fulfill their legacy in the NFL.
No current player may need a Super Bowl ring more to define their legacy than Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb.
The argument can be made McNabb would be a guarantee had he come away with at least one Super Bowl win from the team's five NFC Championship appearances last decade. In his 11 years with the Eagles, he now owns just about every quarterback record for the franchise—including passing yards (32,873) and touchdowns (216).
However, those records may not be enough to get him into Canton as McNabb has been criticized for his inability to win the big games. If he brings Philadelphia their first Super Bowl in franchise history, his legacy as an Eagle would be more meaningful not only to him, but his fans.
Ever since he signed with the Saints in 2006, Drew Brees has thrown for at least 4,300 yards each season. Last season, he finished just 14 yards shy of Dan Marino's single-season record for most passing yards and set established a new record in 2009 with a 70.6 completion percentage.
Brees has thrown for over 30,000 yards and 200 touchdowns in his nine-year career. He may go down as one of the most accurate quarterbacks in NFL history.
A win Sunday over the Indianapolis Colts in Super Bowl XLIV would most likely make Brees a sure candidate for Canton. With the city of New Orleans and most of the country behind him and the Saints, he may win that first ring to set him aside from the rest of the quarterbacks on this list.
Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo will be turning 30 in April. After the way he played this season, he doesn't appear to be slowing down anytime soon.
After riding the bench his first three seasons with the Cowboys, Romo has emerged as one of the top quarterbacks in the NFL the last couple of years. Over the last three seasons, he's thrown for 12,142 yards and 88 touchdowns to go along with his two Pro Bowl appearances.
With Romo, there is a ton of potential to finish his career as one of the top quarterbacks in Cowboys history. At this rate, it seems like he'll continue to be compared with other franchise greats like Troy Aikman and Roger Staubach.
However, he still needs that one thing the other two quarterbacks both have: a Super Bowl ring.
If Drew Brees leads the Saints to their first Super Bowl, what are the chances the San Diego Chargers look back wondering if Philip Rivers was the right choice?
Either way, there's no denying the talent Rivers has as one of the top quarterbacks in the league. He's arguably one of the most clutch players in the NFL as he already has 11 career fourth quarter comebacks in just four years as a starter.
Rivers has led the Chargers to four straight AFC West titles and a 46-18 record as a starter. He is one of the most competitive players in the NFL and seems to have San Diego on the verge of a Super Bowl berth each season.
Ever since Ben Roethlisberger and Eli Manning won their first ring, Rivers remains the top quarterback from the 2004 draft class who has yet to win a Super Bowl. Lucky for him, the Chargers always seem to be a team in the running each season to be hoisting the Lombardi trophy at the end of the season.
From 2005-07, Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer was considered one of the top players at his position in all of football. He threw for 12,002 yards and 86 touchdowns with the help of wide receivers Chad Ochocinco and T.J. Houshmandzadeh.
Now, many are questioning whether or not Palmer is even an elite quarterback in the NFL after a season in which the Bengals finished 26th in the passing game.
While Palmer has dealt with his fair-share of injuries the last couple of seasons, he still has time to get back to the same level from a few years ago. If he can lead the Bengals to their first playoff victory since 1991—or a Super Bowl—he will be forever remembered in the city of Cincinnati.
Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers situation is similar to Tony Romo's. After backing up Brett Favre for three years, he is already emerging as one of the top quarterbacks in the NFL.
In just two seasons as a starter, Rodgers has thrown for a combined 8,472 yards and 58 touchdowns. In 2009, he threw just seven interceptions and completed 28-of-42 passes for 422 yards and four touchdowns against the Arizona Cardinals in the Wild Card round of the playoffs.
Like Romo, there is a ton of potential for Rodgers as quarterback for the Packers. He's already handled the pressure of replacing one of the all-time greats in Favre. If he brings the Packers their first Super Bowl title since 1996, will his legacy in Green Bay be as memorable as No. 4?
Eh, let's not jump the gun quite yet on that one.
Before any Houston Texans fans jump to conclusion, let it be said that Matt Schaub is on this list simply because of how much potential he has ahead of him in his young career.
Schaub has been the type of quarterback of high talent without the fullest exposure. Year after year, he was limited to playing a full season due to injuries—unable to live up to his full potential.
That was until 2009.
In 2009, not only did Schaub lead the league in passing yards with 4,770, but he won MVP honors of the 2010 Pro Bowl. He finished 13-of-17 for 189 yards and two touchdowns in leading the AFC to a 41-34 win.
Now that he's played a full season as a starter, expectations will be high for Schaub throughout the rest of his career. He's already at a disadvantage since it took him six years before making it a full season as a starter.
Since his time to build a legacy may seem limited, a Super Bowl ring would be the perfect way to remembered in Houston for Schaub.
Seattle Seahawks quarterback Matt Hasselbeck draws similarities to Carson Palmer; a player who was once one of the top quarterbacks in the NFL whose status declined due to injuries.
From 2004-07, Hasselbeck led the Seahawks to four-straight NFC West titles—ncluding an appearance in Super Bowl XL. In 2007, he fell 34 yards short of 4,000 passing yards and threw for a career high 28 touchdowns.
Since then, Hasselbeck has started just 21 games for Seattle, throwing for just 22 touchdowns and 27 interceptions. While a back injury kept him out for most of the 2008 season, it's clear he's not the same type of player he was from a few years ago.
Last season, former Denver Broncos quarterback Jay Cutler broke John Elway's franchise record for most passing yards in a season with 4,526. Many fans in Denver were hoping Cutler was the next Elway.
That was until he was traded to the Chicago Bears.
Cutler arguably has one of the strongest arms in the NFL. With reliable weapons at wide receiver, the chance is always there for him to become one of the top quarterbacks in the league.
Unfortunately, along with all of the touchdowns he's thrown in his four-year career, Cutler has thrown his fair-share of interceptions as well. He led the league in 2009 with 26 interceptions and has already thrown 63 in the 53 games he's started.
Yes, New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning is the only player on this list to win a Super Bowl. However, with the question emerging whether or not Peyton Manning needs to win one more Super Bowl ring to fulfill his legacy, there's a chance the same will be done to his brother.
It's hard to imagine that after the Giants were criticized for their lack of wide receivers, Manning arguably had the best season of his six-year career. He finished with career highs in just about every category—including completion percentage (62.3), passing yards (4,021), and touchdowns (27).
However, if Peyton's going to be questioned about his legacy being complete based off winning another Super Bowl, there's no reason to believe why the same won't happen to Eli.