NFL: 10 QBs Who Need a Super Bowl Ring To Cement Their Legacy
Debates about which quarterback is better than another quarterback have gone on for decades. The argument never stops, so many different statistics are thrown in to try and make your argument the best.
There is, and always has, been one common factor that makes certain QBs stand above the rest: Super Bowl rings.
Some quarterbacks can rack up yards and touchdowns in their sleep, but at the end of the day, if they have no rings on their fingers, it's very difficult to say their the best.
Here's a look at 10 NFL quarterbacks who desperately need a Super Bowl ring to cement their legacy.
10. Josh Freeman
Josh Freeman shows awareness and leadership guiding his team at the line of scrimmage
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The first QB that appears on this list is Josh Freeman. While he might not need a Super Bowl ring quite yet, Freeman made great strides this year.
He guided the very young and inexperienced Buccaneers squad to an impressive 10-6 record this year.
Many experts didn't give the youthful Bucs much of a chance to make noise in the 2010 season.
But Freeman, and second year head coach Raheem Morris, had other ideas. After going 3-13 in their rookie seasons as head coach and quarterback in the NFL, they flipped the script this year.
Freeman displayed the big strides he made in between year one and year two, going from 10 touchdowns and 18 interceptions to 25 and six, respectively.
He also posted great improvement in completion percentage, average yards per pass, and even had less fumbles than the previous season.
But for Freeman, with big improvements comes bigger expectations.
Although he has only just completed his sophomore season, Buccaneer fans look forward to big things from the Kansas State product.
Remember, this is the same guy many were skeptical about making it in the NFL as a quarterback.
Wrapping it up, Freeman certainly doesn't need a ring badly yet. But as he progresses and gets closer to putting the Bucs' in the playoffs, winning at the highest level will make him a completely different player.
9. Joe Flacco
Flacco needs to figure it out quick in Baltimore
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Joe Flacco is in a somewhat similar situation to Donovan McNabb.
While Flacco is just 26-years-old and has only three years of NFL experience under his belt, his time to get a ring might be closing in.
The Baltimore Ravens have been known for years for having a ferocious and intimidating defense. Led by Pro Bowl studs like Ray Lewis, Terrell Suggs, and Ed Reed, the Ravens have plenty to boast about on defense.
Unfortunately, those three players have a combined 32 years experience in the NFL, making them an older group.
A situation like this doesn't give a young QB like Flacco much time to grow up. They need him to win on the big stage and do it now.
Flacco's number have consistently grown over his three years in the NFL, showing that he is starting to understand how everything works.
His passing stats have improved in quarterback rating, yards per season, and touchdowns in every year he has played in Baltimore.
But in Baltimore, it's all about the postseason.
That's where Flacco has been mediocre at best. In his three tries in the playoffs, he has won at least one game every year, but never gone farther than the AFC Championship.
The Ravens have gone 4-3 in the playoffs since Flacco took over. One concerning stat is Flacco has only gone over 200 yards passing once, coming in a blow out win over Kansas City this year in the Wild Card round.
All in all, Flacco can and probably will develop into a high quality QB over his time in the NFL. But, like mentioned earlier, his time to win a Super Bowl is probably smaller than people think, putting added pressure on Flacco.
8. Jay Cutler
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Jay Cutler has made plenty of headlines in his time in the NFL.
Unfortunately for Cutler, none have been for winning big games.
When Josh McDaniels was hired in Denver last season, Cutler made quick demands to be traded after McDaniels was allegedly looking for another franchise quarterback.
Many believed Cutler was just acting immature and needed to stay in Denver, but he insisted to be moved and was eventually shipped to Chicago for Kyle Orton.
Once in Chi-town, Cutler quickly garnered a "gunslinger" reputation.
Through two seasons with the Bears, Cutler put up 42 interceptions. That was just one knock on the Vanderbilt product.
Most recently, Cutler was condemned for sitting out the second half of the NFC championship against the Packers.
The injury that held Cutler out was an alleged MCL sprain in his knee. While that is a very reasonable excuse to not play, critics still came down on Cutler.
In his fifth year in the NFL, Cutler had 16 interceptions to go with a career high nine fumbles. These problems need to be fixed quick to get his career, and the Bears back on a Super Bowl track.
Fans love to criticize Cutler for all those miscues, but with a few more big name receivers, Cutler could easily post better numbers.
Look for the front office to make a move this offseason to help Cutler and the Bears get back in Super Bowl contention.
7. Mark Sanchez
Being young and relatively inexperienced, Sanchez and Schottenheimer get ready for games together
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Playing in one of the biggest football cities in the country, Sanchez had tons of pressure on him from the day the Jets drafted him in the first-round.
Mark Sanchez only spent three years in college, and now with two years of NFL experience under his belt, he is still a pretty raw player.
But, Sanchez has seen quality development over his two years in the coveted franchise.
He significantly cut down his interceptions this past year, while improving on his touchdowns and yards.
Many experts didn't see Sanchez as a "pure passer," but this season he made passes to prove the nay-sayers wrong.
Now that Sanchez has put his rookie and sophomore years behind him, it will be very interesting to see how he plays in 2011.
With Rex Ryan doing everything he can to keep the Jets in national headlines, Sanchez will always have to be composed and ready to address the media.
The 2011 season will be a defining one for Sanchez and the Jets, since fans in New York are never short on criticism.
Look for Sanchez to have a boom or bust season in 2011.
6. Michael Vick
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Wow. This guy has been through so much in his life it's ridiculous.
After spending two years away from football because of a jail sentence, Michael Vick had a phenomenal 2010 season.
Despite missing three games due to injury, Vick was still able to pass for over 3,000 yards and set many career accomplishments.
Vick posted a career high in touchdowns, yards, quarterback rating, and completion percentage. He did all of this while putting up a career low in interceptions (in seasons he started a minimun 10 games).
But it's really about how Vick did this. During his time in Atlanta, Vick was often criticized for not being able to stay in the pocket and make accurate throws.
I don't know what they put in the food in jail, but Vick looked like a whole new player this year. He picked apart defenses regularly, whether it be in the air on the ground.
He finished the season as the easy winner for NFL Comeback Player of the Year.
The Eagles did lose in the first round at home, but it was to the eventual Super Bowl bound Green Bay Packers.
With Vick's huge season he had in 2010, everyone should expect him to pick up where he left off next year.
Watch out for Vick and the Eagles next year, they will have their sights set on the Super Bowl.
5. Matt Ryan
Matt Ryan and the Falcons had a great regular season in 2010
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Matt Ryan had himself one heck of a season this year.
He guided the Falcons to an NFC best record of 13-3 in the regular season, locking up the number one seed.
But, like Vick and the Eagles, Ryan and the Falcons lost to the Packers in their first test of the playoffs.
In Ryan's third year, he showed amazing maturity and leadership.
Ready to see why Ryan made such big strides after already stellar rookie and sophomore campaigns? In 2010, Ryan set career highs in completions, completion percentage, yards, touchdowns, and quarterback rating.
He also posted only single digit interceptions. For a quarterback to throw the ball over 550 times and throw less than 10 to the other team, now that's saying something.
Ryan has quickly blossomed into one of the premier quarterbacks in the NFL.
With head coach Mike Smith signed to a three year extension, anticipate this dream match up in Atlanta to continue for years to come.
Ryan has his weapons on offense, possessing one of the league's top notch wide outs Roddy White, on top of a veteran tight end in Tony Gonzalez. Match that with an above-average offensive line, and Atlanta's offense is set.
Anticipate the Falcon's to make some key defensive signings this off season, and watch out for these guys in years to come
4. Philip Rivers
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Philip Rivers has made a name for himself in the NFL for years now.
But Rivers and the Chargers can't get over the hump of making serious noise in the AFC.
Rivers had a career year in 2010, passing for over 4,500 yards, an outstanding feat.
Even though Rivers hosted a high powered offense in San Diego, the Chargers couldn't do enough to make the playoffs this year.
They went 9-7 and lost plenty of games they shouldn't have. The Chargers got swept by Oakland in 2010, losing by a combined 23 points.
On top of that, the Chargers still had a chance to make the playoffs by Week 16, but they lost to the lowly Bengals, virtually ended their hopes.
Perhaps the biggest concern in San Diego was their defense. In games they lost, the opposing team scored over 20 points every time. In contrast to their wins, the defense was sometimes extremely good and shut down their opponents.
The mix of Philip Rivers and Norv Turner is very interesting. Rivers is known to be a loose cannon, often screaming at team members and criticizing them for missed assignments. Head coach Norv Turner is extremely soft-mannered, always keeping his cool.
The combination of these two went for big on the field numbers in 2010, but wins and losses are what really matter.
If this odd pair doesn't work out in 2011, expect Turner to possibly be fired before the season's end.
Since Rivers has put in seven years of work in the NFL, he is getting to the second half of his career.
Like the Falcons, the Chargers need help on defense and they need it now.
If the Chargers fail to make moves this off season, watch out for Rivers to let the front office know about it. He has never been afraid to speak his mind, and with him getting into his later years of his stay in the NFL, he needs all the help he can get.
3. Aaron Rodgers
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Unlike anyone else on this list, Aaron Rodgers has the immediate chance to get off it.
Rodgers has led the red hot Packers to Super Bowl XLV with wins over Philadelphia, Atlanta, and Chicago.
After living in Brett Favre's shadow for years, Rodgers is looking like a great pick by Ted Thompson and the Packers.
Remember, this guy is the reason Brett Favre was basically pushed out of town, which created tons of controversy and headlines.
Rodgers has put up his third-straight Pro Bowl caliber season for the Packers.
If he hadn't missed a game due to his second concussion, Rodgers would have posted his third-straight 4,000 yard passing season.
Even with the Packers going through a plethora of running backs this year, Rodgers has kept his cool and commanded the offense.
Leading up to Super Bowl XLV, Rodgers and the Packers seem to be gaining momentum. Fans love how poised he is when handling the Super Bowl media.
It also doesn't hurt that Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is generally regarded as a villain after filling the headlines for all the wrong reasons this past off season.
Even if the Packers don't get it done in this year's Super Bowl, expect Rodgers and the Pack to be back in contention for years to come.
This guy is a stud and is ready to be an elite NFL quarterback for years.
2. Donovan McNabb
McNabbs first year in Washington went about as possible
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The Washington Redskins made major headlines this season by signing 34-year-old Donovan McNabb to a lucrative five-year extension. The deal went for $78 million over that span, $40 million of it being guaranteed.
The weird part about this extension? McNabb was benched in the fourth quarter just a few weeks earlier during a close game against the Lions.
Things didn't get better for McNabb and the Redskins.
He finished the last three games of the season on the bench, not taking a single snap.
Since McNabb is aging quickly at 34-years-old, this put a big halt on his Super Bowl plans.
McNabb has now played 12 years in the NFL, and seems to have missed his chances at putting a Super Bowl win on his resume.
He has made a quality five NFC championship appearances, but only one Super Bowl bid during his time with the Eagles.
Few quarterbacks have been criticized as harshly as McNabb. His inability to win the big games and perform when it matters gives McNabb haters plenty to feed on.
For Donovan McNabb, his window is closing quickly.
He needs to bounce back in a huge way in 2011, and considering his rocky relationship with Mike Shanahan, that appears unlikely.
McNabbs legacy will suffer forever if he can't get that precious Super Bowl ring.
1. Tony Romo
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We are finally to the number one guy who needs a Super Bowl ring to complete his legacy. That guy is Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo.
Playing for "America's team," no one is under a bigger microscope.
After the season that Romo and the 'Boys had in 2010, the pressure will only be bigger.
With a huge-headed Jerry Jones as the team's owner (and basically head coach), the Cowboys have tons of pressure on them.
When Jerry Jones created "Jerrys World," that pressure grew once again. Jones donated millions of dollars towards putting his Cowboys in a new stadium, and he did it with a bang.
Romo and the Cowboys play under the biggest TV screen in the world, another factor that can contribute to the pressures of playing in the Big D.
Back to the subject, this season couldn't have gone much worse for Romo.
Starting off the season a rough 1-4, Romo suffered a season ending injury in the next game versus the Giants.
When things continued to get worse, Jerry Jones fired head coach Wade Phillips.
Romo and the 'Boys will try to rebound in a big way in 2011.
New head coach Jason Garrett wasted no time making big moves once given the reigns. He hired Rob Ryan as defensive coordinator, the brother of Jets head coach Rex Ryan.
But the big factor in Dallas next year will be the offense.
Romo has plenty of fire power and weapons around him, like wide receiver Miles Austin and tight end Jason Witten.
It will be interesting to see what the new coaching staff does in Dallas, since Romo isn't getting any younger.
Romo is now 30-years-old, and these days quarterbacks aren't doing most of their winning after they turn 30.
If Romo can't put it together and have a bounce back year in 2011, expect more changes to be made in Dallas.