Top NFL Players Who Didn’t Win A Super Bowl

Mike - June 21, 2019

Top NFL Players Who Didn’t Win A Super Bowl

Mike - June 21, 2019

The Super Bowl is the biggest single-day sporting event in the United States, as fans plan an entire weekend around the season-ending big game each winter.

However, it’s not just there for parties, as many top NFL players’ career legacies are predicated on whether or not they were able to win a Super Bowl There’s a much more defining aspect to each Super Bowl as a result. Many of these players are legendary Hall of Famers; some are even all-time greats.

But for whatever reason, be it bad play or bad luck, they were simply unable to get over the hump and win the biggest game in pro football. We broke down the biggest names to fall short. Some you’ll recognize instantly, while others may be a bit more unknown. Others still have a chance to right the ship and win a Super Bowl.

Here are the greatest NFL players to never win the Super Bowl:

QB Phillip Rivers, San Diego Chargers:

Rivers is arguably the greatest quarterback in Chargers history, surpassing a first ballot Hall of Famer also on this list. Indeed, Rivers has posted Hall of Fame numbers in his career with 4,518 pass completions for 54,656 yards, 374 touchdowns, and 178 interceptions.

However, he’s also yet to make it to the biggest game in the sport. His closest chance was following the 2007 season when his Chargers lost to the Patriots in the AFC title game. In fact, New England has been his kryptonite of sorts as he’s 0-8 against the ageless Tom Brady in his career. The Chargers were surging last year until they ran into New England again. The arguably have the most talented roster in the NFL heading into the 2019 season, so Rivers still has time to win his first Super Bowl.

QB Dan Fouts, San Diego Chargers:

Fouts is a Chargers legend who made it into the Hall of Fame on his first try thanks to his gaudy statistics. He played his entire 15 years in the league with San Diego, leading the NFL in passing yards from 1979-1982. He was also the first passer in history to throw for 4,000 yards three straight years when throwing for 4,000 yards was considered a large feat.

But he was never able to even play in the Super Bowl. For various reasons, the Chargers just didn’t have the overall team to make it there. Fouts now makes his living as an NFL analyst on CBS during the fall.

RB LaDainian Tomlinson, San Diego Chargers/New York Jets:

The most prominent Charger on this list isn’t Philip Rivers or Dan Fouts. No, it’s Rivers’ longtime running mate LaDainian Tomlinson. The TCU product is without a doubt one of the finest running backs in NFL history, and it’s a shame he never even played in a Super Bowl let alone won one.

He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2017 after rushing 3,174 times for 13,684 in his legendary career. ‘LT’ produced one of the best seasons in running back history when he rushed for 1,815 yards and 28 touchdowns, adding 56 receptions for 508 yards and three more scores and passing for two more touchdowns in 2006. But he never made it to the biggest game, falling short in frustrating fashion when his Chargers were trounced by the Patriots in the 2007 AFC title game.

RB Gale Sayers, Chicago Bears:

Like LT, Sayers is another all-time great back who never won the big game. It remains unknown how good he could have been, as significant knee injuries limited to roughly five full seasons in the league. But when he played, he was one of the greats. Sayers stormed into the NFL from the outset of his career, setting the league record for touchdowns in his rookie season. He rushed for 14 touchdowns, caught six more, and scored on both kickoff and punt returns as well.

It’s a travesty that Sayers never got to summit pro football’s highest peak, as he was truly one of the greats ever. It could be argued he was the greatest on pure talent alone, as most of his opposition believed him the toughest player to tackle in the NFL at the time. ‘The Kansas Comet’ is a legend, yet one who never achieved the league’s top achievement.

RB Thurman Thomas, Buffalo Bills:

Former Bills star Thomas is one of the most heart-wrenching instances where a great football player never won the Super Bowl. It wasn’t for lack of trying, as his Buffalo Bills made four straight Super Bowls in the 1990s. Unfortunately, they lost all four.

He’ll go down as a Hall of Famer, yet you can’t help but imagine that his career would have been so much more fulfilling and respected had Buffalo won only one of those four Super Bowl defeats. You need only look at the fact that Thomas set some truly great NFL playoff records to see how good he was. He had the playoff touchdowns with 21 and the most career points with 126, and even scored a touchdown in nine straight playoff games – another record.

RB O.J. Simpson, Buffalo Bills:

The controversial “Juice” is more known for his infamous murder trial of the early 1990s and his criminal acts that followed than his actual football accomplishments these days. But there was a time when Simpson was the greatest running back in the NFL.

Putting that in perspective, Simpson was the first player to rush for over 2,000 yards when he tallied 2,003 in 1973, breaking Jim Brown’s record. Several running backs have done it since, but he was the only one to do it under the old 14-game format. He still holds the NFL record for average rushing yards per game from that season with an unreal 143.1 yards per game. He never made or won a Super Bowl, however, appearing in just one playoff game in his pro career. The Bills lost to the Steelers 32-14 in that contest.

RB Curtis Martin, New England Patriots/New York Jets:

The perennially underrated Martin ended his decorated career as the fourth-leading rusher in NFL history and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2012. He did make it to one Super Bowl with the Pats, but they dropped Super Bowl XXXI to Brett Favre and the Green Bay Packers.

He won the NFL rushing title with 1,697 yards in 2004, but a serious knee injury led to his retirement the following season. He had been an iron man up until that point in his career, missing only six games due to injury – an unheard of number for a running back. Martin ended his career as one of the greats with 3,518 carries for 14,101 yards and 90 touchdowns, but he never won the Super Bowl.

WR Terrell Owens, San Francisco 49ers/Philadelphia Eagles/Several Other Teams:

The always-controversial “T.O.” is certainly one of the best wide receivers in NFL football history with the third-most receiving yards and touchdowns of all-time. Overall, Owens caught 1,078 passes for 15,934 yards and 153 touchdowns. He was still another Hall of Fame-caliber player who never won the Super Bowl despite making it there. Playing for the Philadelphia Eagles in 2004, Owens famously came back from a broken ankle that required surgery to insert a screw in his lower leg. He was stellar, with nine receptions for 122 yards.

Yet his team fell short to the New England Patriots juggernaut like so many other players on this list. Owens bounced around to several other teams like the Dallas Cowboys, Buffalo Bills, and Cincinnati Bengals but never won a Super Bowl. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2018.

Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

WR Tim Brown, Los Angeles/Oakland Raiders:

After rating as the first wide receiver to win the Heisman Trophy, Brown stormed into the NFL with a rookie-season record for all-purpose yards with 2,317 after Oakland made him the sixth overall pick in the 1988 draft. He would go on to set numerous records that still stand, such as the record for most consecutive starts by a receiver with 176, in addition to Raiders team records for most touchdowns with 104, 1,070 receptions for 14,734 yards and 99 touchdowns, 320 punt returns for 3,272 yards and three touchdowns, most all-purpose yards with 19,431, and most yards from scrimmage with 14,924.

But the fact he never won the big game may have played into his status as perhaps one of the more underrated wide receivers to rack up such a decorated career. Brown was passed over for induction into the Hall of Fame in 2012 and 2013 before ultimately becoming enshrined in 2015. A Super Bowl may have altered that decision and got him in sooner like he deserved.

WR Andre Reed, Buffalo Bills:

Reed is another star from the Buffalo Bills squad of the early 90s that lost four consecutive Super Bowls. His claim to fame may be his role in the Bills’ infamous “Comeback” game where they bounced back from a 35-3 deficit to the Houston Oilers thanks in large to Reed’s three second-half touchdowns. He then caught eight passes for 152 yards in Super Bowl XXVII as the Bills got smashed by the Dallas Cowboys by a count of 52-17.

Reed ended his career with 951 receptions for 13,198 and 87 touchdowns in 16 total seasons. He was deservedly inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2014. But the fact he was unable to win a Super Bowl in four attempts makes him one of the best to never secure a title.

WR Cris Carter, Philadelphia Eagles/Minnesota Vikings:

The infamous Carter overcame early-career substance issues while he was with the Philadelphia Eagles that included large-scale cocaine use. He rebounded more than sufficiently with the Minnesota Vikings after they took a chance on him, becoming one of the best wideouts in the NFL. Minnesota could never win a Super Bowl with him despite a loaded offense featuring, at one point, Randy Moss and Carter.

Overall, Carter played 16 seasons in the NFL and caught 1,101 receptions for 13,899 yards and a lofty 130 touchdowns. Carter became eligible for the Hall of Fame in 2008 but was passed over until 2013 for unbeknownst reasons. He now makes his living as a football analyst for ESPN.

TE Antonio Gates, San Diego Chargers:

Not technically retired, Gates is currently not on an NFL roster heading into training camp next month. If he is indeed retired, he’ll go down with the record for most all-time touchdown receptions for a tight end with 116. There’s no denying that Gates is one of the finest tight ends in NFL history, and that makes it even more of a shame that he never won a Super Bowl.

Forever linked with Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers and Hall of Fame running back LaDainian Tomlinson, Gates never got over the hump the Patriots presented. The legend should rate as a first-ballot Hall of Famer, an unreal feat considering he never played college football. He attempted to play both football and basketball at Michigan State, but later transferred to Eastern Michigan and the College of Sequoias before settling in at Kent State to play basketball when then-MSU coach Nick Saban wanted him to solely play football. The Chargers signed him in his first NFL workout and the rest was history. Unfortunately, he never won a Super Bowl there, however.

TE Kellen Winslow Sr., San Diego Chargers:

Another Hall of Fame-worthy Chargers tight end to never win the Super Bowl, the trend-setting Winslow paved the way for players like Gates and other tight ends to become offensive forces in the league. He remarkably led the NFL receptions in back-to-back years in 1980 and 1981, only the second tight end to accomplish such a feat.

Winslow also caught five touchdowns in one game in 1981. He had three seasons of 1,000 or more receiving yards as well. Gaudy stats aside, he was never able to win the Super Bowl. He and Hall of Fame quarterback Dan Fouts fell short just like the modern Charges Philip Rivers, LaDainian Tomlinson, and Antonio Gates did in recent years. Winslow Sr. was enshrined in the HOF in 1995.

TE Jackie Smith, St. Louis Cardinals/Dallas Cowboys:

Another all-time tight end, Smith’s singular trip to the Super Bowl resulted in one of the most iconic – and perhaps undeserved – Super Bowl screw-ups ever. Facing the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XIII, Smith dropped a surefire touchdown when the Cowboys were down by a count of 21-14. He was blamed for the loss despite the fact there were other turning points in the contest and Cowboys quarterback Roger Staubach admitting it was far from the best pass.

Smith’s 7,918 receiving yards at the time of his retirement were an NFL record at the time. He was inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame in 1994, becoming the third tight end ever to become enshrined. Despite all of his many records, he is still maligned for the dropped touchdown in the Super Bowl, however.

Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

TE Jason Witten, Dallas Cowboys:

First ballot Hall of Famer Witten currently sits at second all-time in receptions and receiving yards at tight end. He trails only Tony Gonzalez, whom many consider the greatest NFL tight end of all-time. His career lacks the crowning achievement of a Super Bowl victory, however, and that may be the reason he’s returning to the game this season.

Witten retired before the 2018 year after spending his entire career with Dallas. He became an analyst on ‘Monday Night Football,’ but was criticized for his on-screen performance. After the season, he announced he would come out of retirement and return to the Cowboys. Witten currently has 1,152 catches for 12,448 yards and 68 scores – yet has no Super Bowl victories.

OT Dan Dierdorf, St. Louis Cardinals:

Offensive linemen are often the unsung heroes on any great football team; such was the case with Dierdorf. Possibly better known for his broadcasting career on “Monday Night Football,” Dierdorf was a Hall of Fame offensive tackle for the St. Louis Cardinals as well.

He made six Pro Bowls and was named first-team All-Pro five more times in his 13-year career. Despite his success, he never won a Super Bowl with the team. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1996 and went on to become successful in his aforementioned broadcast career. The Hall of Fame awarded him with the Pete Rozelle Radio-Television Award in 2008 due to his broadcasting accomplishments.

DT John Randle, Minnesota Vikings/Seattle Seahawks:

One of the most fearsome defensive specialists in the league during his face paint-fueled prime, Randle otherwise disappeared in the critical playoff moments of his career. Called the toughest defender he played against by all-time legendary QB Brett Favre, Randle made seven Pro Bowls and was named All-Pro six times during his 14-year career with the Vikings and Seattle Seahawks. He even led the NFL with 15.5 sacks in 1997.

But he never won a Super Bowl in any of those years despite being on good teams that made the playoffs. Randle retired with 137.5 sacks on his stats and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2010 without the biggest prize in the NFL.

MLB Brian Urlacher, Chicago Bears:

The once-dominant Urlacher ruled the middle of the field for a long time in Chicago. Drafted with a top 10 pick in the 2000 NFL draft, Urlacher played 13 seasons with the Bears. He had 1,353 total tackles, 22 interceptions, and 12 forced fumbles. He was a Pro Bowl invitee eight times and a four-time First-team All-Pro. He even won NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 2005.

Unlike his Monsters of the Midway brethren, he could not win a Super Bowl.

CB Aeneas Williams, Phoenix/Arizona Cardinals/St. Louis Rams:

Williams was truly one of the best defensive backs to ever play pro football. He scored an unbelievable 12 defensive touchdowns including 9 interceptions and 3 fumble recoveries for scores. He had a total of 55 career interceptions, recovering 23 fumbles. Williams was also a four-time All-Pro.

Williams only played on a playoff team once in his early career with the Arizona Cardinals. He made the playoffs three times in his four years with the Rams. During the 2001 NFC Divisional Round against the Green Bay Packers and Brett Favre, Williams returned two interceptions for touchdowns and recovered a fumble. The Rams lost Super Bowl XXVI to the New England Patriots in his only appearance in the title game.

Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

CB Champ Bailey, Washington Redskins/Denver Broncos:

Bailey joins Aeneas Williams as another one of the finest defensive backs to ever play football – and who never won the Super Bowl. Drafted in the Top 10 in 1999, Bailey learned much from Hall of Fame Redskins Deion Sanders and Darrell Green. He was eventually traded to Denver before the 2004 season in exchange for a second-round draft pick and running back Clinton Portis.

Over his Hall of Fame career, Bailey was named to an awesome 12 Pro Bowls and had three First-team All-Pro selections with four Second-team All-Pro selections. He will be enshrined in the Hall this summer. The fact Bailey never won a Super Bowl is a brutal circumstance.

WR Steve Largent, Seattle Seahawks:

Jerry Rice justifiably gets the credit for being the best wide receiver in NFL history, and he should. And while Largent may not be up there, he’s certainly one of the greatest of all-time. He was a seven-time Pro Bowl recipient and also made First-team All-Pro three times in his career.

Largent played all 14 of his seasons with the Seattle Seahawks, showing incredible longevity. He ended his career with 819 catches for 13,089 yards and 100 touchdowns. The former Tulsa star was sent to the Hall of Fame in 1995 as soon as he was eligible. Thanks to the fact he played for the lackluster Seahawks, he never won a Lombardi Trophy despite his endless personal milestones.

Photo by George Rose/Getty Images

QB Jim Kelly, Buffalo Bills:

A legitimately deserving Hall of Fame quarterback, Kelly was the tried and true leader of the unreal Bills squads in the 90s that lost a remarkable four straight Super Bowls. Drafted in the historic quarterback class of 1983, Kelly first played for the Houston Gamblers in the USFL before finally making his way to the Bills, who kept his rights.

He was extremely doubtful about playing in the extremely cold winters of Upstate New York, as he played college football at the warm, tropical Miami. But Kelly eventually rewarded the Bills’ patience with 2,874 completions for 35,467 yards, and 237 touchdowns as he played every year of his 11-year career with the Bills. More importantly was his four-year streak of Super Bowl appearances. He and his teams lost some vicious Super Bowl games those years, and Kelly earned every ounce of his 2002 Hall of Fame induction.

LB Junior Seau, San Diego Chargers/Miami Dolphins/New England Patriots:

Seau was one of the best linebackers to ever play pro football. He was a 12-time Pro Bowl selection and eight-time First-team All-Pro. He made an amazing 1,846 total tackles in his career with 18 fumble recoveries and 18 interceptions.

He was never able to climb the hurdle of winning the Super Bowl, however. The typhoon made it to two of them. The first was early in his career when San Diego lost to the San Francisco 49ers at Super Bowl XXIX following the 1994 season. He then played for the New England Patriots during their undefeated regular season run of 2007, only to see them lose to the New York Giants. A tough, selfless player who often put winning above his health, Seau devastatingly committed suicide in 2012. His passing was thought to be prompted by CTE.

QB Warren Moon, Houston Oilers/Several Other Teams:

Moon is an underrated gunslinger who put up gaudy numbers. He ended his 17-year NFL career with 3,988 completions for 49,325 yards, 291 touchdowns, and 233 interceptions. He was a nine-time Pro Bowler and First-team All-Pro in 1990, also taking home the NFL’s Most Valuable Player (MVP) award in 1990.

But for all his successes, he didn’t win the Super Bowl. His best chance was probably after the 1992 and 1993 seasons. But in 1992, he lost in “The Comeback” game to the Bills and then in 1993 to Joe Montana and Kansas City.

Mike Powell /Allsport

RB Eric Dickerson, Los Angeles Rams/Indianapolis Colts:

Dickerson is one of the best running backs in NFL history. He holds the single-season rushing record with 2,105 yards. He was also the fastest player to 10,000 yards in NFL history.

However, he never won the Super Bowl in any of his campaigns despite his prowess. Dickerson was traded to the Indianapolis Colts after slightly over four years with Los Angeles. He had almost three solid seasons in Indianapolis before the wheels fell off. Dickerson saw injuries, suspensions, and decline sap his play. He ended his career with 2,996 carries for 13,259 yards and 90 touchdowns. Dickerson was a six-time Pro Bowl selection, a five-time First-team All-Pro, and the NFL Offensive Player of the Year in 1986.

QB Fran Tarkenton, Minnesota Vikings/New York Giants:

Tarkenton is an all-time great quarterback whose lack of a Super Bowl win was not for lack of trying. He made it to three Super Bowl appearances with the Vikings, losing to the Miami Dolphins, Pittsburgh Steelers, and Oakland Raiders.

Tarkenton was credited for singlehandedly creating the scrambling style that several current quarterbacks use to keep defenses guessing. The passing/running style he used was incredibly innovative at the time as it was ahead of the learning curve. He ended his career with 47,0003 passing yards for 342 touchdowns and 266 interceptions while rushing for 3,674 yards and 32 more scores. Few quarterbacks came closer to winning a Super Bowl than Tarkenton.


RB Earl Campbell, Houston Oilers:

All-time legend Campbell didn’t have the longest career because of his punishing style, so he could have potentially won a Super Bowl if his run lasted a few more seasons. He ran the ball 2,187 times for 9,407 yards and 74 touchdowns in his eight-season career.

The runaway freight train was the league’s Most Valuable Player (MVP) in 1979. The Heisman Trophy winner was also a five-time Pro Bowl selection, a three-time First-team All-Pro, and even a three-time NFL Offensive Player of the Year. He led the lead the NFL in rushing yards in three of his eight seasons and in rushing touchdowns twice. About the only accomplishment Campbell didn’t have in his brief, explosive run was a Super Bowl.

OLB Derrick Thomas, Kansas City Chiefs:

Another great who could have had more chances to win the Super Bowl, but this time for a different reason than the aforementioned Earl Campbell. This frightening sack machine was one of the most effective defensive players to ever step onto the NFL field. He was drafted with the fourth pick of the 1989 NFL draft and Kansas City never regretted it for a second.

He racked up 126.5 sacks in 11 years with the Chiefs. He also made nine Pro Bowls, was chosen a First-team All-Prop three times, and has the single-game record for sacks with seven. Sadly, Thomas died in 2000 after suffering serious injuries in a car crash.

TE Tony Gonzalez, Kansas City Chiefs/Atlanta Falcons:

Gonzalez is arguably the greatest tight end in NFL history. You could argue that the recently retired Rob Gronkowski deserves the honor, and Antonio Gates has more touchdowns. Shannon Sharpe and Kellen Winslow Sr. probably deserve to be thrown in there somewhere. But if you surveyed a section of the public, Gonzalez’ name would probably be the top name on the list more often than not.

He was an unreal 14-time Pro Bowl selection, making First-team All-Pro six times. Gonzalez ended his career with 1,325 catches for 15,127 yards and 111 touchdowns. It’s a travesty he never won a Super Bowl. His best chance was after the Chiefs’ magical 2003 season, but a Divisional Round loss to Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts due in part to a phantom pass interference penalty on a Gonzalez touchdown ended that dream.

LB Dick Butkus, Chicago Bears:

Like Tony Gonzalez on the slide before him, Butkus is arguably the best at his position in NFL history, so the fact he never won a Super Bowl is equally as bad as Gonzalez not winning it. He only played nine seasons, but Butkus was voted to the Pro Bowl in eight of those and selected First-team All-Pro in six of them.

He also won the NFL Defensive Player of the Year award twice from 1969-1970. Butkus essentially created the modern style a middle linebacker is defined by, and remarkably enough, he’s still the measuring stick for the position to this day. He always will be, so it’s shame he doesn’t have the one piece of hardware he lacks after playing for a franchise with so many of them like Chicago.

LT Anthony Munoz, Cincinnati Bengals:

At this point in our list of the greatest NFL players who never won the Super Bowl, each name is an all-time great. Munoz is no different. He played 13 seasons for the Bengals and was voted to the Pro Bowl in 11 of them, making First-team All-Pro nine times.

He played in the team’s only two Super Bowl appearances at Super Bowl XVI and Super Bowl XXIII. His Bengals lost to the San Francisco 49ers both times. Munoz was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1998.

DE Bruce Smith, Buffalo Bills/Washington Redskins:

Smith is an NFL legend who played 19 seasons. He owns the NFL record for sacks with an even 200. Smith maintained 13 of 19 total seasons where he secured at least 10 sacks, a particularly impressive feat considering he played in a 3-4 defensive scheme much of his career. He was voted to the Pro Bowl 11 times and also named All-Pro nine times.

He was the defensive leader of the infamous Buffalo Bills teams of the 90s that lost four Super Bowls alongside offensive teammates Jim Kelly, Thurman Thomas, and Andre Reed. You could argue he’s the best defensive player to never win a Big Game.

WR Randy Moss, Minnesota Vikings:

The controversial-but-amazingly skilled Moss is the best wide receiver to never win a Super Bowl in NFL history. He took the league by storm as a rookie with the Vikings in 1998, setting the rookie-season record for most touchdown receptions with 17. He played on some great Vikings teams early in his career. But they came one game short of the Super Bowl in 1998 and 2000, only to fall to the Atlanta Falcons and New York Giants.

Later in his career, Moss achieved his crowning achievement with Tom Brady during New England’s undefeated 2007 regular season. He set the NFL single-season record for most receiving touchdowns with an unbelievable 23. The Pats made the Super Bowl but fell short to the Giants in a historic upset. Even later in his career, he almost won another Super Bowl as a part-time player on the 49ers only to fall short one last time. He finished his career with 982 receptions for 15,292 yards and 156 touchdowns. Moss was a six-time Pro Bowl selection, a four-time First-team All-Pro, and led the NFL in touchdowns five times.


QB Dan Marino, Miami Dolphins:

You might think Marino deserves to top our list of best all-time NFL players to never win the Super Bowl, and it would be hard to argue with that point. But he’s second. The record-setting passer took the NFL by storm like Randy Moss early in his career, winning the Rookie of the Year in 1983 and the NFL MVP in 1984. He led the Dolphins to Super Bowl XIX in his second season after passing for then-records 5,084 yards and 48 touchdowns. Miami made the playoffs 10 times during his career but never had the running game or defense to win the Lombardi.

Marino was a nine-time Pro Bowl selection, a three-time First-team All-Pro, a five-time NFL passing yardage leader, and a three-time NFL passing touchdowns leader. He completed 4,967 attempts for 61,361 yards and 420 touchdowns with 252 interceptions. He’s the best quarterback to never win a Super Bowl and it’s not really even close at all.

RB Barry Sanders, Detroit Lions:

Sanders is one of the greatest pure players in NFL history and the best all-time to have never won a Super Bowl. He’s also another instance of a player who could have potentially won a Lombardi Trophy if he kept playing, and he’s the most painful instance. The reason for that is he could have been the unquestioned greatest running back in NFL history. He was already perhaps the most exciting running back in NFL history.

Coming off video game-like numbers at Oklahoma State, Sanders made the Pro Bowl in all 10 of his seasons in the NFL, leading the league in rushing yards four times and rushing touchdowns once. He was a six-time First-team All-Pro and a four-time Second-team All-Pro. He was the NFL MVP in 1997. In 10 seasons, he finished with 15,269 rushing yards, 2,921 receiving yards, 99 rushing touchdowns, and 10 receiving touchdowns.

More importantly, he was perhaps a season away from setting the all-time record for career rushing yards in the NFL. Amid a bitter contract dispute with Detroit, Sanders retired before the 1999 season and left the entire NFL world wondering what might have been. Either way, Sanders is the best NFL player to never win the Super Bowl – and that’s quite a large shame.