The Greatest NFL Players That Never Won a Super Bowl

Below are some of the greatest players, at their positions, that the NFL has ever witnessed.  Besides their great abilities and personal success, these players have something else in common – a gigantic void in their career resumes.

This void is caused by an inability to win the biggest game of the year;  The Super Bowl. Is it bad luck? Bad weather? Bad match-ups? Karma? Who knows, but what is known is that these players will have to live with an asterisk next to there name to remind them that they could never lead their team to the ultimate goal.


Dan Marino – QB Miami Dolphins 1983-1999

420 TDs, 61,361 YDs

Some consider Dan Marino to be the greatest quarterback in the history of the National Football League.  At the time of Marino’s retirement he held almost every major offensive record for a quarterback.  Among those records were most total touchdowns, most total yards, most yards in a season, and most touchdowns in a season.

Sadly enough the one stat that eluded Marino throughout his 17 year career was championships.  Marino’s one trip to the super bowl was in 1984 against the San Francisco 49ers in which the Dolphins stayed close for the fist half but in the end fell 38-16.

After 1984 Marino continually had just above average talent around him.  Most significantly, Marino was void of a running presence throughout his career as there was only one 1,000 yard rusher for the Dolphins in his 17 year career. As the memory of Marino fades as a player, his records seem to be getting forgotten while his inability to win a super bowl becomes the one thing people might remember him for.


Barry Sanders -RB Detroit Lions 1989-1998

99 TDs, 15,269 YDs

Barry Sanders was the most elusive running backs football has ever seen and was a continual highlight reel. Sanders’ numbers in his 9 years of NFL service ranked among the top five in almost every category. Possibly the most frustrating thing for Barry Sanders fans is that at the spry age of only 30, Sanders retired leaving most records associated with running backs unbroken.

Sanders was only 1,500 yards away from Walter Payton’s all time rushing record after his last season in 1998.  He also walked away from a career that was completely void of a championship.  In Sanders’ 9 year career he only reached as far as the NFC championship once (1991 vs. the Redskins).  His Lion teams consistently lacked great play from the defense and at the quarterback position and led to 6 losing seasons during his career.


Warren Moon – QB Houston Oilers, Minnesota Vikings, Seattle Seahawks, Kanas City Chiefs 1984-2000

291 TDs, 49,325 YDs

Warren Moon came into the NFL after spending time in the Canadian Football league and never looked back. Moon put up some of the greatest statistical years football has ever witnessed. He passed for over 4000 yards four times, while throwing over 30 touchdowns twice.

Moon had one of the elite arms in the NFL, even into his later years.  A lot of people forget that Moon spent a full six years in the CFL and threw for over 21,000 yards during his time there and won five consecutive Grey Cup Championships.  Those Grey Cups would be the closest thing to a Super Bowl victory that Moon would see in his career. As a matter of fact, Warren Moon never even got to be a part of a divisional championship.


Anthony Munoz – OT  Cincinnati Bengals, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 1980-1993

11 Pro-Bowl appearances

Anthony Munoz is considered by just about every NFL expert to be the greatest offensive linemen in football history.  Munoz was a ten time all-pro and anchored a Bengal offensive line that was a strong piece of two super bowl teams.

He appeared in those two super bowls in 1981 and 1989 , both against the San Francisco 49ers who beat them in both contests.  Munoz was an unmovable wall for over ten years for the Cincinnati Bengals but never got to feel what it was like to win his last game of any season.


Jim Kelly – QB Buffalo Bills 1986-1996

237 TDs, 35,467 YDs

Jim Kelley came out of the University of Miami a highly touted quarterback, but decided to sign with the Houston Gamblers of the USFL.  Kelly dominated the league for three years before it’s demise and returned back to the team that originally drafted him, the Buffalo Bills.

With the Bills Jim Kelley became the poster-child for super bowl disappointment. Over the span of four years (1989-1993) the Kelly-lead Buffalo Bills lost in the final game of the year to first the New York Giants, then the Washington Redskins, and finally the Dallas Cowboys two times in a row. Kelly brought about questions whether it is better to never get to the super bowl or to get there four times and lose all four times. Kelley had great teams over his career but seemed to never be able to make that final leap; also, the Bills ran into one of the greatest NFL teams ever in the Dallas Cowboys of 1992 and 1993.


Cris Carter – WR Philadelphia Eagles, Minnesota Vikings, Miami Dolphins 1987-2002

130 TDs, 13,899 YDs

All Chris Carter did was catch touchdowns and not win super bowls. Cris Carter is another unfortunate soul who never even got to play in the big game.

He came close twice in getting to the NFC championship game,  losing to first the Atlanta Falcons and then the New York Giants.  Carter wasn’t known as an athletically gifted wide receiver, but as one who had amazing hands, ran great routes, and worked harder than everyone else.


Dick Butkus – LB Chicago Bears 1965-1973

1,020 tackles 22 INTs

Dick Butkus was the scariest man in football for 8 years with the Chicago Bears.  Butkus is considered to be one the elite line backers during any decade in the NFL.

He was one of the first defensive players to truly disrupt entire games and force the opposing coach to game-plan around him.  Unfortunately, Butkus played for some very bad Chicago teams that never even made the playoffs in his 8 years.


Earl Campbell – RB Houston Oilers, New Orleans Saints 1978-1985

74 TDs, 9,407 YDs

Earl Campbell was the most powerful running back that sports fans had ever seen.  His body was a battering ram for a very bad Houston Oilers franchise that depended upon his talent to win games ( just not Super Bowls) and eventually ruined his body.


Dan Fouts – QB San Diego Chargers 1973-1987

254 TDs, 43,040 YDs

When Dan Fouts left the NFL, he was number one in most offensive categories for quarterbacks. Fouts led the high powered Chargers offense for 14 years and performed at a level that most had never seen at his position.

Even with all of his dominance, the Chargers failed to even make it to the final game of the year.

Leave a Comment

  1. Beavis says:

    Losers. All of them. Sorry losers.

    • Steel says:

      Yeah and I bet you're slim, athletic and have a beautiful wife. i bet being first to comment is close on being the most success you've had in some time…

    • Answer Me says:

      And whats the last Championship game you personally won Mr Troll?????
      Same goes for Mr Cowboys4Life
      They had bad players around them not their Fault. Except Kelly

    • John says:

      Earl Campbell was no loser. He was the most courageous yet humble player in NFL history.

  2. Cowboys4Life says:

    Yeah they didn't win a SB cuz they suck

  3. AndrewJones says:

    They didn't win because they weren't on good teams. The best athlete on the worst team will never do well, even though they are technically the best player

  4. John Savage says:

    ZHoly smokes dude that was insane!


  5. Kevin says:

    No one likes him now, but based on his playing career OJ probably belongs on this list.

  6. Football Fan says:

    You could make a case for Barry Sanders being the best running back of all time, just imagine what his numbers would have been like if he had played for 5 more years. Unfortunately, the Lions suck, so they never won a Superbowl.

    • Jedinate says:

      I agree, Emmitt Smith limped into the record with nothing left in the tank. Barry would have demolished it.

    • Mike Jones! says:

      I was (and am) a huge Eagles fan growing up, but Randall was an enormous choke artist. I can remember the Eagles holding hands in the huddle to help build unity and make Randall feel better. He had a great defense and was a one man offense. Unfortunately you have to play well in the playoffs to win a Super Bowl – and he was terrible when it counted

  7. Darren says:

    Um …. Randal Cunningham…you forgo one

  8. Foxtrot1 says:

    Barry had a crappy OLine and yet he continuously shook off defenders by himself. His vision and agility have not been seen since he left the turf.

  9. Glenn says:

    Football is the ultimate team game. The best TEAM almost always wins. In basketball, a great player can dominate, but no one player is ever going to dominate a football game. For one thing, a football player is only on the field half the time. Either on defense or offense. A QB is only as good as his protection, as his receivers…and his defense. Same for a RB! By the way, Elway would probably be on the top of this list if TD hadn't come to the Broncos and that defense started playing well.

  10. Charger Fan says:

    Except for Cris Carter ALL are in the Football Hall of Fame. Super Bowl, passing fancy (small pun). Hall of Fame is forever. I enjoyed watching all of them play in their glory days. Go Chargers!

  11. Tats says:

    FRAN FREAKIN' TARKENTON!!!!! Went to and lost 3 Super Bowls. One of the greatest ever!

    • Chris15 says:

      At Least Tark has the longest touchdown pass in Super Bowl history…. to "Old Man Willy"!!
      Ha ha, he sucks…

  12. Largent is No. 1!!! says:

    Why do you people always forget about Steve Largent? He was one of the greatest receivers of all time, held many records when he retired, and is even in the Hall of Fame!!!

  13. kalen says:

    where in the hell is tony gonzalez on this list!!!!?????

  14. ggss says:

    Earl Campbell!

  15. tef says:

    No Fran Tarkenton? All those records Marino broke were his.

  16. Josh says:

    Well maybe if these guys would've taken a paycut to surround themselves with a better cast…

    Peyton is lucky not to be on this list.

  17. Wil Porter says:

    Greatest player to not win – Bo Jackson – His Career was cut short by injury. He could have had the chance to be MVP in Football and Baseball, (Was All Star MVP) Win a World Series and a Super Bowl. He was a dominating force ending the hype over THE BOZ in front of millions on MNF by meeting him 2-3 yards out and taking him into the endzone for a TD. He was completely gifted and very humble. Too bad we will never know. The greatest game of "What if"

  18. Dave says:

    See, but it doesn’t matter that these guys didn’t win a Super Bowl. I mean, it would have been great if they did (esp. for Earl & Warren’s Oilers; I was a huge fan of the Oilers back in that day!). But the greatness of the player has nothing to do with whether or not they wear a championship ring. It would be cool if they could go there, win one…but the real accomplishment isn’t in one game or a few. It’s in the entire list of stats and accomplishments overall. These men are among the best; they can stand tall and be proud.

  19. sportsmog says:

    Cowboys4life, I'd like to see you try to get to the Super Bowl for years in a row.

  20. Aaron says:

    Stop spelling Jim Kelly as "Jim Kelley"

  21. LionsCursed says:

    Cowboys4Life –

    Typical comment from a typical arrogant Cowboys fan. Good luck with the Lions sloppy seconds in WR Roy Williams. Roy is just like T.O. but doesn't have T.O.'s talent. So basically he has the same mouth. I can't wait to see Romo get hurt and have Kitna come in to save the day too! HA-HA-HA LOSERS!!!!! Say what you want about 0-16, but these guys were part of the problem here and they're YOUR problem now.

  22. christian says:


  23. COWBOY H8R says:

    Payton won a super bowl numb nuts!

  24. Mookie says:

    "As a matter of fact…" Warren Moon's Oilers did win the AFC Central division title in 1993. Then lost in the playoffs to a Joe Montana/Marcus Allen-led comeback by the Chiefs.

  25. donnie says:

    add randy moss to this list in a few years.

  26. RedFox says:

    It doesn’t completely apply to all of them that they lost because they were on shitty teams. Sure a good is necessary for a superbowl, however players like dan marino and barry sanders who can break records, obviously had the necessary tools just they were choke artists. Those who never got to play in the big game are different however true winners want the ball and do something when they get it. Plexaco Burress my point sure he’s shit now but he declared the victory and was key eventhough eli and tyree made the game changer.

  27. bart ward says:

    brad van pelt is pretty good linebacker. and he never won superbowl

  28. falcons suck tho says:

    Wheres Michael Vick?!?!

  29. BRAD says:


  30. trader j says:

    Hard to imagine marino never won it man what a let down that must be!

  31. ZJH says:

    Randy Moss totally belongs here too. I know we all hate him but he has amazing talent "when he wants to play." Also Alan Page of the Vikings (if not the entire "Purple People Eaters") who had the misfortune of losing the Super Bowl four times.