Hall of Fame Quarterback Jim Kelly was recently in the news talking about his planned chemotherapy for the small tumors growing in his head. Kelly was the number one draft pick and quarterback of the Buffalo Bills, attending a record four straight Super Bowls in the early ’90s. Today’s Super Bowl teams have a rough climb back to a second Super Bowl due to free agency and tough competition. Although Kelly attended football’s biggest game four years in a row, he never came out on top, finishing second in Super Bowl XXV, XXVI, XXVII, and XXVIII.
Although Kelly was a phenomenal quarterback with a stellar career including an induction in the Football Hall of Fame, losing four straight Super Bowls has left a black mark against his otherwise impeccable play. Below are other talented football players who also could not pull the trigger and win a Super Bowl in their accomplished careers.
When Dan Mario retired as quarterback for the Miami Dolphins, he was the NFL’s all-time leader in passing attempts, completions, yardage, and touchdowns. He attended Super Bowl XIX in 1984, his second year in the league, and was never able to return despite a superior career full of records and accomplishments. Marino has gone on to announce for CBS Sports and also played alongside Jim Carrey in the movie “Ace Ventura: Pet Detective.”
Barry Sanders was the third overall pick in the 1989 NFL draft. He became the first player to rush for over 1,000 yards in his first 10 years and holds the NFL record 14 straight 100-yard games. But Detroit never reached the Super Bowl with Sanders in the backfield. When Sanders retired a Lion in 1998, the closest he ever got to the NFL’s biggest game with the 1991 NFC Championship game.
Archie Manning is the famous father of quarterbacks Peyton and Eli Manning, both Super Bowl winners for the Indianapolis Colts and the New York Giants (Peyton played in the 2014 Super Bowl as a Denver Bronco). However, Archie himself was a quarterback for the New Orleans’ Saints from 1971 to 1982. He was the 2nd overall pick of the 1971 draft and many experts thought he would have a promising career. Unfortunately, the Saints had little else to compliment the stellar quarterback, losing nine seasons with Manning at the helm. They were known by their fans as the “Aint’s” and fans wore paper bags over their heads, embarrassed to be seen in the presence of such an unskilled team. Archie Manning never had a chance to attend a Super Bowl and had to experience the thrills of a Super Bowl victory threw his sons.
Winning a Super Bowl is the ultimate goal in professional football, but is it the only achievement of success? Over the last thirty years there have been some amazing players with stellar careers, Hall of Fame members who deserve the recognition they receive. And yet, they were never able to achieve the elusive goal of winning a Super Bowl ring.