We all have those players that we love to see succeed, even if they don’t play for our favorite team. Some guys are just too likable not to cheer for. Players like Tony Gonzalez, Champ Bailey, LaDainian Tomlinson, Randy Moss and Brian Dawkins are just a sliver of players I grew up watching and could never get enough of. These guys were all more than deserving to win a Super Bowl. So when I saw them retire without a ring I was a bit bothered to say the least. I mean come on football gods, how could you not give these guys the ultimate reward they so undoubtedly deserved? With all of that said, I decided to compile a list of the most deserving current NFL players that we need to witness win a Super Bowl before they retire. Let’s dive right in.
Larry Fitzgerald, WR – Just like the previous names I mentioned above, Larry Fitzgerald is a player I have been fortunate enough to grow up watching and personally I couldn’t be more thankful. He’s one of the most genuine people on and off the field I have ever seen. Co-winning the Man of the Year award with Eli Manning in 2017, Fitzgerald has made and continues to make an impeccable impact off the field. His off the field actions have translated flawlessly on the field, as he nears the end of a certain Hall of Fame career with the Arizona Cardinals. Don’t forget that Fitzgerald and the Cardinals were minutes away from bringing the Lombardi Trophy to Arizona before a miraculous Pittsburgh Steelers game winning drive in Super Bowl 43. To this day, I’ve never cheered so hard for a team that wasn’t my favorite than in that Super Bowl. The Kurt Warner-Larry Fitzgerald duo is one of my all time favorite quarterback-wide receiver duos. Fitzgerald is a once in a generation talent and seeing him get a Super Bowl ring before retirement would be the icing on the cake to a historic career. Arizona, please find this man a quarterback.
Antonio Gates, TE – One of the best tight ends in the league, Gates has dominated opposing defenses his entire time with the Chargers. Being a Denver Broncos fan, he’s been one of the most frustratingly good players to have my team go up against. Gates also has one of my favorite stories in the NFL, going from college basketball star to undrafted free agent in the NFL. 200+ NFL games later, Gates will undoubtedly go down as one of the greatest tight end’s in history. He is the all time TD leader at the tight end position. He’s played great for far too long to not have a Super Bowl ring.
Joe Thomas, LT – Good ole, Joe Thomas. We all know of his unreal streak of playing 10,363 consecutive offensive snaps with the Cleveland Browns. That alone deserves a major award. Joe Thomas has played at such an elite level for an incredible amount of time all while playing for the worst franchise in the league. Making it to the Pro Bowl 10 times while his team continues to struggle. Lucky for the Browns, he’s a genuinely great guy that doesn’t let the losing affect how he plays or feels about his team. I don’t know if it’s going to be possible for Thomas to get a ring, but golly the man deserves one.
Eric Berry, DB – He’s probably not a name you expected to see on this list. Just try to work with me here. Since watching him dominate college football at Tennessee, Berry quickly turned into one of my favorite defenders in the NFL because of the his passion and fight on and off the field. In 2015, the Chiefs star was diagnosed with Hodgkins disease and immediately made his future in the NFL doubtful. Less than a year later he was informed he was cancer-free and went on to earn his 4th Pro Bowl selection. He’s definitely a story that doesn’t get talked about nearly enough. Berry still plays with the same intensity and heart that he played with in college. Nowadays that’s rare to find in players. The effort and skill he presents every Sunday is something that never get’s old to watch. Except for the two times my Broncos have to face him. Even then, I can’t help but to just respect the guy. I’d love to see Eric Berry raise the Lombardi in the near future.
Antonio Brown, WR – Do I really even have to make a case for this guy? He’s one of the best players in the NFL and is the best wide receiver in the league. The 28-year-old Pittsburgh star has caught 733 passes for 9,910 yards and 59 touchdowns so far in his career. He actually played in Super Bowl XLV vs Green Bay when he was just a rookie, but Rodgers and the Packers came out on top. Brown is so easy to root for because of how much fun he has playing football in general. It’s contagious and it’s just hard to not like a guy like that. His positivity and dominance in the game makes him an easy pick for this list. He’s on pace for a Hall of Fame career and by being on the Steelers, a Super Bowl victory is very realistic.
Julio Jones, WR – Just like Antonio Brown, he’s one of the most dominant players in his position and one of the best in the league. If you look up “savage” in the dictionary, Julio Jones’ picture will be there. I mean honestly this guy is vicious when he plays and I love it. The Falcons star plays with a nasty grit that I haven’t seen since Calvin Johnson. It doesn’t matter who covers him, there’s a pretty darn good chance that Julio will come down with a reception. Also like Antonio Brown, Jones is surrounded by Super Bowl worthy talent. Obviously. I’d be shocked if Julio Jones doesn’t get at least one ring before he calls it quits.
Some of the players listed obviously have a more realistic chance than other’s but I tried to base it off just the player and how deserving they really are. I would’ve easily added more, but that would make this post the length of a novel. Nonetheless, I’d love to see ALL of these guys snag a Super Bowl victory and end their career’s on top where they all 100% deserve.
– Collin Borron (Founder & Owner of The Gridiron Express)