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The best quarterbacks who never won a Super Bowl

The best quarterbacks who never won a Super Bowl

Admittedly, there are times when we place too much emphasis on the importance of quarterbacks winning the Super Bowl and leaving out the best quarterbacks who never win a Super Bowl.

Just as there are mediocre quarterbacks who have a Super Bowl ring, there are some great QBs who didn’t win a Super Bowl. Most of the time it’s not their fault. Maybe they played on one of the teams with the most Super Bowl losers, or maybe they never had a strong enough support cast.

The best quarterbacks who never won a Super Bowl

Reasons aside, who are the best quarterbacks who would never win a Super Bowl? There are a few that might immediately come to mind. But when we started thinking about it, we found a lot of great candidates. However, we’ve narrowed our list down to the top 10 quarterbacks who didn’t win the Super Bowl.

10.Cam Newton

When Cam Newton won the MVP honor in 2015 and led the Panthers to a 15-1 record, it looked like he might win a Super Bowl ring alongside the national championship he won in college at Auburn. Unfortunately for the Panthers, they faced a historically good Denver defense in Super Bowl 50.

Even more unfortunate was that that year marked the peak of Newton’s career. He never came close to matching his performance that season, only bringing Carolina back to the playoffs one more time. Despite being one of the NFL’s most exciting quarterbacks in the 2010s, Newton never won a Super Bowl.

9. MattRyan

One could argue that Matt Ryan is the unluckiest quarterback on our list. He and the Falcons led 21-3 at halftime in Super Bowl LI, making it look like Ryan would cap out his MVP season with a Super Bowl ring. But we all know what happened after halftime.

The Patriots rushed back to spoil the party.

That was one of six seasons that Ryan led the Falcons to the playoffs in a remarkable career that also included four Pro Bowl appearances. But Ryan was only 4-6 in the playoffs and only took the Falcons to the NFC Championship Game twice. In 2022, Ryan made one final breakthrough with the Colts, although that season was a complete disaster and Ryan was one of the great quarterbacks who never won a Super Bowl.

8.Steve McNair

Without question, Steve McNair has had a remarkable career. He became MVP in 2003 and attended four Pro Bowls. However, the guy who worked his way up to third overall pick from Alcorn State in the 1995 draft never won a Super Bowl.

In Super Bowl XXXIV, he and the Titans were just a yard away from forcing an overtime, putting McNair painfully close to the top of the mountain. A few years later, McNair led Tennessee back to the AFC Championship Game but again fell short. McNair made two more tries with the Ravens late in his career, even leading Baltimore to a 13-3 record in 2006. But the Ravens suffered a 15-6 playoff loss to the Colts last year, ending McNair’s last chance at a Super Bowl run.

7. Dan Fouts

Like some of the quarterbacks on our list, Dan Fouts has joined a franchise that has yet to win a Super Bowl. Overall, his career was a resounding success, with six Pro Bowl selections paving his way into the Hall of Fame.

But although Fouts played for the Chargers from 1973 to 1987, he never reached a Super Bowl. In fact, the Chargers only made the playoffs four times with fouts at the top. Although the Chargers twice contested the AFC championship game, they lost both games.

6. Philip Rivers

There’s no doubt Philip Rivers deserves a lifetime achievement award instead of never having won a Super Bowl. He’s made eight Pro Bowl appearances in his career and has been incredibly consistent throughout.

But the Chargers have never won a Super Bowl and there was nothing Rivers could do about it. He led them to the AFC Championship Game only once, despite making the playoffs seven times with the Chargers. Rivers made one last attempt to win with the Colts in 2020, but that season and his career ended in a loss in the Wild Card Round.

5. Donovan McNabb

During his 11 seasons in Philadelphia, Donovan McNabb would have come close to winning a Super Bowl several times but never sealed the deal. In those 11 seasons, McNabb was a Pro Bowler six times and helped the Eagles make the playoffs eight times.

As Philadelphia sports fans know all too well, there were four NFC Championship Game losses during that era. The only time the Eagles made it to the Super Bowl during McNabb’s tenure was in a 24-21 loss to the Patriots in Super Bowl XXXIX. McNabb threw three interceptions in that game as he ran out of energy near the end of the game and Philly’s late comeback fell through.

4.Jim Kelly

There is perhaps no more heartbreaking story about a quarterback who didn’t win a Super Bowl than the story of Jim Kelly. He led the Bills to four consecutive Super Bowl appearances in the early ’90s and served as the leader of some truly spectacular offensive teams.

Unfortunately, on all four trips to the big game, Kelly and the Bills stayed behind. Scott Norwood’s infamous field goal failure deprived Kelly and the City of Buffalo of a Super Bowl XXV win. The Bills lost that game by a single point and were double-digit losers in each of the next three Super Bowls, putting Kelly among the top non-winning quarterbacks.

3. Fran Tarkenton

While Fran Tarkenton is best known for his time with the Vikings, the Vikings are best known for never winning a Super Bowl. In fairness, Tarkenton’s time with the Giants didn’t help him get a ring either.

During his second stint in Minnesota, Tarkenton and the Vikings reached the Super Bowl three times in four seasons. But every ride ended in a loss of 10 points or more. Although he failed to win the Super Bowl, Tarkenton is a Hall of Famer, having reached the Pro Bowl nine times, putting him at the top of the list of the best quarterbacks not to win a Super Bowl.

2. Warren Moon

If it’s any consolation, Warren Moon has won five straight Gray Cup titles during his time in the CFL and has been named Gray Cup MVP twice. Unfortunately, his talent for winning championships hasn’t carried over to the NFL.

While in Houston, Moon helped the Oilers make the playoffs for seven straight seasons. But in those playoff games, they were only 3-7. Moon spent the last seven years of his NFL career with three different teams chasing the championship. But he’s never played in a conference championship game, let alone a Super Bowl.

1st Dan Marino

It’s hard to imagine anyone surpassing Dan Marino as the best quarterback who never won a Super Bowl ring. He’s a Hall of Famer who just never had enough help around.

Marino’s best shot at getting a ring came in his sophomore season, when he won the MVP honors and had one of the best single seasons by a quarterback in NFL history. Marino led Miami to a 14-2 record during the regular season and eventually to Super Bowl XIX.

However, the Dolphins faced a historic 49ers that was 15-1 in the regular season and outplayed their three playoff opponents by 82-26. They were near perfect and wiped out Marino’s best shot at winning a Super Bowl.

Although Marino and the Dolphins attended nine Pro Bowls and led the league in by-passes five times, they made it to the AFC Championship Game just one more time, as 17 great seasons weren’t long enough for Marino to win a Super Bowl.


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