Philip Rivers among 10 NFL figures I want to win a Super Bowl


Tom Brady has five -- might soon be six.

That would put the Patriots passer ahead of Hall of Famer Charles Haley and the rest of Planet Earth for the most hardware in league lore.

While he polishes his precious metal, the vast majority of TB12's NFL peers march on minus the glory. Will these left-out players and coaches ever earn the last laugh?

History tells us most will not, but there's still hope for a collection of players and coaches I hope to see lift the Lombardi before terra firma is sucked forever into a super-massive-level black hole:

Andy Reid

Before the Patriots beat the Chiefs in the AFC title game, it was easy for me to conjure mental images of Reid holding court at Super Bowl Week. It made sense as a just and well-deserved celebration for a leader whose coaching branches spread wide over the NFL. Getting past Bill Belichick was too tall an order, though, leaving Reid on the outside looking in -- again. Yes, he won a title in the mid-90s as an offensive assistant with the Packers, but his career won't feel complete until he's done the same in the period since he became known one of the game's most innovative and respected figureheads. Having Patrick Mahomes at his side brings genuine hope that Reid and the Chiefs can finally get over the hump.

Philip Rivers

In their role as dream-crushers, the Patriots did far more than yank Reid off stage. Belichick and his henchmen also thoroughly neutralized Rivers and the Bolts. How many seasons will end with the likable veteran passer shoved aside, forced to watch in silence from the sideline as some other quarterback advances to the game's biggest stage? Rivers remains the last of our aging star signal-callers to never experience a Super Bowl, but his game remains on par with the best. Entering his age-38 campaign, at least one more shot remains to scatter the horde of ghosts.

Bruce Arians

Arians is back on the scene after health concerns wiped out his run with a Cardinals team that loomed as a Super Bowl contender before the floor fell out. He won a pair of rings as a Steelers assistant, but flipping the switch as a head coach is a chore of massively different proportions. I love Arians for his pull-no-punches press conferences. He would have been a juicy hire for the Browns but finds himself attached to a Bucs team that knows its own brand of hardship. Tugging Tampa to the title game would serve as a much-needed fresh narrative for the NFL.

Sebastian Janikowski

Drafted five rounds before Brady in Y2K, Janikowski sits at the opposite end of the spectrum in the world of January-into-February gridiron success. Eighteen seasons with the Raiders produced four ill-fated trips to the postseason, including a blowout defeat in Super Bowl XXXVII and a loss to Brady in the uber-infamous Tuck Rule Game. The 40-year-old got back to the party with the Seahawks this season, only to exit Seattle's loss to Dallas with a tweaked hamstring off a botched 57-yard field-goal try before halftime. He's a big-bodied, mysterious, cantankerous kicker who would make next year's Super Bowl twice as fun, provided he decides to play another season.

Larry Fitzgerald

Fitzgerald stirred the imagination with his heroic attempt to lift Arizona over the Steelers in Super Bowl XLIII. Ever since, the Cardinals have been an up-and-down operation, leaving one of the game's greatest wideouts to watch others win titles from his cozy couch in the desert. After the 35-year-old Fitzgerald signed on for one more year, it's fair to wonder if he can get back to a Super Bowl without requesting a trade to a contender if the Cardinals plummet next autumn. That said, maybe this squad can speed up the clock on its rise to glory if Kliff Kingsbury hits the scene playing the role of Sean McVay 2.0.

Andrew Luck

Lodged between the almost ancient set of quarterbacks still hanging around and this past year's crop of exciting rookies is Luck. His four playoff runs have all ended in defeat, but the future is bright with coach Frank Reich and general manager Chris Ballard finally building something special around their franchise quarterback. Assuming he's past the injury issues that cost him the 2017 season, Luck rolls into next season as a raging talent who can accomplish anything asked under center. We might not have to wait long for Luck's first chance to rewrite history.

Odell Beckham Jr.

I grew up watching Giants games every Sunday as a youth on the East Coast. That must be why I long to see Eli Manning flip over the apple cart and drop a bomb on the doubters by roaring back to the Super Bowl for one more tussle with Tom Brady and the Pats. Will it happen? Highly doubtful. If the Giants unearth a young gunslinger, though, anything feels possible, with Beckham sitting in his prime alongside the masterful Saquon Barkley.

Kyle Shanahan

Twenty-plus years ago, then-Broncos coach Mike Shanahan helped John Elway to a pair of late-career, legacy-defining Super Bowl titles. If Kyle can nab a ring of his own, the pair would become the first father-and-son head-coaching combo to win it all. The Niners have a ways to go in a rough-and-tumble NFC West, but Kyle -- assuming Jimmy Garoppolo hits the ground running after missing most of 2018 with a torn ACL -- has a franchise quarterback to build around for years to come.

J.J. Watt

It's fair to wonder how many years remain with Watt, 29, operating at today's lofty levels. Not unlike Texans wideout DeAndre Hopkins, Watt toiled for years on a team absent a quarterback worth a lick. Not the case today with Deshaun Watson, who, in Year 2, roared back with flair from his rookie-year injury. Watt is a no-brainer Hall of Fame entry, but something feels incomplete without a title.

Baker Mayfield

Baker Mayfield: A quarterback unsatisfied with 7-8-1.

As a rookie, he ushered in fresh waves of hope for anyone smitten with Cleveland's long-embattled football club. A rousing start, but we've just circled through a list of players with years of starry work under their belts and zero rings. The Browns fan in me is beginning to feel hope again, but reality suggests that even getting to a Super Bowl is one of the toughest tasks in all of sports. If Mayfield can pull it off, he'll be a hero in that city until the end of days.

Follow Marc Sessler on Twitter @MarcSesslerNFL.

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