Some of the most recognized names in the history of the National Football League earned Super Bowl rings during lengthy and impressive careers. Peyton Manning is arguably the greatest regular-season quarterback to ever play in the NFL, and Manning also acquired a pair of Super Bowl titles before riding off into the sunset. Former linebacker and current television analyst Ray Lewis, meanwhile, is regarded as one of the best defensive players of his time, and Lewis, like Manning, owns a pair of Super Bowl rings that he earned while starting for the Baltimore Ravens. New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady has enough Super Bowl rings for all five fingers on his throwing hand, and there’s no reason to believe Brady is slowing down as of the summer of 2017.
There are also long lists of current and former players you wouldn’t believe have at least one Super Bowl ring. Some were backups to stars who overshadowed what they managed to achieve, if anything, at all, during regular seasons. Others, to be direct, were merely fortunate to find themselves among the 53 official players on a championship team. If nothing else, this piece should serve as proof to any young talent failing to make it on a starting roster that he could, one day, win a Super Bowl ring even if he never earns a single Pro Bowl vote during his tenure in the league. Even somebody perceived as a “draft bust” could, one day, earn a ring so long as he manages to remain in the NFL for more than a couple of seasons.
15 Current: Tyrod Taylor
This one is interesting if only because we still don’t know what quarterback Tyrod Taylor can and will be as a starter for the Buffalo Bills. Taylor is currently on a “show me/prove yourself” contract with the Bills, meaning even that franchise doesn’t fully believe he can win anything of merit playing under center for the club.
Unlike other franchise QBs who were first-round picks before being handed the keys to pro offenses, Taylor entered the league as a late draft pick grabbed by the Baltimore Ravens. He was a backup for Joe Flacco when Flacco and the Ravens beat the San Francisco 49ers at Super Bowl XLVII, but he’s probably hoping he’ll have a championship game moment of his own at some point in the near future.
14 Former: Jim Sorgi
Not every quarterback gets to be the face of a franchise featured in national television commercials and on the covers of video games. Jim Sorgi is likely an anonymous figure to football fans of a certain age or to those who didn’t follow the Indianapolis Colts a decade ago, as he found himself second on the depth chart behind the previously mentioned Peyton Manning.
Manning, as you know, was one of the best offensive players of the current century, meaning Sorgi largely was a spectator throughout the season that ended with the Colts defeating the Chicago Bears to win Super Bowl XLI. While Manning was the first Indianapolis player to hoist the Vince Lombardi Trophy on that fateful night, Sorgi also earned a Super Bowl ring as part of that roster.
13 Current: Jabaal Sheard
It turns out the Cleveland Browns actually do draft Super Bowl champions. Those players merely need to find different homes to achieve such success. Defensive end Jabaal Sheard was largely seen as a Cleveland flop following several seasons with the Browns, but he received a chance to jump-start his career after he put pen to paper on a contract with the New England Patriots in March 2015.
Sheard didn’t emerge as a Superstar defensive player for the Patriots, but he was good enough to participate in the team’s historic comeback victory over the Atlanta Falcons at Super Bowl LI. He’ll play for a different team starting in the fall of 2017, as he signed with the Indianapolis Colts earlier this year. He now has millions of reasons to be grateful the Patriots gave him a chance.
12 Former: Mark Brunell
You may remember quarterback Mark Brunell for being one of the best players to ever start for the Jacksonville Jaguars during the team’s first several years of existence even though Brunell experienced plenty of downs and ups while playing for the club. Brunell turned into somewhat of a journeyman after his tenure with the Jaguars ended, and he ultimately became the backup to New Orleans Saints starter Drew Brees.
Signing for the Saints worked out well for Brunell, as Brees and New Orleans defeated the Indianapolis Colts at Super Bowl XLIV. While Brunell never again became a long-term starter for any NFL franchise, nobody can take the Super Bowl ring he earned with the Saints away from him. He last played in the NFL during the 2011 season.
11 Current: Reggie Bush
Running back Reggie Bush, who is currently a free agent but still an active player, was advertised as a potential future all-time great when the athletic offensive weapon entered the league via the 2006 NFL Draft. While Bush created some memorable highlights over the years, he never evolved into the type of game-changing talent many believed he would be for an NFL offense.
Because of this and also because of the fact his playing career became overshadowed by a romantic relationship with reality television star Kim Kardashian, you may have forgotten Bush also won a Super Bowl ring as part of the Saints team that downed the Colts at Super Bowl XLIV. Most recently, Bush played for the Buffalo Bills, and it's currently unknown if any other franchise will give the 32-year-old a chance to win a roster spot during the summer months.
10 Former: Limas Sweed
Diehard followers of the Pittsburgh Steelers likely view wide receiver Limas Sweed as one of the club’s biggest draft busts of the past ten years. Sweed seemed to have the physical tools needed to become a star while playing alongside a talented quarterback such as Ben Roethlisberger, but the second-round pick of the 2008 NFL Draft largely struggled to adapt to life in the league when injuries didn’t sideline him.
His biggest claim to fame as it pertains to his NFL career is that he was a rookie on the Pittsburgh roster when the Steelers beat the Arizona Cardinals to win Super Bowl XLIII. The Steelers moved on from the Sweed miscue in 2011, and he never found a new NFL home before his brief career came to a quiet end.
9 Current: Michael Oher
When you see the name Michael Oher, you probably first think of the movie The Blind Side which chronicled his personal life en route to becoming a starting offensive lineman in the NFL. Thus, it's easy to forget Oher won his first Super Bowl ring while playing for the Baltimore Ravens side that defeated the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl XLVII.
Several years later, Oher made a return to the big game as a member of the Carolina Panthers. That outing did not have a happy ending for Oher and the Panthers, though, as Carolina lost Super Bowl 50 to the Denver Broncos. He missed the majority of the 2016 season because of issues stemming from a concussion, and it’s possible the Panthers may cut him before the 2017 campaign begins.
8 Former: Jeremy Shockey
We actually had to look up and verify former NFL tight end Jeremy Shockey legitimately earned a pair of Super Bowl rings during his career. The often outspoken Shockey missed the end of the 2007 season because of an injury, and, thus, he wasn’t on the field featuring for the New York Giants when the Giants defeated the New England Patriots to win Super Bowl XLII.
The Giants moved on from Shockey and traded him to the New Orleans Saints before the start of the subsequent season, and he caught a touchdown pass thrown to him by Drew Brees during Super Bowl XLIV. Despite the fact he's a two-time champion, Shockey is more so remembered for running his mouth than for what he achieved on football fields.
7 Current: Michael Hoomanawanui
Diehard NFL fans who play fantasy football and who watch the NFL RedZone channel every week during the season probably recognize New Orleans Saints tight end Michael Hoomanawanui because of his unique last name. Before he was a member of the Saints, Hoomanawanui was a backup option at the position for the New England Patriots team that defeated the Seattle Seahawks at Super Bowl XLIX.
Unfortunately for Hoomanawanui, the Patriots traded him to the Saints in the fall of 2015, meaning he did not earn a second ring for himself with the Patriots in February 2017. He's expected to compete for playing time while attempting to make a return from an ankle injury that cost him the entire 2016 NFL campaign, and it's believed he's fully healthy as of the start of summer.
6 Former: David Carr
In a way, it’s easy to feel bad for David Carr because of how his career went after he was selected by expansion team the Houston Texans with the first overall pick of the 2002 NFL Draft. Carr played behind some downright awful offensive lines during his time with the Texans, and he never had a real opportunity to become a winning QB with that club.
Karma had Carr’s back, though, as he eventually signed with the New York Giants and had multiple stints with New York. Most notably, Carr was able to be a backup for Eli Manning, who hasn’t missed a start for the Giants since being given the gig back in 2004, when the Giants defeated the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLVI.
5 Current: Brock Osweiler
Life comes at you fast, goes the well-known saying, and that has been the case for quarterback Brock Osweiler over the past several years. Osweiler seemed to be the future starter for the Denver Broncos after Peyton Manning retired following Denver’s Super Bowl win over the Carolina Panthers, but Osweiler signed a contract with the Houston Texans in March 2016.
That deal earned him millions upon millions of dollars, but it proved to be the wrong move for his career path. The Texans traded Osweiler to the Cleveland Browns roughly one year after paying him, and it’s possible the Browns could move on from him before he plays a meaningful down with the club. At least Osweiler has that Super Bowl ring and a small fortune assuming he’s been smart with his money.
4 Former: Bernie Kosar
It’s yet another player with ties to the Cleveland Browns. Bernie Kosar was the starting quarterback of those Cleveland teams that fell painfully short of playing in even one Super Bowl contest during the 1980s, and he was sent packing by then-head coach Bill Belichick during the 1993 season.
Cutting the fan-favorite QB made Belichick an enemy among many in northeast Ohio, but the move benefited Kosar in that he signed with the Dallas Cowboys and helped Dallas complete a trip to Super Bowl XXVIII. While Kosar was a backup to Troy Aikman the night Dallas beat the Buffalo Bills for the title, he was given the honor of kneeling for the final offensive play of the championship contest. That would prove to be Kosar’s only Super Bowl snap under center.
3 Current: Barkevious Mingo
Maybe you can’t blame people for thinking the Cleveland Browns may actually be cursed. Linebacker Barkevious Mingo was a promising prospect when the Browns spent a first-round pick on his services in the 2013 NFL Draft, but Mingo was largely a disappointment for multiple seasons until the club traded him to the New England Patriots in August 2016.
Mingo served largely as a reserve for New England, but he was nevertheless on the roster when the Patriots beat the Atlanta Falcons to win Super Bowl LI this past February. New England elected to not pay Mingo once free agency opened, but he was given an opportunity to continue playing in the NFL when the Indianapolis Colts signed him in March. The 26-year-old will be looking to show he still has plenty to offer as an active player.
2 Former: Jared Lorenzen
Maybe you called him the “Hefty Lefty,” or perhaps you knew him as the “Pillsbury Throwboy” or “J-Load.” Those nicknames are funny and all, but all should remember that quarterback Jared Lorenzen is also a one-time champion who earned a Super Bowl ring while with the New York Giants. Lorenzen was the backup to starting QB Eli Manning when Manning guided the Giants to a late touchdown to defeat the previously unbeaten New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLII.
While Lorenzen never became a starter in the NFL, he remains a popular figure among Big Blue fans who remember him from his tenure with the Giants. Following his time in the NFL, Lorenzen extended his playing career participating in indoor football organizations, but it’s largely believed the 36-year-old is retired.
1 Current: Tarvaris Jackson
We end the list with Tarvaris Jackson if only because Jackson remains an active quarterback who possesses a Super Bowl ring looking for a new employer this summer. The 34-year-old failed to cement his status as a starter with the Minnesota Vikings, and he twice landed with the Seattle Seahawks.
It was during his second stint with the Seahawks when the club trounced the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII, a game so lopsided Jackson actually received some playing time late in the contest. Teams often require a reliable backup once a starter or second option on the depth chart goes down to an injury during training camp or the preseason, so it wouldn’t be too shocking to see Jackson get at least one more chance to play in the NFL before he hangs his cleats up for good.
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