There are certain players who, in my eyes, will just never get to touch the Lombardi Trophy after victory. Various players are on this list because they have gotten to a point in their career where it seems almost unfathomable that they would ever win, or they are stuck in unattractive circumstances. The 15 players listed, in order, represent a group of players who I feel pessimistic about, or rather pessimistic towards. Some players on this list have maybe been close to winning a championship at some point in their career, but at this point, that amount of success is behind them. This list is subjective, but I am sure readers will resonate with some of these athletes' presence in this article. What defines some of these players is not their pure talent, but maybe current circumstance.
Many players, who are very talented by nature, are stuck in horrible circumstances with teams who have no shot at a title. For example, Joe Thomas, perhaps the NFL's best left tackle, is stuck with the Browns, a team that hasn't won a championship since 1964. In 1964, gas was 0.30 cents a gallon, The Vietnam War was going on, and Dr. Martin Luther King received the Nobel Prize. So yeah, it's been a while Cleveland.
15 Carson Palmer
Palmer entered the league entered the league in 2003 as the first overall pick. He has has a very respectable career thus far, but at this point, a Super Bowl seems unattainable for him. In 2016, he signed a one year deal with the Cardinals. He had a good year in 2016 as well, racking up 26 touchdowns and over 4,000 passing yards. ESPN recently published an article titled Carson Palmer has desire to be mentor to Arizona Cardinals' Young QBs. It is obvious that Palmer's career is winding down. The Cardinals don't look like they are headed in the direction of immediate success just yet, but they do have solid pieces such as David Johnson and Patrick Peterson.
Palmer's days as a starting quarterback are beginning to come to a close. He may have a year or two left, but ultimately, he will either be a backup mentor or retire.
14 Jay Cutler
Cutler was the subject of a lot of criticism this past season. He has been blamed for a lot of the troubles of Chicago Bears football and for being a horrible leader. Cutler's days in Chicago have come to an end and it's unlikely any Super Bowl contender will sign him. Besides this though, he hasn't been very good lately. In Jay's first two games last NFL season, he threw two interceptions and got sacked eight times. Though he had a season ending injury which limited his time to only five games, the Bears were getting fed up with his inconsistent approach.
Personally, I don't see Cutler ever getting far in the playoffs. Even when he lands on a new team this offseason, he is far too inaccurate and immature to help a football team win a championship in this competitive age of the NFL.
13 Matt Forte
Forte's presence on this list is only to be categorized for two reasons: age and team. The guy has been a stud since his rookie year with the Bears, but seems like he is stuck in a poor situation while his time is winding down as a running back. The Jets are constantly changing quarterbacks or just getting QBs who ruin their chances of any success. I would like to think that Forte would get a ring at some point, but at this point, it seems unfathomable. It is important to note that he is slowing down quite a bit. Forte had his lowest rushing yard season ever in 2016, but combatted this low number of 813 with seven rushing touchdowns.
If Forte has any desire to win a championship, he best leave New York and try to get on a team that is poised for a title.
12 Sebastian Janikowski
Noted as one of the best kickers ever, Janikowski's time in the NFL is winding down. Though kickers tend to have longer careers, the guy is already 38 years old, not to mention he is on a young team that has a lot of potential, but is not really at the Super Bowl level yet. Sebastian has a bunch of NFL records, including longest field goal in overtime (57), most field goals in one quarter (4), longest field goal attempt (76), and most 60+ yard field goals attempted in his career. Obviously, he has cemented himself as a kicking legend, someone young soccer players who choose to go to the NFL instead of the MLS will look up to.
This being said, at 38, you have to wonder how much longer he wants to kick footballs through field goal uprights, and start relaxing on his huge sum of money earned throughout his career.
11 DeMarco Murray
Murray is in a pretty solid situation in Tennessee. I don't believe he will win a championship because I think he will remain a Titan for the rest of his career, or at least the majority of it. After coming off a rough season in Philadelphia with Chip Kelly, Murray was unreal in 2016. He has placed himself back in 'best running back' conversation.
Why do I think he will never win?
I don't think The Titans are equipped to win a championship. Murray may help their chances by a significant margin, but without other talented positions, they will fail to become a threat. Though this is true, they certainly have playoff potential. I just cannot envision Murray ever actually winning a title. It is certainly possible that he could go to another team in a couple years, or longer, but I just get the feeling he'll come up short.
10 Greg Olsen
Olsen is unquestionably an elite tight end. He may have had kind of a rough year in 2016, but this was due to the Panthers' Super Bowl hangover, in my opinion. Olsen is a very talented player, who got extremely close to having a Super Bowl ring. Unfortunately, I am not confident in Carolina to make a run to get back to the big game. Cam Newton seems lethargic compared to his old self last season, and the whole team has lost its essential swagger. Besides, Olsen is 31. Is it really viable to think he will leave Carolina at some point and go to another team? I think he will retire a Panther in the next couple years, if not next season. The NFC South is also getting stronger, as the Falcons seem poised to make a run back to the big game, while the Buccaneers are emerging. Thus, Olsen's chances of winning a Super Bowl seem low to me.
9 Alex Smith
Personally, I consider Alex Smith to be one of the most one dimensionally boring quarterbacks in the NFL. He continues to have regular season success, but these games do not translate into postseason success. Alex Smith will always be remembered as the regular season QB - the guy who always got the job done when the games were less intense, less meaningful, and less relevant. There is something to be said of his work ethic and talent, but this has not translated in to a Super Bowl. The fact of the matter is, Smith is 32. He throws the ball very short and lacks explosiveness. He has a couple more years in the league, but I think he will start to regress soon.
Chiefs fans must have gotten restless watching him, because he has trouble throwing down the field. Anyway, he obviously is a notable QB, but I doubt his playmaking abilities in crunch time.
8 Brock Osweiler
It is no shocker Osweiler is on this list. Though there was a little bit of hope for this guy coming into the 2016 season, he shattered all hope with 15 touchdowns and 16 interceptions. If you throw the ball to the other team more than your own, there is something up. His passer rating of 72.2 was horrible, to say the least. Brock should have stayed in a comfortable, familiar situation in Denver. Peyton Manning left, and he became a heavily targeted free agent. Unfortunately, his presence was nothing but detrimental to a young and hopeful Houston Texans offensive scheme. They did good by trading him to the Browns.
If the Texans get a QB, they could have an interesting team. They have Hopkins and Fuller, and now they just need someone better than average to throw them the ball. If they can get a QB, like a healthy Tony Romo, Houston might be on the rise. Osweiler's days as a starter are likely over.
7 Antonio Gates
Since 2003, Gates has revolutionized the tight end position. The eight time pro bowler was recently signed to a two year extension with the Los Angeles Chargers. Considering he is already 36 years old, it seems unrealistic to think he will win a Super Bowl this late in his career. I believe he will retire a Charger, and with that in mind, he will not win a Super Bowl. The Chargers have struggled defensively for a couple years now, and let up a significant amount of points each game. Offensively, they are beginning to transition Hunter Henry in the mix, but this remains insignificant. Rivers is still a good QB, but he cannot be expected to lead a subpar team deep into the playoffs. Unfortunately, time will run out on Gates.
6 Sam Bradford
Sam Bradford is pretty much hated by all Philadelphia Eagles fans, and most likely Vikings fans. I don't care how statistically accurate he is with his passes, because he just doesn't pass the eye test. He is probably the most one dimensional and simplistic quarterback I have ever witnessed play. He usually defers to his running back and hands the ball off in the shotgun, or tosses a two yard shovel pass to Cordarrelle Patterson. I can't stress enough how boring this guy is. Personally, I can't imagine Bradford ever winning a Super Bowl. He is too basic, too methodical. The reason he has had trouble garnering respect from teammates or fans is because he can't will his team to victory.
Bradford will have trouble making his way to a Lombardi Trophy, and if he ever gets deep into the playoffs, I will be dammed.
5 Matthew Stafford
I constantly hear people say things like "Stafford has the strongest arm in football". Is this supposed to make me feel better, considering that he has thrown 108 interceptions in seven seasons (his 2010 season was cut short to three games)? This means, on average, he throws 15 interceptions a season. Stafford is not a bad QB, he just makes really bad choices and rushes throws. He is known to lead his team to comebacks in late game situations, but he has yet to do so in an intense playoff game. If Stafford wants to be considered an elite quarterback, he needs to win some playoff games.
With Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers in his way, I don't see him winning a championship.
4 Robert Griffin III
RG3 mania was in full swing in the 2012 season, but after this unbelievable year, everything went sideways. He has since struggled to remain relevant, or rather productive. 2012 was by far his best season; he threw 20 touchdowns, had 3,200 yards, and rushed for seven touchdowns. Today?
This past season Griffin played five games, had 886 yards, and threw two touchdowns. He has been an absolute bust since his crazy rookie season. There used to be debate as to who was better, Luck or Griffin. This argument is over.
Griffin will never win a Super Bowl because he just has never seemed to recover from his knee injury in his rookie season. The Browns have now released him and when the Browns release you, chances are your days in the NFL are numbered.
3 Andy Dalton
Dalton is a slightly above average Quarterback who has yet to be a real force. I question a lot of the Bengals play calling, but also, various throws Dalton makes downfield. Truthfully, he did have a very good season. In fact, he threw for 4,206 yards, so i will stop bantering about his insignificance.
In regards to his current circumstance, the Bengals are certainly not equipped to win a super bowl at this time. Their defense could use some fresh heads, and their blocking needs significant improvement. To me, Dalton is not a leader, or the type of player who will command an offense. He's the type of QB who needs weapons, which is the obvious difference between him and someone like Aaron Rodgers. Dalton has weapons though, AJ Green is a top tier receiver. I tend to focus on his mediocrity, aside from statistics. Stats only tell you so much about a player. I watch him play every week of football, and I can honestly say, I am not that impressed in how he plays. He tends to throw short balls often and is given a lot of running plays from the coaching staff. I do not see him ever touching the Lombardi Trophy, at least as a player.
2 Andrew Luck
Andrew Luck is a very solid quarterback, who has his good and bad moments. This past season, he threw 31 touchdowns, 13 interceptions, and got sacked 41 times (the most of his career). By no measure is Luck a poor guy to have leading your team. I believe he will stay in Indianapolis for years to come, and this will cost him championship opportunities. Luck is significantly better than many other QBs in the NFL, but he is stuck in a very subpar offensive scheme. The Colts need more weapons, more firepower. Defensively, Indianapolis struggles as well and should look at the NFL Draft as the first step in the rebuilding phase.
If anything can be said, Luck is a very athletic and solid QB. Unfortunately, he is not in the best circumstance and I do not necessarily see him going to another team. With Luck having the Patriots in his way, it's hard to see his Colts getting past the Pats in a playoff game, which will make it hard for him to get to a Super Bowl.
1 Colin Kaepernick
Yes, Kaepernick is number one. Though this isn't an unbelievable shocker, don't forget his past. Colin was once an elite QB. Now, an NFL executive has called him "an embarrassment to football". And he is.
Kaepernick was extremely close to winning a Super Bowl in 2012, but he fell short. In 2013, he got to the NFC Championship game, but lost to the Seahawks. In 2014, he signed a huge deal, guaranteeing him $126 million. Then he began to struggle.
This past season, he had a 1-10 win loss record. He now has opted out of his contract and will become a free agent. Will a team pounce on him? Maybe, but I do not believe he will ever be the player he once was. Kaepernick has yet to bounce back from his rough seasons, and I do not believe he will. He had his shot, but that time is over.