What do Barry Sanders, LaDainian Tomlinson, Tony Gonzalez, Dan Fouts and Eric Dickerson have in common?
They are just a few of the greatest players to ever put on an NFL uniform and never play in a Super Bowl.
In fact, there are so many great players that have never even reached the big game, you can make up an entire 53-man roster filled with Hall of Fame and All-Pro players.
It is both surprising and somewhat melancholic to see some the names on this list, knowing that so many other players were "in the right place, at the right time."
There are many factors to consider heading into an NFL season, but regardless of those factors every team has the same goal in mind -- reaching the Super Bowl and winning it -- at least that should be the goal of all 32 franchises.
Most players on this list will tell you they would trade all of their personal accomplishments and accolades, just for the opportunity to play on the biggest stage one time. Unfortunately for them and the fans, that's not an option and they will forever have that "what if" somewhere in the backs of their minds.
Just to be clear on how tough it is to reach the Super Bowl, let alone multiple times, let's look at a few numbers.
There are only two teams that reach the Super Bowl every season and each team is comprised of a 53-man roster. This does not include players on injured reserve or on the practice squad. It should be noted that practice squad players are activated and eligible to play in the Super Bowl.
A minimum of 106 players reach the Super Bowl each season, or about 16 percent of the players for that particular season. The remaining 1,590 players are left to wait until next season, just as those teams respective fans are.
So, even if you are a game-changing player like Barry Sanders or Dan Fouts, it doesn't guarantee a Super Bowl win, or even a Super Bowl appearance. You are only one player and still have to rely on the other 52 players to do their part, hope that your team has no significant injuries and get hot at the right time.
Football is a game of momentum and it is the ultimate team game, making you only as strong as your weakest link.
This can be seen in the fact that of the 53-player roster this list started as, 29 of them are Hall of Fame players and they share more than 143 combined pro bowl selections. This non-Super Bowl appearance team is a team for the ages and the tough part is getting it down to the 10 best players.
With any list like this, there is bound to be controversy and most of the players I have excluded, could easily make the list. It is all a matter of comparing apples to oranges and understanding that skill positions (quarterback, running back, wide receiver) receive the most notoriety, so they are the players that stand out more to the untrained eye.
To narrow the list down from 53 players to 10, I tried to not include more than one player at the same position, but that doesn't mean you won't find any duplicate positions. As always, if you disagree with any of the players on this list, please comment with changes or other players you feel are more deserving.
Now, without further ado -- the Ten Best NFL Players to Never Appear in a Super Bowl...