The Best NFL Quarterbacks to Never Win a Super Bowl, Ranked

These days, NFL quarterbacks are often judged by the amount of Super Bowl rings in their collection. Unfortunately, that often leads to some of the league’s greatest gunslingers being excluded when the game’s GOATs are discussed. While most players on this list don’t belong in the GOAT discussion, we all need to give these quarterbacks the respect they deserve. Just because they don’t have rings doesn’t mean they weren’t outstanding passers during their days. It just means they played on teams that couldn’t go the distance — remember that football is a team sport, after all. So here are the top 20 quarterbacks to never win a Super Bowl, to refresh you on the plethora of quality signal callers who never earned the honor.

20. Doug Flutie
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Doug Flutie spent his entire pro football career serving in the underdog role. Despite his success in college, he had to take his talents to the CFL before finally earning an opportunity in the NFL. When he did, he still was doubted even after making big play after big play. Flutie overcome the odds and his physical limitations to emerge as one of the clutches quarterbacks to ever grace the gridiron. Unfortunately, he never even sniffed the Super Bowl, failing to make it past the Divisional Round and struggling mightily in both appearances.

19. Vinny Testaverde
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There are a number of reasons Vinny Testaverde‘s career was one to remember. While some of them weren’t positive, he did last an outstanding 21 years in the NFL and finished his career among the leaders in almost every statistical category. The former No. 1 overall pick retired with more wins than losses, including a 2-3 record in the postseason. Despite a few trips to the playoffs, Testaverde never made it past the Conference Championship round.

18. Archie Manning
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Despite all of his successes in the NFL, Archie Manning will always go down as the father of Eli Manning and Peyton Manning. The father of two Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks who couldn’t taste the sport’s sweetest victory himself. Although he was a two-time Pro Bowl gunslinger and well-respected leader of the New Orleans Saints, Manning only managed one non-losing season during his 10 years as the starter. Not only did he never play in the Super Bowl, but he never even went to the playoffs.

17. Rich Gannon
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Rich Gannon‘s road to NFL relevance was a bumpy one. Through his first 10 season, he bounced back and forth between starter and backup with the Minnesota Vikings, Washington Redskins and Kansas City Chiefs. It wasn’t until his stint with the Oakland Raiders during which he truly shined. Gannon put together a record-breaking performance in 2002, earning the NFL MVP award and taking the Raiders all the way to the Super Bowl. A five-interception performance, though, ruined his final chance at earning a ring.

16. Daunte Culpepper
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Prior to his career-changing knee injury in 2005, Daunte Culpepper had the look of a truly great NFL quarterback. Teaming with Randy Moss, he formed one of the most dynamic passing duos of the early 2000s. His 2004 season, which included a then-record 5,123 total offensive yards, was among the greatest ever compiled by an NFL gunslinger. Culpepper once took the Vikings to the NFC Championship game, but was blown out by the New York Giants in a disastrous 0-41 defeat.

15. Philip Rivers
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When Philip Rivers first took over as the starter for the then-San Diego Chargers, things were going great. With LaDainian Tomlinson sharing the workload on offense, the Chargers won four straight division titles. In all four seasons, Rivers’ playoff hopes came to an unfortunate and premature end. Since 2010, the Chargers have only enjoyed two winning seasons and one postseason appearance. Rivers will go down as one of the great modern era quarterbacks, but his inability to win when it mattered most will always haunt his legacy.

14. Matt Ryan
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Throughout the early parts of his NFL career, Matt Ryan failed to earn recognition as one of the best in the league. Still, he kept battling, eventually earning the nickname “Matty Ice” for his ability to deliver in the clutch. Over the years, he’s helped the Atlanta Falcons emerge as one of the league’s most explosive offenses, but hasn’t managed to win the big one. Just last year, Ryan and Falcons made it to the Super Bowl but made history by blowing a 28-3 lead.

13. Ken Anderson
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For 15 seasons, Ken Anderson was the leader of the Cincinnati Bengals offense. During that time, he was among the NFL’s most reliable signal callers, turning in only a couple of poor seasons while putting together a few memorable campaigns. One in particular was his 1981 season, during which he won the NFL MVP award and took the Bengals all the way to the Super Bowl. However, a loss to the San Francisco 49ers cost him his only opportunity to add a ring to his collection.

12. Don Meredith
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Considered by many to be the original Dallas Cowboy, Don Meredith was the first starting quarterback for America’s Team. Although many of his seasons under center were less than spectacular as the franchise gained its bearings in the league, Meredith was lauded for his toughness and leadership. After the AFL-NFL merger, he took the Cowboys to within a game of the first two Super Bowls, but fell short to the Green Bay Packers in both instances.

11. Steve McNair
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During his heyday with the Tennessee Titans, Steve McNair was one of the best passers in the NFL. The dual-threat quarterback added a whole new dimension to the offense, teaming with running back Eddie George to form an unstoppable duo. His talents (with some help from the Music City Miracle) took the Titans to Super Bowl XXXIV in a showdown with the St. Louis Rams. In the end, though, a single yard separated McNair from achieving glory on the game’s biggest stage.

10. Donovan McNabb
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One of the Philadelphia Eagles‘ all-time greatest quarterbacks, Donovan McNabb always had his teams on the precipice of ultimate NFL glory. Unfortunately, him and head coach Andy Reid always seemed to fall just short of the Super Bowl. From 2000-03, McNabb led the Eagles to three straight NFC Conference Championship games — all three ended in defeat. He finally reached the Big Game in 2004, but was turned away by the New England Patriots. So close, and yet so far.

9. Boomer Esiason
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One of greatest quarterbacks of his era, Boomer Esiason was a tough, efficient gunslinger who always shined statistically. During his 14-year NFL career, he earned four Pro Bowl nods and the 1988 NFL MVP award. Esiason led the Bengals to a Super Bowl appearance in 1989, but couldn’t overcome Joe Montana and the 49ers. That would end up being his only opportunity to win a ring before his eventual retirement following the 1997 season.

8. Sonny Jurgensen
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Sonny Jurgensen enjoyed an illustrious 18-year career slinging the football for the Eagles and Redskins. He earned five Pro Bowl nods and led the league in passing on five separate occasions, including the final season before his retirement. While he did win the NFL championship in 1960, those were the days before the Super Bowl. The Redskins made (and lost) the Big Game in 1972, but Jurgensen didn’t play due to injury. His only playoff game was also his final game, a loss to the Rams.

7. Tony Romo
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Throughout his career, Tony Romo was always known as a guy who crumbled under the pressure of the postseason. While history would generally back that assertion up, that doesn’t take away from the fact that the Cowboys’ starting quarterback was a star in his own right. Romo routinely made all of the big plays needed of him, going from an undrafted free agent to one of the league’s best in short order. Despite his lack of a ring, Romo deserves credit for everything he did in Dallas.

6. Randall Cunningham
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Randall Cunningham spent most of his career with the Eagles, but had some of his best seasons during his three years with the Vikings. He peaked in 1998, leading Minnesota to a 15-1 finish and deep playoff run. Unfortunately, it ended with a crushing NFC Championship defeat following a shanked 38-yard field goal by Gary Anderson. Outside of that one missed shot at glory, Cunningham never made it past the Divisional Round during any of his 16 NFL seasons.

5. Dan Fouts
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Dan Fouts is one of those uber-successful NFL quarterbacks who never quite gets the credit he deserves. The main reason behind that is that his Chargers never managed to make it past the AFC Championship during his 15 seasons at the helm. This, however, doesn’t erase the fact that he was the first player to ever eclipse the 4,000-yard mark as a passer (which he did three years in a row). Fouts even won NFL MVP during the strike-shortened 1982 season, but the lack of postseason success definitely hurt his legacy.

4. Warren Moon
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Warren Moon‘s football career got off to a rough start. Initially, he didn’t even get an opportunity in the NFL, having to take his talents to Canada for a few seasons. Then after, joining the Houston Oilers, his career took off in a hurry. There were a few bumpy campaigns for Moon before he finally emerged as one of the league’s elite, earning first-team All-Pro honors in 1990. Unfortunately, he never had an opportunity to play for a ring — he never even made it past the Divisional Round.

3. Jim Kelly
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There’s no denying that Jim Kelly was a star during his time as the starter for the Buffalo Bills. He was named to five Pro Bowls and owns almost every passing record in the book for the Bills. Unfortunately, it’s his record in the Super Bowl that earns him the most criticism. Kelly led Buffalo to four championship games, and walked away the loser in all four. When he finally got to the game’s biggest stage, he seemed to crumble. Still, we can’t ignore the overall body of work that eventually earned him enshrinement in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

2. Fran Tarkenton
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A quarterback ahead of his time, Fran Tarkenton was the master of scrambling to allude pressure and extend plays. Even as of today, he sits at No. 4 on the list of career rushing yards by quarterbacks. Most of his career was spent with the Vikings, a team he led to three Super Bowl appearances in four years. Unfortunately, he fell short in all three games, helping Minnesota earn the designation as one of only two NFL franchises to own an 0-4 record in the Big Game.

1. Dan Marino
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One of the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history, Dan Marino doesn’t get the credit he deserves for one simple reason — he didn’t win a ring. The Miami Dolphins‘ superstar gunslinger earned one trip to the Big Game, but suffered an ugly loss to the 49ers. Still, the stats and honors don’t lie. He’s among the league leaders in just about every statistical category, and has nine Pro Bowls and eight All-Pro honors to his name. Just no rings…