When defensive end J.J. Watt, unquestionably one of the greatest defensive players in NFL history, announced his retirement, it struck an emotional chord throughout the league.
Watt, 33, who played mostly with Houston and then two seasons with Arizona, said he was leaving the game on his own terms, after a solid, mostly injury-free season in 2022 with 12.5 sacks.
Watt said he knew he still could play. He did have four sacks and a forced fumble in his last four games, including two in the finale, a 38-13 loss to San Francisco that dropped the Cardinals to 4-13.
The only thing missing from Watt’s illustrious resume, which includes 114.5 sacks, 195 tackles for loss and 27 forced fumbles, is a Super Bowl championship, and he said he had come to peace with that fact.
Great Players 30 and Older Who Haven’t Won Super Bowl
Who are others players in the same situation as Watt? As you are mulling your Maryland sports betting options heading into the busy playoff schedule, have you wondered about players like Watt who have had fabulous careers but never gained a Super Bowl ring?
BetMaryland.com utilized Pro-Football-Reference.com to look at the best players 30 years old-plus currently in the NFL playoffs who never have won a Super Bowl in their careers to this point.
By utilizing their Hall of Fame monitor, we were able to determine the most deserving players to win the 2023 Super Bowl.
Tampa Bay wide receiver Julio Jones tops the list. Better known for his career in Atlanta (848 receptions for nearly 12,900 yards and 60 touchdowns), Jones added to his career stats with 55 receptions and three more TDs with Tennessee and currently Tampa Bay.
The irony of Jones getting what could his final bite of the playoff apple is that his quarterback with the Buccaneers is Tom Brady, a fellow future Hall of Famer who denied Jones a Super Bowl ring in New England’s 34-28 historic comeback over the Falcons in Super Bowl LI. In 2022, Jones had 24 catches and two touchdowns as Tampa Bay won the NFC South despite an 8-9 record.
The Buccaneers open the playoffs at home against Dallas.
Other Big Names Still Seeking 1st Ring
Jones might be viewed as being the most likely of the star players without a Super Bowl ring to get into Canton who are still in contention for one this year, but the handful of players right behind him are also going to be on HOF electors’ radars in the future.
Chargers linebacker Khalil Mack played four seasons with the Oakland Raiders and four with the Chicago Bears before being traded to Los Angeles. So far, he has 84.5 sacks, including eight in 2022 with the Chargers, to go along with two forced fumbles this season. The Chargers play Jacksonville on the road.
Cornerback Patrick Peterson is in the playoffs with the Minnesota Vikings. However, the bulk of his career was spent with the Arizona Cardinals, where he made the Pro Bowl eight times. He signed with Minnesota as a free agent before the 2021 season. This past season, in 15 games, he had four interceptions and 15 passes defensed. Both stats were career second-bests. As a rookie, Peterson returned four punts for touchdowns. The Vikings open the playoffs against the New York Giants at home.
Dallas offensive guard Zack Martin has been a pillar of the Cowboys’ offensive line since he was drafted in 2014. Since then, he’s been named to eight Pro Bowls and was named All-Pro seven times (five first team), which is definitely HOF caliber. The Cowboys have had several winning seasons during Martin’s time in Dallas but are 2-4 in the playoffs during that stretch. Dallas’ first playoff game is against Tampa Bay on the road.
Dallas offensive tackle Tyron Smith was drafted in 2011 and three years later was joined by Martin. Despite having one of the best offensive lines in the NFL for almost a decade, Dallas has not been able to put together a run in the postseason. Smith has been named to eight Pro Bowls and named All-Pro four times (twice first team). He has battled though injuries the last three seasons. In 2022, he went on injured reserve (hamstring) in training camp and was activated in December. Like Martin, he gets another potential Super Bowl opportunity, starting against Tampa Bay.
Baltimore defensive lineman Calais Campbell has had a 15-season career with three franchises — Arizona, Jacksonville and now the Ravens. He has 99 sacks over that time. He was named to the Pro Bowl six times and All-Pro three times (once first team). Like Peterson, his time with the Cardinals earned him no Super Bowl rings. In Jacksonville, he was one step away from a Super Bowl, but the Jaguars lost to New England in the AFC Championship game. He was traded to Baltimore before the 2020 season. The Ravens’ first playoff game is on the road against their AFC rival, the Cincinnati Bengals.
The Ravens head into the rematch of last weekend’s game as an underdog on Maryland sports apps.
Baltimore is a 6.5-point underdog against a Bengals team looking to get back to the Super Bowl at BetMGM Maryland.
Much of that betting line has to do with uncertainty of the status of injured Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson.
The Ravens are +240 on the moneyline and the Bengals are -300. The over-under on the game is 43.5.
Rounding out our top 10 are Ravens wide receiver DeSean Jackson and linebacker Justin Houston, 49ers offensive tackle Trent Williams and Vikings safety Harrison Smith.
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