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For NFL QBS, It Doesn’t Mean A Thing Without A Ring

All four quarterbacks in the NFL Championship round have a lot to prove with Super Bowl implications on the line.

Russell Wilson

Perhaps more than any position in any sport, we tend to associate quarterbacks with their collection of championship rings.

The Dolphins’ Dan Marino retired as the NFL’s all-time leader in passing yards, yet he’s most identified with never winning a Super Bowl. And it seems like a comparison of Tom Brady’s and Peyton Manning’s careers can’t be discussed without someone pointing to Manning’s lack of Super Bowl success.

This Sunday, we have the privilege of watching four terrific quarterbacks, all at different points in their career. The four signal-callers obviously all share the same goal – to win and advance to the Super Bowl – but it’s interesting to see what a win would mean to each of them.

Tom Brady, New England Patriots: Terry Bradshaw and Joe Montana are the only quarterbacks to capture four Super Bowl rings. Brady is a three-time winner himself, but it’s been 10 years since he last hoisted the Vince Lombardi Trophy. For a guy who grew up in the Bay Area idolizing Montana, you better believe it would mean a lot to Brady to win a fourth Super Bowl and join such exclusive company.

And it was only a few months ago when people openly wondered whether the Patriots should sit the aging Brady in favor of Jimmy Garoppolo, which only adds fuel to Brady’s fire.

A win over the Colts would also put Brady in-line to become the first quarterback ever to start in six different Super Bowls.

Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts: Luck is the only quarterback of the foursome to never win a Super Bowl. And at age 25, there’s nothing wrong with that. While a victory over the Patriots for Luck’s Colts isn’t out of the question, this is probably going to serve as more of a learning experience for the third-year quarterback than anything else.

This likely won’t be the last time we see Luck advance to the AFC Championship Game, so the opportunity for him to absorb the atmosphere in a hostile environment as he only continues to improve should be a scary thought for the rest of the NFL.

Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers: Given that Rodgers is already the proud owner of a Super Bowl ring, it sounds odd to say that postseason success has alluded him. But outside of a 4-0 run in the 2010 playoffs, Rodgers sports just a 2-4 record in the postseason – with three of those losses occurring at Lambeau Field.

Rodgers’ numbers in the playoffs are actually pretty comparable to his regular-season stats, so it’s not as though he’s entirely to blame for the Packers’ postseason failures. In fact, Green Bay has allowed an average of 39.0 points per game in the aforementioned four losses.

The 31-year-old is at a good place in his career. Rodgers is a nationally-recognized star thanks to his outstanding production on the field and appearances in a number of television commercials. Dating Olivia Munn certainly doesn’t hurt, either.

But an upset win on Sunday over the Seahawks in Seattle and a chance at a second Super Bowl ring could put Rodgers in another stratosphere altogether.

Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks: Like Luck, Wilson, 26, still has a lot of good years ahead of him. Seattle’s defense gets a lot of the love, but the Seahawks wouldn’t be one win away from a second straight trip to the Super Bowl if it weren’t for Wilson.

In terms of intangibles, there are a lot of Brady’s leadership characteristics in Wilson’s game. Both may not be the most gifted to ever play the position, yet those tools that you can’t teach, combined with an underrated skill set, has made them two of the best in the game today.

The Seahawks and Patriots are both home favorites, which sets up nicely for a potential head-to-head battle between the two quarterbacks.

Regardless of who the opponent in Super Bowl XLIX would be, Wilson would have the chance to become the first quarterback since Brady (2004, 2005) to win two straight Lombardi Trophies.

Not bad for a couple of afterthoughts in the NFL Draft.

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