TAMPA -- The Super Bowl has often been called a career-defining game. A night when legacies are built or tarnished. A moment where you can forever be known as a hero or a goat.
While I agree that winning the Super Bowl is the pinnacle of any NFL player's career, I've always felt it was overrated in terms of defining someone's career.
Think about it. How do you remember Washington Redskins running back Timmy Smith, who had the greatest single rushing game in Super Bowl history with 204 yards on 22 carries in Super Bowl XXII? Where does Barry Switzer, who won Super Bowl XXX, and became only the second coach to win both a Super Bowl and national championship rank on your list of the greatest NFL coaches? Does anybody remember that cornerback Larry Brown, who teammates joked couldn't catch a cold, was a Super Bowl MVP?
Now I'm not saying that winning a Super Bowl can't put the exclamation point on a great career like John Elway's, but it certainly won't make me look at Trent Dilfer any different.
Draw up a list of the NFL's greatest running backs and Walter Payton, Barry Sanders, Gale Sayers and Eric Dickerson quickly come to mind. There is only one Super Bowl ring amongst those four players and it came towards the end of Payton's career. Emmitt Smith, the NFL's all-time leading rusher and three-time Super Bowl winner, is rarely rated as one top three backs despite playing his best in the biggest games. Franco Harris and his four rings have a tough time even breaking into most top 10 lists.
How many people would rank Troy Aikman or Terry Bradshaw, who have seven Super Bowl championships between them, ahead of Dan Marino or Brett Favre, who have only one Super Bowl ring between them?
It's not a knock on the Super Bowl. If anything it's testament to a rare level of perspective by analysts and fans alike to not put too much emphasis on one game no matter how big it is.
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