As soon as the curtain falls on one Super Bowl, we start seeing the clamor for the next. And why not? It is, after all, the Super Bowl; not merely a game but a cultural phenomenon. Every player dreams of winning the Lombardi Trophy, but some players have a better chance than others. This season could see some of them win their championship ring for the first time, including players that showed their spark last season, those who have had consistent seasons and are now coming to the peak, and those who are in the final chance saloon.
We take a look at five such players.
# 1 – Joe Burrow, QB, Cincinnati Bengals
Last season, Joe Burrow was sensational as he broke the Cincinnati Bengals’ voodoo of being unable to win in the playoffs and took the team all the way to the Super Bowl. His play in clutch situations, coupled with his cool and confident demeanor, shows his capacity to grow.
The team around him is also young and fresh. Additionally, they now have the experience of competing in high-pressure situations. This is a great confluence of parameters and it can help Joe Burrow and the Bengals get over the final hurdle this time.
# 2 – Josh Allen, QB, Buffalo Bills
Josh Allen finished second behind Aaron Rodgers in MVP voting in 2020. Last year, he played one of the best games anyone has ever played in the playoffs, when the Buffalo Bills eliminated the New England Patriots. He would have made it to consecutive AFC Championships, but came up short due to overtime rules prohibiting him from getting possession against the Kansas City Chiefs and Patrick Mahomes.
This year could be the year when he finally comes to the fore and takes the Bills all the way to the Super Bowl. Outside of Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady, no quarterback has been as consistent as Josh Allen.
On the other side of the ball, the Bills also have a strong defense, burnished by the addition of recent Super Bowl champion Von Miller. This could be the year when everything finally falls into place for him.
# 3 – Matt Ryan, QB, Indianapolis Colts
If one were to look at the list of passing yards leaders, one would not necessarily search for Matt Ryan. Eyes would be drawn to Tom Brady and the likes. But a quick look at the passing yards per game would show Ryan ahead of others. With 59,735 yards, he is ahead of Aaron Rodgers, who joined the league three years ahead of him.
Among the most prolific passers per game, he is superseded only by Drew Brees, Matthew Stafford, and Peyton Manning. All three are Super Bowl champions, and now might be Matt Ryan’s time. He is currently on the roster with the Indianapolis Colts, which is built to win now. He will have able support in the backfield with Jonathan Taylor and will be trying to break his Lombardi Trophy drought.
# 4 – Dak Prescott, QB, Dallas Cowboys
As the saying goes, the Dallas Cowboys are America’s Team. But they have not made it to the Super Bowl since the turn of the millennium. It has been a long time since the highest-valued franchise in the NFL made a trip to the big game. Anyone who saw the time mismanagement in their loss to the San Francisco 49ers in last season’s playoffs will be mindful on betting on them to break their drought.
But the truth is, in Dak Prescott, they have a franchise quarterback. He is surrounded by able players like CeeDee Lamb. On defense, they have the ferocious interception machine Trevon Diggs and company. At some point, they must come good. After last year’s disappointment, maybe this is the season they all turn it around.
# 5 – Derrick Henry, RB, Tennessee Titans
In a list dominated by quarterbacks, Derrick Henry is a bonafide superstar who may yet break his duck this coming season to win the Super Bowl. He was the rushing yards leader in 2019 and 2020. Last season, he only played in eight games before getting injured and still racked up 937 yards in rushing. He was still in the top 10 despite playing less than half the full amount of games.
Last season, the Tennessee Titans were the top seed in the AFC and looked on course to be a great performance, only for Ryan Tannehill to throw three interceptions against the Cincinnati Bengals. Henry will be back to his best this coming season and is expected to be entering his peak years. If he keeps playing the way he always has, he can carry the entire team on his back to the Lombardi Trophy.