Most Super Bowl Rings by Player
As I have done for several years now, I am setting out in the lead up to the Super Bowl to write about the most Super Bowl rings by a player in NFL history. Unlike the last few years, though, the discussion isn't particularly relevant to the events of this year. That's what happens when Tom Brady and Bill Belichick get knocked out of the playoffs early. Still, it's an interesting discussion to have, and the numbers have shifted a bit since we last touched on the topic thanks to New England's win last year.
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With his win last year, Brady climbed to a summit that he could sit on alone. Before last year he had to share the crown for most rings by a player with Charles Haley - who won two of his five rings with the 49ers before heading to Dallas. But by adding his sixth, Brady became the undisputed champion. Brady obviously has the most titles with one team as well as overall - and it remains to be seen if he sticks around in New England or if he tries to win another with a different team next year. Brady has lots of enemies already, and he'll have more if he makes an unpopular decision about his future. But no matter what he does, he will always be more likeable than the crusty Haley.
Brady has the crown for players but isn't close overall. His head coach has the same six that he has but has also added two as the defensive coordinator for the Giants. Belichick now has a two-ring lead over the rest of the head coaching fraternity as he has opened up daylight over Chuck Knoll in second place on that front. Belichick also moved to the lead alone overall last year with his win. Up to that point, he was tied with executive Neal Dahlen, who won five as a member of the front office for the Niners in the 80s and 90s and then went to Denver as GM, where he added two more. Both Belichick and Brady have six Super Bowl wins since the Niners won their last as a franchise, and Belichick's eight have easily fallen within the 50-year window since Kansas City last won it all.
If you want to bet on anyone to eventually beat Belichick, the smart money would be on Josh McDaniels. He already has six as an assistant for the Patriots in various roles, and he is only 43 years old. He missed out on a head coaching job this year, but he will get another one soon, and has plenty of time left.
Belichick and McDaniels tower over the coaching ranks this year. Andy Reid has both coached and won the most games ever without a Super Bowl win, and Kyle Shanahan lost to the Patriots as an assistant for the Falcons but has not won one. The coaching ranks in general in this game are pretty short on titles. For the Chiefs, defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo won one in 2007 in the same role for the Giants. And Dave Merritt, who coaches the defensive backs, was in charge of the secondary for the Giants for two titles. Sam Madison, who coaches the corners, was a corner on one of those Giants' teams as well. San Francisco doesn't have much more to add. GM John Lynch won a title playing for the Broncos. Defensive coordinator Robert Saleh was a quality control coach for Seahawks in 2013. Here's one that would fool most people - even though Wes Welker, now San Francisco's wide receiver coach, was so dominant for so long on the Patriots, he was never there for a Super Bowl win.
The rosters of these two teams aren't packed with Super Bowl winners, either. Terrell Suggs won one for Baltimore, and Richard Sherman for the Seahawks. The most decorated player in this shockingly inexperienced group of guys is actually Jimmy Garoppolo. He won two rings with the Patriots even though he took his first playoff snap this year. He also got paid the league bonus for making the Super Bowl in 2018 when he joined the Niners because he had been on the New England roster for eight games.
The last guy we have to talk about any time we are talking about the most rings is Willie Davis, who won five titles as player with the Browns from 1958-69, and two more as an executive with the Packers. Sharp historians will know, though, that the first three of his titles in Cleveland came before the Super Bowl had been created, so he has only four Super Bowl rings. That's still as many as all the players on the active rosters in this game combined, though.
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