It’s hard to say that one player has more to gain than another with a Super Bowl victory.
Josh Allen would become a real star with a ring. Aaron Rodgers could make a great argument as the all-time best quarterback with another. Tom Brady’s legacy would be even higher if he won one at 43 with a second team. Other great players like Aaron Donald would see their reputation grow with a Super Bowl. Any player still on the field would cherish a Super Bowl victory.
But Lamar Jackson stands out among the remaining players in the playoffs. The Jackson Baltimore Ravens face Allen and the Buffalo Bills on Saturday night, a game that can be streamed live on the Yahoo Sports app.
Jackson has an MVP, but pairing it with a Super Bowl would completely change the way he’s viewed.
Lamar Jackson chasing a Super Bowl
An argument can be made that Steve Young had already made a breakthrough for double-threat quarterbacks winning a Super Bowl. Young was a great runner with his fantastic passing skills. But when the San Francisco 49ers won it all in 1994, Young had just 58 rushing attempts for 293 yards. He’s never been a rock-solid quarterback like Jackson.
Some of the other great double-threat quarterbacks over the years – Fran Tarkenton, Randall Cunningham, Kordell Stewart, Steve McNair Mike Vick, Donovan McNabb, Cam Newton – almost won it all but didn’t make it to the finish line.
It will always be difficult to put Jackson in a historical perspective because he is different. He’s arguably the best quarterback ever, after just three seasons. He is so good. But in this passing-loving NFL, people are quick to crush Jackson’s passing skills. He was 22nd in the NFL with 2,757 passing yards and 27th with a completion percentage of 64.4. Jackson impacts the game in a number of ways, as we saw when he rushed for 136 yards in a 20-13 win over the Tennessee Titans. But there will always be those who point out every ugly incompleteness or bad interception.
When the Jackson Ravens lost their first two career playoff starts, the reaction against Jackson was harsher than any other successful quarterback ending his second season. There was already a lot of talk about when Jackson would win his first playoff game, even though he just turned 24. It wasn’t fair, but it looks like the Ravens’ offensive approach is an attack on NFL spirits who refuse to accept anything different.
There’s a way to put it all to rest, and that’s by winning a Super Bowl by Jackson.
Jackson has a big challenge in Buffalo
We overestimate Super Bowls when we rate quarterbacks. Football is a team game, but we support quarterbacks that have a ring. It will never change.
Even MVPs are devalued by critics when it comes to certain players. Ask Newton. Jackson might never match his 2019, when he set a single-season record for rushing yards by a quarterback and also led the NFL in touchdown passes. It might never be duplicated, by Jackson or anyone else. But a Super Bowl victory accompanied by an MVP award would be hard to deny.
Jackson is not only part of this Ravens team, like Trent Dilfer or Brad Johnson. He’s the lifeblood of the Ravens, the main reason Baltimore set a team rushing rushing record last season and handled the ball incredibly well late this season. He’s a phenomenal player, just in a different way than most NFL quarterbacks over the years.
We’ve seen a shift to quarterbacks who can pass a game but also beat a defense with their legs. Allen is another good example. These multi-talented quarterbacks will get their due when they start winning championships.
This is especially true when it comes to Jackson. If he and the Ravens can win three more playoff games, his whole career story will change. No other player in these playoffs has so much on the line.
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