It’s hard to say one player has more to gain than another with a Super Bowl win.
Josh Allen would become a bonafide star with a ring. Aaron Rodgers could make a great argument as the greatest quarterback ever with another one. Tom Brady’s legacy would go an even higher level if he wins one at age 43 with a second team. Other great players like Aaron Donald would see their reputations grow with a Super Bowl. Any player still in the field would cherish a Super Bowl win.
But Lamar Jackson stands out among the remaining players in the postseason. Jackson’s Baltimore Ravens take on Allen and the Buffalo Bills on Saturday night, a game that can be live-streamed on the Yahoo Sports app.
Jackson has an MVP, but coupling that with a Super Bowl would completely change how he is viewed.
Lamar Jackson chases a Super Bowl
An argument can be made that Steve Young already had the breakthrough for dual-threat quarterbacks winning a Super Bowl. Young was a great runner along 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 was never a run-heavy quarterback like Jackson is.
Some of the other great dual-threat quarterbacks through the years — Fran Tarkenton, Randall Cunningham, Kordell Stewart, Steve McNair Mike Vick, Donovan McNabb, Cam Newton — came close to winning it all but didn’t get over the finish line.
It will always be hard to put Jackson in a historical perspective because he’s different. He’s probably the best running quarterback ever, after just three seasons. He’s that good. But in this pass-happy NFL, people are quick to knock Jackson’s passing skills. He was 22nd in the NFL with 2,757 passing yards and 27th with a 64.4 completion percentage. Jackson impacts the game in different ways, as we saw when he rushed for 136 yards in a 20-13 wild-card round win over the Tennessee Titans. But there will always be those who will point out every ugly incompletion or bad interception.
When Jackson’s Ravens lost his first two career playoff starts, the backlash towards Jackson was harsher than for any other successful quarterback finishing 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 years old. It wasn’t fair, but it feels like the Ravens’ offensive approach is an attack on NFL minds who refuse to accept anything different.
There’s one way to put all of that to rest, and that’s by Jackson winning a Super Bowl.
Jackson has a big challenge at Buffalo
We overrate Super Bowls when we evaluate quarterbacks. Football is a team game but we prop up quarterbacks who have a ring. That’s never going to change.
Even MVPs are devalued by critics when it comes to some players. Ask Newton. Jackson may never match his 2019, when he set a single-season record for rushing yards by a quarterback and also led the NFL in passing touchdowns. That might never be duplicated, by Jackson or anyone else. But a Super Bowl win to go along with an MVP award would be hard to deny.
Jackson isn’t just along for the ride on this Ravens team, like Trent Dilfer or Brad Johnson. He is the engine of the Ravens, the main reason Baltimore set a record for rushing yards by a team last season and has run the ball incredibly well late this season. He’s a phenomenal player, just in a different way than most NFL quarterbacks through the years.
We’ve seen a shift toward quarterbacks who can operate a passing game but also beat a defense with their legs. Allen is another good example. Those multi-talented quarterbacks will get their just due when they start to win championships.
That’s especially true when it comes to Jackson. If he and the Ravens can win three more games this postseason, the entire narrative on his career will shift. No other player in this postseason has that much on the line.
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