Former Miami Dolphins quarterback Dan Marino is considered by many to be one of the best quarterbacks in NFL history. Former Cincinnati Bengals (and New York Jets and Arizona Cardinals) quarterback Boomer Esiason wasn't too bad either. The blond-headed lefty won the 1988 NFL MVP award and came within a Joe Montana-to-John Taylor connection of hoisting the Lombardi Trophy. But both have one glaring omission on their career resumes: each famously never won a Super Bowl. Hall of Fame tight end Shannon Sharpe, on the other hand, won the big game three times — twice with the Denver Broncos and once as a member of the Baltimore Ravens.
The trio are now part of The NFL Today on CBS and when a discussion came up Sunday about Peyton Manning's legacy, things got interesting: Sharpe knocked quarterbacks without championship rings — in front of Marino and Esiason.
When asked by studio host James Brown, "Do Super Bowl championships validate greatness or not?" Sharpe jumped in to respond.
"For a quarterback — at the end of the day — you don't even get to get into this discussion if you don't have a championship."
Marino then spoke up, "That's the one thing I don't have and I wish I had that feeling. Boomer Esiason walked off the field and he was winning his Super Bowl. A guy dropped an interception or he would've had a Super Bowl ring."
Sharpe later backtracked, "Let's not get carried away. There are a lot of guys that have Super Bowl rings that are less quarterbacks than Dan Marino."
Get carried away?! But Shannon — you're the one who brought it up! Sharpe also failed to mention Esiason in his half-hearted retraction. So which is it? Can a quarterback be great without a ring? It seems like Sharpe isn't even sure.
NFL's final four set
As for play on the field, Manning got one step closer to winning ring No. 2 of his career as the Broncos beat the San Diego Chargers 24-17. Denver will host New England for the AFC Championship. Meanwhile, the San Francisco 49ers will travel to Seattle for the NFC Championship after beating the Carolina Panthers 23-10.