Tomlinson would take the Hall of Fame over a Super Bowl ring

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LaDainian Tomlinson retired last week without a Super Bowl ring, but he doesn’t view that as an indication that his career is incomplete.

Tomlinson noted on NBC SportsTalk that football is a team sport, and no matter how much a player does individually, he can’t get a Super Bowl ring on his own. And when asked whether he’d rather have a Super Bowl ring but not get into the Hall of Fame, or be a Hall of Famer without a Super Bowl ring, he didn’t hesitate.

“Hall of Fame player without a ring, because you’ve got to sacrifice so much individually just to be good,” Tomlinson said. “They draft you individually and you’ve got to back them up and make them right. I think at the end of the day, even though I didn’t win a Super Bowl ring, I felt like I backed them up for drafting me. I backed up the San Diego Chargers for picking me with the fifth pick.”

Tomlinson is right: Induction in the Hall of Fame is a greater accomplishment than earning a Super Bowl ring. Plenty of bench warmers have rings, but only great players are in the Hall of Fame.

Here’s the interview, in which Tomlinson calls Lorenzo Neal the best teammate he ever had and says he wants Marty Schottenheimer to present him for induction in the Hall of Fame:

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86 responses to “Tomlinson would take the Hall of Fame over a Super Bowl ring

  1. I guess LaDainian was day dreaming about Canton and practicing his acceptance speech while sitting on the bench at the end of those big playoff games.

    You think guys like Ronnie Lott cut off fingers, break bones, and risk their health and well being for a bust in the Hall of Fame?

  2. One of the greatest players not to win a ring. As a Raiders fan, I was very excited to have him leave the AFC West. He was damn good.

  3. Well LT did always cross me as a self-centred individual!
    Super Bowl = Glory, Team achievement
    Hall of Fame = Personal Achievement

    Hope Charger fans now see your agenda was different to their aspirations for their team. Always went soft in the playoffs, when the weather got rough and their was no time for sore bodies.

    I wonder would Jim Kelly relinquish his HOF status for the chance to go back and win just one of those four Super Bowls……I think so!

  4. Hall of Fame player without a ring, because you’ve got to sacrifice so much individually just to be good…

    I hope when he gives his hall-of-fame speech one day he throws former teammates, and especially his offensive linemen, a bone and notes that the success was not all individual.

  5. I also agree with Tomlinson. Anyone with a Hall of Fame career has nothing to apologize for. Most people will choose the Hall of Fame over the Super Bowl ring. Let me put it this way…..Every year about 100 individuals (Players, coaches, etc) receive Super bowl rings while at the same time about individuals are elected to the Hall of Fame…..The HOF is an exclusive club where only those deemed the best are allowed to enter. (Politics not withstanding)

  6. “Tomlinson would take the Hall of Fame over a Super Bowl ring”

    Good thing. That’s the only one he has a chance at now.

  7. It’s still killing him to not have a ring. I don’t remember a player talking more about getting one than L.T. The league will miss you man.

  8. Wow.

    So, during his HOF induction, I guess the phrase “heart of a champion” would be kinda outta place, huh?

    And this comming from a BIG LaDainian Tomlinson fan…

  9. “Tomlinson would take the Hall of Fame over a Super Bowl ring”

    LMAO! What choice does he have? Wish players could leave with some sense of dignity…just go off “I could’ve signed with Denver”, etc.

    He’s a first ballot HOF, but have some humility and just be done with it.

  10. No, there are some players who are in the HOF who are suspect also. As long as writers vote, personal opinion of the guy’s media friendliness, etc. will factor in over greatness as a player.
    But wanting an individual honor over a team accomplishment really says it all about LdT.

  11. I like LT but that’s a stupid comment.

    have you ever heard any player who’s got a ring say the reverse?

  12. i have to agree with LT, and hall of famers are remembered as legends of thr game, while some bench warmer wins a ring every season!!

    i find it fitting he wants shotenheimer to present him to the hall, while both were ohh so close but yet sooo far to rings, while shotenheimer was a great regular season coach, his teams could never win a big game, while LT broke numerous record & led SD to great seasons, he could never reach a superbowl!!!

  13. I was so sure he was gonna say superbowl ring!! But its true,even practice squad players get rings

  14. Like he had a choice.
    the ultimate goal of the ultimate team sport is a not personal achievement.
    At least now when we talk about “LT” it will be the Super Bowl champion and the other guy.

  15. “Tomlinson is right: Induction in the Hall of Fame is a greater accomplishment than earning a Super Bowl ring. Plenty of bench warmers have rings, but only great players are in the Hall of Fame.”

    and the Greatest players are in the hall of fame with super bowl rings

  16. sillyv6 says:
    Jun 26, 2012 7:51 AM
    And that sir, is why you do not have a ring.


    Exactly. I bet he would have said the same thing after his first day of training camp as a rookie.

    He was a great player, but there’s been a lot of great players in the NFL. Even Hall of Famers. And they’re soon relatively forgotten.

    Who’s the opposite of LT, good career, Super Bowl win but not Hall of Fame. Hmm, I’m randomly going to take Merton Hanks.

    I’ll always remember him for being the FS of the 49ers (Im no 49ers fan) when they won the Super Bowl.

    No Hall of Famer. Just a winner.

  17. When Eli gets into the HOF he will have plenty of rings

    You knew the fake LT did not care about rings when he joined the jets

  18. Dan Marino retired virtually with ever passing record and was going to be first ballot without question. I remember when asked if he’d rather have everything he has or trade it all for 1 ring he said he’d take the ring. Everyone knew Barry was going to be first ballot AND was within reach of then Payton’s rushing record, but he left the game? WHY? LT, you’re either not as honest as you put on to be OR, your mentality doesn’t mesh with the kind of players I want on my team, which happens to be those same Lions Barry left.

  19. Somewhere Bill Belichick and his 5 rings and “no class” laughs knowing he will get into the hall of fame and have rings. When you worry more about winning games than celebration dances, you get both.

  20. Is this any surprise to anyone who watched any playoffs he was in sitting on the sideline over nothing. All he ever cared about was him and getting his. Emmitt smith is the rushing king and has superbowl rings. oh yeah isn’t he in the hall of fame and emmitt would have played through any injury Tomlinson claimed to have when he sat the sidelines two playoffs in a row when his team was at its peak. If Tomlinson had half the heart of Walter Payton or emmitt smith he would have had the opprotunity to say he had both. sorry sack of s this guy was and this only confirms it.

  21. Putting LT aside for the sake of argument.

    It is better to be in the HOF than to sport a ring on your finger. Even harder to get into the HOF without a ring first.

    There are plenty of people in the HOF based mostly on Superbowl rings, which is a team effort rather than individual. That’s just a fact.

  22. HOF is for one person on the team EVEN if the team helped that individual achieve but never got credit ie.. offense line. Super Bowl rings are a TEAM reward. Sounds like LT is not much of a team player. He should put getting a ring for the team and those “bench warmers” who will never have the glory he got/ gets above the HOF for himself any day. Stay classy LT.

  23. It’s easier for him to say that now he can’t win a ring anymore. If you asked him that right before the 2006 playoffs started I think he would have said he rather have the Super Bowl and the HOF would take care of itself. Of course the HOF is a bigger accomplishment, but having both is what players are really after. Nobody wants to be labeled like Marino. The best player at his position that never won a Super Bowl.

  24. Finally….someone has admitted the obvious.

    There are bench warmers with four Super Bowl rings who are now insurance salesman.

    Ask Dan Marino about being in the wrong place with the “not quite ready for primetime” crew.

    You can’t do it by yourself. The HOF is personal recognition that you were an elite player for the majority of your career and should bring as much satisfaction as a SB ring I would think.

  25. I just checked and you are not in the hall of fame yet so for the at least 5 years you are a retired player who never won a super bowl ring.
    Hurry up and get your name on the concussion class action suit so we can keep talking about you or see you in 2017 when you may become relevant again.

  26. Good, well he has to! This is just him in denial trying to rationalize the rest of his life. It’ll be a good life, but still a super bowlless life, just like mine 🙂

  27. LT will be enshrined allright, as the greatest whiner in the history of the sport.

  28. He’ll have his gold jacket day in Canton but he won’t have the confetti-falling-from-the-roof moment of elation and satisfaction, along with an entire off season knowing you were part of the best team and all your hard work was rewarded, followed by receiving that “everything I worked for” Super Bowl ring.
    No right or wrong answer but it’d be more interesting to hear from the many who have accomplished both.

  29. Another ‘individual’ playing a team sport.

    What kind of locker room influence is this? I can hear Herm Edwards now… “You play to win the game.”


    If you were to poll Manning, Brady , Farve etc…all sure shot hall of famers…they would gladly sacrifice the HOF induction for 1 or more rings….and they already have them.

    Tomlinson was always about himself…and SHOWED that in 2007 Champ game, when his parka never came off, playing up his injury which never needed surgery…All that, while Rivers [ not a fan of his, but the guy is tough as hell] played that game like it was his last…on a knee which badly required surgery.

    Ladanian was all about himself…and it showed. Not to mention, as phony as they come. Hall of Famer?? Sure…but I’d much rather have a guy like Curtis Martin on my team…and I’d know locker room strong too.

  31. hockeyflow33 says:
    Jun 26, 2012 9:15 AM
    and that’s why you don’t have one
    Exactly, short and simple.

    This is why the Chargers are ring less, not just Tomlinson.

    It’s all about regular season wins and other meaningless stats for them and their fans.

  32. Let me guess, the Super Bowl called him but he and his agent just thought it was time to retire. Kinda like how he said the Broncos offered him a contract; for those of you who missed that story. I don’t see the HOF anytime before 2030.

  33. As long as at the ceremony he sits far away from everyone else with his helmet on sulking.

  34. When was LT ever on a team that was capable of winning a SB. Was it one of the SD teams coached by the worst playoff coach in NFL history (Marty) or was it one of the SD teams coached by the great offensive coordinator masquerading as a HC (Norv) or was it with the other NJ team being run by a foot fetish fool?

    So when exactly was LT supposed to win a SB? The dude never had a chance.

    By the way John Riggins has both a SB ring and a tan blazer and has said that the HoF meant more. I have heard other players that have both the ring and the blazer say the HoF meant more!

  35. So he thinks he is already a HOF’er since he wants Marty ‘can’t win a playoff game’ Shottenheimer to induct him?

    Gonna be funny when he doesn’t get in on the first ballot.

  36. While not liking Tomlinson’s attitude here is understandable, this is clearly not something he ever would have said during his playing career.

    However he does brings up a good point about the relationship between individual talent and Championship rings. Of every sport on the planet, Football has the least correlation between the skill of an individual player and the number of championships he wins (especially excluding the quarterback position). Tennis and golf are more or less exactly correlated: the better the player is, the more he will win. Basketball is slightly less so: an amazing individual player can carry his team to the finals (LeBron and the Cavs in 2007), but cannot win it until he gets an actual team around him (LeBron and the Heat in 2012).

    Football is polar opposite of tennis and golf in the sense that it’s extraordinarily difficult for one man’s contributions to win a team a championship. Football requires two complete teams (offense and defense), coaches to run both those teams, a GM to build both those teams into championship caliber units, and a coach to run the whole show, as well as maximize the talents and contributions from all of those players the GM has picked.

    One man shows don’t win in the NFL. That’s why Peyton has only one ring, Bill Polian was unable to build and maintain a complete team around his star player.

    For the same reason, LaDainian Tomlinson should not be faulted for joining the ranks of world-class players with no rings. While Dwight Howard or Derrick Rose may be forgotten if they never win a championship, no one can say LT didn’t play his heart out every game and do everything he could to win his team a Super Bowl. And that’s LT’s point, considering how hard he played, and how much he loved the game, at this point, if Canton is all he gets out of his career, he’ll be satisfied.

  37. I’m surprised by what he said. Everyone who’s ever played sports professionally has dreamed of catching a winning TD pass in superbowl or hitting a walk of HR in world series.

  38. I don’t know if Tomlinson believes that or is just saying it, but if you ask Charger fans which would mean more to them, most would disagree with him.

  39. I would bet if you asked those that had both, if they were being completely honest, a majority would say HOF is more special (even guys like Ronnie Lot that gave everything they had to win a championship). It’s possible for both to be important, but for one to be just a little more.

  40. Spoken like a true self-center, whinny bitch. I’d expect no less from him…..and don’t call him LT. The real LT wore #56 and played linebacker for the Giants.

  41. “great choice LT!” “huh? what? you mean he really can’t choose? what a bunch of bunk!”

    obviously personal achievement was always more important to this former dolt than winning….

  42. its funny how people always take the time to criticize this guy about everything he says. when youre asked a question you simply answer it the way you feel and thats all he did. when he was drafted the chargers were 1-15 and he carried them on his back to 14-2. all those so called one yard TD’s made the chargers a true contender. he was the best player on the planet for a couple of years. the guy missed his first game after 7 years in the league and everyone always talks about him being hurt all the time. this guy will be in HOF in 5 years, where will you haters be?? he has 164 TD’s in the NFL, how many do you have?? over 13500 yards rushing, have you even walked your fat ass that much in your entire life? I love football and admire every single player in the league no matter who they play for because theyre doing something i could never even dream of doing and that is play the greatest game on earth at the highest level.

  43. Maybe he would rather get selected to the probowl rather than win the AFC championship too.

  44. for all the charger fans criticizing him, what if his answer was this

    if u can guarantee me a ring this year with the broncos as a backup, Id gladly give up all those great years with SD. The MVP year, all of it. Id give it all up, to win with Peyton as his 3rd down back.

    Is that the better answer u guys r looking for?

  45. what if the question was this

    LT, u had a HOF career with SD. U joined the Jets the last 2 years seeking that elusive Super Bowl win. It didnt happen for u. Would u give up ur HOF career with SD if u were guaranteed a Super Bowl win with the Jets?

    As a Charger fan, how would u want him to respond?

    It is exactly the same question as which is more important, SB or HOF

  46. I really find it hard to believe what he’s saying. HOF is a bunch of guys who never played the game deciding who goes in to the hall. It is subjective to a degree. I’m sure it’s an honor.
    But, winning the championship is the dream of all athletes. I think LT is pretending.

  47. I agree with LT.
    Being a member of the NFL HOF is a tribute to a player’s legacy. A Super Bowl ring is tribute to a game that was played during the player’s career.

  48. You haters are hilarious. As if anyone in the NFL is playing for the HOF.

    The raiduh hate, I can understand. He owned them. Ran, threw and caught touchdowns against them. Sometimes in the same game. So I can totally understand the raiduh hate.

    You’re so silly Joe, thinking fans care anything more about regular season when other than a springboard to the playoffs.

    Oh..right. You’re on the raiduh bandwagon. You have to win in the regular season to care about regular season wins. Raiduhs haven’t done too well with that lately. Especially their last game of last season. Man, that was an important win for the raiduhs. That sent them to the palyoffs…..oh…right.

  49. I’m a 27 yearold lief-long Chargers fan. I love L.T. and he gave us many happy Sundays to remember. L.T. is a San Diego legend along with Tony Gwynn, Junior Seau and Dan Fouts.

    But let’s be honest LT, you said over and over during your Charger days (especially after 2006) that the ring meant more to you than the HOF.

    You’re changing your story after the fact.

    Still love you buddy, always will… But you might want to take a break from doing interviews for a while ’cause you are saying some kinda’ foolish stuff lately.

  50. Tomlinson was a great player, but–I’m sorry–that’s a loser’s mentality.

    Shoulda said: “The HOF is great, but I wish I had a ring to go with that yellow jacket. If only we hired a coach with balls in SD, we mighta had one.”

  51. The are plenty of scrubs that have rings, but hall of famers are never forgotten. When he is enshrined, and yes he will be. Haters shall convene at the player haters ball and cry over spilled milk.

  52. I always wondered what was wrong with San Diego – why didn’t the Chargers win more in the playoffs as they so often appeared to have the best talent. I guess this might be why. You don’t win a lot of titles when your leader is in it for himself. I always felt like LT was the type of player who would feel good after running for 150 and catching 5 for another 60 in a 24-17 loss. He was more concerned about getting his touches than doing what was best for the team. Hey, there’s nothing wrong with any of that if your goal is get to the HOF. I’d prefer a guy who plays to win rings.

  53. dasmol says: Jun 26, 2012 2:49 PM

    You’re so silly Joe, thinking fans care anything more about regular season when other than a springboard to the playoffs.
    Oh..right. You’re on the raiduh bandwagon. You have to win in the regular season to care about regular season wins. Raiduhs haven’t done too well with that lately. Especially their last game of last season. Man, that was an important win for the raiduhs. That sent them to the palyoffs…..oh…right.

    You just proved Joe right. The Raiders had a terrible season last year. Owner died, first year head coach, lost their starting QB and RB for the season, the defense was a disaster, and they still won as many games as the Chargers. You don’t see Lions fans bragging about knocking the Chargers out of the playoffs last season. But here is Charger fan, bragging about a regular season win.

  54. @raiderapologist

    Not bragging about the win at all. I was enjoying your loss. The win did nothing for the Chargers disappointing season. But it ended yours. And that was nice. And don’t try to act like you wouldn’t enjoy your raiduh team playing playoff spoiler to a division rival.

    No, I didn’t see any Lion fans bragging about knocking us out of the playoffs, but they’re not hated division rivals either.

    You raiduh fans crack me up. A nation of bandwagon riders that talk and act tough but then whine and pout when people talk smack.

    And I agree with another poster. LT needs quit doing the interviews and saying stupid things. Of course he wanted and played for a championship. He’s just trying to make himself feel better for not getting one.

  55. I bet every guy in the Hall of Fame without a ring strongly disagrees with Tomlinson.

  56. So, by some people’s logic on here, the giants third string running back has had a more fulfilling career than LT because he’s got a ring? Sounds about right.

  57. If it wasn’t for that offensive “genius” Cam Cameron, the Chargers would have beaten the Pats in the playoffs, and Marty and LDT would have won their Super Bowl title, so this is all a moot point.
    That offensive “genius” Cameron, the OC of the Chargers at the time, never once gave the ball to LDT two plays in a row, despite the fact that the Pats could stop him for less than 6 yards every single time he touched the ball.
    If Marty is to be blamed for anything, it’s for settling on Cameron for his OC.
    As further proof of what I am saying, witness: How did Cameron do when he got his one and only shot as a head coach?
    ‘Nuff said.

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