Aaron Donald Doesn't Need Super Bowl For His Legacy

Photo: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Plenty of stars will take the field when the Los Angeles Rams clash with their division rival San Francisco 49ers in Sunday evening's NFC Championship Game. The likes of Matthew Stafford, George Kittle, Jalen Ramsey, Odell Beckham Jr., Trent Williams, Von Miller, and several others will suit up with hopes of advancing to Super Bowl LVI. Several of these household names had barely sniffed postseason success prior to 2021, let alone had they earned the rare attempt to capture a Super Bowl title (outside of Miller and Kittle).

While several of these players could use a Super Bowl victory to help boost their overall resumes, one player, in particular, is so special that his legacy should not be defined by Sunday's outcome. Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald is one of the greatest defenders of all time, and his status in football history is cemented regardless of what occurs. 

Rams defensive coordinator Raheem Morris took another approach that discussed the importance of helping Donald win football's ultimate prize.

"The building wants to win for Aaron Donald to create more mystique for his legacy," Morris said. "We want to win for Aaron Donald."

Although we appreciate Morris' sentiment, and we'd love nothing more than to see Donald get a much-deserved Super Bowl ring, his talent is undeniable and his legacy will leave a profound impact on professional football, with or without a Super Bowl. 

The 30-year-old Donald is a three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year, and has an excellent chance to add to those totals in the coming years. Donald is an eight-time Pro Bowler, which represents every one of his professional campaigns. He's a seven-time first-team All-Pro (missed out as a rookie) and possesses a historic 20.5-sack season to his name. Interior defenders rarely accumulate sacks like edge defenders do, yet Donald has totaled an astounding 98 sacks in eight seasons. 

Donald’s ability to defeat double teams and create havoc in the backfield is powered forward by his rare blend of quickness, power, and football IQ. Opposing offensive coordinators begin every game plan ahead of a date with the Rams by circling and identifying ways to eliminate Donald. It always backfires, and that speaks volumes of his talent.

Donald's resume and decorated legacy are bulletproof, much like how Dan Marino and J.J. Watt are considered to be two of the greatest players of all-time at their respective positions despite failing to capture the Lombardi Trophy (Watt still presumably has a chance, assuming he returns in 2022).  

Donald undeniably would love to win a Super Bowl for himself and the city of Los Angeles. The weight of Super Bowl LIII's failure surely weighs heavily on the shoulders of Donald, his coaches, and teammates who lived through that gut-wrenching defeat to Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots. A chance to return to those heights beckons and looms large on Sunday evening when the 49ers make their visit to SoFi Stadium. Donald's place in football history is safe either way, but a triumph would be special while adding to an era-defining legacy.

Written By:

Justin Melo

Staff Writer

Justin Melo is an NFL draft analyst that cut his teeth at The Draft Breakdown and USA Today's Draft Wire. He specializes in interviewing prospects, but also produces big boards, mock drafts, and scouting reports. He also covers the Tennessee Titans nationally for Broadway Sports Media and SB Nation.