Takeo Spikes Has Never Played In The Postseason. Who's Keeping Him Company?
By: Kim O'Hara | Posted: March 07, 2013
The San Diego Chargers announced Thursday morning that linebacker Takeo Spikes, who just completed his 15th NFL season, has been released. Don't expect a retirement ceremony anytime soon, though: Spikes is adamant about his desire to return for year 16. Despite his age, the physically imposing linebacker has no nagging ailments to prevent him from continuing his career, missing just three games since leaving Buffalo in 2006.
Spikes recorded 78 tackles and a forced fumble this past season, indicating that the veteran's productivity hasn't waned with age and providing teams in search of defensive leadership incentive to scoop him up. In fact, NFL.com's Ian Rapaport tweeted today that Spikes has missed just 4 tackles in the past 3 seasons. That is an outrageous stat.
Though he's played in 219 NFL games, Spikes has never set foot on a playoff field. Sports Illustrated's Don Banks profiled the former Charger/49er/Eagle/Bill/Bengal in December, 2011, as Spikes was set to miss his 14th straight postseason. With San Diego missing out this season, the streak has been extended to 15. The past two postseasons must have been particularly painful for Spikes, who spent 2008-2010 with San Francisco, a span in which the 49ers failed to reach the playoffs.
Had the two-time Pro Bowler been given the opportunity to play under Jim Harbaugh, he might have five postseason games under his belt. The very idea of spending 15 essentially fruitless years dedicated to one's craft is staggering, but not entirely unique.
Though no NFL player has ever participated in more regular seasons without a playoff appearance, Spikes' case isn't entirely unique. We've found a few additional players who, in spite of individual accolades, have never played beyond Week 17 in the NFL.
Nnamdi Asomugha, Philadelphia Eagles CB: 10 NFL Seasons, 154 Games
Asomugha spent 8 seasons in Oakland before joining Philadelphia during 2011's free agency period. He's played in 3 Pro Bowls, been named to 4 All Pro rosters, was twice the Raiders' team MVP and was the 2009 "Whizzy" White Man of the Year. When he made the move to Philadelphia, it was assumed his playoff drought would win. The "Dream Team" has since devolved into a nightmare, and Asomugha will likely be playing for a new team in September.
Randy McMichael, San Diego Chargers TE: 11 NFL Seasons, 164 Games
McMichael's career path is most similar to Spikes', in that he's been a bit of a journeyman with stints in Miami and St. Louis before his tenure in San Diego. The tight end has never earned a Pro Bowl or All Pro berth and has contributed primarily as a block-first tight end, but he'll catch the ball when asked. He's caught 24 career touchdown passes.
Brian Moorman, Cowboys P: 12 NFL Seasons, 192 Games
Moorman has never missed a game in his 12-year career; it's unfortunate that none of those games took place in the postseason. As a two-time Pro Bowler and All Pro punter, Moorman was arguably the Bills' most reliable player until his early-season release in 2012. He was quickly nabbed by the Cowboys, where he averaged 44.6 yards a punt and downed 22 punts inside the 20 yard line.
I'm all about records and streaks in the NFL, but you won't hear a peep of objection out of me if one (or all) of these droughts comes to a close at the end of next season. Here's hoping Spikes lands with a playoff contender.
Kim O'Hara is the Associate Editor of TheFootballGirl.com. She is an avid fan of sports in general, but the NFL in particular. She has also been a contributor to ESPN the Magazine. Follow her on Twitter: @KimOHaraTFG
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