Barry Sanders played 159 games over nine seasons. Went 1-5 in the playoffs. Never made a Super Bowl.
Gale Sayers played seven years and Dick Butkus nine. Never even made the playoffs.
Tony Gonzalez played 17 years and went to a record-tying 14 Pro Bowls. Went 1-6 in the playoffs. And …
Never. Made. A. Super Bowl.
No wonder former Gophers and current Buccaneers rookies Tyler Johnson and Antoine Winfield Jr. set the unofficial Super Bowl video news conference tag-team record for combined number of times two guys have said, "Man, it's crazy."
Winfield, who is as close to a clone of his former Vikings cornerback father as possible, is 22 years, 171 days old. He's played 18 games, all starts at safety.
Johnson, hailed as the greatest receiver of all time from north Minneapolis, is 22 years, 162 days old. He has spent all 17 games and three starts catching balls from another GOAT of considerable note, Tom Brady.
On Sunday, they'll play in Super Bowl LV in their home stadium with the six-time winner Brady against the defending champion Chiefs.
"It's crazy," Winfield said … again.
"Every time I see Tyler, I'm just like, 'Man, we in the Super Bowl.' It's crazy because we both came into [college] together. We got drafted on the same team and we're about to play in the Super Bowl. It's been an amazing experience to have that with one of my friends that I've played with at different levels of the game."
Johnson was speaking at the same time. Somewhere in Minneapolis, Gophers coach P.J. Fleck had to be thinking of splicing together all the "crazies" for a Ski-U-Mah recruiting infomercial. (Linebacker Damien Wilson, a Gopher from 2013-14, is also in the Super Bowl, with the Chiefs.)
"We just be playing ball," Johnson said. "But we're like, 'We're really here.' It's crazy. We'll have moments when we're in disbelief a little bit."
There also was some news broken Wednesday regarding the ankle injury that kept Winfield out of the NFC Championship Game victory over the Packers.
When a reporter asked Winfield how his ankle was, he answered without a tap dance or a deferral to the head coach. Ah, rookies. Gotta love 'em.
"The ankle is feeling good and I am going to play in the game," Winfield said. "So it's not really anything I need to think about. It's 100 percent go."
Chances are he'd give it a go if it were only 10 percent. After all, his dad played 198 games over 14 seasons, including nine with the Vikings (2004-12), and never made the Super Bowl. The closest he came was the overtime loss in the NFC Championships Game at New Orleans 11 years ago.
"After we beat Green Bay, he was the first person who called me," Junior said of Senior, his mentor on all things football the past two decades. "He's over there yelling and screaming and telling me congratulations and everything. He was excited. I feel like he was more excited than I was."
That's because Senior is 43 years, 224 days old. Only 40 days older than his son's starting quarterback, whom Senior intercepted in Brady's seventh career start back in 2001.
"It means everything" to bring the Winfield name to the Super Bowl stage, Junior said. "I'm glad at least one Winfield could get to the Super Bowl. And that's me. I've talked about it ever since I got drafted. It's just surreal to actually be here."
Needing corners and not safeties at the time, the Vikings passed on Winfield Jr. in favor of Jeff Gladney with the last pick in the first round. Fourteen spots later, the Bucs grabbed Winfield, who has become one of the league's best defensive rookies with 94 tackles, three sacks, two forced fumbles, a fumble recovery, one interception and a game-winning pass defense on a two-point conversion.
In two playoff games, Winfield has 12 tackles and a forced fumble. The fumble led to one of the Bucs' seven postseason takeaways and one of the six touchdowns off turnovers the offense has scored in winning three consecutive road games.
Johnson, meanwhile, is a tribute to more depth at receiver than Brady probably ever had in New England. A fifth-round draft pick, Johnson caught 12 of 17 regular-season targets for 169 yards and two TDs
In the postseason, he's caught only two passes for 31 yards. But both were clutch, head-turning grabs for key third-down conversions. He also drew the late pass interference penalty that clinched the victory at Green Bay.
All three targets showed Brady's trust in the young Minnesota native with the Minneapolis skyline tattooed across his chest.
"My first meeting with Tom Brady was when I flew down here sometime in the offseason," Johnson said. "It was crazy. It was unreal. I'm getting ready. I'm there early. And Tom Brady shows up, and it finally hit me, 'This is Tom Brady right here. This is crazy.'
"But, man, he was a cool dude. He was very encouraging. Just letting me know that I'm a great player, I got a bright future and to keep working. That's a moment I definitely won't forget."
There's another one coming up Sunday. And it's sure to be "crazy" for a couple of former Gophers.