Top 10 Greatest Wide Receivers
This list is dependent on two factors:
The reason why this is a fair criteria because offenses are always evolving, so stats are so relative to the timeframe. 1,000 yards used to mean something in the NFL, now it is just average. Awards are good, but are often dependent on how good the offense is. That is why legacy, the impact they had to the NFL, is the most important advocacy.
10. Cris Carter- Carter had over 1,000 receptions, 13,000 yards and 130 TDs. The 8X Pro Bowler, spent the first couple of seasons in Philly before a drug problem forced him to play back up for the then lowly Vikings. He played well on and off the field and was able to work his way up to be one of the greatest of all time. He is a great success story and while a superbowl ring and a HOF bust would put him higher on the list, he still should be happy with the success he has felt.
9. Randy Moss- Moss, Carter's teammate, has had a similar up and down career. He is still playing in the NFL and has almost 1,000 receptions, over 13,000 yards and 82 TDs, similar to Carter's stats. Moss was the best receiver in the NFL for two separate periods of time (early 2000 Vikings and late 2000's Patriots) and ultimatly produced the greatest statistical single season in NFL history with over 1400 yards and 23 TDs. But, there is a reason why he has played for 5 different teams and has been called a "moral killer." His legacy is almost tarnished, and his 7X Pro Bowl are more representative of the great offenses rather than Moss, himself. But he still deserves a spot on the list.
8. Steve Largent- Largent has over 800 receptions, 13,000 yards and 100 TDs. He is the greatest wide receiver to have never won an NFL championship. He is one of the only wide receivers to play all 14 seasons with the same team (Seahawks.) The 7X Pro Bowler has fallen into oblivion because of the lack of Seattle's success when he was on the team. Largent and Jim Zorn, his QB, combined to be the single most underrated passing combo of the decade. Largent as well never dropped a pass, like ever. For these reasons he, although some would dispute, lands as #8 on this list.
7. Marvin Harrison- Harrison had over 1,000 receptions, 14,000 yards and 120 TDS. Harrison was Peyton Manning's favorite target and they certainly had a great tandem working in Indy. Harrison's 8 Pro Bowls and 6 All Pros are incredible considering he had 2 injury plagued seasons and 3 other seasons without Manning. Harrison will certainly be remembered as Manning's guy, a tag that can't hurt him with Canton voters. He will be a HOFer and he will have a great legacy in the future.
6. Torry Holt- Holt had almost 1,000 receptions, 13,000 yards and 74 TDs. Many would argue he is too high on the list because of he did not put up the numbers as some of the other receivers. But Holt may be the only player on this list without a consistent great QB, making him the better player. He had great seasons with Marc Bulger, David Garrard, Trent Green and Jamie Martin. He was also the quickest player in NFL history to reach 10,000 and 11,000 yards. The 7X Pro Bowler was the best receiver of the decade. His place on the "greatest show on turf" led him to a superbowl in 2000 and some awesome playoff runs.
5. Raymond Berry- Berry was the Colt's leading wide receiver throughout the 1950's and 1960's. The 6X Pro Bowler and 6X All Pro had one of the greatest season for a wide receiver in NFL history when he amounted 1,298 yards and 10 TDs in a 12 game season. Berry was Johnny U's best receiver catching almost every single pass thrown at him. Berry's name may have fallen into the dusk as stats and offenses have been friendly to wide outs ever since the 1978 rule changes. But Berry is one of the classic examples of the good old days.
4. Michael Irvin- Irvin represents the cowboys better than any other player in franchise history. He had swagger, stats and success. He was a great character and modernized the touchdown celebration. A member of the "triplets," Irvin won 3 superbowls in 4 years. His stats speak for themselves. Irvin finished with 750 receptions, over 11,000 yards and 65 TDs on a team that ran the ball most of the time and had a QB in Troy Aikman that threw for more than 20 TDs just once in his career. A 5X Pro Bowler, Irvin also had 8 straight seasons with over 950 yards and 7 of those were over 1,000. Aikman to Irvin was the most dominant connection of the 1990s and possibly of all time. The HOFer was a fan favorite and is without a doubt, a top 5 wide receiver of all time.
3. Lance Alworth- Alworth, as well a Cowboy during the early 1970's, spent most of his career being a dominant wide receiver for the Chargers. Alworrth was a 7X All Star selection amasing over 500 receptions, 10,000 yards and 85 TDs in 11 seasons. Alworth was certainly the greatest receiver in the AFL. Alworth and John Hadl were also the first combination to connect for over 12 TDs twice during the 12 game season. Alworth was a superbowl winner with the Dallas Cowboys in the early 70's and served primarily as a mentor for young players on the Cowboys. His #19 was retired by the Chargers and his legacy remains even stronger than that. Alworth is a member of 4 Hall of Fames and several decade and league teams.
For those that wish to know more: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TKtlaKNt6_8
2. Jerry Rice-Now, I know what your thinking, how could Rice be #2? Thats coming a bit later but lets discuss first what he did to deserve this spot as well.
Rice played for 20 years and has over 1500 receptions, 22,000 yards and almost 200 TDs. His 13 Pro Bowls and 11 All Pros seems to speak for themselves. Rice holds over 10 NFL Records (which, in itself, is a record) both for playoffs and regular season. Rice also had 14 seasons over 1,000 yards, 3 Super Bowls and has his #80 retired in San Francisco.Rice certainly has a strong case for the best receiver of all time and maybe even the best player of all time as the NFL network called him the greatest player of all time.
HOWEVER there are several reasons why Jerry Rice is #2 on this list. Rice played with Joe Montana and Steve Young, 2 of the greatest QBs of all time (Montana may be the best.) He also played with Rich Gannon, former MVP, and Jeff Garcia, multiple time pro bowler. Rice had the advantage of Bill Walsh, George Seafur, John Gruden- all multiple super bowl winning head coaches.
But as well there is somebody much better than Rice, and that is DON HUTSON.
1. DON HUTSON-
First of all I want to say that this is my analysis but I am using projected stats from: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/143974-why-jerry-rice-is-not-the-greatest-wide-receiver-in-nfl-history
Secondly I want to say that this was my original idea. I thought of it and then did some research, not the other way around.
Don Hutson is the greatest receiver of all time. The 11 year pro, Hutson was a wide receiver for the Green Bay Packers during the 1930's and 1940's. In an 11 GAME SEASON in 1942, Hutson produced 74 receptions, 1,211 yards and 17 TDs. In the context of Jerry Rice's era, Hutson stats in the season would project to be 108 receptions, 1761 yards and 25 TDs. That would be even more in the last 3 years.
Over his career, Hutson had almost 500 receptions, 7,900 yards and 99 TDS at a time when teams would pass maybe 10- 20 TIMES A GAME. This means that if Huston played at the same time that Rice did, he would have averaged 101 receptions, 1653 yards and 21 TDs. For Jerry Rice to have the same statistical impact that Hutson had in his era Rice would have needed to average 300 catches, 4200 yards and 45 TDs.
But remember, this list isn't all stats. Remember when, back on Rice's page, we said Rice played with Joe, Steve, Rich and Jeff? Well have I got news for you. Hutson played for Arnie Herber, Cecil Isbell and Irv Comp during his career. None of those players even match Rich Gannon's arm let alone Young and Montana. The year after Huston retired, Irv Comp threw just 1 TD the entire seaosn and played in all 12 games.
Huston's number is retired, he was voted on the all time team, he would have made every pro bowl if there was one. Hutson's first play in his NFL career was a 85 yard TD. Hutson also won 3 NFL championships. Hutson also played on defense and led teh league in INTS in 1940. When Huston retired, he had 18 NFL records which surpass Rice's number by far. Hutson and Curley Lambeau were the first people to create routs for receivers to run and Hutson was one of the first to run them. Hutson will never get the credit he deserves because of our un-appreciation for national pastimes and Jerry Rice. But I am here to serve JUSTICE!