View Full Version : Football JoPo: 32 Greatest Receivers....

08-13-2010, 10:31 AM

1. Jerry Rice

Was so good and so precise that even as a 40-year-old he still had enough to catch 92 balls for more than 1,200 yards. But part of me wishes that he had not played that long, because in his prime years — 1986-1996 — I thought he was the most dominant player in pro football. And for a receiver, that’s just ridiculous.

2. Paul Warfield

I’m not sure that anyone else would put Warfield this high, but it’s my list. Warfield only once had 1,000 yards receiving. But that’s because he played for absurdly conservative teams. More than one fifth of his receptions for were touchdowns — 85 out of 427. His 19.5 yards per touch is the best in NFL history (not counting Michael Bates, the kick returner). His 20.1 yards per reception is ninth all-time, a touch ahead of famed deep threat Bullet Bob Hayes. People will disagree — I expect lots of people will disagree — but for me Warfield could do absolutely everything as a receiver. He was Jerry Rice before Jerry Rice.

3. Don Hutson

Practically invented the modern wide receiver, he led the league in receptions eight times in 10 years, ending in 1945. He also led in receiving yards seven times, led in touchdowns nine times. He also led the NFL in interceptions and was the Packers’ kicker.

4. Randy Moss

He’s plenty high on the list now, but would be even higher had it not been for his last year in Minnesota and two wasted years in Oakland when he regularly seemed to check out. Refocused in New England and once again turned into the most unstoppable weapon to ever play wide receiver. At his best, Randy Moss is simply impossible to cover.

5. Raymond Berry

What Don Hutson did not invent for playing wide receiver, Raymond Berry did. Long before Rice was running his routes so precisely that he was stepping in his own footprints, Raymond Berry was doing just that.

6. Marvin Harrison

He was not very big, not very fast, and a loner. It seems clear now that nobody really knew Marvin Harrison. But on the field, he and Peyton Manning had an almost magical connection, an absurd sense of each other. They connected 953 times for 112 touchdowns and more than 12,000 yards… those records could stand for a while.

7. Lance Alworth

Has there been a more wonderful, surprising and somehow fitting nickname in football than “Bambi.” It’s like Jimmy Wynn as “The Toy Cannon” in baseball.

8. Terrell Owens

Yes, there’s the craziness factor. But at his peak — and even in his best moments now — he is an absolute marvel after the catch, one of the best after-the-catch runners in the history of the game.

9. Steve Largent

Drafted in the fourth round by Houston, traded in lieu of being released to the expansion Seattle Seahawks, he was a little bit of Rice, a little bit of Berry and a handful in the slot. The funny thing is that every time a small, relatively slow, white wide receiver came along, he would INEVITABLY be compared to Largent: Brian Brennan, Paul Skansi, Pat Tilley, Jeff Groth and so on.

10. Torry Holt

It’s always hard to know where to rank new players vs. old. But I always thought that Holt — who ranks 11th all-time in receptions and 10th in yards, though he shared the stage with Isaac Bruce — had a timeless quality about him. He also led the league in receiving yards twice and had 1,000 yards in eight straight seasons.

11. Don Maynard

The open receiver on the other end of Joe Namath’s lasers… he retired with the pro football record for most receptions and yards.

12. Tim Brown

I’d need to check this again… but I believe he’s the only Heisman winner on this list. Receivers just don’t win Heismans. Fourth all-time in receptions and yards, though he was basically used as a return man in his first four seasons.

13. Michael Irvin

Emmitt Smith scored the touchdowns. Irvin set him up.

14. James Lofton

Some players just look classy when they play. Lofton ran with such grace, it looked like he should have played the game in white tie and tails. He was the consummate deep threat.

15. Charley Taylor

Washington did remarkable things turning halfbacks into receivers. They did it with Charley Taylor AND Bobby Mitchell… and both are in the Hall of Fame.

16. Cris Carter

Viewed as a complete bust in his younger days, Carter didn’t have his first 1,000-yard receiving season until he was 28… then he had eight of them in a row. Nobody knew more about doing all the gritty little things around the end zone — secretly pushing off, bumping the defender off-balance, cutting one way while looking another, blocking out — than Carter, which is part of the reason why he led the league in touchdown receptions three times.

17. Otis Taylor

One of the most underrated athletes in NFL history, Taylor was in many ways a whole new kind of receiver. He was big, strong and fast… a Randy Moss-type figure in his time. He played on a team that hardly threw the ball, but somehow quarterback Len Dawson is in the Hall of Fame. As people around Kansas City like to say: “He had to be throwing to SOMEONE.” That someone was Taylor, who was the AFC player of the year in 1971… the next receiver to win the award would be, um, no one. United Press would give out the award for the next 25 years, but it never happened again. Taylor dominated the game in a unique way, and it’s a shame that he is not in the Hall of Fame.

18. Bob Hayes

Bullet Bob Hayes broke the world record in the 100-meter dash at the Olympics in October of 1964 (on borrowed shoes), then ran even faster in one of the most memorable Olympic moments ever, his spectacular anchor leg in the 4×100 relay. The very next year, he caught 46 passes for 1,003 yards and led the NFL in touchdown receptions. He was even better in 1966. In the early 1970s he was simply sent deep on every play — and his 26.1 yards per reception in 1970 is fifth all-time. Also remembered — at least by me and other NFL Films aficionados, for refusing to take his hands out of his pocket during the Ice Bowl loss against Green Bay.

19. Elroy Hirsch

The first flanker in the NFL, his 1951 season — when he caught 66 passes for 1,495 yards and 17 touchdowns — is one of the greatest seasons in NFL history and the one that made “Crazy Legs” into a Hall of Famer and a legend.

20. Larry Fitzgerald

It’s probably too soon for him to be this high — he’s not even 27 yet — but he is as unstoppable a receiving presence as I can remember since a young Randy Moss.

21. Bobby Mitchell

Charley Taylor (No. 15) became an over-the-middle receiver with great speed and size. But Mitchell brought his incredible moves and speed to the flanker position… and led the NFL in receiving yards two years in a row.

22. Isaac Bruce

Smaller and a genius for finding open spots, I always thought he played a lot like Marvin Harrison.

23. Tony Gonzalez

Our first tight end… I really do believe that Tony Gonzalez is the best pass-receiving tight end in NFL history. As for blocking, Tony Gonzalez is the best pass-receiving tight end in NFL history. But I kid… I have known Tony for a long time. There were times when I felt sure that the Chiefs could have thrown to Gonzalez on every single play, and there was absolutely nothing that the defense could have done to stop it.

24. Lynn Swann

He not only never had 1,000 yards receiving… he never had 900. He was small and slight… he got hurt a lot. But he was to receiving what Sayers was to running the ball. He was an artist. And he had the sense of moment to display his artistry in Super Bowls.

25. Fred Biletnikoff

My Dad used to say that Biletnikoff could tell you where the sideline began with his eyes closed. He lived on the green side of them, the Sultan of the Sideline, always two feet in. But he was always much more of a deep threat than he was given credit for… he led the AFL in yards per catch in the Raiders’ mad bomber days of 1967.

26. Kellen Winslow

An unstoppable force in the middle of the Air Coryell offense… he led the NFL in receptions two years in a row. He also put on perhaps the greatest individual performance in NFL playoff history in that legendary game against Miami (13 catches, 166 yards, a touchdown, a blocked kick — and he had to be carried off the field).

27. John Stallworth

He was overshadowed for much of his Pittsburgh career by Swann’s grace, but he had the more productive career — catching 200 more passes for 3,000 more yards.

28. Ozzie Newsome

My hero… and I sense that I probably rank him too low here. They called him the Wizard of Oz before Ozzie Smith… and it really is remarkable that there were two Ozzies at almost exactly the same time who both played with such flair. They both made amazing diving plays. No ball ever seemed out of reach with Newsome, whom Bear Bryant called the greatest athlete he ever coached.

29. Andre Johnson

Like with Fitzgerald, it’s probably too soon to put him on this list… but over the last two seasons Johnson has AVERAGED 108 catches and 1,572 yards receiving. Playing for Houston does tend to get a player overlooked… I have no doubt in my mind that Johnson and Fitzgerald can both be Top 10 receivers and maybe higher before their careers are done.

30. Andre Reed

The Curtis Martin of receivers, I think… he’s eighth all-time in receptions, and 11th in receiving yards. Very, very good for a long time. Certainly could be higher on the list. Will certainly go into the Hall of Fame in the next year or two.

31. Dante Lavelli

Mike Brown — the son of the great Paul Brown, who founded, coached and named the Cleveland Browns — would often say that Lavelli went entire seasons without dropping a single pass, not even in practice. Sounds like one of those classic sports myths, but Lavelli certainly didn’t drop many as Otto Graham’s top target. Lavelli played 11 seasons… the Browns played in the league championship game in every year but the last.

32. Shannon Sharpe

One of my favorite athletes ever to cover because no matter what happened in the game, you could always go to Sharpe’s locker afterward and get your notebook filled. I don’t see his TV work, but if there’s a Hall of Fame for quotes, he’s first-ballot.

08-13-2010, 10:35 AM
Otis really should be in the HOF. No reason for it. If The Broncos can get Floyd Little, the chiefs should have Otis.

08-13-2010, 10:37 AM
No Sean LaChapelle?

List is bunk.

08-13-2010, 10:41 AM
Gonzo should be a bit higher....Above Otis. He's the best TE OAT.

08-13-2010, 10:41 AM
Otis really should be in the HOF. No reason for it. If The Broncos can get Floyd Little, the chiefs should have Otis.

Man, I LOVED watching him play. One of my favorite all time Chiefs, along with Bell and Lanier.

Discuss Thrower
08-13-2010, 10:54 AM

08-13-2010, 10:57 AM
No Sean LaChapelle?

List is bunk.

:Poke: uhhh LaChapelle has nothing on Bobby Sippio!

Mr. Laz
08-13-2010, 11:00 AM
8. Terrell Owens

08-13-2010, 11:03 AM
Man, I LOVED watching him play. One of my favorite all time Chiefs, along with Bell and Lanier.

You're lucky. I didn't even ever watch my favorite football player of all time.

08-13-2010, 11:22 AM

Whats the problem? He deserves to be there.

08-13-2010, 11:32 AM
Where are the "Young Guns" ??? Johnathan Hayes, Keith Cash, Willie Davis ???? can't remember the rest of them???

08-13-2010, 11:37 AM


08-13-2010, 11:38 AM
Whats the problem? He deserves to be there.

#8 greatest WR of all time? NO F N WAY

Joe Seahawk
08-13-2010, 11:51 AM
#8 greatest WR of all time? NO F N WAY

Ahead of Largent? :rolleyes:

08-13-2010, 11:59 AM
I have more of a problem with Fitzgerald being where he is than TO.

08-13-2010, 12:05 PM
jopo has some shitty rankings, brah.

Fire Me Boy!
08-13-2010, 02:02 PM
Keep fuckin' doubting Elvis Grbac.

08-13-2010, 02:59 PM
#8 greatest WR of all time? NO F N WAY

He's 2nd all time in TD catches. I think it's a pretty fair ranking.

Red Brooklyn
08-13-2010, 03:02 PM
Keep ****in' doubting Elvis Grbac.

Yeah!! :cuss:

... wait, what?

08-13-2010, 04:42 PM
Its too bad Sterling Sharpe got hurt....i always felt him and Farve could have made beautiful music together for years....

08-13-2010, 04:45 PM
Whats the problem? He deserves to be there.

To me, it depends on whether you're evaluating this as a "who was the best at the peak of their careers" or "who had the best careers." TO would be up pretty high in the former, but down further in the latter.