Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

27 Mar 2008

When Considering the Best Receivers Ever, Rice Comes First, Moss Second

Kudos to ESPN's Mike Sando for putting together a thoughtful-and thorough-look at the top ten wide receivers in history. While it's no surprise to see Jerry Rice at the top of the list, it's interesting to see that there was very little unanimity of opinion regarding the other nine guys. It's also refreshing to see the effect that Moss' rebound season has had on his perception, as there was some (misplaced) debate as to whether or not he was even a Hall of Fame candidate while he was moldering away in Oakland.

Posted by: Sean McCormick on 27 Mar 2008

101 comments, Last at 03 Apr 2008, 10:18pm by TomHat


by ian (not verified) :: Thu, 03/27/2008 - 8:07pm

really can't see how anyone can compare recievers like hutson and moss who have played with such drastically different defensive holding/pi rules.

also, i have a view that nobody should rank or evaluate players they didn't watch.

still, from talent and production i can't imagine anyone being better than rice or moss.

by Tom D (not verified) :: Thu, 03/27/2008 - 8:42pm

I'm a little surprised neither Isaac Bruce or Torry Holt got any votes. Subjectively, I think Holt is a little better than Harrison.

by DZ (not verified) :: Thu, 03/27/2008 - 11:20pm

I think it's bizzarre how fast that Marvin Harrison got shoved down this list. I'm fine with the 'stats don't count across eras' argument, but Irvin, TO, and Carter (not to mention Bruce and Holt) all played at the same time as Harrsion. If you just consider All-Pro selections (NOT the chinzy Pro Bowl, but the big boy squad-only 2 per year for the whole NFL), Harrison has more (7) than Bruce and Holt combined. He has more All Pro selections than Carter and Irvin COMBINED. He even has more than Moss and TO. His stats are better. He was more often one of the two best WRs in the league. He never said a word in self promotion. Until this year, he was utterly durable. He caught short routes and deep routes. He caught tons of balls, but no one ever could accuse him of going the Art Monk route of 800 6 yard hooks. It's ridiculous that he's not in the top five, and even more so that someone would think that Holt was better. He had better hands than probably anyone on that list (including Rice). I'm cool with those that want to argue for Largent and Huston and any old timer. It's tough to compare across generations. But when you stack him up against his contemporaries, there really is no contest. Aside from Moss, no one has been more devestating for a longer period. Yeah, he played with a great QB, but so did most of the guys on this list. And really until 2003, he did ALL the heavy lifting in the Colts passing game. He was great when he was the only WR in town, and great when he had to split time. Chris Carter better? Based on what?

by Vendark (not verified) :: Fri, 03/28/2008 - 12:00am

>Based on what?

Well, for starters, Harrison tends to fold in the playoffs. A whole two touchdowns in 15 games, and both of those came in the same game. For comparison, Cris Carter pulled in 8 TDs in 14 playoff games.

It's kind of hard to make an argument for Harrison's greatness when he can't distinguish himself against top competition.

by Spencer (not verified) :: Fri, 03/28/2008 - 12:00am

[insert miscellaneous complaints about Patriots bias]

by Becephalus (not verified) :: Fri, 03/28/2008 - 12:10am

I must say DZ I had him ranked about 7-15, but that was a really great argument.

I say bump him ahead of Irvin Carter and TO.

by Vendark (not verified) :: Fri, 03/28/2008 - 12:15am

>no one ever could accuse him of going the Art Monk route of 800 6 yard hooks.

Art Monk's career YPC is .1 higher than Harrison's.

by Daniel (not verified) :: Fri, 03/28/2008 - 12:18am

I find it interesting that Irvin ranked so high given that he had trouble making the Hall of Fame. You would think that a guy like he and Carter, if they are so universally held as one of the top ten players at their position would be first ballot, slam dunk Hall of Famers. And a year ago at this time many 'experts' were saying how they would never vote for Randy Moss for the Hall, and how he was washed up and too much trouble to be worth nothing more than a second day draft pick. The expert's second best receiver in NFL history traded for a 4th round pick? It's amazing how one season with a quality supporting cast can change one's fortunes. At this rate if he plays another three seasons in New England he'll be elected pope.

by DZ (not verified) :: Fri, 03/28/2008 - 12:47am

re: 4. That's great, we'll throw out years of stats and go by a handful of games. Harrison still has more rings than Carter. Is that relevant? Probably not, but guys that love the 'playoffs count more' arguments usually find that one convincing.

RE 7: Wow, great point on Monk. I was merely going with the vague Dr. Z allusion. Granted, Harrison utterly dwarfs him in all other categories (both in terms of individual season and volume), but I guess that criticism of him isn't particularly valid.

by Vendark (not verified) :: Fri, 03/28/2008 - 1:46am

>but I guess that criticism of him isn’t particularly valid.

There's some validity to it. 13.5 is a low YPC for an elite receiver. It's a knock Monk, Harrison, and Carter all share.

by RobM (not verified) :: Fri, 03/28/2008 - 2:32am

1: "also, i have a view that nobody should rank or evaluate players they didn’t watch."

In that case I have to say the best WR ever is Hart Lee Dykes.

by Kenneth (not verified) :: Fri, 03/28/2008 - 3:46am

So, according to this article, for a time the Minnesota Vikings had two of the ten greatest wide receivers ever on their team.

Scary, how good that offense was.

by Yaguar (not verified) :: Fri, 03/28/2008 - 7:55am

Yards per catch isn't a particularly important rate stat, at least not unless it's coupled with catch percentage. You'd certainly rather have a guy who catches 2/2 passes for 20 yards each than 1/2 for 20 yards.

My only argument about this list is that Owens shouldn't be on it. He hasn't been a better receiver than Marvin Harrison, who I think is pegged about right. He's better than Harrison is now, but people forget just how much Harrison blew Owens out of the water until about 2004.

by dryheat (not verified) :: Fri, 03/28/2008 - 9:09am

Well, Jerry Rice is unquestionably first.

Shouldn't we wait until Moss, Harrison, and Owens retire before we start judging who's better among themselves...let alone vs. the all-timers?

And where the hell is Lance Alworth?

by TomHat (not verified) :: Fri, 03/28/2008 - 9:23am

4) You are basing Harrison's skill on TDs per game in playoff situations? The moment you start judging a player on their "playoff performance", you are automatically assuming a lot of things.

1) players are clutch [which statistical analysis tends to disagree with]

2) the sample size is large enough to judge a player's entire career off of [15 games? would you be willing to tell me how good a player is if 15 games were randomly drawn from their entire career? Consider this. If Harrison has one more playoff game in his entire career, and has a 3 TD effort, next thing you know, he has 5 TDs in 16 games. Do you really think that a 3 TD game is out of the question? and if its not, dont you think the sample size is a little low to be judging based on this? Secondly if your statement is that all he does is stat whore against crappy teams as compared to showing how good he is against top competition, instead of doing "playoff performance" why not compare his performance against "top 10 teams in the league"?]

3) performance out of the playoffs and/or helping a team get to the playoffs in the first place is of minimal value [Giants won the superbowl last year even though they were way crappier than all other teams, meaning that once you make the playoffs, luck plays a big factor. I personally think its more important to help your team make the playoffs in the first place.]

I mean, you are welcome to your own opinion, but I dont think you are going to get very much backing for spouting out playoff rhetoric here.

by youppitime (not verified) :: Fri, 03/28/2008 - 10:04am

Don Hutton doesn't deserve to be on that list. He played during an era where very few people cared about the NFL and where nearly all good athletes played other sports (mostly baseball). It's hard to compare across eras, yes, but you have to rule out guys who were very good when the sport was irrelevant. He also played during WW2, when most of the good players were in the war, which hurts his case even more. His career looks like that of a decent player playing with a lot of bad ones since few athletes who would have potentially been good football players played football then and he should be relegated to the "best player of the early era" of football, just like baseball players who played most of their careers before 1900 are never discussed in any best-ever (overall of positional) rankings.

by bfan (not verified) :: Fri, 03/28/2008 - 10:31am

The list looks solid to me, perhsps the order could be changed a bit. Irvin was a great player and the leader of the Cowboys. In addition, he was a dominant downfield blocker. The criteria was a little fuzzy, but if you add someone, who do you take off. As for the best seasons ever, I remember Wes CHandler having 1000 yds receiving in the 9 game strike season of 1982, perhps RIce's 1987 strike season is the only thing that compares.

by kcinsd (not verified) :: Fri, 03/28/2008 - 12:09pm

A couple points.
Wes Chandler's 1982 season was even more impressive because he missed one game. 8 games played, 1032 yards receiving, 9 touchdowns, 21.1 yards per catch. Wow.

That team's offense was just sick - it averaged 450 yards a game - 4048 yards in 9 games. They played the previous year's Super Bowl teams, SF and Cin, in a row and gained 1199 yards in those two games.

Second, what about Lance Alworth? In his first 9 years, he had one year with a YPC lower than 17 and two lower than 18.9. 5 years over 90 yards per game with 3 over 100. Rice had 6 years over 90. Several players have 2 years over 100, but I don't think anyone else has 3. He led the league in receptions, yards, and touchdowns 3 times each. He should have been in the conversation, at least.

by DragonFireKai (not verified) :: Fri, 03/28/2008 - 2:34pm

The thing people need to remember with Harrison, is that he's not a particularly talented player on his own. He's a great route runner, but that's it. He doesn't have Owens' ability to break down the jam. He doesn't have Moss' freakish jump ball ability. He doesn't have the ability after the catch of a Chad Johnson. He doesn't have the elusiveness of a Steve Smith.

What Marvin Harrison does have, is Peyton Manning. Harrison spent his first two years in the league with a former Pro Bowl QB, and failed to accomplish much of anything. He was there for Peyton's rocky rookie season, and didn't do much. Once Peyton became Peyton, Harrison exploded with him. Harrison has done nothing without Peyton, however, Peyton adapted to his absence without a hitch this past season. That's a clear indication as to who's more important between the two.

by Bobman (not verified) :: Fri, 03/28/2008 - 2:38pm

Marvin Harrison... where to begin? The YPC is low because he has caught probably 200 7 yarders on 3rd and 6.

Any FO devotee knows that is a very valuable catch--more valuable than an 15 yarder on 3rd and 20. But they have opposite effects on YPC. He has been "on average" the #1 deep option and the #1 safety blanket on what has been "on average" the #1 passing offense since 1999. In essence, for 8-9 years he was top 1-3 in the NFL and extremely consistent despite a revolving door of nobodies opposite him for most of that time. Who else on the list can say that? Rice. Hutson. Bueller? Bueller?

Oooh, those playoff flubs. I cannot believe how poorly he played when everybody else on his team scorched the NFL. Yes, the top offense crumbled from top to bottom including MH in at least 5 playoff games. (and even the year they won, it was not really due to the offense) Edge had 13 yards on 9 carries against the Jets. Manning's had a few picks along the way. The line turned into cheesecloth a few times. Let's hold Marvin to blame.

If this survey was done a year ago, does anybody in his right mind think Moss would have been #2? Half the world wrongly believed he was a washed-up headcase. If not for Marvin's injury last year, he'd have been maybe #3-#5 and Moss maybe #10 if at all.

I like the fact that three of the raters refused to include TO because of all his drops, yet somehow he comes in ahead of the man who was ahead of him his whole career. Is it a Manning backlash--i.e. "Marvin's only good because he has Peyton throwing to him."??? What a weak argument. I guess we can downgrade ANYTHING Moss or Irvin has done, and more or less Rice's whole career. Those damn HoF QBs, always screwing up the WR ratings....

by Bobman (not verified) :: Fri, 03/28/2008 - 2:49pm

sweet. while I was typing DFK came in with the spurious anti-Manning argument I pre-emptively trashed. Thanks for makng my point.

DragonFireKai, you don't think the emergence of Wayne had to do anything with Manning's decent 2007, do you? How would Manning have fared in 2000, 2001, 2002 etc if Harrison went down? Without a hitch, you say?

So now the knock against Harrison will be he has an all-pro across from him, taking the heat. Come on, I know that's the next one....

I suspect you have not observed him all that much, but Marvin does everything well. He may not be tops in any one category, but being #2 or #3 in ALL categories is what puts him near the top overall. His elusiveness and routes are his top features, but I've seen catches that appear nigh impossble and staff and team mates repeatedly say "no big deal because he makes three of them every practice like that." He is fast enough--if 40 times were what put gus on this list where is Reynaldo Neamiah? He is tough enough-- played more than one season with a cast on one wrist and missed 5 games to injury in 10 seasons before this year's knee debacle. He's not a leaper as far as I have ever seen, but that is not the Manning/Harrison game. Poor QBs throw the jump balls and NEED (ahem) the Plaxico Burresses of the world to bring them down. Or throw wing and prayer balls into coverage for Moss to pull from the sky.

Manning has helped Harrison and vice versa. You make you argument as if no other WR on the list had a HOF QB throwing to him, when in actuality nearly all did/do.

by Bobman (not verified) :: Fri, 03/28/2008 - 3:01pm

Now it's time to apologize for the triple post, but DragonFireKai's "didn't do anything" comment in #19 bothered me.

Year 1 (Harbaugh) 64/836/8
(was top rookie WR)
Year 2 (Harbaugh) 73/866/6
not bad--certainly not "nothing"
Year 3 (Manning) 59/776/7
injured last 4 games--if you prorate, it's 79/1,035/9
Year 4 (Manning) 115/1,663/12

The first three years were probably enough to say he's a top 10 guy each of those years, and then he exploded into new territory when Manning put all the pieces together.

I don't have the time to compile a list of rookies who had 60+ catches, 800+ yards,and 8 TDs in the 1990s, but I suspect it's not a long list. That doesn't put him in the HOF, but it's not "nothing." Of course anybody will do better with Manning throwing to him than Harbaugh. Including all the other guys on the list.

I'd venture to say that before the offensive explosions that correspond to Marvin's rise to prominence, that 80 receptions and 1,200 yards would just about guarantee a WR a visit to Honolulu in February. Now the standard is more like 100/1,400. But back then, he was a lot more elite than you imply.

by Bob Price (not verified) :: Fri, 03/28/2008 - 3:44pm

The Bob Price top 10-

1. Jerry Rice
2. Lance Alworth
3. Don Hutson
4. Raymond Berry
5. Fred Biletnikoff
6. Marvin Harrison
7. Randy Moss
8. Paul Warfield
9. Steve Largent
10. James Lofton

by Parker (not verified) :: Fri, 03/28/2008 - 4:08pm

RE: #3

I officially accuse Marvin Harrison of catching 800 6-yard outs.

by Pat (not verified) :: Fri, 03/28/2008 - 4:46pm

Is it a Manning backlash–i.e. “Marvin’s only good because he has Peyton throwing to him.”??? What a weak argument. I guess we can downgrade ANYTHING Moss or Irvin has done, and more or less Rice’s whole career. Those damn HoF QBs, always screwing up the WR ratings….

Moss succeeded under a lot of QBs, not just one. As did Rice. I really don't understand the comment regarding Rice. Rice played with Montana, Young, Garcia, Gannon, and in his last year he wasn't exactly terrible with Hasselbeck in Seattle, either. Montana and Young are Hall-of-Fame QBs, sure, but Garcia and Gannon certainly aren't.

Harrison really only had top-of-the-league performances with Manning. That's not exactly his fault, but considering Manning will end up as one of the top 5 quarterbacks of all time when he retires, it's certainly fair to downgrade Marvin's statistical dominance a fair amount.

As for the "emergence of Reggie Wayne" bit, that's part of the problem. I don't think anyone believes that the Colts are so good at drafting WRs that while they have one of the best WRs of all time they go and draft one of the future best WRs in the league. And likewise, with Gonzalez performing so well last year (1st in the league in DVOA), it's a similar problem. At some point you have to acknowledge that yeah, Manning's having some effect there.

(And no, a similar argument doesn't apply to Rice/Owens. Rice's career was so long it's completely understandable that he might end up playing with another top-of-the-league receiver).

by DP (not verified) :: Fri, 03/28/2008 - 4:59pm

I am repeating a post that I submitted to the 1995 DVOA thread. It's more relevant here:

I attended the game where Jerry Rice became the all-time receiving yardage leader. This is remarkable, and should be carefully considered by FO readers: In 1995, Jerry Rice not only set the career receiving yards record, but he also set the the single-season receiving yardage record. Unbelievable - can you imagine, for example, a running back breaking both the single season and career records for rushing yards in the same season, or a QB breaking the career and single season records for passing yards or TDs in the same year? To be the all-time greatest and still be in your prime? I still don’t think that people fully grasp the greatness of Jerry Rice.

by Bob in Jax (not verified) :: Fri, 03/28/2008 - 5:10pm

Put me down as one who believes that you really can't compare across eras. Consider -- Don Hutson played defense! Don't you think it would be amusing (or tragic) to watch say, Randy Moss at safety? Consider also, the great receivers of the sixties and (especially) seventies, until 1978, played in the era of "bump and run" coverage (really "mug and pummel). Watching Paul Warfield or Lynn Swann haul in long balls with defenders literally punching and slapping them ALL THE WAY DOWNFIELD really makes you appreciate how determined those players were. I guess what I'm saying is I appreciate the greatness that is Jerry Rice, or Randy Moss, or Marvin Harrison, or ??. But, I also appreciate the greatness of Lance Alworth, or John Stallworth, or Don Hutson, or ??. You just can't compare them very well.

Doesn't mean we can't have fun trying, though :).

by Bobman (not verified) :: Fri, 03/28/2008 - 5:35pm

#26/27 Right on.

Pat #25, well said, but the vast majority of Rice's career is Montana and Young. Then again, Garcia was a pro bowler back then and Gannon won MVP (with Rice? I don't recall). Hasselbeck's a pro-bowler too. It's not like he had David Carr throwing to him. The career tandem TD record that Manning/Harrison broke was Rice/Young. (Hey, wait, did Rice benefit from those good QBs or the other way around?) Rice seems to have Garcia and Gannon at their peaks (such as they were). Who is affecting whom there?

Regarding the WR success in Indy, I can think of many failures (even high round draftees like Sean Dawkins) and don't find 3 successes unusual (esp with a good OL, run game, and Manning--most of all Manning and Tom Moore at OC). Think of the numbers: Since Marvin was drafted in 1996, they have had roughly 30 WRs matched up with a good QB for 2 years and great QB for 11. Is it surprising that in that time their 30 WRs generated 1 all-time great WR, one very good with potential for greatness, and one with a decent rookie year. They have been lucky injury-wise. And rules have tended to favor them and their style. Cripes, that's not that impressive, is it, especially when you consider that all those good WRs were drafted in the first round. And don't use Detroit as the counter-example with all their 1st round WR picks--look at their whole dysfunctional system, QBs, and poor picks. Mike Williams?

And not to cross threads (and I DO think Gonzo is a great addition and will get better), but if Marvin's rookie year was described as "nothing" and "not much" with 64/836/8, I am not sure I would crown Gonzo yet (despite DVOA) with 37/576/3. If Manning makes him seem beter than he is... uh, maybe it's time he headed for law school early (comes from a family of lawyers and judges).

by M (not verified) :: Fri, 03/28/2008 - 5:43pm

Hutson definitely needs to be on this list, lest people forget how important he was to modernizing football. He invented almost every single technique and tactic used by modern wide receivers. If you look at the old receiving stats from his time era, it was only toward the end of his career that he started having other players started approaching his statistics, even though the Packers weren't that much more pass-happy than the rest of the league. The other thing to keep in mind is that when he retired, Green Bay's offense could not score - their scoring average dropped to roughly half of the previous season, even though scoring as a whole increased a bit. To be honest, I think he is the number one receiver of all time - even better than Rice, although not by much (I am now prepared to be verbally assaulted and destroyed for saying that). Both Rice & Hutson outshone their contemporaries by similar amounts once adjusting for the evolution of the game; but to have actually caused the game to change - not even Jerry Rice can claim to have changed how football was played.

by Theo, Netherlands (not verified) :: Fri, 03/28/2008 - 5:45pm

Ahh the mandatory Cowboy love.
Irvin over Harrison. What a BS.

by DZ (not verified) :: Fri, 03/28/2008 - 5:59pm

The "Harrison is only great because of Manning" arguments always amaze me. Harrison was already considered an up and coming young WR before Manning arrived. His first two seasons in Indy were very strong despite often having Paul Justin throw him passes. And that list of QBs Rice had? Garcia and Gannon weren't HoFers, but they weren't exactly chopped liver. No one slays Irvin for having Aikman his whole career. Lots of average recievers came through Indy in Manning's early years. It's not like just anyone could become great in that offense. If it were so, Jerome Pathon and EG Green would be household names.

by Tom D (not verified) :: Fri, 03/28/2008 - 6:28pm

I did some number crunching and since 2000 Harrison has 275.2 DPAR while Torry Holt has 245.9 DPAR, however Peyton Manning has 977.8 DPAR and the all the Rams QBs in that time have 521 DPAR. The Rams haven't exactly been wanting for QBs in that time either. Peyton Manning is so phenomenally good in brings into question how good anyone else on that offense is. He is also nearly always healthy and very consistent, so his receivers don't have to adjust to new QBs, like receivers have to from time to time on nearly any other team.

by DZ (not verified) :: Fri, 03/28/2008 - 7:23pm

I'll try to state this in a way not to get it banned to the land of forbidden threads:

Colts fans get defensive over having to always defend Manning for actually having great WRs in the whole Brady/Manning debate. Now we have to defend Marvin Harrison for having a great QB too? Moss would have been much lower on this list w.o. Brady this year. T.O. has played with pretty good QBs (Garcia, McNabb, Romo?). I don't understand the urge to minimize the amazing production of a guy who was the ONLY one that Manning trusted for about 6 years. I've seen Marvin Harrison play almost every game for more than a decade, and his routes, his hands, his speed are virtually without peer. If had spent the time mouthing off that other guys on this list did, we wouldn't be having this debate. Instead of spending his offseasons demanding trades, he spent them working out with his QB and RB, developing the kind of synergy that is rare in the history of the game. He has the skills and the production. Year after year he was recognized as one of the two best in football. He gets hurt for one year and people forget how great he has been.

by Pat (not verified) :: Fri, 03/28/2008 - 7:37pm

Pat #25, well said, but the vast majority of Rice’s career is Montana and Young. Then again, Garcia was a pro bowler back then and Gannon won MVP (with Rice? I don’t recall). Hasselbeck’s a pro-bowler too. It’s not like he had David Carr throwing to him.

Yes, but the difference between a Pro Bowl QB and a Hall of Fame QB is as large as the difference between an average QB and a Pro Bowl QB, in my opinion. Manning has Pro Bowl years every year.

by Lance (not verified) :: Fri, 03/28/2008 - 7:46pm

Re #30, "Ahh the mandatory Cowboy love." Really? No doubt Mike Holmgren, Ken Houston, Warren Moon, Keyshawn Johnson, et al. have SOME Cowboy love, since they played... oh, wait. Never mind. "Mandatory"? Puh-leese!!!!

by Bobman (not verified) :: Fri, 03/28/2008 - 8:03pm

#34 Pat, damn you for being reasonable and lucid. I'll think of something but the missus just hollered "dinner!"

You might have added that Manning has HOF years most every year too....

by DZ (not verified) :: Fri, 03/28/2008 - 8:09pm

Rich Gannon was an NFL MVP and three time All Pro. He was at the top of his game while Rice was in Oakland. Two of his best years were with Rice, but he was the NFL All Pro in 2000, the year before Rice arrived. He was a much better QB than he is being given credit for here.

by Vendark (not verified) :: Fri, 03/28/2008 - 10:05pm


That's a good point, but I imagine few of the guys in this discussion had poor catch rates for their era. I don't think we can assume, in the absence of data, that Harrison was catching a much greater percentage of balls than, say, Steve Largent, and yet Steve Largent blows him away in YPC.


All of that is fine and good, but this isn't an FO article. The panelists weren't trying to predict which of these guys is going to have a bigger game next week. They were comparing their actual accomplishments. Postseason accomplishments are part of that resume, and Harrison's don't stack up well with most of the guys on that list.

If there was a receiver who had identical regular season stats to Harrison, but markedly better postseason stats, you wouldn't give him the edge as being the greater receiver?

by Vendark (not verified) :: Fri, 03/28/2008 - 10:13pm

On the subject of Rice (and other receivers) and QBs, there's an interesting pro-football-reference.com article linked in my name.

by Reinahrd (not verified) :: Fri, 03/28/2008 - 11:14pm

check out the play by play from Gannon vs Denver 2002.

Note that he was also his team's leading rusher that day.
click my name

by Raiderjoe (not verified) :: Fri, 03/28/2008 - 11:49pm

R Gannon among best Qbs in league in 2000s. Chiefs dumb to get rid of him. Chiefs more imprresssed of E Grbac and M Vlasic. Rb choices by team also bad. B Word, Donnel bennett,. R Shehhee, Mike Cloud, Greg Hill, Frank Moroeiau, all crap. Then get Priest Holmes and Larry Johnson and Rbs get better. But rest of team still crap.
Just not very smart team in KC.
Raiders very smart to get Gannon. Team knew Gannon was going to be great. Now Chiefs have Broder Croyle to suck at Qb slot.
Being a Chiefs fan must be really bad. Even the team colors suck. Atr least when Raiders have bad season fans can still wear jerseys and clothes and stuff

by Raiderjoe (not verified) :: Fri, 03/28/2008 - 11:57pm

Yes, that is right. Gannon was great Qb.

He was better than any Qb the Chiefs ever had.
If you rank Raiders and Chiefs qbs Raiders have most of best ones.

1. Ken Stabler
2. Daryle Lamonica
3. R gannon
4. Jim Plunkett
5. Len Dawson
6. Trent Green
7. Jeff Hostetler
8. Jay Schraider

Plunkett is better than Dawson becuase Plunkeett win 2 superbowls and Dawson win one Supervowl

Raiders have 6 of top 8 qbs of Raiders and Chiefs. and Jamcarus Russell moving on up list very soon

Jamarcus Russell moving on up list very soon. Might pass T Green before 2008 season is over.

by Raiderjoe (not verified) :: Sat, 03/29/2008 - 12:16am

best Wrs ever all three play for Raiders
1. Jerry Rice
2. Fred Biletnikoff
3. randy Moss
4. Don Hutson
5. Steve Largent
6. marvin Harrison
8.lance Alworth
9. terrel owens
10.Don Maynard

best one not in Hallof Fame is Cliff Branch, old Raider great

by Raiderjoe (not verified) :: Sat, 03/29/2008 - 12:17am

sorry messed up last post
7 is James Lofton another great Raider
so 4 of top 7 Wrs ever played for Raiders

by Joseph (not verified) :: Sat, 03/29/2008 - 12:28am

To illustrate how much better Rice was than every other receiver EVER, check out the pro football reference link in my name. BTW, I think Hutson & Largent deserve to be higher on the list, as both were considered the greatest ever WR when they quit playing, and I believe (but am not sure) that both held the career records for catches, yds, & TD's when they retired.

Regarding the Marvin Harrison argument hijacking the thread, let's just say that nobody's criticizing Mark Duper, Mark Clayton, & Rod Smith (and prob. others) for having their careers overlap with Marino & Elway.

Re: 25--Moss played great with Culpepper & now Brady; and who else? (I don't know--1 season of Brad Johnson?) When he was in Oakland, nobody was calling him one of the top-5 all time greats.

by zerlesen (not verified) :: Sat, 03/29/2008 - 3:05am

42: "Plunkett is better than Dawson becuase Plunkeett win 2 superbowls and Dawson win one Supervowl"

There are newspapers that publish this sort of argument on an annual basis. We'll get you syndicated before this is done, Raiderjoe, you mark my words.

by broncojack (not verified) :: Sat, 03/29/2008 - 4:18am

I remember 1997 when KC had the #1 seed in the AFC. This was easily the best Chief team since their SB win in '70. Gannon was Elvis' backup and played very well for the last 7 or 8 games of the year. Marty started Elvis instead of Gannon and the rest is history. As a Bronco fan, I thank Marty for that decision.

by Pat (not verified) :: Sat, 03/29/2008 - 4:32am

Rich Gannon was an NFL MVP and three time All Pro. He was at the top of his game while Rice was in Oakland.

What a coincidence, that!

Two of his best years were with Rice, but he was the NFL All Pro in 2000, the year before Rice arrived. He was a much better QB than he is being given credit for here.

The only thing I'm saying about Rich Gannon is that he's not a Hall of Fame QB. Is that really in dispute?

by Jason (not verified) :: Sat, 03/29/2008 - 5:11am

Don Hutson has to be ranked #1. When he retired not only did he have nearly DOUBLE the catches of the the All Time 2nd Place receiver but also had 3x more career Touchdowns than his next closest competitor.

Comparing Hutson to Rice is almost an insult to Hutson. Historically in American Pro Sports the only 2 who dominated at the same level of Hutson were Ruth and Gretzky

It's also worth noting that he played primarily in eras with 10 and 12 game seasons. Imagine his numbers if given the same amount of games as others that he is being comapred to

by Bright Blue Shorts (not verified) :: Sat, 03/29/2008 - 7:40am

Is the Randy Moss at #2 the one who all but disappeared in the Super Bowl and playoffs? 7 catches in the whole of the postseason, 1 TD.

He's great when things are going well; but when the going gets tough, Randy gets going. Even Owens stepped up when his team needed him in the Super Bowl.

I have doubts about him even deserving a place in the Hall of Fame, let alone making the top 10 of this list.

by Bright Blue Shorts (not verified) :: Sat, 03/29/2008 - 7:49am

Re:43 ... Raiderjoe ... good to see you're impartial in your selections.

If you were biased I'm sure we would have seen Tim Brown on your list. He did after all finish as #2 career receiving yardage, #3 receptions and TDs.

by Raiderjoe (not verified) :: Sat, 03/29/2008 - 8:44am

sorry about Tim Brown

should be on list too

did a little drinking last nite

new list-
1. Rice
2. Biletnikoff
3. Brown
4. Moss
5. Hutson
6. Largent
7. Lofton
8. harrison
9. alworth
10. Maynard

by DZ (not verified) :: Sat, 03/29/2008 - 8:46am

48 Gannon may not be at a hall of fame level for his career, but he was certainly playing at a hall of fame level at the time that Rice played with him. That level of play began BEFORE Rice arrived. He didn't sustain it long enough (in part because he didn't get the opportunities early in his career), but he was playing at as high a level as a QB can.
My point is merely that it's silly to degrade a player for the players he played with. If we only considered WRs who played with marginal QBs, this would be a pretty short list. Irvin would be gone for sure.

by Mr Shush (not verified) :: Sat, 03/29/2008 - 9:04am

I think the potentially important knock on Harrison is one that is highly speculative and subjective but nevertheless, I believe, true. His effectiveness would have been reduced more significantly by playing with a bad or middling quarterback than that of more physically dominant players like Moss or Owens. His game is dependent on precision, which is only really valuable when the quarterback is accurate enough to exploit it. The ability to catch an underthrown jump ball in triple coverage, by contrast, has even more value when the quarterbacking is less than stellar.

Someone is now going to point out that Moss didn't do so well in Oakland, that consistent motivation is a skill, and so on. I would say first that Culpepper was nothing like as good a quarterback as his statistics and pro-bowl selections suggest, but was made to look better than he is by Moss (rather than the other way around), and second that yes, that lack of motivation is troubling, but it happened on a team that was beyond awful - there's no reason to think he wouldn't have performed extremely well for a side that was even mediocre.

As for Wayne, give me a break. I don't care about the numbers, conventional or advanced, or the all-pro selections, or anything else. If anything they're an important part of an anti-Harrison case. Wayne is a good player, but he is not even one of the ten best wide receivers in the NFL (Randy Moss, Owens, Andre Johnson, Smith, Fitzgerald, Boldin, Marshall, Edwards, Chad Johnson, Houshmandzadeh, Holt and arguably guys like Coles and Santana Moss are all better). Heck, Wayne is only the fourth best wide receiver from his own draft class. Peyton Manning is simply ridiculous. I'm not even sure it's fair to put him in the same category as other HoF quarterbacks (except maybe Marino) in terms of his effect on WR production.

by DZ (not verified) :: Sat, 03/29/2008 - 10:02am

Wow, now you have Wayne as lower than 10 other WRs in the NFL? Based on what? Wayne has been one of the best DPAR receivers for some time. There is simply no evidence that Housh, Johnson (either one) are better. Moss and Owens maybe, but Wayne is objective VASTLY superior to the rest of those guys. I would submit that he's subjectively better as well. Route running is a skill. Wayne is a big physical receiver who is always in the right spot. He also possesses great speed. Based on what do you place him below those other players? Certainly not anything objective. So what do 10 or more other WRs have that Wayne doesn't? I'd love to know. Statements like that are utterly unverifiable and useless.

I wish the football world would decide if Manning is only great because of his wideouts or if they are only great because of him. This whole line of thinking is nonsense.

Why aren't we having this argument about Rice or Irvin?

by DZ (not verified) :: Sat, 03/29/2008 - 10:50am

I've finally gotten around to starting my comparison of Harrison vs Carter, Irvin, and Owens. Follow the link in my name for part one: Harrison v Carter.

I fear the only way to settle these issues is for FO to get us the catch rates and DPAR numbers going back to beginning of time. Can you get on that guys?

by Vendark (not verified) :: Sat, 03/29/2008 - 11:12am


It's not quite that simple, I'm afraid. The league Hutson dominated was a shadow of what the league is today. During Hutson's best years, the league talent pool was decimated by the draft, but Hutson's Packers escaped the draft relatively unscathed. On top of that, African-American players were relegated to their own, minor leagues.

Hutson was a great receiver, but he benefitted enormously from circumstance.

by Mr Shush (not verified) :: Sat, 03/29/2008 - 12:39pm

"I fear the only way to settle these issues is for FO to get us the catch rates and DPAR numbers going back to beginning of time. Can you get on that guys?"

How would that help? I know I'm far from the only regular poster who believes that while many FO stats are somewhere in the range between useful and brilliant, receiving DPAR and DVOA are almost worthless in assessing a player's real ability - or even performance. For a quick and dirty illustration of why, look at the 2007 DPAR and DVOA of Anthony Gonzalez and Plaxico Burress. Then ask yourself which one you think had the better season. Speaking of Burress, he's better than Wayne too.

"Wayne is a big physical receiver"

Um, no, he's not. He's 6'0 and 198lbs, according to Colts.com. That's on the small side for an NFL receiver. I don't think he's particularly physical either (Harrison certainly isn't, which is one of the reasons he's criticised) but that's just something we're going to disagree about.

"There is simply no evidence that Housh, Johnson (either one) are better."

Let's start with the easiest one first. Andre Johnson had more yards per game and more DPAR per game last year than Wayne has had at any point in his career, and he had Schaub and Rosenfels throwing him the ball, not Peyton Manning. He made two pro-bowls and one all-pro team while catching passes from David Carr.

But look, in general, you're right: I can't point to objective measures to clearly prove that X, Y or Z is better than Wayne. That doesn't mean they aren't. Many of the players I mention are vastly superior red-zone targets to Wayne, thanks to their greater size and strength, a fact which is masked by the touchdown totals because the Colts offense as a whole is such a dominant unit, and Peyton so willing to throw near the goal line, that Wayne gets far more opportunities than any of these others to score touchdowns (and he still has fewer than Chad Johnson, a similar type of player who has had only three years of elite quarterbacking not 7, and who has roughly 1500 more career yards than Wayne).

At the end of the day, I watch a lot of the Colts (because I support a team in their division and Sky show them all the time anyway) and my (yes, subjective) perception is that Wayne is a good but not great receiver who happens to be in an environment which is remarkably conducive to stat inflation. If Wayne really is only that, it's an indication that Harrison's stats should be significantly discounted too. As probably should Rice's, for that matter - the difference being that Rice's apparent statistical dominance is such that he's still clearly the best ever.

by Jason (not verified) :: Sat, 03/29/2008 - 5:49pm

" the difference being that Rice’s apparent statistical dominance is such that he’s still clearly the best ever."

As long as one is willing to ignore Hutson who dominated in a way that is magnitudes beyond Rice

by DZ (not verified) :: Sat, 03/29/2008 - 6:54pm

I'm sorry, I like Andre Johnson as a player, but I'm not buying that a guy with 1 1/2 good seasons is actually a better receiver than Reggie Wayne. You can have Housh or Edwards or Coles, or Santana Moss. I'll take Reggie Wayne any day, and have the numbers and a ring on my side. If we can't use stats and actual performance to rank players then what do we have? Should we just line guys up combine style and say weird general things like, "he's more clutch"?

So there you have it world. There just aren't arguments against Harrison grounded in reality. Only arguments like: "Harrison is overrated because of Manning and that is proved by the fact that Edwards, Coles and Santana Moss are really better than Reggie Wayne, but we just think Wayne is better because um, he catches more balls for more yards and more touchdowns. But that's all Manning ergo Harrison is overrated."

I'm not buying it. My eyes tell me Harrison and Wayne are great. The numbers agree with my eyes.

by DoubleB (not verified) :: Sun, 03/30/2008 - 1:30am

Isn't Moss the only link between the two greatest scoring offenses in NFL history (Minnesota '97 and New England '07)?

And I believe Moss has been a member of two different teams with the greatest QB seasons of all time (Culpepper '04 and Brady '07) according to FO statistics.

So with three completely different QBs (Cunningham, Culpepper, and Brady), Moss has been the common link for 3 epic seasons, at least statistically. How can he not be in anyone's Top 2?

by DoubleB (not verified) :: Sun, 03/30/2008 - 1:32am

That should read Minnesota '98 for top scoring offense as opposed to '97.

by Mr Shush (not verified) :: Sun, 03/30/2008 - 5:49pm

Wide receiver is an incredibly hard position to assess statistically. I just don't think that it's possible to have a useful discussion of WR quality that is other than subjective. And clearly, subjectively we disagree and that's unlikely to change. I do think, though, that a season and a half is quite enough to go on in discussing who's best (as opposed to greatest). In any case, Johnson has had two and a half dominant seasons, not one. That represents every non-rookie season he has played with something that could even loosely be described as NFL standard quarterbacking.

by DZ (not verified) :: Sun, 03/30/2008 - 7:53pm

I don't consider 1100 yards and 6 scores to be a 'dominant' season (2004). Andre Johnson's 'dominant' 2006 season had a DVOA of 0.0%. That year Reggie Wayne lead the league in DPAR. Johnson had a great half season in 2007. I see nothing to make me think he's a better WR than Reggie Wayne. I think a "throw out the stats" mentality about WRs is lazy. Sure, it's tough to know for sure, and there is room for debate, but I think there are boundaries in which we can hold the discussion. Just saying Coles and Santana Moss are better than Reggie Wayne doesn't make it so. Click the link in the name for the finished analysis of Harrison Vs Carter/Irvin/Owens

by Purds (not verified) :: Sun, 03/30/2008 - 10:15pm

I'm way late to the party, but do have some ideas that others did not discuss with regards to Harrison, Moss, and others:

1) Single-year stats can't be used to define a career, but Harrison has a single-year stat that stuns me every time I look at it: in 2002, Marvin had 92 catches...for first downs! He had 143 overall. Not that this adds anything to the debate, but I think it does point out the value of his catches.

2) Let's not underestimate how much of a turn-around Moss had this year. His last three years were statistically mediocre, including the last in Minnesota. He's back on top now, and perhaps we should have all seen that, but we didn't. Even Pats fans last year when they got Moss were defending the move with "well, if he doesn't work out, they only spent a few million and a 4th round pick." It was a good defense, and I agree that even before we saw Moss in 2007 it was a good move with little risk by NE. But, let's not all act like we KNEW Moss still had it in the tank as the opening states: "as there was some (misplaced) debate as to whether or not he was even a Hall of Fame candidate while he was moldering away in Oakland." Yes, the debate about HoF was misplaced, but not the concerns that Moss might have been done physically.

3) Can we take all the "Harrison isn't any good because Peyton Manning's greatness could make anyone, including Wayne, look great" arguments and plop them into the irrational Brady/Manning debate thread as proof of Manning's skills? Over there, the argument goes that Manning's numbers are great only because he has Harrison and Wayne. At least Manning and Harrison have rings now, so that part of the argument has less merit.

by Admore (not verified) :: Mon, 03/31/2008 - 2:12am


Warning: pure subjectivity, conjecture and opinion follows.

I think those of us so blessed as to have watched a lot of Texans games are describing the talent we're seeing with Andre Johnson. Watching him you just know that with a good QB in the right system (and health) he'd be astonishing. (I realize I can't really prove this with numbers.)

But try this thought experiment. Imagine Andre Johnson and Reggie Wayne are the two main Colts WR. Who performs better? (Assuming equal health and opportunity.) I'd bet almost any amount it would be Johnson. I promise that's not homerism, I've seen lots of both teams games and have no anti Colt or anti Wayne axe to grind.

Also, to me, the guy who doesn't belong on that list is Moss. He's been totally unreliable and can't be said to have even tried to live up to his talent for most of his career.

When Moss hasn't been the focus of a run-and-shoot type attack he's been distinctly mediocre. He's certainly talented, but in my view a total hothouse flower, unlike almost every other WR on the list. Ask yourself if you think Moss would have been as productive as Irvin in the same situation. Or would he have bitched about Smith and sulked his career away?

If you absolutely had to get a catch, would Moss be the first guy you'd turn to on that list, or even the 6th?

by DragonFireKai (not verified) :: Mon, 03/31/2008 - 4:21am

#21, Wayne "arrived" earlier than 2007. He had a DPAR of 43.5 and DVOA of 26.9% in 07. In 2006 he had a DPAR of 46.0 and DVOA of 35.0%. In Manning's best year, 2004, Wayne had a DPAR of 44.0, and a DVOA of 40.8%.

Wayne's production has remained undiminished. He didn't suddenly burst on the scene to compensate for Harrison last season.

As for Harrison's toughness, missed games is not a good measure of a players toughness. Shaun Alexander didn't miss a single game until the 06 season. I guess that means he's a tougher player than Harrison by your standards.

And a WR's leaping ability is a legitimate factor when a QB places a pass. Diminished size and leaping leads to a smaller window for the QB to throw through, which means the QB has to be more accurate in order to compensate for the shortcomings of the reciever.

And while most of the QBs had a hall of fame QB throwing to them at some point, most were succesful with other QBs.

Jerry Rice had back to back 1,100 yard seasons with Rich Gannon.

Randy Moss went to five pro bowls catching from Randall Cunningham, Jeff George, and Daunte Culpepper.

Irvin did have Aikman for the majority of his career, but if you were running a draft from the hall of fame, Aikman would be the last modern QB taken.

Paul Warfield had his best season catching from Bill Nelson.

Charley Taylor had four all pro seasons with billy kilmer.

Steve Largent's Peyton Manning was Jim Zorn.

Cris Carter player with the likes of Jim McMahon, Daunte Culpepper, Rich Gannon, Randall Cunningham, and that Sean Salisbury.

Owens had Jeff Garcia for the majority of his career.

#22, 1st, Harrison's first three years were not top ten in the league. He didn't rank in the top ten in any statistical catagory until 1999. They were adequate, but certainly not Pro Bowl calibur, to say nothing of HoF calibur. The issue isn't that he did better with Manning than Harbaugh, it's that he was barely above replacement level until Manning showed up.

#28, Jim Harbaugh was a Pro Bowl and All Pro QB the season before Harrison showed up. It's not like he was David Carr.

Let's put Harrison's first three seasons in perspective. In 1996, Harrison was 32nd in recieving yards, in 1997, he was 27th, in 1998, he was 37th. far from the top ten quality you claim.

And comparing Harrison's rookie year to Gonzalez's is a flawed comparison, becuase Harrison was the number one target on the team, while Gonzalez was the number 3/4 target. Gonzalez's numbers were decent for a slot reciever, while Harrison's numbers were marginal for a number one receiver.

by DZ (not verified) :: Mon, 03/31/2008 - 8:18am

I think your analysis of Harrison's first three years was flawed. He was great from the go. His production was very solid (147 catches 1600+ yards and 14 scores) for his first two years (he was injured the last 4 games of 1998 when Manning finally started getting the protection to figure things out and still had 7 scores). It's utter revisionist history to start calling him average or mediocre. The word was out about him around the league by 1998 that he was one of the bright young recieving stars. All those things people say about Andre Johnson, we were saying about Harrison. He may well go on to post great seasons, I don't know. Harrison did in fact do that, however. You can't know how horrible the 1997 Colts were (QBd largely by Paul Justin). There's having a replacement level QB and then there's having a replacement QB and one of the worst offensive lines in history. The 1997 Colts made some of those Texans teams look like juggernaughts.

Would people stop acting like Rich Gannon was a bad QB? He was ALL PRO for three years in a row. He won the MVP award. The first of those great years was PRE-Rice. This guy played at as high a level as anyone could for three year span. Jeff Garcia was pretty solid back then too. All kinds of things factor into WR production: the offensive system, the QB, the line, the quality of the defense (bad defensive teams pass more). In the end the only thing we have is what actually happened on the field. The numbers are there for Harrison, and I'll never forget sitting in RCA in 2004 looking at my brother saying, "Do you know how lucky we are that we get to watch this guy?". I wasn't talking about Manning. Harrison does things that I've never seen a WR do.

I hate resorting to silly subjective arguments like "wow!" but that's what this thread has been reduced to.

by DZ (not verified) :: Mon, 03/31/2008 - 8:19am

should say 137 for 1700 yards in Harrison's first two seasons.

by DZ (not verified) :: Mon, 03/31/2008 - 8:34am

One more note on Harbaugh circa 1996-1997. It's true he was a pro-bowler in 1995, but he was injured (missing 6 games) in those two seasons, and playing hurt most of the time. Most of what made him effective in 1995 was diminished by line injuries and his own injuries. The 1996 Colts were decimated by injuries, and the 1997 was horrible. None of this had anything to do with Harrison. You also misued the term 'replacement' level. His stats might not have been top ten, but until we see DPAR and DVOA numbers from those season, you can't term Harrison 'replacement' level.

by TomHat (not verified) :: Mon, 03/31/2008 - 10:47am

Wow, I cant believe anyone would even consider comparing Hutson to Rice. Hutson didnt play defense because he was "that good" its because everyone else sucked *that much*. read #16. I think anyone who played sports during world war II should have all their stats during the war deleted. Rice was above and beyond the competition, Hutson simply had no competition. Not only should he not be #1, he shouldnt even be in the top 10. If the athletes of the time had decided to play football rather than baseball, no one would have ever heard of him.

Here is how I would describe hutson: The best wide receiver of the late 30s and early 40s who wasnt good at baseball, was white, didnt die in world war I, and didnt attend world war II. Note that his 4 best seasons were '41-'44. just to give you some idea of the competition he had, during the war he led the league in kicking extra points 3 times. No, this doesnt mean "Look at how versatile he is LOL!" It just shows that Hutson played at a time that football was about as developed as middle school football is developed right now.

by TomHat (not verified) :: Mon, 03/31/2008 - 10:50am

By the way, I do think its a good point that Harrison having Manning throwing to him has helped his career. I think that Manning makes Harrison look better than he actually is, whereas I think that Moss is as good as he looks, and he makes Brady/Culpepper look better than they actually are. However I still think a case can be made for Harrison being a top 10 player. Really tough to judge though.

by Herm? (not verified) :: Mon, 03/31/2008 - 10:57am

I usually like to consider a receiver's entire career rather than saying wow, but Harrison's TD catch in the 2006 AFC championship game was one of the great clutch catches of all time - and overlooked. It's also a good indicator of his high ceiling, to go along with his consistency. The only thing you can say to hinder his career would be that he's lucky enough to have Peyton Manning...but that kind of hurts the whole Jerry Rice mystique as well. Both guys belong at the top. I think Harrison's ranking at 10 speaks to his quiet approach rather than his on field play. (See #9: Terrell Owens, who might belong in the top 20.)

Above Owens, in this generation, I'd at least have Steve Smith and Isaac Bruce (especially in his pre Martz/Warner days), and Moss in Minnesota. These guys are/were the margin of error in a football game. When approaching a draft, and you're a bad team, you should probably trade down for more picks and depth...but if you have a chance to draft a guy who's good for 6-12 points per game, you get him.

And as always, I know lists are arbitrary and created only for the purpose of discussion and ad clicks. Let's not get started on the fact that they let Keyshawn Johnson vote.

by Yaguar (not verified) :: Mon, 03/31/2008 - 12:48pm

I'll just lay down some facts about Harrison and the Colts that I think speak for themselves.

1. Peyton Manning has been playing for a decade. The Colts have had the most consistently dominant passing attack ever. Nobody else has remained comparable for more than a handful of years at a time.
2. The last team to have the most consistently dominant passing attack ever for a decade-long period or more had the unchallenged greatest WR ever, and two of the greatest QBs ever. Everyone universally considers this to be the case, and doesn't fault the quarterbacks for playing with the receiver or vice versa. In a passing offense that spectacular, both have to be responsible.
3. The Colts don't pass the ball all that much because they win all the time. People like Larry Fitzgerald, as good as they are, get their cumulative stats on ridiculous numbers of passing attempts, sometimes as many as 170. Unlike the pass-happy Greatest Show on Turf or Eighteen and One, the 2004 offense had Manning throwing fewer than 500 passes. There is a legitimate case that many aspects of playing with Manning actually depress receiving stats rather than increase them.
4. Jerry Rice, despite playing with All Pro quarterbacks for his whole career, and Greatest Ever quarterbacks for most of it, never caught 143 passes in a season - in fact, he never even came close.

by Dr. Not Particularly a Berry Fan, Just Confused (not verified) :: Mon, 03/31/2008 - 1:45pm

How can you make a list of the top 10 receivers of all time with a list of panelists that includes Raymond Berry? Don't you have to leave him off the panel so that you can fairly judge whether he should be on the list itself?

by nat (not verified) :: Mon, 03/31/2008 - 2:39pm

58 Shush:
...receiving DPAR and DVOA are almost worthless in assessing a player’s real ability - or even performance. For a quick and dirty illustration of why, look at the 2007 DPAR and DVOA of Anthony Gonzalez and Plaxico Burress. Then ask yourself which one you think had the better season.

Thanks for the pointer. You do know that PAR stands for points above replacement-level, yes?

This year's replacement-level-du-jour was Buffalo's Roscoe Parrish. So would I rather have Burress for 141 attempts or Gonzalez for 51 attempts plus Parrish (yech!) for another 90 attempts?

With Gonzalez plus replacement-level, I get 6 more first downs, around 100 more yards, 22 fewer zero-yard plays.

So, yes, Gonzalez had the better regular season. His production over replacement level in just 51 chances was above Burress's, despite Burress's extra ninety attempts. Burress got most of his stats by virtue of the large number of balls thrown his way, not because he was particularly good when they were. In fact, he was remarkably unproductive given his large number of chances.

DPAR's evaluation turns out to be pretty good in this case. Of course, you DID pick the only receiver in the top 40 who was thrown to fewer than 60 times. So it's understandable that you would get confused.

by TomHat (not verified) :: Mon, 03/31/2008 - 3:04pm

the problem with DPAR is that you have to look at it in the context of the actual system in which it occured. your own personal Production above replacement level will in fact go up simply by having a better team around you, but could also go down by having a better team around you. For example, if you have two elite WRs that are of similar quality, the one that gets the #2 CB on him will probably get passed to all day, and will benefit from getting to face a #2 CB. The #1 WR on the other hand will have fewer passes thrown to him because since there is a mismatch on the other side of the field, it makes sense that equal skilled WR and CB seems like a less viable option than it would be if you had no other decent WRs on your team.

Look at Terell Owens's single game DPAR record (or top 10 or whatever it was) against the redskins this season. DPAR takes into account defense, and at the time the redskins defense was ranked in the top 5, however Sean Taylor had been injured in the previous game, and so we had Hole in the Zone playing saftey on Owens's side. Springs actually played a decent game against him, however Owens wasnt being picked up by the saftey, and Owens went wild just because the weakness happened to conicide with the Cowboys strength. our Hole in the Zone saftey actually got better later on in the year, its just that was the first game that he had been in the game, and it was clear that Springs and him were not familiar with how each other play. Owens had a good game, but it was nothing groundbreaking, however as far as DPAR was concerned, it was.

by Bobman (not verified) :: Mon, 03/31/2008 - 3:28pm

Herm? #73,

Was that Harrison catch you refer to the one along the right EZ sideline when he reached OB with his left hand and tapped the ball back to his in-bounds right hand for the catch? I thought that was in the regular season game....

Body control. They all have it and you cannot measure it. But he seems to have more than most.

DragonFireKai, toughness: you missed the comments about the 1.5 seasons played with a cast on his wrist. He's no Joe Jacoby--it's bit of an impediment for a WR, no? One who made the Pro Bowl each of those seasons? Why wear a cast if you're not injured? Probably just so people could have this argument three years later, the pansy.

You also seem to have misinterpreted Harrison's 3rd season--injured for 4 games, I extrapolated to a 16 game season to hit the numbers 79/1,035/9. I clearly said they were extrapolated. If you want to call a 12-game season mediocre, you should at least weight it on a per game basis....

Anyway, that extrapolated season would have ranked #11 in receptions, 16th in yards, and 10th in TDs. (Ties with Rice for TDs and 2 receptions behind him). I stand corrected--not a top 10 year. Top 10 in the AFC, yes, where he would have ranked 7th, 9th, and 5th. Not "nothing" or mediocre, and with a rookie QB who threw 28 INTs and 86 safety valve passes to Marshall Faulk, pretty good.

Yaguar, you make an interesting point above about Manning actually DEPRESSING WR stats. At least since 2004 I think this is true, when they realized that they HAD TO force balance in to the O and would run time after time even if they only got 2-3 yards a shot. And of course, at the ends of games, which used to be blowouts but are no longer, they didn't take shots down field. Again, the 7 yard catch on 3rd and 6 is a very valuable catch that doesn't show up too well when you look at numbers only three years later.

Manning sat out the 4th qtr or more of 4 games in 2004 plus the finale and Harrrison probably did as well. Career stats for Harrison (I cannot speak for the others on the list) include a large number of games in which he played less than a quarter (finales) or less than 4 quarters (blowouts). By large number, basically he's sat out over his career maybe six games worth of time that gets counted as a "game" because they were meaningless in the standings or blowouts. His stats are depressed because of that as well. So add in another 40 catches, 500 yards, and 3 TDs to his career numbers to date if you are measuring on a per-game basis.

Guys like Rice and Irvin, who generally played on superior teams, may well have had the same issue. (Can you imagine! Rice's numbers artificially depressed! Aye caramba!)

by Tom D (not verified) :: Mon, 03/31/2008 - 4:00pm

Can we please not make up stats? Peyton Manning has been top 10 in pass attempts every year of his career except 2005, when he was 13th. Which is still above average. Plus, he has been top 10 in passes completed every single year, so he's receivers have caught plenty of balls.

Now the fact that he may have hurt his receiver's YPC may have some validity, but we can just use DPAR/DVOA to account for that.

Going back to the numbers I've posted, Harrison has 29.3 more DPAR than Holt since 2000, which is about one good year receiving. However, Manning has almost 500 more DPAR than the Rams QBs. Harrison's DPAR advantage is about 10.6%. Is it really unbelievable that Manning boosts his receivers stats by 10%?

One last thing, I want to respond to this "I’m not buying it. My eyes tell me Harrison and Wayne are great. The numbers agree with my eyes." Well, I got news for you, no one is saying they aren't great, we're just saying there are few other receivers who are probably better, but are in much worse situations. Nearly everyone here thinks Harrison is great, we're just not sure if is top 10 all time.

by DZ (not verified) :: Mon, 03/31/2008 - 4:22pm

Comments number 54 and 58 said that Wayne and by association Harrison was 'good not great' (a direct quote refering to Wayne). My comment was in direct frustration with someone asserting the very thing you said no one was saying. The argument was that based on some subjective standard that there were lots of recievers better. I say that my eyes see something different. That's why 'the eyeball test' sucks for settling these issues.

by Yaguar (not verified) :: Mon, 03/31/2008 - 4:26pm

79: If you're going to be wrong, you might as well not be so belligerent about it. Comparing Manning to other quarterbacks to measure how much the Colts pass is a stupid way of going about it and you know it. Manning takes more or less all the snaps for the Colts. Most teams change starters over the course of the season.

For example, last year's Jets, Bills, Dolphins, Redskins, Eagles, Browns, Ravens, Vikings, Bears, Titans, Jaguars, Texans, Chiefs, Raiders, Bucs, Panthers, Falcons, Cardinals, Niners, and Rams.

Ranking in the top 10 of pass attempts when only about 12 quarterbacks make it through the year is meaningless. Overall, the Colts pass slightly more than average, while many receivers who compile great stats do so in offenses that pass much, much more than average. People like Hines Ward and Marvin Harrison have had their cumulative statistics depressed by offensive schemes that don't feed them the ball as much.

In Harrison's younger days, when he actually was fed the ball a lot, he shattered the NFL record for receptions by a country mile.

by Bobman (not verified) :: Mon, 03/31/2008 - 5:19pm

More gong beating on Harrison's early years. First the QBs, who will all be drafted by DragonFireKai in the first round of his fantasy draft next month:
1996 Harbaugh 76 QB rating.
1997 Harbaugh 86 rating (309 att)
1997 Justin 80 rating (140 att)
1998 Manning 71.2 rating
1999 Manning 90.7 rating led AFC and more of same after that.

So, for the first three years of his career, is it any surprise that ANY WR is not putting up HOF numbers with QB play like that? Let's see the production of all the other ten guys in the three seasons they had their worst QB support. My money is that the guys not named Rice will be behind Harrison.

Also, as a rookie, he led all rookies in receptions and TDs and was #3 in yards. With the aforementioned Harbaugh and his 86 rating.

Now onto the WR support he has had in his career. I'll explain 1996 and then just give numbers for subsequent years. In 1996 his rookie year, he had 64 receptions and the next highest WR had 54 (pretty even), with MH getting 18% more catches. Year 2: 73/68 or only 7% more. 1998 the numbers were 59/50 (and Faulk led the team with 86 catches). Then in 1999 and for most of the next 9 seasons it went like this: 115/42 or MH caught 2.7 times the passes the next WR did. You think that generated some double teaming? Then 102/50, 109/34, 143/49 (Wayne's rookie year), 94/68, 86/77, 82/83 (Wayne led the team), and 95/86. Including all years, Marvin Harrison caught an average of 72% more passes than the next best WR on the team. He was clearly the only downfield option most of his career, and recieved all the double team attention. (removing the outlier years where he lagged behind Wayne and tripled the next guy in 2001, it's still 64% more than the next guy. This means, to me, that he built his production and his most productive years in the toughest way--when there was no viable threat across the field. Wayne has been a significant complement only three years, 04, 05, and 06.

Interpret it any way you want, but to me, the not-great first three years were not just "pre-Manning" but "pre-competent-QB-play." The explosion occurred along with Manning, but with VERY LITTLE support across the field. The year he caught 143 was the year with a gimpy Edge in the backfield--there were numerous times when MH was triple-teamed, and still blew away the single-season catch record by 13%. (Like Steve Smith the past few years in Carolina--the ony option still burns you.) That 13% maregin is far greater percentage than either future HOFers Manning or Brady blew by the TD records in 04 and 07.

by Tom D (not verified) :: Mon, 03/31/2008 - 6:27pm

Re 81:

Manning has also been top 10 in completions per game every year except 2005. I would find out how often Harrison has been targeted each year, but that would take a lot more work.

by Yaguar (not verified) :: Mon, 03/31/2008 - 8:57pm

83: Actually, it doesn't take all that much effort to look at Harrison's targets numbers. FO has them listed on the WRs page. Since 2003 with the emergence of Reggie Wayne, Harrison has been targeted between 132-148 times per year, like clockwork. Usually the top five most-targeted receivers are in the 155+ range, inflating their stats. (Not all of them are brilliant receivers, necessarily. Derrick Mason racked up 164 last year.)

I should mention that before Wayne, in the 2002 mega-season, he was targeted 205 times, which nobody in recent years has approached. Some receivers, like Randy Moss, hit around 180 repeatedly, and the average stud WR probably gets around 160 or so. The next most-targeted WR since 2000 was Randy Moss in the same year, who was targeted 186 times. On 19 more targets, Harrison managed 37 more catches for 4 more touchdowns and about 370 more yards.

Harrison's best season by DPAR, though, was 2001, which was superior by a very small margin because he was a huge redzone threat and he wasn't asked to completely carry the team. He was still thrown 160+ passes, sure, but it wasn't like he was the entire offense. In that season, he put up 51.4 DPAR.

I think that the only really fair way to compare Harrison to other Hall of Fame wide receivers is to look at how well those other receivers do when they're paired with a different Hall of Fame quarterback.

Fortunately, as of 2007, we can do that. Randy Moss, receiving from Tom Brady, compiled 51.5 DPAR on almost the same number of throws. His DVOA is ever-so-slightly higher because he did it on five fewer attempts. In other words, Brady-to-Moss 2007 and Manning-to-Harrison 2001 are essentially equal.

Unfortunately, we're getting dangerously close to breaking rule #4 if we compare 2001-2002's Manning to 2007's Brady. Let's say that their quarterbacks are vaguely equal, and leave further interpretation up to individual preference.

With a quarterback vaguely equal to Tom Brady in 2007, Marvin Harrison produced at a Randy Moss 2007 level of production for two consecutive years in 2001-2002. That has to count for a hell of a lot, because I don't think you can find anyone who doesn't think Moss is brilliantly talented when he is focused.

by acoleman (not verified) :: Mon, 03/31/2008 - 9:51pm

This has become one of the dumbest arguments in history. Of course Harrison deserves to be mentioned among the ten greatest receivers in history and his ranking outside of the top five and the fact that Moss is 8 spots ahead of him is ridiculous.

What really bothers me is the double standard and backward logic to justify their opinions about Harrison. Somebody made the point that Rice was unquestionably helped by his great quarterbacks, but should still be ranked number one because he is still far statistically ahead of everybody else. Shouldn't that mean that Harrison should be ranked ahead of everybody else too seeing that his numbers are far and away better than anybody elses to league average not named Rice or Hutson?

-Also again people aren't looking at the fact that Jerry Rice's game relied as much on percision as Harrison's. They are both amazing route runners and that was the reason they were able to get open so much. And lets not forget that for all of Rice's physical size he dropped low in the draft because of his lack of speed. And let's not forget that Harrison is clearly more athletically gifted than players ahead of him, most notably Cris Carter, and His hands are just as good as his. And this is the talent of a player who is barely on the outside looking in on the greatest receivers list?

-Also lets look at the ever popular "Harrison wasn't shit before Manning" argument. Harrison's rookie season was great for a rookie WR. His second season was solid too. Harrison was in the midst of stepping up in his third season, when Peyton entered the league, before his injury. That is usually considered the norm for the three year receiver arc right? Then he blew up for his fourth season.

-Also something else to consider; during his historic 1999, 2001, and 2002 season Manning was not the best QB in football. He was great, but he wasn't the God QB of 2003-2006. So was he that good at that early of an age to make Harrison that much better?

-Also look at Randy Moss: He was absolutely garbage in a Raiders uniform and he doesn't get crap for it. At no point in his career has Harrison has been as bad as Moss was in those two years, and he had a historic season with Brady as his QB. And he Moss is considered a top ten receiver? BTW I know the argument is going to be that Moss played with terrible QBs, but wasn't he the kind of revolutionary talent that he could put up Rice like numbers with any QB? Wouldn't he be not have that kind of statistical meltdown he had?

The faulty logic that permeates this discussion is amazing.

by TomHat (not verified) :: Tue, 04/01/2008 - 9:51am

moss didnt try in Oakland.

by acoleman (not verified) :: Tue, 04/01/2008 - 10:10am

TomHat, how are we going to prove this? By taking Moss' word for it, because he said it in an interview? Wasn't he trying his best in his first year in Oakland, but still had an underwhelming season? Again, the whole argument that many Moss supporters make is the fact that he was so good that he could put up Rice Stats with ANY QUARTEBACK. And if did quit was it because he realized that his QBs were garbage? And if he didn't try, it still reflects poorly on his overall career performace in is more enough reason not to place him among the very best receivers in history (and his second place ranking is ridiculous based on his career performance, however he is definitely top ten all time)

I have a little theory that is probably reflected about the WR-QB relationship: That both can make each other better. Kind of like Stocton and Malone in Basketball, a great QB and a great WR can integrate their skills together so well that they could probably be less than what they were without each other. I mean look at Manning? With Wayne and Harrison he was damn near untouchable, but when Harrison went down, his production was significantlly reduced and Wayne stepped up and had a career year. Would any of them be as good without each other? Probably not. Would Rice have been as good without Montana and Young? Probably not. Would Moss and Brady have had those big years without one another? Probably not.

In football, the passing game is totally built off precision and timing (and it is shocking how people were knocking Harrison's game for relying on precision and timing, seeing that Rice was a precision route running receiver with only 4.5 speed)and the QB and the WR make each other better if they are able to mesh. And I find it hard to believe that a player as Athletically gifted, who runs perfect routes and has maybe the best hands for any receiver not names Cris Carter isn't the talent of a Hall of Famer.

by Joe (not verified) :: Tue, 04/01/2008 - 1:18pm

This guy says it all best
posted March 29th

by Tom D (not verified) :: Tue, 04/01/2008 - 3:47pm

Re 86, 87:
"-Also again people aren’t looking at the fact that Jerry Rice’s game relied as much on percision as Harrison’s. They are both amazing route runners and that was the reason they were able to get open so much."

Umm, no. Rice was able to haul in many an errant pass because he was so strong he was able to out-muscle defenders to get to the ball. When is the last time you've seen Harrison out-muscle anyone?

"And lets not forget that for all of Rice’s physical size he dropped low in the draft because of his lack of speed. And let’s not forget that Harrison is clearly more athletically gifted than players ahead of him, most notably Cris Carter"

What does that have to do with anything, we aren't comparing how fast these players are, just how good of football players they are

"and His hands are just as good as [Chris Carter's]."

This is purely subjective, but I disagree again. I've seen Harrison drop the occasional easy pass. There isn't much use arguing this because there is no way to prove our point of view.

"And this is the talent of a player who is barely on the outside looking in on the greatest receivers list?"

You know, it's funny I was coming into this thread to reverse my opinion. I reviewed the top 10 receiving seasons by DPAR (link to the 1995 DVOA article where this found in my name), and Harrison's peak value was higher than I remembered. With two seasons in the top 10, and with a younger Payton, and in 2001 Edge being the only other skill position player teams had to worry about.

One thing I'm really struck by was Steve Smith's 2005 season. The 10th best receiving season since 1995, and he did it with Jake Delhomme and Deshaun Foster was probable the 2nd best skill position player.

Also, Moss had 3 top 10 seasons with two different QBs. Now, I think Culpepper is better than his current reputation, but he was never HOF good. Also, Moss's Oakland years are not as bad as people make them out to be. They probably look worse because of what we've grown to expect. In 2005 he still had 16 DPAR, and in 2006 he was about equal to Bernard Berrian, who was "breaking out." So, at his worst he was still about an average receiver.

by DZ (not verified) :: Tue, 04/01/2008 - 5:54pm

I think Harrison's hands were better than Carter's, and I've seen Carter drop an occasional easy pass. Harrison's feet are better. He toe taps better than anyone in history.

It's frustrating when people give rejoinders like that isn't it? Harrison has long been considered to have some of the best hands in the NFL. There is simply no way to tell if his hands were better than Carters. His production is better. That's all we really can say.

by acoleman (not verified) :: Tue, 04/01/2008 - 8:20pm

Tom D:

"Umm, no. Rice was able to haul in many an errant pass because he was so strong he was able to out-muscle defenders to get to the ball. When is the last time you’ve seen Harrison out-muscle anyone?"
-Don't lie to me and everybody else on the board. We all know that Rice's MAIN skill in getting OPEN was using his route running ability. And that was also Harrison's main ability. If they didn't have those skills they wouldn't have been nowhere near as successful in their games. Also answer me this question: does a receiver need to have superb strength in order to become the greatest receiver or among the greatest receivers ever? Maybe Harrison makes up for his lack of strength in outmuscling for the ball by being both fast and quick enough to get to the ball before the DB so he doesn't need to outmuscle anybody.

"What does that have to do with anything, we aren’t comparing how fast these players are, just how good of football players they are"

The while argument is that Harrison lacked the athletic and physical ability that other receivers had, and therefor Manning was the main reason for his success and he has to take a back seat among other great receivers. I was pointing out that other receivers also lacked certain physical skills and were able to make up for it and it was a double standard for Harrison to get knocked while others magically escape criticism. Once again the Rice comparison is apt because he was able to overcome his lack of footspeed by his other means. And I made the point of Harrison being more athletic than Carter (which he obviously is) to point out how it is questionable for him to be ranked so highly while there are questions of Harrison's greatness (especially seeing that his hands and body control are everybit as comparable to Carter as well)

Oh yeah why nobody suggests the argument that Rice relying on accurate passers to get him the ball because he lacked speed. (I don't think it is true because he is, in my mind, the best receiver ever)

But the whole point is that this whole denigration about Harrison is filled with double standards. Rice played his prime years with Montana and Young, but people make the argument for him being the greatest ever because his numbers were far and away superior to everybody elses, and immediately forget that Harrison's had the second best peak of any receiver in history yet it was mostly a mirage because of Manning.

People are so quick to point out his lack of size/strength, yet won't point out in his prime his great speed and quickness, and A+ hands and route running. At the same time they are mum about the other receivers flaws like TO's less than stellar hands,=o Carter slow footness (which was one of the reasons why he has such a low YPC). Nobody pointed out that Moss, who was considered by so many to be so talented that he could put up mind boggling numbers with any QB, fell off the planet when he was matched with subpar QBs in Oakland, yet had an all-time great season with Brady last year (that is why I made the Stockton and Malone analogy earlier)

Things like that are the reasons why people like me and DZ are scratching our heads over this discussion. It is full of faulty logic and double standards.

by Vendark (not verified) :: Tue, 04/01/2008 - 9:52pm


He's not lying. Did you see Rice play in his prime (pre-1998, when he suffered the knee injury)? His "MAIN" ability was taking short passes and outrunning or over-running defenders for big gains, which required both strength AND the speed you incorrectly say he lacked.

His hands and route-running were exceptional as well, which is why he was able to remain effective even after the knee-injury severely curtailed his running ability. But before that, Rice was simply awesome across the board.

by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Wed, 04/02/2008 - 1:53pm

Rice didn't lack speed. He ran a bad 40 at the combine/proday/whatever.

by Bobman (not verified) :: Thu, 04/03/2008 - 12:21am

Though a great Harrison supporter, I can't stand to see Rice misrepresented IMO. His hands are the first thing I think about--the know-nothing talking heads in the telecast booth used to talk about the size and strength of his mitts and how his father was a bricklayer and Jerry inherited that strength. Whatever. They were looking for a back story to support a fact--great and strong hands.

YAC--wasn't this stat essentially developed to explain Rice's contribution? Again, not a SF fan so I didn't see him all that much, but my understanding is that the 49ers installed the short-pass offense and relied on the WRs to rack up the YAC. That is not a Harrison skill--in fact, we all know he'll tuck the ball and go down if he has the 1st down and deems it prudent. (Well, the Denver safeties circa 2003 know that, don't they? He's also sharp enough to get up and run for a TD if he'snot touched.) He'll also fight for extra yards sometime, but he's not a YAC-master. Last time I saw the extra effort from him it was one of his few career fumbles.

My sense is that Harrison is faster than Rice and both are/were elusive, but Rice was never slow. One of Marvin's top talents is (according to an article in 2005 or 2006 in which a bunch of CBs were polled) slipperiness: it was said that you have to jam him at the line to have any hope, but he's so quick off the mark and so elusive to jam, that it's pretty futile doing that as well. That is not a measurable. Not sure where to find the article--it was one of those "top 10 WRs" semi-interactive articles in which you flip to a new page for each new WR and 2 or 3 CBs were quoted for each WR. SI? MSBNC Sports? ESPN?

One argument I did NOT see against Moss herein, but have seen previously, I think deserves mention: In the ultimate team game he seems to not be a team player, at least for a good chunk of his career. Despite production and skills, don't you get discounted if you "don't try" or "play when you want", regardless of how good/bad your team or QB is? I mean come on guys, you're paid millions, the team and fans are all there for you, and you decide to not show up for work? Despite his insane talent, that has to count in the evaluation, IMO. Particularly when you are being paired against guys who work their asses off for 20-year careers, or who spend 12 years with one team and are still beloved by teammates and fans, etc. 2007 was a career year for Moss, no question. One of the greatest WR seasons ever. The evaluators in this article seem to be conflating one insane year with a whole career's worth of production/skill/effort etc. (And ignoring a lot of historical negatives for both Moss and Owens) Disappointing logic, really, as I am SURE a year before they would have put him at #10 or lower (which is also probably wrong) (and Harrison around #4-5).

by TomHat (not verified) :: Thu, 04/03/2008 - 8:56am

In my opinion, Rice is the best football player ever, because the discrepancy between him and #2 at his position is so great. And arguing that Rice isnt #1 is just silly. I think moss is #2, however I dont think he even compares to Rice. I think any of those other 2-10 guys could be in practically any order, and my argument that moss is #2 is simply...I like him more. Arguing who #2-#10 is as if you are able to factually prove it is simply a matter of futility, albeit fun.

Let me clarify my statement about moss not trying in oakland. Moss didnt try in oakland, it was obvious. He mailed it in. Sure, maybe thats worse than simply sucking for a couple years, interpret it as you will, however dont act like he had off years because of his abilities. And I mean, lets be honest, wouldnt you mail it in if you played for oakland? They are so damn good that trying is just a waste of effort, ask raiderjoe.

by TomHat (not verified) :: Thu, 04/03/2008 - 9:01am

oh btw, @ 94: You say moss isnt a team player because he doesnt try when his team sucks. Listen to this logic: Moss IS a team player because he could try on crappy teams and get higher career numbers, and give them a shittier draft pick, however he is not concerned with his own statistics, and is only concerned with his team's performance, thus he doesnt try on teams that have no chance because he knows he cant help. A little silly, sure, but just goes to show how silly any logical conclusion such as the one you posted is. You can make anything look good OR bad simply by putting motives behind his actions.

by DZ (not verified) :: Thu, 04/03/2008 - 9:19am

Didn't Rice have terrible hands when he was young? I seem to recal an FO article about his drops his first season. Obviously, he got over that issue, but I remember it being a real problem early in his career.

by DZ (not verified) :: Thu, 04/03/2008 - 9:26am


Found it. This might inform some of the comments we've seen about Rice's speed/hands/skills.

Rice is number 1 no question. I even think Moss is number two because when he wants to be, he is as devestating an offensive force as has played since Jim Brown. He has made a group of QBs with very normal numbers turn into All Pro superstars(even Tom Brady only ever had goodish numbers before Moss). The only question I have about Moss is: why isn't he the best of all time? He should have been.

by Jason (not verified) :: Thu, 04/03/2008 - 3:35pm

"In my opinion, Rice is the best football player ever, because the discrepancy between him and #2 at his position is so great. And arguing that Rice isnt #1 is just silly. "

TomHat I would like to introduce you to a player by the name of DON HUTSON

by Vendark (not verified) :: Thu, 04/03/2008 - 7:24pm


Dude, your Hutson spamming has been responded to, like, three times already. Nobody's buying what you're selling.

by TomHat (not verified) :: Thu, 04/03/2008 - 10:18pm

99, you are unable to look beyond basic statistics if you think Hutson is even a top 30 WR. I pity your football soul. Read my post #71. I couldve played professional football during WWII.