Entering the 2011 NFL season (already on the way), we have only one active receiver among these guys and he’s actually a tight end, the never ending Tony Gonzalez. Both Terrell Owens and Randy Moss are high up on this list, but can’t find a team. Jerry Rice, who else, is far away at first, nearly untouchable.
Number 11 – Don Maynard, 88 Touchdowns
The hall of famer played his career mostly in the pre merger days, mostly remembered for his time with the New York Jets in the AFL, even during their time nicknamed the Titans. He caught over 10 touchdown passes in three seasons, with his best coming in 1965 with 14 TD. He was a four time AFL All-Star selection and five time All-AFL selection. He won Super Bowl III with the Jets.
Number 10 – Isaac Bruce, 91
Super Bowl champions with the St. Louis Rams (XXXIV), Isaac Bruce has been retired since the 2009 season. He spent his first 14 seasons in the NFL with the Rams and his last two with the 49ers, having a very successful 2008 season for a 36 year old Wide out. In 1996 he led the league in reception yards with 1336 and is third all time in the league with 15,208. He was a four time Pro Bowler and three time All-Pro selection.
Number 9 – Tony Gonzalez, 92
The man who owns the record books for Tight Ends, leading the position in touchdowns caught, single season receptions (102 in 2004), career receptions by a Tight End (currently 1074) and career reception yards by a Tight End (12,535). An 11 time Pro Bowl selection and nine time All-Pro selection, Tony Gonzalez spent 12 seasons with the Kansas City Chiefs and has spent the last three with the Falcons. He has caught over 10 TD passes three times, a career high 11 in 1999.
Number 8 – Don Hutson, 99
From the real old days, Don Hutson played his entire career (1935-1945) with the Green Bay Packers as Wide Receiver, Safety and Place Kicker. He is considered as the first version of the modern wide receiver and probably the first player to actually be a star in that position. He still is the Packers’ all time receiving touchdown leader and his best season came in 1942 with 17.
Number 6 (Shared) – Steve Largent, 100
Largent played his entire career with the Seattle Seahawks (1976-1989), leading the league twice in reception yards. A 7 time Pro-Bowl selection, Largent was selected to the NFL’s all 1980’s team.
Number 6 – Tim Brown, 100
A Raider for almost life, playing his final NFL year (2004) with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Tim Brown was the first Wide Receiver to win the Heisman Trophy. In 1997 he led the league in receptions with 104 and was of the league’s most reliable receivers for over a decade until age crept up on him. A nine time Pro Bowl selection, Brown is 4th all-time in Receptions (1094) and reception yards (14,934).
Number 5 – Marvin Harrison, 128
Marvin Harrison retired almost under the radar after not getting signed by any team in 2009. His collaboration with Peyton Manning during their time with Colts is probably the most successful QB-WR duo in NFL history, if numbers and not titles are any indication. Harrison, one of only four receivers with over 1000 career receptions (1102, 2nd all time) caught TD in double digits eight consecutive years. He led the league in 2006 with 12, and his career high of 15 was achieved twice.
Number 4 – Cris Carter, 130
Retired since 2002, Carter spent most of his career (12 out of 16 seasons) with Minnesota Vikings. He’s led the league in touchdowns three times – 17 in 1995, 13 in 1997 and 13 in 1999. His tandem with Randy Moss during the late 90’s was a scary combo for any defense. Carter was an eight time Pro Bowler and two time first team All-Pro.
Number 2 (Shared) – Terrell Owens, 153
One of the few on this list to actually move around quite a bit, which has to more with his personality, Terrell Owens doesn’t have a team yet in 2011, and who knows if he will, despite still productive (9 TD with the Bengals last season). Too much baggage I guess. Owens had led the league in Touchdowns three times and has 8 seasons of 10 TD or more. He’s a six time Pro Bowler and 5 time All Pro selection. He reached one Super Bowl, during his first season with the Eagles.
Number 2 – Randy Moss, 153
Randy Moss, like Owens, doesn’t have a team. I guess problematic all time great receivers aren’t worth the hassle, if you’re T.O. and Moss. Moss owns the record for most TD by a receiver in a single season with 23 in 2007, teaming up with Tom Brady. In all, he has nine seasons catching over 10 TD passes and led the league 5 times. In terms of talent and potential, he might be the greatest in history. Something in the head didn’t click.
Number 1 – Jerry Rice, 197
In general, this is the greatest wide receiver of all time. Durability, consistency, longevity. Jerry Rice also won more than anyone else. The all time leader in receiving yards (22,895) and receptions (1549), it’s only logical he should have the triple crown of all time receiving stats. A 3 time Super Bowl champion with the 49ers, Rice made 13 Pro Bowl selections, including 11 in a row (1986-1996). A 12 time All-Pro selection as well, he was inducted into the hall of fame in 2010.
During the first half of his career, he led the league in Touchdowns with Montana and Steve Young later on six times, including a 22 TD season in 1987. In all he had nine seasons with over 10 TD receptions. He also led the league in reception yards six times, including an incredible 1848, the most in any single season.