A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a post about how likely it is that Emmitt Smith’s record for career rushing yards would be broken. Out of my own curiosity more than anything, I decided to see if there are any current players likely to break Jerry Rice’s record for career receiving yardage. In the Smith post, I was curious whether recent trends toward more pass happy offenses combined with the trend toward having two feature backs was making it less likely that a RB would even have the opportunity to break his record. In this one, I will just focus on the players themselves. I think that the continuing rules changes and tweaks to favor the passing game make it very likely that at some point a WR will come along to break Rice’s record. My question in this post was whether any current players were on pace to do so. At this point, Randy Moss and Larry Fitzgerald appear to be the most likely candidates.
Archive for the ‘Best WRs Analyses’ Category
I added a little more information about Hines Ward’s rankings that I thought was interesting.
A little over a week ago, I wrote a post showing how high Hines Ward ranks among NFL WRs in playoff yardage. So far this year, he and Ben Roethlisberger are having historic seasons in terms of passing and receiving yardage. As of the time of this writing, both are leading the league in respective passing and receiving yardage. I wrote in the previous post on Hines that he was on pace to have over 1400 receiving yards. After his game on Sunday against the Browns, he is now on pace to have nearly 1600 receiving yard this season, which would be a career high and a Pittsburgh Steelers record (currently held byYancey Thigpen with 1398 yards in a season). Ben is on pace to have over 5000 passing yards this season, which also would be a Steelers record (currently held by Terry Bradshaw with 3724 yards in a season). With two Steelers on such a historic pace, for this franchise, at least, I wanted to see how they compared with other players’ performances after the first 6 games of the season.
Many Pittsburgh Steelers fans are already convinced that Hines Ward deserves to be inducted in the Pro Football Hall of Fame when he retires. Currently, in his 12th season in the NFL, he is ranked 17th in career receptions, 31st in career receiving yards, and tied for 28th in career receiving TDs. Some would, and have, argued that he doesn’t have HOF worthy statistics, and you can’t just say he should be in because he is the greatest blocking receiver in NFL history. If he retired today, and that were the extent of his accomplishments, I would agree. But, he should play another 3 or more years, including this season. Currently, he is on pace for about 100 receptions and over 1400 yards this season. Although he has yet to catch a TD pass this year, based on his productivity in past years, it’s reasonable expect at least 5 receiving TDs this season. Those numbers would put him at 11th in career receptions, 22nd or 23rd in career receiving yards, and 22nd or 23rd in career TD receptions. Just a couple more years of what would be mediocre production for Ward would put him in the top 10 in every receiving category.
I think that those numbers would be enough to get him in when you consider his other accomplishments: 2 Super Bowl rings (more to come?), a SB MVP, and a rule named after him. When the NFL Network announced the most recent round of HOF candidates a couple of weeks ago, they had two HOF voters on the show. One said that she believed that a major consideration for whether a player is HOF worthy is whether you could tell the story of the NFL without them or not. I think it’s clear that you cannot tell the story of the NFL without Hines Ward. His blocking down the field is so physical that they had to change the rules because of the hit he put on Keith Rivers in the 2008 season, breaking his jaw. The hit was legal then. Anyway, that was a long introduction to get to my latest piece of evidence in favor of Hines Ward being HOF worthy.
A few months ago, I read a post on Pro Football Reference.com’s Blog that analyzed what Marvin Harrison’s career would have looked like if he didn’t have Peyton Manning as his QB. That reminded me of a question that I’ve heard asked about Hines Ward: Since he’s always played on a run first team, what kind of numbers would he have if he were on a more pass happy team? Of course, as with the Harrison analysis, there is really no way of knowing. But, I thought it would be entertaining to complete a simple calculation to get an idea of how many catches and receiving yards he might have if given more opportunities to catch the ball.