NFL Best - Top 5 Greatest Wide Receivers of All Time
The Greatest Hands in the NFL
The All Time Best
Wide Receivers in the NFL
In the NFL it is the wide receivers job to catch the ball. He must have good speed, good hands and great intuition. The men who play this position are fast, agile and great jumpers. Though some may debate this point in my opinion, the wide receiver is probably the best all around athlete on the field. Concentration is key as he has many a route to run while letting his QB have sometime and a good somewhere and someone to throw the ball to.
Wide receivers are the players that wear the "tight pants" in a "flash position" and are the ones that score the big touchdowns that we see on all the sports highlights. So it is no wonder, why looking at the NFL"s legendary wide receivers in their defining moments can anyone explain why the NFL captivates us so much.
The first WR on this list is one all will agree is the best wide receiver ever, for It did not take Jerry Rice very long to become a Hall of Famer. Here you can read all about him and the yards and catches he amassed in his NFL career to deserve this position.
Jerry Rice Bio
- Born 10/13/62 Starkville, Miss
- College: Mississippi Valley State
- Height: 6 ft 2 in Weight: 200 lb
- NFL Draft:1985/Round:1/Pick:16
- 13X Pro Bowl
- 12X All Pro
- 3X Super Bowl champion
- MVP Super Bowl XXIII
- Hall of Fame Class of 2010
Receiving yards: 22,895
Touchdowns: 208 Stats at NFL.com
#1 - Jerry Rice
San Francisco 49ers #80
"THE GREAT ONE"
By far anyone I ask, and anything I read, all seem to agree on one thing, Jerry Rice is the GOAT, the Greatest Wide Receiver Of All Time.
This legend debuted in the NFL in 1985 for the San Francisco 49ers where he played from 1985-2000. In 2001 he played for the Oakland Raiders, it was there that he helped turn the Raiders from having an 11–5 record in 2002 to a 4–12 record in 2003 and a 5–11 record in 2004. Four Games into the 2004 season he was traded to the Seattle Seahawks. Rice throughout his career wore the same number that legend Steve Largent wore as a Seahawk whose number was retired in 1995 when he was inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame. Largent gave Rice his blessing to put a new spin on an old jersey.
Rice didn't just beat defensive backs, he destroyed them. His fearless over the middle, sure-handed in a crowd and fluid in patterns with an extra gear gave him separation from swift cornerbacks. In his prime, Rice turned short passes into a new category, 'yards after the catch', a statistic resulting from his ability to catch a pass and sprint downfield with long, graceful strides.
His work ethic and attention to the little things gave an entire generation of receivers someone to look up to. And His utter dominance is hard to believe in a league where the competition is so intense and conducted at such a high level.
The Greatest Wide Receiver and His QB's
Steve Young threw the most passes to Rice for a record breaking 85 scores. But it was the Rice-Montana combo and their telepathic relationship that is most amazing. With Montana's uncanny accuracy and Rice's deft moves, they were the perfect combination in an NFL where defensive backs have to provide receivers a five-yard cushion at the line of scrimmage. Rice's precision in running his routes, honed by a work ethic that amazed teammates, found its mirror image in a quarterback such as Joe Montana.
"The difference between Jerry Rice and everybody else is that one day he woke up and said, 'I'm going to be the greatest receiver of all time. I'm going to run and prepare.' While everyone else was watching Oprah or hanging out, he was making sure he was running instead of playing."
The Best WR in The NFL
Jerry Rice retired in September 2005 after 20 seasons. He closed his career with 38 NFL records.
A ceremonial one-day contract with the San Francisco 49ers, the football team he helped to win three Super Bowls was signed and the dollar figure on the contract was $1,985,806.49, an amount that honors his history with the organization. He retired with the team that drafted him in 1985 as a No. 1 draft pick.
”He played with a burning passion that the NFL had never seen before,”
~John York ~ San Francisco 49ers owner
The Greatest Wide Receiver Ever to Catch in the NFL
Jerry Rice Football Honors
- NFL 75th Anniversary All-Time NFL Team
- NFL 1990s All-Decade NFL Team
- NFL 1980s All-Decade NFL Team
Jerry Rice on Dancing With the Stars
Jerry was invited to be a contender on Dancing With The Stars in 2005. He was partnered with Anna Trebunskaya. Although Jerry was not the strongest of contenders his charm and strong determination won him and Trebunskaya the votes of the viewers. This pair was not expected to go too far but of course as with anything that Jerry tackles no one was really surprised when he and his partner made it to the finals. Ultimately they lost to the tandem of singer Drew Lachey and dancer Cheryl Burke .
Lynn Swann'Baryshnikov in Cleats'
#2 - Lynn Swann
#88 Pittsburgh Steeler
'Baryshnikov in Cleats'
From the age of 4 until he was in high school Lynn Swann took ballet, tap and modern dance classes and he has thanked his mother for this is what he knows made him such a great athlete. For 9 years he was a vital player with the Steelers as they won four Superbowls (1974 - 1982). With his tremendous vertical leaps and his 'gazelle like speed' Swan made the impossible look effortless.
"Lynn Swann was an idol. It would amaze me how he could fly through the air and make those catches. I'll never forget the one versus Dallas. It was the greatest catch I've ever seen."
~49ers wide receiver Jerry Rice ~
Lynn Swann Bio
- Born: 3/7/1952 Alcoa , TN
- College: USC
- Experience: 9 years
- 4 Superbowls
- MVP Superbowl X (1976)
- Hall of Fame Induction: 2001
Receiving Yards: 5462
Touchdowns: 51 Stats at NFL.com
Pittsburgh Steelers Amazing Teammates of the 70'S
Master of Illusion
Seattle Seahawks Greatest Wide Receiver
#3 NFL Legendary Wide Receiver
Steve Largent #80
For 13 years this wide receiver wore the #80 for the Seattle Seahawks. He was the kind of wide receiver a QB would say to in the huddle 'Do whatever you want, just get open and I'll throw to you'. He was one of the most deceptive receivers in the NFL for he could change patterns to fit the situation. Who could have predicted that 2 castoffs would come together In 1976 he was cut by the Houston Oilers. The same year Jim Zorn was cut by Dallas and both ended up on the then expansion Seahawks.
Less than ideal size (5'11- 187lbs) nor was he blessed with great speed, he did have exceptional lateral quickness, great body control, unbelievable balance and soft hands that seemed to be a magnet for the ball.
A constant word used for this NFL legend is class.
"The first thing I think about when you mention Steve's name is class. It has nothing to do with football, just the quality of person that he is. I've been in this racket for 36 years coaching football and he's the only player that I have a picture hanging in my office. So I think that tells you what I think of him."
~Tom Catlin~ Seahawks' defensive coordinator (1931-2008)
Jim Zorn and Steve Largent
Steve Largent Bio
- Born: 9/28/1954 Tulsa , OK
- Height: 5'11"
- College: Tulsa
- Experience 14 Seasons
- 7x Pro Bowl
- Hall of Fame Induction: 1995
Receiving Yards 13,089
Touchdowns 101 Stats at NFL.com
Big Money Art Monk in San Francisco in 1990
Art Monk #81
Art Monk Bio
James Arthur Monk
- Born: December 5, 1957 in White Plains, New York (Age 54)
- Height: 6-3 Weight: 210 lbs.
- College: Syracuse University
- Drafted by the Washington Redskins in the 1st round (18th overall) of the 1980 NFL Draft.
- Draft: 1980 Round: 1 / Pick: 18
- 3X Pro Bowl
- NFL 1980 All-Decade's Team
- Hall of Fame Induction 2008
Experience: 16 Seasons
Receptions: 888 Receiving Yards: 12,026 Average: 13.5
Stats at NFL.com
Hall Of Fame
Inducted into Hall of Fame in 2008, finalist in 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007
#4 - Art Monk
He then played one year for the NY Jets (1994) and then a year for the Philadelphia Eagles (1995).
After failing to sign with a team for the 1996 season, Monk retired from the game in June 1997. The Redskins immediately announced plans to sign him to a ceremonial one-day contract so he could retire as a member of the burgundy and gold.
#4 - Art Monk
The Complete Package
From 1980-1993 Monk wore the number 81. He wore the same number for the Jets in 1984 and then in 1995 he wore #85 for the Philadelphia Eagles. Some called him "Big Money," as this was the perfect nickname for nickname someone like him who possessed the ability to make the clutch reception, along with the fact that he consistently could gain tough yardage over the middle. He played for the Washington Redskin for 14 years (1980-1993) and the team won three Super Bowls (XVII, XXII, and XXVI) and had just three losing seasons. By the end of the 1993, he had posted nine seasons of 50 or more catches and five with at least 1,000 yards but Monk and the Redskins fell into a contract dispute, and he departed acrimoniously.
Some say he was Jerry Rice's predecessor in a "quiet" way, as he was the epitome of quiet self-discipline and dependability. Monk rarely spoke to teammates or reporters. But when he spoke up in team meetings, other Redskins shut up in what coach
Joe Gibbs once described him as an "E.F. Hutton moment."
One could say Monk was the mold maker for the superstars of todays game. Philadelphia Eagles Corner Eric Allen once said,
"He would run and he would jump up and as soon as he would land, he would just take off opposite of where you were. As he was doing this, no one else in the league was really doing that, everybody else was running normal routes. But about three or four years later, guess who started to do that -- Cris Carter."
Art Monk Career Honors
- Elected to Syracuse University Board of Trustees
- NFL 1980s All-Decade Team Member
- 2008 - NFL Hall of Fame Inductee
FINALLY Art Monk Induction to the Hall Of Fame
Unitas to Berry
Raymond Berry Bio
- Born: 2/27/33 Corpus Christi, Tx
- Height: 6'2"
- College: Southern Methodist
- NFL Draft:1954/ Round:20 /Pick:232
- 6X Pro Bowl
- NFL 75th Anniversary All-Time Team
- NFL 1950s All-Decade Team
- Baltimore Colts #82 retired
Receptions 631 Receiving Yards 9,275 Touchdowns 68
Stats at NFL.com
#5 - Raymond Berry
#82 Baltimore Colts
His legend of being a top legendary receiver is built on his determination, dedication and desire. He had, at best, average speed, but he developed, by his own count, 88 moves to get open. He ran patterns within a millimeter of how they were drawn up on the blackboard. He needed special shoes because one leg was shorter than the other and he wore a corset for his bad back. Though his lack of speed kept him from going deep, his big soft hands caught everything within reach and his outstanding leaping ability allowed him to make impossible catches.
Berry was a star in what is known today as “The Greatest Game Ever Played” — the Baltimore Colts’ 23-17 victory over the New York Giants for the NFL championship. This game turned John Unitas into one of America’s best-known sports heroes and it was Berry who caught a championship - record 12 passes for 178 yards and a touchdown.
Unitas to Berry
The NFL's Greatest Pass-Catch Teams Of All Time
This combo was unstoppable. They invented the 2 minute offense. Brought together in 1956. They did what came naturally. Endless hours were spent together
Set record with 63 touchdowns, a mark that stood for 23 seasons.
Unitas to Berry . . Unitas to Berry!
Legendary Football Combo
- Dallas Cowboys (OE) (1968-1969)
- New England Patriots (1984-1989)- in 1985 Berry took the Patriots to their first Super Bowl, and was voted Coach of the Year by the Vince Lombardi Committee.
- Detroit Lions (QB) (1991-1992)
- Denver Broncos (QB) (1992)
Football Fans United
On a closing note, I just want to thank my friend Shyne for inspiring me to write this Hub. Not only was it fun but I got to dig into alot of history that otherwise I might not have ran across.
I know you will find Shyne's Hubs informative, on the money and down right hysterically honest. So much so like me I am sure you will get a good laugh. .go ahead check him out. . he is hilariously smart.
Best Passing Combos
Which Duo is the Best Passing Combo?See results without voting
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