NFL Receiving TD Leaders By Year—1970s
During the ‘70's, there were several different wide receivers who led the NFL in touchdown catches each year. The only one who did it more than once was Oakland's Cliff Branch. Here is a complete list of those leaders from the decade:
1979-Stanley Morgan, New England Patriots (12)
Amazingly, wide receiver Stanley Morgan averaged over 20 yards per catch in his first six seasons in the NFL. In addition, Morgan led the league in receiving TDs in 1979, with 12. He caught 44 passes that season for 1002 yards (22.8 yards per catch) and the 12 TDs, and added 7 rushes for 39 yards.
1978-John Jefferson, San Diego Chargers (13)
John Jefferson played on some great San Diego offensive teams, and his first three seasons in the NFL Jefferson had over 1000 yards receiving each year. In 1978, Jefferson caught 82 passes for league highs in yards (1340) and TD catches (13).
1977-Nat Moore, Miami Dolphins (12)
Nat Moore played in the NFL for 13 seasons, but his best years were 1977 and 1978. In 1977, Moore led the NFL in receiving TDs with 12, and caught 52 passes for 765 yards.
He also had 14 carries for 89 yards and one more score out of the backfield.
1976-Cliff Branch, Oakland Raiders (12)
Cliff Branch was one of those receivers who was exciting to watch every time he stepped on the field. He also led the NFL in receiving TDs twice in the ‘70's. In 1976, Branch caught just 46 passes, but had 1111 yards, for a career-high 24.2 yards per catch average, and led the league with 12 TD catches.
1975-Mel Gray, St. Louis Cardinals (11) and Lynn Swann, Pittsburgh Steelers (11)
Speedster Mel Gray never had a 1000-yard receiving season, but in 1975 he shared the NFL lead for receiving TDs with Pittsburgh's Lynn Swann, each with 11. Gray caught 48 passes that year for 926 yards and the 11 scores. Meanwhile, Swann also never had a 1000-yard season, which is remarkable when you think of his status among NFL legends.
Swann caught 49 passes in 1975 for 781 yards and the 11 TDs.
1974-Cliff Branch, Oakland Raiders (13)
In 1974, Cliff Branch led the NFL in both receiving yards (1092) and TD catches (13) on 60 total catches. It was the first of two seasons out of three that Branch led the league in receiving TDs.
1973-Harold Jackson, Los Angeles Rams (13)
Journeyman receiver Harold Jackson played 16 seasons in the NFL, and led the league in receiving yards twice, 1969 and 1973. In 1972, however, Jackson led the league in TD catches with 13. He caught just 40 passes for 874 yards (21.9 yards per catch average) along with the 13 touchdowns.
1972-Gene Washington, San Francisco 49ers (12)
Gene Washington, currently the Director of Football Operations for the NFL, also had a nice career as a player. In 1972, he led the league with 12 receiving touchdowns, with 46 catches overall for 918 yards.
1971-Paul Warfield, Miami Dolphins (11)
Paul Warfield had some great seasons in his 13-year career with the Browns and Dolphins. In 1971 with Miami, Warfield caught 43 passes for 996 yards with a league-high 11 TD catches. He also had 9 carries for 115 yards out of the backfield.
1970-Dick Gordon, Chicago Bears (13)
Dick Gordon had one great year among his ten or so as an NFL receiver. In 1970 with Chicago, he led the NFL in receptions (71) and touchdown catches (13) for 1026 yards.