NFL Receiving Yardage Leaders By Year—1970s
In the 1970's, there were no real dominant wide receivers in the NFL. In fact, Drew Pearson of Dallas led the league in receiving in 1977 with just 870 yards. And each year there was a different leader in total yardage. Here is a complete list of those leaders in the ‘70's:
1979-Steve Largent, Seattle Seahawks (1237)
Steve Largent was a very steady receiver over his 14-year career, all with Seattle. He also led the NFL in receiving yardage twice, in 1979 and in 1985. In 1979, Largent caught 66 passes for 1237 yards (18.7 yards-per-catch average) with 9 TDs.
1978-Wesley Walker, New York Jets (1169)
Wesley Walker had a very nice, long career with the Jets (1977-1989) but only crossed the 1000-yard threshold twice. In one of those years, 1978, Walker led the NFL in receiving yards with 1169 on just 48 catches, for an astounding 24.4 yard average. He also had 8 touchdown receptions.
1977-Drew Pearson, Dallas Cowboys (870)
It wasn't the greatest year a receiver has ever had, but Dallas' Drew Pearson led the NFL in 1977 with 870 yards on 48 catches. Pearson only had 2 receiving TDs as well.
1976-Roger Carr, Baltimore Colts (1112)
Roger Carr played most of his career with the Baltimore Colts, and while he only had one 1000-yard season, he made it count by leading the league in yards with 1112. That was in 1976, when Carr caught 43 passes for the 1112 yards, a 25.9 yard average, with 11 TDs.
1975-Ken Burrough, Houston Oilers (1063)
Ken Burrough was another steady receiver, and he played most of his career with the Houston Oilers. In 1975, Burrough led the NFL with 1063 yards on 53 catches (20.1 yard average) with 8 TD receptions.
1974-Cliff Branch, Oakland Raiders (1092)
Cliff Branch had a really great career, all with the Raiders, but only led the league in receiving once. That was in 1974, when Branch caught 60 passes for 1092 yards and 13 touchdowns. Branch had more receiving yards in 1976, but his 13 TDs in 1974 were a career high.
1973-Harold Carmichael, Philadelphia Eagles (1116)
Harold Carmichael was another receiver who played a long time by NFL standards, 14 years, and 13 with Philadelphia. In 1973, he led the NFL in receiving with 1116 yards on 67 catches, with 9 touchdowns. Carmichael also had 3 carries for 42 yards out of the backfield.
1972-Harold Jackson, Philadelphia Eagles (1048)
Harold Jackson played for 15 years with four different teams, but his best seasons were early on while with the Eagles. In 1972, Jackson caught 62 passes for 1048 yards, both of which led the NFL. He also had 4 TD catches, and 9 carries for 76 yards out of the backfield.
1971-Otis Taylor, Kansas City Chiefs (1110)
Otis Taylor played his entire career in Kansas City, and had one of his best all-around seasons in 1971. That year, Taylor caught 57 passes for 1110 yards (19.5 yard average) and 7 touchdowns. He added a 25-yard run for a TD as well.
1970-Gene Washington, San Francisco 49ers (1100)
Gene Washington played most of his career with the 49ers, and his best overall season was 1970, when he caught 53 passes for 1100 yards for a 20.8 yards-per-catch average. Washington also tied a career high that year with 12 TD receptions.