ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel
  • »
  • Sports and Recreation»
  • Team Sports»
  • American Football»
  • NFL Football

Top Single Season NFL Receivers

Updated on November 7, 2007

Jerry Rice

Isaac Bruce

Marvin Harrison

First of all, let me begin by saying this list is for the NFL, and doesn't include the AFL. That means Charlie Hennigan, who would have had the third best season in history at 1746 yards, isn't on this list. We apologize to Charlie in advance. Otherwise, here are the top NFL single-season seasons for receiving yardage since 1960:

Jerry Rice, San Francisco 49ers - 1848 Yards - 1995

In a career that spanned from 1985 to 2004, Jerry Rice was easily the greatest wide receiver to ever play the game of football. His 22,895 receiving yards is an NFL record by almost 8000 yards, and his best season, 1995, is the single best for a receiver in NFL history. That year, Rice caught 122 passes for 1848 yards and 15 touchdowns, and posted a 15.1 yards per catch average.

Isaac Bruce, St. Louis Rams - 1781 Yards - 1995

What a year it was for receivers. In the Rams' first season in St. Louis, Isaac Bruce finished second in receiving yards to Jerry Rice. Little did he know he'd be finishing second in the history books as well, since Bruce's 1781 yards on 119 catches (13 touchdowns) ranks #2 all-time. Bruce is still playing for the Rams in 2007 and has had a very successful career with 13,701 yards and 80 TD catches.

Marvin Harrison, Indianapolis Colts - 1722 Yards - 2002

Marvin Harrison broke the single season receptions record in 2002, with 143. He also had the third best season in NFL history that year with 1722 yards and added 11 TDs. In 2007, Harrison is shooting for his ninth straight season with over 1000 yards receiving.

Torry Holt, St. Louis Rams - 1696 Yards- 2003

You don't get to be called The Greatest Show on Turf because you run the football. Holt was a part of those great Rams offenses along with Isaac Bruce and Kurt Warner, and still plays for the Rams in 2007. In 2003, Holt caught 117 passes for 1696 yards and 12 touchdowns-all three are career highs and the yardage ranks him fourth in NFL history for a single season.

Herman Moore, Detroit Lions - 1686 Yards - 1995

It's a wonder the Lions didn't win any championships with both Barry Sanders and Herman Moore on the same offense. But they didn't. However, Moore, who played for the Lions his entire career (1991-2001), had an amazing season in 1995. That year, he caught 123 passes for 1686 yards and 14 TDs. The 123 catches were an NFL record that stood until Marvin Harrison broke it in 2002.

Marvin Harrison, Indianapolis Colts - 1663 Yards - 1999

Here he is again, and he may wind up here more often as his career progresses. In 1999, Marvin Harrison caught 115 passes for 1663 yards and 12 touchdowns. He and QB Peyton Manning were just beginning to hit their stride as a receiving tandem.

Jimmy Smith, Jacksonville Jaguars - 1636 Yards - 1999

1999 was almost as prolific a year for receivers as 1995 was. That year, the Jags' Jimmy Smith caught 116 passes for 1636 yards and 6 touchdowns. The yardage ranked him second behind Marvin Harrison for the year, and seventh in NFL history for a single season, right behind (you guessed it) Harrison.

Torry Holt, St. Louis Rams - 1635 Yards - 2000

Torry Holt is on this list now twice, just as Marvin Harrison is. And like Harrison, Holt has the potential to wind up here again. His 1635 yards in 2000 ranks 8th in NFL history for a single season, but what's more amazing is that he did that on just 82 catches (6 for TDs), for an astounding 19.9 yards per catch average.

Randy Moss, Minnesota Vikings - 1632 Yards - 2003

Randy Moss is an explosive player who has had to temper his off the field issues to be the best player he can be on the field. Though he's on pace in 2007 to shatter many records with New England, he owns the ninth best season for receiving yardage in NFL history, with 1632 yards on 111 catches while hauling in 17 touchdowns.

Michael Irvin, Dallas Cowboys - 1603 Yards - 1995

Another great receiver who had his best year in 1995, Michael Irvin was a big part of the Cowboys teams in the mid 90s that won three Super Bowls. In that 1995 season, Irvin caught 111 passes for 1603 yards and 10 TDs-all career highs for him.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • profile image

      qwerty 8 years ago

      We dont include the AFL because it is not around anymore. It was only around for 10 years for a reason. I'm sure your dad was a great athlete but he should not be compared to anyone on this list.

    • Nashville G-man profile image

      Nashville G-man 9 years ago from Madison, Wisconsin

      Steve....your comment was a reminder that I need to do this. I'll get something together soon. Can you e-mail me when you have a chance at thanks

    • profile image

      Steve Hennigan 9 years ago

      Just came across your reply. Thanks so much.



    • Nashville G-man profile image

      Nashville G-man 9 years ago from Madison, Wisconsin

      Hey Steve.....I really appreciate you taking the time to comment and I am so intrigued now after reading your post, that I just asked my editor for approval on a story that will compare your dad's career to Jerry Rice. Hopefully that will make up for this hub, and spark some more interest among readers. Thanks!

    • profile image

      Stephen Hennigan 9 years ago

      Okay, here's my comment. WHY NOT include the AFL. I would note that my dad Charlie Hennigan gained his 1748 yards in a 14 game season in which the leagues had not yet changed the rules which prevented d-back contact with wide receivers. Lets see... a little math here, 1748 yards in 14 games comes to 125 yards per game in a league in which defensive backs could clobber wide recievers anywhere along the way except when the ball is in the air vs. 1848 yards in a 16 game season (115 yards/game) with hands-off defensive backs. I would never dispute Jerry Rice as the greatest, but give my dad and the AFL a little credit.

      Steve Hennigan, MD