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Franchise leaders — receiving stats

On Wednesday, we looked at the franchise leaders in various passing categories; yesterday we did the same exercise with rushing stats. Well, let’s close out Friday with a look at the career leaders in the key receiving categories.

Did you know: only one player who leads his franchise in career receptions retired before the 1978 rules changes:

TeamRecReceiverLast Yr
GNB735Donald Driver
HOU706Andre Johnson
CAR699Steve Smith
ARI693Larry Fitzgerald
SDG593Antonio Gates
PIT1000Hines Ward2011
CIN751Chad Ochocinco2010
BAL471Derrick Mason2010
IND1102Marvin Harrison2008
KAN916Tony Gonzalez2008
NYG668Amani Toomer2008
STL942Isaac Bruce2007
NWE557Troy Brown2007
DEN849Rod Smith2006
JAX862Jimmy Smith2005
OAK1070Tim Brown2003
MIN1004Cris Carter2001
DET670Herman Moore2001
ATL573Terance Mathis2001
SFO1281Jerry Rice2000
BUF941Andre Reed1999
DAL750Michael Irvin1999
TEN542Ernest Givins1994
WAS888Art Monk1993
NOR532Eric Martin1993
MIA550Mark Clayton1992
CLE662Ozzie Newsome1990
SEA819Steve Largent1989
TAM430James Wilder1989
CHI492Walter Payton1987
PHI589Harold Carmichael1983
NYJ627Don Maynard1972

Don Maynard kept his eyes on the ball

The Jets have had a number of talented receivers put on a uniform, but none as skilled as Maynard. I’m a fan of his autobigraphy, You Can’t Catch Sunshine, which includes some great pages on Maynard’s approach to route running and timing. And with 627 career receptions for New York, it’s going to be a long time before he has to worry about losing his stature in Jets history. Wayne Chrebet (580 receptions) came close, but Dustin Keller is the active Jets leader with 213 catches.

You can learn a lot about the history of the Chicago Bears passing attack by seeing the above list: Walter Payton in the career receptions leader. Payton and Tampa Bay’s James Wilder are the only two running backs to hold a franchise career receptions record.

One record sure to fall soon? Wes Welker needs just 4 catches to pass Troy Brown for the career Patriots mark. Next, let’s look at the career leaders in receiving yards:

TeamRec YdReceiverLast Yr
GNB10060Donald Driver
HOU9656Andre Johnson
CAR10278Steve Smith
ARI9615Larry Fitzgerald
ATL7374Roddy White
PIT12083Hines Ward2011
CIN10783Chad Ochocinco2010
BAL5777Derrick Mason2010
IND14580Marvin Harrison2008
KAN10940Tony Gonzalez2008
NYG9497Amani Toomer2008
STL14109Isaac Bruce2007
DEN11389Rod Smith2006
JAX12287Jimmy Smith2005
OAK14734Tim Brown2003
MIN12383Cris Carter2001
DET9174Herman Moore2001
SFO19247Jerry Rice2000
BUF13095Andre Reed1999
DAL11904Michael Irvin1999
TEN7935Ernest Givins1994
WAS12026Art Monk1993
NOR7854Eric Martin1993
MIA8869Mark Duper1992
TAM5018Mark Carrier1992
CLE7980Ozzie Newsome1990
NWE10352Stanley Morgan1989
SEA13089Steve Largent1989
PHI8978Harold Carmichael1983
NYJ11732Don Maynard1972
SDG9584Lance Alworth1970
CHI5059Johnny Morris1967

On the left, Miami's all-time leader in receiving yards; on the right, the Dolphins' career receptions leader

The Marks Brothers, Mark Clayton and Mark Duper, each appear on these lists. Duper, the bigger deep play threat, is Miami’s all-time receiving yards leader, while no Dolphins caught more passes than Mark Clayton.

Johnny Morris retired in 1967, but he remains Chicago’s career receiving yards leader. That’s almost unthinkable in light of the modern passing game, as 28 of the 32 franchise’s receiving yards leaders were active with their teams as recently as 1989. Morris was a good receiver for the Bears — here’s one highlight — but his place on the list has more to do with the lack of talent at the position for the Bears ever since. Morris had a spectacular 1964 season, leading the league in receptions, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns in 1964, but it was the only season in which he made the Pro Bowl as a receiver.

Let’s close out the career lists with a look at the franchise leaders in receiving touchdowns:

TeamTDReceiverLast Yr
ARI73Larry Fitzgerald
CAR59Steve Smith
HOU52Andre Johnson
PIT85Hines Ward2011
CIN66Chad Ochocinco2010
BAL41Todd Heap2010
IND128Marvin Harrison2008
KAN76Tony Gonzalez2008
NYG54Amani Toomer2008
STL84Isaac Bruce2007
DEN68Rod Smith2006
NOR50Joe Horn2006
JAX67Jimmy Smith2005
OAK99Tim Brown2003
ATL57Terance Mathis2001
MIN110Cris Carter2001
DET62Herman Moore2001
SFO176Jerry Rice2000
BUF86Andre Reed1999
MIA81Mark Clayton1992
SEA100Steve Largent1989
NWE67Stanley Morgan1989
TAM34Jimmie Giles1986
PHI79Harold Carmichael1983
WAS79Charley Taylor1977
DAL71Bob Hayes1974
NYJ88Don Maynard1972
CLE70Gary Collins1971
SDG81Lance Alworth1970
TEN51Charley Hennigan1966
CHI50Ken Kavanaugh1950
GNB99Don Hutson1945

Don Hutson and Curly Lambeau

Larry Fitzgerald passed Roy Green (66 touchdowns) last season, making him the Cardinals’ all-time leader in receiving touchdowns. He’s going to set the bar very, very high, and will likely hold the Cardinals franchise record long after anyone remembers this blog post.

Donald Driver took the #1 spot in the Packers record books for receptions and yards, but he’ll never catch Hutson’s touchdown mark. Hutson’s 99 touchdowns stood as the NFL record until Steve Largent surpassed him in 1989.

Charlie Hennigan was a star for the Houston Oilers in the AFL, leading the league in receiving yards in ’61 and ’64. Ken Burrough, Drew Hill and Haywood Jeffires all caught 47 touchdowns for the team — and Ernest Givings caught 46 — but no one has been able to match his production yet.

We can also look at the single-season leaders. Let’s start with receptions:

TeamRecWide ReceiverYear
NOR99Jimmy Graham2011
ATL115Roddy White2010
NWE123Wes Welker2009
NYG107Steve Smith2009
HOU115Andre Johnson2008
CIN112T.J. Houshmandzadeh2007
BAL103Derrick Mason2007
SEA94Bobby Engram2007
PHI90Brian Westbrook2007
CLE89Kellen Winslow Jr.2006
CAR103Steve Smith2005
ARI103Larry Fitzgerald2005
KAN102Tony Gonzalez2004
SDG100LaDainian Tomlinson2003
IND143Marvin Harrison2002
PIT112Hines Ward2002
BUF100Eric Moulds2002
DEN113Rod Smith2001
TAM106Keyshawn Johnson2001
CHI100Marty Booker2001
JAX116Jimmy Smith1999
MIA90O.J. McDuffie1998
OAK104Tim Brown1997
DET123Herman Moore1995
MIN122Cris Carter1995
SFO122Jerry Rice1995
STL119Isaac Bruce1995
DAL111Michael Irvin1995
GNB112Sterling Sharpe1993
NYJ93Al Toon1988
WAS106Art Monk1984
TEN101Charley Hennigan1964

Charley Hennigan caught a lot of passes for the Oilers in 1964

It’s a testament to the modern NFL that only three of the single-season reception leaders were set before 1993, and over half of have been set since the Texans entered the league. As you may remember from weekend trivia, the Browns are the only team to never have a receiver catch 90 passes in a season, but the Eagles and Dolphins haven’t fared much better. And who would have known that Bobby Engram owns the single season Seahawks reception record?

Perhaps even more surprising, before Engram, it was Darrell Jackson who owned the franchise record with 87 catches in 2004. Steve Largent topped out at 79 receptions in 1985; Brian Blades broke that mark with 80 receptions in ’93 and then again with 81 catches the following season. Next up, a look at the single-season leaders in receiving yards:

TeamYardsWide ReceiverYear
NWE1569Wes Welker2011
NYG1536Victor Cruz2011
ATL1389Roddy White2010
HOU1575Andre Johnson2008
CIN1440Chad Ochocinco2007
CLE1289Braylon Edwards2007
CAR1563Steve Smith2005
WAS1483Santana Moss2005
NOR1399Joe Horn2004
MIN1632Randy Moss2003
IND1722Marvin Harrison2002
ARI1598David Boston2001
DEN1602Rod Smith2000
KAN1391Derrick Alexander2000
JAX1636Jimmy Smith1999
CHI1400Marcus Robinson1999
BUF1368Eric Moulds1998
OAK1408Tim Brown1997
PIT1398Yancey Thigpen1997
BAL1201Michael Jackson1996
SFO1848Jerry Rice1995
STL1781Isaac Bruce1995
DET1686Herman Moore1995
DAL1603Michael Irvin1995
GNB1497Robert Brooks1995
TAM1422Mark Carrier1989
SEA1287Steve Largent1985
MIA1389Mark Clayton1984
PHI1409Mike Quick1983
NYJ1434Don Maynard1967
SDG1602Lance Alworth1965
TEN1746Charley Hennigan1961


Receiving yards records aren’t subject to the same inflation. and three AFL stars still hold their franchise’s record in this category. You’ll probably be surprised by some of the names on this list — Green Bay has had some excellent receivers, but Robert Brooks would not have been my first guess. Giants fans surely hope Victor Cruz’ career doesn’t turn out like Marcus Robinson, who came out of nowhere to post 1400 yards in a dominant season with the Bears in 1999.

There are some interesting names on the list — Mark Carrier, Yancey Thigpen, David Boston, Braylon Edwards, among others — that surely bring back mixed emotions for fans of those teams. Which name on the receiving yards list is most surprising to you?

Finally, let’s take a look at the single-season leaders in receiving touchdowns.

DET16Calvin Johnson2011
KAN15Dwayne Bowe2010
TAM11Mike Williams2010
JAX10Marcedes Lewis2010
HOU9Andre Johnson2009
NWE23Randy Moss2007
CLE16Braylon Edwards2007
DAL15Terrell Owens2007
CAR16Muhsin Muhammad2004
PHI14Terrell Owens2004
NOR11Joe Horn2004
MIN17Randy Moss2003
PIT12Hines Ward2002
IND15Marvin Harrison2001
BAL14Michael Jackson1996
CIN17Carl Pickens1995
DEN14Anthony Miller1995
BUF11Bill Brooks1995
GNB18Sterling Sharpe1994
ATL15Andre Rison1993
WAS12Ricky Sanders1988
SFO22Jerry Rice1987
SEA13Daryl Turner1985
MIA18Mark Clayton1984
CHI13Dick Gordon1970
NYG13Homer Jones1967
NYJ14Don Maynard1965
SDG14Lance Alworth1965
OAK16Art Powell1963
TEN17Bill Groman1961
ARI15Sonny Randle1960
STL17Elroy Hirsch1951

Terrell Owens set multiple touchdown records because of his great rapport with quarterbacks

Megatron set Detroit’s record last season, which had been held by … no, not Herman Moore, but Cloyce Box, who had 15 touchdown catches in 12 games for the ’52 Lions.

Randy Moss and Terrell Owens hold the touchdown records for two teams each. And while it’s not shocking that newer teams like the Texans and Jaguars have never had a receiver catch more than 10 touchdowns in a season, how many guesses would it have taken for you to get Bill Brooks as the Buffalo leader? Eric Moulds, Steve Johnson, Andre Reed, Bob Chandler and Elbert Dubenion each caught 10 touchdown passes in a season, but Brooks is the only one to reach 11 touchdowns.

Among the other surprises, at least for me: Anthony Miller for the Broncos, Daryl Turner for the Seahawks, Dick Gordon for the Bears, and Sonny Randle for the Cardinals. The Bears records in the passing and receiving categories are pitiful; fans can only hope that Jay Cutler and Brandon Marshall start re-writing the record books in 2012.

  • Richie

    I love that picture of Don Hutson and Curly Lambeau.

  • Richie

    I think I was most surprised by David Boston on the receiving yards list. I remember his huge year for the Cards, but with the recent success of Boldin and Fitzgerald, I would have expected one of them to be their leader for single season.

  • Tim Truemper

    Make special note that Elroy “Crazy Legs” Hirsch caught caught 17 TD’s for the Rams in 1951 in a 12 game season. That’s like what Rice did in the strike season for SF.

  • Andrew

    The Bears don’t have a single player holding two of these records…and as a Bears fan, I’m hoping Brandon Marshall changes that. After that, I was hugely surprised that the Jaguars didn’t have anyone get more that ten TDs in a season, considering that Jimmy Smith, Keenan McCardell, and Willie Jackson all caught passes from the awesome arm of Mark Brunell. That’s quite a group to have not gotten any seasons of 10+ TDs, particularly considering that two of them (the ones not named Jackson) might one day be invited to Canton.

    • Danish

      Well they probably suffered from sharing the redzone targets.

  • Danish

    I batted 60 percent. That Single season TD is brutally hard – total crapshoot.