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Homer Jones Is the Leader in Average Length of Receiving Touchdown

Jones catches another bomb

Jones catches another bomb.

In November, I noted that Chris Johnson was the career leader in average length of rushing touchdown. Since then, he’s actually dropped to number two, as his six rushing touchdowns covered “only” 84 yards in November and December. But what about the career leader in average length of receiving touchdown?

That title belongs to former Giants wide receiver Homer Jones.  A star in the late ’60s, 19 of Jones’ 36 career touchdowns went for 50 or more yards. The table below shows all 413 players to record at least 35 receiving touchdowns (including the postseason) from 1940 to 2013.  While Jones leads in average touchdown length, I think it makes more sense to sort the list by median touchdown length, although that doesn’t matter much for Jones.  For each player listed, I’ve included both their average and median touchdown length, the years they played, and a best guess at their primary position.  The table by default shows 50 entries, but you can change that; in addition, the table is fully sortable and searchable.

Rk
Receiver
Receiver
First Year
Last Year
TDs
Avg
Median
1Homer JonesWR19641970364951
2Mel GrayWR197119824643.948.5
3Bob BoydWR195019572845.547.5
4Ken BurroughWR197019815043.346.5
5Bob HayesWR196519757341.138
6Frank PittsWR196519742738.638
7Carroll DaleWR196019735538.538
8Mike WallaceWR200920133836.238
9Elroy HirschWR19461957593837
10John MackeyTE196319724039.636
11Elbert DubenionWR196019683739.136
12Don CurrivanWR19431949263636
13DeSean JacksonWR200820133439.735.5
14Harlon HillWR195419624038.635.5
15Willie GaultWR198319934736.935
16Lance AlworthWR196219728835.635
17Bernard BerrianWR200420112635.334.5
18Charley FrazierWR196219703033.734.5
19Cloyce BoxWR194919543237.934
20Ken KavanaughWR194019505237.434
21Don BeebeWR198919972636.334
22Bake TurnerWR196219702534.834
23Ray RenfroWR195219635334.434
24Del ShofnerWR195719675135.733
25Wesley WalkerWR197719897434.333
26Don MaynardWR195819739034.232.5
27Robert MeachemWR20082013283132.5
28Jim DoranWR195119612632.432
29Joey GallowayWR199520107732.232
30Hugh TaylorWR194719545834.731.5
31Dave WilliamsWR196719732528.731
32Qadry IsmailWR199320023335.430
33Stanley MorganWR197719907535.130
34Darnay ScottWR19942002373530
35Flipper AndersonWR19881997303330
36Bob TrumpyTE196819773532.330
37Tony HillWR197719865530.430
38Marcus RobinsonWR199820064429.529.5
39Corey BradfordWR199820062534.929
40Lenny MooreRB195619674934.629
41Ray MathewsRB195119603434.429
42Michael HaynesWR198819974933.629
43John GilliamWR196719775332.929
44Johnny MorrisWR195819673132.829
45Jack SnowWR196519754532.129
46John GreeneWR194419502633.128.5
47Rocket IsmailWR199320012832.528.5
48Mark DuperWR19821992643228.5
49Jackie SmithTE196319784133.728
50Alvin HarperWR199119992533.228
51Carlos CarsonWR198019893332.828
52Harold JacksonWR196819838131.728
53Max McGeeWR195419675431.628
54Donte' StallworthWR200220123730.128
55Tony MartinWR19902001593028
56Gene WashingtonWR196919796129.828
57Ricky SandersWR198619953928.628
58Cliff BranchWR197219857230.927.5
59Isaac CurtisWR197319845532.727
60Red PhillipsWR195819673431.427
61Ron JessieWR197119812730.927
62Lee EvansWR200420114330.727
63Billy JohnsonWR197419882529.627
64Roy JeffersonWR196519765627.927
65Aaron ThomasTE196119703725.527
66Larry GarronRB19601968283226.5
67Willie RichardsonWR19631971262626.5
68Jeff GrahamWR199120013133.226
69John TaylorWR198719954933.126
70Mal KutnerWR194619503131.226
71Jack FerranteWR194119503231.126
72Antonio BryantWR200220093030.426
73Gail CogdillWR196019703429.426
74Tommy McDonaldWR195719688528.826
75Shawn JeffersonWR199120033128.526
76Paul WarfieldWR196419779029.625.5
77Roy GreenWR197919926629.125.5
78Nate WashingtonWR20052013382825.5
79Frank GiffordRB195219644626.325.5
80Ben HawkinsWR196619743233.425
81Kevin HouseWR198019873533.125
82Warren WellsWR196419704531.925
83Leonard ThompsonWR197519863530.125
84Eric MouldsWR19962007503025
85Otis TaylorWR196519755929.825
86Dick GordonWR196519743629.825
87Alfred JenkinsWR197519834129.425
88David BostonWR199920052528.425
89Randy MossWR1998201216627.725
90Dante LavelliWR194619566727.525
91Drew HillWR197919936127.425
92David PattenWR199720082625.125
93Roger CarrWR19741983323424.5
94Gene WashingtonWR196719732832.824.5
95Buddy DialWR195919664427.824.5
96Timmy BrownRB195919682633.324
97Steve SmithWR20012013753024
98Jimmy OrrWR195819706629.924
99Larry WaltonWR196919782726.224
100Michael JacksonWR199119984626.823.5
101Michael CrabtreeWR200920132623.323.5
102James JettWR199320023331.823
103Billy HowtonWR195219636131.523
104Fred BarnettWR199019973531.123
105Bobby MitchellWR195819686530.823
106Frank ClarkeWR19571967513023
107Eddie BrownWR198519914129.623
108Willie GreenWR199119983029.123
109Henry EllardWR19831998662823
110Gary ClarkWR198519957127.923
111Al BaldwinWR194719502726.923
112Anthony CarterWR198519955626.723
113Quinn EarlyWR198819994126.523
114Anthony MillerWR19881997632623
115Santonio HolmesWR200620134125.923
116Bill BrooksWR198619964825.623
117Dennis McKinnonWR198319902628.622.5
118Dave KocourekTE19601968262722.5
119Irving FryarWR198420008625.722.5
120Charlie JoinerWR196919867025.722.5
121Gary BallmanWR196219733731.322
122James LoftonWR197819938330.122
123Santana MossWR20012013702922
124Sam McCullumWR197419832728.122
125Bob ScarpittoWR196119682728.122
126Javon WalkerWR200220093127.122
127John David CrowRB195819683526.922
128Elbie NickelWR194719573626.322
129Earnest GrayWR197919852825.922
130Amani ToomerWR199620086125.922
131Wes ChandlerWR197819885625.822
132Art PowellWR195919688125.422
133Miles AustinWR200620133525.222
134Mark JacksonWR198619943125.122
135Sammy WhiteWR197619855524.222
136Drew BennettWR200120082922.622
137Derrick AlexanderWR199420024029.621.5
138Freddie SolomonWR197519855429.121.5
139Gary GarrisonWR196619775826.821.5
140Butch JohnsonWR197619853224.921.5
141Steve WatsonWR197919873728.921
142Charles JohnsonWR199420022527.221
143Jessie HesterWR198519953027.121
144George SauerWR196519702826.921
145Bernie CaseyRB196119684126.921
146Stephone PaigeWR198319915026.821
147Sonny RandleWR195919686526.621
148Frank LewisWR197119834526.221
149Tim McGeeWR198619942825.621
150Hakeem NicksWR200920133125.421
151Yancey ThigpenWR199120003325.321
152Henry MarshallWR197619873325.221
153Wallace FrancisWR197319812924.921
154Bert EmanuelWR199420012824.221
155Jim BentonWR193819473524.121
156Bobby WalstonWR19511962462421
157Brandon StokleyWR199920134623.621
158John JeffersonWR197819854923.421
159Pete RetzlaffWR195619664722.921
160Terrell OwensWR1996201015826.420.5
161Brandon LloydWR200320123623.820.5
162Mike QuickWR198219906129.220
163Curtis ConwayWR199320045227.320
164Eddie KennisonWR199620084227.120
165Rich CasterTE197019824526.420
166Jerry RiceWR1985200421926.420
167Daryl TurnerWR198419873726.120
168Tim BrownWR1988200410325.320
169Donald DriverWR19992012642520
170Dwight ClarkWR197919875124.920
171Reggie RuckerWR197019814424.120
172Bobby Joe ConradWR195819693823.920
173Dokie WilliamsWR198319872523.820
174Jake ReedWR199120023823.320
175Kevin JohnsonWR199920052523.220
176Chris BurfordWR196019675522.920
177Lynn SwannWR197419826022.420
178Charlie SmithWR19741981252120
179Joe WaltonWR195719632819.820
180Dave ParksWR196419734427.819.5
181Terry GlennWR199620074425.119.5
182Jimmy SmithWR19922005742419.5
183Derrick MasonWR199720116823.619.5
184Steve LargentWR1976198910422.619.5
185Fred BiletnikoffWR196519788622.119.5
186Pierre GarconWR200820132830.619
187Braylon EdwardsWR200520124228.919
188Hassan JonesWR198619932728.619
189Terry BarrRB195719653528.519
190Ray ButlerWR198019883728.319
191Az-Zahir HakimWR199820062828.119
192Al ToonWR198519923327.219
193Mac SpeedieWR194619523327.219
194Willie DavisWR199119983425.919
195Marty BookerWR199920093725.419
196Robert BrooksWR199220003625.319
197Jim ColcloughWR196019683925.219
198Jim MutschellerWR195419614025.119
199John StallworthWR197419877524.619
200Mark ClaytonWR198319938723.919
201Torry HoltWR199920097823.819
202Raymond ChesterTE197019814923.519
203Gino CappellettiWR19601970422319
204Jim SmithWR197719852522.219
205Jerry PorterWR200020083420.519
206Bob SchnelkerWR195319613424.918.5
207Pete PihosWR194719556221.518.5
208Chris CallowayWR199020003020.618.5
209Bill GromanWR196019653730.918
210Charlie BrownWR198219872830.418
211Boyd DowlerWR195919714526.618
212Charley HenniganWR196019665126.418
213A.J. GreenWR201120132926.318
214Charley TaylorWR196419778125.618
215Mike RenfroWR19781987292518
216Andre ReedWR198520009624.818
217Antonio FreemanWR199520037124.318
218Peerless PriceWR199920073223.718
219Art MonkWR198019957522.318
220Billy WilsonWR195119605021.418
221Willard DewveallWR195919642829.717.5
222Al DensonWR196419713227.317.5
223Patrick CraytonWR200420112625.417.5
224Webster SlaughterWR19861998502517.5
225Darrell JacksonWR200020085424.217.5
226Lance RentzelWR196519744027.517
227Greg JenningsWR200620136327.217
228Michael WestbrookWR199520022626.217
229Jeremy MaclinWR200920132725.917
230Don HutsonWR19351945632417
231Michael IrvinWR198819997323.517
232Demaryius ThomasWR201020133522.917
233Drew PearsonWR197319835622.817
234Gern NaglerWR195319612822.817
235Mark CarrierWR198719984922.617
236Joe HornWR199620075822.517
237Marvin HarrisonWR1996200813022.417
238Herman MooreWR199120026422.317
239Rodney HolmanTE198219953622.117
240Sterling SharpeWR198819946921.717
241Plaxico BurressWR200020137021.617
242Kyle RoteWR19511961492117
243Vincent JacksonWR200520135520.617
244Leon HartWR195019572719.517
245Fred ArbanasTE196219703519.317
246Rob MooreWR19901999491917
247Billy CannonTE196019705025.916.5
248Calvin JohnsonWR200720136825.116.5
249Tom FearsWR194819564224.316.5
250Marlin BriscoeWR19681976302316.5
251Johnnie MortonWR199420054422.916.5
252Bill SchroederWR199720042822.216.5
253Jerome BarkumTE197219834019.116.5
254James JonesWR200720134124.116
255Mark IngramWR198719962623.916
256Jerry ButlerWR197919863023.816
257Chris ChambersWR200120105922.916
258Ahmad RashadWR197219824522.616
259Danny AbramowiczWR196719743922.416
260Rod SmithWR199520067422.216
261Cris CollinsworthWR198119883721.816
262Deion BranchWR200220124321.316
263Preston DennardWR19781985332116
264Andre RisonWR19892000872116
265Terance MathisWR199020026620.516
266Sean DawkinsWR199320012719.316
267Jean FugettTE197219792818.616
268Floyd TurnerWR198919983423.515.5
269Willie JacksonWR199520022821.615.5
270Vernon DavisTE200620136020.615.5
271Louis LippsWR198419924128.915
272Eric MetcalfRB198920023226.115
273Marshall FaulkRB199420053823.715
274Torrance SmallWR19922001322215
275Reggie WayneWR200120138921.815
276Lionel TaylorWR195919684521.815
277Keenan McCardellWR199220076921.115
278Vance JohnsonWR19851995412115
279Jerricho CotcheryWR200420133320.315
280Alyn BealsWR194619514920.115
281Roy WilliamsWR20042011442015
282Dwayne BoweWR200720134519.615
283Don NortonWR196019662818.915
284Mike DitkaTE196119724418.915
285Mike PritchardWR199119992618.615
286Jeff ChadwickWR198319922718.415
287T.J. HoushmandzadehWR200120114518.315
288Keyshawn JohnsonWR199620066617.815
289Marques ColstonWR200620136716.615
290Jerramy StevensTE200220102614.515
291Jordy NelsonWR200820134026.714.5
292Brett PerrimanWR198819973218.514.5
293Roddy WhiteWR20052013582314
294Haven MosesWR196819815822.614
295Troy BrownWR199320073321.314
296Pat TilleyWR197619863821.214
297Lance MooreWR200620133920.614
298Sidney RiceWR200720133420.514
299Jimmie GilesTE197719894219.914
300Calvin WilliamsWR199019963619.814
301Nat MooreWR197419867719.514
302Kevin WalterWR200320132518.114
303Harold CarmichaelWR19711984851814
304Gary CollinsWR196219717517.814
305Eric DeckerWR201020133317.514
306Nate BurlesonWR200320134117.514
307Ozzie NewsomeTE197819904816.214
308J.T. SmithWR19781990351614
309Shannon SharpeTE199020036620.513.5
310Dez BryantWR201020134019.313.5
311Laveranues ColesWR200020095018.313.5
312Cris CarterWR1987200213818.113.5
313Henry ChildsTE197419842817.413.5
314Darren SprolesRB20052013302513
315Chad JohnsonWR200120116724.713
316Malcom FloydWR20042013252113
317Joe MorrisonRB195919724720.813
318Raymond BerryWR195519676920.613
319Anquan BoldinWR200320137319.413
320Michael JenkinsWR20042012261913
321Marcus PollardTE199520084117.413
322Ed McCaffreyWR199120035717.413
323Muhsin MuhammadWR199620096517.213
324James BrooksRB198119923317.113
325Steve JohnsonWR20082013281613
326Eric GreenTE199019993815.713
327Chris CooleyTE200420123315.413
328Greg OlsenTE200720133715.413
329Andre JohnsonWR200320136222.312
330Isaac BruceWR199420099520.612
331Ricky ProehlWR199020065820.212
332Joe AguirreWR194119493119.612
333Glenn DoughtyWR197219792519.412
334Ernest GivinsWR198619955719.112
335Eric MartinWR198519945018.912
336Hines WardWR199820119517.612
337Brian BladesWR198819983417.612
338Bob ChandlerWR197119824817.212
339Haywood JeffiresWR198719965316.512
340Wayne ChrebetWR199520054316.512
341Jim MitchellTE196919792915.612
342J.J. StokesWR199520033014.912
343Riley OdomsTE197219834214.512
344Kellen WinslowTE197919874914.512
345Mark BavaroTE198519944213.112
346Todd HeapTE200120124414.511.5
347Brandon MarshallWR200620135718.511
348Larry FitzgeraldWR200420139617.911
349Jackie HarrisTE199020012515.811
350Keith JacksonTE198819965515.711
351Russ FrancisTE197519884315.611
352Antonio GatesTE200320138815.411
353Tom MitchellTE19661977251511
354Charle YoungTE197319852914.411
355Rob GronkowskiTE201020134513.811
356Jerry SmithTE196519776113.811
357Keith ByarsRB198619983312.611
358Tony GonzalezTE1997201311512.411
359David HillTE197619873010.711
360Andrew GloverTE199120002510.211
361Brian WestbrookRB200220103319.610
362Carl PickensWR199220006317.510
363Gordie SoltauWR19501958251710
364Bobby EngramWR199620093716.810
365Bob TuckerTE197019802716.410
366Alge CrumplerTE20012010411610
367Jimmy GrahamTE201020134415.510
368Joe JureviciusWR199820073115.510
369Thurman ThomasRB198820002814.210
370Steve JordanTE198219942913.810
371Jason WittenTE200320135213.810
372Rickey DudleyTE199620043413.610
373Dave CasperTE197419845913.110
374Wesley WallsTE198920035512.510
375Ken DilgerTE19952004251210
376Anthony FasanoTE20062013271110
377Brent JonesTE198719973813.89.5
378Todd ChristensenTE197919884211.79.5
379Bill McCollWR195219592517.39
380Ike HilliardWR199720083715.39
381Jabar GaffneyWR2002201227159
382Brent CelekTE200720132914.89
383Dallas ClarkTE200320135713.99
384Kellen Winslow Jr.TE2004201325139
385Billy Joe DuPreeTE1973198345139
386O.J. McDuffieWR199320003012.99
387Frank WycheckTE199320032912.69
388Ben WatsonTE200420133312.59
389Marcedes LewisTE200620132512.29
390Visanthe ShiancoeTE200320132810.98.5
391Mike WilliamsWR2010201325198
392Willie FrazierTE196419753617.48
393Bob KleinTE196919792513.88
394Mickey ShulerTE197819913911.28
395Charlie SandersTE196819773110.88
396Jay NovacekTE198519953612.87.5
397Ben CoatesTE199120005112.67
398Wes WelkerWR200420135312.17
399Doug CosbieTE197919883311.77
400Heath MillerTE200520134410.17
401Paul CoffmanTE197819884211.66.5
402Daniel GrahamTE200220122610.76.5
403Dave MooreTE199220062810.36.5
404Larry CentersRB19902003299.16
405Chad LewisTE19972005266.76
406Pete MetzelaarsTE198219973111.85
407Owen DanielsTE200620132910.55
408Desmond ClarkTE1999201028105
409Ed WestTE19841997279.65
410Jeremy ShockeyTE20022011408.25
411Kyle BradyTE19952007267.74
412Bubba FranksTE20002008356.94
413Bruce HardyTE197819892973

If you sort the table by career touchdowns, you’ll see that Jerry Rice and Randy Moss have pretty similar averages. Rice caught more short touchdowns, but he holds up pretty well to the man considered one of the all-time great deep threats. In fact, Rice had more career receiving touchdowns of 30+ yards, 40+ yards, 50+ yards, and 60+ yards than any other player in history. Among active players, Mike Wallace, DeSean Jackson, Robert Meachem, Nate Washington, and new Raven Steve Smith have the longest median length of touchdown reception.

What about the players who caught the shortest touchdowns? Wes Welker has caught a lot of short touchdown passes from Tom Brady and Peyton Manning. Including the playoffs, 28 of his career 53 touchdown catches were from inside the 7-yard line, the lowest rate of any wide receiver in history. Tampa Bay Mike Williams — you know, the guy who is one of the best Mike Williamses ever — is the only other wide receiver who had at least half of his receiving touchdowns come from inside the 8-yard line.

The positional designations don’t always hold up, especially the farther back in NFL history you go. Colts Hall of Famer Lenny Moore has the longest median length among running backs, but Moore frequently split out wide in Johnny Unitas’ offense. Going the other way, Arizona fullback Larry Centers was an excellent pass catcher, but he wasn’t particularly explosive. Fifteen of his career 29 receiving touchdowns were seven yards or shorter.

The player with the shortest median touchdown length is former Dolphins tight end Bruce Hardy. He was a favorite target of Dan Marino near the goal line, and the numbers back that up: 17 of his 29 career receiving touchdowns came from inside the three-yard line! Hardy never caught a touchdown outside of the red zone in the regular season, but he managed to catch a 50-yarder in the Epic in Miami against the Chargers (you can see video of this inexplicable event here). Two other tight ends actually had average touchdown lengths of less than 7 yards: Chad Lewis, a goal line favorite of Donovan McNabb, and Bubba Franks, a touchdown monster (and little else) during Brett Favre’s prime.

{ 7 comments… add one }

  • Laverneus Dinglefoot March 16, 2014, 7:51 pm

    It might be interesting to apply some sort of leverage index to a study like this. Looking at Homer Jones’ touchdowns, I saw only two that put his team into the lead after they were trailing. Oddly enough, those two went for 1 yard and 7 yards. So, a lot of big scores, but no Isaac-Bruce-versus-the-Titans type moments. I dunno, maybe no one cares but I.

  • Tim Truemper March 17, 2014, 10:00 am

    I think Laverneus above has an interesting query. Regarding the post in general, Homer Jones was a favorite of mine in my early NFL watching days. Strong and solidly build (6’1, 1″ and 215), very fast (200 meter champion in college and 9.3 in the 100 yrd dash), his big limitation was being an indifferent route runner when he was not the designated receiver for a particular play. He had three stellar years (65-thru 68). Interesting that Paul Warfield (whom Jones was involved with in a three way trade that got Warfield to Miami from Cleveland and Jones from NY to Cleveland) was not higher (only # 76) given his elite speed (also a 9.3 sprinter) and the way he was used with Cleveland and Miami as a downfield threat. Not to add to the data burner, but it would have been interesting to see the YPC statistic included as a relative comparison. Interesting post and nice to see one of my sentimental favorites be recognized.

  • L.T. Jaeger March 19, 2014, 12:02 pm

    Great post and research; it’s a topic I’ve thought about but never seen any meaningful work on. Impressive that John Mackey ranks so high on the list as a tight end, and as a tight end who was also a devastatingly good blocker.

  • Danny Jones April 24, 2014, 12:37 am

    Check out my 3 football books. Homer Jones is in my book too. He’s a personal friend of mine too. He ran the 100-yard dash in 9.2 and 9.3 and was considered the fastest man in Pro Football in the 60’s with Bob Hayes. Yes I know about his average of 49.0 yards per touchdown reception. It’s in my book. Paul Warfield ran a 9.6 100-yard dash. You 9.3 is not correct for Paul. Homer Jones still holds the NFL record of highest yards per catch with a 22.3 average.

  • Danny Jones April 24, 2014, 1:07 am

    Homer is in my “Distant Memories” book. Also, there is a picture of Homer and me on the back book cover- of all 3 books. My football webpage is http://www.starsofthenfl.com That’s in case you can’t read it above. Oh Homer was one of my top favorites players too. He was something else. Imagine how good he could have been if he had some help? No other threats on offense, no defense. He still put up those great numbers for 4 years. Homer should be in the Hall of Fame. Any idea what we can do to help him? You can email me anytime.

  • B.Weeks May 28, 2014, 4:11 pm

    You have Randy Moss receiving 166 TD passes over his career when he only caught 156 TDs. This might of changed his average length of those passes!

    • Chase Stuart May 28, 2014, 4:13 pm

      This study includes postseason touches, of which Moss caught 10.

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