Let’s start with some trivia before moving to today’s post:
- Only two quarterback-receiver pairs have ever topped the 10,000 yard mark. Can you name them?
- Only two receivers (minimum: 7,000 yards) gained at least 93% of their career receiving yards from one quarterback. Do you know who they are?
- Two of the men in the top ten in career receiving yards can credit the same quarterback account for more of their yards than any other passer. Can you name that quarterback?
- Can you name the receiver who gained over 10,000 yards in his career, but the quarterback from whom he gained the most yards was… Quincy Carter?
- Among the top twenty-five leaders in career receiving yards, can you guess which player was the only one to fail to catch at least 20% of his yards from a single quarterback?
The table below lists the top 120 leaders in career receiving yards, along with all passers from whom they accumulated at least five percent of their total yards.1 For visibility reasons, the table shows only the top 10, but you can cycle through the pages with the arrows at the bottom of the table, or search for your favorite receiver in the search box. You can also sort by any of the categories by simply clicking on the category header, and you can use the dropbox to change the number of receivers listed.
I’m sure a lot of you could spend hours playing around with that table. One fun thing to do is type in a quarterback and see which receivers come up. Vinny Testaverde brings up 8 different names; Kurt Warner brings seven. Jeff George gives you Bill Brooks, who entered the league in 1986, and Randy Moss (1998). You can connect Sterling Sharpe to Laveranues Coles through Brett Favre.
What about those trivia questions? Peyton Manning connected on over 10,0002 yards of passes with both Marvin Harrison and Reggie Wayne. Interestingly enough, the two wide receivers who were most dependent on their quarterback? Miami receivers Mark Clayton and Mark Duper both spent nearly their entire careers catching passes from Dan Marino.
Of course, one of the more interesting ways to use the above data is to see which receivers have been stuck with bad quarterbacks their whole career. Doug Drinen and I are sympathetic to the plight of Joey Galloway. Quincy Carter, a 41- and 42-year old Warren Moon, Rick Mirer, Chris Simms, John Friesz, Brian Griese and Jeff Garcia were the quarterbacks on whom he depended. In addition to Galloway, Harold Jackson, Andre Rison and Keyshawn Johnson all gained 6% of their receiving yards from seven different quarterbacks.
Let us know in the comments what you find most interesting.
- For players who played in the NFL prior to 1960, those games were excluded from the above table. Don Hutson, Elroy Hirsch and Billy Howton accumulated all (or in Howton’s case, the vast majority) of their stats prior to 1960 and were therefore excluded. Raymond Berry (64%), Pete Retzlaff (78%), Tommy McDonald (80%), Jimmy Orr (81%), Boyd Dowler (92%), Bobby Mitchell (94%), Don Maynard (99%) and Lionel Taylor (99.99%) accumulated the majority of their receiving yards after 1960, and were included. However, their stats on quarterback data only focuses on their performances beginning in 1960. [↩]
- Note that these numbers are not exact, but are as close as you can get with individual game (but not play by play) data. In each game, I calculated what percentage of passing yards were generated by each team’s quarterback. Usually, 100% of the passing yards were by one quarterback, but obviously there were exceptions. If a quarterback threw for 300 yards and the team had 400 gross passing yards, then for each receiver, 75% of his yards would be assigned to the first quarterback, and 25% to the second. [↩]