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Torry Holt and 700+ Receiving Yards in Every Season

In yesterday’s post, Torry Holt played in the NFL for 11 seasons. His rookie year, he gained 788 yards for the ’99 Rams; his last year in St. Louis, he gained 796 yards. In fact, Holt’s 2007 season remains the last time any Rams receiver had 800 yards in a season.

In Holt’s final year, 2009, he gained 722 yards with the Jaguars. Holt was never a compiler: his 13,382 career receiving yards has very little “junk” in them. So here’s some Sunday trivia: he’s the only player in NFL history to have retired with at least 10 seasons with 700+ receiving yards and zero seasons without 700+ receiving yards.

Some other notable players:

  • Sterling Sharpe only played for seven seasons, but his minimum year was even better; Sharpe gained 791 yards as a rookie, 961 in 1991, and over 1,000 yards in every other season.  Ditto Calvin Johnson who had 756 yards as a rookie, 984 in 14 games in 2009, and over 1,000 yards in his other seven seasons.  Holt, Sharpe, and Johnson are the only retired players with at least 700 yards in 7+ seasons, and zero seasons below that threshold.
  • Keyshawn Johnson played for 11 years, and had 600+ yards in each of them. Rob Moore played for ten seasons, and had at least 600 receiving yards in each of them.  Eddie Brown hit that mark for each of his seven seasons. No other retired player but those three, Holt, Sharpe, and Johnson played multiple seasons and had at least 600 receiving yards each year.1
  • Larry Fitzgerald had played for 12 seasons, and never fallen below 780 yards.  His former teammate, Anquan Boldin has played for 13 seasons, and never fallen below 623 yards.
  1. Yes, Art Weiner played for one season and had 722 receiving yards, and Sylvester Morris had 678 yards in his lone season. []
  • sacramento gold miners

    At his peak, I would probably rate Sterling Sharpe ahead of Torry Holt. Playing in Green Bay, Sharpe was arguably the second best receiver(behind Jerry Rice) during a point in the 90s. The career-ending injury not only cost Sharpe a trip to multiple Super Bowls, but the HOF. Rob Moore seems forgotten today, but the Syracuse product was a force despite mediocre QB play.

    • You don’t think Torry Holt was arguably the second best receiver during a point in the ’00s?

      • Corey

        Holt’s prime overlapped with the Harrison/Owens/Moss trio, as well as Steve Smith. Maybe in 2003 (when he lead the league in receptions and yards) Holt was a top-2 guy, but that’s probably the only year he has a good case. His relatively low TD totals hurt him.

        • sacramento gold miners

          If such a thing as second best could be chosen, I’d say Sharpe(in my opinion), was in that position longer than Holt would have been.

        • Maybe in 2003? Holt was the leading vote-getter (among WRs) on the Associated Press all-pro team.

          But definitely not top-2 in 2000, when he led the NFL in receiving yards (1635) and averaged 11.76 yards per target, the 2nd-highest figure in recorded history (1992-pres)? And definitely not in any of his four other 1,300-yard seasons?

          But I had gotten the impression we were discussing a longer period than a single season. Holt led the league in receiving yards from 2000-04, from 2001-05, and from 2002-06. He led in receptions from 2003-07. Torry had the most catches, most yards, and most first downs of any receiver in the ’00s. I don’t know how well you remember Holt, but he was phenomenal.

          • Corey

            Holt was really good, yes. But the 2000s were a great decade for WRs. You’re picking a lot of artificial endpoints there. And the lack of TDs is a big problem for Holt, especially compared to Moss and Owens, who were TD machines. Both ended up more than doubling Holt’s 74 career TDs.

            Holt’s biggest advantage is his consistency. Unlike Moss (2004-06) or Owens (1999, 2005), he never had a down year in his prime. But the down years for Moss and Owens also coincide with Steve Smith deciding to terrorize the league and strong years from Harrison as well.

            Also, FWIW, Holt spent his entire career in the 2000s NFC West, which as an absolutely dreadful division for most of that decade. I know SOS adjustments have hurt Kurt Warner a lot, I imagine there would be similar effects for Holt and Isaac Bruce.

            • I would disagree that I’ve done anything shady with endpoints. I used four consecutive five-year periods. I like five-year periods. But I could just as easily have used 2002-04 and 2003-05, or 2000-03 and 2001-04 and 2002-05 and 2003-06, or 2000-05 and 2001-06 and 2002-07, or a half dozen other combinations. Holt led the NFL in receiving yards during all those periods.

              Receiving yards are a WRs most important statistic, but you’re right that Holt’s TD totals, which are also important, don’t compare to those of Moss, Owens, and Harrison. Not sure what you mean about Steve Smith. Smith was a rock star in ’05, but he didn’t play in ’99 or ’04, and in ’06 Holt had more catches, more yards, more first downs, and more touchdowns.

              I’m not sure how I feel about SOS adjustments for individual players, but are you implying that the AFC South (Harrison), NFC North (Moss), and NFC East/West (Owens) were strong defensive divisions during the early-mid ’00s, when Holt was in his prime? I could perhaps be persuaded otherwise, but I’m inclined to disregard SOS as a major factor in this puzzle.

          • Corey

            FWIW, when Chase did his greatest receivers study a few years ago, he ranked Holt 14th all-time, but that was good enough for only 6th best of his era, behind Harrison, Owens, Moss, Steve Smith, and Andre Johnson (maybe 7th depending on how much you think Holt and Jimmy Smith overlapped).

            • Yeah, Chase and I have butted heads on the best method of statistical evaluation many times, and you touch on a couple of the biggest conflicts. I believe Chase’s methods overrate current and recent players (hence 14th all-time and 6th in his own generation) and for WRs he and I are revisiting our disagreement over how to adjust for team attempts, which has caused him to rate Steve Smith much too high.

              I don’t necessarily disagree with anything you wrote, but I’ll point out that we’ve gone from “during a point in the ’00s” to careers. I never said that Holt had a better career than Marvin Harrison or Randy Moss, and I don’t think he did.

  • “Holt’s 2007 season remains the last time any Rams receiver had 800 yards in a season.”

    That’s nuts. Receiving records are falling all over the league, and the Rams haven’t had an 800-yard receiver in nearly a decade.

  • sacramento gold miners

    Nearly every fan would assume Holt or Issac Bruce led those 1999 Rams in yards per catch. Instead, it was the smallish Az-Zahir Hakim, with a startling 18.8 that season. Surprising info, Hakim was frequently a slot receiver on that team.