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Trivia: Receiving Yards per Game Over a Three-Year Period

by Chase Stuart on June 1, 2014

in Receiving, Statistics

Over the last three years, Calvin Johnson has 5,137 receiving yards in 46 games.  That’s an average of 111.7 receiving yards per game, the most by any player over a three-year stretch in NFL history.  That mark comes with a bit of an asterisk, of course, as the Lions have attempted 2,040 passes since the start of the 2011 season, also an NFL record; that’s why I like using True Receiving Yards and various other WR Ranking Systems rather than just raw receiving yards.

But hey, trivia is trivia, and Johnson is the current record holder.  But prior to 2013, do you know who held the record for receiving yards per game over a three-year stretch? The answer is not Jerry Rice, or else this would be a really lame trivia question.  Rice averaged 101.0 receiving yards per game from 1993 to 1995, and is one of just three players to average over 100 receiving yards per game for a three-year stretch.  Megatron also averaged 101.4 receiving yards per game from 2010 to 2012, but he only became the 3-year king after the conclusion of the 2013 season.

Trivia hint 1 Show


Trivia hint 2 Show


Trivia hint 3 Show


Click 'Show' for the Answer Show


I suspect you’ll also be surprised to see who would is number 4 on the list of most receiving yards per game over a three-year span (counting each player only once, of course).

Trivia hint 1 Show


Trivia hint 2 Show


Trivia hint 3 Show


Click 'Show' for the Answer Show

After Johnson, Rice, and our two mystery men, which other players have had the best three-year runs? The table below shows players 5 through 50 in receiving yards per game for a three-year stretch, including for each player only his best three seasons.

Rk
Player
Years
Ages
3 Yr RecYd
3 Yr G
3 Yr Avg
5Marvin Harrison2000-200228-3046594897.1
6Don Maynard1967-196932-3436693896.6
7Torry Holt2003-200527-2943994695.6
8Terrell Owens2000-200227-2941634494.6
9Don Hutson1942-194429-3128533192
10Henry Ellard1988-199027-2940904590.9
11Art Powell1962-196425-2737954290.4
12Steve Smith2004-200625-2727893190
13Jimmy Smith1999-200130-3242224789.8
14Isaac Bruce1995-199723-2539344489.4
15Herman Moore1995-199726-2842754889.1
16Elroy Hirsch1951-195328-3030263489
17Bobby Mitchell1962-196427-2937244288.7
18Michael Irvin1991-199325-2742494888.5
19Chad Johnson2005-200727-2942414888.4
20Randy Moss2001-200324-2642124887.8
21Charley Hennigan1961-196326-2836644287.2
22Raymond Berry1959-196126-2831303686.9
23Rod Smith1999-200129-3139654686.2
24Larry Fitzgerald2006-200823-2537864486
25Tom Fears1949-195127-2926573185.7
26Jim Benton1944-194628-3025533085.1
27Anquan Boldin2003-200523-2534024085.1
28Harlon Hill1954-195622-2430413684.5
29Roddy White2010-201229-3140364884.1
30Del Shofner1961-196327-2934394183.9
31Antonio Freeman1996-199824-2636004383.7
32Brandon Marshall2011-201327-2940174883.7
33Wes Welker2009-201128-3037654583.7
34Lionel Taylor1960-196225-2733194083
35Reggie Wayne2006-200828-3039654882.6
36James Lofton1982-198426-2833574181.9
37David Boston2000-200222-2432664081.7
38Joe Horn2000-200228-3039174881.6
39A.J. Green2011-201323-2538334781.6
40George Sauer1966-196823-2534094281.2
41Bob Hayes1965-196723-2532334080.8
42Mike Quick1983-198524-2637084680.6
43Julio Jones2011-201322-2427373480.5
44Tim Brown1995-199729-3138544880.3
45Sterling Sharpe1992-199427-2938544880.3
46Eric Moulds1998-200025-2736884680.2
47Kellen Winslow1982-198425-2725563279.9
48Mark Duper1984-198625-2732694179.7
49Rob Gronkowski2011-201322-2427093479.7
50Demaryius Thomas2011-201324-2634154379.4

Don Maynard at number 6? Take that, Neil!

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Kibbles June 1, 2014 at 12:06 am

I haven’t read the article yet, but from the title alone I’m going to guess that the answer is Lance Alworth.

Reply

Chase Stuart June 1, 2014 at 11:10 am

This is a good guess.

Reply

Kibbles June 1, 2014 at 12:12 am

Yup. I also would have guessed Alworth had the title been “receiving ypg over a 4-year span”, “receiving ypg over a 5-year span”, or “receiving ypg over a 6-year span”, and I would have been awfully tempted to take him had it been “receiving ypg over a 2-year span”- though I’d feel far less confident that a Rice, Hennigan, or Chandler wouldn’t wind up trumping him in that one.

Reply

Andrew Healy June 1, 2014 at 12:48 am

Not only does Maynard come up on the list, but he even overlaps with Sauer for two of those! Julio Jones and Roddy White also did the two-year overlap.

Reply

Chase Stuart June 1, 2014 at 11:10 am

Take that Neil!!!!!11

Reply

Tim Truemper June 2, 2014 at 4:37 pm

I guessed Maynard for #2 and was wrong by the first hint. The I had nothing. Got Alworth but that’s because you guys are crazy about “Bambi.”

Reply

Tim Truemper June 2, 2014 at 4:39 pm

correction “Then I Had nothing.” Anyway, luv the post and its nice to see mini-era data on players (that is, consecutive performance measures over a span greater than two years).

Reply

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