Brad Oremland noted in his last post that Stanley Morgan is the only player in history to average more than 19 yards per catch in a career with at least 500 receptions, and that such distinction will probably stand forever. Brad’s likely right: given today’s environment, Vincent Jackson and Calvin Johnson are the two preeminent deep threats of the last decade with at least 500 catches, and Jackson (16.97) and Johnson (15.89) were far shy of that mark.
That’s a fun bit of trivia, but let’s expand it. You can use reception cut-offs to come up with lots of Yards per Catch Kings. Here’s an exhaustive one:
- Jerry Rice is the all-time leader in yards per reception (14.78) among players with at least 1,079 receptions.
- Terrell Owens (14.7811 to Rice’s 14.7805) is the all-time leader in yards per reception among players with at least 1,025 receptions.
- Isaac Bruce is the career leader in YPR, at 14.85, among players with at least 983 receptions.
- Randy Moss (15.57) is the only player to average 15 yards per reception and record 820+ receptions.
- Steve Largent (15.98) is the career yards per reception leader among players with at least 815 receptions.
- Henry Ellard (16.93) is the only player to average over 16 yards per catch and finish his career with at least 765 receptions.
- James Lofton (18.33) is a big outlier, too; he’s the career YPR leader among players with at least 634 catches.
- Don Maynard (18.70) has the highest average gain among all players with at least 558 career receptions.
- Stanley Morgan, as noted above, is the career leader (19.24) among players with at least 428 career receptions.
- Paul Warfield (20.06) is in a class of his own: he’s the only player to average 20 yards per catch and catch 400+ passes, or 300+ passes, or even 268 passes.
- Flipper Anderson (20.064 to Warfield’s 20.059) is the leader in yards per catch among players with at least 262 receptions.
- Homer Jones, your career leader in average and median touchdown length, averaged 22.26 yards per catch in his career, the highest among all players with at least 163 receptions.
- Ken Kavanaugh (22.38) has the highest average among players with at least 159 receptions.
- Warren Wells (23.13) is the only player to average 23+ yards per catch and get 79+ career receptions. Wells, fans of obscure trivia may recall, was once the career leader in yards gained during a player’s final 16 games (1,109); that remained the record until Sterling Sharpe (1,119) broke it in ’94, who held the title until Justin Blackmon (1,201) stole the crown (he’s since been dethroned by Calvin Johnson (1,214) although it’s of course possible that one or both of those guys play in the NFL again).
- Don Currivan (25.37) is the career leader among players with at least 35+ catches.
- Bucky Pope (28.00) is the career leader in yards per reception if you set the cut-off at 15+ receptions or higher.
- Current Saints wide receiver Joe Morgan has 14 career receptions for 471 yards; that 33.64 average makes him the leader among all players with at least 5 career catches.
- Bills running back Roger Kochman had 63- and 68-yard receptions on two of his four catches in 1963, his lone season in the league. At 37.00, he’s the career leader in receptions among players with at least 3 catches.
- Johnny Spirida, who played for Washington in 1939, averaged 47.5 yards per reception on his two career catches. That’s the highest career average of any player with more than 1 reception.
- And if you have no cut-off at all, your career leader in yards per catch is … former Steelers quarterback Mark Malone? Yes, that’s right. Malone once caught a 90-yard touchdown pass from Terry Bradshaw, in a 1981 game against the Seahawks. It remains his only career catch.
And now that you have a career list of pro football’s Yards per Catch kings, you may now resume your normal Saturday activities.