We’re approaching the best games of the year with some tremendous players. In an era where offense-heavy teams are starting to prevail (thanks to new rules and interpretations), we’re starting to look more to the big point setters than before. To celebrate the new wave, here are the 10 best wide receivers of all time!
Team: Baltimore Colts
Years Active: 1955 – 1967
One of the best, most dynamic players of his era, Raymond Berry was a force for the Baltimore Colts. Many say he actually had an impact on how modern wide receivers approach certain play patterns. In addition, his speed and incredible hands allowed him to make more completions and get more yards per possession than your average receiver.
Team: San Diego Chargers/Dallas Cowboys
Years Active: 1962 – 1972
Few receivers were as forgettable as Alworth in his prime. He had all of the tools needed to be a peak star at his position – his only weakness was time. During the pinnacle of his career, Alworth managed to average over 110 yards (including 20 yards per catch) and a touchdown per game over the course of two seasons. That’s the kind of punch that not only scores points but effects defenses enough to improve the other receivers around him.
Team: Detroit Lions
Years Active: 2007 – 2015
Megatron didn’t have one of the longer careers on this list, but that wasn’t enough to stop him (much like most NFL defenses). He was the best receiver in the game for a few years and he has the stats to prove it. One of his most notable accomplishments on his resume was his 2008 season where he posted 1,331 yards and 12 touchdowns on a 0-16 team.
Team: Indianapolis Colts
Years Active: 1996 – 2008
Marvin Harrison was known as Peyton Manning’s favorite target during his time on the Colts. He’s regarded as one of the most consistent receivers, recording 1000+ yards and 10+ touchdowns for each of his first 10 seasons. In an era of stars with short careers and talents getting exposed, Harrison was able to overcome adjustments which speaks to his talents and professionalism.
Team: Minnesota Vikings/Philadelphia Eagles
Years Active: 1987 – 2002
Mr highlight himself, Cris Carter was known for making big plays in big situations. His speed and soft hands led him to compiling close to 14,000 yards for his career (that’s just short of a 1,000 seasonal average over his 16-year career). He made 8 pro bowls and was considered one of the most revered receivers, even in the company of Terrell Owens and Randy Moss.
Team: San Francisco 49ers/Philadelphia Eagles/Dallas Cowboys/Buffalo Bills/Cincinnati Bengals
Years Active: 1996 – 2010
A true elite wide receiver who made just as many headlines with his behavior as he did with his touchdowns, feeding into his persona that we all know today. Owens played for 5 different teams over the span of 14 seasons and made it to 6 pro bowls. The early portion of his career on the 49ers set a precedent when he wowed crowds during his first super bowl. Owens scored over 150 touchdowns a made over 1000 career receptions, ranking him among the best in the game. His negative presence in the locker room was the only thing that prevented him from being higher on our list.
Team: Arizona Cardinals
Years Active: 2004 – Present
Larry Legend is regarded as one of the nicest guys in the league and most threatening wideouts of all time. His ability to make plays and get the most yards for every possession has really made him stand out. He’s on track to be one of the highest decorated receivers in NFL history.
Team: Seattle Seahawks
Years Active: 1976 – 1989
The 1970s and 80s had few to players that were as good as Largent. He managed to put up 1000+ yards for 8 straight seasons and made 7 pro bowls. He was a phenom from the start and was able to retire as an elite wide receiver.
Team: Minnesota Vikings/Oakland Raiders/New England Patriots/Tennessee Titans/San Francisco 49ers
Years Active: 1998 – 2012
Moss was a beast – that’s probably the best way to put it. He absolutely stormed out of the gate, posting over 8,000 receiving yards and scoring 77 touchdowns in just 6 seasons. His great college football career lacked a learning curve. Due to his physical gifts, Moss dominated during a few stages of his career, making him one of the most intimidating offensive players in NFL history.
Team: Green Bay Packers
Years Active: 1935 – 1945
Don was the man who started it all (for wide receivers). The game was a bit different in the 1940s, which is what made him so impressive. His speed and evasive maneuvers helped him put numbers up that have yet to be seen. He was seen as the Babe Ruth of wide receivers before Jerry Rice, and his 2 MVPs and 3 championships backed up him.
Team: San Francisco 49ers/Oakland Raiders/Seattle Seahawks
Years Active: 1985 – 2004
He was the best of the best. Jerry Rice ended his career with over 1500 receptions and 22,000 yards over the span of 20 seasons. His work ethic and physical conditioning were key, allowing him to combine top-quality talent with incredible longevity.