It must be an odd feeling being Anquan Boldin. Here is a man that has broken several records and has put up amazing career stats in the NFL, yet he is still often overlooked on his own team.
In last year's playoffs Larry Fitzgerald simply blew up. He broke NFL postseason records for catches, yards, and touchdowns.
Every football fan had heard of Fitz since his stellar college playing days at the University of Pittsburgh. As The Chosen One, he was regularly labeled a can't miss NFL superstar.
After the way he finished last season, Fitzgerald is now mentioned in the same category as Jerry Rice and Randy Moss, impressive company. Boldin meanwhile has taken a media backseat.
Yet, Boldin is no stranger to being under appreciated. In the 2003 draft, he was chosen in the second round because of his slow results at the NFL Combine. All he did in his very first professional game was torch the Lions for 217 yards, a rookie record.
He went on to earn Rookie of the Year honors with 101 catches for 1,377 yards and eight touchdowns. The 101 catches still stands as the most catches for a rookie ever.
In six full seasons, Boldin has earned three Pro Bowls and notched a team record four 1,000-yard seasons. He was the fastest player in NFL history to record 200, then 300, 400, and now 500 receptions, doing so in 80 games.
He is tied with Torry Holt as the fifth fastest receiver in NFL history to reach the 5,000-yard mark, doing so in his 63rd career game.
The list goes on and on, but stellar stats are not what make Boldin special.
He is widely regarded as one of the toughest players in the game regardless of position, and has a lengthy highlight reel to prove it. Once he gets the ball in his hands he attacks defenders like a punishing running back. He will deliver brutal blocks, and is a team player with a great work ethic.
So how is it that the fickle masses rarely even acknowledge Boldin's presence now that Fitzgerald is a mega star? If Fitzgerald is climbing the all-time best receivers list, where does that leave Boldin?
If you were to use stats to tell the whole story, you might be surprised when comparing media darling Larry Fitzgerald and the forgotten one Anquan Boldin side by side. Not only is there not much separation as you might think, but it is in actuality Boldin with the more impressive stats in two out of the three basic receiving categories.
In 79 career games Fitzgerald has 443 catches for 6,156 yards and 48 TDs.
In 83 career games Boldin has 518 catches for 6,667 yards and 41 TDs.
In the shadow of Larry Fitzgerald, Anquan Boldin keeps chugging along, breaking tackles and breaking records.