When Santonio Holmes was traded from the Pittsburgh Steelers to the New York Jets during the offseason for a fifth round pick, the team was relying on second year receiver Mike Wallace to fill some very big shoes. Holmes had his statistically best season in 2009 and was the Super Bowl MVP of Super Bowl XLIII with an acrobatic game winning touchdown catch.
Just like Holmes, Wallace has led the NFL in yards per reception. Mike did it last year as a rookie while Holmes did it in his second season. Wallace was also thrust into a starting role during his second year as was Holmes. Santonio Holmes and Mike Wallace have many similarities; however, the following slides will discuss why Wallace is actually better than Santonio.
The most obvious area in which Wallace is better than Holmes is the reason that Santonio Holmes is no longer a Pittsburgh Steeler: discipline issues. No one has ever questioned Holmes' performance on the field. He has a knack for coming through in clutch situations. However, his behavior away from the field leaves a lot to be desired at times.
May 27, 2006- Holmes was arrested in Miami Beach, FL for disorderly conduct. Holmes paid a fine and the charges were dropped.
June 18, 2006- Holmes was arrested again, this time for domestic violence and assault in Columbus, OH. The charges were later dropped.
October 23, 2008- Holmes was arrested in Pittsburgh, PA for possession of marijuana. The Steelers deactivated him for a game as a result of this arrest.
March 24, 2010- Anshonae Mills filed a lawsuit against Holmes over an incident on March 7, 2010 in which she claims that Holmes threw a glass at her in an Orlando, FL nightclub, cutting her above her eye. This was the incident that ultimately led to Holmes being traded to the New York Jets.
April 29, 2010- According to authorities at Pittsburgh International Airport, a flight attendant told police that Holmes wouldn't turn off his iPod when requested and asked that officers speak to him. Officers spoke with Homes, but no charges were filed.
Holmes has also made questionable comments on his twitter account. He told one follower to "kill urself", and made marijuana references in another tweet. To this point in his career, Mike Wallace has not had any of the off-field problems that Holmes had.
Mike Wallace is faster than Santonio Holmes. Wallace's speed allows him to get behind defenders almost effortlessly. This also stretches the defense, opening up the field for guys like Hines Ward and Heath Miller to make plays.
Santonio has actually been a beneficiary of Wallace's speed as well. Is it a coincidence that Santonio Holmes had his best statistical output during Mike Wallace's rookie season? To date, 2009 was the only season in which Santonio eclipsed 1,000 receiving yards. His 1,248 yards through the air bests his next best output by just over 300 yards.
There are a very few, if any, players that can beat Mike Wallace in a foot race.
Santonio Holmes only scored two touchdowns during his rookie season. Last season as a rookie, Mike Wallace scored six. Santonio scored eight touchdowns during his second season, but has not scored more than five in any season since. Mike Wallace already has eight touchdowns this season with three games left to be played.
Holmes has developed a reputation as a clutch receiver by scoring touchdowns in key situations at the end of games. However, he doesn't have the same nose for the end zone as Wallace. Mike simply puts more points on the board than Holmes.
Santonio Holmes is in his fifth season while this is only Wallace's second season. As a result, Wallace has just under one third of the career receptions of Santonio. However, Mike Wallace enjoys a nearly four yard per reception advantage over Holmes.
Mike had a 19.4 yard per reception average last season and that average has climbed to 20.6 this season. Santonio Holmes' best season for yards per reception was 2007 when he averaged 18.1 yards. Wallace makes the most that he can out of every catch.
This season, Wallace is averaging just about four yards per game more than Holmes despite only being in his second season. Mike should also eclipse the 1,000 yard mark this season, a feat that Holmes has only accomplished once during his career.
Pittsburgh has struggled at times on offense, but not because of Wallace. Imagine what Mike Wallace could have accomplished if Ben Roethlisberger had played the entire season and the offensive line hadn't been plagued by injuries. The Steelers have not missed Santonio Holmes as much as expected this season. Not only has Mike Wallace filled Santonio's shoes, but he has also improved the team despite the departure of Holmes.