As NFL Network continues to roll out the NFL 100 All-Time Team to celebrate the league's 100th anniversary, wide receivers took center stage Friday.
Jerry Rice and Randy Moss led the group:
NFL 100 All-Time Team: Wide Receivers
- Jerry Rice (1985-2004)
- Randy Moss (1998-2012)
- Lance Alworth (1962-1972)
- Paul Warfield (1964-1977)
- Elroy Hirsch (1946-1957)
- Don Hutson (1935-1945)
- Larry Fitzgerald (2004-present)
- Raymond Berry (1955-1967)
- Steve Largent (1976-1989)
- Marvin Harrison (1996-2008)
Rice is universally regarded as the greatest receiver in NFL history. He remains the all-time leader in receptions (1,549), receiving yards (22,895) and receiving touchdowns (197).
One shudders to think what kind of numbers Rice would've put up were he to play in the present-day NFL, when league rules have made life a lot easier for pass-catchers.
Moss didn't have Rice's longevity but was a force in his prime. He made five Pro Bowls and three All-Pro teams in his first six years with the Minnesota Vikings.
When it looked like Moss was headed for an abrupt decline following an underwhelming spell with the Oakland Raiders, he posted 1,493 receiving yards and an NFL-record 23 touchdowns with the New England Patriots in 2007.
During his time in Minnesota, Moss crossed paths with a young Larry Fitzgerald, who was a ball boy for the team. Since he's still playing, Fitzgerald is years away from his enshrinement in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, but he didn't have to wait for his place on the all-time team.
Fitzgerald has a strong case to be the best player in Arizona Cardinals history.
The 36-year-old didn't single-handedly carry the team to Super Bowl XLIII in 2008, but he was an All-Pro that season. He added 30 receptions for 546 yards and seven touchdowns in Arizona's four playoff games as the team claimed its only conference championship.
The voting panel celebrated receivers outside of the present era as well, going back to the 1930s and 1940s to honor Don Hutson and Elroy Hirsch.
Hutson's numbers (488 receptions, 7,991 yards, 99 touchdowns) require some perspective. He led the NFL in receiving yards seven times and was the leader in receiving touchdowns in all but two of his 11 seasons. He was an eight-time All-Pro.
Some big names were bound to be overlooked as the voting panel trimmed its list from 24 finalists. Terrell Owens and Calvin Johnson were among those who missed out.
Owens' off-field reputation might have hurt his case, as it helped keep him out of the Hall of Fame for two years. Johnson retired after only nine seasons, which prevented him from climbing too high on the all-time charts.
The NFL 100 All-Time Team reveal will conclude at 8 p.m. ET Dec. 27 as the 10 greatest quarterbacks in NFL history are unveiled. The roster is available at NFL.com.