All Time Great NFL Wide Receivers: Jerry Rice, Lynn Swan & Cris Carter
An all time great wide receiver hooking up with his legendary quarterback on a long touchdown strike is one of the most electrifying plays in the NFL.
It is often said that the all time great NFL wide receivers made their quarterbacks the stars they were. That could certainly be argued both ways.
There are many wide receivers who belong on the list of all-time greats, but three automatically come to mind. The trio of Jerry Rice, Lynn Swan & Cris Carter definitely helped their respective quarterbacks gain their fame and success in the NFL.
Montana drops back, goes deep to Jerry Rice, touchdown 49ers!
How many times have NFL fans heard that phrase spoken by a legendary NFL broadcaster like Pat Summerall? The answer is a lot – 55 times to be exact.
If you ask anyone who was the best receiver ever to play in the NFL, there is no doubt that Jerry Rice will be the answer. Rice holds the most sought records in the receiving ranks: career touchdowns (288), career receptions (1,549) and career receiving yards (22,895).
Rice played for 20 seasons in the NFL. Though he played most of those years with the San Francisco 49ers, he also had stints with the Seattle Seahawks and Oakland Raiders. Records aside, Rice’s career is filled accomplishments. He was the 1985 Rookie of the Year, Super Bowl XXIII MVP, a 13-time Pro Bowler, 11-time All-Pro and inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2010. It is safe to say that it will be years (if ever) until another receiver overtakes the prestigious records Rice set or his status as the greatest NFL wide receiver all time.
Steelers Lynn Swann: Four Time Super Bowl Champion
Some might argue about Lynn Swann being on a list of great receivers because he didn’t play as long as others and doesn’t have the same incredible numbers. Swann played only nine seasons, all with the Pittsburgh Steelers, and was part of the Steelers’ 1974 draft class that included four Hall of Famers.
The first argument for Swann is that he played in an era of the NFL where the forward pass wasn’t as popular as it was even a decade later. Another is that he played on a team that also had a Hall of Fame running back, Franco Harris.
Nevertheless, Swan was the most aerobatic and graceful receiver of recent times. He credits childhood dance classes, which included ballet, for many of his remarkable catches. Swann won four Super Bowls with the Steelers from 1974-1980 and was a 3-time All-Pro. Swann was enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2001.
Cris “All he does is catch touchdowns” Carter
Cris Carter is best known for the magical plays he made with the Minnesota Vikings. However, he was originally drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles in the 1987 supplemental draft. After a falling out with head coach Buddy Ryan, Carter was cut and subsequently picked up by the Vikings in September 1990.
Carter had the best pair of hands of any receiver in football. Buddy Ryan once commented, “All he does is catch touchdowns.” He set a record for receptions in 1994 with 122. He matched that production the following season, but the Detroit Lions’ Herman Moore caught 123 receptions. He was also the second player in NFL history to have over 1,000 receptions and is third all-time with 1,101 career receptions. Carter’s 14,934 yards rank him fourth in NFL history.
Long touchdown strikes are one of the most exciting plays in the NFL. They always bring fans out of there seats and onto their feet. No duo ever did it better than “Montana to Rice (pause) Touchdown 49ers!”