Congratulations to Larry Fitzgerald And To Jerry Rice

Last Sunday, Arizona Cardinals’ WR, Larry Fitzgerald, added 50 yards to his career total.  In doing so, he passed Terrell Owens’ career total and Fitzgerald is now second on the NFL All-Time List for receiving yards.  Normally, that achievement would merit congratulations and then I would move on.  However, this is a slightly different situation.

As the second-leading pass receiver in NFL history, Larry Fitzgerald has caught passes for 15,952 yards.  The first question that came to my mind was:

  • OK, how many more does he need to amass and pass Jerry Rice as the #1 guy on the list?

It took next to no time to determine that Jerry Rice’s total yardage was – wait for this – 22,895 yards.  The gap between Jerry Rice and Larry Fitzgerald as of this morning is 6,943 yards.  To put that in perspective, Golden Tate’s total yardage for his eight-and-a-half-year career is 6,955 yards.  After seeing the magnitude of the separation here, I wondered if any active players had a shot at Jerry Rice’s record.  It is going to be difficult to say the least.

The first thing I noticed is that all the receivers – other than Jerry Rice – who are high on the All-Time List averaged just a bit over 1000 yards a season.  So, I put in my mind that an active receiver would have to have enough seasons left where he could amass 1100 yards per season to catch Jerry Rice.  With that yardstick, here are some benchmarks:

  • Brandon Marshall:  Other than Fitzgerald, he is the leading receiver who is still active with 12,351 yards.  He would need to play another 9.5 years at 1100 yards per year to catch Jerry Rice.  He is 34 years old; he will not be catching passes 9 years from now.
  • Antonio Gates:  He would need to be around for 10.1 years at 1100 yards per year.  That is not happening.
  • Antonio Brown:  He is third among active pass-catchers with 10,600 yards.  Using my very rudimentary metric, he would need to continue his career for another 11.2 seasons to get to Jerry Rice’s level.  Brown has been in the NFL for 8.5 seasons to date; he is 30 years old.  You may convince yourself that Brown has a shot at the record – – but it is a long-shot.
  • DeSean Jackson:  He has amassed 10,180 yards receiving.  He would need to continue to play for another 11.7 years to live in Jerry Rice’s neighborhood.  Jackson is halfway through his 11th season in the NFL and is 32 years old.  This is not happening.
  • Julio Jones:  He has 10,094 yards to his credit for his career.  By my metric, he would also need 11.7 more seasons to get to the “Rice-level”.  Jones has been in the NFL for 7.5 years and is 29 years old this year.  Like Antonio Brown, he has a shot at the record – – but it too is a long-shot.

Looking at some of the “youngsters” who are nowhere near the 10,000-yard level so far in their careers, here are some of the ones who are averaging something near 1100 yards per season:

  • DeAndre Hopkins:  He has 6,759 yards; he averages 1229 yards per season; he is 26 years old.
  • Odell Beckham, Jr.:  He has 5,282 yards; he averages 1320 yards per season; he is 26 years old.
  • Mike Evans:  He has 5,416 yards; he averages 1204 yards per season; he is 25 years old.

When sports fans gather at a local watering hole and talk about “records that will never be broken”, I think we need to add Jerry Rice’s total receiving yards to the standard list that includes:

  • Cal Ripken’s consecutive game streak of 2632 games
  • Cy Young’s total of 511 wins in a career
  • UCLA’s seven consecutive NCAA Championships
  • You get the idea…

All those achievements – along with Jerry Rice’s career totals and all the other “unbreakable records” that may go onto this list – are praiseworthy.  Nonetheless, all of them could be broken some day because someone may come along with other-worldly skills or longevity and do it.  As I have pointed out here before, there is at least one sports record that will never be broken because it CANNOT be broken.  Here it is:

  • The Super Bowl game played in January 1991 between the NY Giants and the Buffalo Bills was then, is now and forever will be the Super Bowl game won by the smallest margin.  The final score was 20-19; that was the infamous Scott Norwood “wide-right game”.  It is not possible for any Super Bowl game to be decided by a smaller margin than that.  The record may be tied; it cannot be broken.

In the US, we often take notice of some of the wacky promotional events put on by minor league baseball teams.  Personally, I find many of them to be very clever.  Having said that, I think minor league baseball in the US has to take a back seat to an event staged by fans – not the team itself – of a minor league soccer team in Holland.  Fans hired a “busty stripper” to streak the field and “exchange banter” with the players.  Here is a link to the report in the NY Post.  There is video of the streak; it has been blurred out to make it PG-rated.  If you go to the link and watch the “event”, please notice that there is little to no effort by “security” to do anything about this.

Finally, Dwight Perry had a comment on this soccer streaking incident in Holland in the Seattle Times:

“Supporters of Rijnsburgse Boys, a soccer team in the Netherlands, hired a porn star named Foxy to run in nothing but shoes and socks across the field to unnerve rival Amsterdamsche FC players, but it didn’t work as first-place AFC breezed to a 6-2 win.

“Now that’s what you call a losing streak.”

But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………



6 thoughts on “Congratulations to Larry Fitzgerald And To Jerry Rice”

  1. Although I have seen pitchers capable of beating one Cy Young record, not many will be able to last long enough in MLB to approach anything close to his 316 losses. Who is #2? I wonder which active pitcher has the most losses?

    1. Something I did not realize is that #2 was not far behind. Pud Galvin ( a player whose name I never knew) lost 308 games and is in the HOF.

    2. Doug:

      Pud Galvin is second on the MLB list for games lost. He lost 308 of them so he came close to the Cy Young number. Nolan Ryan is 3rd on the list with 292 losses.

      The active pitcher with the most losses is Bartolo Colon with 188 followed by CC Sabathia with 153.

  2. Some of it has to do with the fact that loss-leader pitchers do not last long. Many moons ago, when Billy Martin ran the A’s, there was a pitcher named Langford that rang up 20 losses in a season (Martin was also famous for leaving starters in too long, i.e. when Langford pitched an entire 14-inning game in Toronto once). Something like that would have to occur for a long time to get to 317 losses (that’s 16 years) and with the 5-pitcher rotations now in use the opportunities to lose and win a lot of games (like Denny McClain’s 30 wins) are no longer there. Starters will be the ones getting most of the decisions as a rule. So you have to be good enough to keep but unlucky enough to lose, like Nolan Ryan in his 4-12 season with an ERA under 4.0 (IIRC)

    On a side note, it seems Anthony and the Rockets parted ways today after ten games. The Rockets were pleased with his effort but could not find a way to use his talents. One wonders how much scouting they did before signing him. Also I did not know that it’s still another month before he can be traded according to the CBA, but that strangely would work in Anthony’s favor as more players get hurt. I can’t see him playing for the Dubs, though. None of the stars would put up with the drama and they’re too good individually and collectively to defer to Anthony on talent grounds (like Barry Bonds for the SF Giants).

    1. Rugger9:

      Anthony’s offensive skills are eroding; Father Time sees to that. The problem is that he never played tough defense and now his defensive liability has a much diminished offsetting asset.

  3. Something else that is missed about Jerry Rice is how fanatical he was about body maintenance (typically at 4% body fat, from a SI article IIRC) which aided his longevity. Plus, a little luck doesn’t hurt when his motivational engine always was at full throttle. He especially did not like other receivers being declared to be better than him (like Michael Irvin) and set out to disprove the claim, with focus. Game faces started no later than Tuesday.

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