Originally Posted by Iamcanadian
Jerry Rice by a mile IMO. Today's WR's play in a soft league where head hunting is no longer permitted, many, many of them wouldn't even have made a team from the past because it used to take real guts to play the position especially to go over the middle of the field for a reception.
Today's rules have eliminated the toughness from the game and made it easy for modern receivers to look good especially with QB's throwing the ball as many as 700 times a season, it just shows how ridiculously easy the passing game has become under current rules.
I agree with most of this, but Moss was dominating before it got to this point. I consider Moss and Owens legitimate carry overs from a prior era.
On the other hand, while I consider Calvin and Andre Johnson great receivers, their numbers don't mean a whole lot to me in comparison to past greats. You can only compare athletes from the same era.
And there were always plenty of niche receivers in the NFL in the past. The difference is, their careers wouldn't have lasted as long. I think that has more to do with less developed surgical techniques to repair injuries, as well as lower grade performance enhancers, than how much more physical the sport was, though. But the sport was definitely much more physical before. Most modern receivers are pussies by comparison. There have been so many guys masquerading as "technicians" with "intangibles" when they're really nothing more than a product of their system.