The 2016 season is unfortunately over, and the Pittsburgh Steelers are now embarking upon their latest offseason journey, heading back to the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex, formerly known and still referred to as the ‘South Side’ facility of Heinz Field. While the postseason is now behind us, there is plenty left to discuss.
And there are plenty of questions left unanswered as well. The offseason is just really the beginning phase of the answer-seeking process, which is lasts all the way through the Super Bowl for teams fortunate enough to reach that far.
You can rest assured that we have the questions, and we will be monitoring the developments in the offseason as they develop, and beyond, looking for the answers as we look to evaluate the makeup of the Steelers as they try to navigate their way back to the Super Bowl, after reaching the AFC Championship game last season for the first time in more than half a decade.
Question: Will Antonio Brown become the first player in NFL history with five straight 100-reception seasons?
Today’s installment is yet another straightforward question. Antonio Brown has tied an NFL record over the course of the past four seasons in catching at least 100 passes in each of them. Will he become the first player in NFL history to do it five years in a row in 2017?
To the best of my ability, I can find only three players in NFL history who over the course of their entire careers managed to put together five 100-reception seasons, let alone five in a row. Andre Johnson and Wes Welker have each done it—Welker in just six seasons. Brandon Marshall is the only player to have six 100-reception seasons. He did it three years in a row, and twice in a row.
The only other players to have at least four seasons of 100 receptions are Larry Fitzgerald (including the past two seasons), Jerry Rice, and Peyton Manning’s favorite targets, Marvin Harrison and Reggie Wayne. Harrison and Brown are the only players to have done it in four consecutive years.
Is Brown going to separate himself this year and enter a league of his own by making it five seasons in a row? Better yet, is he going to tie Marshall’s all-time record for a career while pushing it to six consecutive seasons of 100 or more receptions? Of course, that is a question for next year, assuming he keeps up the pace this year.
The pace that Brown is on is remarkable, but the reality is that every other player who has been on an even comparable pace has slowed down at or prior to this point. It also requires staying healthy, which Brown has been lucky enough to do, even though he did rest for this past season’s finale.
By the way, Welker caught 672 passes over a six-year span. Brown is currently at 481 over the past four seasons. He would have to average 96 receptions over the next two years to surpass Welker for the most receptions over a six-year span.