Normally I’m on top of these sorts of things, but evidently this is one I missed. According to Pittsburgh Steelers PR guy Dom Rinelli, wide receiver Antonio Brown set a new record last week for the most receiving yards over a six-year span in NFL history with his 154-yard performance, surpassing the great Jerry Rice for that distinction.
Between the 1990 and 1995 seasons, San Francisco 49ers legend Jerry Rice caught 596 passes for 8759 yards and 80 touchdowns. He averaged 99 receptions for 1460 yards and 13-plus touchdowns per season during that exceptional span.
Brown is 10 catches from surpassing Wes Welker (2007-12: 672) for the most catches in any 6-year span.
— Dom Rinelli (@drinelli) December 9, 2018
With four games left to play heading into yesterday’s contest against the Oakland Raiders, Brown had recorded 663 receptions for 8876 yards and 64 touchdowns. That is an average of 111 receptions for 1480 yards and 11 touchdowns per season, and he still has time in 2018 to pad those numbers. He added just five receptions for 35 yards to that total yesterday, however.
Now, if he wants to keep ahead of Rice, then he is going to have some work to do, because Rice also had a phenomenal 1989 season—and his 1988 and 1996 season were not bad either. He posted over 1250 yards in each of those three seasons.
So if Brown wants to own the most receiving yards in a seven-year span, he will need to surpass 10,242 yards next year. For eight years, he will need to hit over 11,549 in 2020. Looking for a nine-year high? He will need to reach 12,802 receiving yards. That’s right. Rice averaged 1422 receiving yards per season over a nine-year span.
While it’s not quite the same, given that he didn’t begin his career as a starter, Brown is playing now in his ninth season. He came into yesterday’s game 62 yards shy of 11,000 for his career (now 27). In other words, he would have needed to average about 450 receiving yards per game over the final four weeks to even things up. Even dismissing his rookie season, Brown’s eight-year total of 10,806 yards is nearly 800 yards shy of Rice’s best eight-year stretch.
There are only 18 players in NFL history who even have recorded 12,802 receiving yards in their entire careers, let alone during a nine-year span. Not a lot of them even hit 11,000 in nine years’ time. The closest to 12,000 was Marvin Harrison, who had 11,995 yards from 1998 to 2006.
If Brown wants to reach Rice’s receiving yards in a nine-year span, he will have to record 1829 receiving yards between now and the end of the 2019 season. His injury-tainted first season as a starter in year three in which he only recorded 787 receiving yards drags down his current nine-year average, though, so he can still improve upon any nine-year total over the next three seasons, provided that he continues to play at a high level.