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Old 02-22-2008, 07:13 PM    (permalink
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Default Don Hutson or Jerry Rice: Who is the Greatest WR?

Most current NFL fans know what Jerry Rice has accomplished, setting an holding all of the records for wide receivers in NFL history. But just because a player has all of the records does that make him the best?

Don Hutson was ahead of his time. Here is a Don Hutson Bio you can check out. Take a look and let me know what you think. You may be surprised just how good Don Hutson was. In fact, it took more than 40 years for his records to be broken and he played 10-12 games per season, not 16.

Also, Hutson was far more dominant during his era than Rice was during his. This is a close call and I want to know your thoughts.

Here is something to consider. These are game averages vs. other receivers in their era. Although, Hutson's numbers came before the first passing boom in the late 40's and early 50's.

Don Hutson 4.2 Catches a game 68.9 yards per game and .85 touchdowns per game
Crazy Legs Hirsch 3.0 catches for 55.7 yards per game and 0.47 touchdowns per game
Lavelli 3.1 catches for 52.7 yards per game and 0.58 touchdowns per game

Here is Rice vs. other receivers of his era and shortly after.

Jerry Rice 5.1 catches a game for 75.6 yards per game and 0.65 touchdowns/game
Randy Moss 5.0 catches a game for 79.1 yards per game and 0.81 touchdowns/game
Sterling Sharpe 5.3 catches a game for 72.6 yards per game and 0.58 touchdowns/game

As you can see, Hutson was more dominant during his era than Rice was during his. In fact, even though Hutson did not play in the passing era, and defenses put their focus completely on him, we was better than Rice in 1 of the three categories. Rice on the other hand holds all of the records and probably will hold most of them for a very long time.

Last edited by 20yardline : 02-22-2008 at 11:09 PM. Reason: Adding information
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Old 02-22-2008, 07:26 PM    (permalink
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Are you by any chance a Packers fan? Jerry Rice was EXTREMELY dominant over his era. IMO Rice is the only player who is the undisputed GOAT of his position. Most of his records nearly double the next closest competitior. There's no one at any other position that can claim anything of that nature, even on the day they retired.
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Old 02-22-2008, 07:37 PM    (permalink
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Are you by any chance a Packers fan? Jerry Rice was EXTREMELY dominant over his era. IMO Rice is the only player who is the undisputed GOAT of his position. Most of his records nearly double the next closest competitior. There's no one at any other position that can claim anything of that nature, even on the day they retired.
Funny, I was about to ask if he was a Packers fan as well.
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Old 02-22-2008, 07:41 PM    (permalink
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Hutson was more dominant because he had a fully formed passing offense in the middle ages of football. It's for the same reason why if you normalize his stats to the modern offensive climate, it becomes obvious that Otto Graham dominated his time more than any other QB. Both players were essentially driving a Porsche while everyone else at the time were still trying to invent the wheel. Their dominance is a testament to the ability of their coaches to create innovative schemes, not as much as the players themselves. While both players were good in college, they weren't anything revolutionary. Jerry Rice on the other hand, was setting records in college, came to the pros, in an era where he didn't really enjoy a pronounced schematic advantage, and set records in the pros.

There's only two positions with an undisputed best player. WR and OLB. Jerry Rice is the best WR ever.
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Old 02-22-2008, 07:41 PM    (permalink
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Hutson was dominant too, i dont believe he was better, mostly because he just ran straight really fast. But he had 99 TD's in his career. Thats HUGE!!!!!!! for a player in his time. He made the passing game respectable and without him Rice wouldve been a CB or RB. I'd say Hutson is top 5. Sometimes we dont realize the impact of players like him and Unitas because they played so long ago
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Old 02-22-2008, 07:49 PM    (permalink
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Some people think Rice is the best. Others don't. It's just like the same routine with Joe Montana in my opinion. I'm just grateful enough that Rice did what he did for the 49ers, and that he was one of the best to play the position.
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Old 02-22-2008, 07:53 PM    (permalink
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I'm just grateful enough that Rice did what he did for the 49ers, and that he was THE best to play the position.
There I fixed it.
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Old 02-22-2008, 07:53 PM    (permalink
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Hutson was dominant too, i dont believe he was better, mostly because he just ran straight really fast. But he had 99 TD's in his career. Thats HUGE!!!!!!! for a player in his time. He made the passing game respectable and without him Rice wouldve been a CB or RB. I'd say Hutson is top 5. Sometimes we dont realize the impact of players like him and Unitas because they played so long ago
100% agree with that. Hutson was great for his time and true he didnt play as many games as Rice did, I still think Rice was far more dominate and just a all around better WR.
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Old 02-22-2008, 08:03 PM    (permalink
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Some people think Rice is the best. Others don't. It's just like the same routine with Joe Montana in my opinion. I'm just grateful enough that Rice did what he did for the 49ers, and that he was one of the best to play the position.
The difference is that with Montana, you can create a well rounded argument for several players for them being better than Montana. You can't do that with Rice, the only argument anyone can come up with is that Hutson did really well for playing that long ago. However, when you look at the fact that he only played for one team, and after he left, players like Nolan Luhn had 7 TD seasons in his stead in the same system, it points to a schematic advantage. The packers in that era passed the ball 250-350 times a season, that's a 1970s offense, not 1940s.

Hutson was great, but Rice was great on a level playing field.
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Old 02-22-2008, 08:21 PM    (permalink
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The difference is that with Montana, you can create a well rounded argument for several players for them being better than Montana. You can't do that with Rice, the only argument anyone can come up with is that Hutson did really well for playing that long ago. However, when you look at the fact that he only played for one team, and after he left, players like Nolan Luhn had 7 TD seasons in his stead in the same system, it points to a schematic advantage. The packers in that era passed the ball 250-350 times a season, that's a 1970s offense, not 1940s.

Hutson was great, but Rice was great on a level playing field.
Perhaps, but remember Jerry Rice played on a team that was usually dominant year in and year out offensively for at least 14 of his 16 seasons with the ball club with two Hall of Fame quarterbacks. That helped his case immensely.
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Old 02-22-2008, 08:22 PM    (permalink
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Hutson is the most important WR to ever play. He evolved the game more than any other receiver. Jerry Rice is the best WR to ever play.
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Old 02-22-2008, 08:28 PM    (permalink
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Hutson and Allworth ahead of Rice in my book
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Old 02-22-2008, 08:31 PM    (permalink
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There is no way you can say anyone is better than Jerry Rice, especially some guy who played during the leather helmet era of football. I love everyone who likes to compare player decades apart because you can't do it. Players back in the day wouldn't even make most high school football teams today, they were so small and the game was so primitive.

Jerry Rice is also the only real clear cut best player at his position in this great sport. I can't see anyone playing now being able to reach over 22,000 receiving yards. I can maybe see someone getting over 1,500 catches or 200 receiving TD's but not 22,000 yards. Jerry Rice dominated for so long it's hard to really appreciate what he did season by season. I thought the man was indestructible until he finally got injured in 1997. The man made one handed catches look like breathing and even made Steve Young look good (look at what he did before the 49ers).

I'm still astounded that anyone has the nuts or is just plain ignorant enough to even fathom that Jerry Rice isn't the greatest WR to ever step on an NFL field.
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Old 02-22-2008, 08:45 PM    (permalink
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I dont want to do it, but I remember stats being posted up comparing Rice to the other WRs of his era and Hutson to the other WRs of his era. Hutson was pretty damn dominant. Does anyone have those stats?

Its alot closer than you guys are making it out to be. I am sure many of you dont know about Hutson enough to make a decisions.

I would say they were both equally dominant in the eras they played in. You cannot compare stats to each other because of the difference in eras. You can however compare how each did against his competition. Hutson blew away competition, just like Rice did.
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Old 02-22-2008, 09:10 PM    (permalink
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I dont want to do it, but I remember stats being posted up comparing Rice to the other WRs of his era and Hutson to the other WRs of his era. Hutson was pretty damn dominant. Does anyone have those stats?

Its alot closer than you guys are making it out to be. I am sure many of you dont know about Hutson enough to make a decisions.

I would say they were both equally dominant in the eras they played in. You cannot compare stats to each other because of the difference in eras. You can however compare how each did against his competition. Hutson blew away competition, just like Rice did.
Among Rice's contemporaries are players like Cris Carter, Randy Moss, and Marvin Harrison.

Among Hutson's contemporaries are players like Dante Lavelli, Pete Pihos, and Elroy Hirsch.

Of those players in Rice's era, Cris Carter had the most TDs, at 130, or 65% of Rice's 197. Tim Brown had the most yards, 14,934, or 65% of Rice's 22,895.

Of the players in Hutson's era, Dante Lavelli had the most TDs, at 62, or 63% of Hutson's 99. Elroy Hirsch had the most yards, 7,029, or 88% of Hutson's 7,991.

In terms of yardage, Rice had nearly as many yards more than his nearest competitor, 7,961, than Hutson had period. And Rice did it in multiple schemes, with multiple QBs, and many different coaches.
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Old 02-22-2008, 09:18 PM    (permalink
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i remember not to long ago getting into a disagreement over Moss vs Rice, so i'm just going to stay out of this one
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Old 02-22-2008, 09:20 PM    (permalink
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I don't pretend to have been watching Hutson play but:

Hutson was coo, but if you want to say he's better than Jerry Rice, then I want to say you're a moron.
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Old 02-22-2008, 09:25 PM    (permalink
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Hutson was great, best of his era. But I look at Randy Moss now, who when teams take him away, he is gone. Rice still would get 7 catches a game. Rice is the best hands down.
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Old 02-22-2008, 09:34 PM    (permalink
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I don't pretend to have been watching Hutson play but:
Hutson was coo, but if you want to say he's better than Jerry Rice, then I want to say you're a moron.
Ya, i never saw him either, so i can't make a real arguement other than statistics, and hearsay
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Old 02-22-2008, 10:37 PM    (permalink
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Among Rice's contemporaries are players like Cris Carter, Randy Moss, and Marvin Harrison.

Among Hutson's contemporaries are players like Dante Lavelli, Pete Pihos, and Elroy Hirsch.

Of those players in Rice's era, Cris Carter had the most TDs, at 130, or 65% of Rice's 197. Tim Brown had the most yards, 14,934, or 65% of Rice's 22,895.

Of the players in Hutson's era, Dante Lavelli had the most TDs, at 62, or 63% of Hutson's 99. Elroy Hirsch had the most yards, 7,029, or 88% of Hutson's 7,991.

In terms of yardage, Rice had nearly as many yards more than his nearest competitor, 7,961, than Hutson had period. And Rice did it in multiple schemes, with multiple QBs, and many different coaches.
Rice played a ton of seasons, and Hutson played 11 years and only 10-11 game seasons, most of them 10 games. Also, Hirsch did not even start playing until the year after Hutson retired. The same can be said of Lavelli. Plus they played in longer seasons and were part of the first passing age. So it is really unfair to compare their numbers, and they still are not as good as Hutson's even with your formula above.

Also, Don Hutson caught a touchdown every 4.9 passes caught, Jerry Rice, one every 7.9 passes caught. I am not taking anything away from Rice, because we was such a great player for such a long time. He will be remembered by most as the greatest receiver of all-time, but I think Hutson is on par with him.

I think it is important not to forget the players that laid the way (making almost nothing) for the players that play the game today.
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Old 02-22-2008, 10:41 PM    (permalink
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Are you by any chance a Packers fan? Jerry Rice was EXTREMELY dominant over his era. IMO Rice is the only player who is the undisputed GOAT of his position. Most of his records nearly double the next closest competitior. There's no one at any other position that can claim anything of that nature, even on the day they retired.
No. I am not a Packers fan. I am a fan of football and it's history. In fact, I happen to love Jerry Rice as a player. He is one of my favorite players of all-time. He was great at taking a short slant route and turning it into a long touchdown and was a quarterbacks dream.

I just don't think it is as clear cut as some believe. Jerry Rice was able to play the game at a high level for a very long time. In Hutson's day, players made no money, didn't receive very good medical treatment, and as a result did not play as long.

Brett Favre has all of the passing records, but I don't think he is the greatest quarterback of all-time. I don't even have him in my top 5 all-time. So you can't just go off of stats alone.
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Old 02-22-2008, 10:47 PM    (permalink
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The difference is that with Montana, you can create a well rounded argument for several players for them being better than Montana. You can't do that with Rice, the only argument anyone can come up with is that Hutson did really well for playing that long ago. However, when you look at the fact that he only played for one team, and after he left, players like Nolan Luhn had 7 TD seasons in his stead in the same system, it points to a schematic advantage. The packers in that era passed the ball 250-350 times a season, that's a 1970s offense, not 1940s.

Hutson was great, but Rice was great on a level playing field.
In the 1940's and 1950's the Cleveland Browns also had a schematic advantage under Paul Brown.

In the 1980's and 1990's the 49ers had a schematic advantage under Bill Walsh, a Paul Brown disciple. Nobody could duplicate the 49ers scheme for years, and not very successfully until the mid 1990's.

Again, I am not taking anything away from Rice, I loved the guy. In my opinion, Hutson was on par with him. He could go deep for touchdowns, and could take crossing routes or slants for touchdowns, much like Rice. He averaged 1 touchdown every 4.9 catches to Rice's 1 touchdown every 7.9 catches. I just believe it is not as clear cut as you make it sound. They are 1a and 1b as the greatest receivers of all-time.
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Old 02-22-2008, 10:50 PM    (permalink
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I just don't think it is as clear cut as some believe. Jerry Rice was able to play the game at a high level for a very long time. In Hutson's day, players made no money, didn't receive very good medical treatment, and as a result did not play as long.

That doesn't help your argument much, it just furthers the argument against it.

The schemes weren't as evolved, and the players weren't as good. There are always players ahead of their time when a sport takes off.
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Old 02-22-2008, 11:14 PM    (permalink
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That doesn't help your argument much, it just furthers the argument against it.

The schemes weren't as evolved, and the players weren't as good. There are always players ahead of their time when a sport takes off.
I added some additional information to my original post that you might find interesting. Also, you may not have seen one of my other replies about Hutson had a TD every 4.9 catches to Rice's TD every 7.9 catches.
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Old 02-22-2008, 11:43 PM    (permalink
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I added some additional information to my original post that you might find interesting. Also, you may not have seen one of my other replies about Hutson had a TD every 4.9 catches to Rice's TD every 7.9 catches.
You tend to have more TDs per catch when your best skill is running by the opposing CB.
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