Originally Posted by flave1969
For starters the reference point is the "greatest duo in the world hands down" that has been the whole point of the posts in this thread.
Therefore talking about the eight seasons that Monk and Clark as a duo, and seven seasons with Sanders as a trio are the only seasons relevant to this argument.
Well, I wasn't really focusing so much on the duo aspect but rather the "these guys out-produced Taylor" and "another player would've had better numbers" statements. If you want to just focus in on the combined production of Rice/Taylor, we can certainly do that...but then we have the problem of your argument that Rice had a significantly greater level of production than Taylor than whoever you consider the #1 in Washington did over the other.
The fact is in the 8 seasons they played together Monk/Clark put up numbers commensurate to the best duos of the era and beyond. If you add in Ricky Sanders who also in that scenario producing significant numbers. It is representative of what the best Wide Receiver groups have done.
Once again I reiterate I did not take the seven best seasons, I took the seven seasons that Clark/Monk and Sanders played as a trio, they were the only ones relevant to the discussion of "Hands down the best duo to ever play the game". They do not count half games in the NFL, it is the most physical game out there. Monk,Clark and Sanders all came out of games. Ricky Sanders in the time of "The Posse" started just 42 games. Do we give him a pass as a #3 Receiver also. No he played, and played a significant part to the success of a perennial playoff team and two time Superbowl winner just like John Taylor.
Well, the only reason I threw in a couple of seasons from when Monk or Sanders wasn't with the others is that I wanted to get more of a sample size to examine the overall production tendencies of them as individual receivers (for the purpose of comparing them to Taylor).
Ricky Sanders put up his biggest numbers when he was a starter. He took advantage when they made him a starter...but his rate of total catches versus the left over attempts he had after you look at what his supporting cast caught, were inferior to Taylor's.
BTW, John Taylor was a 3-time Super Bowl winner.
You see all the above is making my point. I accept that the 49ers did things completely differently but as a result, Control simply cannot claim Taylor/Rice was hands down the greatest duo ever, if his own team focused its attention elsewhere.
You can't make a subjective argument about the greatest duos when even the team he played for did not see it as its greatest strength.
Now wait a second here--I'm not going to say that the 49ers/Bill Walsh didn't scheme to take advantage of their strengths...but there are certain aspects of an offensive system that always remain intact. Walsh trained his quarterbacks to take the checkdown when it was the best option (whatever the reason may have been...either the type of coverage, the matchups, or the receivers just not getting open). Every Walsh 49ers team had a lot of catches by the backs...and every team after it up until Steve Mariucci took over. It didn't matter WHO the backs were. Do you think the 49ers thought Derek Loville was a strength
? He caught 87 balls in 1995...he caught those because he was in a system where the QB was trained to get it out to whoever the backs were...and he was one of them.
On other teams, quarterbacks weren't trained to do this (at least not so religiously). In Pittsburgh in the 1970's and early 80's, Bradshaw would drop back to throw and, almost regardless of the coverage, he'd throw it in the direction of Stallworth or Swann. He wasn't looking to dump it off to Franco Harris in the flat. He would've had a MUCH higher completion percentage if he would have been allowed to do that, but, at the same time, Swann and Stallworth would've seen their catches drop. To be fair, of course, the Steelers threw the ball far less than other teams, so that was a limiting factor (that is represented in my catches/remaining attempts calculation by reducing the number of attempts prior to even factoring in the catches for the other players).
When Gary Clark came to the Skins the Redskins had one transition season where it transformed from a power running team to a more passing orientated attack. Then when Sanders came the Redskins concentrated its passing game on where its strength was and thats the key to this argument. If Taylor/Rice was the strength of the team that is where the focus would have gone. That is true for all teams that have ever played and is the raeson the Niners were the premier team of the 80's and early 90's, they played to their strengths.
See above explanation--the 49ers did make adjustments to their offense to emphasize strengths, but they weren't dramatic changes. Certain basic principles still applied that limited the production opportunities of the receivers.
I really do not want to denegrate Taylor's contribution because it was clearly significant, any player who has scored the winning TD in a Superbowl has much to be proud of but there is no bigger accomplishment. But his contribution was no bigger than that of all the players you mentioned above who played for the Niners and in a duo that was so slanted in favour of the other receiver, G.O.A.T or not, I have a real hard time accepting the argument that it was the greatest duo ever.
I disagree completely. John Taylor's 3 reasonably healthy seasons resulted in two 1,000+ yard seaons and a 900 yard season. Tom Rathman and Brent Jones aren't sniffing 900 receiving yards if they play 18
games. And that's just cumulative production, of course. There's also the matter of Rathman generally doing as a receive what pretty much any back off the street could (catch passes in the flat and run with them)...his toughness in the open field was enjoyable but he wasn't exactly a big play threat with the ball in his hands. Brent Jones was an excellent pass catching tight end (and one of the more big play oriented TEs)...but, he was a TE...and a great "big play" kind of average for a TE is 13.0+ yards/catch (which he had). Taylor was a 16+ guy. Taylor broke games open and made huge plays when they mattered (I'll list them in a second)...Jones just didn't have that
kind of an impact (not to say he wasn't extremely valuable to the passing game).
Taylor's Definitive Plays (there were MANY more crucial plays that he made, but they weren't THE definitive play of the game, so I won't list those):
1988: Have to use a punt return, I guess...just because it was such a crucial play...against the Redskins on Monday Night. It was the turning point of the season.
1988: Super Bowl winning catch
1989: 70 yard catch-and-run against Eagles made the score 21-17. Just when it looked like the 49ers were going to be put away, he brought them back in the game in the 4th quarter--this play was ALL Taylor as Montana just dumped it off to him as he was getting drilled on a blitz.
1989: Caught winning TD against Saints (24-20)...including that one, two 20+ yard TDs in this one.
1989: 2 90+ yard catch and run TDs vs. the Rams...the second one the pivotal one in the comeback win.
1990: Game winning TD vs. Oilers (24-20)...including that one, caught two big, long-range TDs in this game (both on Chris Dishman).
1990: Had the lone touchdown in the 49ers' classic 7-3 win over the Giants on Monday Night--a 23 yard post beating Mark Collins.
1991: On the road against the Seahawks, playoff hopes on the line, Taylor catches a 41 yard deep ball against the Seahawks on a final drive they really should not have had (forced fumble gave them this chance). A few plays later, he catches the winning TD pass in the back of the endzone--24-22.
1993: Beautiful 76 yard catch-and-run touchdown on 3rd and REALLY long (I can't remember what it was...at least 17, but I'm thinking 21) against the Lions on the road silenced a roaring (no pun intended) crowd at the beginning of the game. Taylor pumped his fist as he ran into the endzone, basically alluding to the fact that he'd basically ended the game right there (a crucial one as it locked up the 49ers' bye week...on the road against a playoff team). The 49ers went on to blow them out 55-17.
1994: His deep ball where he got behind Kevin Smith in the 4th quarter against the Cowboys in the regular season meeting is one of the classic plays in 49ers history--49ers won 21-14 in a hard fought game.
Instead of making arguments for why Taylor's production was what it was. Please make the argument to why Taylor/Rice was the greatest duo ever.
Well, if you wanted to do something to hint at it statistically, we could look at Rice and Taylor's combined
receptions out of the remaining team pass attempts after supporting cast catches are subtracted. If they didn't have the highest rates among any duo, they no doubt had among the highest...and, combined with extremely impressive yards/catch averages during their prime seasons, it's pretty indicative of their hinted production.
We can look at a few other things:
Rice/Taylor's 27 combined TD receptions in 1989 has only been exceeded once--1998 by the Vikings' duo (unless you count Wes Welker as the Patriots' #2). It's also been tied once--Harrison/Wayne in 2004.
This obviously isn't all on them, but: The 49ers' ranking in yards per pass attempt since 1989:
To get a feel for what prior 49er receiver duos did in the offense for reasonably full seasons:
1980: Solomon/Clark: 130-1649-16
1981: Solomon/Clark: 144-2074-12
1983: Solomon/Clark: 101-1502-12
1984: Solomon/Clark: 92-1617-16
That was a helluva duo, too.
1985: Rice/Clark: 103-1632-13
1986: Rice/Clark: 147-2364-17
1988: Rice/Wilson: 97-1711-12
and then we have
1989: Rice/Taylor: 142-2560-27
1990: Rice/Taylor: 149-2250-20
1991: Rice/Taylor: 144-2217-23
1993: Rice/Taylor: 154-2443-20
1994: Rice/Taylor: 153-2030-18
Now, compare those Rice/Taylor years to...
1985: Monk/Clark: 163-2152-7
1986: Monk/Clark: 147-2333-11
1988: Monk/Clark: 131-1838-12
1989: Monk/Clark: 165-2415-17
1990: Monk/Clark: 143-1882-13
1991: Monk/Clark: 141-2389-18
1992: Monk/Clark: 110-1556-8
1990: Reed/Lofton: 106-1657-12
1991: Reed/Lofton: 138-2185-18
1992: Reed/Lofton: 116-1699-9
1998: Moss/Carter: 147-2324-29
1999: Moss/Carter: 170-2654-24
2000: Moss/Carter: 173-2711-24
2001: Moss/Carter: 155-2104-16
Just glancing at those, only Moss/Carter could be said to be better statistically.
, we can look at it this way: Since it's accepted by almost everyone that Jerry Rice as the greatest receiver in NFL history, by default, we have to consider John Taylor the "weak link." But a healthy John Taylor was a 1,000 yard/10 TD guy. His best season statistically was 60-1077-10 (in 15 games). Where does that compare to the second best statistical receiver in each of these duos for each season (we'll do it yardage-wise)?:
And, since you'll probably think it's unfair to just use his best and then compare that to each of their seasons, I'll list his others where he played a reasonable number of games:
1989 (15 games): Taylor: 60-1077-10
1990 (14 games): Taylor: 49-748-7
1991 (16 games): Taylor: 64-1011-9
1993 (16 games): Taylor: 56-940-5
1994 (15 games): Taylor: 41-531-5
1990 (16 games): Lofton: 35-712-4
1991 (15 games): Lofton: 57-1072-8
1992 (16 games): Lofton: 51-786-6
1985 (16 games): Clark: 72-926-5
1986 (16 games): Monk: 73-1068-4
1988 (16 games): Clark: 59-892-7
1989 (16 games): Monk: 86-1186-8
1990 (16 games): Monk: 68-770-5
1991 (16 games): Monk: 71-1049-8
1992 (16 games): Monk: 46-644-3
1998 (16 games): Carter: 78-1011-12
1999 (16 games): Carter: 90-1241-13
2000 (16 games): Carter: 96-1274-9
2001 (16 games): Carter: 73-871-6
1999 (16 games): Holt: 52-788-6
2000 (16 games): Bruce: 87-1471-9
2001 (16 games): Bruce: 64-1106-6
2002 (16 games): Bruce: 79-1075-7
2003 (15 games): Bruce: 69-981-5
2004 (16 games): Bruce: 89-1292-6
2006 (16 games): Bruce: 74-1098-3
2007 (14 games): Bruce: 55-733-4
Out of these, the only ones that you can definitively
say were better seasons statistically-speaking (since I tend to value TDs quite a bit...especially when 8 of the 10 came from 20+ yards out, as Taylor's did) than Taylor's 89 season are Cris Carter's 1999 and 2000 seasons and Isaac Bruce's 2000 and 2004 seasons.
There are several others that top either his yardage or touchdown in some way, but there are certain circumstances which make them debatable. For starters, while Art Monk had 1186 yards in 1989, he had a game more to do it and had 2 fewer touchdowns. One would figure Taylor would close the gap at least a little with an extra game...just putting his average per game in there (about 72 yards/game) puts him at 1149. Personally, I think I'd rather 2 more touchdowns than 37 more yards.
Carter's 1998 season featured 2 more touchdowns...but also 66 fewer yards. I'll give the edge to Carter in that regard, but he also played in one more game, so that makes it debatable as well.
Other than that...Bruce did 1098 in '06 but only 3 touchdowns...also in 16 games. Pretty clear that Taylor's 89 season was better statistically. Also, 1106 and 6 in 2001...that's more debatable, but it still is just 29 more yards with one additional game played...with 4 fewer touchdowns. Again, edge has to go to Taylor.
So what's my point? Well, if we're looking at the #2 guys at the top of their game, statistically speaking, Taylor stacks up with anyone. The only difference is these guys just have a greater quantity of catches...it takes them more catches to get the yards and touchdowns Taylor gets.
Oh, and Taylor played next to a guy who was going to be the #1 ever year no matter what.
Anyway, I'm about done with the statistics.....they're tiring me out and don't even get to the heart of it--the plays Taylor had to make to put up these numbers in the first place were often spectacular. Do you really think that any of the other receivers in our discussion (other than MAYBE Randy Moss and Terrell Owens, since they are so physically gifted) could have done the things Taylor did in the 49ers' system? Considering Holt and Bruce can't (or won't) run after the catch at all
...Monk was mostly a possession receiver...Lofton was well past his prime when he played with Reed...and Reed was, dare I say, nothing more than a product of the run-and-shoot offense (a la the Oiler receivers) who had very little talent to distinguish himself from the run-of-the-mill receivers?
Yes, Taylor's durability is a knock...but you can say the same thing about Gale Sayers or Bo Jackson or Billy Sims, after all. At least Taylor kept coming back for more.
I think Anquan Boldin will be in John Taylor's shoes one day, too. I can't see him playing more than 10 years.
When you're that determined after the catch, your body's bound to give out.
My final statement on this subject is this: Ask yourself, could the 49ers possibly have had a better passing attack than they did when John Taylor had full healthy seasons?
Examine their numbers (especially yards per pass attempt) for 1989, 1991, 1993, and 1994...and I think you'll come to the same conclusion I came to.
If it couldn't possibly have been better, I think you have to conclude Taylor, with his brilliant play, had a lot to do with that.