There were several great receivers and tight ends in the history of the Super Bowl, but there’s only room for a few. Tight Ends will be at the bottom.
Jerry Rice – San Francisco and Oakland
This isn’t debatable. Jerry Rice owns every meaningful Super Bowl record for a wide receiver and it will take a lot for someone to ever surpass them.
While Demaryius Thomas became the player to finally beat the logjam of receivers that had 11 receptions in one game, Jerry Rice is still the undisputed leader of receivers in the Super Bowl.
Apart from that record, Rice is the leading receiver in yards (589), yards in a single game (215), touchdowns (8), career receptions (33), total yards from scrimmage in a single game (220), tied for touchdowns in a single game (3), and total yards from scrimmage overall (604).
Apart from pure statistics, he has made several big plays in the game’s biggest moments. He had three huge receptions on the final drive of Super Bowl XXIII and put both Super Bowl XXIV and XXIX away with three touchdowns in both of those games.
Rice was the Most Valuable Player of Super Bowl XXIII and remains the only receiver to rack up 200 yards in a single game.
Lynn Swann – Pittsburgh
While Swann didn’t have the storied career statistically that he could have had if not for injury, his games in the Super Bowl measure up with the best.
Super Bowl X showcased all of Swann’s amazing abilities as he first had the acrobatic catch near the sideline where he somehow keeps both feet in bounds for 32 yards. Next came the catch, drop, concentration catch for 53 yards, and finally, the 64 yard bomb that ended up winning the game.
Swann finished the day with four catches for 164 yards and a touchdown. He is second to Jerry Rice with 364 career yards and finished with three touchdowns in four Super Bowls.
John Stallworth – Pittsburgh
There are other guys with more total numbers than Stallworth, but his impact on the Super Bowls of the 1970’s isn’t easily topped. Most remember his great game and catch in Super Bowl XIV against the Rams when he caught what would be the game-winner in a 73 yard touchdown.
He finished that day with three catches for 121 yards and a score, but may have had a better day in Super Bowl XIII. That day he caught two important first half touchdown passes for 75 yards and 28 yards, respectively, and finished with three catches for 115 yards.
It wasn’t just about numbers, but about impact and big plays. Stallworth was just as important as Lynn Swann and Franco Harris in those Super Bowls.
Santonio Holmes – Pittsburgh
This is turning into the “Jerry Rice and Pittsburgh Steelers Unit”, but all are deserving.
Holmes was involved in nearly every scoring drive as he caught key receptions each time, but he will be remembered for the last drive of the game.
After the Cardinals had taken all of the momentum back and went ahead 23-20, the Steelers mounted a final drive and it would be Santonio Holmes’ chance to leave his mark.
Facing a first and 20 after a hold, Holmes got the Steelers out of the jam by catching a 14 yard pass and then a 13 yard pass on third down to get the drive going. With just over a minute left just beyond midfield, Holmes broke free and snagged a 40 yard catch all the way down to the Arizona 6 yard line.
After an incomplete pass and precious time clicking off the clock, Holmes made one of the finest catches ever in a Super Bowl, a six-yard toe-drag that gave the Steelers the lead and ultimately the win.
Holmes finished with nine catches for 131 yards, the winning touchdown, and was named the game’s MVP.
Dan Ross – Cincinnati
Ross was the first of eventually several players that would catch 11 passes in a single Super Bowl and in Super Bowl XVI, he was a huge part of the Bengals’ offense.
He caught three passes in a dreadful first half that saw the Bengals commit three turnovers and get behind 20-0. On a key drive in the 4th quarter, Ross caught another three passes, including a four yard touchdown pass to cut the lead to 20-14.
In all, he finished with those 11 catches for 104 yards and two touchdowns, the best performance by a tight end in Super Bowl history.
Rob Gronkowski – New England
Tight End hasn’t been a glamour position in the Super Bowl, but the Gronk was able to make enough plays in Super Bowl XLIX against the Seahawks to make this list.
He finished with 6 catches for 68 yards and a huge 22 yard score in New England’s 28-24 win.