VA
  • TGT on YouTube
  • About TGT
  • The TGT Team
  • How TGT rates
  • Responsible Gambling Advice
  • Contact Our Team
  • Writers Wanted
  • Content Disclaimer
  • Affiliate Disclosure
Contains commercial content
Billboard Left
Billboard Left
The Grueling Truth - Where Legends Speak / The Top 13 NFL Wide Receivers of the 1970s

The Top 13 NFL Wide Receivers of the 1970s

Ranking the top 13 Wide Receivers of the 1970s!
Publish Date: 06/11/2022
Fact checked by: Mark Lewis
CINCINNATI, OH - NOVEMBER 28: Wide receiver Cliff Branch #21 of the Los Angeles Raiders runs with the football after catching a pass as he is pursued by cornerback Louis Breeden #34 of the Cincinnati Bengals during a game at Riverfront Stadium on November 28, 1982 in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Bengals defeated the Raiders 31-17. (Photo by George Gojkovich/Getty Images)

13) Mel Gray

Mel Gray and Issac Curtis were the fastest receivers in the NFL in the 1970s. 1975 was Gray’s best season. Gray struck fear into the hearts of Defensive Backs.

12) Gene Washington

It’s the 49ers’ Gene Washington that I particularly want to highlight. He led the NFL in receiving yards in 1970, receiving TDs in 1972, and receiving average in 1974. He had the third-most yardage of any receiver in the ’70s and the second-most TDs (tied with Harold Carmichael). Wahington was also a four-time Pro Bowler.

11) Harold Carmichael

During the 1970s, Carmichael ranked 2nd in receptions, tied for 2nd in receiving TDs, and 4th in receiving yardage. Carmichael was a Touchdown machine as he made the top 10 in receiving TDs eight times. He was one of the first big athletic receivers in NFL history; he was a man before his time.

10) Issac Curtis

Isaac Curtis was fast. He terrified defenses and dictated coverage. Since no one could keep up with Curtis, defenses had to rough him up. This inspired the 1974 “Isaac Curtis rule” (a precursor to the “Mel Blount rule”). Curtis led the league in receiving average in 1975, and while his stats don’t show it, Curtis made an impact on every game he played in because he was one of the greatest deep-threats in NFL history.

9) John Gilliam

During the 11 years that Gilliam played in the NFL, 32 players had a 900-yard receiving season. Eighteen of the 32 had multiple 900-yard seasons. Five of the 32 had three such seasons. And only one, John Gilliam, had four. Gilliam made four Pro Bowls, all with the Vikings, though he probably was just as good with the Cardinals. During his three years in St. Louis, Gilliam averaged 46 receptions, 929 yards (best in the NFL), and 6.3 TDs, compared to 41 receptions, 824 yards (best in the NFL again) 6.8 TDs with Minnesota. Over his seven seasons with the Cardinals and Vikings, Gilliam had 400 more yards than any other receiver in football. Gilliam’s 7.3% advantage over second place is more prominent than Calvin Johnson’sย 6.0% first-place advantageย during his career.

8) Charlie Joiner

Joiner was a stat-compiler and only made three Pro Bowls, and a lot of people have called him overrated, and that’s not the case. In the 1980s, he was a more significant part of the Air Coryell offense, and he was maybe the most productive older receiver in NFL history. But in the 1970s, Joiner was one of only five players to top 6,000 receiving yards in the decade. His offensive coordinator in Cincinnati was Bill Walsh, who called Joiner the most intelligent receiver he ever coached.

7) Lynn Swann

In Super Bowlsย X,ย XIII, andย XIV, Swann combined for 16 receptions, 364 yards, and 3 TDs. Over 16 postseason games, Swann totaled 907 yards and 9 TDs. He had a short career, and his best seasons came before rule changes revolutionized passing and receiving stats, so Swann’s numbers don’t stand out, even in his era. But he was a high-impact player.

6) John Stallworth

Stallworth was a big-game player for the Pittsburgh dynast of the 1970s, and Stallworth had 1,054 yards and 12 TDs in 18 postseason games! Stallworth had five 100-yard receiving games in the postseason, including 115 yards and 2 TDs in Super Bowl XIII and 121 yards and a touchdown in Super Bowl XIV.

5) Ken Burrough

Burrough played eleven seasons with the Oilers, from 1971 through 1981. He scored eight touchdowns for the season and averaged 20.1 yards per reception. In 1975, Burrough was selected to the Pro Bowl, leading all NFL wide receivers with 1,063 receiving yards and, in fact, was the only receiver to gain more than a thousand yards for the season.

4) Fred Biletnikoff

Fred didn’t have blazing speeds, but he ran great routes and caught everything that got to him. He was a big-time player in the postseason and, in 19 postseason games, caught 10 TD passes; Super Bowl XI was his crowning moment as he was named the Super Bowl MVP.

3) Cliff Branch

Branch led the NFL in receiving touchdowns twice and in receiving yards once. From 1974-76, he was the dominant force in his position. During those three years, Branch caught 157 passes for 3,096 yards and 34 TDs. His three-year yardage and TD totals are the highest for any receiver in the 1970s, including the later years with a 16-game schedule. When you think about his numbers in the context of 14-game seasons and the defence-dominated ’70s, they’re truly remarkable. From the AFL merger in 1970 through the end of the 14-game schedule in 1977, there were twelve 1,000-yard receiving seasons. Branch was the only player to reach 1,000 twice.

2) Drew Pearson

When the 1970s All-Decade Team was chosen, Pearson was a first-team selection, and Hall of Famer Branch was left off entirely. Their stats in the decade are comparable, but Pearson found the postseason glory that eluded Branch until the 1980s, and teammates called him Mr Clutch.

1) Harold Jackson

In the 1970s, Jackson gained 7,724 receiving yards, far ahead of 2nd-place Ken Burrough (6,343) โ€” 22% ahead. During the ’70s, Jackson led all players in receptions, receiving yards, and receiving TDs. Jerry Rice in the ’90s and Jackson in the ’70s are the only Modern Era players to lead any decade in every major receiving category.

ย 

ย 

Billboard Left
Billboard Left
Read Also
Who is in the conversation for being the greatest wide receiver of all-time?
Let me make it clear at the start of this article, this ...
Esteban de Jesus, Roberto Duran y AIDS (1972-89)
Many of us dream of celebrity sports fame, but only cruel individuals ...
BetMGM Promo
Every NFL teamโ€™s best player not in the Pro Football Hall of Fame- NFC East
The Pro Football Hall of Fame houses the greatest players in NFL ...
Top 100 remaining 2021 NFL free agents after Day 1
This is the most up-to-date list of available NFL free agents following ...
Predicting the next five Pro Football Hall of Fame classes
Induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio is ...
Ranking the top 200 players in the NFL ahead of the 2021 season
This list isnโ€™t based solely on performances from the 2020 NFL season. ...
Top 100 NFL free agents entering the 2021 offseason
Below is a list of the top 100 free agents available this ...
Top-10 Running Backs in the NFL Entering the 2019 Season
As part of my continuing top ten articles, I will be counting ...
Notable Pro Football Senior Committee Hall of Fame candidates for 2020
The Pro Football Hall of fame recently announced that it could induct ...
Sportsbook of the month
PointsBet - Get your Bonus Bet now! Get your Bonus Bet now!
Latest News
Deandre Hopkins and Bill Oโ€™Brien could reunite in New England
According to recent NFL rumors, the New England ...
Jared Goff is Ready to Roar in 2023
Dan Campbell spent much of Tuesday's press conference ...
Top 10 Greatest wins by Roberto Duran
Roberto Duran is considered by many to be ...
Our Latest YouTube Videos
Video: NBA Finals Series Preview and Prediction: Jokic of Playoff Jimmy for the win?
NBA Finals Series Preview and Prediction: Jokic of Playoff Jimmy for the win?
Video: Boxing History 101: Randall
Boxing History 101: Randall "Tex" Cobb the Man who shut up Howard Cosell
Video: 1919 Cincinnati Reds: True Champions
1919 Cincinnati Reds: True Champions
Betting Tips
06/07/2023 - 8:30 pm
Kaseya Arena
Tip:
Nuggets to Cover
-2.50
FanDuel
06/04/2023 - 8:30 pm
Ball Arena
Tip:
Nuggets to Cover
-8.50
FanDuel
06/01/2023 - 8:30 pm
Ball Arena
Tip:
Nuggets to Cover
Nuggets -8
FanDuel
Sportsbook of the month
PointsBet - Get your Bonus Bet now! Get your Bonus Bet now!
Top Betting Sites
Top Betting Bonuses
Bet365
Bet365
Bet365 Review
4.6/5
BetMGM
BetMGM
BetMGM Review
4.6/5
BetRivers.com
BetRivers.com
BetRivers.com Review
4.5/5
PointsBet
PointsBet
PointsBet Review
4.5/5
FanDuel
FanDuel
FanDuel Review
4.5/5
Bet365
Bet365 Bonus
Bet $1 & Get $200 in Bonus Bets
T&Cs apply
4.6/5
Bet $1 and Get $200 in Bonus Bets at bet365. Deposit required. Bonus Bets winnings are added to Bonus Bets balance. Bonus Bet wager excluded from returns. T&Cs, time limits and exclusions apply. Gambling Problem? Call 1-800-Gambler 21+
BetMGM
BetMGM Bonus
100% up to $1000
T&Cs apply
4.6/5
BetRivers.com
BetRivers.com Bonus
100% up to $500
T&Cs apply
4.5/5
PointsBet
PointsBet Bonus
5 x $50Bet Credits
T&Cs apply
4.5/5
FanDuel
FanDuel Bonus
Get up to $1,000 back in bonus bets
T&Cs apply
4.5/5
Our Team
Mike GoodpasterAuthor IconJosh SchwartzSamuel TeetsSimon Briffa
+8
Mike Goodpaster
Mike Goodpaster
Chief Editor
Author Icon
Christopher Carlson
Content Writer
Josh Schwartz
Josh Schwartz
Editor
Samuel Teets
Samuel Teets
US Sports Veteran
Simon Briffa
Simon Briffa
Sports Editor
Mark Lewis
Mark Lewis
Editor
Chris Benedict
Chris Benedict
Editor
Author Icon
Malik Zorrok
Author
Author Icon
Daniel Kornhauser
Author
John Raspanti
John Raspanti
Author
Author Icon
Buddy Gibbs
Author
Brian Coburn
Brian Coburn
Author
Peter Bonahoom
Peter Bonahoom
Author
Find out what the legends have to say about sports this week....

If you enjoy hearing from the legends of pro sports, then be sure to tune into โ€œThe Grueling Truthโ€ sports shows, โ€œWhere the legends speakโ€

Contact us: contact@thegruelingtruth.com

Players must be 21 years of age or older or reach the minimum age for gambling in their respective state and located in jurisdictions where online gambling is legal. Please play responsibly. Bet with your head, not over it. If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, and wants help, call or visit: (a) the Council on Compulsive Gambling of New Jersey at 1-800-Gambler or www.800gambler.org; or (b) Gamblers Anonymous at 855-2-CALL-GA or www.gamblersanonymous.org.

This site is using Cloudflare and adheres to the Google Safe Browsing Program. We adapted Google's Privacy Guidelines to keep your data safe at all times.

21+NCPG
Move to Top
Close
Stake.us Exclusive Bonus
5% Rakeback
Promo Code
Copy
Visit Site
T&Cs apply, 18+
Payment Methods
Bitcoin
Litecoin
Ethereum
Dogecoin
Highlights
  • Exclusive promo code: TGTSOCIAL
  • Play Plinko, Hilo, Crash and more!
  • Get Stake Cash bonuses every day!
Stake Originals
Dice
Crash
Plinko
Mines
×
Your Promo Code:
The bonus offer of was already opened in an additional window. If not, you can open it also by clicking the following link:
Visit Site