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Top 10 Wide Receivers of the 1980s

The top wide receivers of the 1980s!
Publish Date: 07/15/2023
Fact checked by: Mark Lewis

The Top 10 of the 1980s!

The 1980s were known as the decade where the passing game took off. The short pass became popular, and stats rose quickly throughout the decade. Dan Marino destroyed the record book in 1984, as did greats like Dan Fouts in the early 80s, and of course, you can’t forget Joe Montana’s four Super Bowls in the decade.

10) Wes Chandler, San Diego Chargers

Air Coryell was a system, but people forget that Chandler was exceptional, and it just wasn’t the system as he had over one thousand receiving yards in a season with the New Orleans Saints before moving on to San Diego. He’s often compared unfavorably with teammates Charlie Joiner and Kellen Winslow and with the receiver he replaced, John Jefferson. Chandler, however, had more catches, yards, and TDs than Winslow or Jefferson, and he made more Pro Bowls than Joiner.

Video: Wes Chandler Career Highlights

Wes Chandler Career Highlights

9) Mark Duper, Miami Dolphins

Dan Marino took the NFL by storm in 1983, and the Marks brothers were a dominant duo that helped the Dolphins to the Super bowl in 1984 with a historically explosive season.

Video: Mark โ€œSuperโ€ Duper

Mark โ€œSuperโ€ Duper

8) Roy Green St.Louis Cardinals

Green is one of the most underrated players in NFL history. Green played receiver, defensive back, and special teams in the same game for the Cardinals; he was a unique talent. Green had a long, productive career. He gained at least 500 yards every season from 1981-90 (except the nine-game ’82 season), with back-to-back 1,200-yard seasons. In 1983, Green gained 1,227 yards and led the league with 14 receiving touchdowns. In 1984, he gained 1,555 receiving yards, setting the record for an NFL season, and scored 12 TDs.

Video: Roy

Roy “Jetstream” Green Highlights – St. Louis Football Cardinals

7) Stanley Morgan, New England Patriots

Morgan is the only player in history to average more than 19 yards per catch in a career with at least 500 receptions, and this distinction will probably stand forever. Stanley Morgan was the seventh player to reach 10,000 career receiving yards, that is not a big deal these days, but it was huge back when Morgan played.



6) Henry Ellard, Los Angeles Rams

When Henry Ellard retired, he was considered a no-doubt Hall of Famer! He was third all-time in receiving yards and not just as a compiler; he was tied with Lance Alworth and Michael Irvin for third all-time in 1,000-yard seasons (7). Ellard had three seasons of over 1,300 yards; that all got forgotten for some reason, and now Ellard is standing outside looking into Canton.

Video: Who Is Henry Ellard | NFL Legends | Highlights

Who Is Henry Ellard | NFL Legends | Highlights

5) James Lofton, Green bay Packers

Lofton was a burner who challenged defenders downfield, he teamed up in Green bay with the talented Lynn Dickey at quarterback, and the duo was explosive. Lofton had six 1,000-yard seasons and probably would have had eight if not for the strikes in 1982 and 1987.

Video: James Lofton

James Lofton

4)Mark Clayton, Miami Dolphins

Clayton had five 1,000-yard seasons, plus 996 in 1985 and 776 in the strike-shortened 1987 season. He made five Pro Bowls and retired with 84 TDs, including 18 in his second season. He was a part of the Marks brother combination with Mark Duper that helped Dan Marino turn the NFL on its ear in the mid-1980s!

Video: Mark Clayton Highlights

Mark Clayton Highlights

3) Art Monk, Washington Redskins

Monk was the last player to hold NFL records for most receptions in a season concurrently and most receptions in a career; he also held the mark for consecutive games with a reception. He had five 1,000-yard seasons and won three Super Bowl rings. When Monk caught 106 passes in 1984, no other player caught as many as 90; Monk led the league by 17 receptions, and that record stood for a decade.



2) Steve Largent, Seattle Seahawks

When Largent retired, he held all major NFL receiving records, including most receptions in a career (819), most receiving yards in a career (13,089), and most touchdown receptions (100). He also possessed a then-record streak of 177 consecutive regular-season games with a reception. He also is the first receiver in NFL history to achieve 100 touchdown receptions in his career. Largent has a case for being number one because his number says he should be number one, but first place on this list was more than about numbers.

Video: Steve Largent ||Psycho|| Highlights HD

Steve Largent ||Psycho|| Highlights HD

1) Jerry Rice, San Fransisco 49ers

Jerry Rice rewrote our ideas of what a wide receiver could do. Rice is the greatest wide receiver ever to play the game. He only played half of the decade but was hands down the best! He was a great possession receiver and a significant deep threat; Rice could do it all.

Video: Jerry Rice - The G.O.A.T.

Jerry Rice – The G.O.A.T.

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