We are living in the golden age of passing offense and more specifically receivers.
In the entire history of the NFL, you won’t find another era where there were so many guys putting up these kinds of numbers through the air and catching as many passes across the NFL.
A big part of this is probably the rule changes between now and then that have allowed for a more open offense to be viable. Also, these quarterbacks started throwing the ball in a pro-style offense at a much younger age.
One guy who would’ve been a monster no matter what era he played in is wide receiver A.J. Green. He fits the mold of a modern wide receiver. He is big (6’4”) and fast, which makes him a nightmare for cornerbacks around the league. Not to mention he has a huge catch radius to add on top of that. He is easily one of the most talented receivers in the NFL right now.
Green has a broader goal though.
“[Being the best wide receiver of all-time is] what motivates me,” Green told Tyler Dunne of Bleacher Report. “A lot of people don’t put me as the best—top five or whatever. I’m striving to be the best ever. If I play the years I want to play, and I keep the streak I’m on now, there’s no doubt that I’ll be one of the best.”
When Dunne asked Green about the Hall of Fame, Green simply replied, “guaranteed.”
As far as the Hall of Fame goes, Green should easily make it if he keeps up his pace for a few more seasons. He will be sitting atop pretty much all of the Bengals’ all-time receiving records at that point. Not to mention he will probably finish among the best receivers of this era.
Green won’t be at the top of all the stats, but he should be in the top three of quite a few, and when you consider the names he will be around, it is doubtful he won’t be in Canton one day.
Green is entering his eighth season. He already has more than 8,000 receiving yard on 556 catches with 57 touchdowns. Those numbers put him on pace with guys like Antonio Brown and Julio Jones who have eight and seven seasons under their belt respectively. Yet Green’s name doesn’t pop up as much as those guys when you talk about the best receivers in the NFL.
A major reason Green isn’t included in discussions for the best is because he doesn’t flock to the spotlight like his receiver counterparts. He isn’t going to Facebook live after a playoff win or posting shirtless selfies all over Instagram. He also isn’t in the news every couple of seasons holding out for a new contract as the market inflates.
Green lets his play do the talking, which will hopefully means his stats will be more appreciated as people look back on this era. Will it be good enough to put him up there with the greatest ever? Time will tell.
“Yeah, I want to be the best. It’s hard to beat Jerry. It’s hard to beat one of my idols, Randy Moss,” Green said. “But that’s what I strive for every day.”
Green’s stats really don’t measure up to those players’. He clearly has a goal in mind though, and that could allow him to get into the top 10 of several major categories.
The major things that will play into that are Green extending his prime by taking care of his body, as well as being lucky enough to stay healthy that long. It is possible that if Green plays long enough, we could be including him in the discussion of one of the greatest receivers of all time.
Green is just so good and driven, it really makes it hard to doubt him.