He Could Have Been The Greatest Wide Receiver of All Time

I didn’t get to see Sterling Sharpe play a down of football. And for that sole reason, it’s easy for me to say Randy Moss is my favorite wide receiver of all time and the greatest receiver I’ve ever see play with my own two eyes. But thanks to Google, Youtube and word of mouth stories, I feel like he would’ve been my favorite player of all time.

I mean after all, he was a South Carolina Gamecock

One of the greatest Gamecocks to ever do it, Sterling Sharpe had 169 career catches for 2,497 yards and 17 touchdowns and caught a pass in 34 consecutive games. A 2x All-American in 1986 and ’87, he had a school record 104-yard kickoff return against Duke, which is the longest play of any kind in Carolina history.

Sharpe was drafted 7th overall in 1988 and his impact was felt immediately. One of the most dynamic receivers of his time, his career totals in 1994 stood at 595 Receptions. 8,134 receiving yards. 65 touchdown…

Then this happened

After 7 seasons of dominating opposing NFL defenses and causing defensive coordinators to have nightmares, Sterling Sharpe’s career came to an end while blocking Atlanta safety Brad Edwards.

Sterling Sharpe was NO joke

Prior to his injury, you could argue that if there was a ranking for top NFL receivers it would be like this:1a. Jerry Rice
1b. Sterling Sharpe
2. Everybody else

Not even kidding. All I can do is speak in retrospect because I wasn’t alive, but from the games I’ve seen, first hand stories I heard and even though they don’t always tell the truth, the statistics, Sharpe was just as good as Jerry Rice, and he was quite possibly better. Sharpe “benefited” from playing with the likes of Dan Majkowski, Alan Risher, Anthony Dilweg and Mike Tomczak his first few seasons in the league. And clearly that was sarcasm. You might know who the Magic Man is, but that’s only if you really know football history. During his second season, Sharpe set franchise records with 90 catches and 1,423 yards and he ranked 2nd in the league with 12 receiving touchdowns. Sharpe posted another 1000 yard season in 1990 and also earned his first trip to the Pro Bowl.  After a dissapointing 1991 season in which he failed to crack 1000 yards (961) and the Packers only won 4 games, their luck would change thanks to a trade for this Falcons 2nd year backup QB:

Even though this was his pre-MVP days, Brett Favre was still a million times better than any of these other guys who played the QB position in the previous years. During his first season with Favre, Sharpe became the 6th receiver to win the NFL’s triple crown award, leading the NFL in receptions, receiving yards and touchdowns, catching 108 passes for 1,461 yards and 13 touchdowns. His 108 receptions broke the NFL record of 106 set by Art Monk in 1984. The following year he broke his own record by catching 112 passes for 1,274 yards and 11 touchdowns. The Packers advanced to the playoffs for the first time in his career and Sharpe proved to be ready for the moment. He caught 5 passes for 101 yards and 3 touchdowns including this go-ahead touchdown with 55 seconds left:

In what would ultimately be his last NFL season, Sharpe caught 94 balls for 1,119 yards and his 18 receiving touchdowns was tied for 2nd in NFL History (it’s now tied for 3rd).

Sterling put together one of the greaetst 3 year stretches in NFL history between the years of 1992-94. The Favre to Sharpe connection averaged 105 receptions, 1,285 yards, and 14 touchdowns. The timing of the injury sucks because between 1995 and 1997, Brett Favre won 3 consecutive NFL MVP’s and led the Packers to back to back Super Bowl appearances in 1996 and 97, including winning Super Bowl XXXI. There is no telling the type of damage these two could have done together throughout the rest of the decade. Favre definitely could’ve benefited from having a truly elite WR. To be honest, these 2 could’ve been the heart and soul of a 90s-early 2000s Green Bay Packers’ dynasty.

Tim Brown, Sterling Sharpe and Michael Irvin were drafted with the 6th, 7th and 11th picks of the 1988 NFL Draft.

Tim Brown’s first 8 seasons (He missed almost all of his 2nd season so I’m giving him an extra year just to be fair): 405 catches, 5,076 yards, 46 TD’s.

Michael Irvin’s first 7 seasons: 416 catches, 6,935 yards, 40 TD’s.

(All 3 played on below average teams their first few seasons in the league)

Both Brown and Irvin are currently in the Hall of Fame, without a doubt Sharpe was headed there too. I understand he didn’t have a long career, but the same way they voted Gale Sayers in, they should vote Sharpe in. Sharpe is a 5x Pro Bowler (it used to mean something back in the day), a 3x First Team All Pro member, he led the league in receptions three times, touchdowns twice and receiving yards twice. He holds NFL records for most consecutive games with at least 4 catches (34), most games wih 4+ touchdown receptions (2) and he’s 1 of 4 players in NFL history to have at least 18 receiving touchdowns in a season.

PUT THIS MAN IN THE HALL OF FAME!!! He dominated during his time in the NFL.

“My big brother, Sterling, I’m the only player of 267 men that’s walked through this building to my left that can honestly say this: I’m the only pro football player that’s in the Hall of Fame, and the second best player in my own family” – Hall of Fame TE Shannon Sharpe



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