Over the offseason, thousands of fans voted in our "Team For the Ages" contest to construct the best imaginable 50-man roster from the NFL’s modern era, which began in 1967. The votes have been counted, and we’re unveiling one player each weekday between now and the kickoff of the 2018 NFL season.
The entire Team For the Ages roster will be unveiled at "Football Legends LIVE!" Sept. 8 in Crystal Lake, Ill. Tickets are on sale now: https://shawmediaevents.com/e/pfw50
If there is a receiver out there with a shot at some of Jerry Rice's records — which are believed to be among the most unreachable in the NFL record book, with the possible exception of Brett Favre's consecutive games streak — it is Antonio Brown, who, over his first eight seasons, has come close to out-producing Rice.
It is that incredible production that convinced a great number of both our expert panel members and fan voters to make Brown the fourth of our Team For The Ages wide receivers. Brown joins Rice, Randy Moss and Calvin Johnson named to the team so far — with just one wide receiver spot now remaining.
They said it
It's reasonable to assume nobody knows Brown better than his triggerman, QB Ben Roethlisberger, who has said of Brown: "We've got a pretty good connection. It's something special what you see on Sundays between him and I."
In his first eight seasons in the NFL, Brown has averaged 92 catches for 1,239 yards and 7 TDs, compared to Rice's 76-1,284-13. The numbers suggest Rice's otherworldly 199 touchdowns are out of reach, but if Brown stays healthy and chooses to hang on, the career receiving yards and total catches records could be in play.
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Brown scoffs at the notion of breaking any of his hero's records. "Nah, I've got too many kids to raise, man," he said this offseason. "I'm not playing until I'm 45. I'm not chasing Jerry Rice.”
Adding to the legend of Brown, in today's NFL era of TE-sized wide receivers, he stands only 5-10, 181 pounds, and while exceptionally quick and athletic, he does not possess elite speed. When the game is on the line, though, there is no one the Steelers would rather have with the ball in his hands.
Finding Brown's greatest game is tricky, as he's been over 180 yards seven times, had two 200-plus yard games and is also an outstanding punt returner.
But on Nov. 8, 2015 in a 38-35 Steelers victory over the Raiders, Brown was a one-man wrecking crew, parlaying 23 targets into 17 catches for 284 yards.
Previous "Team for the Ages" player announcements