August 08, 2010

Is Don Hutson the Best Wide Receiver Ever?: Although new NFL Hall of Fame inductee Jerry Rice is widely considered the best wide receiver ever, the honor should go to fellow famer Don Hutson of the Green Bay Packers, argues Kerry Byrne of ColdHardFootballFacts.Com. In a no-passing era, Hutson improved the single season reception record from 22 to 74 in 1942, more than doubled the career receptions record to 488 and lead the league in receiving yards seven times in his 11 seasons. "When Huston joined the NFL, no player had produced more than 350 receiving yards in a season. He topped that mark in all 11 seasons of his career," Byrne writes. "[T]ruly Ruthian numbers."

posted by rcade to football at 09:22 AM - 12 comments

I didn't realize that Hutson was such a game-changer. My vote's still with Rice, though.

posted by rcade at 09:58 AM on August 08

Living in Wisconsin, my vote goes to Hutson. There are still a lot of older Packer fans that will tell you he was the greatest Packer ever.

posted by BikeNut at 10:27 AM on August 08

Plus, in Hutson's day I think Washington was the southernmost franchise. And there were still two teams in Chicago. So he must have played a lot of tough cold weather games - in places that weren't necessarily built for comfort.

No gloves or waistband hand warmers, I don't think.

Nothing against Rice. He had to play at Candlestick. Not a warm, cozy experience, even though it isn't 20 below in January.

posted by beaverboard at 02:50 PM on August 08

He'd get killed in the modern era though so no dice.

posted by Jackjeckyl at 03:09 PM on August 08

And every diva receiver from nowadays would literally be killed by the defensive back play of Hudson's era. You're talking a time when arm bars, clotheslines and forearm shivers weren't just the stuff of pro wrestling.

posted by yerfatma at 04:26 PM on August 08

This doesn't surprise me. A LOT of old-school players changed the game into what we know today, and Hutson was the man who made the modern wideout even possible. Jerry Rice is great, and I by no means denigrate what he's done, but he did not create the sea change in the game that Hutson did.

posted by skyking at 05:26 PM on August 08

Rice is the best ever, .

He made a living on crossing routes against some pretty nasty defenders. Had he not torn up his knee on a running play (Warren Sapp) his numbers would be better than they already are - hard to imagine.

posted by cixelsyd at 05:31 PM on August 08

Always next to impossible to really compare players from different eras. Hutson played in a time when running was the norm, and he changed helped change the game. He also was a pretty solid kicker (at least on extra points) and had 30 interceptions on many kicks or picks did Rice have?

That being said, Hutson would most likely been way too slow to make it as a receiver in Rice's day, he would have been a tight end at best.

Both great players that deserve their spot in the H.O.F.

posted by dviking at 09:38 PM on August 08

Rice is the best I've ever seen. Is Hutson the best ever? Maybe, but not having seen him play in context, I can't say.

posted by cjets at 02:22 AM on August 09

You also have to realize that when Hutson played, defenses weren't built to stop passing attacks. So the fact that he was a great receiver made it easier for him to pick those defenses apart.

posted by Ricardo at 07:17 AM on August 09

You also have to realize that when Hutson played, defenses weren't built to stop passing attacks. So the fact that he was a great receiver made it easier for him to pick those defenses apart.

If it was easy, why was he the only wide receiver doing it? The guy was a game changer. He defined what the modern wider receiver would eventually become. And he did it before the rules were changed to protect wide receivers.

posted by BikeNut at 08:37 AM on August 09

I didn't say it was easy. I said him being a great receiver made it easier. I don't know anything about him other than what I read in the article, but he obviously was way ahead of anyone else of his day.

I'm usually in the camp that says you can't compare players this far removed. There is just no way to make any kind of fair comparison as the two players played a pretty different game than the other.

posted by Ricardo at 10:42 AM on August 09

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