Larry Fitzgerald Vs. Steve Smith Sr: Who Is The Better All-Time Receiver?
Week 7 of the 2015 did not exactly serve up the best that the NFL has to offer, but the Monday Night Football game between the Arizona Cardinals and the Baltimore Ravens did feature two of the best wide receivers of the last fifteen years. Coincidentally, Larry Fitzgerald and Steve Smith Sr. entered the game neck-and-neck on the all-time receptions list, prompting comparisons between the two greats who have dominated box scores and fantasy lineups for the majority of their accomplished careers.
So how do the two receivers stack up? Why don't we take a closer look, starting with Smith who is currently playing in his fifteenth NFL season.
- Steve Smith
- NFL Debut: 2001
- Games Played: 203
- Receptions: 951 (T-15th all-time)
- Receiving Yards: 13,772
- Yards per Game: 67.8
- Receiving TD: 76
- Notable QBs Smith has been paired with: Jake Delhomme, Cam Newton, Joe Flacco
- Larry Fitzgerald
- NFL Debut: 2004
- Games Played: 179
- Receptions: 952 (14th all-time)
- Receiving Yards: 12,734
- Yards per Game: 72.4
- Receiving TD: 95
- Notable QBs Fitzgerald has been paired with: Kurt Warner, Carson Palmer
Both receivers are guys who were tasked with carrying mediocre to sub-mediocre offenses through some serious slumps and still have managed to rack up historical numbers. When you look at the kind of guys had to spend full seasons catching passes from - guys like Rodney Peete, Jimmy Clausen, Josh McCown, Matt Leinart and Kevin Kolb - their accomplishments become even more impressive.
They have also both played key roles in Super Bowl losses. Smith had four receptions for 80 yards and oe touchdown in the Panthers' loss to the Patriots in Super Bowl XXXVIII. Fitzgerald had seven receptions for 127 yards and two touchdowns in the Cardinals' loss to the Steelers in Super Bowl XLIII.
In the end though, there are two factors that give Larry Fitzgerald the overall edge; the first being the obvious fact that he has accumulated numbers equal to or better than most of Smith's, and he's done it in 24 fewer games. The second is Fitzgerald's touchdown numbers, which are astounding on a historical level. That's not to say that Smith has not been a hugely productive asset in the red zone as well; it's just that Fitz has done it better than most receivers to ever play the game.
Judging by these numbers, if Fitzgerald stays healthy he could surpass Don Hutson, Tim Brown and Steve Largent this season to take sole possession of 6th all-time in receiving touchdowns.
No matter what either of these receivers do in the remaining years of there career, it's clear that they are both all-time talents. Steve Smith has had a spectacular career and his longevity in the league is a testament to his passion for the game, and Fitzgerald has been the definition of the elite NFL wide receiver for the past ten years.
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