Top 20 Potpourri


AAFC Numbers Included
The Pro Football Hall of Fame's Top Twenty lists differ slightly from other similar lists because the statistics from the All-America Football Conference (1946-1949) are included. Today, there are just three players who are ranked in the Top 20 of the four main statistical categories (passing, receiving, rushing and scoring) who played part of their careers in the AAFC. When the Hall's Top 20 display and accompanying lists debuted at the conclusion of the 1968 season, there were nine players ranked among the career leaders who had connections to the defunct AAFC.

Joe_PerryOtto Graham, the legendary quarterback of the Cleveland Browns is currently ranked 10th all-time in passer rating. Without his four-year totals in the AAFC, he would not rank in the Top 20. Likewise, Hall of Fame running back Joe Perry's total of 9,723 yards currently ranks him No. 19 all time among the Top 20 rushers. If his 1,345 yards gained in the All-America Football Conference were not included in that total, he too would not have a Top 20 ranking.

Lou "The Toe" Groza, a teammate of Graham in Cleveland, ranks eighth all-time in scoring with 1,608 points. Without his 259 points from the AAFC, Groza would be in 20th place.

10 Years After
The Hall of Fame's website ( launched in 1996. One of the more attention-getting online features at the time was the weekly Top 20. A decade later, the Top 20 remains popular on the website. The weekly updates of the career statistical leaders continue to receive large amounts of traffic during the NFL's regular season.

While the Top 20's popularity on the website remains the same, much has changed when looking back at the career leaders at the beginning of the 1996 season.

Passing - Only one Top 20 quarterback who was active during the 2005 season was in the Top 20 at the start of the '96 season. Green Bay Packers' Brett Favre had just completed a career year when he passed for 4,413 yards and 38 TDs and climbed seven positions in the Top 20.
Receiving - Jerry Rice became the game's all-time receiving leader and was just two catches ahead of second place Art Monk at the time. Today, Rice's career total is 448 receptions more than Cris Carter who is No. 2.
Rushing - Emmitt Smith was the 14th-ranked rusher of all time. He trailed Walter Payton's career leading rushing total by 7,770 yards.
Scoring - Gary Anderson and Morten Andersen ranked 7th and 8th respectively and still needed more than 500 points to supplant George Blanda as the game's leading scorers.

Running to the Top
Only two new running backs have entered the Hall's Top 20 in the past four seasons - Corey Dillon (Week 7 in 2004) and Eddie George (Week 13 in 2002). That could all change in the near future with an infusion of new runners reaching the career leaders chart in the upcoming seasons.

Here is a look at those runners and the number of yards needed to tie Hall of Famer Earl Campbell, who currently ranks 20th all-time with 9,407 yards.

Running Back, 2005 Team
Career Total
Yds. To Reach Top 20
Edgerrin James, Indianapolis Colts
Tiki Barber, New York Giants
Fred Taylor, Jacksonville Jaguars
Warrick Dunn, Atlanta Falcons
Priest Holmes, Kansas City Chiefs
Stephen Davis, Carolina Panthers
Shaun Alexander, Seattle Seahawks
Ahman Green, Green Bay Packers
LaDainian Tomlinson, San Diego Chargers

Halfway to Rice?

Marvin Harrison has caught more passes in his career than any other active receiver. The Indianapolis Colts receiver just completed his 10th NFL season, which is half the number of years that the game's all-time leading receiver Jerry Rice played in the NFL. Here are how Harrison's current numbers stack up to Rice's first 10 years.

Jerry Rice
Marvin Harrison

Favre fires away

Brett Favre of the Green Bay Packers established a new NFL record in 2005 when he passed for 3,812 yards. It marked the 14th straight 3,000-yard season for Favre. The only time he did not reach the 3,000-yard plateau in his career came in his rookie season when he attempted just four passes for the Atlanta Falcons in 1991.

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