Pro Football Hall of Fame's Top 20 Potpourri

General Published on : 1/1/2005

Passing | Receiving | Rushing | Scoring | Combined Net Yards | Top 20 Potpourri | Coaching
All-Time Passer Ratings | All-Time Passing Leaders

Lou Groza (Photo: NFL Photos)
Lou Groza

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.

Otto Graham is currently ranked sixth all-time in passer rating. Without his four-year totals in the AAFC, he would not rank in the Top 20. Joe Perry, without his 1,345 yards in the AAFC, would not rank in the Top 20 rushers. Lou "The Toe" Groza is the only player from the AAFC who still ranks among the Top 20 scorers. Including his four seasons in that league, Groza ranks seventh all-time with 1,608 points. Without his 259 points from the AAFC, Groza would be in 15th place.

Jeff Garcia (Photo: Associated Press)
Jeff Garcia

Changing of the Guard - The Top 20 passers list received a facelift in 2002 as five new quarterbacks entered the list of career passing leaders. Kurt Warner (Rams), Jeff Garcia (49ers), Brian Griese (Broncos) and Trent Green (Chiefs) were new to the list this season and held spots by the season's end. Steve McNair (Titans) also entered the list this past season but was knocked from the ranks in Week 17. The group represented the most new additions to the Top 20 passers in any single year since the Hall of Fame debuted the ranking by passer rating in 1973.

Warner Makes History - Kurt Warner of the St. Louis Rams reached the minimum requirement of 1,500 career attempts to qualify for the Pro Football Hall of Fame Top 20 in the third week of the 2002 season. In doing so, he rocketed to the top of the leader board with a rating of 100.2 to become the first quarterback in history with 1,500 or more attempts to have had a passer rating of 100 or higher. That accomplishment lasted ever so briefly as his career rating fell to 99.9 the following week.

Leading Passers - The Top 20 passers list that ranks quarterbacks based on the passer rating system has had very few changes of the overall leader. Here's a look at the quarterbacks who have held the number one spot since the new rating system was first developed following the 1972 season:

Joe Montana
Joe Montana
Otto Graham, 1972-1983 (included AAFC statistics)
Joe Montana, 1983-1986
Dan Marino, 1986-1988
Joe Montana, 1988-1994
Steve Young, 1994-2002
Kurt Warner, 2002-present

49ers strike gold (silver and bronze too) - When current San Francisco quarterback Jeff Garcia entered the Top 20 in the second week of the 2002 season, the top three spots on the list were held by 49ers' QBs: No. 1 - Steve Young, No. 2 - Joe Montana, No. 3 - Garcia. It would figure that it was a division rival that would crash the party. The following week, Kurt Warner of the Rams took over first place in the Top 20.

Jim Taylor

The Taylors - It was not a good year for two Hall of Famers named Taylor when it came to the Top 20. Washington Redskins great Charley Taylor retired following the 1977 as the game's all-time leading receiver with 649 receptions. He was displaced from the Top 20 in the second to last week of the 2002 season when Marvin Harrison climbed past him.

In rushing, the fearsome Jim Taylor of the Green Bay Packers ranked third all-time when the Pro Football Hall of Fame Top 20 lists debuted at the conclusion of the 1968 season. He remained on the Top 20 rushers list ever since that time until Eddie George displaced him in Week 13.




All in the Family - When Denver Broncos quarterback Brian Griese entered the Top 20 midway through the 2002 NFL season, he joined his father as the only father-son duo ever to be ranked in any of the Hall of Fame's four main Top 20 statistical categories. Brian entered in 10th place and climbed as high as 9th. He finished the year at No. 14.

His father Bob, the Hall of Fame quarterback with the Miami Dolphins, ranked among the Top 20 passers from 1973, when the current passer rating system was first introduced, through 1988. He climbed as high as tenth all-time during a period from 1975 to 1977.

TDs add up - Jerry Rice, on the merits of his touchdowns and four two-point conversions, qualified for the Top 20 scorers during a seven-week period of the 2002 season. He was displaced in the final week of the year. He became the first player who did not handle his team's kicking duties to make the Top 20 scorers since Jim Brown dropped off the list in 1982.

Here's a look at all players at other positions other than a pure placekicker - although most did some kicking for their teams - who have ranked in the Top 20 scorers since 1969 when the list was first published.

Player Pos. Year Displaced TDs PAT FG 2-pt. Conversions Pts.
JERRY RICE WR 2002 203 0 0 4 1,226
Gino Cappelletti WR-DB 2000 42 350 176 4 1,130
Bobby Walston E 1988 46 365 80 0 881
Don Hutson * E 1985 105 172 7 0 823
Paul Hornung * HB 1984 62 190 66 0 760
Jim Brown * RB 1982 126 0 0 0 756
Lenny Moore * RB 1976 113 0 0 0 678
Gordy Soltau E 1975 25 284 70 0 644
Gene Mingo HB 1972 13 215 112 0 629
Bob Waterfield * QB 1970 13 315 60 0 573
Jim Taylor * FB 1969 93 0 0 0 558
Bobby Mitchell * HB-WR 1969 91 0 0 0 546

* Pro Football Hall of Fame member