Tyreek Hill is the most prolific long-touchdown scorer in NFL history.
That may not be breaking news to most of Chiefs Kingdom, but it’s still a bold statement to make. Chiefs fans have seen the peace sign flashed so often in the past four seasons that it can be somewhat taken for granted. Of course he just scored a 50-yard touchdown, he’s the Cheetah, he’s the fastest player in the NFL, that’s what he does.
So far, he’s doing it at a rate that is putting him atop all the speedster leaderboards in NFL history. Let’s take a peek at the numbers behind the scores.
But before we get into the long touchdowns specifically, I want to talk about his overall touchdown totals. Here’s a leaderboard of everyone who has scored a TD of any kind in the NFL before their 26th birthday:
* = Hall of Fame member
Of the 28 players on this list, there are 14 Hall of Famers (plus sure-candidates Rob Gronkowski, Adrian Peterson and Larry Fitzgerald) and the positions are 22 running backs, five wide receivers, and one tight end.
Once again, these are just raw touchdown totals. Running backs obviously get the ball frequently in goal-to-go situations, but check out the last column on the chart: average yards per touchdown. The wide receivers reign supreme here, as you’d expect, but what’s staggering is Tyreek Hill’s lead over 2nd-place Randy Moss at a full 7.6 yards. Now, Moss obviously had quite a few more touchdowns than Hill (68 compared to 44) so I took a look at the rest of the top 100 leaderboard to see how many players averaged 40 yards per touchdown before their 26th birthday:
There’s the list. Pretty exclusive company so far. If you then multiply the average TD length by the total number of TDs, you get the total yards scored via TD. Here’s the top 10:
Tyreek Hill has spent most of those 1,795 yards throwing up the deuces at helpless defenders over the first four years of his Chiefs career. If he’s this impressive in total touchdown numbers, how does he look when only taking long touchdowns into account?
To get a full sense of Hill’s place in the history books, I pulled the career touchdown leaderboards for every touchdown distance from 25 to 75+ in increments of five yards. That means I looked at the top 200 players who have scored 25+ yard touchdowns, then the top 200 players who have scored 30+ yard touchdowns, then 35, and so on up to 75+ yards.
Here’s where Tyreek ranks in career touchdowns of at least these distances:
I must emphasize that these are career ranks. Jerry Rice had 20 years to amass his 90 touchdown catches of 25 or more yards, but Tyreek Hill has only had four. Obviously this is not how projections work, but if Hill continued his current pace and played for 20 seasons like Rice, he would end his career with 140 such touchdowns. Even if he slows down significantly, as all players do, he should be a threat at every long touchdown record in the books based on his body of work so far. This data doesn’t cover scoring type, but Chiefs fans know that Hill also has versatility on his side, as he’s scored 34 receiving, five rushing, one kickoff return, and four punt return touchdowns in his career.
With that in mind, we have arrived at the coup de grâce: long touchdowns before the age of 26. Here it is folks, here’s the proof that Tyreek Hill is the NFL’s most successful long-scorer ever.
These four players — Randy Moss, DeSean Jackson, Devin Hester and Tyreek Hill — are the only four players that are in the conversation. Moss is the king of 25-50 yard scores but then really fell off the long-distance leaderboard, while DeSean Jackson gets credit for being in the top 5 at every distance from 25-70 yards, and Devin Hester is the GOAT kick returner and has the record with the longest scores. But there’s Tyreek Hill, at either 1st or 2nd place at every distance marker. No matter how long the touchdown is, Hill is in the top two at every measure.
Chiefs fans have known Tyreek Hill is the king of the long touchdown ever since he broke onto the scene as a rookie with seven scores of 30 or more yards. With these jaw-dropping numbers, I have a feeling the rest of the NFL is starting to figure it out too.