Jerry Rice's retirement has prompted plenty of people to hail him as the greatest receiver--if not the greatest player--of all time. While Rice (left) belongs in either argument, it says here that players can truly be judged only against others of their respective eras. By that measure Don Hutson (right), who played for Green Bay from 1935 through '45, was a more prolific receiver than Rice. Hutson's 99 career TD catches were three times as many as the No. 2 man of his era, and that total stood as an NFL record for 44 years, until Steve Largent broke it in '89. Here's how he and Rice stack up against the second-best receivers of their generations.
|Don Hutson, Green Bay||488||7,991||99|
|Jim Benton, Cleveland-Chicago||190||3,309||33|
|Jerry Rice, S.F.-Oak.-Sea.||1,549||22,895||197|
|Cris Carter, Phila.-Minn.-Miami||1,101||13,899||130|
Jake Plummer versus his destiny in Denver
Plummer was an abysmal 22-of-48 in a 34-10 loss at Miami, and now he comes home to face the rebuilt pass-rush of the Chargers--and the intense scrutiny of the Broncos faithful. This is the season that the $40 million man, who has struggled against blitzing defenses, must lead his team to a playoff victory. The orange-clad natives are getting very restless.
STAT OF THE WEEK
The first three backs on Auburn's 2003 depth chart--Cadillac Williams, Ronnie Brown and Brandon Jacobs--made their NFL debuts on Sunday with the Bucs, Dolphins and Giants, respectively. Combined day's work: 55 carries, 244 yards, two TDs.
1. For years I've cringed at the immaturity and lack of discipline that cause brawls to break out before some college football games. The Eagles and Falcons--particularly firestarters Jeremiah Trotter and Kevin Mathis--should be ashamed of themselves for marring the Monday Night opener with their childish macho display.
2. The lesson for all of us who dismissed the Dolphins as playoff contenders this season: Nick Saban can coach defense.
3. In the wake of his 70 yards passing at Buffalo, I'm still waiting for Texans QB David Carr to play well against a good defense. Until he does, his team will wallow in mediocrity.
Peter King's Monday Morning Quarterback, every week at SI.com/football.