Hines Ward Hall Of Fame Bound Update

Hines Ward Hall of Fame BustWith the recent announcement by Steelers receiver Hines Ward that he would like to play a couple of more seasons, it is time to once again look at his credentials and chances of one day being inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Here is my post last offseason on Ward for a reference point when I last posted about his run to Canton.

First and foremost, Ward is the leading receiver in Steelers history in receptions (954), receiving yardage (11,702) and touchdown catches (84). He has more receptions than Steelers Hall of Fame receivers John Stallworth and Lynn Swann combined. He also leads the Steelers in at least 14 different career receiving categories as you can see in the chart below.

Steelers Receivers (All-Time)

Category Statistic Rank
Receptions 954 1st
Receiving Yards 11,702 1st
Receiving TDs 83 1st
Career 100-Yard Games 29 1st
Consecutive Games w/ Catch 186 1st
1,000-Yd. Seasons (2001-04, 2008-09) 6 1st
Consecutive 1,000-Yd. Seasons (2001-04) 4 1st
90-plus Catch Seasons (2001-03, 2009) 4 1st
Consecutive 90-plus Catch Seasons (2001-03) 3 1st
Receptions in a Season (2002) 112 1st
Rushing Yards by a Receiver 428 1st
Consecutive Pro Bowls by Receiver (2002-05) 4 1st
Consecutive Seasons as Team’s Leading Receiver 11 1st
Consecutive 100-Yard Games (2002) 3 T-1st
TD Receptions in a Season (2002) 12 T-1st
Receptions in a Single Game (11/30/03) 13 2nd
Receiving Yards in a Season (2002) 1,329 3rd
100-Yard Games in a Season (2002, 2005, 2008, 2009) 5 T-3rd
Receiving Yards in a Game (10/22/06) 171 11th

Compared to other active receivers still playing, Ward currently is tied for third overall among active wide receivers (T-9th overall in NFL history) with 954 career receptions. He is tied with Randy Moss and only Terrell Owens ranks higher with 1,078 career receptions. His 186 consecutive game streak with at least one reception was snapped in 2010 against the Patriots, after he suffered a concussion, and that streak ranks him 3rd all-time behind Hall of Famer Jerry Rice and the Colts great receiver Marvin Harrison.

As far as post season stats go, his 7 receptions in Super Bowl XLV against the Packers moved him into 2nd place all-time behind only Rice in post season receptions as Ward now has 88 in total. His 78 yards receiving in that game moved into fifth place on the NFL’s all-time postseason list with 1,181 reception yards. In addition, the touchdown he scored in that game tied him with Fred Biletnikoff, Antonio Freeman and Moss for third place on the NFL’s all-time postseason list with 10 receiving touchdowns.

In addition to those stats, Ward has been voted to four Pro Bowls, led the Steelers to three Super Bowls, two Super Bowl wins and named Super Bowl MVP once.

Now it is time to update where he ranks in regards to other receivers already in the Hall of Fame and some of the top receivers all-time still trying to get in.

Current Hall of Fame Receivers

Player Years Played G REC YDS YDS/R TD
Jerry Rice 1985-2000 303 1549 22895 14.8 197
James Lofton 1989-1992 233 764 14004 18.3 75
Steve Largent 1976-1989 200 819 13089 16.0 100
Art Monk 1980-1993 224 940 12721 13.5 68
Michael Irvin 1988-1999 159 750 11904 15.9 65
Don Maynard 1958-1973 186 633 11834 18.7 88
Lance Alworth 1962-1972 136 542 10266 18.9 85
Raymond Berry 1955-1967 154 631 9275 14.7 68
Charlie Joiner 1976-1986 164 586 9203 15.7 47
Charley Taylor 1964-1977 165 649 9110 14.0 79
Fred Biletnikoff 1965-1978 190 589 8974 15.2 76
John Stallworth 1974-1987 165 537 8723 16.2 63
Paul Warfield 1964-1977 157 427 8565 20.1 85
Tommy McDonald 1957-1968 152 495 8410 17.0 84
Bobby Mitchell 1958-1968 148 521 7954 15.3 65
Bob Hayes 1965-1975 132 371 7414 20.0 71
Elroy Hirsch 1946-1956 127 387 7029 18.2 60
Dante Lavelli 1946-1956 123 386 6488 16.8 62
Pete Pihos 1947-1955 107 373 5619 15.1 61
Lynn Swann 1974-1982 116 336 5462 16.3 51
Tom Fears 1948-1956 87 400 5397 13.5 38

Active & Retired Receivers Not In Hall of Fame

Player Years Played G REC YDS YDS/R TD
Isaac Bruce 1994-2009 223 1024 15208 14.9 91
Terrell Owens* 1996-2010 219 1078 15934 14.8 153
Tim Brown 1988-2004 255 1094 14934 13.7 100
Marvin Harrison 1996-2008 190 1102 14580 13.2 128
Randy Moss* 1998-2010 202 954 14858 15.6 153
Cris Carter 1987-2002 234 1101 13899 12.6 130
Henry Ellard 1983-1998 228 814 13777 16.9 65
Torry Holt 1999-2009 173 920 13382 14.5 74
Andre Reed 1985-2000 227 951 13198 13.9 87
Irving Fryar 1984-2000 255 851 12785 15.0 84
Jimmy Smith 1992-2005 179 862 12287 14.3 67
Derrick Mason* 1997-2010 218 924 11891 12.9 66
Hines Ward* 1998-2010 202 954 11702 12.3 83
Muhsin Muhammad 1996-2009 202 860 11438 13.3 62
Rod Smith 1995-2006 183 849 11389 13.4 68
Keenan McCardell 1992-2007 207 883 11373 12.9 63

As you can see by stacking the numbers, Ward is already close to being Hall of Fame worthy. If he indeed plays 2 more seasons like he claims he wants to, he surely can easily add another 100 receptions and another 1,000 receiving yards to his totals. Another 10 touchdowns is certainly attainable as well. 1,100 total career receptions and 13,000 total receiving yards seem unlikely over the next two seasons, but it is not totally out of the question. Should Ward add another Super Bowl win to his resume in 2011 or 2012, one would think it would nearly guarantee a call from Canton.

Should Ward indeed play through 2012, he would be eligible to be inducted 5 years after retiring, but may be on the same waiting list with Moss and Owens at that point. In reality, he likely will not be a first ballot inductee, but should be primed to be part of the 2020 or 2021 class, as retired players like Harrison, Cris Carter, Tim Brown, Isaac Bruce and Andre Reed will likely get the nods first. Ward is an all-around great receiver as evidenced by his great blocking and willingness to go over the middle to make a catch. He has never been known as a receiver that will stretch the field, as his yards per catch average shows, but he is the consummate possession receiver that can find the open areas of the field and move the chains in addition as is evidenced by his 600 catches for 1st downs. Ward is a leader both on and off the field and epitomizes what a Steelers player and an old school wide receiver truly is.

Here is to at least two more great seasons for Ward as he continues his march towards the Hall of Fame and his own smiling bronze bust in Canton.

  • nick schneider

    why would he need more stats. He already has the stats equivalant to, A. Monk, M. Irvin and D. Maynard. who are at the top of the already inducted list. Hines Ward very quietly became great. The competitive spirit he displays is so evident. He wins a dance contest on TV with his spirit and dignity. Ya gotta love him; he’s Mr. Pittsburgh.

  • Brendonofq

    Hines Ward is a first ballot Hall of Famer… Yes, i AM a diehars Steelers fan, but I do try to be as objective as possible…i dont believe Dermonnti Dawson was deserving of first, 2nd, or 3rd ballot…(although i do believe he should probably get in at some point)…however, I am ADAMENT about Ward…ask any gm who he would want as a wide receiver to lead his team to Lombardi trophies…& ask them to consider EVERYTHING… What if a new coach comes… What if there is a young, or worse yet, below average qb, what if there is a new OC who wants to emphasize the run, what if first rd receivers are drafted to weed him out, what if hes asked to play special teams, what if hes asked to restructure his contract, what if he has to play hurt, what if it’s a big game, what if he has to throw his body on the line over and over again… If the gm can pick someone else… Then i guess he waits… But he better flippin’ get in REAL quick… Even sooner than dermontti…if there are (“wah-wah” too many Steelers in the hall)… He has climbed from where i predicted which was a good #3 rec for pitt…. To my 2nd fav steeler of all-time! & THAT’S sayin’ somethin’ bros!!!! I will cry when he retires and i aint a damn bit ashamed of it either