It’s not every day you get to say this—though it might seem that way when talking about Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown—but the next catch that he records will be NFL history. Entering Sunday’s game against the New England Patriots, Brown has 99 receptions on the season, making his next catch his 100th on the season.
That has become humdrum for Brown, which is exactly why it is history. He will become the first player in NFL history to record 100 receptions in a season for five consecutive years, something that no player throughout history has done before.
He already became, in this past week’s game, the fourth player in NFL history to record at least 90 catches in five consecutive seasons. The three players who accomplished the task before him were Torry Holt, Marvin Harrison, and the Broncos’ Demaryius Thomas, whose streak is actually active, having done so from 2012 to 2016.
With three games to go, however, that streak is in jeopardy, as, playing with a trio of bad quarterbacks, Thomas has just 68 receptions on the season. He would need 22 over the course of the final three games, an average of 7.3 per game, to hit 90. He had exactly 90 last year. He is coming off an eight-catch game.
Holt, mangled finger and all, actually had six consecutive seasons of 90 receptions or more, though he only topped 100 twice in that span. Holt recorded at least 100 receptions four years in a row, and it would be his record to break.
Those are the only four seasons in which he recorded at least 100 receptions, so Brown’s next catch would give him more 100-reception seasons than the Hall of Famer. But it would not give him the most such seasons in NFL history.
As I have written about previously, Brandon Marshall is the only player in NFL history to record 100 receptions or more in a season six times, a record Brown could tie next season. He would join Andre Johnson and Wes Welker with five, however, with his next catch.
And by the way, the Cardinals’ Larry Fitzgerald is likely to be close behind him. With four 100-catch seasons already under his belt, the seemingly ageless wide receiver needs just 13 receptions over the course of the final three games to hit the mark again, as he has in each of the past two seasons.
While Fitzgerald his passing Hall of Famers and soon-to-bes on the all-time receiving lists, however, Brown still has a ways to go, eight years into his career, though he is on an exceptional pace.
He could become the 46th player in NFL history to record 10,000 receiving yards with 114 against the Patriots. Fitzgerald just crossed the 15,000-yard threshold, third all time. Brown just tied Calvin Johnson for 43rd all-time in receptions with 731. Fitzgerald sailed past 1200, third all-time.