The Best Wide Receivers of All Time Football Players (American)

The Best Wide Receivers of All Time

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100,798 votes 9,149 voters 220,561 views 203 items tags f p @

List Criteria: Please the rank players only based on their on-field accomplishments

The best wide receivers of all time are a group of elite athletes inclusive of some of the best athletes of all time. The greatest wide receivers are the ones that make amazing plays every game while simultaneously making the little plays that move the ball down the field. These are the top wide receivers ever to play the game of football.

These elite football players are members of pro-bowl squads, Super Bowl winners, and all-around all-star football players. Some, like Jerry Rice, became the stuff of football legend while they were still playing, while others like Wes Welker are just making their marks as the go-to wide receivers on franchise teams. Most of the top wide receivers in the NFL are on this list, and whether they are the best wide receivers currently in the NFL or the best wide receivers in the history of the NFL, they all have a fighting chance to land at #1 on the list of the best wide receivers ever.

Who are the best wide receivers of all time? What are the qualities of the top wide receivers? Who is the greatest wide receiver ever? These are some of the questions this list looks to tackle with its compilation of the best wide receivers of all time. There are scores of famous wide receivers in the history of the NFL, so if you don't see your favorite wide receiver on the list, make sure to add him so other users can vote for him to move up this list of the greatest wide receivers of all time.

If you want a little more football after checking out this list of the best wide receivers in the NFL, check out the best touchdown celebrations of all time to see some of these guys in endzone action.


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  1. 1
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    Jerry Rice
    Photo: via Youtube.com

    Jerry Lee Rice is a former American football wide receiver who played 20 seasons in the National Football League. He is widely considered to be the greatest wide receiver in NFL history and among the greatest NFL players overall. On November 4, 2010, Rice was chosen by NFL Network's NFL Films production ...more

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    • Teams: Mississippi Valley State Delta Devils football, Seattle Seahawks, Denver Broncos, Oakland Raiders, San Francisco 49ers
    • Position: Wide receiver
    • Birthplace: USA, Mississippi, Crawford
    • Age: age 53
  2. 2
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    Randy Gene Moss is a retired American football wide receiver who played 14 seasons in the National Football League. He holds the NFL single-season touchdown reception record, the NFL single-season touchdown reception record for a rookie, and is second on the NFL all-time regular season touchdown ...more

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    • Teams: Oakland Raiders, New England Patriots, San Francisco 49ers, Tennessee Titans, Minnesota Vikings
    • Position: Wide receiver
    • Birthplace: Rand, West Virginia, United States of America
    • Age: age 38
  3. 3
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    Calvin Johnson, Jr., nicknamed Megatron, is an American football wide receiver for the Detroit Lions of the National Football League. He played college football for Georgia Tech, and was recognized as an All-American twice. He was selected by the Lions with the second overall pick in the 2007 NFL ...more

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    • Teams: Detroit Lions
    • Position: Wide receiver
    • Birthplace: Newnan, Georgia, United States of America
    • Age: age 30
  4. 4
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    Michael Jerome Irvin is a former American football player for the Dallas Cowboys, and an actor. He is also a former broadcaster for ESPN's Sunday NFL Countdown and currently an analyst for NFL Network. Irvin was self-nicknamed "The Playmaker" due to his penchant for making big plays in big games during ...more

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    • Teams: Dallas Cowboys
    • Position: Wide receiver
    • Birthplace: Fort Lauderdale, Florida, United States of America
    • Age: age 49
  5. 5
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    Larry Darnell Fitzgerald, Jr. is an American football wide receiver for the Arizona Cardinals of the National Football League. He played college football for the University of Pittsburgh, and earned unanimous All-American honors. The Arizona Cardinals chose Fitzgerald with the third overall pick in the ...more

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    • Teams: Arizona Cardinals, Pittsburgh Panthers football
    • Position: Wide receiver
    • Birthplace: Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States of America
    • Age: age 32
  6. 6
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    Graduel Christopher Darin "Cris" Carter is a former American football and Hall of Fame player in the National Football League. He was a wide receiver for the Philadelphia Eagles, the Minnesota Vikings and the Miami Dolphins. After starting for the Ohio State University Buckeyes, Carter was drafted by ...more

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    • Teams: Miami Dolphins, Philadelphia Eagles, Minnesota Vikings, Ohio State Buckeyes football
    • Position: Wide receiver
    • Birthplace: Troy, Ohio, United States of America
    • Age: age 50
  7. 7
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    Marvin Daniel Harrison is a former American football player who was a wide receiver in the National Football League for 13 seasons. He played college football for Syracuse University, and was drafted by the Indianapolis Colts in the first round of the 1996 NFL Draft. He spent all thirteen of his NFL ...more

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    • Teams: Indianapolis Colts, Syracuse Orange football
    • Birthplace: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States of America
    • Age: age 43
  8. 8
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    Terrell Eldorado Owens is an American football wide receiver who played 15 seasons in the National Football League. A six-time Pro Bowl selection, Owens holds or shares several National Football League records. His 15,934 career receiving yards rank 2nd in NFL history, and his 153 receiving touchdowns ...more

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    • Teams: Buffalo Bills, Cincinnati Bengals, San Francisco 49ers, Philadelphia Eagles, Texas Revolution, + more
    • Position: Wide receiver
    • Birthplace: Alexander City, Alabama, United States of America
    • Age: age 42
  9. 9
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    Steve Largent
    Photo: Freebase/Public domain

    Steven Michael "Steve" Largent is a retired American football player, enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and a former Republican politician, having served in the U.S. House of Representatives for Oklahoma, from 1994 until 2002. In 2002, he was defeated in his run for Governor of Oklahoma in a ...more

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    • Teams: Seattle Seahawks
    • Position: Wide receiver
    • Birthplace: Tulsa, Oklahoma, United States of America
    • Age: age 61
  10. 10
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    Timothy Donell "Tim" Brown is a NFL Hall of Fame former American football wide receiver. He played college football for Notre Dame, where he won the Heisman Trophy, becoming the first wide receiver to win the award. He spent sixteen years with the Los Angeles/Oakland Raiders, during which he established ...more

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    • Teams: Notre Dame Fighting Irish football, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Oakland Raiders
    • Birthplace: Dallas, Texas, United States of America
    • Age: age 49
  11. 11
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    Reginald "Reggie" Wayne is an American football wide receiver who is a free agent. He played college football for the University of Miami, and was drafted by the Indianapolis Colts in the first round of the 2001 NFL Draft. He is a six-time Pro Bowl selection, and was a member of the Colts' Super Bowl ...more

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    • Teams: Indianapolis Colts, Miami Hurricanes football
    • Position: Wide receiver
    • Birthplace: New Orleans, Louisiana, United States of America
    • Age: age 37
  12. 12
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    Lynn Swann
    Photo: Freebase/Public domain

    Lynn Curtis Swann is an American former professional football player, sportscaster, and current politician. In 2006, he was the Republican nominee to run against the incumbent Ed Rendell for Pennsylvania governor.more

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    • Teams: Pittsburgh Steelers, USC Trojans football
    • Position: Wide receiver
    • Birthplace: Alcoa, Tennessee, United States of America
    • Age: age 63
  13. 13
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    Isaac Isidore Bruce is a former American football wide receiver in the National Football League. He was drafted by the Los Angeles Rams in the second round of the 1994 NFL Draft. He played college football for the University of Memphis. An All-Pro and four-time Pro Bowl selection, Bruce amassed 15,208 ...more

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    • Teams: Memphis Tigers football, St. Louis Rams, San Francisco 49ers
    • Position: Wide receiver
    • Birthplace: Fort Lauderdale, Florida, United States of America
    • Age: age 43
  14. 14
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    Andre Darnell Reed is a former professional American football player. He played wide receiver in the National Football League for 16 seasons, 15 with the Buffalo Bills and one with the Washington Redskins. After being eligible for eight years, Reed was selected for the Pro Football Hall of Fame in ...more

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    • Teams: Buffalo Bills, Washington Redskins, Denver Broncos
    • Position: Wide receiver
    • Birthplace: Allentown, Pennsylvania, United States of America
    • Age: age 51
  15. 15
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    Stevonne Latrall "Steve" Smith, Sr. is an American football wide receiver for the Baltimore Ravens of the National Football League. After playing college football for the University of Utah, he was drafted by the Carolina Panthers in the third round of the 2001 NFL Draft. Smith, a five-time Pro Bowl ...more

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    • Teams: Carolina Panthers
    • Position: Wide receiver
    • Birthplace: Carlsbad, California, United States of America
    • Age: age 36
  16. 16
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    Sterling Sharpe is a former American football wide receiver and an analyst for the NFL Network. He attended the University of South Carolina, and played from 1988 to 1994 with the Green Bay Packers.more

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    • Teams: South Carolina Gamecocks football, Green Bay Packers
    • Position: Wide receiver
    • Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, United States of America
    • Age: age 50
  17. 17
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    Andre Lamont Johnson is an American football wide receiver for the Indianapolis Colts of the National Football League. He was drafted by the Houston Texans third overall in the 2003 NFL Draft. He played college football for the University of Miami. Johnson is second all-time in NFL history in receiving ...more

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    • Teams: Houston Texans, Miami Hurricanes football
    • Position: Wide receiver
    • Birthplace: Miami, Florida, United States of America
    • Age: age 34
  18. 18
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    Fred Biletnikoff
    Photo: Freebase/Public domain

    Frederick S. "Fred" Biletnikoff is a former professional football player and a member of both the Pro Football Hall of Fame and College Football Hall of Fame. He was a wide receiver for the Oakland Raiders for fourteen seasons and later an assistant coach with the team. Biletnikoff retired as an NFL ...more

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    • Teams: Oakland Raiders
    • Position: Wide receiver
    • Birthplace: Erie, Pennsylvania, United States of America
    • Age: age 72
  19. 19
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    James Arthur "Art" Monk is a former American football wide receiver in the National Football League for the Washington Redskins, New York Jets, and the Philadelphia Eagles. Monk was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2008. He is a relative of jazz pioneer Thelonious Monk.more

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    • Teams: Washington Redskins, Syracuse Orange football, New York Jets, Philadelphia Eagles
    • Position: Wide receiver
    • Birthplace: USA, White Plains, New York
    • Age: age 58
  20. 20
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    Hines Ward
    Photo: Freebase/CC-BY

    Hines Edward Ward, Jr. is a retired American football wide receiver and current NBC studio analyst who played 14 seasons for the Pittsburgh Steelers of the National Football League. He played college football at the University of Georgia. The Pittsburgh Steelers selected him in the third round of the ...more

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    • Teams: Pittsburgh Steelers
    • Position: Wide receiver
    • Birthplace: Seoul, South Korea
    • Age: age 39
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