In his attempt to defend the fact his team hasn’t gone out of its way in order to replace the soon-to-be-suspended Josh Gordon, Cleveland Browns general manager Ray Farmer is now arguing that big-time receivers are overrated in terms of the value they bring to teams on their quests for the Lombardi Trophy.
“I would say ‘how important are those guys?”’ Farmer told 92.3 The Fan on Wednesday (via the Cleveland Plain Dealer). “Name the last big-time receiver to win a Super Bowl. Name the last mega-guy. (Gordon) matters to me because I like the guy and I think he’s a really good player, but at the end of the day, when you look at the teams that have these mega-receivers, name the last guy that won a Super Bowl?… There are none. The last guy that really helped his team get there was T.O. (Terrell Owens).”
It’s obvious why Farmer is taking this stance, but does he have a point? No, not really.
The Seahawks won the Super Bowl this past season. Their top receiver, Golden Tate, had less than 1,000 yards and was allowed to walk away in free agency. The year before that, Anquan Boldin had less than 1,000 yards for the Super Bowl-champion Ravens before also leaving as a free agent. Marques Colston was good but not fantastic for the Saints when they won it all in 2009, and Hines Ward played a similar role with the title-winning Steelers in 2008.
But Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks both played major roles on the Giants’ 2011 Super Bowl run. And in 2010, the Super Bowl-champion Packers benefited from a huge season from Greg Jennings. Cruz finished third in the NFL in receiving yards in ’11, while Jennings was fourth in 2010.
Are Cruz, Jennings and Plaxico Burress “mega-receivers”? I guess Farmer doesn’t believe so, but they were true No. 1 guys and Pro Bowl-caliber players when they helped their respective teams win titles in the last decade, and I think that’s the type of receiver Browns fans are hoping for, rather than a Terrell Owens or Randy Moss.
Yes, Owens and Moss are championship-less. But even if we go back to 2006, was Marvin Harrison not a big-time receiver when he had 95 catches, 1,366 and 12 touchdowns during Indy’s latest Super Bowl campaign? And Owens and Moss have both played major roles in leading teams to Super Bowls, which has to count for something.
So while it’s hard to find a Super Bowl team that was carried by its running back, several top-tier receivers have played major roles in recent Super Bowl seasons. Farmer either has a selective memory or isn’t casting a wide enough net.