Saturday, August 27, 2011
#7 Don Hutson
Don Hutson was a receiver ahead of his time by a half-century. That's how long it took for the National Football League to catch up with the "Alabama Antelope." Hutson didn't merely catch more passes and score more touchdowns than anybody imagined possible. He changed the way football was played.
Few teams threw the ball in 1935 unless they were desperate or wanted to surprise the opponent. Hutson was football's Copernicus, proving that the universe did not revolve around the run.
By the time he retired in 1945, passing was part of the game. As for the receiving part, nobody played the game like Hutson. Statistically, his only rivals weren't born when Hutson left the game.
He led the NFL in touchdowns eight times. More than 50 years later, nobody else has led the league more than three times.
He also led the league in catches a record eight times, including 1942, when he had a then-astonishing 74 receptions. His nearest rival caught 27 passes that season.
In nine seasons he was the top touchdown receiver in the league (Rice is second all-time with six).