FanPost

Hines Ward: a different look part 1. Hines vs. the big boys.

As we hit a lull in the action this offseason, I thought I would revisit a topic we had a great amount of debate on earlier this year; whether Hines Ward should be in the hall of fame. This should be a series, and hopefully it will be done before the preseason starts.

I'm going to approach it a little bit differently though. As we all know Hines didn't play the majority of his career on a passing team, and his stats look smaller than other WR's because of it. So how should we compare Hines Ward playing for Kordel Stewart vs. C. Carter in his years with Moss in Minnesotta, or M. Harrison in Indy?

For this post I am going to look at receiver stats as a percentage of their teams passing offense. I wanted to place Hines next to his main competition from his era, and some HoF to see where Hines stands in a "Most valuable to his offense" receiver competition. The basic idea is that on the surface 1250 yrd, 13 TD season on a 5000 yd 50 TD offense looks better than an 1000 yrd, 10 TD season on a 2500 yrd 25 TD offense, because we don't look at the team numbers normally. Using my above hypothetical, the first is 25% of the teams passing offense, the second is 40%.

I'm not going to promote percentage of passing offense as the definitive test for a WR belonging in the HoF, I just wanted to compare how the stats look in a different light.

A little guide to the charts below: I'm going season by season through their careers, and the basic layout is player receptions, team receptions, player receptions as a Percentage of team receptions, then doing yards and TD's the same way. I'm not going to try to simplify it into a single number or career line, as that is misleading. I'm also not going to adjust the numbers for injuries, because injuries greatly effect HoF entrance, and your team performance without you also speaks to your value. I'm also not going to go through game logs and add up yardage by game to eliminate the games they missed.

On to the stats:

First Hines Wards career stats with team numbers and percentage. (I bolded the %s and italicized the team stats for easier browsing):

Year Rec. Trec. % Yards Tyards % TD TTD %
1998 15 274 5.5 246 2552 9.6 0 23 0
1999 61 301 20.3 638 2883 22.1 7 19 36.8
2000 48 217 22.1 672 2518 26.7 4 10 40
2001 94 274 34.3 1003 3113 32.2 4 16 25
2002 112 350 32 1329 3832 34.7 12 26 46
2003 95 306 31 1163 3304 35.2 10 19 52.6
2004 80 228 35.1 1004 2720 36.9 4 20 20
2005 69 228 30.3 975 2926 33.3 11 21 52.4
2006 74 312 23.7 975 3733 26.1 6 23 26.1
2007 71 282 25.2 732 3071 23.8 7 34 20.6
2008 81 303 26.7 1043 3301 31.6 7 19 36.8
2009 95 351 27.1 1167 4148 28.1 6 28 21.4
2010 59 298 19.8 755 3601 21 5 22 22.7
2011 46 341 13.5 381 4054 9.4 2 21 9.5

Hines was in his prime from 2001-2005 by this metric, recording over 30% of team receptions and yards. TD's we'll see are more erratic for all WR's, with this time period Hines varying between 20% and 52.6% of team passing TD's. In 2006 our team started passing a lot more, and Hines started dropping as a percentage of team passing offense. His value is still evident, but he would not dominate the offense like he did for that 5 year time period again.

Now let's look at some contemporaries of Hines who are in the HoF discussion, and see how Hines measures up.

Terrell Owens:

Year Rec. Trec. % Yards Tyards % TD TTD %
1996 35 358 9.8 520 3659 14.2 4 24 16.7
1997 60 278 21.6 936 3143 29.8 8 20 40
1998 67 347 19.3 1097 4256 25.8 14 41 34.1
1999 60 324 18.5 754 3285 23 4 14 28.6
2000 97 366 26.5 1451 4239 34.2 13 32 40.6
2001 93 318 29.2 1412 3445 41 16 32 50
2002 100 354 28.2 1300 3457 37.6 13 23 56.5
2003 80 299 26.8 1102 3408 32.3 9 25 36
2004 77 336 22.9 1200 3979 30.2 14 32 43.8
2005 47 337 13.9 763 3677 20.8 6 21 28.6
2006 85 310 27.4 1180 3836 30.8 13 26 50
2007 81 342 23.7 1355 4105 33 15 36 41.7
2008 69 328 21 1052 3789 27.8 10 29 34.5
2009 55 256 21.5 829 2515 33 5 17 29.4
2010 72 365 19.7 983 3767 26.1 9 26 34.6

Looking at the percentages, the advantage in raw stats that Owens has over Hines largely disappears. In receptions Hines wins hands down, Owens never accounted for 30% of his teams receptions, Hines did it for five straight years. In yards Owens still carries the advantage, he recorded a 41% year and eight times was 30% or higher. Hines was 30% or higher six times. As for TD's, TO has three 50%+ seasons to Hines two, seven 40%+ seasons to Hines four, and eleven 30%+ seasons to Hines six. T.O. was a dominant scoring threat and it shows in how many of his teams passing TD's were to him.

Randy Moss:

Year Rec Trec % Yards Tyards % TD TTD %
1998 69 327 21.1 1313 4328 30.3 17 41 41.5
1999 80 316 25.3 1413 3989 35.4 11 32 34.4
2000 77 307 25.1 1437 3832 37.5 15 33 45.5
2001 82 335 24.5 1233 3576 34.5 10 23 43.5
2001 106 337 31.5 1347 3685 36.6 7 19 36.8
2003 111 333 33.3 1632 3591 41.3 17 32 53.1
2004 49 380 12.9 767 4516 17 13 39 33.3
2005 60 316 19 1005 3582 28.1 8 21 38.1
2006 42 263 16 553 2420 22.9 3 7 42.9
2007 98 403 24.3 1493 4731 31.6 23 50 46
2008 69 339 20.4 1008 3569 28.2 11 21 52.4
2009 83 390 21.3 1264 4436 28.5 13 28 46.4

I'm hoping you didn't need this chart to know Randy Moss was a dominant receiver. Unlike Owens he did manage to post two 30% reception seasons (again 5 for Hines). He accounted for 30% of his teams passing yards seven times (Hines 6) and like Owens posted a 42% season. For TD's he hit 50% twice (Hines 2) 40%+ eight times (Hines 4) and 30%+ each of his 12 seasons. (seriously he caught 3 TD's in a year Oakland threw for a total of 7)

The amazing thing is that Hines isn't far behind Moss in % of team yards. Moss was a dominant TD scorer, but his percentage of his team yards hovers about where Owens does, but he didn't maintain it as long.

The first two contemporaries of Hines are pretty much Hall of Fame locks. Moss and Owens should get in on their first try, but there is the chance that they will have to wait because they have a lot of negative feelings about hem. We will see what the voters do.

Just for a little example, look at these seasons chosen from the above WR's as raw stats.

A: 95 rec. 1163 yards, 10 TDs

B: 93 rec. 1412 yards, 16 TDs

C: 98 rec. 1493 yards, 23 TDs

In raw stats, they look more impressive as you move down the list. Now let's look at them as a percentage of team offense:

A: 31% rec. 35.2% yards, 52.6% TDs

B: 29.2% rec. 41% yards, 50% TDs

C: 24.3% rec. 31.6% yards, 46% TDs

As a percentage of team passing the story changes. Randy Moss's 2007 campaign is pretty much the best example I could give of raw stats not matching up with percentages, because of how dominant that offense was. Hines Ward's 2003 campaign look paltry compared to it in raw stats, but Hines' was a bigger part of our passing offense in 2003 than Moss was to the Patriots in 2007.

Now obviously Moss was a big part of the reason that offense accumulated such ridiculous numbers, not only through his own production but the match up difficulty he forced on the field. Percentages will never account for a receiver getting other players open by shifting coverage to himself. Like I said it isn't a super end all number to determine a players value. It is however good to look at the context and see that a player's stats depend on the offense that they are in, and have an actual number to assign their value to their offense in any given year.

In the second part (whenever I get time for that) I will look at some more potential Hall of Famers from Hines era and see how Hines measures up to guys who aren't Randy Moss and Terrell Owens. It may take a while as my wife is 8 1/2 months pregnant and things are a bit hectic right now.

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join Behind the Steel Curtain

You must be a member of Behind the Steel Curtain to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Behind the Steel Curtain. You should read them.

Join Behind the Steel Curtain

You must be a member of Behind the Steel Curtain to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Behind the Steel Curtain. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9341_tracker