Putting it in Perspective

Recapping the Antonio Brown off-season

Recapping the Antonio Brown off-season
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Antonio Brown

Antonio Brown's off-season has been one for the record books. From getting frost bite on his feet, to retirement talk over his helmet, to showing up for training camp in a hot air balloon, to publicly posting his fines from Raiders management… it's been quite the ride. That quick summary I just gave doesn't even mention Brown's appearance on the TV show the Masked Singer, his trade demands from Pittsburgh (and Oakland), or his war of words with Ben Roethlisberger.

At the time of writing this article it appears that the story has finally reached its conclusion as Brown signed a 1-year deal to join the Patriots. However, there appears to be a lot of misconceptions out there regarding what happened. In the world of Instagram, twitter, and TMZ; it appears we focused so much on Brown's childish antics that we lost track of some important facts. So, to counteract that I offer the following to help put things in perspective.

1. Antonio Brown was certainly cocky, but did he deserve to be? How good is Antonio Brown really?

On August 19th Brown posted an image on Instagram which shows him to be the #1 wide receiver for receptions, yards, and TDs since 2010. While his stats are true, the approach of "since 2010" is a strange way to compare yourself to your competition. Instead let's look at Brown's first 9 seasons and compare it to some of the all-time greats.

Stats for first 9 seasons in NFL:

  • Antonio Brown - 837 Rec - 11,207 Yards – 74 TDs
  • Larry Fitzgerald -764 Rec - 10,413 Yards – 77 TDs
  • Jerry Rice - 708 Rec - 11,776 Yards – 118 TDs
  • Randy Moss - 676 Rec - 10,700 Yards – 101 TDs
  • Terrell Owens - 669 Rec - 9,772 Yards – 95 TDs
  • Isaac Bruce - 619 Rec - 9,480 Yards – 63 TDs
  • Tim Brown - 495 Rec - 7,180 Yards – 55 TDs

Brown's numbers are in line with and in most cases ahead of some the best to ever play the game. To put this in perspective for us Houstonians; DeAndre Hopkins would need to average 103 Rec – 1,257 Yards – 9 TDs for the next 3 years to match what Brown has already accomplished. Possible, but not easy.

2. Brown threatened to retire over his helmet. Is he insane?

The majority of America heard this story and laughed. The NFL adopted a rule that would force Brown (and other players such as Rodgers and Brady) to wear a newer model helmet to meet updated safety standards. While most players complied, Brown fought back and threatened to retire. He ended up skipping a few Raider's events leading to fines and his eventual leaving of the team. Yes, for most of us this sounds like a stupid reaction. Personally, I thought he had a point.

To offer up a comparison: In 1979 the National Hockey League (NHL) enacted a rule requiring the wearing of helmets for anyone entering the league after that date. This meant that all the current players were grandfathered in and had a choice if they wanted to continue to play without one. Why do this? Because change isn't easy. The league wanted to be safe, but they also wanted to keep up the level of play and knew there might be adverse side-effects to this change.

Now that you have that comparison, try to put yourself in Brown's shoes. Imagine that after 9 years of playing in the league you are told that not only is the helmet you wore not safe (meaning you could have long lasting problems) but that this new helmet could affect your range of vision and comfort on the field. Then when you complained about it, imagine you were basically ignored by NFL management. Wouldn't you feel disrespected? In the end the situation worked out for Brown financially with a helmet company stepping up and paying him to wear their brand. However, Brown's reputation has taken a hit that may one day affect his Hall of Fame chances.

3. Now that he signed with the Patriots, why should we care?

Wide receivers usually get better with age. In the first section I compared Brown to some of the all-time greats. While I was busy manually adding up 9 years of stats one thing became clear, most of those wide receivers had their best statistical season in year 10 or after. Here are a few examples:

  • Jerry Rice (year 11) – 122 Rec – 1848 Yards – 15 TDs
  • Tim Brown (Year 10) – 104 Rec – 1408 Yards – 5 TDs
  • Randy Moss (Year 10) – 98 Rec – 1493 Yards – 23 TDs

The scariest comparison on that list is Randy Moss who Brown appears to be emulating. In 2007 Moss left Oakland, joined Tom Brady and the Patriots, and then went on to be part of the 16-0 patriots. And by the way, Moss' 23 TDs remain the single season record today.

Final verdict - Brown may have come off as crazy in the media (and he certainly might be) but he is a great player who should still have a lot left in the tank. The league should be worried that the aging Belichick/Brady dynasty just got the player they needed to fight off father time.


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CJ Stroud and Will Anderson Jr both made the list. Composite Getty Image.

Coming off a surprising playoff run with a rookie quarterback in 2023, expectations couldn't be higher for the Houston Texans heading into 2024.

CBS Sports' Pete Prisco recently put his 2024 NFL Top 100 players list together, which includes six Texans players. Here's how Prisco has them ranked, and his outlook for the season.

No. 99 Edge Rusher Will Anderson Jr.

Just squeezing in the Top 100 is the Defensive Rookie of the Year, Will Anderson. “He was the Defensive Rookie of the Year after getting seven sacks. But he was much more than those sack numbers and his talent shows a player who can take a big jump to 12-15 sacks this season,” said Prisco.

No. 80 Cornerback Derek Stingley Jr.

Next on the list is ballhawking corner Derek Stingley Jr. Prisco weighed in on Houston's standout defensive back. “After a disappointing 2022 rookie season, he flashed star potential last year for the Texans. He is a long corner who is capable of matching up in coverage with the game's best receivers.”

No. 77 Wide Receiver Nico Collins

This is where we see the first offensive player makes the list. Prisco shares his thoughts on Houston's top pass catcher. “After having 70 catches in his first two seasons, he had his breakout season in 2023 with 80 catches and a 16.2 yard-per-catch average. He is truly a big-play threat who should continue to grow with quarterback C.J. Stroud.”

No. 57 Left Tackle Laremy Tunsil

Prisco adds another offensive player to his list here. “He is one of the best in the league in pass protection, which is great news for C.J. Stroud. His ability to hold up in one-on-one situations is key to their offense,” said Prisco.

No. 38 Quarterback CJ Stroud

Can Stroud deliver an impressive sophomore season? “He was special as a rookie, leading the Texans to the playoffs. Now comes the hard part: Doing it again. I don't think that will be a problem because he has the look of being a star for a long time,” said Prisco.

No. 35 Danielle Hunter

The final player to make the list is the Texans' prized offseason addition. “He had 16 1/2 sacks for the Vikings last season, continuing to be a force off the edge. In Houston, he will team with Will Anderson Jr. to give the Texans a nice duo of pass rushers,” Prisco said.

One glaring omission is Texans superstar receiver Stefon Diggs. Diggs had a down year in 2023 based on his standards. But don't be surprised if Diggs makes this list next year after a bounce back season with Stroud pulling the trigger at QB. And he'll be highly motivated, with the possibility of another mega-contract in sight.


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