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Ranking the Top 11 Wide Receiver Duos In NFL History

Minnesota Viking receiver Randy Moss (84) in action against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field. USA TODAY Sports.

The NFL is loaded with great wide receiver pairings entering the 2024 season. Ja’Marr Chase and Tee Higgins, Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle, and A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith are just a few of the great duos.

But what duo is the best in NFL history? That is what we are set to look at today. For the purposes of this article, we are looking at wide receiver tandems during the Super Bowl era. Overall statistics will be considered, as is their peak. So, without further ado, let’s get into the list.

>> READ: Ranking Best QBs of All Time

Top-11 WR Pairings of All Time

11. Patriots: Randy Moss, Wes Welker

Randy Moss and Wes Welker only played three full seasons together, but those three seasons rival any duo in NFL history. From 2007 to 2009, this pairing combined for 8,301 receiving yards and 69 touchdowns.

While it’s true that Tom Brady was throwing the ball to these receivers, Brady missed all of the 2008 season with a torn ACL. Even in 2008, when Matt Cassel threw them the ball, they managed to rack up 2,173 yards and 15 touchdowns.

And, oh yeah, they went 16-0 in their first season together in 2007. During a three-year window, there might not have been a better duo than Moss and Welker. It's just a shame that it didn't last longer.

10. Chargers: John Jefferson, Charlie Joiner

This duo only played three years together, as Charlie Joiner was already 31 when John Jefferson was drafted. Still, they managed to put up videogame-like numbers during their time together. In those three seasons, they combined to have five Pro Bowl appearances, three first-team All-Pro selections, and more than 6,000 receiving yards.

It’s too bad we didn’t get to see this duo play together longer after the Los Angeles Chargers traded away Jefferson before the 1981 season. Joiner was 34 then, but he played at a high level until he was 39.

9. Raiders: Fred Biletnikoff, Cliff Branch

Cliff Branch was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2022, joining teammate Fred Biletnikoff in Canton. Together, they racked up 8,600 receiving yards and 78 touchdowns in seven seasons. But this duo is on the list because of their ability to make big plays in playoff games.

During the 1978 playoffs, these two receivers combined for 314 yards and helped the Raiders win the Super Bowl against the Vikings. Branch and Biletnikoff were two of the best wide receivers in the NFL during the 1970s, and they were among the first great wide receiver pairings in league history.

San Francisco 49ers receiver Terrell Owens (81) in action against New Orleans Saints defensive back Kevin Mathis (23) at 3Com Park. Peter Brouillet-USA TODAY NETWORK.

8. 49ers: Jerry Rice, Terrell Owens

These two Hall of Famers only played five seasons together (1996-2000), but it really was shorter than that. Jerry Rice missed most of the 1997 season, and Terrell Owens was a rookie in 1996. Their best season together came in 1998 when they combined for 23 touchdown receptions.

Owens caught the game-winning touchdown in the Wild Card round, and it was one of the best wide receiver tandem seasons in recent memory. While the overall numbers together aren’t staggering, you won’t find two more talented players on the same team in NFL history.

These are arguably the top two wide receivers in NFL history together on one team.

7. Steelers: Lynn Swann, John Stallworth

This duo doesn’t have the counting stats compared to the other groups on this list, but they were dynamite in the postseason. Both players made huge plays in Super Bowl wins and were inducted into the Hall of Fame at the end of their careers.

They combined for four Super Bowl wins, six Pro Bowl appearances, and 10,766 receiving yards. Not bad.

Miami Dolphins receiver Mark Duper (85) in action against the New York Jets at Giants Stadium. The Jets defeated the Dolphins in overtime 51-45. USA TODAY Sports.

6. Dolphins: Mark Duper, Mark Clayton

Mark Duper and Mark Clayton might be the best “small” wide receiver duo in NFL history, with both players listed at 5-foot-9. But don’t let their lack of size fool you.

They were some of the most dominant wide receivers in NFL history. During the 1984 season, this duo combined for 2,695 receiving yards on 144 receptions. Yes, you read that right. The duo averaged a whopping 18.7 yards per reception and totaled 28 touchdowns.

They would go on to play 10 seasons together, racking up more than 17,000 receiving yards and 140 touchdowns. They are arguably the most underrated wide receiver tandem in NFL history, all because they couldn't get a Super Bowl ring.

5. Cardinals: Larry Fitzgerald, Anquan Boldin

It is hard to believe now, but early on in their careers, there was a legitimate debate about who the better wide receiver was for the Arizona Cardinals. Anquan Boldin started his career at a historic pace, recording 217 receiving yards in his first game.

Larry Fitzgerald was drafted a year later, and the duo produced some elite numbers together.

In their six seasons together, they totaled 13,210 receiving yards and 95 touchdowns. That means they averaged 2,200 receiving yards and 16 touchdowns per season. Remember, most of that was with Josh McCown, Matt Leinart, and a broken-down Kurt Warner (before he turned things around) throwing the ball.

Indianapolis Colts wide receivers (83) Brandon Stokley, (87) Reggie Wayne, and (88) Marvin Harrison during training camp at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in Terre Haute, Indiana. Jason Parkhurst-USA TODAY Sports © 2006 Jason Parkhurst

4. Colts: Marvin Harrison, Reggie Wayne

Peyton Manning was the best quarterback of the 2000s, and this receiving duo is a big reason.

In their eight seasons together, the tandem recorded 17,155 receiving yards and 134 touchdowns. It’s also worth noting that by the time Reggie Wayne was drafted in 2001, Marvin Harrison was already 29 years old. Yet, this duo produced yearly totals that we have never seen before.

3. Rams: Isaac Bruce, Torry Holt

The Greatest Show on Turf was a thing because of these two elite receivers in St. Louis. In their first four seasons together, the duo combined for 613 receptions for nearly 10,000 receiving yards and 57 touchdowns.

All in all, they had more than 21,000 receiving yards together. That is why they rank so highly on this list. It’s a shame they only have one Super Bowl win because this group consistently performed at an elite level for nearly a decade.

San Francisco receiver Jerry Rice heads upfield with a pass during the 4th quarter of the 49ers' loss to the Rams at 3Com Park on Nov. 21, 1999. USA TODAY Sports.

2. 49ers: Jerry Rice, John Taylor

Rice and you, the reader, would rank inside the top 10 of this list. Rice’s numbers were absurd by himself, and he routinely posted numbers that were better than nearly every wide receiver duo in the NFL combined. But don’t forget about Taylor, who might be the NFL’s most underrated receiver ever.

Taylor was named to the Hall of Fame’s All-Decade Team in the 1980s despite playing just three years in the 80s. Their best season together was in 1989 when they totaled 2,560 yards and scored 27 touchdowns.

In the playoffs, they combined for eight touchdown receptions and a Super Bowl win against the Broncos. From 1987 to 1995, this was arguably the most unstoppable duo in NFL history. Their three Super Bowl wins together certainly back that up.

1. Vikings: Randy Moss, Cris Carter

There is no other choice for the No. 1 spot. Moss and Cris Carter are two Hall of Famers who dominated simultaneously.

During the 1998 season, the duo combined for 29 touchdowns and more than 2,400 receiving yards. It’s a shame this duo didn’t get to play together longer, as Carter was already 33 when Moss was drafted.

They spent four full seasons together (1998-2001), and the combined numbers are bonkers. They totaled 93 touchdowns and more than 9,800 yards in those four seasons. That means together, they averaged 2,450 yards per season and more than 23 touchdowns.

From the moment he entered the league, Moss was the NFL's most dangerous weapon, and Carter was among the most consistent. Together, they are the league’s best wide receiver duo ever.

>> READ: The True Story of Moss' Draft Day Fall