You can add Father Time to the list.
Over the last two seasons Steve Smith has put up some of the most impressive stats in NFL history for a receiver his age, and the fiery 33-year-old is showing no signs of slowing down.
Watch Out, Jerry Rice
Last year Steve Smith put up one of the most remarkable seasons for a 32-year-old wide receiver the league has ever seen.
The list of receivers age 32 and above who have matched Smith's 2011 totals of 79 receptions and 1,394 yards is as impressive as it is small:
WR's Age 32+ With 79+ Receptions and 1,394+ Yards
-Jerry Rice (1994 and 1995)
-Joe Horn (2004)
-John Stallworth (1984)
-Steve Smith (2011)
That's it. That's the whole list.
Rice and Stallworth are in the Hall of Fame. At his current pace, that's exactly where Steve Smith may be headed as well.
The arrival of quarterback Cam Newton and offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski last year were crucial in helping Smith continue to put up eye-popping numbers. In 2010 a hodgepodge of below-average quarterbacks relegated Smith to just 46 receptions for 554 yards in 14 games. But with a new offensive system and quarterback, Smith has returned to his dominant play this season, despite his age.
Still Ballin' at 33
Smith's numbers have dropped off slightly through Week 12 of 2012 when compared to last year, but he is still producing at an elite level. At his current pace he will end this season with 65 receptions for 1,050 yards.
Smith's average of 70.0 receiving yards per game this year is also among elite company.
Only 20 wide receivers in NFL history have averaged at least 70 receiving yards per game at age 33, putting Smith among all-time greats like Tim Brown, Chris Carter, Charlie Joiner, and of course, Jerry Rice once again.
What makes Steve Smith's productivity over the last two years so impressive is the fact the Panthers have lacked a clear WR2 to draw coverage and take pressure off the oft-double teamed #89. If the Panthers can (finally) upgrade the wide receiver spot this offseason, expect Smith's post-30 production to continue among the all-time greats.
Father Time just is getting his clock cleaned by a 33-year-old Steve Smith.
And by the looks of it, so will his opponents for several more years to come.
Andrew Sweat is a die-hard Panthers fan. For more from this author, visit Andrew's archive or check out these articles:
- Sports & Recreation
- American Football
- Jerry Rice