The debate on Antonio Brown vs Hines Ward as to who is the better Steelers receiver has been a hot topic lately. This seems like a no-brainer to us at Steelers Sanctuary. Let’s go over the case for both players, and get to the inevitable conclusion.
The case for Hines Ward:
If you were to design a Pittsburgh Steelers receiver in a lab, you couldn’t come out with a more perfect specimen than Hines Ward. A tough, physical player who also was an extremely talented receiver and route runner. Ward often pushed the limits of what was considered clean to the delight of Steelers fans everywhere. His blue collar work ethic made him a fan favorite throughout his career. The crushing blocks he became known for are the stuff of legend as you can see here: https://youtu.be/8QmrQySukr4
Physicality was only part of the package with Hines Ward. Indeed he was one of this team’s most talented pass catchers as well. Ward is the current all-time leader in receiving yards for the Pittsburgh Steelers with 12,083. He also has the most touchdowns in team history from that position with 85. Yes more than Antonio Brown in both categories, you’re reading that right. And let’s not forget the most important stat of all, this is a two time Super Bowl champion here. That weighs big for an organization like the Pittsburgh Steelers.
On most other franchises these accomplishments would easily make Hines Ward the number one receiver in team history. But this is the Pittsburgh Steelers. This organization has a multitude of great players at this position, and one of those happens to be Antonio Brown. Top 10 Steelers receivers all time,
The Case for Antonio Brown:
If this were a prize fight it would be a first round knockout. As much as we love Hines Ward, he just isn’t in the class of Antonio Brown. In the six year stretch between 2013 and 2018 there simply was no better receiver on the planet. It encompassed six straight Pro-Bowl appearances, and five All-Pro nominations. Brown led the league in yards twice (2014,2017), and twice in receptions (2014,2018) during this time frame. We are talking about one of the best receivers of all-time here, not just in Steelers history.
While Hines Ward holds most of the career records for the Steelers, one can not discount the number of seasons played when comparing the two. Ward had five more years under his belt to play with. It is a forgone conclusion that Antonio Brown would have eclipsed all the Steelers receiving records had he not had his well publicized meltdown. Needing only slightly over 800 yards and six touchdowns to catch Ward, its little doubt one more season in black and gold would’ve done it. That equates to a below average season for AB.
This one isn’t close my friends. Antonio Brown is the better wide receiver, and frankly it’s not all that close. Because of the way he left the team some might try to complicate this argument with talk of counting stats and Super Bowl trophies. The bottom line is Antonio Brown is one of the greatest receivers of all time. Not just for the Steelers, but the entire NFL. While we all love Hines Ward, he’s not even top five on his own team. As far as we are concerned AB wins this contest easily. Case closed.