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.
I’m a Steelers fanatic & When they both played for black & gold I loved both Ward & brown,& must say it deeply bothers me what happened with Antonio because reading the assessment I just did regarding the two & the opinion it’s ” a 1st round knockout” in comparison in favor of AB being far better,etc…etc ..And I honestly can say I see what your saying like years played as Steeler etc..& likely AB would had surpassed Wards team #’if he’d played another year there & he was the best receiver in entire league several years while he played for us,etc …etc .But ..I still have to disagree with that opinion or most of people’s opinions regarding Hines & his yearly HOF snubs especially with the WR’s put past him cause I look at Hines as a no brainer 1st rounder & much more than that let me share why your all wrong & why I think it’s a no brainer that Hines Ward should be considered the best WR if all time! Seriously,let me share why is should be true if anyone with looked at his career,level of play, attitude,presence ,team play ,toughness ,importance,etc…etc..Every aspect imaginable o what you would want if this was weird science & wanted to build a perfect wr.Sure if AB had stayed in Pitts ,not had melt down . Blah blah ..folks he didn’t stay & did have melt down & all that counts, honestly I believe if Antonio hadn’t become a diva,demanding the ball & special treatment,talked trash about his QB that literally helped him be & look so great,in fact Lavion Bell too,they were told & heard they were the best at their positions & then boom…selfishness took over,team thinking went out the window & greed took over & in thier minds they were above all else & those are very important to the case I put before you regarding Ward.I trully think if Antonio had been a humble team player we had needed him to be he very possibly could had ended his career as the best wideout ever & same with Bells problem,man if those too had just focused on playing & enjoyed the game enough then the $ would have come without any fight & who knows where it could have taken us if they’d not went that way & right at the time we were close to having the good defense we had needed to go with our offense ,in fact getting TJ Watt round the time too,so yep thier own greed & entitled attitude & lack of reality regarding their success could have earned themselves a couple rings maybe & top tier careers when said & done,& easy to see how that all worked out for them& leaving talking crap bout Big Ben without any consideration that he had a lot to do with making them look & be so great ,not appreciated till he was gone but anyway it shows just how many things need to right for some great things to be achieved,take away the system ,team goals future HOF QB’s & your all of sudden Mr.Irelavent!! I MADE ALL THOSE POINTS TO GET YOU TO MY WAY OF LOOKING AT HINES WARD.AS I do,he was great but he never believed he was better than everyone else around him or that his achievements or success as a player was the soul effort of himself ,or that it happened magically ,I mean he always was smart enough to know someone has to get him the ball or provide a little block assistance his way once in awhile or lure a few bodies in other directions to help his efforts, etc…And in my opinion the very best player in any position or in this case WR is not the one who becomes (in. Thier eyes) bigger & more Important than the team or any of other players on it,they don’t cry or get pissed off cause the didn’t get the ball every play ,they don’t insist on it or bad mouth anyone else because of it,they don’t throw tantrums or blatantly throw plays or cost team penalties as payback or change the focus to be about them in anyway rather than winning,they don’t demand compensation the team can’t afford for themselves or think their bank account should be more important than winning a SB ring ,or think they can win one by themselves,they don’t refuse to practice or block or play special teams out of fear they could get hurt either nor fake any of it by going through the motions effort wise for those reasons, no sir the very best player a team ,or teammate ,owner league could ever hope for as role model or player is a Hines freaking Ward that is 100% about winning & 100% about doing whatever it takes to make that happen himself or in helping his teammate etc..without expectations or demands!!! The #1 of all makes any sacrifice for those goals & people simply out of competitive nature & pure love of the game! Hines Ward excelled in every possible aspect of his position & beyond & I’ve never seen that in another player in any position & did it with the biggest,most natural, authentic,mind easing smile that I’ve ever seen either.He would be there with sticky hands on plays to him , he’ll knock someone on their ass for you & in times of trouble when or if things break down & don’t go to plan then rest assured he’s the first to see that happening & count on him to find a way to get open ,adjust for you to bail out his QB & keep his team moving at all costs,beat up,limping & out of breath he’d still give everything he canto win.These reasons I’m sharing to base my belief he’s the best are the facts of what he did every game & also the reason the Roonies kept Hines in Pittsburgh his entire career when they more so than any owner was well known not to pay premium prices for any player to get or keep but they saw in Hines same as I just shared with you,& he never complained,he could have made a lot more $ in his career elsewhere big time but he was fine with being undervalued financially out of loyalty & happy & comfortable with Pittsburgh feeling like home & that level of unmatched play, sacrifice,& loyalty is why they kept him & not anyone else until Big Ben & the Bus was looked up on like that too but as anyways that’s a wrap of fact on Hines Ward & in my opinion he’s just that rare of a player & person& nobody likely will ever be more complete in all areas of the position plus more or certainly not with the passion he did either…. balls to the wall every play!!! That’s true goat shit there folks!!!
P.s. on Hines Ward that I should have noted,that’s how easy you can tell a players character & commitment to winning & team is if they seek attention for themselves when ever chance arrives? Hines wasn’t one to have much celebration after he scored,he didn’t been the attention or validation,he was bout business/winning,etc….etc…And we all know now that he can dance like a champ.I wasn’t surprised he won that either in fact picked he would before even seeing his first dance ,just his nature, competitiveness,& drive to win be any means within his control,his energy & work ethic & dedication to practice til perfect,that’s Hines Ward,not just great at one or two things ,but at all possible things ,even the risky or less popular…if it helps the team win then he’s on it!!!