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Is Antonio Brown a top 10 receiver?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/26/2016 Category: Sports
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 522 times Debate No: 91904
Debate Rounds (3)
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I am arguing pro, that Antonio Brown is a top 10 receiver in the league right now. First of all, Antonio came in second in terms of yards (1834) only surpassed by Falcons receiver Julio Jones (1871). However, Antonio got 10 TDs while Julio only posted 8. The player who came third to Brown (DeAndre Hopkins) had over 300 less yards than he did, already providing strong evidence that Antonio is undoubtedly a top 10 receiver in the league right now, if not top 3. {1}

From a historic perspective, Antonio Brown holds spots on a top 10 receiving yards in a season of all time not once but twice. He holds 4th place in the most recent season with 1834 yards and he holds 8th place in his 2014 campaign posting 1698 yards. Of all the players on this leaderboard, only one player (Julio Jones), is an active receiver in the league today. I'm not counting Calvin Johnson Jr. as he has announced his retirement. If Antonio can place twice on a top ten of all time leaderboard and places second on current receivers, how is he not a top 10 receiver in the league right now? {2}

It could potentially be argued that much of Browns success is due to the outstanding quarterback he has passing him the ball making his job easy. But the reason this doesn't negate him as a top 10 receiver is because all quarterbacks are good enough to make it to the pro level, so its not as if players with less talented passers are having to work a significantly higher amount to get yards that could negate his stats that heavily. It is undoubtable that Antonio Brown is a top 10 receiver.

However, if these stats and my analysis of them aren't convincing. I've looked into the opinions of experts from different major websites in sports coverage who could provide further insight to the debate. An article from ranking the best receivers from the 2015-2016 season puts Antonio Brown at #2, citing his streak of 35 games with 50 receiving yards and stating and I quote "no cornerback can cover brown" (Wesseling). {3} Bleacher Report posted a slideshow/article about the top 80 receivers from the '15-'16 season, I found this one interesting as it doesn't focus on the stats as the majority of my standpoint has, but it uses a grading system based on hands (ability to catch), route running, and yards after catch. This analyzes a players natural ability and not the stats he post, which could further negate the "it's all because of the quarterback" argument. Antonio Brown again places second behind Odell Beckham Jr. In this article he is called the NFLs best route-runner and has "top-tier speed". {4}

The fact that no matter how you look at it and what approach and criteria you take in judging a receiver Brown comes up in the top 10, usually top 3, he is inarguably a top 10 receiver in the league.




I am arguing for the con side, that Antonio Brown is not a top ten wide receiver in the NFL.
My opponent has introduced evidence that because of his statistical dominance and the opinions of a vast majority of media members, Antonio Brown is a top ten receiver. In regards to his receiving yards, it should be noted that of the top ten statistical receivers in the league in 2015, eight of them averaged more yards per catch than Brown did, which means that given the same amount of targets/receptions, they would post more yards than he did. Additionally, the 11th best statistical receiver, based on yards, Mike Evans, posted more than 1,200 yards on only 74 catches, as compared to Brown's 136. At an average of 16.3 yards per catch, that would give Evans more than 2,200 yards if he got the same amount of receptions as Brown.
As far as my opponents stance on the historic sense of Brown's stats, that does not apply here as this debate is about whether or not he is top ten right now.
Now, to address the point made about a talented QB aiding a receiver. My opponent stated that all receivers are pros and that there cannot be an argument made due to a receiver having a better QB because of it. This is not true. Again, look at someone like Mike Evans. His QB, Jameis Winston, was a rookie, still feeling out his way in the NFL. Antonio Brown's QB is Ben Roethlisberger, a Super Bowl Champ, who was top five in the league in yards this year. His passes are far more accurate than Winston's, and Brown does not need to do as much to make a catch. Looking at highlight reels of him, it is clear that while Brown is a good route runner, most passes hit him right in the chest, and he does not often have to make a play on the ball. Also, any receiver faster than him could run those same routes faster and make catches quicker.
My opponent cited sources from various news websites and media analysts, but those opinions should be discounted because if they held any weight, this wouldn't even be a debate, and many media members are paid to argue with one another for more viewer entertainment. As far as Brown being ranked second of 80 receivers, this should also be discounted because the site used drops to justify a rating for how good a receiver's hands were, and Brown had few drops, which is not fair as he has a QB who is able to hit him in the hands every time. Also, my opponent says that since most people think he is top ten, that means he must be. This is illogical as that is essentially saying, majority is always right, and if someone agrees with me, they must be right.
It should be noted that DeAndre Hopkins, Jarvis Landry, Allen Robinson, Calvin Johnson, and Julio Jones, all have QBS who are sub par statistically, and they still posted numbers close to Brown's. Also, 10 touchdowns for Brown would be a good stat, except his longest touchdown was only 59 yards, which means majority of his TDs are set up plays for him, rather than plays where he scored on his own skill.
It should also be noted that my opponent did not explain why any stats were significant or made him good, they only listed them.

All stats courtesy of
Debate Round No. 1


So, first, yes while it is true that Brown got more catches which gives more yards. Last I checked, having more receptions is a good thing and proves his skill further. As I cited before, Bleacher Report cites him as the best route runner in the league {4}, and his superlative skill as a route runner plus his elite speed allows him to get open more and therefore get more catches. What my opponent has tried to use to disprove me is simple math, more catches=more yards. But what he failed to mention is that having a higher number of catches is evidence of his skill as a receiver, and having a better stat shouldn't mean he is worse.

Secondly, historical context does apply because compiling stats from all of history is a larger pool of players from which to compare and can include more greats such as Torry Holt, Isaac Bruce, and obviously Jerry Rice. True, this debate is only about current players. But does it not make sense that if Antonio Brown can place twice in an ALL-TIME top 10 leaderboard, that only strengthens the argument that he is top 10 now, among a smaller collection of players? Look at it like this, if I said a player is in the top 10 all time, then isn't it true that he must be a top 10 current player, as all time encompasses both players from the past and players currently playing?

Third, my opponent claims that I said all receivers are pros and tried to use that as evidence, his exact quote was "My opponent stated that all receivers are pros and that there cannot be an argument made due to a receiver having a better QB because of it." However, I said "all quarterbacks are good enough to make it to the pro level, so its not as if players with less talented passers are having to work a significantly higher amount to get yards that could negate his stats that heavily. " My opponent went on to say that Antonio has it easy getting his yards as all his passes hit him in the chest, but as I previously said, any professional quarterback has the ability to do that. Its not as if Jameis Winston who he quoted cannot make an accurate pass because he is a rookie.

This leads me to the next part of my opponent's claim, about how receivers like Landry, Jones, and a few other receivers had sub-par QBs and posted numbers close to Browns. Calvin Johnson, who he quoted, received passes from Matthew Stafford. Matthew Stafford ranked 9th in the league in passer rating, which is a metric stat which compiles all facets of a passers game and files it down to one number to objectively rate a QBs skill and efficiency. This is a list that Antonio Brown's quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger, didn't even make. Another receiver with a "sub-par" quarterback he quoted is Julio Jones: Matt Ryan is his quarterback. Matt Ryan was 9th in the NFL in total passing yards, yet another list Ben Roethlisberger didn't make. Finally, on the quarterback front, Roethlisberger, Stafford, and Ryan placed 4th, 5th, and 6th respectively on the list of highest pass completion rate in 2015. The fact that these QBs are making these ranks prove that they aren't subpar and are not inferior enough to Ben Roethlisberger to justify saying that the QB throwing the ball is justifiable evidence of Antonio Brown being not top ten. {5}

Lets say, hypothetically, that this was justifiable evidence, my opponent named 6 receivers (Landry, Evans, Jones, Robinson, Johnson, Hopkins) that he is implying are better. If they all were better, this would make Brown 7th and still top ten; which is what the debate is about.

My opponent also claimed that these receivers also posted numbers close to Brown's, but of all the people he named here are their stats compared to Antonio Brown

Antonio Brown- 1834

Julio Jones- 1871
DeAndre Hopkins- 1521
Allen Robinson- 1400
Calvin Johnson- 1214
Mike Evans- 1206
Jarvis Landry- 1157


Julio Jones and maybe DeAndre Hopkins are the only ones who come close to his numbers. And Julio Jones' QB as stated before has appeared in multiple top 10s in the 2015 season statistically.

The statistics website that provided these top 10 lists also has a top 10 list for the approximate value to their team for every player in the league in the 2015 season. Antonio Brown got 7th place, Jones tied with 5 players for 10th, and no other receivers even made the list. {5} So, when compared to these two receivers (Two receivers plus Brown is three, still is good enough to put him on a top ten regardless of rankings) Brown has better stats than Brown and is determined more valuable than Jones.

Furthermore, my opponent says that media analysts and experts opinions "hold no water". The definition of the word expert is "having, involving, or displaying special skill or knowledge derived from training or experience" {6}

If multiple people who are experts by this definition and study sports as a livelihood deem Antonio Brown to be a top 10 receiver, how do those opinions hold no water? I agree that if I went to a sports forum and quoted some random person that opinion would hold no water. But the opinion of an expert hired by the NFL itself absolutely holds water; especially when the statistics are there to back it up.

Finally, my opponent said all passes hit him in the chest and that a quicker receiver could run the routes faster. Obviously...faster receiver makes a faster route. But do they run them better is the question? {7}

This is a link to an article that details (if you're interested) Antonio Brown's superior catching skills and his route running dominance. Along with it are looped videos, most commonly known as "gifs", that display some amazing catches that display skill and show his route running ability.

This, combined with his compelling stats, makes him an obvious pick for the top ten current receivers.

Additional sources used



In the first paragraph of his counter argument, my opponent states that Antonio Brown is fourth in route running, and said that I failed to mention that a higher number of catches is evident of a good receiver. Clearly, they either did not read my entire argument. A higher number of catches is good, but it stems directly from more targets. You can't have 136 catches on 90 targets. In reality, Brown had more than 193 targets. That is more than almost all the receivers in the league except for Julio Jones.
My opponent then tried to justify that historical context DOES apply. But it doesn't. They themselves said he placed top ten all-time twice. The more a receiver plays, the more yards and touchdowns he will accumulate to climb up the all-time ladder. This does not apply to this argument in the least as this is concerning is he a top ten receiver right now. An example of this would be someone like Calvin Johnson. He had a sub par season last year, based on his standards at least, but he ranked high among all-time receivers. Does that make him top ten last year? No. In this way, my opponents historical context argument should be ignored.
My opponent next addressed how I debated his statement about QBs. I never said Jameis wasn't accurate. I said Ben was more accurate. All this means is that Evans would have to work harder for a pass as it may not be as easy to catch as one thrown by Ben Roethlisberger. My opponent did not offer any evidence in support of themselves in this paragraph either.
Next is where my opponent screwed up badly. They simply made up stats. They claimed Ben Roethlisberger didn't even make the passer rating list, which is a complete lie as all QB's make this list. It should also be noted that jarvis Landry, a receiver, ranks ahead of both QBS on that list. Also, Ben has a higher rating then Ryan does, at 94.5. Stafford is not 9th, he is 21st. Also, the passing yards list was also made by Roethlisberger as it would be impossible for him not to make unless he had no yards. Ryan did rank ahead of Ben on this list, as did Stafford. But, my opponent has clearly not checked his sources and he therefore cannot be considered reliable. Please discount these stats. The passer rating stat should also be discounted as it includes non QBS and doesn't take into account attempts at all, as there are people with only 1 attempt in the top five.
My opponent's final argument is that I only listed seven receivers which means that Brown is still top ten. This is not true. I listed seven potential receivers, but there are other receivers I did not mention, like Odell, who are statistically on par with Brown. Let's also be clear that my opponent has introduced stats that say those receivers did not have as many yards as Brown, but receiving isn't all yards. Many of them had more touchdowns than Brown did, and that is a huge part of receiving.
Also, my opponent stated that expert opinions mattered, but if they really held water, there would be none of these debates and no need to site stats because you could just say an expert says this so it must be true.
Brown is not top ten as he has an extremely talented QB with experience, and he is not better than many receivers at route running and catching.
My opponent has introduced falsified information and should be discredited as not checking their sources. In the video he cited, it is clear many of those passes were easy to catch.
Please excuse his errors, and understand that he did nothing to support his argument, he only tried to discredit mine.
Debate Round No. 2


OK, what?? First of all, I never said Brown was fourth in route running, the {4} means that is source number four, not that he is fourth. And yes, more catches do stem from more targets, but Ben Roethlisberger, being the intelligent QB that he is, wouldn't throw to Brown if he wasn't open; and as I've said before as did source number 4 (obviously I can't use {4} anymore), he is an elite route runner. And I think, frankly, my opponent misunderstood what I meant with the historical context. Click on source #2 and look. It is records of a stat accumulated over a season. It is a leaderboard stating which receivers have posted the most yards in a single season. This means a rookie could make the list. So how is this list not relevant as evidence of having a record all-time that all receivers have equal opportunity of setting not relevant when excelling among every receiver in history means he excels among current receivers. Next, look at source #5, I did not make up ANY stats. This site provides the top 10 in given stats from the 2015 season. When I said he didn't make the list, I meant he did not make the top 10. I didn't lie nor did I make anything up. Here is the top 10 for passer rating:

Passer Rating
1.Russell Wilson* " SEA110.1
2.Andy Dalton " CIN106.2
3.Carson Palmer* " ARI104.6
4.Tom Brady* " NWE102.2
5.Kirk Cousins " WAS101.6
6.Drew Brees " NOR101.0
7.Tyrod Taylor* " BUF99.4
8.Cam Newton*+ " CAR99.2
9.Matthew Stafford " DET97.0
10.Alex Smith " KAN95.4

Source 5

Ben Roethlisberger did NOT make this top 10 list. Furthermore, Jarvis Landry is a receiver. Why does it matter that a receiver has a list. Obviously he didnt have many passes as he is not a quarterback. Why would this website include a wide receiver on a list for a stat that pertains to quarterbacks. My opponent says that Ben Roethlisberger has a 94.5 passer rating. According to source 5, Stafford had a 97 passer rating. So it would make sense that he is on the top 10 list and Roethlisberger isn' Stafford has a better rating. I did check my sources, even though my opponent said I didn't, and I checked ESPN (the first source I used) all of the facts are right. He says there are people with one attempt in the top five. Those are receivers. Passer rating is a stat for quarterbacks. Why would a site confuse people and unnecessarily put a receiver with one attempt on a PASSER rating list? All of the stats on my source are correct, I cross-checked. To all you voters, please check for yourself the stats are correct. The fact that my opponent accused me of making up stats when in reality the stats are correct is ridiculous. The list I used only considered quarterbacks which is all we are talking about, and he said Ryan and Stafford are ahead of Ben on the list; just like my source said they are. So how is that unreliable? And why should we discount a fact because the source failed to mention that a receiver with one pass attempt has a better rating than a quarterback with 500. There is no reason to put them there! A fact is a fact and my source is correct. Ot's correct unless every stat website out there is wrong. The passer rating should not be discounted because if it includes receivers, how does that magically make the stats for the passers irrelevant when really it is one of the most reliable measuring tools as to a passers skill? How is a stat irrelevant because on a list somewhere a site decided to share the top QBs in terms of a rating used to measure QBs and leave out receivers who hardly pass and who have better ratings simply because they only have one pass so technically have 100%? It doesn't, and all the stats I provided are correct.

I don't want to touch on the whole "experts" thing too much. All I'm going to say is that I'm not saying if an expert says it it is automatically right. All I'm saying is an experts opinion holds water.

Before I provide more evidence, I would just like to point out the hypocrisy of my opponents argument as he said "Please excuse his errors, and understand that he did nothing to support his argument, he only tried to discredit mine.". But his entire argument was literally trying to discredit mine by saying I made up stats which I proved I didn't, pointing out every error he thinks I made when really they weren't errors, and never actually provided any facts that prove he isn't top ten. And that is the topic of the debate is it not? Is Antonio Brown a top 10 receiver? Literally, he said I only discredited his argument when that's ALL his argument even was. Also, look at my first two arguments, I provided plenty of stats and sources which, unless I misunderstand the definition of the word support, do in fact support my argument. How does accusing me of making up facts that through 5 minutes of research can be proven true quite easily support anything? I am focusing on the question at hand. And the fact that his second argument is only falsely discrediting mine and providing no evidence that Antonio Brown is not a top 10 receiver; yet he asks the voters to excuse the errors I didn't make, says that I didn't support my argument which I clearly did while he did nothing of the sort, and says all I tried to do was discredit him when thats what the entirety of his argument was is so blatantly hypocritical and does nothing to prove Antonio Brown is not a top 10 receiver.

OK, now I am going to try a new and fun idea and provide further evidence and actually stay focused on the question at hand. I've told you the stats, I've analyzed this from every angle possible so there isn't too much more I can say. I can only reiterate why he is a top 10 receiver. He posted top 3 in yards and receptions, 2 of the 3 main stats of a WR. He has gone a step further and made a top ten single season list of all-time, joining receivers like Torry Holt and Jerry Rice. His skill and athleticism plus his astonishing stats are dominant enough that at the very least he is a top ten receiver.

No additional sources used.


Let us all be aware my opponent did not mention it was a top ten he was citing in the initial paragraph he mentioned it in. So now he is holding me accountable for a mistake he made. Clearly, he is emotionally stressed, and is using to much emotion in his argument, which is why it is incoherent and dysfunctional. He claims Landry did not complete passes and wouldn't be on the list, but I used the official passer rating list from, the actual LEAGUE WEBSITE, not some top ten site, and it ranks him in there because he has completed passes out of wildcat formation.
My opponent has not analyzed the stats he has provided at all. Go back to his first and second arguments, and look as he lists them but doesn't explain them. He lists yards, but doesn't say what those yards tell him about Brown, same with touchdowns. He is speaking in his previous argument as if this is a conversation and it trying to sway the audience. This is a debate. Also, he said he is gonna "try a new and fun idea" and provide further evidence. Why didn't you do that before instead of waiting until the last paragraph of your argument to do it.
I will now do what my opponent has failed to do.
Antonio Brown did have 1,800 yards yes, but they came from more than 190 targets and 136 catches. Only Jones had more targets. This proves that while he gained the yards, many of them resulted from a sheer abundance of passes thrown his way. Let's look at each of the top 11 receivers and see why he isn't top ten.
Julio Jones is better because he posted better stats with a worse quarterback, averaging more yards per catch and gaining more yards.
DeAndre Hopkins is better because he averaged more yards per catch and scored more touchdowns, all the while having a backup QB throwing to him.
Brandon Marshall had QB turmoil and still had more yards per catch and 4 more touchdowns.
By the way, I am using yards per catch a lot because it discounts the difference in yardage as it proves with the same amount of targets and receptions they would gain more yards.
Odell Beckham had more touchdowns and averaged almost 2 yards per catch more, and posted a long touchdown of 87 yards, and more than 60 yards three other times! Those are all more than Brown's longest catch, 59 which wasn't even a touchdown.
Allen Robinson, A.J. Green, Mike Evans, Calvin Johnson, Gronk, and Doug Baldwin are all better for the same above reasons. In fact, Brown's longest catch was the third shortest of the top ten, and one of only three that wasn't a touchdown.
If this isn't enough, it should also be noted that when Ben Roethlisberger was injured last season, Brown did not have a single 100 yard game in his absence, which proves Brown does not thrive without a good QB, and that was for a good amount of games. Proof of this is the common argument "Brown had 1,800 yards and he didn't have Ben for four games!", well that right there proves he can't function without him. None of the other receivers I named have Ben for any games and they do extremely well.
I have provided a good amount of evidence and EXPLAINED it, unlike my opponent who's entire argument top to bottom used teenager terms and tried to use emotional and pathos like responses to sway voters. In fact, they're arguments were very choppy. All my opponent said as explantion was essentially "his astonishing stats (but didn't explain how they were astonishing) are dominant enough that at the very least he is a top ten receiver". That doesn't even sound grammatically right. And that's all they did to support themselves.

Thank you for taking the time to read through my argument

All stats from Only source used.
Debate Round No. 3
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