Marv vs T.O.

Big Blue Shoe's post on why did Terrell Owens sign faster than Marvin Harrison, started some arguments. The main two were variations of Marvin vs TO, which is better right now? and which has been better for their careers. The first is a prediction about the future so will be much more subjective. I'll focus on the one that is based on events that have already happened and been throughly recorded.

Both receivers entered the league the same year and have only a single games difference in games played, making totals (for once) a perfectly a appropriate way to compare players.

Player Rec Targets Catch% Yards TDs DYAR DVOA
Marvin 1,102 1,700 64.8% 14,580 128 3,606 13.2%
T.O. 951 1,616 58.8% 14,122 139 3,344 13.5%

Marvin has been considerably more productive in total than Owens, with T.O. edges coming in TDs and a slight edge in per play value (which leaned the other way before the last two seasons). The biggest difference by far has been Marvin's hands vs T.O.'s. An extra 6% in catch% builds a 84 target difference into a 151 catch, 458 yard gap. Owens has played in only one less game than Marvin (and 9 of T.O.'s 19 games missed were by suspention) giving Owens a very similar number of oppertunities to get open and have the ball thrown to him.

 

Here it is year by year

Year Player Rec Targets Catch% Yards TDs DYAR DVOA YPR YPT
1996 Harrison 64 118 54% 836 8 151 4.3% 13.1 7.08

Owens

35 57 61% 520 4 107 12.7% 14.9 9.12
1997 Harrison 73 119 62% 866 6 231 11.8% 11.9 7.28
Owens 60 103 58% 936 8 245 18.9% 15.6 9.08
1998 Harrison 59 122 48% 776 7 88 -3.4% 13.2 6.36
Owens 67 104 64% 1,098 14 392 36.7% 16.4 10.6
Year Player Rec Targets Catch% Yards TDs DYAR DVOA YPR YPT
1999 Harrison 115 193 60% 1,663 12 350 10.0% 14.5 8.62
Owens 60 98 61% 754 4 82 -2.0% 12.6 7.69
2000 Harrison 102 169 60% 1,413 14 340 12.4% 13.9 8.36
Owens 97 145 67% 1,451 13 419 24.3% 15.0 10.0
2001 Harrison 109 164 66% 1,524 15 537 28.5% 14.0 9.29
Owens 93 154 60% 1,412 16 458 20.5% 15.2 9.17
Year Player Rec Targets Catch% Yards TDs DYAR DVOA YPR YPT
2002 Harrison 143 205 70% 1,722 11 478 16.8% 12.0 8.4
Owens 100 159 63% 1,300 13 246 7.1% 13.0 8.18
2003 Harrison 94 142 66% 1,272 10 300 13.5% 13.5 8.96
Owens 80 145 55% 1,102 9 138 -0.7% 13.8 7.60
2004 Harrison 86 139 62% 1,113 15 299 13.9% 12.9 8.01
Owens 77 127 61% 1,200 14 326 19.6% 15.6 9.44
Year Player Rec Targets Catch% Yards TDs DYAR DVOA YPR YPT
2005 Harrison 82 132 62% 1,146 12 251 11.2% 14.0 8.68
Owens 47 92 51% 763 6 133 6.0% 16.2 8.29
2006 Harrison 95 148 64% 1,366 12 510 30.3% 14.4 9.23
Owens 85 152 56% 1,180 13 274 10.2% 13.9 7.76
2007 Harrison 20 32 63% 247 1 40 2.3% 12.4 7.72
Owens 81 141 57% 1,355 15 449 28.2% 16.7 9.60
2008 Harrison 60 107 56% 636 5 31 -9.6% 10.6 5.94
Owens 69 139 50% 1,052 10 75 -5.7% 15.2 7.57

Fun Facts

  • In Marvin Harrison's record setting 143 catch season, he caught a career high 70% of the passes thrown to him. That record is less like Larry Johnson's carries record (where he just kept getting attempts despite inefficiency) and more like Dickerson's yardage record (where a great player was extremely efficient over a massive workload).
  •  Owens had a higher catch % 4 of the pairs first 5 years in the league. Over the following 8 season Marvin had a higher catch% every year.
  • Marvin has 3 seasons with more DYAR than Owen's career high.
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