The Pro Bowl took place this past weekend, and T.Y. Hilton had a great game as he led the AFC in receiving yards, catching five passes for 58 yards.
But one thing about the Pro Bowl was particularly impressive from a Colts standpoint, and it was this: that it’s yet another year in which the team had a wide receiver representing them in the all-star game. The Colts pointed out this remarkable stat over the weekend: they have now had a Pro Bowl wide receiver in 16 of the last 18 years.
It started, of course, with Marvin Harrison. He made eight-straight Pro Bowls, from 1999-2006, and was among the very best at his position. Then there was Reggie Wayne, who made the Pro Bowl with Harrison in 2006 but then continued to make the Pro Bowl in each of the next four seasons (making five in a row from 2006-2010), while also making it in 2012. Then after a year came T.Y. Hilton’s time, as he’s now made the Pro Bowl in three-straight seasons, from 2014-2016. So since 1999, there have only been two seasons in which the Colts haven’t had a Pro Bowl wide receiver: 2011 (we all know what happened that year) and 2013 (the year Wayne was injured mid-season and Hilton took over as the top receiver).
Furthermore, the Colts have also now had a 1,000-yard receiver in 17 of the last 18 years, dating back to Harrison’s first 1,000-yard season in 1999. Harrison had eight in a row (1999-2006), Wayne had eight total (2004-2010, 2012), and Hilton has had four in a row (2013-2016). So the only season in which the Colts haven’t had a 1,000-yard receiver in the past 18 years was in 2011, when Reggie Wayne had 960 and Pierre Garcon had 947 despite catching passes from Kerry Collins, Curtis Painter, and Dan Orlovsky all year (so it’s actually still quite impressive).
The Colts have a lot of concerns, that much is clear. Their defense is a mess and they have holes all over the roster, but one encouraging thing about the Colts that hasn’t been talked about as much recently is their history of wide receivers. They went from Marvin Harrison to Reggie Wayne to T.Y. Hilton, all the while maintaining at least one elite-level wideout for the last 18 years. And with Hilton just 27 years old, that streak should just keep growing.