By the numbers: Larry Fitzgerald’s legacy (so far) with the Cardinals
When teams select players with a top-five pick in the NFL Draft, they hope to get at least a few Pro Bowl seasons and maybe a franchise player out of it.
Seldom do those players become all-time greats and Hall of Famers, especially while playing the entirety of their career for the team that drafted them.
For the Cardinals, that gem was Larry Fitzgerald, who on Wednesday announced he’d inked a one-year contract to return for a 16th season with Arizona in 2019.
It’d be an understatement to say that the Cardinals struck gold by drafting the wide receiver out of Pittsburgh with the third overall pick in the 2004 draft.
In his time with the Cardinals, “Fitz” led the league in receptions and receiving touchdowns twice, was named a first-team All-Pro and won an NFL Walter Payton Man of the Year award. He also holds franchise records for receptions, receiving yards, receiving touchdowns and total touchdowns.
Here is a look at the career of one of the all-time greats heading into his 16th season.
Fitzgerald has played 15 seasons with the Arizona Cardinals, which ranks second all-time in seasons played with an Arizona professional sports team. Shane Doan of the Arizona Coyotes leads all Arizona professional sports team tenures with 21 seasons with the franchise.
Not only will 11 be added to the Ring of Honor, but it is also the amount of Pro Bowls Fitzgerald was elected to, which is tied for fourth all-time for all positions and second all-time for wide receivers. Jerry Rice is the all-time Pro Bowl election leader for wide receivers with 13.
Over the course of his 15-year career so far, Fitzgerald only failed to suit up for six games, three of which came in 2006. In his 2018 finale, the future Hall of Famer started his 234th game, setting a franchise record for starts and tying kicker Jim Bakken for games played as a member of the Arizona Cardinals.
In 2018, Fitzgerald accumulated his 1,303rd career reception, which ranks third all-time behind only Rice (1,549) and Tony Gonzalez (1,325), making Fitzgerald second all-time in receptions by a wide receiver. The feat also places him as the all-time leader in receptions for a single team.
To go along with his career receptions accomplishments, Fitzgerald also caught a pass for a franchise record 227 consecutive games, placing him at second all-time only behind Rice (274). That number could still rise.
Another milestone Fitzgerald achieved in 2018 is becoming second all-time in receiving yards by passing yet another Hall of Famer in Terrell Owens (15,934).
With his six touchdown receptions in 2018, Fitzgerald now has 116 career touchdown receptions, which makes him tied with Antonio Gates at sixth all-time for career receiving touchdowns.
No other player in NFL history has had a better postseason at the wide receiver position than Fitzgerald. In the Cardinals’ 2008 run to Super Bowl XLIII, he set the all-time record for receptions (30), receiving yards (546) and touchdowns (7) in a single postseason.
In 2017, Fitzgerald became one of only five players that are a part of the exclusive 15,000 receiving yards and 100 receiving touchdowns club. The likes of Rice, Owens, Gonzalez and Randy Moss are the only other players to accomplish that feat.
Also in the 2018 season finale, Fitzgerald surpassed Rice to become the only player in NFL history to have 150 or more receptions and 2,000 or more yards against three different teams (170-2,022 vs Seahawks, 173-2,306 vs 49ers, 185-2,098 vs Rams).
Fitzgerald owns numerous NFL and franchise records, but what may be most impressive is the consistency and longevity in which he did it. No other player has as many seasons with 90 or more receptions than Fitzgerald. He is tied for third all-time with nine seasons with at least 1,000 receiving yards behind only Rice (14) and Moss (10) and also holds the franchise record for 100-yard receiving games (46).