Cowboys-Cardinals Preview: Jason Witten + Larry Fitzgerald = 15 Miles of Receiving Yards
Brandon Wade via AP
Monday night’s Cowboys-Cardinals game in Arizona will be special because the contest features 2 of the top 4 pass catchers in NFL history: WR Larry Fitzgerald and TE Jason Witten. The two future Hall of Famers trail only Jerry Rice (1,549) and Tony Gonzalez (1,325) on the NFL’s All-Time Receptions List. Fitzgerald (1,134) and Witten (1,106) have a combined 2,240 career receptions and 26,528 receiving yards, the equivalent of 15.07 miles…roughly the same distance it takes to drive from downtown Phoenix to the Cardinals’ stadium in Glendale.
To have both Fitzgerald and Witten in the same game is special. They are not only two of the most productive players in NFL history, they’re also two of the most respected players for their off-the-field work. Both are winners of the NFL’s prestigious Walter Payton Man of the Year Award, the league’s top honor for a player’s volunteer and charity work as well as his excellence on the field. Witten won the award in 2012, Fitzgerald won in 2016.
Witten is now in his 15th season as the Cowboys’ tight end, and Fitzgerald is in his 14th as the Cardinals’ star wide receiver. Neither is slowing down.
Witten caught 10 passes in Week 2. So far in 2017, he’s leading the Cowboys in receptions (17) and touchdowns (2). Last week he surpassed former Cowboys great Ed “Too Tall” Jones (224) for most games played in franchise history.
Fitzgerald has 9 catches through the first 2 games of the season. He’s also looking to build on an impressive streak. Fitzgerald has caught a pass in 197 consecutive games, the third longest streak in NFL history behind only Jerry Rice (274 games) and Tony Gonzalez (211). Witten had a streak of 130 consecutive games with a catch snapped last December in a game at Minnesota. He still made one of the most important plays in that win over the Vikings, however, when he recovered an onside kick to seal the victory in the game’s closing seconds.
Last season, Fitzgerald led the NFL in receptions with 107. In doing so, he became the first player to lead the league in receptions at least 11 years apart.
Here’s some unsolicited advice to Cowboys fans who plan to tune-in to Monday night’s game in Arizona. Before you get too wrapped-up in the score or the play-calling, take a few moments to focus on #82 in Cowboys’ blue and #11 in Cardinals’ red. They are two of the greatest players you’ll have the pleasure to watch. Their excellence transcends eras; they would be top players for any team of any year, any generation.