Alabama Football: 10 greatest quarterback-receiver duos of all time

Gary Cosby Jr.-USA TODAY Sports
Gary Cosby Jr.-USA TODAY Sports /
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Alabama Football has been fortunate to have many great quarterbacks. The Alabama Crimson Tide has also had many great receivers. Choosing the ten best at either position is a challenge. The task of picking the ten best quarterback and receiver duos more than doubles the difficulty.

Like every exercise in ranking Alabama Football’s all-time best, how the game was played in different eras makes it impossible to only use stats. Alabama Football had great quarterbacks and receivers in the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s.

Harry Gilmer threw just 88 passes in the 1945 season. In the 1960s, Steve Sloan set an Alabama Crimson Tide, career record for completion percentage. In his three seasons, he threw only 234 passes.

It is impossible to objectively compare Crimson Tide quarterbacks and receivers from the last 20 years to those from the roughly nine decades that preceded them. Maybe some Alabama football historian knows the game when the first Alabama football pass was thrown.

A guess is it was in the second decade of the 20th century. But except for some short stints by Alabama Offensive Coordinator, Homer Smith, Alabama’s offenses never fully (and successfully) embraced aerial attacks until Nick Saban’s coordinators.

The ranking that follows is no more than the opinion of one Alabama football fan. It leaves plenty of room for debate. A deep stat dive was essential to the process, but perspective was also needed. In some cases, duo stats are for multiple seasons. More often the ranking uses a single season. Career totals are secondary to the best single-season performances.