Super Bowl

Here are the Best Receiving Performances in Super Bowl History

Jerry Rice, Rob Gronkowski and Julian Edelman went off on the Super Bowl stage

USA TODAY Sports

It’s the play every kid dreams about when tossing a football in the backyard: catching a touchdown in the Super Bowl. 

Through 55 editions of the game, dozens of players have hauled in a score. The group includes Hall of Famers, modern legends and some receivers who became immortalized simply because of what they did on football’s biggest stage.

From Lynn Swann to Santonio Holmes to David Tyree, there have been some iconic catches in Super Bowl history, but which receivers have the best Super Bowl stats?

Let’s look back at the single-game Super Bowl records for receptions, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns:

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What is the record for catches in a Super Bowl?

The record for receptions in a Super Bowl is actually owned by a running back.

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James White hauled in 14 passes from Tom Brady during the New England Patriots’ remarkable comeback against the Atlanta Falcons in Super Bowl LI. He turned those 14 receptions into 110 yards and a touchdown, which was the first score for the Patriots after they went down 28-3. Along with the monster receiving output, White tacked on two rushing touchdowns: one that set up the tying two-point conversion in the final minute of regulation and one that sealed the victory in overtime.

After White, the late Demaryius Thomas is second in single-game Super Bowl receptions with 13. Thomas, who was targeted 18 times, finished with 118 receiving yards and the Denver Broncos’ only touchdown in the 43-8 loss to the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XLVIII.

In all, 13 players have recorded double-digit catches in a Super Bowl:

1. James White, New England Patriots, Super Bowl LI: 14

2. Demaryius Thomas, Denver Broncos, Super Bowl XLVIII: 13

3. Shane Vereen, New England Patriots, Super Bowl XLIX: 11

Wes Welker, New England Patriots, Super Bowl XLII: 11

Deion Branch, New England Patriots, Super Bowl XXXIX: 11

Jerry Rice, San Francisco 49ers, Super Bowl XXIII: 11

Dan Ross, Cincinnati Bengals, Super Bowl XVI: 11

8. Travis Kelce, Kansas City Chiefs, Super Bowl LV: 10

Julian Edelman, New England Patriots, Super Bowl LIII: 10

Hakeem Nicks, New York Giants, Super Bowl XLVI: 10

Joseph Addai, Indianapolis Colts, Super Bowl XLI: 10

Deion Branch, New England Patriots, Super Bowl XXXVIII: 10

Andre Hastings,Pittsburgh Steelers, Super Bowl XXX:10

Jerry Rice, San Francisco 49ers, Super Bowl XXIX: 10

Tony Nathan, Miami Dolphins, Super Bowl XIX: 10

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What is the record for receiving yards in a Super Bowl?

We have now entered the Jerry Rice section of Super Bowl records.

Rice went absolutely ballistic in each of his three Super Bowl appearances with the San Francisco 49ers. All three of his outings with the 49ers remain in the top 10 for single-game Super Bowl receiving yards and the 49ers won all three contests.

His highest receiving total came in his Super Bowl debut back in January of 1989 as he torched the Cincinnati Bengals for 215 yards in a 20-16 victory. Still, the game may have actually been his worst Super Bowl appearance for the 49ers, and you’ll see why momentarily.

First, here are the 10 highest receiving yard outputs in Super Bowl history:

1. Jerry Rice, San Francisco 49ers, Super Bowl XXIII: 215

2. Ricky Sanders, Washington, Super Bowl XXII: 193

3. Isaac Bruce, St. Louis Rams, XXXIV: 162

4. Lynn Swann, Pittsburgh Steelers, Super Bowl X: 161

5. Danny Amendola, New England Patriots, Super Bowl LII, 152

Rod Smith, Denver Broncos, Super Bowl XXXIII: 152

Andre Reed, Buffalo Bills, Super Bowl XXVII: 152

8. Jerry Rice, San Francisco 49ers, Super Bowl XXIX: 149

9. Jerry Rice, San Francisco 49ers, Super Bowl XXIV: 148

10. Deion Branch, New England Patriots, Super Bowl XXXVIII: 143

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What is the record for receiving touchdowns in a Super Bowl?

After finding the end zone once in his first Super Bowl, Rice put up hat tricks in his next two performances.

The 49ers wideout scored three touchdowns in Super Bowl XXIV against the Denver Broncos and reeled in three more touchdown receptions in Super Bowl XXIX against the San Diego Chargers. As seen above, his yard totals in those two games were not too shabby, either. Rice’s dominance led to two San Francisco blowout victories, as the team won the two games by a combined score of 104-36.

Beyond Rice’s two three-TD games, 14 players have caught two touchdowns in a single Super Bowl. Rob Gronkowski is the most recent player to reach the feat, hauling in two scores during the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Super Bowl LV win over the Kansas City Chiefs.

Here is the full list of players with multiple touchdown receptions in a Super Bowl:

1. Jerry Rice, San Francisco 49ers, Super Bowl XXIX: 3

Jerry Rice, San Francisco 49ers, Super Bowl XXIV: 3

3. Rob Gronkowski, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Super LV: 2

Rob Gronkowski, New England Patriots, Super Bowl LII: 2

Greg Jennings, Green Bay Packers, Super Bowl XLV: 2

Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona Cardinals, Super Bowl XLIII: 2

Keenan McCardell, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Super Bowl XXXVII: 2

Antonio Freeman, Green Bay Packers, Super Bowl XXXII: 2

Ricky Watters, San Francisco 49ers, XXIX: 2

Michael Irvin, Dallas Cowboys, XXVII: 2

Ricky Sanders, Washington, Super Bowl XXII: 2

Roger Craig, San Francisco 49ers, Super Bowl XIX: 2

Dan Ross, Cincinnati Bengals, Super Bowl XVI: 2

Cliff Branch, Oakland Raiders, Super Bowl XV: 2

John Stallworth, Pittsburgh Steelers, Super Bowl XIII: 2

Bill Miller, Oakland Raiders, Super Bowl II: 2

Max McGee, Green Bay Packers, Super Bowl I: 2

It is also worth mentioning that Rice scored a touchdown in his fourth and final Super Bowl appearance, as well. He reeled in a 48-yard touchdown from Rich Gannon as the Oakland Raiders lost to the Buccaneers 48-21 in Super Bowl XXXVII.

Rice not only owns a handful of single-game Super Bowl records – his name is all over the career Super Bowl records. He is the all-time leader in Super Bowl receptions (33), receiving yards (589), scrimmage yards (604), receiving touchdowns (8) and points (48).

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