NFL wide receivers that should have been league MVP: 5. Marvin Harrison, 2002
Here’s Marvin Harrison again. After helping Peyton Manning through the first few years of his career, these two connected at the perfect time in 2002. Manning had enough years under his belt to be the best quarterback in the league, and Harrison was getting towards the end of his prime, but he still had the speed and the ability to make it as the best receiver in the league. There was no connection that was even close to this one during this season. Not even Randy Moss and Daunte Culpepper or Terrell Owens and Jeff Garcia could touch them for this season.
Harrison was always Manning’s target. This is a team with Reggie Wayne and Qadry Ismail as receivers and Edgerrin James at running back, but Harrison still had 143 receptions. Despite the talent level around him, Harrison stood above his peers by a wide margin. In fact, it was an NFL record.
Harrison obviously led the league in receptions, and he had 1,722 yards which were also the most in the NFL that season. He only had 11 touchdowns, but that didn’t signal his impact on this team. He was the one helping Manning drive the Colts down the field. He was there to help the team get into the red zone, and then he took two and three defensive players’ focus while other players could score. He still got 11 touchdowns, but he made sure he had a role on every drive.
Harrison was a star through and through. His 2002 season was his best, and he played it with the kind of motivation that we rarely see from the position.