LA Rams: 15 greatest wide receivers of All Time
The Cleveland Rams make this list with the appearance of left end, Jim Benton. Benton played back in the days of the leatherheads when football helmets were nothing more than leather that is sewn into a hat with ear flaps extending down to the chin level. There was no face mask, so bloody faces were part of the game ‘back in the day’.
At a time in NFL history when almost anything was legal and the protective gear was more ornamental than function, Benton put up some incredible yardage. His career paralleled the duration of World War II, a war that lasted from September 1, 1939, until September 2, 1945, and circled the globe in hostilities.
Curiously, Benton’s own NFL Career with the Cleveland Rams was from 1938 through 1942 (sans 1941, when he coached high school football at Fordyce, Arkansas), one year with the Chicago Bears, and then back to the Rams from 1944 through 1947.
At 6-foot-3 and 200-pounds, he was one of the largest players of his time and used his size advantage to catch 275 passes for 4,566 yards and 42 touchdowns for the Rams.
Due to the changes in the game, some players from yesteryear may not be as equipped to thrive in the modern version of NFL football. But the hulking physicality style of play is one that would be as effective today as then.
He teamed up with future HOF QB Bob Waterfield to set an NFL record on Thanksgiving Day in 1945. His 303 receiving yards was a record that lasted for 40 years. And he was only the second player in NFL history to put up over 1000 receiving yards in one season (1,067 yards in 1945). Don Hutson was the first.
Jim Benton passed away on March 28, 2001, at the age of 84. But his place in the NFL history books will carry his legend far into the future. He is one of only six NFL players to get more than 300 receiving yards in one game. The last time anyone joined that exclusive club was in 2016 when Atlanta Falcons Julio Jones put up 300 yards on the Carolina Panthers on October 2, 2016.