Sports Q

Sports Q: Who is the most underrated star in Boston sports history?

Debate the answer with Chad Finn and other Boston sports fans at The Sports Q.

Stanley Morgan Patriots receiver
Patriots wide receiver Stanley Morgan. Stan Grossfeld/The Boston Globe

Welcome to Boston.com’s Sports Q, our daily conversation, initiated by you and moderated by Chad Finn, about a compelling topic in Boston sports. Here’s how it works: You submit questions to Chad through TwitterFacebook, and email. He’ll pick one each weekday to answer, then we’ll take the discussion to the comments. Chad will stop by several times per day to navigate. But you drive the conversation. 

Here’s a broad one for you. I think it might require some thinking and research Here you go: Who is the most underrated great player in Boston sports history?  – Karl J.

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It probably does require some research. There’s probably some great Red Sox player from the ‘50s I’m forgetting. (Hey, this Vern Stephens guy looks pretty good.) But I have to admit, my answer came to me immediately.

Stanley Morgan.

Patriots fans appreciate him for sure, especially if you grew up in the Steve Grogan years in the late ‘70s and ‘80s and remember him chucking bombs to “Stanley Steamer.” But nationally, I don’t think anyone remembers how good he was.  He’s one of the best deep threats in NFL history, and someone who should have warranted at least some Hall of Fame consideration.

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During his career with the Patriots (1977-89 – he also had one final year in ’90 with the Colts), he caught 534 passes for 10,716 yards and 72 touchdowns. That’s an average of 19.4 yards per catch over 13 seasons in New England.  His career average of 19.2 yards per catch is 12th all-time, and no one ahead of him had more receptions (557, tied with Troy Brown for 105th all-time). He’s 40th all-time in receiving yards. Only three players ahead of him on the list (Don Maynard, Charlie Joiner, and Steve Largent) began their careers before he did.

He provided the Patriots with some extraordinary seasons. In 1981, he had 44 catches for 1,029 yards – an average of 23.4 yards per catch.  In ’79, he led the NFL in receiving touchdowns (12), while averaging a mere 22.8 yards per grab.

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Morgan is one of the most prolific deep threats in NFL history, and yet I can’t tell you I’ve ever seen him mentioned on the NFL Network in any substantial way. To me, he’s the most underrated great player in Boston sports history.

But what does everyone else think? Who is the most underrated great player in Boston sports history? I’ll hear you in the comments.

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