HOF Finalist Art Powell: stats, facts, and quotes

Senior HOF Finalist Art Powell
Senior HOF Finalist Art Powell

See story on Art Powell's impact on football and society

Arthur Lewis Powell (February 25, 1937– April 6, 2015) was a dazzling wide receiver in the National and American Football Leagues from 1959–68, when his production rated among the very best in the history of the game — and still does.

That span includes seven 14-game seasons during which he totaled 458 catches for 7,669 yards and 77 touchdowns, including five years with more than 1,000 yards and two within 200 yards of that mark. His career included 479 catches for 8,046 yards and 81 touchdowns in an era that allowed defenders to manhandle receivers all over the field.

In the history of pro football, Powell's .77 touchdowns receiving per game is No. 2 behind only Hall of Fame legend Don Hutson. 

TD catches per game: No. 2 in Pro Football History

 Now 55 years since playing his final pro football game in a league more than 100 years old, Art Powell remains No. 2 in history for most touchdowns receiving per game.  In his 105 games at wide receiver, Powell's 81 touchdown catches put him at .77 per contest. That is second only to legendary Hall of Famer Don Hutson (.85). Yes, well ahead of such honored stars as Randy Moss, Terrell Owens, Marvin Harrison, Jerry Rice and any others one might mention.

On the top-12 list, Powell is the only player eligible for the HOF who is not inducted. Davante Adame (No. 10), Tyreek Hill (No. 11) and Mike Evans (No. 12) are still active and Dez Bryant (7) last played in 2020 and not yet eligible.

The List

Hall of Fame players indicated in green

1. Don Hutson, .853  (99 TD catches 116 games) from 1935 to 1945: HOF

2. Art Powell,  .771 (81 TD catches in 105 games) from 1959 to 1968

3. Randy Moss, .716 (156 TD catches in 218 games) from 1998 to 2012: HOF

4. Terrell Owens, .699 (153 TD catches in 219 games) from 1996 to 2010:  HOF

5. Marvin Harrison, .674 (128 TD catches in 190 games) from 1996 to 2008: HOF

6. Jerry Rice, .650 (197 TD catches in 303 games) from 1985 to 2004: HOF

7. Davante Adams, .633 (95 TD catches in 150 games from 2014 to current (Active)

8. Dez Bryant, .630 (75 TD catches in 119 games) from 2010 to 2020: (Ineligible)

9. Lance Alworth, .625 (85 TD catches in 136 games from 1962 to 1972: HOF

10. Calvin Johnson, .615 (83 touchdowns in 135 games) from 2007 to 2015: HOF

11. Tyreek Hill, 613 (76 TD catches in 124 games) from 2016 to 1-7-23 (Active)

12.Mike Evans .610 (94 TD catches in 154 games from 2014 to 1-7-23 (Active)

 Frequency of Touchdowns, No. 4

Powell is No. 4 in pro football history in frequency of Touchdowns per catch ( 1TD every 5.91 catches, behind only Hall of Famers Don Hutson (1/4.93), Paul Warfield (1/5.02) and Tommy McDonald (1/5./98).

The List

Frequency of touchdowns per- catch.

 (Minimum 100 starts at WR, 400 catches)

Hall of Fame players indicated in green:

1. Don Hutson (1935-1945) - Catches per Touchdown: 4.93, TDs: 99, Catches: 488 HOF        

2. Paul Warfield (1964-1977) - Catches per Touchdown: 5.02, TDs: 85, Catches: 427 HOF

3. Tommy McDonald (1957-1968) - Catches per Touchdown: 5.89, TDs: 84 Catches 495 HOF

4. Art Powell (1959-1968) - Catches per Touchdown: 5.91, TDs: 81 Catches: 479      

5. Lance Alworth (1962-1972) - Catches per Touchdown: 6.38, TDs: 85, Catches: 542 HOF

6. Steve Largent (1976-1989) - Catches per Touchdown: 8.19 TDs: 100, Catches: 819 HOF

7. Charley Taylor (1964-1977) - Catches per Touchdown: 8.22, TDs: 79, Catches: 649 HOF        

8. Raymond Berry (1955-1967) - Catches per Touchdown: 9.28, TDs: 68, Catches: 631 HOF

Notable: (fewer than 400 catches)

-- Gary Collins (1962-1971) - Catches per touchdown: 4.73; TDs: 70, Catches 331 HOF

-- Bob Hayes (1965-1975) - Catches per Touchdown: 5.23, TDs: 71, Catches: 371 HOF

-- Elroy Hirsch (1946-1957) - Catches per touchdown: 6.45, TDs: 60, Catches: 387 HOF

 Yards receiving per game: No. 1 before rule changes

With more than a century of pro football data dutifully logged, Powell stands SEVENTH in most yards receiving per game at 76.6 yards per (counting players with at least 100 games). Powell is the only eligible player among the top 15 who is not in the Hall of Fame or a fellow finalist this year (Torry Holt)

All six players ahead of him were active in this century under liberalized rules to promote passing. All six ahead of him were played at least 40 years after Powell retired. The only player on the top 15 who played before the one-chuck rule in 1978 is Hall of Famer Lance Alworth (No. 12).

  • Hall of Famers indicated in green. *=Active or not yet eligible for HOF. 

The List

1. Calvin Johnson (135 games, 2007-2015): 86.1 yards per game -HOF

2. *Antonio Brown (146 games, 2010-2021): 84.22 yards per game—Ineligible

3. *Julio Jones (164 games, 2011-2023): 83.3 yards per game-- Active

4. *Tyreek Hill (122 games, 2016-Current): 81.8 yards per game- Active

5. Torry Holt (173 games, 1999-2009): 77.4 yards per game--Finalist

6. Marvin Harrison (190 games, 1996-2008):76.7 yards per game--HOF

7. Art Powell (105 games, 1959-1968): 76.6 yards per gameSr. Finalist

8. *DeAndre Hopkins (160 games, 2013-Current) 76.5 yards per game- Active

9.* Mike Evans (152 games, 2014-current): 76.2 yards per game -Active

10. *Keenan Allen (139 games, 2013-current), 75.8 yards per game-Active

11. Jerry Rice (284 games, 1985-2004): 75.6 yards per game -HOF

12. Lance Alworth (136 games, 1962-1972): 75.5 yards per game-HOF

13. Michael Irvin (159 games, 1988-1999): 74.9 yards per game HOF

14.*Stefon Diggs (134 games, 2015-current) 73.7 yards per game - Active

15.  Andre Johnson (193 games, 2003-2016): 73.59 yards per game-Finalist

 Notable quotes on why Powell belongs in Hall of Fame

"Art Powell's career is an important chapter in pro football history. As a player he was far before his time. He would have been a sensation in any era. Art was his own man and fiercely independent. He was not afraid to voice his opinions and to take a stand.” --— Hall of Fame coach Bill Walsh, a fellow San Jose State alum and an assistant coach with the Raiders in 1966.


"They screwed him. They had him returning kicks and punts and playing defense so there was no way he earned a penny of that incentive money as a receiver. But he was one hell of an athlete, a big tough guy who could do a lot of things. So he was second in the league in returns and made some big interceptions, one he returned 95 yards. He was really something." — Hall of Fame coach John Madden, Powell's rookie teammate with the Philadelphia Eagles who signed him to incentive-laden wide receiver contract and played him only as DB and returner:


"I wish I could take you all back to 1963. I had one of the greatest players who has ever played this game and he was tough to handle. He was the T.O. of his time. And he was great. His first year for me he carried us. He caught 16 touchdowns. His name was Art Powell…The difference between Powell and T.O. was that Powell took a stand for a cause." — Hall of Fame coach Al Davis, whose first significant personnel move after joining the Raiders was to fly to Toronto and sign Powell.


You have to have people to speak out and not just speak up, but they have to be active. They have to walk the walk and talk the talk. Lip service is cheap. Nowadays players have the platform and the microphone and they need to keep using it and using it wisely. That's what Powell did." — Hall of Fame coach Tom Flores, himself a minority (Hispanic) who covered Powell as a defensive back in college and threw  Powell most of his touchdowns in the pros, discussing the issue of playing in a segregated stadium in Mobile during Al Davis and Powell's 1963 season. Davis moved the game to Oakland.


"Art was a big, tough, smart man who commanded respect on and off the field. Opposing teams respected him, but opposing players feared him, and with good reason. He was one tough man, on and off the field. He was not somebody you wanted to trifle with. Ever. Anywhere. He was a quiet man whose actions spoke volumes. Let me repeat, he was feared. If he played today with these current hands-off rules; oh my gosh, Powell would dominate." — Pro Bowl cornerback Fred "Hammer" Williamson, who played against Powell and as a teammate.


"So I'm a new guy on the team and just trying to keep my job. I'm not big, I'm not fast, but I am confident. And there is Art Powell who is big and fast and tougher than hell. Amazing talent. He scored 23 touchdowns in two years, and I get two. Years later when I made the Hall of Fame, I thought of that. I'm honored for sure, but how have they passed on Art. Some things cannot be explained." — Hall of Fame wide receiver Fred Biletnikoff, a Raider teammate in 1965–66.


I refused to have somebody tell me I couldn't go somewhere and didn't belong somewhere," Powell said of games he boycotted because Black players were treated differently. "I expected consequences…Immediately you are bucking certain people in the establishment, and they don't like it. From that stories build. You become something you're not. I was suspended. I was blackballed in the NFL.

"Al Davis knew about my stand on social matters. He knew I was against segregation. He knew I boycotted games. He knew I lived in Canada because as a mixed-race couple it was more comfortable than living in the States. He knew all of it. It wasn't that he didn't care. He cared, understood and agreed. He would later prove that when challenges arose and he stood up and did what was right."

“There was a whole social movement going on at the time and it's way bigger than you… Art Powell didn't create those situations, and if he had never existed, those situations were still going to happen. I know I put my career on the line and I know what happened in those years had an impact on how people looked upon me. So be it; it was my choice. The challenges that were before me were social challenges. They were personal and they were important. I chose to challenge them while others chose not to challenge them. I made a lot of people angry at the time, but I question if I made an impact."

"I've heard about African American kids playing baseball who don't know who Jackie Robinson is. If that's the case, no one is going to know who Art Powell is."


And, again, that is why Art Powell belongs in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. His historic accomplishments on the field, as well as off it, should be amplified, celebrated and remembered forever.

 Statistics: Statshead, Statmuse, Joel Bussert

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