The headline is really awkward, but from here on out I'll be dropping the first half of it. This is just to get folks on the same page with the balloting.
In restarting the voting on our list of all-time 49ers, I thought we should start with a position that a year ago created quite a bit of controversy in the end result: the 49ers #2 wide receiver. The #1 wide receiver is as obvious as you're going to get with this team: Jerry Rice. Rather than replay the automatic selections, we're sticking with the ones where voting actually took place. Also, depending on how many votes we accumulate in the next couple days, I'd like to try and post two of these per week: one Monday and one Thursday. We'll give it a test run this week.
After a neck and neck race, John Taylor pulled away from Terrell Owens to win by 25 votes, or 7%. The comments went back and forth between those two drawing on both on and off the field issues. Two of the main schools of thought to emerge were: 1) TO was a phenomenally talented wide receiver and simply better than JT, and 2) even if he was talented, he was a jackass.
This is one of the positions that inspired me to bring back the all-time team ballot. We had 377 total votes for the #2 wide receiver position, which is a number I know we can surpass this time around. And more votes increases the sample size, hopefully providing a clearer answer. So, below I've copied over the brief write-ups on each of the receivers on the ballot.
Terrell Owens (1996-2003): Oh TO, TO, TO. If we were just considering stats and natural ability, I personally think Terrell Owens would be the hands down #2 guy in 49ers history. He's #2 in franchise history in receptions, yards and touchdowns behind Jerry Rice and made one of the more well known catches in team history against the Packers in the playoffs. He had issues with drops, but unlike a guy like Randy Moss, he didn't take plays off and busted his ass. Of course, there is that other part of TO. That would be the fact that when he left he was despised by many 49ers fans, including yours truly. My hatred has tempered with time and it's gotten to the point where I can separate the talented WR from the troubled individual. I'm not saying you have to in making this vote because this is somewhat a popularity contest. Rather, consider whatever you like in making your vote.
Dwight Clark (1979-1987): Clark made probably the most famous Catch in 49ers history, and in fact it probably ranks pretty high in NFL history. Clark was drafted the same year as Joe Montana and was a key part of the resurgence of the 49ers. He stands 4th in team in history in receptions, 3rd in yards and 6th in touchdowns.
John Taylor (1987-1995): Taylor made arguably the second most famous catch in 49ers history, the game-winner against the Bengals in Super Bowl XXIII. Taylor currently stands 8th or better in franchise history in receptions, yards and touchdowns. And, of course, he holds the pre-eminent spot as second banana to Jerry Rice.
Billy Wilson (1951-1960): Wilson stands 6th in receptions, 5th in yards and 5th in touchdowns. Wilson was a 6-time Pro Bowler waaaaay back in the day and stands as the first great receiver in 49ers history. In fact, a look at comparable NFL receivers in the NFL opens the argument that Wilson should in fact be a Hall of Famer.
Gene Washington (1969-1977): Today's fans might recognize Gene Washington as the man who introduces draft choices after the first round, as Director of Football Operations for the NFL. Before entering the league office, Washington was a four-time Pro Bowler and three-time All Pro with the 49ers. He finished his time with the 49ers 7th in team history in receptions, 4th in yards and 3rd in touchdowns.