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On This Date in Sports December 10, 1989: Steve Largent 100

In collaboration with the Sportsecyclopedia.com

Steve Largent of the Seattle Seahawks becomes the first player in NFL history with 100 career touchdown receptions, breaking the record of Green Bay Packers legend Don Hutson. The touchdown comes in a 24-17 win for the Seahawks against the Cincinnati Bengals at Riverfront Stadium. It would be the final touchdown of Largent’s career as he had already announced his retirement at the start of the season.

The record of 99 career touchdown passes stood for more than four decades as the legendary Don Hutson of the Green Bay Packers retired in 1945 and stood far above any other receiver of his era. As the NFL opened up the passing game, it was only a matter of time before the record would fall, but the first to do it was an unlikely star who helped make football a Sunday ritual in the Pacific Northwest.

Steve Largent was born September 28, 1954, in Tulsa, Oklahoma. After becoming an All-American at the University of Tulsa, Largent was ignored by most NFL scouts. He was not chosen until the fourth round by the Houston Oilers. However, in training camp, Steve Largent was not impressing anyone and was on the verge of being cut, when the expansion Seattle Seahawks swooped in and acquired him for an eighth-round pick in the 1977 NFL Draft.

Going to an expansion team provided Steve Largent the opportunity to play, as he quickly became a fan favorite in Seattle. In his first season, he was the Seahawks leading receiver with 705 yards on 54 catches. A year later had ten touchdown receptions and became Seattle’s first representative at the Pro-Bowl in 1978 when he topped 1.000 yards for the first time. Steve Largent would go to the Pro Bowl seven times and was named the NFL’s All-Pro team three times, as he helped the NFL succeed in Seattle becoming the first star player and the face of the Seahawks.

Steve Largent was named NFL’s Man of the Year in 1988, as he began to write his name all over the NFL record book. Already announcing plans to retire, Largent missed six games with an injury as he needed to get three touchdowns to reach 100 when the year began. He did manage to score in the season opener, before the injury but had to wait until Week 12 to equal Hutson’s record of 99 career touchdown receptions.

Facing the Cincinnati Bengals, who entered the game at 7-6, the Seahawks coached by Chuck Knox were out of the playoff hunt at 5-8, but they sought to get the record before the year was over. The Bengals coached by Sam Wyche got off to a 10-0 lead as Boomer Esiason connected with Tim McGee on a 21-yard touchdown pass and Jim Breech made a 24-yard field goal in the second quarter. It was then the Seahawks answered, and Steve Largent got the record on a ten-yard pass from Dave Krieg. The ball was caught in the back of the end zone with Largent getting his toes down. Norm Johnson tied the game with a field goal in the third quarter. On the next drive, Krieg hit Brian Blades on a 60-yard touchdown pass to give Seattle the lead. The Bengals would tie the game in the fourth quarter on an Eric Thomas pick six. However, Curt Warner scored the game-winning touchdown on a one-yard pass from Krieg to give the Seahawks a 24-17 win on the road.

The touchdown in Cincinnati would be the 100th and final of Steve Largent’s career. When he retired, Steve Largent held all the major pass-catching records in the NFL, as he held the record for most receptions at 819, most yards 13,089 and most touchdowns at 100. He also had the record for most consecutive games with a catch at 177 games, that ended with his final game.