As for Marvin Harrison I think you have to adjust his career numbers down a bit because he played his whole career with maybe the greatest passer who ever lived. Notice how Peyton Manning’s in the midst of his greatest season even though Harrison's gone and was replaced by a rookie and a second-year guy with a French name and four career catches. Manning hasn't missed a beat.
Owens and Harrison were able to post bigger numbers than Ward in this decade not necessarily because of superior talent but because they played in better passing offenses. Or at least offenses that preferred to throw. Here’s how Harrison’s Colts ranked in passing attempts for each year of his career:
Four times in the top five, seven times in the top ten, 12 times in the top half of the league.
Here’s Terrell Owens' teams:
Three top fives, seven top tens, eight times in the top half of the league. Now compare Hines Ward's Steelers:
Only once has Ward ever even played for a team ranked in the top ten for passing attempts (and that was just a tenth-place ranking!). Only three times has his team ever finished in the top half of the league. We can see he simply hasn’t had the opportunity to post the same kind of numbers year in and year out that Harrison or T.O. have. Ward’s played with a good QB for the past several years. He’s had other good receiving teammates (Burress, Holmes). So clearly the Steelers organization simply prefers to run the ball more than other teams. And therefore it’s only fair for Peter King to recognize Ward for his overall game and great productivity given the conservative offenses he’s played for. You can’t just give the nod to Owens or Harrison because they played on pass-happy teams. You’re supposed to be honoring the individual player, not his offense. It's not insane to prefer Ward.