Calvin Johnson is one of this year’s Hall of Fame hopefuls and there’s no doubt he belongs. Should he be a first ballot choice? During his career, all of which was played with the Detroit Lions, Johnson was consistently the best in the business but is that enough?
Calvin Johnson was a star for the duration of his career. After being selected in the first round by the Detroit Lions, the Georgia Tech star waisted no time announcing his presence to the league. He shone with 70 yards and a touchdown in Week 1 of the 2007. He continued to be largely uncoverable for the duration of his career and eclipsed the 1,000 yard mark seven times. His final career stats are shown below. The 83 touchdowns is particularly impressive but history is against him becoming a first ballot Hall of Famer.
Only six receivers have ever been selected first ballot but Johnson’s performance certainly merits consideration as the seventh. The fact that he played for a Lions team that consistently struggled makes his battle to be enter all the more challenging. However, it’s a double edged sword, the fact he was often Detroit’s only real weapon makes his numbers even more impressive.
At 6’5, Johnson was a size and speed mismatch in the NFL. He was too fast to cover by many corners and was such a physical player, at 237lbs, he would frequently out muscle defenders to the ball. Want more accolades to back up the Johnson’s inclusion? Megatron, as he was known, was named to six Pro Bowls and four All-Pro teams during his nine year career and was also named to the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s All-2010’s team. Not only that, retired with the NFL’s all-time record for receiving yards per game with an average of 86.1 yards.
Gone Too Soon?
Much like Matthew Stafford, his quarterback in Detroit who asked to be traded this off season, Johnson became disenchanted with the perennially struggling Lions. After nine seasons at the pinnacle of the sports he chose to walk away. The main reason for his retirement and being, “it wasn’t worth beating my head against the wall and not going anywhere. It’s the definition of insanity.”
While the stigma of a shorter career has lessoned recently when it comes to the Hall, previous cases like running back Terrell Davis have had their careers shortened through injury. Megatron walked away whilst largely healthy.
Photo by Mike Mulholland of MLive.com