Calvin Johnson wasn’t rated as the best player in the NFL’s annual top 100 poll. That honor went to reigning MVP Peyton Manning. For this year at least, Johnson will have to be satisfied with coming in second place.
Johnson’s peers rated him above Tom Brady, Richard Sherman, Adrian Peterson and Jimmy Graham. The next highest rated wide receiver was A.J. Green at number nine. The league confirmed what we already knew; Johnson is in a class all by himself. When asked about what it would take to overcome Manning and take the top spot Johnson said the only way that would happen is if the Lions won a super bowl. He’s probably right because he’s obviously the better athlete but while Manning didn’t win the super bowl last year, he did get the Broncos there and made his third overall trip to the final game. Johnson and the Lions have not even won a playoff game since Johnson arrived in the NFL.
Four other Lions made the list as well with quarterback Matthew Stafford coming in at 100, Reggie Bush at 85, DeAndre Levy was 59 and Ndamukong Suh rated 40th overall. I think Suh and Stafford were rated too low, but on the other hand, I wouldn’t have put Levy or Bush on the list. Of those four the only consistent performer last year was Suh, and I think he gets downgraded because people just don’t like him. He’s too dominant to be rated where he is.
Johnson is breaking records every year and if he stays healthy, which he works very hard to do, he has a chance to challenge Jerry Rice’s numbers. It’s more than fair to say that Johnson would be in the hall of fame if he were forced to retire now and he still has many years left to add to his staggering numbers and accomplishments. He has averaged over 100 yards per game played each of the last three seasons, holds the NFL record for most yards in one year (1,964 in 2012), has the second most yards in a game ever (329 vs. Dallas in 2013) and will surpass 10,000 career yards this year while still just 29 years old.
Here in Detroit, we’ve been plagued by watching our team falter every year and have been jaded by the disappointment. That being said, few teams have ever had a talent to enjoy watching that compares to Calvin Johnson and it makes every game must see TV. Right now, Jerry Rice is still considered to be the greatest ever. When it’s all said and done, that crown could transfer to Johnson. Either way, we’re pretty lucky to get to watch him perform each week.
Here’s some of his highlights for Throwback Thursday: