The Matt Millen era was a dark time filled with losing seasons and no sugar-coating it here, but awful drafts picks.
Actually, that might be sugar-coating it.
The Lions wasted three top ten draft picks in a row on wide receivers who didn’t pan out. Charles Rodgers, Roy Williams, and Mike Williams. Roy Williams actually made a pro bowl but never returned to that form and was out of Detroit in five years.
In 2007 the Lions drafted yet another wide receiver. This time they struck gold.
The Raiders took Jamarcus Russell with the number 1 pick. (Thank you Oakland) Allowing The Lions to take Calvin with the 2nd pick.
And the rest is history, The Raiders get one of the biggest busts of all time and the Lions get a future hall of famer.
Flash forward to 2014 and Megatron holds 14 NFL records and all Lions receiving records.
Jerry Rice’s famous receiving yardage record for a single season that will never be broken?
Demolished. In 15 games.
His 329 yard outburst against the Cowboys was the most in a non overtime game in NFL history
In his 99th career game Megatron, recorded his 5th 200 yard game. Jerry Rice had 4 in 303 games. Calvin even has more yards than Rice did after their 7th season. Calvin doing so, playing fewer games due to injury.
Now whenever the Jerry Rice, Calvin Johnson comparisons come up Megatron, kind of gets thrown under the bus.
The arguments for Rice are that he played in a running league. His team was winning so there wasn’t any need to be constantly throwing the ball and that he had other players around him who could also make plays.
Can’t forget the last one, the Super Bowls.
However, what the Rice supporters don’t mention is when Calvin entered the league he was catching passes from Jon Kitna, then Dan Orlovsky, on an 0-16 team.
Calvin Johnson has been the only weapon on the Detroit Lions roster his entire career. I’m sorry but no defense is sitting in the film room on Monday saying “Okay how are we going to shut down Kris Durham?”
That is a lot different from being drafted right into the defending Super Bowl Champions. Also getting to catch passes from Joe Montana and Steve Young. Two hall of famers.
You take your pick between those sets of quarterbacks. Seriously.
Calvin still has a lot of football left in him, so it’s too early to say where his legacy will be when he walks away from football.
But what I think will make him go down as the best receiver in NFL history is the physical mismatch he is every Sunday
Megatron is 6’5 240 pounds. That alone is hard for any defensive back to cover. You add in a 4.3 40 yard dash, a 44 inch vertical jump and the ability to cut on a dime and run great routes? Big receivers aren’t supposed to run like that. Nobody told Calvin Johnson.
That’s once in a life time talent.
You can see that with the plays he makes, triple coverage in the end-zone? Just throw it up to Megatron.
What also sets Calvin apart from most receivers is how humble he is. Wide receivers are divas. Not just like with Randy Moss and Chad Johnson, the list goes on. If the ball isn’t going their way, you’re going to hear about it.
Calvin has never been one to complain about his targets, demand the ball more or call out other players. Even worst throw a temper tantrum on national TV yelling at your quarterback and coaches because you’re getting outplayed by a better receiver.
Calvin was rated the 2nd best player in the NFL be-hide Peyton Manning. #2 is the highest ranking ever for a wide receiver. The reaction show said it best, “At worst, Calvin Johnson goes down as 2nd best receiver in NFL history”
All hail, Megatron.