Calvin Johnson made waves for years with the Detroit Lions, and now that his career has concluded, the wideout is finally starting to get some of the accolades as a result of what he did on the field.
Johnson has been revealed as a finalist for the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame in 2020, and fans will get a hand in deciding whether or not Megatron gets enshrined along with some of the other greats who played sports in the state.
Johnson, along with former Detroit Pistons’ players Chauncey Billups and Richard Hamilton along with former Detroit Red Wings legend Igor Larionov, former MLB pitcher Derek Lowe and former Detroit Tigers catcher Ivan Rodriguez are on the list. Former bowler Sandra Jo Shiery is as as well. So too are a pair of other former Lions in safety Bennie Blades and offensive lineman Kevin Glover.
Johnson figures to get a ton of love to join the hall. Indeed, fans can vote to make their voice heard on who will be inducted this coming October 2 in Detroit.
Certainly, Johnson deserves his day in the sun given the contributions he made to the team while he played every down of his career in the Motor City.
Calvin Johnson’s Hall of Fame Case Examined
While Johnson does figure to be enshrined in Michigan sports lore, the wideout is also soon to be eligible for the Hall of Fame starting in 2021, and it’s interesting to see some of the hype he is getting as it relates to making it to Canton next year. Recently, John Breech of CBS Sports debated some of the candidates for Johnson’s class, and explained their chances.
When it came to Johnson, Breech explained the potential ups and downs of Johnson trying to get the call next year. Here’s a look at his conclusion:
“You can definitely make a strong argument that Calvin Johnson belongs in the Hall of Fame, but Megatron might have a tough time getting in during his first-year of eligibility, and that’s mainly because his career was so short. Johnson decided to retire after just nine seasons, and that was mainly due to two reasons: His body was beat up and he was fed up with the Lions. As a matter of fact, Johnson actually did a recent interview where he took another shot at his former team.
“First thing, I’m like, ‘Whoa, this is how you should take care of your players,'” Johnson told the Behind the Mask podcast. “I go to Miami — it ain’t like Miami’s winning, but they’re taking care of their players … I go to Oakland, I’m like, ‘Damn, we don’t have none of this in Detroit.'”
Despite his sour relationship with the Lions, he did thrive during his time with the team. During his nine-year career, Johnson led was named an All-Pro three times and he led the NFL in receiving yards twice. Megatron also led the NFL in receptions in 2012 when he caught 122 passes. The impressive thing is that he did all of this even though he was usually the focal point of every opponent’s defense. During that 2012 season, Johnson finished with 1,964 receiving yards, which is still the NFL’s single-season record. As a matter of fact, no player in the NFL has even finished a season with 1,900 yards.
The biggest knock on Johnson is that he never really played on any good Lions teams. During his time in Detroit, the Lions went just 54-90 and he went 0-2 in the playoffs. Of course, no one will be blaming those losses on Johnson, especially his first one. Back in January 2012, Johnson caught 12 passes for 211 yards and two touchdowns in a 45-28 loss to the Saints.”
Johnson would seem to be a lock to make it to the Hall of Fame given what he did in the NFL for years and also given the way he changed the game at wide receiver.
Calvin Johnson Lions Statistics
Since he came into the league with the Lions in 2007, Johnson wasted little time putting up great plays and amazing statistics. In his career, Johnson put up 11,619 yards and 83 touchdowns and more than that, was a human highlight reel unlike any other receiver on the list. Out of Georgia Tech, Johnson was labeled as one of the freakiest players in the draft and he lived up to that distinction in the NFL.
Johnson shattered Rice’s record of 1,848 receiving yards during the 2012 season and was a stable force for the team, often playing through pain and discomfort on the field. He walked away following the 2015 season, leaving a gaping hole in Detroit’s wideout group. Since, Johnson has been embroiled in a feud with the Lions for the last few seasons over money that the team made him pay back upon retirement.
It doesn’t seem like any of this will prevent Johnson from getting his call to the hall when the time comes, and the path might start in Michigan in 2020.