Detroit Lions wideout Calvin Johnson got some good news this past week when it was revealed he would be on the ballot for induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2021.
Will Johnson make it on the first ballot, however? It’s a big question and one that is up in the air in terms of the experts. In fact, a battle could be shaping up to see if Johnson does in fact crack the Hall of Fame after only one season in the minds of the voters.
In a recent NFL Network segment, Jim Trotter and Mike Silver discussed Johnson’s potential candidacy. Neither are sure if that’s going to be the case.
Calvin Johnson is nominated for the 2021 @ProFootballHOF class!
Is Megatron a First-Ballot Hall of Famer? 🤔 pic.twitter.com/1OJOsCYpsY
— NFL Network (@nflnetwork) September 16, 2020
“You have Calvin Johnson now, who walked away after 9 seasons and as dominant as he was, there are going to be those who say, did he play long enough to go in on first ballot? It’s going to be one of the more interesting discussions when we get in the room.”
Silver agreed in his assessment:
“First ballot is very tricky. Receiver log jam is starting anew. Now you’ve got Torrey Holt, Reggie Wayne, Hines Ward who’s been knocking on the door, then you’ve got people like Steve Smith, Anquan Boldin coming up the pipe, Andre Johnson in a year. first ballot is going to be a real real interesting discussion for the voters.”
Either way Johnsomn figures to break through eventually, but it’s going to be a challenge to get it done right away. At this point, all the voters will have to do is make the decision.
Analyst Predicts Calvin Johnson’s Hall of Fame Fate
Another interesting prediction as it related to that has come from Clark Judge of the Talk of Fame Network. The Hall of Fame voter took a look at discussing the future as it related to some of the next members up in terms of enshrinement. As he said, Johnson has a complicated case.
According to Judge, Johnson could be asked to wait when all is said and done and not be a first ballot member in Canton. The reason as he sees it? All history at his position. Here’s a look at what Judge wrote:
“Yet there’s something more than success or longevity that may make him wait a year or two, and that something is history. I’m not talking about voters’ reluctance to tap three first-ballot choices again (frankly, I don’t think most care) but about a reluctance to make a wide receiver a first-ballot selection.
It’s happened six times since 1970 and only twice in the past 25 years when Jerry Rice (2010) and Randy Moss (2018) were elected.
That doesn’t mean it couldn’t happen with Calvin Johnson, too. He certainly has the resume. But my guess is that he waits in 2021. And if that occurs, the queue of qualified finalists waiting on the steps of Canton has a chance to move forward.”
Theoretically, anything is on the table as it relates to Johnson coming up. His history as a member of the Lions might hang over his candidacy, but it’s tough to imagine Johnson not getting in relatively quickly considering how he re-defined the position when he entered the NFL.
As of now, the only thing left is to wait until 2021 to see what plays out with Johnson’s case.
Calvin Johnson’s Hall of Fame Case Examined
Johnson is eligible for the Hall of Fame officially, 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 eventually given what he did in the NFL for years and also given the way he changed the game at wide receiver.
Whether or not it happens now or later are the only variables to watch. Even the experts aren’t yet sure.
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