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Andre vs Calvin. Who is the real Johnson?
Who is the best receiver in the NFL?
Down by four, 4th and 15 from the 30 yard line, one second on the clock, Ryan Smith drops back and throws to... to...
That's a tough question.
The wide receivers of the National Football League are some of the best athletes in the world. Standing around 6 ft tall, packed with muscle, and incredible speed, these guys are far more athletic than soccer goalies or the designated hitters of baseball. These are the guys who produce the big plays, and jaw-dropping highlights. The names ring on forever in NFL folklore.
Jerry Rice, Steve Largent, Tim Brown, Michael Irvin, Terrell Owens, Randy Moss.
These are the guys who define franchises, dynasties, these guys are the legends.These are the guys who's jerseys you wear decades after they retire.
But who's the next one? Who's the next great wide-out?
Well... How do you judge?
Is it Speed?
Should we argue between Mike Wallace and Darrius Heyward-Bey? Do DeSean Jackson and Julio Jones get mentioned? I don't think so, I don't think these guys have what it takes to make the big catch. Can you really see Jeremy Maclin jumping over a crowd of defenders to win the game? Not me. So while Speed is important, I don't think being the fastest necessarily makes them the best.
Is it Size?
Who doesn't look up to Dwayne Bowe and Vincent Jackson? Larry Fitzgerald and Brandon Marshall have been considered among the best their entire careers. These guys are almost open just standing still. And then they jump? LeBron looks up and squints to find these guys. But... Without Speed, are any of these guys breaking games open? No sir. Sometimes Tall=Awkward and they can't get separation. So no. Being the tallest doesn't mean you're the best either.
Gotta be the Hands!... Right?
Some of these route runners have redefined the position.
Reggie Wayne, Anquan Boldin, and Greg Jennings are guys who have reeled in TD's from some of the best QBs in the NFL. They're consistent and fantastic route runners. You don't necessarily need to be fast or tall to get open. Look at Freddy Biletnikoff for the Raiders back in the 70's. Considered by many a Raider fan to be the best receiver in the history of a franchise full of tall, fast weapons. But can you really be the best if you can't always get open?
No, to be the best in the NFL, you really need all three.
You need to be taller than your corner, faster than the coverage, and just talented enough to catch the ball anywhere. Imagine a weapon capable of beating any one in any spot on the field. I can really only think of two NFL players who possess all three talents.
Houston Texans star Andre Johnson and Madden 13 cover boy, Calvin Johnson.
Sure a couple of other targets come close. Brandon Marshall is, at 6'4, a great route runner, and extremely physical. But a 4.5 40 yard dash won't get you past the Johnson's.
Larry Fitzgerald is extremely tall and very fast. Not to mention he's got great ball skills, but... Not really a game breaker. His best years were with a star QB in Kurt Warner while sharing coverage with Anquan Boldin. Alone? Without support? His stats can not be considered elite.
Calvin Johnson and Andre Johnson are both at least 6'3, run at least a 4.4, and are capable of being a threat anywhere on the field. If you're a QB and you have these two, you should never have an incomplete pass. Ever.
In their careers, they've combined for 1197 catches for 17,515 yards and 107 TDs... That's a hall of fame career if it's just one guy.
But unfortunately for them, they aren't. They've gotta work a little bit harder if they want a bust in Canton. So...
Which one is closer? Which wide-out is better?
Which Johnson gets my last second Hail Mary?
Well lets work it out.
Who is better...
Well, there aren't really any losers in this battle. I mean, sure, one guy is taller and faster than the other. But on any given day, both of these guys well have to look down at you as they beat you in a race. Well, the "loser" here is Andre. Calvin is 6'5, and runs a 4.32 40 yard dash. That is sick. No wonder they call him "Megatron." Andre however will have to be satisfied with his 6 feet and 3 inches and 4.41 40 time. I mean... Only a little impressive.
Well, Andre has a bit of an advantage, having played four seasons more than Calvin, but therein lies probably the most impressive stat for "Megatron", but we'll get to that in a minute. Since being drafted out of Miami in 2003, Andre Johnson has reeled in 775 passes for 10,714 yards and 55 TDs. He has been the number one weapon in Houston since the birth of the franchise, a rare bright light in the rough years, and has made Matt Schaub's job really easy for the last few years.
Also no stranger to a struggling franchise, since being taken second overall back in 2007, Megatron has snatched 439 passes for 7,129 yards and 53 TDs.
That is what I mean. Despite playing for four years longer, Andre only has two more touchdowns than Calvin. That is ridiculous. I mean... That is ridiculous. We'll get to that some more down in the next section.
I went through the work to average out the first 5 years, and then the career of Andre in comparison to Calvin. Because I'm that committed to you, random reader.
An average season for Calvin? 73 catches, 10 TD's, and 1,174 yards.
An average season for Andre during his first 5 seasons? 74 catches, 5 TD's, and 961 yards.
An average season for Andre during his career? 78 catches, 6 TD's, and 1,073 yards.
Those stats tell you two things. One, that Andre has gotten better with age, catching 4 more catches, 1 more TD, and 112 yards more per season. That's like a whole other game for Andre.
The second thing? Is that Calvin catches one less pass but 4 more TDs and 100 more yards.
Thats yet another win for Calvin, however...
This is the stuff that you don't see on paper, the stuff that all the fanboys will use to make arguments. "Yeah Brady had more TD's, but Manning rested in week 17".
Its BS, and I won't stay with it long.
Both of these receivers played for teams that were very, very bad. Not that long ago, the Texans were the doormat team in the AFC South, constantly getting beat up by Peyton Manning. And while Andre eventually got his current QB, Matt Schaub, the first three years of his career were spent suffering under draft bust, David Carr.
"Yeah! Andre didn't have a good QB like Stafford, that's why he's better, right?"
That's why Calvin is better than Andre.
Because as bad as Houston was... Does anyone remember how awful the Lions used to be?
Does 0-16 mean anything?
While Andre was enjoying soft defenses and Matt Schaub, who was throwing passes to young Calvin Johnson?
Jon Kitna, Dan Orlovsky, an ancient Daunte Culpepper, Shaun Hill, and Drew Stanton.
During an 0-16 2008 season, when everyone was in love with Larry Fitzergerald and his Hall of Fame caliber QB, Calvin reeled in just as many TD's with the law firm of Orlovsky, Kitna, and Culpepper. And lets not pretend Matt Stafford is consistent with his play or his health.
So, with less talent around him, Calvin has been lighting up the stats and the scoreboard for years before he became the face of Madden. Not to mention... The defenses in the NFC North? Are about 6.3 or 6.5 times better than the ones in the AFC South.
Down by four, 4th and 15 from the 30 yard line, one second on the clock, Ryan Smith drops back and throws to Calvin "Megatron" Johnson. Touchdown. Ryan's Fantasy Team Wins.