When Calvin Johnson decided to call it a career following the conclusion of the 2015 season in March, there were already a sizeable amount of presumptions made about how he would eventually wind up in Canton one day. He walked away from the game being the Detroit Lions’ franchise leader in receptions (731), reception yardage (11,619), and receiving touchdowns (83).
Longtime Houston Texans wide receiver Andre Johnson hung up the cleats during the course of the 2016 season in October. He was the Texans’ franchise leader in receptions (1,012), reception yardage (13,597), and receiving touchdowns (64). Andre also recorded over 100 yards 51 times with Houston, which is another franchise record.
Despite his lofty accomplishments he made over the course of his illustrious career, Andre has a lot less people in his corner saying he should eventually be sitting for a bronze bust. But if you properly compare the two, Andre is more worthy of being in the Hall of Fame than Calvin.
Both have seven 1,000-yard seasons to their name and have been to the postseason twice. However, Andre has more longevity and has much better career statistics in the reception and yardage category as a result.
Andre currently ranks ninth in NFL history in career catches with 1,062, as he racked up another 50 receptions in his stints with the Indianapolis Colts (2015) and Tennessee Titans (2016) at the tail end of his playing days. On the other hand, Calvin ranks 43rd with 731.
Andre ranks 10th All-Time in the NFL with 14,185 receiving yards, having chalked up another 588 yards with the Colts and Titans after he left Houston, while Calvin currently sits 28th with 11,619.
One could argue Calvin has found the end zone more than Andre – Calvin has 83 total touchdowns and Andre has 77 – but Andre also has two playoff victories under his belt. Calvin never tasted a playoff win – ever.
Another argument made in favor of Calvin is Andre choose against early retirement, allowing him to add to his career tally. But Andre still has averaged more career catches per game (5.5) than Calvin (5.4).
Calvin had the two best seasons of the pair, collecting 1,964 receiving yards in 2012 and 1,681 in 2011. On the flip side, Andre has had 1,598, 1,575, and 1,569 yard seasons – which were all better than any of Calvin’s remaining years in the league.
There’s also an x-factor that should work in Andre’s favor: Calvin had the luxury of working with Matthew Stafford for the vast majority of his career. Andre, with all due respect, primarily caught passes from David Carr and Matt Schaub. It’s fair to wonder how these receivers would’ve performed had their roles been reversed.
Granted, Calvin was a better pick for fantasy football, had an awesome nickname, and was on the cover of Madden 13. But Andre did more with less. He played more, and won more.