The Detroit Lions might soon be gaining a few new members in Canton, Ohio in the form of legendary wideout Calvin Johnson and kicker Jason Hanson.
Wednesday, it was revealed that Johnson is going to be on the ballot coming up. He is one of the modern era nominees for the 2021 class. Hanson will join him at kicker. Former Detroit return man Mel Gray and Glyn Milburn as well as quarterback Jeff Garcia also comprised the list.
BREAKING: The Modern-Era nominees for the Class of 2021 have been unveiled. The list is comprised of 130 players. Among the group are 14 first-year eligible players.
— Pro Football Hall of Fame (@ProFootballHOF) September 16, 2020
Johnson, it has long been assumed, might easily crack admission to the Hall of Fame given what a game changer he was at the position for years. In his career, Johnson acquired the nickname “Megatron” for how easily he was able to make huge plays on the field. 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.
Hanson was elite in the pros as well during a stellar 20 year career in Detroit. Hanson shattered multiple team records at his position while also setting impressive NFL records. Hanson has the most field goals made in NFL history from 40 yards or more (189), was the first player to score 2,000 points with one franchise, and also has the career game winning field goals in overtime (9). He also played the most games in NFL history with one team. He was also an All American at Washington State.
Now, Johnson will have to make it through the selection process, which will happen on February 6, 2021. After that, the 2021 class will have officially been nominated. He stands to have the best chance of any of the former Lions to make it through given his impactful career.
Analyst Predicts Calvin Johnson’s Hall of Fame Fate
A 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 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.