In a recent interview with the Detroit News, former Pittsburgh Steelers, and Hall of Fame, wide receiver Lynn Swann was asked about the chances of Detroit Lions receiver Calvin Johnson making the Hall of Fame, if he does indeed retire as rumors suggest.
Here is what Swann had to say:
"I would think that it would be difficult for Calvin Johnson at this point to be considered a Hall of Famer," Swann told the Detroit News. "Calvin Johnson has an extreme amount of talent and ability, but when you start to look at his team, the success of his team and did he lift that team; he made them a little bit better, but at the end of the day, I'm not quite sure."
Go ahead and do yourself a favor and re-read the above quote. The fact Swann is bringing the team into an individual recognition like the Pro Football Hall of Fame is laughable. How is it Johnson's fault he was drafted by one of the worst run organizations in the NFL? And shouldn't it speak volumes about Johnson as a receiver that he has put up ridiculous numbers on such a poor team?
Did he lift the team on a long postseason run and to a Super Bowl victory? No, but he certainly wasn't the reason the team never made it over the proverbial hump.
Not only did Johnson set a new single-season receiving record in 2012, but he has only had less than 1,000 yards receiving in two seasons since entering the league in 2007. Johnson has led the league in receiving yards, as well as receptions and has a rare combination of size and speed which have given him the nickname "Megatron".
What might be even more humorous is who is making these statements. Swann might be the poster boy of a wide receiver who played big in big games, but certainly benefited from having an incredible team behind him. Johnson has never had a John Stallworth opposite him, and has never had a Terry Bradshaw throwing him passes, not to mention a running game with the likes of Franco Harris and Rocky Bleier.
When looking at Swann's overall statistics, if you were to put him on a team like Johnson currently resides, he wouldn't even be considered for the Hall of Fame. His career statistics: 336 receptions for 5,462 yards and 51 touchdowns. Yes, as stated earlier, Swann played his best in big games in the postseason, and it in those games where he etched his bust for eternity in the hall of Fame.
Now, before Steelers fans take to the comment section with pitchforks and torches for criticizing Lynn Swann, realize what point I am making. Swann is claiming how despite Johnson having incredible individual success and statistics, the fact his team didn't experience success throughout his career would essentially equate to a player like Dan Marino not being worthy of the Hall of Fame. Especially for a player with such dismal career statistics as Swann, it might be worth it for him to simply leave the Hall of Fame voting and discussion up to those who actually have a vote in the process.