Calvin Johnson made the NFL's AP All-Pro team last week, which considering his 2012 statistics and immense talent shouldn't even have been a story. Then, one voter had to go and get his name in the paper by denying Johnson a vote, which naturally showed up in the headlines.
Tim Ryan, an analyst for Fox Sports, didn't believe Johnson deserved the honor because his Detroit Lions didn't win enough games, instead preferring to support Brandon Marshall and A.J. Green. "I think Marshall helped Chicago win games and I think Green helped Cincinnati win games. I think that is more important than statistics," Ryan said when pressed on his reasoning.
Yet, Marshall and Green's career statistics haven't even been in the same stratospheres as Johnson's, who set the single-season record for reception yards, breaking Jerry Rice's 17 year-old reign on the title. That counts for something. Johnson, as Ryan admits, was the only consistent thing the Lions had on offense this year. He was going it alone in some cases, which only serves to enhance his video game type numbers in 2012.
Adrian Peterson, a player which valiantly chased a 2,000 yard season and J.J. Watt, a player who seemingly sacked more opponents and swatted more passes combined in NFL history were the only other two unanimous nominations. Thanks to Ryan's one vote, Johnson can't say he was included that group, even though he clearly belongs in it.
Ryan is entitled to his opinion, even though it's very incorrect. His logic stands on shaky ground. The Bears didn't make the playoffs, meaning Marshall didn't account for any additional winning after the season was over. Green, in the Bengals' loss to the Texans, was a non-factor. Combined, the two players Ryan is content to put above Johnson because of their "winning teams" enjoyed a grand total of zero playoff victories, as many as Johnson's Lions.
Shouldn't the playoffs be where you ultimately judge such things as winning teams, Tim? If that's the case, you shouldn't have voted for anyone on the fringe at all. Peterson was the reason the Vikings had all of their success, and his team didn't win big in 2012 either. Peterson and Watt along with Johnson are all worthy of being considered unanimous all-pro selections thanks to their play first.
Team success only says so much about a player. There's still the bigger element of personal success and determination which speaks volumes. Though defenses were keying on him, Johnson still delivered impressive performances week in and week out and broke a long standing record in the process.
If that's not the obvious mark of a unanimous all-pro, I don't know what is.
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