No NFL wide receiver has ever tallied more yards in 60 minutes, or in a single season, or in his last season, than the man they call Megatron.
Those are just a few reasons why Calvin Johnson was named a Pro Football Hall of Fame finalist earlier this month, and why he expects to be enshrined. The biggest, perhaps only, question is whether the Detroit Lions legend will be a member of the 2021 class.
"Of course, it will feel like a slight, I guess, if you don't get in the first time and you're up there, you're a finalist," Johnson told NFL Network's Steve Wyche and Jim Trotter on the latest episode of the Huddle & Flow podcast. "I can't say that it wouldn't, because we're human, we're emotional. But it'll happen. I confidently feel like it'll happen. Will it happen first time? That would be awesome. Get it out of the way. Why not?"
If Johnson is snubbed in Year 1 -- the vote is Tuesday but the reveal is Feb. 6 during NFL honors -- he wouldn't be alone among wideouts. Only six have ever been selected first ballot. Recent notable omissions include Terrell Owens (third ballot), Marvin Harrison (third), Chris Carter (sixth) and Michael Irvin (third).
The reason Johnson wouldn't be first ballot could link back to his last season. It was only his ninth, and it marked an abrupt end to a career that was still fruitful. Johnson said he was actually contemplating retiring the year prior because of the toll injuries had taken on his lower body, but his father talked him out of it.
Knowing the 2015 campaign would be his last, Johnson caught 88 passes for 1,214 yards and nine touchdowns, including 10-137-1 in his final game.
Johnson walked away with a sixth consecutive Pro Bowl selection and 1,000-yard season (his seventh overall), and the all-time record for receiving yards per game (86.1). He was still Megatron. But the three-time All-Pro also knew that retiring at 30 could impact his HOF candidacy.
"There was talk," Johnson said. "But I was like, hey, I know what I did. I know how I did it, in the manner that I did, and the über-professional manner that I did it, and at the pace that I did it. If that's not worthy, it is what it is."
What it was, was one of the most dominant careers in NFL history.