Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson is starting to receive a lot of attention for having a shot to break Jerry Rice‘s record for receiving yards in a season. To get there, CJ has to average a shade over 118.2 yards per game over his final five games – certainly doable considering his current average for the season sits at 114.3 yards per game.
Unfortunately for the Lions, the chase of Rice‘s record is likely to be the most exciting thing to watch for the rest of the season. It might be fun to chart his progress towards 1,848 yards but ultimately the “will he/won’t he” doesn’t matter. Calvin’s greatness and future legacy doesn’t depend on it. Those things are more dependent on another, more easily obtained yardage total: 1,600.
A 1,600 receiving yard season has only been attained 14 times in the history of the NFL. Calvin Johnson’s 2011 season is included in that number and reaching that mark a second time would make him one of just three players to do it twice with Marvin Harrison and Torry Holt being the others.
What would separate Calvin from those two is accomplishing the feat in consecutive years. Harrison and Holt each had two years under 1,600 receiving yards before doing it again. In fact, averaging at least 100 receiving yards per game in back to back seasons hasn’t been done since the days of the 14-game schedule when Lance Alworth did it from 1964-1966.
It’s easy to get a sense that we’re watching a once in a generation type talent in Calvin Johnson. With just 343 more receiving yards this year, the stats will prove it.