Is Megatron — a.k.a. Calvin Johnson of the Detroit Lions — the greatest receiver of all time?
— Greg Lawrence, Orlando, Fla.
ANSWER: I’ll gladly stipulate that Calvin Johnson is today’s greatest receiver. Megatron’s assortment of measurables — 6'5", 236, 42.5-inch vertical, 4.35 40 — should be illegal. But there’s only one G.O.A.T. (Greatest of All Time). He wore No. 80 for the San Francisco 49ers. Megatron would have to average 100-plus catches and 13-plus touchdowns for the next decade (which he won’t) to match the numbers posted by Jerry Rice (which no one ever will). Rice isn’t merely the greatest receiver of all time; he’s quite possibly the best football player ever to suit up. He’s certainly the most productive. Rice is more than 200 catches ahead of the second-ranked pass-catcher (Tony Gonzalez) and almost 7,000 receiving yards ahead of the runner-up in that category (Terrell Owens). And then there are the touchdowns. Rice was merely the greatest TD producer the game has ever seen. His 197 receiving TDs and 208 total scores are untouchable records.
In four Super Bowl appearances — three of them wins — Rice caught 33 passes for 589 yards and eight TDs. That’s a respectable season’s worth of numbers, amassed in four of the biggest games ever played. Megatron will have to settle for being today’s greatest talent at wide receiver. The title of G.O.A.T. is already spoken for.
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