Dammit Skip. You’ve put me in a sort of identity crisis. I thought I’d found a kindred spirit in a dislike of all things LeBron James. Finally, I’d found someone who could see through LeBron’s stat padding, his stubbornly raw offensive game, the coddling received by Cavalier ownership and, most importantly, the special rules that apply to him during games (take as many steps as you need, what’s a pivot foot? on-the-fly abolition of charging infractions). But after you said you’d take Andre Johnson over Jerry Rice, I can’t help but think your LeBron criticisms aren’t genuine, that perhaps you say things for attention. And here’s where my identity crisis comes in: if your LeBron criticism is solely to bring attention to your show, what does that mean of mine? Am I an attention whore? Am I a contrarian? Do I know what the fuck I’m talking about? Ever?
Let’s put this existentialist dilemma aside for the moment and focus on the lunacy of your latest claim. First let’s examine how Johnson and Rice compared during their best three seasons.
Andre Johnson (2008-10): 302 catches/4,360 yards/26 TDs
Jerry Rice: 238 catches/3,219 yards/18 TDs
Clearly Andre Johnson put up better numbers than Jerry Rice prime for prime. Not by much though. Oh no, wait. Rice put up those stats at 40 years old while he was breaking down on the Raiders! Let me try this again.
Rice (1993-95): 322 catches/4,850/43 TDs
In fact, you can compare any Rice three-year stretch from 86-95 and compare it to Johnson’s last three seasons and I guarantee most would still pick Rice. There’s the possibility Johnson may still have several more productive seasons – comparable to some of Rice’s best. But Johnson’s not as young as you may think.
He turns 30 next month. I was surprised when I looked that up admittedly. I assumed he was younger because he’s only really been a dominate receiver the last three years. Don’t believe me? Prior to the 2008 season, where he established himself as a premier receiver whose injury problems were in the past (Rice missed four games total in his first 12 seasons, Andre has already missed 10) his best single season stats was 103/1,147/5.
Johnson (first 5 seasons): 371/4,804/25
Rice (first 5 seasons): 346/6,364/66
Yes, you read that right. Rice scored 40(!!!) more touchdowns than Johnson in their first five seasons in the NFL. In fact, Jerry came within 3 TDs of Johnson’s total in a single fucking season. But I fear Skip already knows this but saying Rice is better than Johnson doesn’t draw too many listeners to First Take.
Let me say that Johnson is my favourite active receiver after Derrick Mason. To say he’s a beast is one thing (he is) to say he’s a better receiver than Jerry Rice is heresy.
If I am, in fact, a passenger aboard the Contrarian Attention Whore Express, I’ve gone a stop too far and I’m jumping off now. I’ll find my way home from here.
P.S. Them cornrows he rocked when he had the Citizen Kane hairline was one of the most underrated athlete miscues of all time. Below Terrell Owens‘ suicide press conferences with Drew Rosenhaus but above Michael Jordan leaving the NBA to play baseball.