Back when Megatron was holding out in his feud with the Lions, a move that ultimately ended in his retirement, I had a bad take. I thought his short career wasn’t quite Hall of Fame worthy. Even if I’m the only one who even remembers making that take (likely not, I’m sure some bitter Lions fan somehow kept track of it, this is the internet after all where no sin goes unpunished), I’m glad I finally got a chance to amend that bonehead take and see a much deserving player make the hall first ballot. Calvin absolutely deserves to be in the Hall and I’m glad possibly the WR icon of this era has a bust in Canton.

I think it was mostly that I personally value longevity quite a bit and Calvin is the textbook opposite type of hall of famer. He’s a guy who shined incredibly bright for a relatively short period of time. He’s not very high on any career lists, but you can’t deny that when he was at his peak, he was an absolute monster of a player that nobody could stop. It’s almost a crime that he never got to experience a single post-season win while he spent years toiling away on those Lions teams. Looking back on the iconic WRs of his era (Julio, Fitz, Andre Johnson, AJ Green), I’d have a hard time putting any of them above Johnson except maybe Fitz, mostly due to Fitz’s longevity for a similarly terrible franchise. Johnson deserves to be the symbol of great pass catchers from this time in history. In terms of talent you could throw him up there with Moss and Rice with ease. If you wanted to argue that he’s a top 5 WR of all time, I’m not sure I’d exactly agree, but I’d be more than willing to entertain the argument.

Johnson notably did not thank the Lions during his acceptance speech. He thanked the fans. He thanked teammates and coaches. He did not thank the organization or people up top at all. His speech was pretty good overall. I had no idea how much pain Johnson apparently played with due to a back injury which almost certainly had to have played a role in his shorter career. Honestly, it was the most I’ve ever heard Johnson speak at any time and I was surprised he didn’t just walk up, say “thanks”, then walk off. He was always a quiet guy who let his play do the talking.

Johnson’s feud with the Lions apparently stems from them asking him to return part of his signing bonus after he retired, which was pretty horseshit, but the fact that he’s still clearly mad at them for it makes me wonder how much more was going on we don’t know about. I doubt he’s ever going to write a book about it since he doesn’t seem like the type, so wild speculation is our friend! My guess is that Calvin is team Jacob but Martha Ford is team Edward.

Stray thoughts on the rest of Hall of Fame weekend: My favorite moment was Peyton Manning saying “my friend Tom Brady is here” and the entire crowd booing. Peyton’s speech overall was actually pretty disappointing, he spent half of it talking about how football must be preserved and treasured at all costs and it just felt like a weird angle to take, for him, at that moment, to a crowd full of people who likely already very much agreed to begin with. I loved Charles Woodson struggling to keep it together. I like my hall of fame speeches two ways: flippant and fun as they take in the moment, or overly emotional. I love it when the inductees share personal anecdotes and how those stories shaped their careers. My eyes roll out of the back of my head when they start talking like coaches or motivational speeches giving boring platitudes “HARD WORK IS HARD AND YOU GOTTA FIGHT THE FIGHT” shut up and tell me why your mom mattered to you I can get the hard work grind mindset garbage anywhere. Shut up John Lynch.