We mentioned it a couple weeks ago, and now it had officially come to fruition: Calvin Johnson has broken the Madden Curse by way of setting the all-time NFL receiving yards record for one season. Previously owned by Jerry Rice in 1995 with his 1848 yards, Johnson managed to handily topple that, reaching 1892 yards during tonight’s loss vs the Atlanta Falcons. For perspective, Rice did it in 16 games, whereas Johnson bested the record in 15 games with one more to go. His odds of surpassing 2000 receiving yards in one season look pretty good as the final Lions game will be at home vs the sinking Chicago Bears.
Now, there are a few naysayers who will throw in the “garbage yards” excuse — namely that some of Johnson’s yardage came late in games when deep passes are generally thrown to try for miraculous wins — but that doesn’t negate the fact that he still plays against professional NFL athletes who have put a target on his back to try and stop him at all costs. There may even be a few folks who use the Lions’ losing record as an excuse to say that the Curse continues. A comparison between last year and this year shows that the 2011 Lions had won several games in the final seconds to achieve their 10-6 record, whereas the 2012 Lions have lost several games in the final seconds. In other words, a couple bad passes last year and the 2011 and 2012 records would look awfully similar. Even with a horrible team behind him, Johnson still managed to make the Secondaries of professional teams look like high school squads.
Finally, there may even be a few folks who state that his touchdown output wasn’t the same this year as it was last year. While this is true, it bears witness to consider that several key members of the offense are out with injuries, and the playcalling from the coaching staff has been substantially different between last year and this, aiming to include more running plays in the red zone and overall. A look at previous record holder Jerry Rice’s numbers from 1995 to 1996 shows a substantial drop off as well.
Finally, we need to reiterate that THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A MADDEN CURSE. But if there was, Johnson just broke it.
*Yes, I’ll take every opportunity to write about my sports teams in video games.