Until Calvin Johnson breaks his records, Herman Moore is the greatest wide receiver in Detroit Lions franchise history.
But Johnson will overtake his predecessor in due time.
Moore, a four-time Pro Bowler and three-time All-Pro, set an NFL record with 123 catches in 1995. He has the Lions’ single-game record with 14 receptions and his 9,174 receiving yards are tops in team history.
|MOST RECEPTIONS, CAREER|
He played during a time when stars like the Atlanta Falcons’ Andre Rison and the Dallas Cowboys’ Michael Irvin made headlines for their incredible play. Moore was overlooked, mainly due to the fact the Lions weren’t competitive. He was, however, more than worthy of being considered as good, or better, as guys like Rison or Irvin.
It was a different era of Lions football when Moore played. He didn’t have the luxury of having a quarterback like Matthew Stafford. Johnson is once-in-a-lifetime receiver. He’ll likely shatter Moore’s team record 62 touchdowns within the next two years; he’s already at 49. He could break that record in 2012 if he duplicates his 16-touchdown season from a year ago.
And Johnson has only played five seasons in Detroit. Moore played 11.
Johnson, or “Megatron,” reached 4,000 yards faster than any player in Detroit history. It took him just 59 games to accomplish that impressive feat. And he’s the quickest to reach the 300-catch plateau, doing so in 66 games. He came close in 2011 to breaking Moore’s single-season yardage record, posting 1,681 yards on just 96 catches — five yards short of Moore’s record, which was done on 123 grabs.
It will likely take Johnson at least three years to match Moore’s 670 career catches, though. Johnson is 304 behind the Lions legend, standing at 366. A few more 96-catch seasons, and the record will be his.
It may seem a bit unfair to even suggest a Lions receiver could ever be greater than Moore. However, how many Lions fans anticipated Johnson making such an impact? Detroit followers knew he was going to be great, but he’s on pace for a Hall of Fame career, already talked about as having the potential to be one of the greatest to ever play the game.
He’s surprised even the most ardent Lions fans. But he’s just that good. I guess they’ll have to enjoy the ride.
For the nostalgic Lions fans, no one will ever top Moore. They’ll remind themselves that it was, indeed, a different day. Barry Sanders was the focus, too. If Moore had the tools that Johnson has, it’s possible that he would have racked up even bigger statistics. There’s no doubting that Moore was one of the elite receivers in the 1990s, ruling the middle part of the decade while playing for a sub-par team.
But Johnson seems to be from a different world. He’s the focus of the offense and has a quarterback who could end up being one of the franchise’s greats. Stafford isn’t Scott Mitchell or Eric Kramer. Both were suitable in their day, but nowhere near Stafford’s atmosphere.
The new generation will take Johnson, crowning him as the best ever, once he breaks Moore’s records. Guys like me, however, will draw a line, remembering the difference in the game, and give the legend his credit. But Johnson has a list of fastest-evers and most-evers to lay claim to — and that’s not just for the Lions. He’s accomplished more in less time than most receivers have, regardless of team or era.
Johnson is a guy that the old school Honolulu Blue followers don’t mind eclipsing a Lions legend. But they’ll never forget Moore.