|It's hard to argue that Calvin Johnson wasn't the NFL's best wide receiver in 2012. (US Presswire)|
When the 2012 All-Pro Team was announced Saturday, the biggest surprise wasn't an obvious name missing from the roster, but the inexplicable decision of one voter to leave Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson off his ballot. The same Calvin Johnson who set NFL's all-time, single-season record for receiving yards earned 49 first-team votes from the 50 voters.
The lone maverick, Fox Sports analyst and Sirius XM host Tim Ryan, spelled out his decision like this: "Of course, he had a great year and he is a great receiver. But I look at more than statistics, and I thought a couple of other receivers had a better season -- Brandon Marshall and A.J. Green."
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As Eye on Football's Will Brinson wrote at the time, "This is easily refutable."
Brinson wasn't alone. ProFootballTalk.com's Michael David Smith took issue with Ryan's logic, too. And on Monday, Ryan called Smith to explain himself.
"I love Calvin Johnson," Ryan said. "I've got tremendous respect for him. If I had known it was going to create such a stir I may have just voted for him. I don't know. …
“Breaking the Jerry Rice yardage record? Awesome. Jerry had 15 touchdowns that year," Ryan continued (Johnson had 5 TDs in 2012). "If I would have just done it based on numbers because he broke the record, I would have given it to Calvin. But when I was doing it -- and maybe I don't know the criteria -- my feeling was, the two guys [Marshall and Green] had twice as many touchdowns with less targets.”
Smith writes that, All-Pro no-vote aside, Ryan considers Johnson one of the elite NFL receivers. Just not as elite as Brandon Marshall or A.J. Green.
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