Peyton Manning and Charles Woodson were locks for the Pro Football Hall of Fame in their first year of eligibility. The only question was whether Calvin Johnson would join them.
The Hall of Fame announced Johnson’s election with the Class of 2021 on Saturday night’s Honors show not long after Woodson became official. That means three of the five modern-era Hall of Famers were elected in their first year of eligibility.
Johnson’s relatively short career — he played nine seasons — and the fact that the 48 selectors have made receivers wait left Johnson’s first-ballot candidacy in doubt. But he will join Randy Moss (Class of 2018), Jerry Rice (2010), Steve Largent (1995), Paul Warfield (1983), Lance Alworth (1978) and Raymond Berry (1973) as the only first-ballot Hall of Fame receivers.
Johnson made All-Pro three times and was a Pro Bowler six times. He finished with 731 receptions, 11,619 receiving yards and 83 receiving touchdowns.
Johnson, who earned the nickname “Megatron,” was voted to the NFL’s All-2000s Team.
Johnson’s two receiving titles included the single-season NFL record of 1,964 yards in 2012. He had 1,681 to lead the league in 2011.