HOF-worthy?

Now that Andre Johnson is retired, will No. 80 make the Hall of Fame?

Andre Johnson is hoping he catches a Hall of Fame induction in a few years. Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

In my opinion, Andre Johnson is the greatest player in Houston Texans history. J.J. Watt is making his case for that spot, but his career is not yet over, so Johnson gets the nod. Those of us who have lived in Houston for the length of Johnson’s career know how dynamic he was as a player. The rest of the NFL knows it, too.

Now that he has retired, the talk will obviously turn toward his candidacy for the Hall of Fame. Despite his great career and great numbers, he is considered a borderline candidate. It’s easy for me to see why when I look at his statistics and compare them to how successful his teams were when he was on the field. I have come to the conclusion that I don’t know for sure and I don’t think anyone can come close to knowing for sure until the vote is actually counted.

Let’s figure this all out together. Here are the career numbers: 1,062 receptions, (No. 11 all time); 14,185 receiving yards, (No. 11 all time); 70 receiving touchdowns, (tied for No. 40 all time). All in all that’s not a bad career. If I saw that most of the receivers above him in yards and receptions were either in the Hall already or certainly on their way, I would assume he was set for enshrinement.

When you see that in 14 years he had five seasons with over 100 receptions and seven seasons over 1,000 yards you would know that a big chunk of his career was spent being one of the best in the game. Except for two things: those pesky touchdown stats and a lack of any real signature moment. I think it’s mostly the latter that will deny or delay his entry.

It’s easy to look at statistics and all time rankings and say, yeah, he deserves a spot. The truth behind nearly every Hall of Famer are those signature moments when they performed above and beyond to carry their team in crucial moments; namely playoff games. Consider a guy like Andre Reed, who was dynamic during those four Super Bowl runs by the Bills. Or Lynn Swann when the Steelers were the best team of the '70s. Neither of those guys are in the top 15 in career receiving stats but the highlights of them when they were needed most show up more than the numbers.

The fact of the matter is that Johnson’s one touchdown in four playoff games is not exactly going to wow the Hall of Fame voters. I know he can’t be entirely responsible for his team’s success; Reed and Swann had great teams around them, but if he was the best player on his team in the playoffs he should have looked like it. Whether fans like it or not, all his great seasons did not translate to the kind of success that Hall of Fame voters are looking for.

Do I think Andre Johnson deserves to be in Canton? Yes. His numbers demonstrate that he was one of the most dominant players at his position during a large stretch of his career. Do I think he will get in? Eventually. Until recently it seemed difficult for wide receivers to get in, and that created a slight backlog that will take some time to clear out.

Off the top of my head I can think of Terrell Owens, Isaac Bruce, Randy Moss, and Tony Gonzalez who should all get in before him. That list will grow larger as more players like Larry Fitzgerald and Reggie Wayne become eligible. Without that signature moment to strengthen his case it may take quite awhile for him to finally get the votes. Texans fans will just have to be patient and wait for as long as it takes.

The Texans will induct Andre Johnson into the Ring of Honor at halftime during their November 19 game against the Arizona Cardinals. Fans should take the moment to reflect on the good times they got from watching him play. They should take stock of what they saw on the field and know that despite any Hall of Fame outcome, they witnessed greatness. Some things you just know for yourself, and you don’t need anyone else to validate it for you.

---

Originally appeared on houstonsportsandstuff.com.

Most Popular

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome

Listen Live

Yordan Alvarez provided the offense to back up more stellar pitching by the Astros as they took ALCS game 6 to advance to the 2021 World Series. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

After splitting the first two games of this series in Houston then falling behind in the series 2-1 by dropping the first of three games in Boston, the Astros took over the ALCS in Games 4 and 5, sending them back to their home crowd with a chance to finish things off in Game 6 at Minute Maid Park. After another stellar performance by their pitching staff and more timely hitting, they would accomplish that mission, winning the series and moving on to the 2021 World Series.

Final Score: Astros 5, Red Sox 0

ALCS Series (Best of Seven): Houston wins 4-2

Winning Pitcher: Luis Garcia

Losing Pitcher: Nathan Eovaldi

Houston strikes first to start tightly-contested Game 6

After a scoreless top of the first inning by Boston's offense, the Astros capitalized on a chance to be first to score in the bottom of the frame. Alex Bregman started the two-out rally, reaching base on a single against Nathan Eovaldi for the first hit of the night. Yordan Alvarez followed, delivering his sixth RBI of the series with a double to put Houston on top 1-0.

That did not spark further immediate scoring, as the one-run score held while both starting pitchers provided solid outings for their team. For Eovaldi, he was able to limit Houston to just that single run through four frames. He returned in the bottom of the fifth, facing two batters, allowing a single, and getting a strikeout to end his night.

Garcia impresses in big start

For the home team, they were recipients of another expectation-exceeding performance from one of their young arms. Only anticipated to go a handful of innings, Luis Garcia worked efficiently and effectively against Boston, keeping them scoreless and hitless through five innings. He continued in the sixth, getting two more outs before allowing a two-out triple, ending his night as Phil Maton would enter to strand the tying run. Garcia's final line: 5.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 7 K, 76 P.

With both teams dipping into their bullpens, the Astros took advantage of Boston's as Yordan Alvarez's dominance went on display once again. He led the inning off with a triple, then scored on a double-play ball to extend Houston's lead to 2-0. Kendall Graveman took over on the mound in the top of the seventh and worked himself into a big moment. He gave up a one-out walk, followed by a single, which put runners on the corners for Boston. He continued to struggle with the zone, falling behind the next batter 3-1, but was able to battle back to get the strikeout paired with a terrific throw by Martin Maldonado to cut down the runner from first trying to steal second, ending the inning and maintaining the two-run advantage.

Astros headed to the World Series

Ryne Stake was Houston's next reliever, and he put Houston three outs away by getting a 1-2-3 eighth. With Ryan Pressly warming, he watched and hoped that his offense could give him some more insurance to work with when he went to the mound in the top of the ninth. His wish would be granted, as after getting two on base, Kyle Tucker would put a major exclamation point on the night's offense, hitting a three-run opposite-field homer to the Crawford Boxes to push the lead to 5-0.

Pressly, now with the five-run lead, came on to try and start the celebration by getting the final three outs. Against the tougher part of Boston's order, he would get a 1-2-3 inning, giving the Astros the American League pennant, which along with those won in 2017 and 2019, puts them back in the World Series for the third time in five years.

Up Next: The Astros will have three days off before The Fall Classic kicks off. While Game 1 will be on Tuesday, October 26th, nothing else has yet been determined as Houston awaits to see which of the Dodgers and Braves will advance out of the NL, which will also dictate if the Astros will host or travel to World Series Game 1.

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome