HOF-worthy?

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

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.

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Originally appeared on houstonsportsandstuff.com.

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These uniforms have to go. Photo via: Wiki Commons.

Major League Baseball will consider going back to having players wear their team uniforms for the All-Star Game.

Club uniforms were used by the American League from 1933-2019 and by the National League from 1934-2019. When the game resumed in 2021 following the pandemic-related cancellation in 2020, MLB had started a uniform contract with Nike and Fanatics, and All-Stars were outfitted in specially designed league uniforms that drew criticism from traditionalists.

Photo by Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images.

This year's AL uniforms had a sandy base with red sleeves and lettering and the NL had a navy base with light blue sleeves and lettering.

“I’m aware of the sentiment on this issue,” Manfred told the Baseball Writers' Association of America on Tuesday. "I think where my head is on it, it’s something we’re going to have a conversation about coming out of the All-Star Game. We've got a lot of uniform things going on. And, obviously, the conversations have to involve the players first and foremost but Nike, some of our partners. But I am aware of the sentiment, and I do know why people kind of like that tradition."

MLB and Nike were criticized for club uniforms this year and said in May that 2025 club outfits will have larger lettering on the back of jerseys and individual pant customization. Players complained this year that white pants worn by some teams are see-through enough to show tucked-in jersey tops.

Regional sports networks

Manfred said a national steaming package of local television broadcasts is a future possibility.

“I could see a situation where we grow into a 30-club model. It might start on the digital side, where you have 14 or 15 clubs, and, you start with a digital product there as your first alternative,” he said.

“I was in Sun Valley last week and I did the whole speed-dating thing with everybody who’s ever streamed anything. When you talk to people in the streaming business, they’re not really interested in buying the state of Wisconsin and two counties in Michigan," Manfred added. "They want to be able to stream quite frankly, all over the U.S. and Canada but more broadly internationally. So I think those conversations are a product of owners saying, holy cow, the RSN business is really deteriorating. We know the future’s going to be streaming. What we’re hearing from the streamers is they want a more national product, and we need to be responsive to what people want to buy.”

MLB took over production of Arizona and San Diego local television broadcasts last year following the bankruptcy of Diamond Sports’ Bally networks and said MLB will be available as an option for teams looking for new deals. He said Padres game are approaching 40,000 subscribers, which he called a good figure.

“Having said that, from a revenue perspective it is not generating what the RSNs did," Manfred said. "The RSNs were a great business. Lots of people paid for programing they didn’t necessarily want. And it’s hard to replicate that kind of revenue absent that kind of bundling concept.”

Offense

While offense is near half-century lows, it has picked up from early in the season.

“The decline in offense is something that we’re paying a lot of attention to and we’ll continue to monitor to make a decision as to whether we think we need to do something. You do hear a lot of chatter about the dominance of pitching in the game. That’s absolutely true.”

Birmingham

After the success of the June 20 game between San Francisco and St. Louis at Rickwood Field, Manfred said MLB will return to the ballpark in Birmingham, Alabama, but the “exact form” had not been determined.

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