By: Dennis Fithian

For some the quick reflex answer is ‘never’ and for others it’s as easy just not quitting on the team. Comparing a running back and wide receiver can be tricky. Would you buy a metric on Barry Sanders worth? The eras these two played in are pretty close, but football has changed to more of a passing game during Calvin Johnson’s almost seven years in the league. Would Calvin have been crushed by 90’s DB’s not having to worry about the commissioner’s office? Would Sanders get lifted in goal line situations in 2013?

Barry Sanders is considered one of the greatest running backs of all time. You can make an argument for Sanders as one of the top three backs of all time. Megatron is now regarded as clearly the best wide receiver in the game. Jerry Rice is the gold standard for wide receivers. Johnson looks to be right on target for top three all-time ranking, if he’s not already, competing with Randy Moss and Terrell Owens.
The Lions made the playoffs five times in Barry’s ten years with the team. In 1991, The Lions beat the Cowboys for the team’s first playoff win since 1957. Calvin Johnson has one playoff appearance under his belt. In the 2011 loss against the Saints, Megatron had 211 yards and two touchdowns.

The Lions are tracking for the playoffs this year with a record of 6-3. Factoring in each players all time standing in the game is difficult, but they seem to compare. If (when) Calvin Johnson notches two playoff wins then it will be obvious that Megatron will have passed the incomparable Barry Sanders as the greatest Detroit Lions in the modern history.