This past Sunday (Week 12), Larry Fitzgerald became the youngest player to reach 11,000 receiving yards in NFL history, at 30 years and 84 days. This got me thinking, how likely is it that Calvin Johnson will beat that mark?
After looking into it, there's a very good chance. Johnson has 9,034 yards receiving through his 7th season. He still has 5 games left this year as well. Johnson is currently 28 years old, with a September 29th birthday. That gives him all of next season, plus as much as 15 weeks the season following next year. If Johnson stays healthy, it's a foregone conclusion that he'll be the first to reach that milestone.
Just projecting out the rest of this season, Johnson should finish with approximately 1,797 this year, putting him at 9,633 yards. If he maintains his recent pace over the last 3 years, he should set that record in the 12th game, hitting 11,000 yards a full year earlier than Fitzgerald.
This got me thinking about another record, fastest to 10,000 yards receiving. As far as I can tell (I couldn't determine this by age), Torry Holt was the fastest player to reach 10,000 yards receiving, doing so in 116 games. That was faster than Jerry Rice (119), Marvin Harrison (122), Michael Irvin (123) and Randy Moss (124). Andre Johnson hit that mark in 128 games, and Larry Fitzgerald in his 130th game.
Calvin has currently played 102 games. If Johnson maintains the pace he's kept over the past 3 seasons, 115 yards per game, he should reach 10,000 yards in nine games. Obviously, that would break the current record by 5 games, more than a full season faster than Andre Johnson and Larry Fitzgerald, and a half season faster than the greatest of all time, Jerry Rice.
Speaking of Jerry Rice, Calvin still has his work cut out for him in regards to the best ever talk. Through his first 8 seasons, Jerry Rice had 103 touchdown receptions. Obviously, QB play is a big factor in getting into the end zone, but Calvin currently has 65 touchdown receptions, 11 games into his 7th season. This means he would need almost two touchdown catches every game for the rest of this season, and the entirety of next season to match that.
Suffice it to say, we're witnessing greatness every week. The greatest ever? Only time will tell, but there's no denying Calvin Johnson is in a league all by himself when it comes to racking up yardage.