I know. I know. I KNOW. ESPN analyst and friend of the NFC North blog Cris Carter sent Detroit Lions fans into a rage Friday morning by omitting Calvin Johnson from his personal list of the NFL's best wide receivers.
You can listen to Carter's appearance on "Mike & Mike in the Morning" through this link. The receiver discussion begins at about the 16-minute mark.
Carter put six players in his group of elites. In order, they were:
When a listener suggested that Calvin Johnson should be ranked on par with Andre Johnson, Carter said: "The only thing they have the same is the name."
Carter went on to say: "Calvin Johnson, he's very, very good at Madden and Tecmo Bowl or whatever they're playing now. But on film, when I watch film, and I break down the film, he's not to the point of these guys yet. That doesn't mean he can't play. He just not there yet."
Carter also didn't accept co-host Mike Greenberg's suggestion that Johnson's career has been bogged down by poor and/or inconsistent quarterback play. Carter replied:
"... We're trying to determine greatness and impact on the NFL game. Calvin Johnson, you don't have to double-team him to take him out of the game. Now, I made eight Pro Bowls. I made it with five different quarterbacks. They weren't always great. So I don't want to hear the excuse that I'm not playing with a great quarterback.
"Larry Fitzgerald the last couple years, he hasn't played with a great quarterback, but he still gets the numbers. He still gets open. He still makes plays week in and week out. I don't want to hear about the quarterback situation. That's all part of the process. Now, [Calvin Johnson] is a good player. He's just not great yet."
I know these kinds of rankings spur debate and get everyone fired up, but you probably know by now how irrelevant I think they are. Everyone is entitled to an opinion, and Carter provided his -- forcefully as always. Is Calvin Johnson the best receiver in the NFL? No. Is he one of the best? Most people would say yes. Is he among the top six? Who cares?