Tennessee Titans: Chris Johnson Believes He Is the LeBron James of the NFL
James, the MVP forward for the Miami Heat, just capped off nine years of inability to finish in big games by winning the NBA Finals and taking home the Finals MVP award in the process.
Johnson watched James' historic performance, and promptly, said he and the King are very similar. Via his interview with Jim Rome on Rome (h/t PFT):
“I feel just like LeBron—a lot of people are going to be back on the bandwagon,” Johnson said. “He had a lot of haters out there, a lot of people saying he wasn’t good and things like that and just to see how he overcame that and came back this year and won the championship, it shows his hard work and dedication.”
Johnson is likely referring to what was his colossal disappointment of a performance last season with the Titans. He only rushed for 1,047 yards and four touchdowns.
To put his numbers from a year ago into perspective, Johnson rushed for 2,006 yards and 14 touchdowns in 2009 and 1,364 yards and 11 touchdowns in 2010.
His performance has been on a steady decline since his 2,000-yard performance in 2009. His yards per carry average, touchdowns, yards rushing and rushing attempts have all dropped since that year. Despite this downward spiral, Johnson still believes he is the best running back in the NFL:
“I feel like a lot of people have written me off,” Johnson said. “I still went over 1,000 yards but it wasn’t a CJ2K year. So a lot of people are going to write me off. . . . I want to be the first one to do it twice, that’s certainly a goal of mine to do. . . . I feel like I’m still the best back in the league.
While Johnson's belief that he can bounce back is admirable, the comparison to James is a tad off. Of course, the fans of the NFL will love Johnson if he can replicate his 2009 season once again, but the similarities end there.
James has been the benefactor of all kinds of hate from NBA fans because of his failure to win an NBA championship (until now) and his inability to perform in the clutch.
The now-infamous ESPN special, The Decision, is the biggest reason most NBA fans dislike James. He is, far and away, the most dominant player in the NBA, and most fans recognize that. That does not mean they have to like him.
But now, James is a world champion, and has won the MVP award three times. Finally succeeding on the biggest stage has slowly begun to change the public perception of James.
For Johnson, the comparison seems selfish at best. It would behoove Johnson to focus on more team-oriented goals if he wants the Johnson-James comparison to truly come to fruition.
Johnson has never won an MVP award in the NFL, and he certainly has not led the Titans to a Super Bowl berth. Johnson plays in a league that's drastically different from the NBA—the league of the selfish superstars. The NFL is home to a true team sport, and Johnson needs to grasp that concept.
This selfish drivel is coming from Johnson, a player who fell off last season because he was simply out of shape. It's a safe bet that King James would never show up midseason out of shape to the point where it would hurt the team around him.
In the end, Johnson has accidentally reared his "me-first" attitude once again. James is considered one of the greatest of all time at what he does, while Johnson is just a small blip on the radar in the grand scheme of things in the NFL.
There's no denying that Johnson could bounce back next season and have a stellar year. With that being said, perhaps he should work on a better NBA comparison. Carmelo Anthony comes to mind.
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