Calvin Johnson: Did NFL Receiving-Yards Record Holder Break Madden Curse?

Dan Tylicki@DanTylickiAnalyst IDecember 23, 2012

DETROIT, MI - DECEMBER 22: Calvin Johnson #81 of the Detroit Lions watches the video replay on the sidelines after breaking the NFL single season yardage record formally held by Jerry Rice during the game against the Atlanta Falcons at Ford Field on December 22, 2012 in Detroit, Michigan. The Falcons defeated the Lions  31-18.  (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
Leon Halip/Getty Images

Calvin Johnson has proved to be an elite talent time and time again. He became the Detroit Lions' top receiver almost immediately, and since Matthew Stafford became quarterback the two have made a dynamic duo.

Sure, the Lions haven't had a whole lot of success as a unit, but Stafford has put up some big numbers and Johnson has evolved into the best receiver in the NFL today.

After notching 1,331 yards in his second season, Johnson has made 2011's 1,681 yards look pedestrian by putting up 1,892 yards with one game to go in the 2012 season.

In other words, he could still pass 2,000 yards without difficulty, not just breaking Jerry Rice's record as he already has but blowing it out of the water. There's a story, however, that's being missed by many, and it's one that may be the most shocking part of Calvin Johnson's record-breaking year.

By shattering an NFL record by the immortal Jerry Rice, Calvin Johnson may very well have broken the Madden Curse that seemed to take hold of everyone since its inception.

It would be fitting, after all. The curse was just starting up when Barry Sanders made the cover despite abruptly announcing his retirement, and it will now end with a Detroit Lion in Calvin Johnson.

Is the curse actually broken, however?

Detractors will look at his five touchdown catches and the Lions' struggles as proof the curse still exists.

I for one believed in the curse. How else can one explain the sudden troubles of Drew Brees, Ray Lewis and others?

Sure, they bounced back afterwards, but others faded into obscurity. I still struggle to figure out just how Daunte Culpepper fell as far as he did after his cover appearance.

All that the struggles have done, however, is shine a greater light on the curse, a curse that Megatron looked in the eye and ran right past.

We will know in 2013 whether or not the curse is really broken, and for now, the light isn't focused on the curse. It's focused on Calvin Johnson, as it should be. If he can make it shine even brighter and reach 2,000 receiving yards, then that will make an even greater story.

After all, when you break one of Jerry Rice's receiving records, you know you're a special talent, especially when you blow one of his records out of the water.