Larry Fitzgerald or Andre Johnson: The Great Debate
Looking back at the 2008 season, it became pretty clear that either Larry Fitzgerald or Andre Johnson is the best receiver in football.
Johnson did his thing all year to the tune of 115 receptions for 1575 yards and eight touchdowns, while having six games over 130 yards receiving.
Fitzgerald, on the other hand, had 96 catches for 1431 yards and 12 touchdowns, all before having an other-worldly post season.
So still the question remains: Who is better?
For Fitzgerald, he has two other legitimate receiving threats alongside him in Anquan Boldin and Steve Breaston, both of whom racked up over 1000 yards receiving in 2008.
Furthermore, he has Kurt Warner under center, who is said to be a Hall of Fame candidate.
Arizona as a team, though, has a very weak running game.
In Houston, Johnson does not have as strong a threat opposite him in Kevin Walter as Fitzgerald does in Anquan Boldin, making Johnson the primary target all the time.
Houston, though, has a fantastic running back in Steve Slaton which can draw some attention to the line of scrimmage.
Matt Schaub is nowhere near as good as Warner is, nor was Sage Rosenfels during his tenure with Houston.
Now, the question remains: Who is the better player?
Both have fantastic route running ability, a physicality matched by few others, are willing to lay out in an effort to make any catch, can win just about any jump ball, and both have breakaway speed.
Between the two of them, I have to give Johnson the nod in the physicality and the breakaway speed categories.
Anything involving hands has to go to Fitzgerald, and thus the jump ball category, as well as the ability to lay out for any ball must go to him.
It comes down to who is the better route runner between the two of them, which is excruciatingly difficult to determine.
In my opinion, despite Fitzgerald's post season, I must give the nod to Johnson as the better player.
Six games over 130 yards receiving is too difficult to ignore, especially when opposing teams know that you are their only receiving threat. Throughout the season, Johnson dominated on a slightly more consistent basis than did Fitzgerald.
One thing is for sure: both are incredible to watch.
Just recall Johnson's fourth down reception against Miami late in the fourth quarter when he reached in front of the defender to pull the ball out of his grasp 30 yards down field, or Larry Fitzgerald's dive for the pylon in the divisional playoffs.
Hopefully, the friendly competition between these two will motivate them to settle the debate once and for all in 2009, and provide us with some major fireworks in the meantime.
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