Megatron? Top 5 Alternate Nicknames for Detroit's Calvin Johnson
Johnson has just completed his fourth straight game with two TD grabs, the only other receiver besides Cris Carter to do so. After four games, that puts him at a league best eight touchdowns, three in front of Welker. He has had to catch balls from young Matthew Stafford who, while good, is no Brady.
He is also 4-0, which in the end is the only stat that matters.
But what of Johnson's nickname? Megatron? Supposedly coined by fellow players and coaches in reference to his large frame and hands, Johnson has seemingly embraced being named after Hasbro's most villainous Decepticon. But couldn't we do better?
In celebration of the Lions' recent success, here are five alternative nicknames that should be considered by Detroit's receiving savior.
No. 5 Dallas' Third–Best WR
Tom Pennington/Getty Images
Let's abbreviate this one D3WR.
We are still in the aftermath of Week 4, which means that glorious retorts aimed at Rob Ryan are necessary. He wasn't the only one ladling pregame criticism on poor Calvin, but for more on that try these articles.
For those of you who missed it, before the Cowboys–Lions kickoff Sunday Ryan was quoted as implying that Dez Bryant and Miles Austin (great name) were better receivers than Johnson. This statement by itself was self-evidently ludicrous, but D3WR made it seem even more insane by catching eight for 96 yards and two touchdowns Sunday against the Boys.
While Austin didn't play and Bryant scored two TDs himself, no neutral watching that game could honestly say they would take Bryant over D3WR.
Jim Schwartz got in on the Rob Ryan roast after the game with one well-placed comment, and you would think that would settle the matter.
Having Johnson adopt the nickname D3WR would be a constant taunt for the rest of his career against a guy who thoroughly deserves to be taunted the rest of his career. That's the kind of chip Detroit has been playing with on a regular basis this season, so why not display it in a visibly written form?
Then again, fans might confuse Johnson with Laurent Robinson, the Cowboy's actual third–best wide receiver. But if there was one man Ryan made a believer out of Sunday, it was Tony Romo. Look how hard the Dallas QB tried to get the ball to Johnson.
No. 4 The Mountain That Catches
Courtesy of HBO
'The Mountain' for short.
Any Game of Thrones fans out there? If so, this one needs little explanation. If not, try Google and come back.
Just as Ser Gregor Clegane put the fear into the hearts of men through his imposing figure, so too will Calvin Johnson intimidate any DB who dares double-team him. Legend has it that Ser Gregor only needed one hand to wield his two-handed greatsword. Calvin Johnson only needs one hand to make jaw-dropping grabs.
The only way this doesn't work is if Johnson doesn't like the negative connotation brought on by being named after such a despicable fictional character. And I wouldn't blame him.
The fear factor is a huge plus though, and Dallas made sure to provide future Lions opponents with more than enough horror film. How do you scheme for a guy who clearly cannot be covered consistently with two defenders? Triple team? I don't have the answer.
You have to be afraid of a guy like that.
No. 3 Optimus
Courtesy of Dreamworks Pictures
We won't go with the full 'Optimus Prime' here because Deion Sanders has probably trademarked it.
But really, if we're going to nickname arguably the most exciting receiver in the league after a Transformer, why not go with the captain of the heroic Autobots?
I can completely buy Johnson breaking the huddle with a passion-filled “Autobots! Move out!” and then proceeding to massacre the defense with Stan Bush serenading him over the stadium loudspeakers.
Also, in a heads-up battle between the two, doesn't Optimus always beat Megatron? Why do we want to associate Johnson with losing when clearly he isn't interested in it this season?
The only possible explanation is that if you happen to be ignorant of Transformers lore, Megatron just sounds better than Optimus. I call on the Lions organization to help rectify this misconception by playing old episodes on the big screen in lieu of their usual halftime fare.
Some wrongs need to be righted.
No. 2 Calvin
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
You know you've made it big in sports when people can correctly refer to you in conversation by only your first name. Other stars that have achieved this honor? Kobe, Shaq, Magic, Peyton, Wilt, the list goes on.
Johnson already is leaning in that direction by having a first name that few pro athletes have. Quick, name another popular sports figure named Calvin.
You can't right?
Calling Calvin Johnson only by his first name opens up quite a few referential possibilities. Calvin and Stafford could become a modern day sports parallel to Bill Watterson's Calvin and Hobbes. Calvin is of course Calvin, a young kid with dreams of glory who trades sophistries with his best friend Hobbes.
So who plays Hobbes on the Lions? Consider Matthew Stafford, a quarterback who oscillates between throwing like his age or years beyond it. In that way he's just like the fictional tiger Hobbes, one moment the making youthful mistakes with Calvin, the next providing sage direction. The two are a potent duo in the comics just as they are on the field.
Calvin could also take advantage of being named like the most famous Calvin of them all: John Calvin, father of Calvinism. Watching Johnson perform on the field is already akin to a religious experience, so we might as well go farther and claim that once Calvin trots on to the field, a Lions victory has been predetermined.
Calvin Klein endorsement deals here we come.
No. 1 Voltron
Courtesy of Toei Animation
This was perhaps the moniker Calvin Johnson's significant others were going for. I don't blame them for their mistake, 80's cartoon characters turned lovable action figures are hard to keep straight. Which reminds me of my new nickname for the Detroit Lions franchise.
When you think about it, Voltron works just as well as Megatron. For instance, both have 'tron' in the name which is of course super cool. But similarly Voltron as a nickname implies the same titanic, gargantuan figure that Megatron does, only now without villainous undertones.
When you watch him play, it's almost as if Calvin Johnson is made from various skilled athletes who have lent their body parts in an effort to save the galaxy and the Lions' playoff hopes.
At times during the Dallas game, Johnson seemed to have the legs of Shannon Brown and the hands of Patrick Roy with his gloves on.
In pushing defenders aside he had the upper body of Dwight Howard without the foul calls.
In his placement and route-running, Johnson appeared to have the brains of Steve Nash inside the head of Deandre Liggins.
The tunnel run-out sequence writes itself. After Stafford makes his entrance, the entire stadium goes black. Multi-colored searchlights suddenly ignite, spinning colors all over the field. The PA announcer lowers his voice:
“From days of long ago...from uncharted regions of the universe..comes a legend. The legend...of VOOLLTROOONN!!!!”
Johnson runs out, the crowd goes wild. That's how you sell tickets. No way this nickname doesn't benefit everyone involved. Who wouldn't want to be loved by good and feared by evil?
Voltron and Co. return to Detroit for three straight games starting with the Chicago Bears. It may not be a cosmic battle for the universe, but don't expect Calvin Johnson to treat it as anything less.