clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Forget Megatron, it’s time to start comparing DK Metcalf to Jerry Rice

Something for the ol’ bulletin board at Seahawks HQ

American Century Championship - Round Two Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Remember that time when some poor sap Jim Schwartz tried to compliment DK Metcalf by comparing him to Megatron (aka Calvin Johnson), but made the mistake of ending said compliment with the words, you’re not there yet?

And remember how DK “took that personally”?

“One of the defensive coaches came up to me and kinda made me mad that he was like, ‘I was in Detroit with Megatron, but you’re not there yet.’ In my mind I’m not trying to be Megatron, I’m trying to be me. I had a little chip on my shoulder the whole game.”


NFL Game Recaps (for those that are into that sort of thing)


Metcalf’s stat line from that game: 10 receptions on 13 targets for a career-high 177 yards.

Comparing DK and Megatron

Let’s get this out of the way ...

Here are each player’s numbers through their first 2 seasons:

  • Megatron: 126 receptions (on 243 targets) for 2,067 yards and 16 TDs
  • Metcalf: 141 receptions (on 229 targets) for 2,203 yards and 17 TDs


Sorta looks like DK is ahead of Megatron to me.

Granted, Megatron is the current record-holder for receiving yards in a single season, having come a hair shy of 2,000 yards in 2012.

Sadly, the leader of the Decepticons was forced to “settle” for 1,964 when the Bears held him to 5 receptions (on 14 targets!) for a mere 72 yards in the final game of Detroit’s 4-12 season.


Detroit’s head coach that day?

Jim Schwartz.

Given the benefit of hindsight, perhaps ol’ Schwartzy should have pulled Megatron aside before that game and said, “You know, I used to watch Jerry Rice on TV and you remind me a lot of him ... but you’re not there yet.

Comparing DK and the G.O.A.T.

See what I did there, tying these two sections together by using the same guy I singled out in the first sentence of the article?

Just wait until you see where all of this is headed (smile).


Jerry Rice’s numbers through his first 2 seasons:

  • 135 receptions (on who knows how many targets) - apparently the league didn’t record targets before the early-’90s
  • 2,477 yards (including a league-leading 1,570 in Year 2)
  • 18 touchdowns


In case you don’t want to scroll up to see Metcalf’s numbers ...

  • 141 receptions (on 229 targets)
  • 2,203 yards (including a franchise-record 1,303 in Year 2)
  • 17 touchdowns


Hmmm ...

Ain’t that really-sorta-super-kinda interesting?

DK isn’t too far off Rice’s pace.

DK wants to be “the next DK”

After the Philly game, DK said, “In my mind I’m not trying to be Megatron, I’m trying to be me.”

Roll the tape ...

And here’s another quote (from a couple weeks later) ...

For those that want to be able to copy and paste the quote later ...

“Stop comparing me to people. I’m me. Playing against me. Not anyone else. Calvin is Calvin. It’s a blessing to be compared to him. I take the compliment w/ a grain of salt. I’m trying to pave my own way.”

Two (or 3) of the all-time greats

I completely understand where DK is coming from. Lord knows that I would take it very personally if people were comparing me to Ernest Hemingway or William Shakespeare during my 2nd year of professional writing.

Sarcasm aside, here is who Seattle’s young star is being compared to:

Calvin Johnson averaged 1,291 yards per season over a 9-year career. Over 135 career games, his 11,619 receiving yards works out to 86.1 yards per game which makes him #2 all-time in that regard.

As was previously mentioned, Johnson also owns the single-season record for receiving yards.

Green Bay Packers v Detroit Lions Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

The highest honor: Megatron was recently elected to the NFL Hall of Fame on the first ballot and will be officially inducted at a ceremony on August 8th.


Jerry Rice is the current record-holder for most receiving yards in a career with 22,895 and has a mind-blowing lead of 5,403 yards over the 2nd-place receiver, Larry Fitzgerald.

Rice is also the atop the list for receiving touchdowns with 197 which is 41 more than the #2 guy (Randy Moss) and 111 more than the closest active player (Rob Gronkowski).

Super Bowl XXIV: San Francisco 49ers v Denver Broncos Photo by Rich Pilling/Diamond Images via Getty Images

The highest honor: Jerry Rice was inducted into the Hall of Fame on August 7th, 2010 ... on the first ballot.


That ain’t nothing.

After only two years in the league, DK Metcalf is legitimately being compared to two of the greatest players to EVER play wide receiver in the National Football League ... and 2 of only 7 wideouts to be elected to the Hall of Fame the first time their name appeared on the ballot.


Now let’s add a third name onto the DK Metcalf comparison list ...

Julio Jones

First 2 years in the league:

  • 133 receptions (on 223 targets)
  • 2,157 receiving yards
  • 18 touchdowns


Once more with DK’s numbers ...

  • 141 receptions (on 229 targets)
  • 2,203 yards (including a franchise-record 1,303 in Year 2)
  • 17 touchdowns


This one might be a split decision, but I think the ringside judges ultimately end up scoring the card in DK’s favor.

Note: For the boxing fans out there, DK prevails based on his “effective aggression”


What ties these 3 players together?

(besides DK)


Julio Jones is #1 all-time with an average of 95.5 yards per game (9.4 yards per game better than #2 on the list, Calvin Johnson).

---- Rice is #10.


In terms of career receiving yards, Rice is Numero Uno (by A LOT).

Megatron averaged nearly 150 yards per season more than Rice did but only played half as long so he is currently #32.

Julio Jones is #20 which makes him the closest active player (who is currently under contract for 2021). Although, to be fair, Jones trails Rice by 9,999 yards (not kidding; 1 yard shy of an even 10k separates the two).


I previously mentioned that Megatron is #1 on the single-season receiving yards list but who are the 2 guys right behind him? That would be Julio Jones, who recorded 1,871 in 2015, and Jerry Rice (1,848 in 1995).

Also ...

My money is Julio Jones joining the ultra-exclusive “first-ballot WR club” in Canton, Ohio.

Why Rice over Megatron and Jones?

While being completely respectful of DK’s desire to be judged on his own merits and truly hoping -slash- (sort of, mostly) believing that 20 years from now, talented young NFL receivers will find themselves being compared to HIM ...

My advice for DK Metcalf is three-fold:

  1. Embrace the comparisons;
  2. Use the comparisons for “motivation”; and
  3. Steer all future conversations toward Jerry Lee Rice


Before anyone asks, no, it isn’t because the career receiving yards record is the ultimate prize and should be valued more highly than the single-season record or the per-game record or any of the franchise records that Metcalf will own when his career is over.

Oh, no ... this advice is based on something much more ... FUN.

My three-fold advice, particularly fold #3, is actually based on an entertainingly beautiful, condescendingly smug, severely eye-rolling, but also sort of hard to dispute “take” by the G.O.A.T. himself.


On a recent “Brother from Another” segment on NBC Sports, Jerry Rice was asked how he thought he would fare in “today’s” game. The video is included below; the question and his response is at about the 10-minute mark.


For those that don’t want to watch the video (or just want to read it to make sure they weren’t hearing things) ... here is his response:

“It’s kind of hard because it’s hypothetical, I probably might be able to like double everything.”

Now, to be fair, he did preface that by saying:

“First of all, the game really favors the wide receiver now, because you can’t put your hands on him. I remember back in the day, if I was running a route on the backside and the ball was being thrown on the frontside, I was still getting hit on the backside. So, you know, you can’t do that to players anymore. Linebackers can’t take shots at you coming across the middle anymore.”


And then he threw down the gauntlet for DK:

“... I probably might be able to like DOUBLE EVERYTHING.”

(emphasis mine)


You know ... I love me some Jerry Rice.

I love the fact that his last game was played in a Seattle uniform in the wildcard round of the 2004 season.

And I love that his last NFL catch and his final touchdown were also in a Seahawks uniform. I do, however, wish they had come in that damn wildcard game! Instead, they came in the Week 15 game with / loss to the New York Jets.

Unfortunately, Rice was well past “prime-Rice” by the time he got to Seattle and he went catch-less in the final 2 regular season games:

Rice was 0-2 in Week 16 against the Arizona Cardinals; 0-3 in Week 17 against the Atlanta Falcons, and ...

Sadly, he wasn’t targeted at all in the final game of his career.


As a Seahawk, Rice had 25 receptions on 49 targets for 362 yards and 3 TDs.

However, I don’t think those are the numbers that Rice was saying he would double. Not after watching the entire 15-minute interview multiple times.

Rice knows his stats (although he overinflates them a tiny bit).

And he’s keenly aware of what people think of him.

Dude is flat-out saying that he thinks he would have 3,000+ yards and 30 to 40+ touchdowns a season if “prime” Jerry Rice were playing in the league today.

Especially given the league’s shift toward offense-friendly rules that heavily favor the receiver over the defensive back (and the QB over everyone else).

An established precedent

As I see it, there are 3 ways to take what Jerry Rice is saying in that interview.

Option 1. It’s pure hyperbole and his ego is writing checks that his body would never be able to cash.

Option 2. Rice believes what he’s saying and thinks it’s only a matter of time before someone crushes all of the records.

Option 3. Rice thinks today’s receivers are only half as good as him and he’s basically saying that if DK played 30(ish) years ago (or if the same rules as then applied today), DK would have only had 652 yards last season. If that.


Honestly, I think it’s a combination of the three.

Which leads us to my final piece of advice for DeKaylin Zecharius Metcalf ...


Take that (stuff) personally!