Sean Pendergast

Stacking Up Andre Johnson Versus 14 Other Pro Football Hall of Fame Finalists

Andre Johnson is among fifteen finalists for Hall of Fame induction in 2022.
Andre Johnson is among fifteen finalists for Hall of Fame induction in 2022. Photo by Eric Sauseda
The Andre Johnson campaign for induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame picked up a significant and crucial wave of steam over the holiday weeks, as Johnson was named one of 15 finalists for induction into the Canton, Ohio shrine this coming summer. The decisions will be made later this month on which five finalists are chosen for inclusion.

Johnson is currently the only player in the Texans' Ring of Honor — the late Bob McNair is the only other inductee into the Ring of Honor at all — and in recent years Johnson has been inducted into the Houston Sports Hall of Fame and the Texans Sports Hall of Fame. If Johnson were to be chosen as a football immortal for Canton, it would be a welcome development in a two-year period that has largely been depressing and infuriating for Houston football fans.

To refresh, here are the 15 finalists:

For now, as the voters prepare to ponder these candidates in a couple weeks, here are the things you need to know about Andre Johnson's candidacy:

Andre Johnson is one of five first time HOF finalists
The other four finalists who have made it this far for the first time in their candidacies are LB DeMarcus Ware, OT Willie Anderson, KR/WR Devin Hester, and LB Patrick Willis. Three players (Jared Allen, Bryant Young, Ronde Barber) are on their second stint as a finalist. Five players (Sam Mills, Leroy Butler, Zach Thomas, Reggie Wayne, and Torry Holt) are on their third go round as a finalist. Finally, there is one four time (Richard Seymour) and one six time (Tony Boselli) finalist.

Among all 15 players, Andre Johnson stacks up favorably in accolades
Among the finalists, only Zach Thomas, Demarcus Ware, and Patrick Willis have been named first or second team All Pro more times than Andre Johnson. Also, among the finalists, only Ware has been named to more Pro Bowls. Thomas, Willis, Richard Seymour, and Torry Holt all have the same numbers as Johnson's seven Pro Bowls. Here is the full list (1st/2nd All Pro mix, number of Pro Bowls in parentheses):

Thomas 7-time All Pro (5/2 … 7 Pro Bowls)
Ware 7-time All Pro (4/3 … 9 Pro Bowls)
Willis 6-time All Pro (5/1 … 7 Pro Bowls)
ANDRE 5-time All Pro (3/2 … 7 Pro Bowls)
Seymour 5-time All Pro (3/2 … 7 Pro Bowls)
Barber 5-time All Pro (3/2 .. 5 Pro Bowls)
Allen 4-time All Pro (4/0 … 5 Pro Bowls)
Butler 4-time All Pro (4/0 … 4 Pro Bowls)
Anderson 4-time All Pro (3/1 … 4 Pro Bowls)
Hester 4-time All Pro (3/1 … 4 Pro Bowls)
Young 4-time All Pro (1/3 … 4 Pro Bowls)
Boselli 3-time All Pro (3/0 … 5 Pro Bowls)
Wayne 3-time All Pro (1/2 … 6 Pro Bowls)
Mills 3-time All Pro (1/2 … 5 Pro Bowls)
Holt 2-time All Pro (1/1 … 7 Pro Bowls)

Among the finalists, Johnson stacks up favorably in Pro Football Reference's Approximate Value metric
Approximate Value is a complex combination of stats and participation metrics that yield a single integer to measure a player's impact for a give season, or cumulatively, over his career. The numbers below are the sum total of the Approximate Value for all seasons of each finalist's career. Among these 15 players, Johnson ranks seventh at 124:

Wayne 153
Thomas 148
Barber 148
Ware 128
Allen 127
Mills 127
Holt 123
Young 117
Anderson 117
Seymour 113
Willis 108
Butler 107
Boselli 74
Hester 55

Johnson has the best case among the three wide receivers who are HOF finalists
I thought Texans' owner Cal McNair made some interesting observations in his statement congratulating Johnson for his Hall of Fame candidacy:

“I’m thrilled that Andre is getting the recognition he deserves,” said Texans Chair and CEO Cal McNair. “From the day we drafted him in 2003 throughout his entire career, Andre was everything we could have asked for in a player and person. Every week it seemed like opposing defenses would focus their gameplan around stopping him, but he was always able to produce and deliver for us. Andre was at his best during our biggest moments and electrified our stadium and fanbase like very few players ever have. We are excited to continue to celebrate Andre’s career and everything he has accomplished.”
Having discussed this statement with McNair, I'm fairly certain that this was his subtle way of pointing out that, unlike Wayne and Holt, Andre Johnson never had the benefit of working with a Hall of Fame quarterback, running back, and fellow wide receiver. Wayne and Holt both did. Wayne had Peyton Manning, Edgerrin James and Marvin Harrison, while Holt had Kurt Warner, Marshall Faulk, and Isaac Bruce.

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Sean Pendergast is a contributing freelance writer who covers Houston area sports daily in the News section, with periodic columns and features, as well. He also hosts the morning drive on SportsRadio 610, as well as the pre-game and post game shows for the Houston Texans.
Contact: Sean Pendergast