Going into week eight of the NFL season, one of the more popular story lines has been that of two 4-3 teams facing off, the Detroit Lions and Dallas Cowboys. Both teams are feeling relatively good about themselves and sit nicely atop their respective divisions. While this should be a great game, one topic in particular is getting a bit tiring to me when this matchup is brought up.
All week long, there has been debate after debate about which of the two marquee wide receivers in this game is the best of the best: Calvin Johnson or Dez Bryant?
The debate, as you may have guessed, was started primarily due to ESPN’s never-ending desire to feel as though they have an important story. Going after Bryant this week for saying that he “can do anything” Johnson can do has been, for lack of a better word, flat out annoying.
Bryant was brought on the air for the network’s weekly “Pick 6″ segment, where Bryant was asked about his response to Lions’ wide receiver Nate Burleson’s comments on the matter. Burleson previously gave his respect to Bryant but ended by saying “He’s not Calvin Johnson.”
Bryant responded essentially by humbly saying, “He’s right. I’m not Calvin Johnson. I’m Dez Bryant.” He went on to give credit to Johnson for being the one guy that receivers compare themselves to if they want to be the very best. Issuing no harsh words or fiery comebacks, Bryant simply said that he believes he has the physical tools to do the same things — which, for the most part, he does.
Never taking a jab, sounding condescending or getting defensive was Bryant — a very classy response to some incredibly sweet-smelling bait left on a silver platter for Bryant to devour. But, instead, Bryant avoided it like a true professional — something ESPN simply does not understand.
The fact that Bryant issued the response he did shows that he has matured and is really growing into his own as a professional football player in the NFL. He is without question a top-5 wideout in the league, but where he ranks among the others is a tough call. In their own way, both Bryant and Johnson among guys like A.J. Green, Julio Jones and Brandon Marshall could claim the top spot for unique reasoning.
But, rather than get caught up in a meaningless debate started for dramatic effect, Bryant played the card of humility and chose to stay put. Bravo, Mr. Bryant. Bravo.