In news that is...barely news, Texans beat writer John McClain has rebuked years of football research by K.C. Joyner of ESPN with a poll of ESPN writers.
If you're unfamiliar with the controversy: last offseason, Joyner said that Austin, not Johnson, was the best receiver in the NFL. I'm not privy to the exact reasonings anymore as my ESPN Insider membership has expired, but they were well-backed with statistics on deep balls, short balls, and middle balls. The lone problem I had with the post at the time was that he was using last year's stats as the only basis for comparison, as if Johnson hadn't been one of the best receivers in the NFL for years.
The ESPN divisional blog writers got together (Paul Kuharsky included) and named Andre Johnson the best receiver in the NFL by an extremely slim margin. In fact, had Kuharsky not placed Larry Fitzgerald seventh, Johnson would not have won. Then again, someone else in the polling had similarly ruined Johnson's standing by putting him much lower than he should have been for "not winning games." Not like Brandon Lloyd did last season, apparently.
Either way, a survey of ESPN writers is hardly a mandate. Nothing against Kuharsky and company, but they didn't exactly break new statistical ground with this extremely unscientific list. I'd be mighty interested to see what The Football Scientist comes up with this offseason regarding the two.
Is Andre Johnson the best receiver in the NFL? I'd find it really tough to argue against that. But I sure as heck wouldn't use a poll of eight ESPN writers as the lone gospel behind my reasoning.