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DeAndre Hopkins’ Hall Of Fame Season

The Houston Texans receiver is quietly becoming a G.O.A.T.

NFL: Houston Texans at New York Jets Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

For some reason, over the last twenty years, the notion that any NFL receiver who was really, really good had to also be a huge diva became the norm. From Keyshawn Johnson and Terrell Owens to Steve Smith and Chad Ochocinco, NFL film is littered with snapshots of over-the-top antics that make the words “wide receiver” the first auto-fill option when you type “NFL Diva” into Google.

Meanwhile, as Odell Beckham Jr. is busy beating up fans (not fans of the Giants, giant fans used to push air at the New York bench) and Antonio Brown is allegedly demanding a trade after things didn’t go his way in Pittsburgh this season, Houston Texans WR1 DeAndre Hopkins has kept to himself and done nothing but live out the Texans’ mantra of trying to be the best teammate he can be.

Sure, his clothing choices are often loud, attention-getting and even obnoxious, depending on your sense of style, but D-Hop’s behavior has never been that.

Despite having no quarterback consistency until this year and having every reason in the world to complain, the closest thing to controversy Hopkins has ever been associated with was an oh-so-brief one day holdout back in 2016 and “taking a personal day” after Bob McNair made his ill-fated “inmates” comment last season.

Hop has been nothing but the consummate professional, honoring the shoes he’s filling (the ones that belong to Texans all-time great Andre Johnson). It’s no surprise that Hopkins and Johnson are still good friends; the two were even spotted doing the whole Santa Claus thing together last month.

Speaking of Antonio Brown, Hopkins passed him in the record books last weekend, too. Maybe that’s why Brown wants a trade?

With the ugly wins Houston has pulled out this season, it’s easy to sit back and grumble about everything that has gone wrong, even in the face of yet another AFC South title. But if you look at what Hopkins has done, you’ll see history unfolding before your eyes. When they give this guy his gold jacket in Canton - and they will - these games will be the highlights they show and Andre Johnson will be there patting D-Hop on the back for a job well done.

Now it’s time for Deshaun Watson, DeAndre Hopkins, J.J. Watt, Jadeveon Clowney and the rest of the Houston Texans to defend H-Town on Saturday afternoon against the Indianapolis Colts in the NFL Playoffs’ Wild Card round.

With the amount of star power on this team and the proof-in-the-pudding that they can win ugly, win pretty, or any other way you want a win to come, the Texans only need four more this year to let DeAndre Hopkins catch the best ball ever—the one atop the Lombardi Trophy.