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So long, goal-line fade: Why one of the NFL’s least efficient passing plays is disappearing

Calvin Johnson is appalled when he hears how rarely quarterbacks succeeded last season in throwing the goal-line fade, a pass he loved to catch during his playing days. Over the course of nine seasons with the Detroit Lions, the wideout mastered the art of hauling in lofty tosses to the back pylon, limbs outstretched as he leapt over hapless defensive backs like the world’s grittiest ballerina.

“I’m sorry, only five were caught?” the 34-year-old snorts over the phone. “Maybe somebody could use me … just post me up.”

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