The debate over who is the greatest receiver of all time is always going to include one player among its candidates: Randy Moss. His athleticism and the fact that he is possibly the most focused receiver on the field of play make him worthy of all the honors and recognition for a professional athlete. In this post, we will take a look at the life and career of one of the greatest NFL players of all time, Randy Moss. Let’s get started.
Randy Moss: He Came Out Of The Womb Ready
How was Randy Moss’ career?
His time with six teams in 14 seasons always had one constant: spectacularity. Moss was the model receiver that any quarterback could fit in and shine with. He is dangerous and safe on long routes, always showing off his offensive skills.
Coming to the Minnesota Vikings as a first-round pick in the 1998 Draft, the Marshall alumnus had one of the best rookie seasons in NFL history. 69 receptions, 1,313 passing yards, and a record 17 touchdowns for a rookie season. All the accolades made it clear that an almost unprecedented star had arrived in the NFL. Obviously, he earned the Offensive Rookie of the Year title.
During his seven seasons with the Vikings, Moss and company (Randall Cunningham, Cris Carter, Robert Smith, etc.) established one of the most explosive and productive offenses in history; in 2003 he recorded his best numbers in terms of receptions (111) and yards (1,632); but the team suffered its first bitter pill by falling out of contention for Super Bowl XXXIII (being strong contenders) against the Atlanta Falcons in the NFC Championship game.
After an uncharacteristically terrible stint with the Oakland Raiders, Randy Moss joined the NFL powerhouse, New England Patriots. However, the best version of Randy Moss came in 2007 when he signed with the New England Patriots. Making a deadly duo with Tom Brady, the Pats’ attack was unstoppable in the regular season and in the postseason, where they went undefeated, breaking records by the bunch, but this was not enough to become Super Bowl champions since the New York Giants would create one of the biggest upsets in the history of the Super Bowl defeating the Patriots in the XLII edition.
In that year, despite the defeat, Randy Moss set the NFL record for receiving touchdowns, with 23, breaking the record of 22 of another NFL giant, Jerry Rice, and with his 1,493 yards, he broke the records for most yards by a Patriots receiver.
In 2010 he left the Pats and had little participation in teams like the Minnesota Vikings (returning briefly), Tennessee Titans and as his last destination, the San Francisco 49ers in 2012. He made the Super Bowl with the 49ers but came up short against Ray Lewis’s Baltimore Ravens.
Randy Moss: Statistical Highlights
Naming all the achievements achieved by Randy Moss would be an almost endless task, but among the highlights, we can add:
- One of two players to record 1,600+ receiving yards and 16+ receiving touchdowns in a season (2003) Calvin Johnson is the other.
- Most receiving yards in a Pro Bowl. 212 (2000)
- The youngest player in NFL history to reach 100 receiving touchdowns (29 years and 235 days)
- 6 times selected to the Pro Bowl
- 5-time NFL leader in receiving touchdowns (1998, 2000, 2003, 2007, 2009)
- Member of the Minnesota Vikings Honor Ring
- Team Player of the 2000s
- 5 time All-Pro player
- 2007 AFC Champion
- 2012 NFC Champion
- The only player to catch 90+ TD passes, return a TD pass, and throw 2 touchdown passes.
Was Randy Moss a diva receiver?
Wide receivers are considered to be the NFL’s divas in general, they are the filigree fine motorists among all the colossuses that are there on the field. And most of them know how to cultivate this image. Once, when Terrell Owens scored a touchdown, he pulled a felt-tip pen out of his shoe, signed the ball, and handed it to a fan. Randy Moss, with his diva-like quality, stands out even in this select circle. He once told his New England Patriots coach, Bill Belichick, “I’m too old to train on Wednesdays and Thursdays. But I’m young enough to play on Sundays.”
At the beginning of his last season with the Patriots, Moss was still under contract with the Patriots. After the second day of play, he stated that he “no longer felt wanted”. Two weeks later he was traded to the Minnesota Vikings, the club where his career began 12 years earlier. Staying in Minnesota for just four weeks, he caused more scandals during that time than any other player in his entire career.
First, he refused reporters the mandatory interviews in the NFL. When he had to pay a $25,000 fine for this, he stated: “In the future, I’ll ask myself the questions in interviews and answer them. That’s it. That’s it.” The first question he asked himself was whether he would be comfortable in Minnesota. The answer: “In New England, I felt more loved.”
After the Vikings’ game with the Patriots, he hugged almost every player on his former team and then boasted about how much he missed his old buddies and coach. When, a week later, at a team meeting in the locker room, he described the food served as “dirty food” and that he “wouldn’t even serve my dog,” the Vikings felt compelled to fire Moss.
Then, he signed on with the Tennessee Titans, and thus slipped on the third jersey within a few weeks. “I have broad shoulders,” Moss said after his first practice session – once again allowing reporters to ask him questions. “I’m not here to cause trouble.”
Moss kept finding clubs despite his airs and graces because his massive ego is matched only by his incredible talent. “He’s one of the best wide receivers of all time,” said his Titans coach Jeff Fisher. “But he’s at an age now where talent alone isn’t enough. He’ll have to work hard.” Moss holds numerous NFL records – including one that the Titans signed him for. In his first game for a new club, Moss scored at least one touchdown and averaged 122 yards gained. “I’d be happy with that,” said Fisher, who has Moss scheduled as a starter for the Miami Dolphins game.
Even more important would be Fisher, the longest-serving coach in the NFL, but winning the Super Bowl. The Titans had won five of the first eight games of the season, giving them a good chance of making the playoffs. “Randy Moss hasn’t won a title yet, I haven’t won a title yet,” says Fisher. “So we have something to work for.” And that’s why you can sometimes show up too early for training.
What are some of the most memorable moments of Randy Moss’ career?
Wide receiver Randy Moss is widely recognized as one of the brightest and best players in the NFL’s nearly 100-year history. His way into the Hall of Fame was not without self-inflicted imponderables. Great moments were always mixed with sometimes unbelievable setbacks.
Anyone who sees Randy Moss these days may think he could still play in the NFL. He was recently a guest at the New England Patriots’ training camp and caught a few passes from Tom Brady during the breaks – like Moss, also 42 years old. A picture from the old days.
While Brady is still chasing rings, his old pal Moss has long since hung up his cleats. But when the NFL celebrated its 100th season, it was time to reminisce.
The year 2007, for example, was certainly the greatest year in Randy Moss’ career, which had so many great – but also bad – moments.
The Patriots shocked the football world with a draft-day trade. They brought in Randy Moss, the one-time superstar wide receiver who had lived through the darkest hours of his pro career the previous two years at Oakland. Moss suffered from the Raiders’ lack of success and plan, who at the time were moving from coach to coach and embarrassment to embarrassment.
Moss himself explained that his personal performance was so poor because “I’m maybe unhappy and I’m not very excited about what’s happening here. As a result, my concentration and focus may not be where it should be. And sometimes I’m in a bad mood”.
He also openly admitted that he wanted to start over. The only question was: where? At the age of 30 and after two lost seasons, some teams had doubts about his ability to perform. And his diva tendencies and troubles with the law were a disqualification for some organizations anyway.
Randy Moss in 2007
Only the Patriots and the Green Bay Packers showed real interest. Their quarterback Brett Favre even publicly courted Moss: “No one in this league scares people more than Randy Moss,” said the legendary QB. Ultimately, however, no agreement was reached between the two teams. But that came about with the Patriots – and Moss got his wish.
Was Randy Moss always a great athlete?
Moss grew up as the child of a single mother – the father had left the family early – in Rand/West Virginia with two siblings and developed into a top athlete at an early age. In high school, he played football, basketball, baseball and was also a 100m/200m sprinter in track and field. And: He was also part of the debate team!
A star was Moss in all these sports. He was so good at football, for example, that he played free safety, kick and punt returner, kicker and punter in addition to wide receiver. He led his team to two state championships and was selected to the 1995 High School All-American Team.
In basketball, he was twice consecutive West Virginia high school player of the year, and in baseball, he played center field, of course. And on the track? State Champion in the 100 and 200 meters.
Randy Moss: He’s a super freak
His versatility, coupled with his stature (1.93 m, 95 kg) earned him the nickname “The Freak”. Colleges lined up with plenty of praise for Moss. He ultimately chose Notre Dame, whose coach Lou Holtz said of Moss, “He’s the best high school player I’ve ever seen.”
Florida State head coach Bobby Bowden said, “He was as good as Deion Sanders. Deion is my benchmark for athletic ability and that boy was basically a bigger Deion.”
However, nothing came of the great college career for the Fighting Irish. Moss was involved in a fight weeks before graduating. A white classmate allegedly racially abused a black friend of Moss and Moss defended him. A fight ensued and later charges were filed. Moss is said to have kicked the classmate.
Ultimately, he was expelled from school and had to serve a 30-day sentence – he originally served just three days, with the rest to follow a year later. Notre Dame, however, withdrew his scholarship, citing Florida State, which still accepted Moss.
However, the NCAA saw him as a “transfer” due to his acceptance for ND, which is why he was not allowed to play in 1995. In 1996, Moss served the remaining 27 days of his sentence on parole and tested positive for marijuana. For violating his probation, the sentence was commuted to 60 days and a sack from Florida State.
Randy Moss: Fresh start at Marshall
Desperate, Moss saw only one way out: a sporty descent to Marshall University, which was just under an hour’s drive from his home.
Marshall was still a Division I AA school back then, sort of the second division of college football. Moss, however, made the best of it and ultimately destroyed the competition with an amazing season. He caught 28 touchdown passes, matching Jerry Rice’s record (1984). Marshall won the Division I AA title undefeated. Then a year later, Moss led his team in Division IA—the premier league—to the Mid-American Conference title by 26 touchdowns.
Years later, Moss made his debut for the Patriots like a fairy tale. He missed the preseason with a hamstring injury. A treat for all critics who thought he was too old and frail. However, these critics quickly fell silent.
Against the New York Jets, Moss started for the Patriots for the first time and destroyed them with 181 yards. This was the time when the Jets had legendary cornerback Darrelle Revis and even he got Mossed. The highlight: A 51-yard touchdown catch with three defenders in tow!
Brady and Moss hit it off blindly from the start and dominated the league at will. For Moss himself, it was a clear sign: he was still around and at the height of his creativity. But also for Brady, because until then he was a recognized “winner”, but just a game manager who had an unspectacular style of play. Moss helped him take his career to the next level.