Randy Moss, a future Hall of Fame wide receiver, has decided to hang up the cleats at 34 years old, and after 13 years in the NFL. Moss was one of the best receivers in all of football over his career, but he was also one of the most outspoken and dramatic guys in the league over the last decade.
It’s likely that Moss is retiring because teams aren’t willing to pony up the kind of money he thinks he is worth. I’m sure there are multiple teams out there that would like to get Moss, but they aren’t likely coming near his asking price.
It’s crazy to see Randy Moss’ career coming to an end, and what a unique career it was. He was never boring, and he always had something interesting to say to the media. But, his personality shouldn’t overshadow the kind of player he was.
He was one of the most dangerous receivers in the game up until last season, and defensive backs had almost no shot of stopping him if he was played one-on-one. He was a true deep threat, and when he took off on a go-route, you knew something great was going to happen if the quarterback could deliver the throw.
Here’s a nice twitter post from Fabian Washington about what kind of receiver Moss was:
“Everybody knew what time it was when Moss threw that hand up. They was about to get MOSS’D. #Respect”
He was virtually unstoppable from his rookie season up until 2009, when of course, he wanted to be. He was drafted 21st overall by the Minnesota Vikings in the 1998 draft, and proceeded to have 1313 receiving yards, 19.0 yards per catch, and he led the league with 17 touchdown receptions.
He changed the landscape of the NFL right away, and struck fear into divisional opponents, especially the Packers, who spent their first three draft picks in 1999 on cornerbacks to try and stop Randy Moss.
They couldn’t stop him. He put up 1200+ receiving yards in each of his first six seasons in Minnesota, being named a 1st team All Pro performer three times during that span. But, all of that production was usually surrounded by some kind of controversy.
He had his problems off the field, including bumping a traffic officer with his car in 2002, after the officer stood in front of his car refusing to allow him to make an illegal turn.
If it wasn’t off the field, then it was on the field antics such as mooning the Green Bay Packers fans in a playoff game in 2005 following his 2nd touchdown catch of the game. (Full Disclosure: I thought it was awesome). That led to a $10,000 fine, which led to his infamous “straight cash homey” line to reporters when asked about the fine.
Also, prior to those events, Moss pretty much lost his good graces to Minnesota fans, when he walked off the field in the final regular season game of the 2004 season with two seconds left against the Redskins, the Vikings down 21-18, and attempting an onside kick.
That essentially signaled the end of his career with the Vikings, and he was traded to the Raiders. After a 1000 yard receiving season in 2005 with the Raiders, Moss was unmotivated in 2006, as the Raiders went 2-14, and Moss finished the year with 553 receiving yards.
Moss ultimately got his wish, and was traded from Oakland to a contending Patriots team, where he blossomed in his first season in New England.
His former offensive coordinator in Oakland Tom Walsh had this to say of Moss after the trade:
“Randy Moss is a player whose skills are diminishing, and he’s in denial of those eroding skills…Randy was a great receiver, but he lacked the work ethic and the desire to cultivate any skills that would compensate for what he was losing physically later in his career.”
Boy was he wrong….
He set an NFL record with 23 receiving touchdowns, had 1493 receiving yards, and helped the Patriots to an undefeated regular season. They ultimately lost to the Giants in the Super Bowl, to finish the year 18-1.
He put up two more 1000+ yard seasons in New England, before they traded him back to Minnesota last season, which ultimately cut him, and he finished the season and his career as a member of the Tennessee Titans.
There has been a lot of talk today about Moss retiring, and how some people don’t think of him as one of the best receivers ever, and they don’t think he’s a first ballot hall of famer.
I think that’s complete crap. If you ignore the off the field incidents, and just look at his career as a whole, Moss was one of the best receivers to ever play the game. He changed the way defenses played. He could never be left one-on-one, with his lighting 4.3 speed and his 6’4 frame.
Moss finishes his career with the 8th most receptions all time (954), 5th most receiving yards (14,858), 2nd most touchdowns (153), and the 2nd most 100-yard receiving games (64).
The self-described “freak” was pretty much unstoppable when his head was on straight, and I think it’s a no-brainer that he should be enshrined in Canton the first year he’s one the ballot.
I’ve heard some saying that Cris Carter deserves to be in the Hall of Fame before Moss, which I think is ridiculous, considering Moss put up better numbers across the board, other than receptions, in three less years in the league.
There is no doubt that Cris Carter deserves to the in the Hall of Fame, but Randy Moss should be selected on the first ballot, although I think his character will keep him from being selected right away.
I’ll always remember Randy Moss as the most exciting receiver I ever saw play, and one of the best to ever play the game, if this truly is the end of the road for him. I would say there is a pretty good chance that he comes back to play at some point this season, possibly next, if he gets an offer to play for a contending team.
But, this could be it for one of the all-time greats, and I’ll forever be grateful for getting to watch him play the last thirteen years.
I’ll remember him for what he was on the field, and that’s what everyone else should as well.