Randy Moss is the Greatest WR of all time
Today, Randy Moss declared himself the greatest receiver of all time. You know what? I agree with him and have been quietly telling myself this for the passed few years. I said told someone this a few years ago when he retired and almost got burned at the stake. For the next few years after, I went back to whispering it for fear of losing my life.
Before you smash your computer screen in I’m going to tell you why. It’s not all about black and White numbers. In other words, not all statistics are created equally.
Let me ask you something really quick. Two receivers catch 40 yard bombs for touchdowns. Who’s the better receiver? The numbers are identical but whats the context of the 1 catch for 40 yards and a touchdown? Who threw the football? Was it in a dome? Who was covering the receiver? How many players were covering him? Is this the exception or the rule, in other words, is this something the receiver does regularly or once in a long while?
That’s the point here. If you look at black and white numbers, such as receiving yards, catches and touchdowns, it doesn’t tell the whole story to a certain point. The NFL is constantly changing. Athletes are getting bigger, stronger faster and defenses and offenses are constantly adjusting and re-adjusting to the skill levels.
What I’m trying to say is that Randy Moss made a much larger impact on a play by play basis than Jerry Rice did. He commanded more defensive attention than any other receiver there ever was up to this point. Now that may change in 10 years. I feel more comfortable ranking them as 1A and 1B than saying one is number 1 and the other number 2.
Before we get into the base of my argument I would like to point out one key point. You can’t use post season as a measuring stick. Why? Because when has receiver ever been a position we look at as leading a team into the playoffs and a super bowl. It’s simply not fair, and if you’re a sheer stats geek and numbers guy, you’ll understand it a little better than if you’re not.
A receiver touches the ball 10%-15% of the offensive snaps a game. Where did I get this number? Well lets just say an offense runs about 60 plays a game on average. A good game for a WR is 5-8 catches for 110-130 yards and a TD. That’s 12% of offensive snaps. Lets not add run blocking plays because then it’ll get too complicated.
Now compare this to the QB who touches it 100% of the time and you’ll kind of understand why it’s unfair to make this comparison. People forget that football is the ultimate team game and that individual positions will have a hard time simply taking over the game as compared to NBA basketball. So much has to work in unison for a play to be successful so you can’t mark players off for not making the post season unless you play QB or RB.
Enough of that. Let’s get back to my main argument:
1. Game isn’t always about black and white numbers. It’s more so the effect that a player has on the game during his time. The game changes constantly. You have to look at the context of the game during that time in that what were offenses and defenses doing? 50 years ago they were running the shit out of the ball so how do we compare someone from that time period to someone from this time period? To put it simply, how readily they dominated their position as compared to their peers. Were looking for not only statistical outliers and consistencies but also how they separated themselves from the rest.
Randy Moss had an incredible impact on every defense he faced whether he caught the ball or not. People always want to point at the fact that he said he plays when he wants to play and takes plays off. Well, that actually works in favor of my argument because if he was taking plays off and still posted these types of numbers than that’s all the more incredible.
No WR has had the effect on opposing defenses as Moss did during his prime. I’m not going to do a side by side comparison of numbers like everyone else. I want to show you something else in how he elevated the quarterbacks that he played for, lifting them to a level they had never been.
Every QB that has played with Randy Moss during his prime has put up career years.
1998 as a rookie Moss caught 17 touchdowns and over 1300 yards. Randall Cunningham, stepping in for an injured Brad Johnson, put up a whopping 34 touchdowns to only 10 picks and 3100 yards through the air!
Not only that the Vikings went 15-1 and set the record for most points in one season at 556! This was before the aerial assault we have in the NFL today.
Sounds familiar doesn’t it? Because it is very much so because Randy ended up playing for another team that put up offensive records similar to that in the 2008 New England Patriots who featured Tom Brady throwing an NFL record 50 touchdown passes and leading the patriots to an undefeated regular season.
Moss caught 23 touchdowns, breaking most TD’s in a season by a receiver. Tom had the best year of his career and won MVP and offensive player of the year.
Notice a consistent pattern?
Next up we have Daunte Culpepper, who was quite the offensive weapon under Randy Moss.
In 2004 he set NFL records, passing for 4700 yards and totaling over 5100 yards passing and rushing with 39 touchdowns and only 11 interceptions. His 2300 yards rushing during a 5 year period made him one of only 4 QB’s to do so. It may or may not have had something to do with Randy Moss, who defensive coordinators had to get DB’s to give a bigger cushion for because of the way he could take the top off a defense.
So 3 QB’s had record-setting years under Randy Moss. Tom Brady also had 2 of the best years of his career with him playing WR and Daunte Culpeper was considered a top 10 QB playing with Moss and sometimes even top 5. Matt Cassel looked elite and landed a mega contract playing with Randy Moss. While he had a decent year after that he probably would have never gotten a $60 million year without Randy. All QB’s had to do was to throw it up and Moss would consistently come down with it in double and tripple coverage.
Sure. He had some down years with Oakland. He’s having another with San Fransisco. He won’t get Rices receiving record but the game isn’t always about black an white numbers. You have to look at how the player impacted the players around him on his team as well as the opposing team.
It’s about the impact that player had on the game during that time. In that respect Randy Moss was making defensive backs an coordinators look straight foolish. If you’re too young to have watched him play then you may never really get an idea of what he did.
It’s easy to disregard Randy for what he looks like now and also when you have guys like megatron running around.
But Moss was well ahead of his time. He had incredible body control. At the very least he is second or third.
He is a different kind of beast. A talent at the time that was never seen before. Rice is a great receiver and I even rank them 1A and 1B
But to the people saying he isn’t top 5 you really haven’t say down and done your research or even know football.
No. I am not a Vikings fan. Just a fan of the entire NFL and enjoy breaking down the game and everything in it.