Randy Moss: Is He a Lock for the NFL Hall of Fame?

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Randy Moss: Is He a Lock for the NFL Hall of Fame?
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Randy Moss

To put it simply, yes. Having signed with the San Francisco 49ers this offseason, Randy Moss is back and making headlines.

For a moment there, the league didn't feel right without Moss' presence. He's 35 now, and it should be interesting to see how much or how little he'll be able to contribute this year after not playing last year due to his "retirement." Regardless, Moss has had a great career, and now football fans are wondering: Does Moss make the Hall of Fame? 

Moss is one of the all-time best receivers.

When your last name has become a solidified sports term (getting Moss'd), you know you did something right. He routinely embarrassed NFL defensive backs. Whether he out-jumped them in the red zone or streaked by them on a deep fly pattern, in his prime, Moss was a threat to score on every play.   

He is one of the most athletically gifted NFL players in the history of the league.

I put him in the ranks with guys like Bo Jackson and Deion Sanders (yea I said it, and why not?). At 6'4", you'd think his height and length would slow him down, but this is definitely not the case. We've all witnessed Randy's freakish athletic ability. In college, he was recorded running a 4.25 40-yard dash. Let me say that again, 4.25! And if that wasn't enough, analysts predict his vertical to be anywhere from 38-45 inches.

Moss has the entire package as a receiver. He's tall, he's fast, he can jump and he had some of the softest hands in the league(as long as he wasn't going across the middle).  

Before I jump into his pro career, let's take a quick look at his college years.

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Vikings Moss

Highly recruited out of high school, Moss was originally headed to Notre Dame, but after some trouble with the law, he headed to Florida State. If things couldn't get worse, he then violated a substance policy by testing positive for marijuana. Ultimately, Moss headed to Marshall.

 

WE ARE MARSHALL!

Marshall is a Division 1AA school. To put it lightly, Moss was a man among boys. He scored one touchdown in every game he played at Marshall—he had more than one in many games. In a 1997 game against Ball State, he had an unprecedented five touchdowns (check the highlights here).

Moss finished his career at Marshall scoring a whopping 54 touchdowns in only 28 games played. It was obvious this guy had pro-level talent.

Despite playing at a Division 1AA school, Moss still managed to finish fourth in the Heisman voting behind college legends Charles Woodson (Heisman winner), Peyton Manning and the ever-notorious Ryan Leaf.

When the NFL draft came around, mistakenly, many teams passed on Moss because of his well-documented off-field issues. Moss was eventually drafted 21st in the 1998 NFL draft by the Minnesota Vikings, and from that moment on, Moss had a chip on a his shoulder and was ready to prove to every team that passed on him that they were wrong. 

Does Randy Moss Deserve to be in the Hall of Fame?

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From the moment Moss stepped onto the field as a rookie in 1998, we knew he was something special. He was ready for the prime time and wasted no time showing us.

On September 6th, 1998, in his first game as rookie, Moss recorded four catches, 98 yards and two touchdowns. Appropriately, Moss' first touchdown was a 48-yard, juggling circus catch (watch here). He leaped into the stands, and his career was off and running.

He finished his rookie season, arguably the best of all time, with 69 catches, 1,313 yards and 17 touchdowns. For his accomplishments, he won both the Associated Press and Pro Football Writers Rookie of the Year awards. To this day, 17 touchdowns is still the NFL record for most touchdowns by a rookie.

 

Moss continued this dominance throughout his career.

He became the most dangerous deep threat the game has ever seen. We all remember the days with strong-armed quarterback Dante Culpepper. They would routinely hit deep bombs and humiliate opposing defenders.

Moss' ability to stretch the field was unmatched. It not only made defenses scheme against him and double-cover him, but it also opened up the running game. 

After an impressive outing as a Minnesota Viking (1998-2004), Moss had a short stint as an Oakland Raider (2005, 2006).

Jim Rogash/Getty Images
Randy in the Tunnel

He received a lot of criticism for his Raider outing, but in one of those seasons, he finished with 60 catches, 1,005 yards and eight touchdowns. This was underachieving for Moss, but for the average NFL receiver, this is a productive season.

In 2007, Moss joined the Brady-Belichick New England Patriots.

This was a combination for instant success. In his first season with the Pats, Moss accumulated 98 catches, 1,493 yards and an NFL-record 23 touchdowns. In the same play Moss scored his record-setting 23rd touchdown, Brady also broke the single-season passing touchdown record (watch here).

Unfortunately, after three good years with the Pats, Moss was let go due to issues with coaches and managers. He spent the rest of the season bouncing around from the Vikings to the Titans, not accomplishing anything worth mentioning on either team. At the time—before we knew he was coming back—it was unfortunate that he had to end his great career in such a bad fashion.

As of right now, Moss' career stats are as such: 202 games, 954 catches (ninth all-time), 14,858 yards (fifth all-time) and 153 receiving touchdowns (tied second all-time) Keep in mind that if these numbers weren't impressive enough, with whatever game he has left, his numbers will only get better.   

 

If you judge only by numbers, Randy Moss is a first-ballot Hall of Famer.

Jim Rogash/Getty Images
Run Randy Run

Unfortunately, there is one underlying issue: his attitude. No one in their right mind would argue Moss' numbers or athleticism, but throughout his career, he's received some harsh criticism on his attitude.

Some say he didn't work as hard as he could have, complained too much, quit on plays he wasn't involved in, was a locker-room cancer or all of the above.  

Much of this is arguable but to what extent? Did his attitude really ever affect himself and his team that much? It's not like he quit on the final play of the Super Bowl and cost his team the win.

He did have several distracting moments throughout his career: leaving the field before the game was over, mooning the Green Bay fans, spraying the ref with water or the infamous "straight cash homie" incident.

How much weight do we put on these moments? If he had a Super Bowl ring, I'd feel safe in saying that his attitude didn't matter...but he doesn't.

If none of those moments happened, would he have been better? Maybe, but one can't deny the accomplishments he made even with those moments. The guy is a BEAST and deserves to be in the Hall.

Moss receives criticism that he should of worked harder and could of been even better. But when the Hall of Fame is in question, you can't take, for lack of a better word, laziness, into account. Moss should be judged by what he accomplished, which was a hell of a lot.   

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Oh Randy

Moss was constantly frustrated that he wasn't getting the ball enough because he knew how good he really was. He knew that no one could cover him—something that he proved time and time again throughout his career. In the end, however, no matter how bad his attitude was, his undeniable talent, dominance and stats are Hall of Fame quality and Randy Moss deserves the nod.

Randy Moss is a certain Hall of Famer, and if he has a successful season with the 49ers this year, he will only further solidify his position in the Hall.

Agree? Disagree? Please comment and argue below.

Follow me @MattDBuck

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