Whether With The Patriots Or Vikings, Is Randy Moss The Greatest WR Ever?

Mykael WrightContributor IOctober 7, 2010

EDEN PRAIRIE, MN - OCTOBER 7:  Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Randy Moss answers questions from the media during a press conference at Winter Park on October 7, 2010 in Eden Prairie, Minnesota.  (Photo by Adam Bettcher/Getty Images)
Adam Bettcher/Getty Images

I won't throw a bunch of stats at you because football is about more than stats.  They are obviously important, but watching the games can generally be more telling.  For example, Emmitt Smith has the rushing title, but many people (at least people my generation) feel Barry Sanders is the greatest running back ever because even his runs for loss were electrifying.  Besides, I know there are guys (most notably the great Jerry Rice) who have better individual stats.  Despite that, when motivated, Moss is the greatest wide receiver that has ever played the game.  Unfortunately, he is not the most motivated guy you'll ever see, so many people won't agree with me simply because he is not easy to cheer for or wish success for.  Him having a lackluster attitude and work ethic does not negate his immense skill though. Imagine for a moment being so talented that against the best competition in the world, you could coast half your career and still be a Hall of Fame caliber player.  Would you work harder than everyone else?  I know Jerry Rice outworked everyone, but was he as naturally gifted as Moss?  Jerry Rice was a blue collar, hard working football player.   Randy Moss is much more "pop your collar" type of football player.  He's not a "flashy" diva type like TO or others, but he certainly has some of the other characteristics of a diva:  Most notably the aforementioned lack hustle day in and day out.  Despite the fact he is not the type of guy you want to your son to pattern his work ethic after, he is the type of guy that makes plays that leaves you saying, "wow."  We should not hold his attitude against his talent.  Rice did things better than other people.  Moss did and does things other people are physically incapable of doing.  Look at what he's done in his career:

The two highest scoring offenses in NFL history have both featured Randy Moss.  The 2008 Patriots averaged 36.8 points per game and the 98 Vikes averaged 34.8.  All we ever hear is about how much it is a quarterback driven league, but Moss' talent supercedes common perception.  The Pats make sense being on that list with a future Hall of Famer in Tom Brady under center, but the Vikings led by Daunte Culpepper at quarterback?  Really?  Yes, Moss made him look that good.  I mean that with all due respect to Culpepper, but he's not in the same class as Brady, Manning, or Warner, a few of the other signal callers whose teams are in the top 10 scoring offenses.  Also, look at what he did for Wes Welker.  Don't get me wrong, Welker is a great football player on his own accord, but having Randy Moss on the outside opens up everything in the slot a great deal.  I know it's a different sport, but think about when Jeff Kent won the NL MVP in 2000.  You don't think playing with Barry Bonds helped him out?  Certain players make other players look better simply because of the attention they draw from the opposing team.  That's not to say he has not done great things for himself.  He does have the NFL record with 23 touchdown receptions in a season.

With his recent trade back to the Vikings, Moss should be motivated once again and should therefore put up very nice numbers and help the Vikings tremendously.  On the other hand, perhaps he has lost more than a step and has therefore already squandered any real chance he had at getting a Super Bowl ring.  No matter what happens the rest of this year, Randy Moss is the greatest wide receiver ever, but he is too lethargic and uninspiring to get his due.