Randy Moss Retires: Ranking His Quarterbacks
It appears the roller-coaster career of Randy Moss has come to an end.
Moss' agent announced Monday that Randy Moss will be retiring instead of trying to get picked up by a team for the 2011-2012 NFL season.
Moss will go down as one of the best receivers of all time, even if he did come with baggage.
His time with four different teams has been filled with awe-inspiring plays and head-shaking moments.
Some of Moss's biggest fans (or biggest enemies) are the quarterbacks he played with in his 13-year career. Moss thought of himself as a quarterback's best friend. Just throw it up and he would catch it.
Moss played with 17 different starting quarterbacks in his career. Some of those quarterbacks seemed like different people year in and year out (aka: Daunte Culpepper).
Here is a ranking of the Top 10 quarterbacks, by season, in Moss's career.
Keep in mind, I did this season by season, so don't be surprised to see Tom Brady ranked more than once, along with Daunte Culpepper.
Also, don't be surprised to not see 2010 Brett Favre listed. Favre may be the greatest quarterback of all time, but the 2010 version, the one who teamed with Randy Moss, was far from the Favre we knew just a year earlier.
Just Missed the Cut
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These quarterbacks were less than impressive when starting games in which Moss was one of their targets:
Brad Johnson (1998) - Johnson started only two games in the Vikings magical 1998 season and was only so-so compared to regular starter Randall Cunningham. Johnson was 2-0 as a starter, threw for 747 yards and had a 89.0 QB Rating.
Spergon Wynn (2001) - Spergon Wynn went 0-2 as the Vikings starter in 2001, with a 49 percent completion rate, one touchdown and six interceptions.
Todd Bauman (2001) - Another of the Vikings emergency starters from 2001, Bauman was 1-2 as the starter, but with better numbers than Wynn. Bauman had eight touchdowns compared to only four interceptions and threw for 705 yards in his three starts.
Daunte Culpepper (2002) - 2002 was a rough year for Culpepper. He was only 6-10 as the starter, with a QB rating of 75.3. Culpepper had 23 touchdowns on the year but threw 18 interceptions.
Andrew Walter (2006) - The Raiders 2006 season was abysmal. Walter started eight games going 2-6. He threw for three touchdowns, 13 interceptions and only 1,677 yards in the eight games.
Aaron Brooks (2006) - Brooks was even worse than Walter in 2006. Brooks went 0-8 as the starter, threw for 1,105 yards, three touchdowns and eight interceptions in eight contests.
Brett Favre (2010) - Favre was 1-3 in the four games with Moss last year. He had five touchdowns and five interceptions in those four games and ended the year with only a 69.9 QB Rating.
Kerry Collins, Vince Young and Rusty Smith (2010) - The three-headed monster of Titans QB's in Moss's eight games in Tennessee last season were awful. The Titans went 1-7 in those eight games, throwing for only 1,606 yards combined. Moss didn't help these three guys much however, totaling only six receptions, 80 yards and no touchdowns in his eight games.
10: Kerry Collins (2005)
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(4-11 as a starter. 302 Comp, 565 Att, 53.5% Comp, 3759 Yards, 20 TD, 12 INT, 77.3 Rate)
Kerry Collins and Randy Moss had their first go-around in Oakland in 2005.
The 2005 version of the Raiders were, quite frankly, a bad football team.
Collins won four games as a starter but didn't have a lot of help around him. His 77.3 QB rating isn't great, but it was better than any other quarterback in Oakland during Moss's stay there.
It was not Moss's best year either, catching only 60 balls for 1,005 yards and eight touchdowns.
9: Matt Cassel (2008)
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(10-5 as a starter. 327 Comp, 576 Att, 63.4% Comp, 3,693 Yards, 21 TD, 11 INT, 89.4 Rate)
Cassel had a better year than anybody expected.
His 10-5 record speaks for itself.
Even though his touchdown output was less than half of Brady's from the season before, Cassel still only threw 11 picks—compared to 21 touchdowns—which was good for a 89.4 QB rating.
Cassel found Moss 69 times in 2008. Moss finished the year with 1,008 yards and 11 touchdowns.
Cassel played well enough in 2008 to earn himself a big contract and the starting job in Kansas City the following season.
8: Jeff George (1999)
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(8-2 as a starter. 191 Comp, 329 Att, 58.1% Comp, 2,618 Yards, 23 TD, 12 INT, 94.2 Rate)
I watched nearly every Vikings game in 1999, and I still don't remember Jeff George ever being as good as the numbers say.
George got the starting job in 1999 in place of the fading Randall Cunningham and had a monster year.
George won eight of his 10 starts, threw 23 touchdowns and looked like the Jeff George many thought he could be coming out of college.
Of course, a lot of this had to do with his ultra-talented receiving corps, but either way, a great season for George.
Moss, in only his second season, had 80 catches for 1,413 yards and 11 touchdowns.
Moss also was a perfect one-for-one as a quarterback, for a 27-yard touchdown pass.
Maybe it wasn't too hard to be a quarterback on the Vikings in those days.
7: Daunte Culpepper (2003)
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( 7-7 as a starter. 295 Comp, 454 Att, 65.0% Comp, 3,479 Yards, 25 TD, 11 INT, 96.4 Rate)
2003 wasn't Culpepper's best year, but it wasn't his worst either.
Daunte threw for 25 touchdowns and was only five short of 300 completions.
Culpepper loved using Moss in 2003. Moss set a career-high with 111 receptions.
Moss also had 17 touchdowns and 1,632 yards.
Even with his monster year in 2007 in New England, 2003 may have been Moss's best season, and Daunte Culpepper was the guy who threw the passes.
6: Tom Brady (2010)
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(In four games with Moss—3-1 as a starter, 1,259 Yards, 9 TD, 2 INT) (For season—111.0 Rate)
This was a tricky one, and I didn't know where to rank it.
Tom Brady had a superb 2010 season, but only four of those games came with Randy Moss.
Looking at those four games, however, shows that Tom Brady was hands-down the best quarterback Moss played with in 2010.
Brady thrived both before and after the Moss trade.
In his four games in New England last year, Moss had only nine catches for 129 yards and three touchdowns.
The 2010 version of Tom Brady may have only had Randy Moss for four games, but he was undoubtedly one of the best 10 quarterbacks of Randy Moss's career.
5: Daunte Culpepper (2000)
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(11-5 as a starter. 297 Comp, 474 Att, 62.7% Comp, 3,937 Yards, 33 TD, 16 INT, 98.0 Rate)
In the year 2000, the Vikings entered the Culpepper era. Daunte took the helm and the offense took off.
Culpepper won 11 games as the starter, threw for almost 4,000 yards and had 33 touchdown passes.
The big quarterback left no doubt as to whom the quarterback of the future was in Minnesota.
He quickly formed a connection with Randy Moss in 2000. Moss had 77 receptions for 1,437 yards and 15 touchdowns.
The 2000 Vikings may not have been the 1998 Vikings, but the offense was awfully good, led by Culpepper and Moss.
4: Tom Brady (2009)
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(10-6 as a starter. 371 Comp, 565 Att, 65.7% Comp, 4,398 Yards, 28 TD, 13 INT, 96.2 Rate)
The 2007 Patriots they were not, but the 2009 version was almost as scary at times.
Tom Brady returned from his knee injury to win 10 games and throw for 4,398 yards and 28 touchdowns.
Randy Moss had a bounce-back year as well, catching 83 passes for 1,264 yards and 13 touchdowns.
Matt Cassel did just fine as the starter in 2008, but in 2009 Tom Brady showed how much better the team—and Randy Moss—was when he was taking the snaps.
3: Daunte Culpepper (2004)
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(8-8 as a starter. 379 Comp, 548 Att, 69.2% Comp, 4,717 Yards, 39 TD, 11 INT, 110.9 Rate)
2004 was Daunte Culpepper's best season as an NFL quarterback.
Culpepper set career-highs in completions, completion percentage, yards, touchdowns and QB rating.
Culpepper's 110.9 rating was almost 15 points higher than the previous year and his touchdown total was 14 higher. His 4,717 yards is good for eighth on the all-time single season record board.
Saying the 2004 Culpepper was Randy Moss's third-best quarterback ever may not come as a shock when considering his numbers, but Randy Moss's numbers may come as a shock.
Moss only had 49 catches for 767 yards and 13 touchdowns in 13 games in 2004.
Nate Burleson and Jermaine Wiggins both had more receptions. Burleson actually had a giant year with 1,006 yards and nine touchdowns.
Moss still led the team in receiving touchdowns but wasn't the force of previous seasons.
Considering the down year for Moss, Culpepper's 2004 season was all the more impressive.
2: Randall Cunningham (1998)
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(13-1 as a starter. 259 Comp, 425 Att, 60.9% Comp, 3,704 Yards, 34 TD, 10 INT, 106.0 Rate)
The 1998 Vikings were my favorite team of all time, and it is easy to see why.
Quarterback Randall Cunningham, along with rookie receiver Randy Moss, set the NFL on fire.
Cunningham won 13 of his 14 starts, had over 3,700 yards and threw for 34 touchdowns.
His rookie wide receiver, Randy Moss, had 69 receptions for 1,313 yards and 17 touchdowns.
It is still hard for Vikings fans, myself included, to think about the 1998 playoff loss against Atlanta.
The bright side is that we can look back at those 14 magical regular season games when Randall Cunningham was the best quarterback in the NFL for a couple of amazing months.
1: Tom Brady (2007)
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(16-0 as a starter. 397 Comp, 578 Att, 68.9% Comp, 4,806 Yards, 50 TD, 8 INT, 117.2 Rate)
This was a no-brainer.
Tom Brady's 2007 season was one of the single best seasons a quarterback has ever had.
Brady had the fourth-highest single season yardage ever, and his 50 passing touchdowns broke Peyton Manning's record of 49 in 2004.
His 117.2 passer rating is good for second all-time, behind only Peyton Manning's 121.1 rating in 2004.
Moss also set a record of his own. Moss set the single-season mark with 23 receiving touchdowns in 2007.
2007 Tom Brady was the best quarterback Randy Moss ever played with.
Randy Moss played a huge role in elevating Brady's game in 2007. The same can be said for Brady.
He made Moss the best touchdown-catching receiver for a single season of all time.